Shabbat Candlelighting 8:52 p.m.                                             Friday, June 3, 2011/1 Sivan 5771

This message has 546 words, and will take about 1-2 minutes to read.

King David High School a True Community School
I had the pleasure of attending King David High School’s graduation ceremony yesterday evening, and truly enjoyed joining with all the graduating students, their families, faculty and staff, and others, gathered to kvell together. It was a particularly poignant evening for my wife and I, as we know almost the entire graduating class.

While it is true that every high school has its share of community service award winners, the sense and spirit of community comes shining through at King David. Over the course of the year, I have had many opportunities to see King David students engaged in mitzvot and other forms of community service. From their annual Mitzvah Day and their new Random Act of Kindness Day, to the role they play in hosting Vancouver Talmud Torah and Richmond Jewish Day School students on Yom Ha’atzmaut, to the many other community events where they are such a visible presence, KDHS students are learning and living Jewish values every day. How appropriate that the school hosted “Me to We” co-founder Marc Kielburger last week at their annual Teaching for Tomorrow event.

Over the next few weeks, all of our community day schools will be holding their graduation ceremonies. What a wonderful time of celebration for the students and families, and what a wonderful time for our community to celebrate the investment that we and the families have made in their Jewish education.

Canada an Outlier on Israel
Over the past week, much has been made of Prime Minister Harper’s role at the recent G8 summit in ensuring a balanced statement on the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and President Obama’s speech. In seeing the reactions to Harper’s statements, this time around and previously, I am struck by how often he’s characterized as being so one-sided and biased towards Israel. It is true that the Prime Minister is unabashedly supportive of Israel’s survival and security, but when you read what he actually says, time and again, he is always quite balanced in respecting and promoting the needs and dreams of both Israelis and Palestinians. It often feels, in fact, like Prime Minister Harper is the only leader promoting a balanced and fair perspective in the face of a world that is all too ready to condemn only Israel. The best concise analysis I’ve seen of Harper’s statements and actions since he became Prime Minister, was put together this week by David Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Congress. I encourage you to take a look, and to take a few moments to share a message of appreciation with the Prime Minister.

Parashat Naso
This week’s parasha includes a description of the Nazarite, a member of the community who commits to a thirty day period of service. During that period, one abstains from cutting one’s hair, and avoids drinking or eating grapes or any of their by-products. Our past Federation board chair, Jonathan Berkowitz, has pointed out that the practice of not cutting one’s hair attracts broader observance during hockey playoff seasons, when players and fans alike observe the custom of abstaining from shaving. Next time you see a friend or colleague sporting a “playoff beard”, ask them when they took on the Nazarite oath. On to Game 2!

Shabbat Shalom!

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