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Neil Duboff

Synagogues Have Been Built To Reflect the Time -by Neil Duboff, Capital Campaign Chair, Shaarey Zedek Synagogue

posted here April 13, 2022

Synagogues have been built to reflect the time in which they were built. Early synagogues tended to look like houses, blending into the surrounding architecture – congregations felt safer if they didn’t stand out. With time beautiful buildings like our Shaarey Zedek, the Rosh Pina and B’nai Abraham were built full of windows and natural light, open to the world around them

Shaarey Zedek is, first and foremost, a place of prayer, a place of daily religious worship, and a place of Torah lessons and of rabbinical sermons. A building where our members can comfortably worship and pray recognizing our traditions. When we open a prayer book, the generations that went before us come alive. We open the prayer book and say the same words that they said, and we know that we belong to the ages, and that the ages belong to us; that we are not here today and gone tomorrow, but that we are part of our people’s history, and that history is part of us.

Our Synagogue building also must recognize our current needs. So, we ask ourselves – what uses should we design the renovation of our synagogue building for – clearly a place for prayer. As generations pass, we need a building with modern facilities.

Shaarey Zedek needs to continue to be available for our congregants’ weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, baby naming and funerals. We want our synagogue to be a house where we support social justice causes.

What about being used for Pilates, or as a restaurant or for film screenings. What about as a living room – a room for living Jewish life. A living room for the young, for students, married couples, families with kids – and of course the senior members of our community. A multipurpose space where people work from their laptops, have meetings, have coffee, eat dinner, attend comedy events, listen to lectures, do yoga. Our children need day care facilities, they need a place where they can learn about the necessity of moral character. Where else can we learn about and find Jewish morality if not in the synagogue?
Shaarey Zedek needs to a place for us all to come home and to celebrate the joys of Jewish life together.
For the past 73 years, 561 Wellington Crescent has been a beautiful Winnipeg landmark – it has served our community well. We now need to renovate to meet your modern needs.

Neil Duboff
Capital Campaign Chair

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