Message from Gail Gould, Executive Director

Dear Bernard Betel Centre Community,

It is hard to believe that almost half of the summer is over. I hope you have been able to relax and enjoy the ‘slower’ pace of summer and the beautiful weather we have been having.

For those of you that have not recently visited the Centre, I invite you to experience our wonderful renovations. I am proud to say that our Betel Synagogue has been completely transformed and will once again be able to hold Betel programs, as well as Shabbat and Chagim services through the Tehillat Yerushalyim Congregation.

This month we acknowledge Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the month of Av. Although a large number of disasters are said to have befallen the Jews on this day, the major commemoration is of the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. and 70 C.E., respectively. Central to the observance of this day for many Jews is fasting. Although we are open and have programs scheduled on this day, we are respectful of those individuals who want to observe this day of commemoration.

As many of you know, I have been hosting Tea with Gail since coming to Betel in 2015. This informal meeting is an opportunity for you as members and community participants to find out what is happening at the Centre, meet other members, and for me to hear directly from you, comments or feedback regarding the Centre’s operations. I invite you to join me for a cup of tea and ‘nosh’ during our upcoming sessions on July 26, 1pm-2pm (English), July 31, 2pm-3pm (Russian) and August 23, 1pm-2pm (English). Tea with Gail is also an opportunity for members to meet a representative from our Members’ Council who represent the membership and act as a liaison between staff and members and the Bernard Betel Centre’s Board of Directors.

As required by our By-Laws, we will be holding our Annual General and Special Meeting of Members on Tuesday, September 12, 2023 at 6:30 pm via Zoom. While we struggled with the decision to hold this meeting on-site, in person, we recognized that it is much more accessible for all members and Board Members to host the meeting via Zoom. Please look for additional information and the formal notice of the meeting in a separate email in August and in the September E-Newsletter.

Please mark on your calendar Wednesday, November 29, 2023 for our up-coming second annual Tribute Event fundraiser in support of our Meals on Wheels Program. This year, we must raise over $1.3 million to continue to support minimally the 620 seniors and Holocaust survivors living in poverty by providing three free Kosher meals a week. This year we are delighted to honour Dr. Anna Shternshis, Director of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies and an Al and Malka Green Professor of Yiddish studies at the University of Toronto. Dr. Shternshis’ research interests include Jewish culture in the Soviet Union; Jewish-Slavic cultural relations and Yiddish mass culture, theatre and music. Dr. Shternshis is a woman who ‘inspires’, is author of two books, as well as over 20 articles and book chapters. Together with composer and performer Psoy Korolenko, she created and directed Yiddish Glory, a project to release the forgotten Yiddish songs written during the Holocaust in the Soviet Union, which was nominated and shortlisted for the 61st Annual Grammy Award in the world music category. We look forward to seeing you at this incredible Tribute Event. More details about the Tribute event will follow in the coming months.

I look forward to seeing and meeting with you at the Centre!


Gail Gould
Executive Director

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