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Rabbi Soria Rabbi TepperBy MYRON LOVE
Temple Shalom, Winnipeg’s Reform Congregation, will be looking for a new rabbi come the end of June. That is the date that Rabbi Karen Soria will be leaving the congregation which she has led, both full and part time, for the past eight years.


Temple Shalom President Linda Freed is fulsome in her praise of Rabbi Soria. “She (Rabbi Soria) has been a tremendous inspiration to me and other congregation members,” Freed says. “She is kind and gentle and thoughtful. She is a real scholar. She pays attention to people and helped us to better understand scripture. She is a fabulous story-teller and singer. She opened a lot of doors for us.”
Rabbi Soria arrived in Winnipeg with an impressive resume. Originally from near Chicago, she was Australia’s first female rabbi and served with congregations in Melbourne from 1981 to 1989. In 1992, she became only the second female rabbi to serve in the American navy and the first female rabbi to serve in the United States Marines.
She came to Winnipeg after her partner, who also served in the military, was transferred here. She began attending service at Temple Shalom regularly as a private individual. It was only after a few months that the congregation members learned that she was a rabbi.
At that time, the congregation was being led by a part time student rabbi. When her time was up, the congregation asked Rabbi Soria to be their rabbi.
Four years ago, Rabbi Soria’s partner was transferred to Ottawa. Since her move to Ottawa, she has been commuting to Winnipeg monthly for a few days every month to continue to serve Temple Shalom. Her decision to leave, says Linda Freed, was sparked by her partner’s recent health problems which have made it diffficult for Rabbi Soria to continue to commute.
She reports that the congregation currently numbers 110 family units.

Post script:

Temple Shalom has informed us that due to Rabbi Soria’s impending June departure as the Temple’s rabbi, they searched and miraculously have already found Rabbi Bill S. Tepper to lead the High Holyday services in October this year.
Rabbi Tepper led the Mizpah Congregation in Chattanooga, TN for eight years; he and his wife Deborah (who has relatives in Winnipeg), returned home to live in Toronto in March due to personal family circumstances.
Rabbi Tepper’s devotion to Torah and to the community, as well as his warmth, humility and gracious manner are very appealing. He was raised in Toronto, and has been associated with Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto both as a member and as a guest instructor.
He is looking forward to working with Temple Shalom in the coming months to develop this year’s services using the new Reform machzor for the High Holydays, Mishkan Hanefesh.
He will be coming to Winnipeg on September 16 and 17 for a weekend of planning, meeting the congregation, and to lead Shabbat services.
The Rabbi Search Committee continues to discuss its expectations and parameters for a Rabbi in the coming year, which will be formulated in the next few months.

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#1 Ms.Ariel Lee 2016-04-17 15:33
I think you meant to say "difficult" not "different."
Ed.: Yes, you're right - the change has been made. Thanks for noting that.
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