The Glebe Shul will experience a change in leadership this summer when Rabbi Yoey Shaps and his wife Smin (Sora Minna) become the new directors of the JET program for the emerging generation.
“Everyone thought that it would be a good fit,” Rabbi Shaps said, “especially with my background.”
Rabbi Shaps grew up in Ottawa and is the son of JET founders and co-directors Rabbi Zischa and Lauren Shaps.
The couple and their two young daughters – Ilana, 4, and Tamar, 2 – will move to Ottawa after completing the current school year in New York, where both are teachers at Jewish day schools.
“When the job opportunity came up, we were very excited because it’s nice to go back and give back to a community you grew up with and feel close to. What better place to do that than where you came from?” Smin said.
“[Ottawa] is a very warm, open community and people there are just so nice. I’ve gotten phone calls already from people there welcoming me,” she added.
The JET and outgoing Glebe Shul directors said they have received very positive feedback from the community since the announcement of the new Glebe Shul directors.
“I feel like this is win-win-win,” said Lauren Shaps of JET. “On a personal level, we’re so happy that one of our five children is coming back to Ottawa.” All of Rabbi Zischa and Lauren Shaps’ children currently live in the United States.
“We’re so excited about having [Rabbi Yoey Shaps] on board,” said outgoing Glebe Shul co-director Rabbi Michael Goldstein. Both he and wife Stacy are transitioning to new positions at Congregation Machzikei Hadas this summer.
“He’ll just fall right into a great job. He knows what this kind of work is all about … now he’s going to go right back into it,” Rabbi Goldstein added.
Rabbi Yoey Shaps agreed.
“I was always a part of it,” Rabbi Shaps said, referring to JET. “A lot of the relationships are there already.”
The new directors plan to continue the Glebe Shul programs already in place and to build on them.
“We hope to build, and continue building, relationships and to make [the Glebe Shul] a great community within itself,” Smin said.