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The program hall
All photos by Ronin Construction

The Sanctuary

New Windows

The Kitchen

photo by Rhonda Spivak

The Newly Renovated Herzlia- Adas Yeshurun Synagogue Welcomes the Community

By Rhonda Spivak, November 12, 2015





When Herzlia-Adas Yeshurun synagogue’s original boiler gave out after 58 years of faithful service, which coincided with four years of evaluating options to renew the building, the membership decided to recreate their Beit Knesset as a centre for the community to gather, pray, learn, celebrate and socialize.  In 2014, when the membership agreed that it would restore the existing building and sell the unused land to the south of the building to help fund the renovation, fundraising began in earnest.  Winnipeg’s south-end modern orthodox synagogue comprising 100 membership units dug deep, and leadership gifts were made. Ronin Construction was hired as the general contractor, and agreed to stage work as funding became available.  Their sub-trades have been equally flexible and patient. Weekly building committee meetings are held to ensure the project remains on track and on budget. One year into the project, renovation of the south entrance is underway, and Phase One will be completed by the end of the year.



From the outside, it’s obvious something is different.  It’s subtle - an unexpected sparkle.  There’s a new window on the north wall.  The crumbling stucco and mismatched windows on the west wall have been replaced, and the screened holes in the foundation are gone. A short walk through the foyer into the sanctuary reveals a startling sight: the former school gymnasium cum sanctuary/social hall has been transformed. The classrooms that were located on the original bimah along the north wall are gone, and the spacious sanctuary is flooded with daylight from a large picture window on the north wall. The sanctuary is separated from the social hall by a ceiling high movable acoustic panel. Inside the social hall, Caroline Dukes’ magnificent “Dome of the Book” commands the south wall.  On the other side are the new dairy and meat kitchens, which are available for community use under the Rabbi’s hashgachah.



The multipurpose room, nursery, upper floor classrooms and washrooms have also been renovated. The congregation has funded 90% of the work that’s been completed. A grant from the Jewish Foundation assisted with funding the new mechanical system, while a grant from the City of Winnipeg’s Community Incentive Grant Program has helped weatherproof the building in time for winter. 



Phase Two will begin in the new year: converting the former principal’s office into a ladies’ lounge; updating the library/Beit Midrash, Rabbi’s office and business office; and most significantly - upgrading the security system to control access and install smoke detection.



Phase Three will start in May.  The receipt of a grant from the Federal Government’s Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program will address the fact that this multi-story building isn’t yet fully accessible. Funding has been granted to install an elevator, a rear sidewalk and paved parking spaces.  After the elevator is installed, the front foyer, upper and lower hallways will be updated, and the grounds will be landscaped.



Board President Dr. Earl Hershfield is very pleased with the activity underway. “There are still 3 or 4 grant applications to be written, and fundraising continues. The Board is hopeful that 100% of the membership will participate financially in the transformation of Herzlia-Adas Yeshurun, and we are well on our way to achieving our objective of becoming an attractive, comfortable and fully accessible community centre. In the meantime, Dr. Ruth Ashrafi, Director of Education, Ritual and Programming, is introducing new programs.  Committees are being formed, Shabbat morning children’s services are underway, and the Jewish Renaissance Series will resume with lunch and learn lectures on Jewish Leadership through the Ages in a couple of weeks. Rabbi Benarroch will continue to provide rabbinic leadership from Israel and during his visits to Winnipeg.  Herzlia-Adas Yeshurun is open for business, and all are welcome to join us.” 



The community is invited to attend any of the upcoming programs or services; information is available at  or by calling the synagogue office at 204.489.6262




November 11, 2015

Is it possible for a scientist/philosopher to believe in God? How do we bring order and content to Jewish education? Should all Jews move back to Israel? How do I explain in a politically correct manner why I am a Jew and not a Christian? Politics in action: how do I protect the interests of the Jewish community with a hostile government? Why does anti-Semitism keep raising its head?
Many of these questions are familiar to us, as they have been for the Jewish people over the past 2000 years. In different periods, in different countries, Jews have had to formulate responses to these recurring issues. In this exciting new course, we will study these questions in various contexts, focusing on different periods from Jewish history. We will travel back and forth through time from Jewish Spain, to leading female Torah scholars in Israel, to visions for the “New Jew” in 1900 Russia, to issues of Jewish peoplehood in our time, and back to politics in the Hebrew Bible.
Portraits of Leaders in Jewish Spain: From Golden Age to Expulsion
Each month we will focus on four leaders, beginning in Spain. Though quite a few centuries and an ocean apart, there are many similarities between the current Jewish community in North America and that of medieval Spain. Jews were full participants in government, science, philosophy and literature, and were often leaders in these fields. Some of the greatest works of Hebrew poetry and Jewish philosophy were written in Spain. Different from our present situation were the periods with discrimination, persecution and forced conversion.
Spanish Jewry produced some of our greatest leaders: Maimonides, the foremost scientist and Jewish scholar of his day, Yehuda Halevi, Hebrew poet par excellence, Nachmanides, defender of Judaism, and Abravanel, who discovered that even his financial usefulness and considerable diplomatic skills were no match for the anti-Semitism of his time.
Studying their writings, we view into their world. We discover their love for their fellow Jews and their passion for Judaism. We will see how they struggled with these recurring questions, often while overcoming considerable obstacles in their personal lives. After a brief review of the historical context, we will focus on the challenges of each period and each leader’s response. As we reflect on what we can learn from their leadership, we’ll be inspired by their vision and courage.
This four-part lunch and learn series will be taught by Dr. Ruth Ashrafi, MA (Talmud), PhD (Midrash and Medieval Hebrew Literature). Dr. Ashrafi is Herzlia-Adas Yeshurun’s Director of Education, Programming and Ritual. She is also Judaic Studies Coordinator at Gray Academy of Jewish Education.
November 22- Through the Eyes of Maimonides
November 29- Through the Eyes of Yehuda Halevi
December 13- Through the Eyes of Nachmonides
December 20- Through the Eyes of Abravanel 
Classes will begin at noon in the social hall and run through1:30 pm. $30 class fee includes 4 lunches plus study guide. Registration is required and childcare is available.
Herzlia - Adas Yeshurun
620 Brock Street
p:  204 - 489 – 6262
e: [email protected]

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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