In marmur, splansky

By Rabbi Yael Splansky.

Marmur Collage 3Rabbis of nearly every stripe have embraced the world online, but we still treasure our books.  When Rabbi Marmur announced that he was dismantling his library, I knew he was serious.  Rabbis don’t joke about their books, their finest tools, and greatest companions.

Since his retirement in 2000, Rabbi Marmur and Fredzia have been dividing each year between Jerusalem and Toronto.  In his memoir, Six Lives, we see how again and again a combination of good luck and good instincts signals when it is time to move on.  As much as we wish they’d continue the wonderful pattern of living and praying with us for half of each year, Toronto will soon become a vacation spot for the Marmurs rather than a real home of residence.

Let’s gather on Shabbat Toldot, November 22, 2014, to wish them well.  Rabbi Marmur will give the sermon and our Congregational Kiddush-Lunch will be in honour of Rabbi and Mrs. Marmur who have been at the centre of our congregational life for more than thirty years.

The very name of the Torah portion, Toldot, is fitting.  It means “generations.”  It is the Biblical word for history.  Jewish time unfolds by way of the generations – generations of parents and children, of teachers and students, of Rabbis and congregants.  This is how we mark time at Holy Blossom Temple.  People naturally refer to “the Feinberg years,” “the Marmur era.”  When congregants share their personal Temple memories, they say:  “Rabbi Eisendrath married my parents” or “I was confirmed by Rabbi Marmur.”  Or  when people ask me how I came to Holy Blossom in Toronto, I say:  “Rabbi Marmur brought me.  I came to learn from him.”

“Eileh Toldot,” “These are the generations” of leadership and wisdom, of devoted service and much gratitude.

Please share a memory below in our comment section.

In Honour of Rabbi Dow and Fredzia Marmur

marmur collage 4Saturday, November 22, 2014, 10:30 a.m. – Shabbat Toldot, Shabbat of the Generations

Rabbi Marmur will give the sermon and our Congregational Kiddish Lunch will be in honour of the Marmurs, who have been at the centre of Holy Blossom Temple for more than thirty years.

We wish them well and L’hitraot as they prepare to make Jerusalem their year-round home.

Please share a memory below in our comment section.

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Showing 16 comments
  • Janet and Norman Shiner

    I want to wish Rabbi and Mrs. Marmur good health and the very best always.
    I first met Rabbi Marmur as a young woman when I was dating my future husband. My Mother in law, the late Sandy Shiner, invited the Marmurs over for Shabbat dinner when Rabbi Marmur became the new Senior Rabbi. He was most kind and interested from the moment I met him. My husband Norman & I will never forget his inspirational, affirming and positive words when he officiated at our wedding. These are moments in life one never forgets. We always felt blessed that Rabbi Marmur was the one to marry us. Rabbi Marmur was also my Teacher when I studied for two years to become an adult Bat Mitzvah. Over the years I have always looked forward to hearing his wise and eloquent sermons and talks. I also thank Rabbi Marmur for his comfort in my time of loss. I will truly miss seeing the Marmurs at Holy Blossom and being surrounded by their warmth and goodness.

  • Sandy Atlin

    Over the years we have had so many wonderful experiences with the Marmurs, that I feel bereft that they won’t “live” here any more, while happy for them that they will be in a place they love with those they love dearly.
    I shall never forget a tour to Israel along with our Rabbi and Reverend Stan Lucyk of Timothy Eaton Church, a way to see and understand our history through the others’ eyes. It was a special interfaith trip which let us learn from Christians while teaching them our traditions from which their faith emerged. I shall never forget the first visitors to Gordon’s hospital bed, Fredzia and Dow, after Gord had heart surgery. Dow’s joke that Gordon didn’t need to go to such lengths not to be the Temple president, he could just say no (he was then vice-president) lifted a sense of stress from Gord that we truly appreciated. I shall not forget the good conversation around dinner tables over the years. All these memories will come back every time I read one of Dow’s books, of which I have taken a few from his office, with a mixture of loss and sweetness for the pleasure of knowing these fine people. Shalom and l’hitraot.

