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Matthew Leibl, Rabbinic Intern

Dr. Rena Secter Elbaze, Director of Engagement and Education

Congregation Shaarey Zedek is pleased to announce the addition of two senior staff to its current complement

Aug 28, 2016

Matthew Leibl has been hired as a Rabbinic Intern. His lengthy experience at Shaarey Zedek, as a Torah reader, and B’nai Mitzvah teacher will bring a wealth of knowledge to the position. Matthew will begin rabbinic ordination training immediately, leading to his becoming a Rabbi within the next 12-18 months. His educational background in communications, which also includes a period as a radio sports show host, combined with his musical expertise will serve him extremely well in his new role at Shaarey Zedek. Learn more about Matthew at the end of this email. 

Dr. Rena Secter Elbaze has been hired to fill the newly created position of Director of Engagement & Education. Rena brings a wide range of experience and knowledge to this role, having served the Winnipeg Jewish community at the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg and most recently Jewish Child and Family Services. One of her primary focuses will be on engagement and programming activities. Rena willbegin her duties at Shaarey Zedek September 12th. Learn more about Rena at the end of this email.

Shaarey Zedek President, Uri Kraut: “We are most excited that we have been able to recruit two dynamic professionals to oursynagogue who will help shape the future of Shaarey Zedek and the community for many yearsto come. Both Rena and Matthew have long standing ties to the synagogue having attendedhere as children. We are very pleased and proud to be able to reengage them on a professionallevel which will only enhance our Synagogue experience going forward.”

Congregation Shaarey Zedek is committed to being a progressive leader in the Jewish community. In the past few years, Shaarey Zedek has made innovations to its Shabbat services to include a new shortened, enhanced and engaging format with instrumental accompaniment aswell as enriched life cycle events. In addition to being one of the first to establish a Dual Faith Cemetery Section, Shaarey Zedek was one of the first Conservative Synagogues to welcome Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Jews with full rights and privileges including family membership, burial rights and performance of weddings. Shaarey Zedek was also the first Winnipeg Conservative Synagogue to adopt Egalitarian practices.

More about Matthew: Matthew Leibl joined Shaarey Zedek's clergy team in May 2004 as our Chazzan Sheini, taking on a number of responsibilities for the congregation, including Torah reader, B'nai Mitzvah teacher, and keyboard accompanist for Shabbat services. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Matthew graduated from Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate in 2003 and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba in 2006 before moving to Halifax, Nova Scotia to study journalism at the University of King's College. He put his Jewish background and synagogue skills to good use in Halifax, first as a Torah reader and teacher at the two local synagogues (Beth Israel and Shaar Shalom), and later as a program director for the Atlantic Jewish Council. Returning to Winnipeg in 2010, Matthew joined TSN 1290, the local sports radio station, as a broadcaster, eventually becoming host of the weekday morning show. He balanced his life as a radio personality with a role at the synagogue for six years before joining Shaarey Zedek full-time to pursue his dream of becoming a Rabbi. Matthew's passions, other than Judaism, include music, baseball, travel, great food, and Seinfeld, but his true love is his wife Heather Wadsworth, with an honourable mention to their pet cat, Moses.


More about Rena: Dr. Rena Secter Elbaze brings with her over 25 years’ experience in the fields of Communications, Outreach and Jewish Engagement. Born and raised in Manitoba, Rena settled on the French Riviera after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from the University of Manitoba including a year spent at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Since returning to Winnipeg with her husband and three daughters in 2007, where she lived for over 20 years, Rena has worked for a Francophone organization, the Council of Ministers of Education Canada, Manitoba Trade and Investment, and the Centre for Higher Learning Research and Development at the University of Manitoba. Since her return, Rena has been both a volunteer and a professional in the Winnipeg Jewish community. Dr. Elbaze spent three years working in the field of Jewish Engagement with the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, where she partnered with Jewish community organizations, including Congregation Shaarey Zedek, to create inroads into community. More recently, Rena worked for Jewish Child and Family Service as Director of Communications and Outreach.

Congregation Shaarey Zedek

561 Wellington Crescent 

 Winnipeg MB R3M 0A6

T 204-452-3711  F 204-474-1184

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