LEAPING BOLDLY INTO 2019: A Message from Rabbi Rafi Lipner

As we approach the end of 2018, I was reminded of the following short story, one that I often think about during the “other” New Year – Rosh Hashana:

After an uplifting High Holidays, a congregant approached his Rabbi and asked, “Wasn’t your Yom Kippur amazing?!” The Rabbi paused and responded, “How should I know now? Ask me again at Chanukah time and I will be able to tell you.”

This powerful exchange highlights that the goal of a New Year is not to “set it and forget it”, but to commit to taking action and becoming the change we want to see. Perspective allows us to view from a distance what we have (or sometimes have not) achieved. If we use the prompt of December to evaluate how our Rosh Hashana commitments are progressing, we can refocus on the vital goals and spend the cold months ahead focusing on accomplishing what matters most to us.

As you think about resolutions for the year ahead and the way you would like to influence the larger community you live in, The House hopes that, you will leap with us into 2019 and resolve to set bold goals that will aid in engaging the next generation of the Jewish community.  

In 2018, The House met and surpassed many of the goals that we set for the organization! Launching an ambitious campaign to increase our engagement from our previous 2,000 annual participants, this year we reached new heights and had more than 2500 participants in our programs! To significantly strengthen connections to Jewish life and community, we’ve set ourselves the imperative to annually reach  5,000 participants by 2022. And we are well on our way!

That said, the kind of connections we are trying to build do not easily come from attending a program alone. Our team has worked diligently this past year to build lasting relationships  with our participants. Like never before, our small, yet dedicated House team engaged in personalized follow-up and stewardship with more than 80% of all House program participants, helping to develop clarity in their own Jewish journey, identity, and life choices.   

Coming off Chanukah and “Jumans of Toronto: SHINE”, a pilot House event that brought out over 350 young professionals to celebrate, learn and strengthen their Jewish identity, I am optimistic that our ability to engage the next generation, inspire them, and help them illuminate the possibilities that lay in their Jewish future has never been more within our reach.

None of this would be possible without the ongoing generosity of our community. Thank you to those who have already invested in our 3-year campaign to transform the future – the vision is unfolding! For those who have not yet joined our partners in this vision, we welcome your participation and I would personally be happy to share with you the exciting strategy and vision that we have created to strengthen our community in the future!

Have a wonderful end of 2018 and I look forward to an exciting 2019 of growth!


Rabbi Rafi