  • Karen and David Mock

    We first met Rabbi Dow Marmur when I (Karen) was a member of the pulpit committee who interviewed him and recommended bringing him to Holy Blossom. Did we ever make the right choice — the right Rabbi for the right time! Sadly, just three short weeks after his arrival in Toronto, s my father died suddenly. I was so grateful for the visit and wonderfully empathetic support we received from our rabbi during and after the shiva. The Marmurs began to see us everywhere — whether with Young Congregants, regular services, or when Karen was head of the Religious Education Committee. David thoroughly enjoyed chairing the Worship Committee under Dow’s watch, and was delighted to be very active in the implementation of the Gabbai program, to relieve the rabbis of having to “orchestrate” the services. Now that we’re back playing an active role in congregational life, we will miss seeing Dow and Fredzia at services and programs. But we look forward to seeing them in Israel, and wish them all the best of health and happiness always!
    With warmest regards,
    David and Karen Mock

  • Ruth Ellen and Sheldon Greenwood

    Dear Rabbi Marmur,
    Thank you for all you have taught us during these years at Temple. Your scholarship, dedication, and compassion have contributed so much to our congregation. You and Fredzia have been an important part of our lives. We are sorry that you are leaving but wish you lots of happiness and enjoyment with your family in Israel. And we look forward to your further visits here.
    Ruth Ellen and Sheldon Greenwood

  • Rabbi Michal Shekel

    My first contact with Rabbi Marmur took place before I ever set foot in Toronto. I certainly knew Rabbi Marmur by reputation and nervously called him with a request to meet during an upcoming visit in order to find out about this community. I was expecting a meeting in his office but he graciously invited me to lunch. Once I moved to Toronto Dow recommended me for a couple of speaking engagements helping me form contacts in the community. He always took an interest in how my husband Carl and I were adjusting to Toronto personally and professionally. Dow and Fredzia welcomed us to their Shabbat table when we knew no one in Toronto and Fredzia went out her way to accommodate my vegetarian diet. It is thanks to one Shabbat dinner that our children are now proud Leo Baeck alumni. As a colleague at rabbis’ meetings Dow’s contributions have always been insightful and amusing; I learn something from him at every one of these meetings. Dow’s presence around the table will be missed. Toronto’s loss is Jerusalem’s gain. May the Holy One grant Dow and Fredzia abundant blessings in the years to come.

  • Beny Maissner

    What can one say about Rabbi Marmur which has not been said. I personally experienced for almost two decades the brilliance of Rabbi Marmur. Witty, funny, serious, intellectual, pastor, guardian of the best in our tradition. But most of all a real “MENTCH”. Rabbi Marmur was a mentor to me for all those glorious years. We continued having both Dow and Frezdia with us for long periods of times since his retirement.
    The separation no doubt is difficult but not sad as we hope to visit and meet both in Israel in good health.
    The books left for whoever wants to be enriched, are a treasure beyond words and only reflect the kind of person a rabbi in search of perfection.
    We will miss you

  • Rabbi Ed Elkin

    Because I went to my first year of rabbinical school at HUC with Dow’s son Michael, I had heard about the famous Rabbi Dow Marmur. But the first time we met was when as a young assistant rabbi in Montreal in the early 90’s, I was invited to teach at the first Kolel summer kallah in Muskoka somewhere. After the kallah, Dow offered to give me a lift to Toronto, where I was going to catch a train back to Montreal. Two hours plus in the car, just me and Rabbi Dow Marmur — it was an intimidating prospect for a young rabbi! But Dow took a great deal of interest in me, and what I was hoping to do in the rabbinate, and so put me at ease. After moving to Toronto in the year 2000, I was honoured to sit as a colleague of Dow’s around the table of the Reform Rabbis of Greater Toronto, and benefit from his insights about our local community and the Jewish people as a whole, as we deliberated on the issues before us. I wish Dow and Fredzia well as they take up their new year-round life in Yerushalayim.

  • Florence Hertzman

    I will always recall Rabbi Marmur’s most helpful comments when our grandson, Jacob, was in Hospital–in the mid-1990’s.
    Jacob’s plight was critical–terminally ill.. –and Rabbi Marmur remained w/the whole family, murmuring words of comfort, and consoling us in those fateful hours.I wish the Rabbi and Fredzia… well in making Aliyah to Israel.

