Happy Birthday, Adele!

Adele Vernon was born with a gift. She is one of those remarkable people who bring joy into the lives of the rest of us. “If I have a gift for the world,” she said, “I think it might be having fun and sharing that with others.” Adele is turning 90, and if you give her a phone call, you’ll soon be smiling, maybe laughing. It’s uplifting to be around her. Even the sound of her voice lifts you up. Rabbi Harry says, “Adele embodies what the tradition calls ‘having a good eye’; she is a ‘ba’alat tov ayin’. She sees the good in others and encourages and nurtures that good.”

We asked Adele to tell her story about life with Congregation Emanu-El. She is a woman of many talents! Afterwards, some of her friends share a few stories about Adele. Happy Birthday, Dear Adele. May you continue to thrive and to scatter your beauty across this world. 

Continue reading Happy Birthday, Adele!

Poem for Rabbi Harry’s 50th Birthday

At the Saturday, November 23, 2013, service, Dvora Levin read the poem she wrote to Rabbi Harry.  Rabbi Harry’s family and friends provided the Kiddush luncheon in honour of his 50th birthday on November 26th.

(Ada Cotton provided Rabbi Harry’s birthday cake that came from Bubby Rose.)

In his 50th year, he welcomed our community to celebrate

the 150th Anniversary of Congregation Emanu-el,

leading us through moments of remembering,

moments of gratitude, moments of joy

and sadness too.

Our teacher, leading us

on the well-trodden road of ritual,

leading us into the mists of mystery,

expanding the energies of angels

and Rabbis who have gone before.

His passport stamped with so many places,

Israel, Russia, India, New York, New Orleans,

always returning with his suitcases filled

with more questions than answers,

more doors opening.

He gathers us, newborns, children, parents,

and those of us drifting nearer the gates,

calling out to artists, teaching

to the whir of grinding beans,

the hiss of espresso machines.

Davening on Shabbat, High Holidays, Thursdays

at 7am, John’s Place, our second minyan, 

he helps us be restored,

as our torah scrolls are restored,

as perfectly as we can.

This year, he joined so many mitzvoth volunteers

parading to the sounds of choirs, musicians

and oompa bands, auctioning treasures,

gifting apologies to our First Nations,

socks and birthday cakes to the poor,

Building new stairs to sanctuary, sanding smooth

the rough floors of our troubled minds.

And always, in all ways, Rabbi Harry inviting us

to be with him, together, to sing along, creating

and re-creating our community’s sacred song.

Dvora Levin