On July 3, 1979 Temple received a letter from Rabbi Leonard Thal, Associate Dean of Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion, advising that Student Rabbi Avi Schulman would lead our first High Holiday (HH) services in Calgary. The HH contract had the student rabbi remain in Calgary for two weeks. Services were lay-led during 1979-1980.
Rabbi Schulman wrote for Temple’s 10th anniversary celebration: “Those two weeks in Canada were exhilarating, exciting, and at times exhausting. From morning through night I was busy planning services, rehearsing music, assisting with organizing the religious school and meeting local Jewish machers. Every night I had dinner with a different congregational family. By the time I came back to the Yanofsky home, I was barely coherent. But Marlene and Norm would sit me down with a glass of cognac and we would relax and sift through the day’s events.”
On June 5, 1980 another letter was received from Rabbi Thal and Rabbi Morris Herschman confirming the hiring of student Rabbi Shulman for the 1980-1981term. Rabbi Schulman would again lead HH services and one weekend per month for a total of 9 months. He continued as our student rabbi for the 1981-1982 term. The
student rabbis would generally fly in from Los Angeles on a Friday afternoon and leave the following Monday. They were billeted in members’ homes on a rotating basis. These rabbinic weekends were busy with services, study groups, potluck celebrations and meetings. They were intense, exhilarating, and informative with members bonding together and making lifelong friendships.
On May 20, 1982, President Norm Yanofsky received a letter from Rabbi Wolli Kaelter and Rabbi Morris Hershman, advising that student Rabbi David Meyer would lead the HH services plus nine weekends during the 1982-1983 season. He continued for the 1983-1984 term. Rabbi Meyer wrote for our 10th Anniversary Celebration: “Study… Sunday morning stories with so many school children, bagels and Torah with parents… Play…Getting lost in the mountains with Ron Bing following the first Rosh Hashanah here; finding the path the following year; Flames games, Cannon games, Stampeder games…My heart is filled with profound joy and gratitude as I recall our years together.”
On May 15, 1984 a similar letter was received by President Ron Jacob, informing Temple that Student Rabbi Don Goor would be assigned to us for the 1984-1985 season. On May 17, 1985 President Joel Fagan was advised that student Rabbi Jonathan Kraus would be assigned to Temple for the 1985-1986 season. In addition to conducting High Holiday services, he would travel to Calgary twice a month to meet our rabbinic needs. Rabbi Kraus wrote for our 10th Anniversary Celebration: “My most enduring memory of Temple B’nai Tikvah is the warmth and enthusiasm that pervaded almost everything and everyone involved with Temple.”
On July 3, 1986 President Norm Yanofsky wrote to Student Rabbi Asher Elkin welcoming him to our Temple family as our fifth student rabbi for the 1986-1987 season. Following is a paragraph from Student Rabbi Elkin’s final sermon to us in June 1987: “The Rabbi’s task as I see it is to model for the congregation the ability to lead a whole Jewish life. In the modern world, our lives tend to be very fragmented, we’re constantly playing different roles – parent, child, employee, supervisor, volunteer. We’ve always got a million different activities to run to – lessons, games, meetings, car pools, services. The operative adjective for most of our lives is “busy.” The Rabbi is busy – all the time – with something which for most everyone else is only one part of their lives. The Rabbi fulfills literally the words of the Shema which are recited every morning and evening.”
Temple had matured and grown and following a two year search on Friday, September 11th, 1987, newly ordained Rabbi Jordan Goldson was installed as Alberta’s first full time Jewish Reform Rabbi. Rabbi Goldson arrived on August 1st, 1987 when our membership was only 75 family units and Michele Gunn was president. On April 10, 1997 Temple celebrated its 18th (Chai) year. Rabbi Goldson remained our rabbi for 13 years (August 1999) when he decided to make Aliya to Israel. Rabbi Jamie Korngold was our second rabbi from July 1999 until September 2001. She is now an “Adventure Rabbi” in Boulder, Colorado. Services were “lay led” from September 2001 until August 2002.
Rabbi Howard Voss-Altman arrived in Calgary with his young family and Audrey the cat on August 16, 2002. They drove from Chicago, leaving a day late because the cat ran away, but re-appeared the next day. I guess she did not want to become a Canadian cat. He remembers being excited about his new life here, wondering if he could build the congregation and raise a family at the same time. Membership was at 175 family units. He and President Adam Singer had a breakfast meeting at the Cohos home on the first Sunday after his arrival where they discussed the possibility of purchasing Riverview United Church. Rabbi Nancy Morris was our interim rabbi for six months in 2012 when Rabbi Howard was on sabbatical.
Rabbi Howard and his family left for Providence, Rhode Island in July 2015 when Temple membership was 340 family units. After the 13 years of his tenure, Temple now had its own building and had become a strong Reform presence in Calgary.
Rabbi Teri Appleby served as the interim rabbi from July 2015 to June 2016. Her husband Jon Leo frequently provided beautiful musical accompaniment. They ensured that Temple B’nai Tikvah was strong and ready to accept the new permanent rabbi.
Rabbi Mark Glickman and his wife Dr. Caron Nelson Glickman arrived from Seattle, Washington in July 216 to begin his new position.