Kicking Off North American Tour OU President Stephen J. Savitsky to Visit Vancouver’s Congregation
WILL FOCUS ON STRENGTHENING LINKS OF THE ORGANIZATION WITH THE COMMUNITY
Orthodox Union President Stephen J. Savitsky will visit Congregation Schara Tzedeck in Vancouver the weekend of Saturday, October 13, the Shabbat on which the Torah portion Noach is read, to attend services at the synagogue and to meet with its leadership and congregation. Schara Tzedeck is an OU member synagogue.
The visit will be the first in a planned 10-city North American tour in the upcoming months for the New York-based OU President, as he brings the OU message far and wide, while at the same time receiving feedback from member congregations about their needs and how the OU can respond to them. The tour will emphasize smaller Jewish communities.
There are multiple reasons for the tour and the visit to Vancouver, Mr. Savitsky explained. “Each trip will be an opportunity to meet fellow Jews in an OU community and to understand their needs, the particular areas of concern they have, and how we can be of service to them.” In addition, Mr. Savitsky said, the trip will “expand upon the concept of Kol Yisroel Arevim Zeh Bah Zeh – the teaching that all Jews are responsible for one another. We can’t have Jews who feel they are isolated, no matter how far they may be from New York.”
Finally, he added, he is coming to Vancouver “to spread the OU message and philosophy and our concept of Judaism revolving around living a Torah-true life while working and interfacing with the secular community.”
Rabbi Andrew Rosenblatt of Congregation Schara Tzedeck declared, “We are very pleased that such an active and effective lay leader will be coming to our synagogue and that he brings with him the positive lesson of the impact of lay leadership on the Jewish community. We will tell him that like many communities, we are very concerned about generating and developing the next generation of leaders.”
Like Mr. Savitsky, Rabbi Rosenblatt is interested in the way the OU brings together a multiplicity of Jewish communities, large and small. “We are Jews who are far from major Jewish centers of Jewish life,” he said. “The Orthodox Union’s ability to link similar communities is one of the strengths of the organization and is something I want to explore with him about developing further.”
Given the nature of Mr. Savitsky’s tour, in which he is focusing on smaller Jewish communities, the topic is sure to be one of mutual interest.
According to Rabbi Bini Maryles, Director of the OU’s Pepa and Rabbi Joseph Karasick Department of Synagogue Services, “Vancouver was a natural choice to lead off the tour, based on a long and rewarding history with the OU. It is a community on the move, always looking for new and innovative ways to affect growth, and that makes it an attractive partner for us.”
Besides Schara Tzedeck, the OU has a strong presence in Vancouver as the location of NCSY’s Northwest Region (which is based at Schara Tzedeck); NCSY is the youth program of the Orthodox Union. The Region covers Washington State, Oregon and Alaska in the United States besides British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada. Regional Director Rabbi Stephen Berger will accompany Mr. Savitsky while he is in Vancouver.