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Clergy Updates and Plans for the High Holy Days

Message from Rabbi Philip Scheim

Dear Beth David Family,

As I adjust to my transition from long-standing Senior Rabbi of Beth David to my forthcoming role as Rabbi Emeritus, it is clear, in terms of the synagogue, that there may be some gaps in the intervening period, until a new senior rabbi is appointed. The challenges of Covid-19 continue, hopefully with the light at the end of the tunnel beginning to be visible. Our leadership, lay and professional alike, I believe to have handled the difficulties of these past 15 months well, even if, like everybody else in the world, not perfectly. 

In this period of transition, following my return in August from vacation, I will be available on an on-call basis to respond to needs you may have. Until then, and thereafter, of course, I highly suggest that you turn to our continuing and capable clergy team, Rabbi Walker, Cantor Loomer and Michael Rubin, for impending spiritual needs. I will be joining our clergy team during the High Holy Days, delivering sermons on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, on Erev Yom Kippur and Yom Kippur Day, as I have done in past years. Thereafter, on Shabbatot and Festivals, my involvement will be limited, at my choice.

I am using my “retirement” stage of life to increase my involvements in the world-wide Masorti/Conservative movement, and in Israel-based activities, such as my service on the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency and the Leadership Council of the World Zionist Congress. 

At this transitional phase in my life and that of the congregation I have loved and served for four decades, my wishes to you all are for good health, strength, abundant mitzvah opportunities (as we say in Hebrew: Tizku la-Mitzvot), and better days for all!

Rabbi Philip Scheim


Message from President of Beth David

Dear Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am community, I hope all is well with you.

Further to my April 28th message about Rabbi Philip Scheim’s appointment as Beth David’s Rabbi Emeritus and about our Clergy team for the coming year, I’m pleased to provide an update about the High Holy Days and other important matters.

Plans for the High Holy Days 5782:

Our Clergy is already preparing for this year’s High Holy Day services. As noted in his message above, Rabbi Scheim will lead services and present sermons on Rosh Hashanah Day 1, Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur morning, and will also offer a learning session on a weekday evening preceding Rosh Hashanah. Rabbi Walker will lead services and present a sermon on Rosh Hashanah Day 2 and a D’var Torah on Yom Kippur afternoon, and will also lead special services and programs for Young Families and our 20s/30s. As always, Cantor Marshall Loomer and our Ritual Director Michael Rubin complete our Clergy team with their meaningful davening, layning and teaching in our Main Sanctuary. Michael will also conduct Havurah services on the 1st day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur morning. 

Subject to public health regulations, we hope to allow as many Members as possible to attend High Holy Days services in person this year, both in our Main Sanctuary and outdoors in our Beth David tent. All High Holy Days services will, of course, be broadcast via Beth David’s livestream. Regrettably, we will not be conducting services at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts this year. Please watch your in-box for an online survey about your High Holy Days services preferences, coming soon.

Clergy Plan for the Year and Community Consultations:

Beyond the High Holy Days, our Clergy team of Rabbi Walker, Cantor Loomer and Michael Rubin will be available to address your synagogue needs this coming year. Rabbi Walker will be taking on increased pulpit responsibilities to help serve the full Beth David community and continuing her work to engage with 20s/30s and young families. We are also fortunate that Rabbi Scheim will be available to Members on an on-call basis as our Rabbi Emeritus going forward. Recognizing that you may have questions about our Clergy coverage for this transition year, we look forward to hosting group discussions with the Beth David community in the next few weeks.

Senior Rabbi Search:

Beth David’s posting for our Senior Rabbi position remains active on the Rabbinical Assembly job board. North American Conservative Rabbis usually apply for open roles after the High Holy Days. As such, we anticipate seeing inquiries from candidates during the new hiring round that kicks off in mid-September. Like this past year, candidates will be assessed by our Senior Rabbi Search Task Force and will meet with members of our Advisory Panel. We look forward to opportunities for all our Members to experience service leadership and learning programs with a short list of candidates in early 2022, just as we did earlier this year. My grateful thanks to the Task Force and Advisory Panel for their continued efforts in support of this important task.

Planning for Post-Pandemic Reopening of Beth David:

Our Reopening Task Force, led by Bram Zinman, Vice President House & Property, includes members of our Clergy, our Executive Director Ian Borer, staff, and volunteers with expertise in public health, workplace health and safety, and security, among others. The Task Force is closely following the evolving public health directives regarding limits on in-person attendance at religious services and programs (both indoor and outdoor). We will adjust our reopening plans as the circumstances allow and will communicate any changes to our Members accordingly, so please keep an eye out for e-mail updates.

Thank you for your ongoing support of Beth David. Your continued membership in Beth David and your involvement in our community is vitally important as we deal with these and other challenging issues. I’m so grateful to our Clergy, our professionals and our volunteers for their exceptional efforts during this past year.

Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any comments or questions. As well, please plan to attend our 2021 Annual Meeting of Members (AGM), next Monday, June 14th at 7:30 pm via Zoom. If you haven’t already done so, please register here. I look forward to seeing you then.

With best wishes,

Andy Pascoe
June 10, 2021
Wed, December 1 2021 27 Kislev 5782