Rabbi Allan’s Message – Friday, October 21, 2022

With the City of Winnipeg’s municipal elections coming up on October 26, I’ve now seen two mayoralty debates, one in person at the Rady JCC and the second on CBC-TV. I have invested the time because this is where I live, and these municipal elections, although not “sexy” will have the greatest impact on the quality of the city and the quality of life of all its citizens, me included.

What became clear was living in Winnipeg is an extraordinary gift — but all around us are so many issues and so many opportunities, and at the same time, so many solutions offered, some that our city can tackle on its own, and so many others that require real partnerships with our provincial and federal governments, and with so many social enterprise organizations and business groups who are “on the ground” with real capacity to initiate and make change.

So many issues like I said, with the top-of-mind issues focusing on homelessness, crime, addictions, safety, downtown, infrastructure, rapid transit, active transportation and wider roads. Lower/raise/replace property taxes. Economic prosperity and jobs initiatives. Urban sprawl or infill. Who can lead best/who has a history of collaboration.  All good topics, important topics, with many of the offered solutions ranging from practical to platitudes or avoided or not interested. And to my surprise, almost no discussion of environmental issues (the issues closest to our next generations), whether it be the impact of cars, recycling, composting or reducing our carbon footprint.

Here’s the thing. It’s my city/your city. Personally, I’m choosing principles rather than pocketbook, because I care for others. But those are my choices, and you are free to make yours. But do vote. On October 26, please, choose the direction you’d like to see it go.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Allan

Rabbi Allan’s Message – Friday, October 14

A couple days ago, I visited a friend who works at the Rady Jewish Community Centre here in Winnipeg. He suggested we grab a coffee at the deli which is along the main corridor, the artery connecting everything to everything on the campus.

As we talked, there was a steady stream of people walking past us both ways, always partially in sight to one or the other of us, and invariably there were people we knew, some well and other not so well. Glances, smiles, hellos and brief chats were inevitable, and our own conversation continued in and around those breaks.

We both joked about how hard it is to “run the gauntlet” through the deli. For me, it was about trying and actually getting to the gym where I have been a member for so many years, and for him, it is about not-so-jokingly adding 15 minutes of travel time if he has a meeting at the far end of the complex.

Life, especially because of the pandemic, had changed both our perspectives on that “gauntlet.” The delays are exactly the same, but we no longer describe them as burdens. We have learned that we’d rather see others and be seen. We’d rather be connected than be alone. And it is not always with family and friends but also in that beautiful grey area called community – of acquaintances and friends of friends, where our investments aren’t huge, but where so many of our life stories also reside. The word “we” really matters.