  • Rabbi Jerry Steinberg

    My time with Rabbi Marmur has been mostly at rabbis’ meetings where I have enjoyed his input and wisdom on issues that have come to our table. I have always felt a warmth and mutual respect between us even though on certain matters I believe our positions are quite different. I wish Dow and Fredzia a long and wonderful life in Israel. May the Holy One grant them many blessings.

  • Rabbi Elyse Goldstein

    I can honestly say that Dow Marmur taught me how to be a rabbi (although I love to tease him that I taught him everything he knows!) He was my first Rabbinic colleague and treated me always with respect while holding me up to high standards—the same standards I have held myself to ever since. In my own Rabbinate I often hear myself asking “WWDD- what would Dow do?” in a difficult or challenging situation. He is a Rabbi’s Rabbi. He is a mentor and role model even when he doesn’t realize it. It is always fun to sit with him and Fredzia now, and look back at the “good old days” at HBT when we worked together. Thank you Dow and Fredzia, for the fine people you are and the fine work you did and will continue to do in Israel.

  • Myra Krangle

    There is a saying that grandparents do not have to live close to be close with their loved ones. I’m certain that your family will treasure all the time you can now be together without having to fly across the oceans! I will always remember your smile when our paths crossed at Holy Blossom. My very best to you and your family. Myra.

  • Dr. Franklin Pulver & Dr. Annalee Cohen

    Sorry that we will be unable to be with you on November 22nd. We wish you both well as you make your home in Jerusalem. It hardly seems possible that seventeen years have gone by since you married us. We will be thinking of you on February 10, 2015 when you reach a Milestone birthday!!!! We look forward to seeing you on your future visits to Toronto.
    Our very best personal regards!!!!
    Frank & Annalee

  • Joan Moses

    When it was announced in the Temple Bulletin that Rabbi Marmur would lead a trip to Central Europe in July of 1999, I knew I had to be there. It was shortly before his retirement and was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see that part of Europe and the camps through his eyes and wisdom. His relaxed leadership, friendliness and comfort at difficult times will always be remembered. One anecdote particularly stays with me when, after a very long and nerve-racking wait to cross the border from Poland to the Czech Republic (were they toying with a busload of Jews?) we were thankful and very hungry when we were finally released. Rabbi Marmur spotted a roadside restaurant that had “Zid” in it’s name and that’s where we stopped and were well fed. How we appreiated his knowledge of languages! What a life-altering trip it was. Many thanks to a great teacher and human being. Joan Moses

  • Rabbi Jason Rosenberg

    One of the great joys of my time at HBT were the occasional talks I was able to have with Rabbi Marmur in his office, and one of my true regrets is that I didn’t get to have more of them. Even though I’m not there anymore, knowing that he won’t be either leaves me feeling a little sad, since I know how much he always brought to our community. But, I’m so happy for them to be able to make this move. I wish Rabbi and Mrs Marmur all of the happiness in the world as they begin this new phase of their lives!

  • Suzie Lyon

    It’s not fair of me to be “sad” knowing Rabbi & Fredzia Marmur will only be visiting occasionally since I now do the same, yet it’s how I feel. Rarely am I am Holy B when I don’t see them, and there has always been a comment that made me feel wanted, missed, appreciated for who I am, and loved. I have learned much from Rabbi Marmur, and appreciated his candid, honest approach to every discussion we have ever had. Truly “a scholar and a gentleman” describes Rabbi Marmur. I’ll miss him. How wonderful for the Marmurs though to be in Israel year-round.

  • Judith Wiley

    Rabbi Dow Marmur and Fredzia Marmur have been such an inspiration to me, as they have to so many of us at Holy Blossom. As I made my way through the conversion process, I continued to be motivated by attending every class Rabbi Marmur gave. Over the years, I have reflected to many of my friends and family that he was the most gifted teacher I ever encounter. Fredzia is the essence of elegance and warmth. They will be sorely missed, yet they will remain in our thoughts and prayers.

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