As tradition has it, every Rosh Hashanah the President of the Board of Directors shares a message for the holidays with our membership. This year, Rosh Hashanah will certainly be very different, as we celebrate the Jewish New Year in the midst of a pandemic. With these differences comes the need to reflect, to accept, and to change. This is fitting, as the New Year is all about self-examination and self-improvement. Although change can be difficult and uncomfortable, it often allows us to advance and to better ourselves and the world around us.
In the spirit of change, this year I call upon our new Chief Executive Officer, Elyse Rosen, to deliver this year’s holiday message in my stead. Elyse was selected by the Board of Directors to lead our organization through a period of change, revitalization and growth – a mandate that has become all the timelier given the current circumstances. I have every confidence that Elyse’s energy, passion, and commitment to our community will serve us all well as she shepherds the Y through a period of necessary transformation. Yet change is rarely accomplished alone, and I trust that Elyse and her staff will be able to count on your support through the challenging times ahead.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, the staff, myself and my family, I wish you all good health, happiness, and prosperity, as well as the strength to accept the differences that this year’s holiday brings and to make the changes that you would like to make in order to improve yourselves in the coming year.
President of the Board of Directors
Rosh Hashanah is not just the beginning of the Hebrew calendar; it is also a time of renewal.
Although we find ourselves in the midst of a world-wide crisis, there can be opportunity in crisis, and it can become a catalyst for transformation, improvement, and rebirth—the very things that our Torah and our sages tell us that the New Year is meant to elicit.
Although this has been a challenging time to take on the leadership of the Y, I see tremendous opportunity on the horizon, and I am ready to embrace the changes required for our organization to grow, progress, and forge a successful path forward.
It is therefore fitting that immediately following the high holidays, after many months of being closed due to Covid, we will be opening our doors on September 30th to an entirely reimagined Y—a brand new, fresh, modern, state of the art facility where we hope to provide you with a health and wellness experience that truly caters to the needs of our members and exceeds all expectations.
Yet as excited as I am to share this physical transformation of our space with you, and see it as an important first step in our renewal, as CEO I hope to effect a much more fundamental change at the Y. Ultimately, my goal is to turn the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA into the hub of the Montreal Jewish Community—a place where our community can come together in meaningful ways and where all of its members can ground their sense of communal identity, regardless of age, interest, ability, means, or degree of observance. As ambitious as that goal may seem—particularly at a time where our ability to gather together is compromised—I believe that in a world where there are fewer and fewer opportunities to foster a sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves and to nurture a sense of connection to one another, succeeding in that endeavor is more important than ever to realizing the Y’s vision of sustaining Jewish continuity.
My profound hope is that you share this aspiration, and that you recognize the importance of ensuring that our Jewish Community Centre thrives for generations to come. Know that my door is always open, and that I welcome your feedback as to how we can make the Y more relevant to you.
As we approach the New Year, my team and I are working diligently on making the changes necessary to bring about the Y’s revival for the benefit of the community. This Rosh Hashanah, as we all contemplate what changes we can make in order to do better, I ask that each of you reflect on what you are prepared to do to ensure that our organization, and hence our community, remains strong well into the future for the good of us all. If every Jewish Montrealer were simply to commit to being a member, a governor, or a donor of the Y, there is no question that that aspiration would become reality.
On behalf of all of us at the Y, we wish you Shanah Tovah Um’tukah.
CEO, Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA