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Shir Tikvah Celebrates 10 Years as Winnipeg's High Holiday Alternative

June 14, 2012

A decade after its establishment, Congregation Shir Tikvah continues to provide Winnipeg Jews with a comfortable, friendly, inclusive and participatory High Holy Day option. Shir Tikvah’s traditional, egalitarian conservative services have steadily gained in popularity, as Jewish community members are increasingly attracted to the grassroots congregation’s haimish and welcoming atmosphere.

This September, Shir Tikvah expects about 200 people at its Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services.

Shir Tikvah services are held at the Viscount Gort Hotel and led by the talented and experienced trio of Lay Rabbi Adam Bronstone, Cantor Arky Berkal and Ba’al Shacharit Jared Trotman.  Bronstone and Trotman are both former Winnipeggers, living in Florida and Toronto respectively, and Berkal, of course, is a Winnipeg cantorial institution.

“I keep coming back, and keep wanting to come back to lead services because Shir Tikvah is my High Holy Days home and the congregants are my family,” says Bronstone, a Community Engagement Consultant with the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville. 

While Bronstone, Berkal and Trotman lead the services, everyone in attendance is encouraged to actively participate. Honours, aliyot and readings are distributed among a cross-section of the congregants, and a significant portion of the service is translated into English so non-Hebrew readers can easily follow along. 

``We are able to truly include all of our congregants in the service so that the service is theirs, and not mine, or my fellow clergy,” explains Bronstone.``I always hope that the clergy are able to not only inspire and provoke during the High Holy Day services, but  serve as both service leaders and fellow congregants,” he adds.

Tickets for Congregation Shir Tikvah are reasonably priced so that entire families can attend and enjoy the services together.  In addition to regular adult tickets, the congregation offers special student and children’s fares, as well as restricted tickets for either Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur.  An early bird discount also is available to those who purchase regular adult tickets before July 30, 2012.  There are no membership requirements at Shir Tikvah.

Significantly, in addition to providing comfortable and open seating, the congregation offers on-site child care, handicap access, and a dry kiddish following both days of Rosh Hashanah and at the end of Yom Kippur. There is also ample free parking at the venue.

“We go out of the way to make everyone feel welcome and to accommodate our congregants,” says president, Sharon Bronstone. One Yom Kippur, she adds, that even meant hooking up an audio system so that a regular congregant who was temporarily housebound could listen to the Kol Nidre service.

It is because of this kind of accommodation and acceptance that Shir Tikvah, in the last 10 years, has become the congregation of choice for individuals and families looking for an inviting, intimate, familiar and thought provoking High Holy Day experience.

"Shir Tikvah is a ‘family’ – where everyone enjoys a meaningful High Holy Day experience,” says Sharon Bronstone proudly.

That feeling of family is the secret to Shir Tikvah`s success. 

For further information about Shir Tikvah or to purchase tickets, email [email protected]

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.