A New Light, a New Day and a New Chapter


As we celebrate the 22nd year of Or Hadash, a Reform congregation in the Northern York Region serving a wide demographic, it may be time to envision how our Synagogue, going forward, can thrive and prosper. As the President of a dedicated Board of Directors, I recall my earlier years in this capacity, and all the trials and tribulations that helped to mold our character. Not surprisingly, our challenges have changed, but the main ones have stayed with us, perhaps to remind us, as with those that Moses met, that it is these, that build the character of a nation and its people.


Unfortunately, our troubles as a Jewish people never disappear. Anti-Semitism is rampant in Europe and the situation in Israel remains uneasy. Often, with world pressures we are "encouraged" to turn the other cheek even when our survival may be at risk. We loathe taking lives even when facing a destructive force. How do we practice Tikkun Olam when it is not valued by others? As Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will be appearing shortly on our doorsteps we will again ask "why"?

Strengh lies in soldiarity of purpose as well as noble acts to better the lives of everyone in our community. Although the history of Or Hadash can be easily seen on our website, what is truly important is what Or Hadash means for you and your family. As a community of Jews residing in the Northern York Region, we can come together as a growing congregation and, in doing so, help make our lives more meaningful and provide our children a beacon that may guide them in a tumultuous world.

At each beginning of summer we tend to drift off mentally into pleasant visions of confortable, warm days filled with much anticipated leisure time and vacations planned for R&R and positive experiences. As we look forward to the coming New Year, our intention at Or Hadash is to introduce programming to enrich our daily journey. Our spiritual journey will take us from Shabbat services to celebrating life cycle events of Simchas. This is the 'breath' for the soul. We will meet socially and enjoy one anothers' company to lighten our days and do what Jews do well - eat, of course, and find humor even in dark times. This is our 'chicken soup' for the soul. What I feel will educate us in our understanding of Judaism and find its hidden treasures are the underpinnings of an exuberant Jewish life gained through knowing more about our history and ourselves. Yes, we have a road ahead of us strewn with potholes and obstacles, real and unseen. We will overcome these and find the least stressful path through. Our ancestors did the same and through their experiences became the nation of Israel, a remarkable triumph and example for the world. The constant turmoil on this planet cannot diminish what has been accomplished, rather, it makes the contrast all that more significant.  

Or Hadash is reaching out to you to make our synagogue stronger with your involvement and commitment. Or Hadash is reaching out to you to show your support of the Synagogue, not only as a house of worship, but importantly the foundation to sustain Judaism. Or Hadash is your Jewish community centre, and your home for an enriching Jewish life, where all are welcomed as friends.


Wishing you a sweet New Year in good health and peace. May you be inscribed in the book of life.

Hag Sameach,


Herman Yeger


Or Hadash Synagogue