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With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Jack Geller, QC, our Honourary Life President.

Jack joined Holy Blossom Temple in 1950, at 20 years of age.  He served Holy Blossom Temple as President from 1976-1978 and was appointed as Honourary Life President in 1998.

Jack had an illustrious career, first as a lawyer in private practice, then as Vice Chair and then Acting Chair of the Ontario Securities Commission.  He married Sybil more than 60 years ago and together they raised four children, Dana, Larry, Janet and Harold.

Our Temple community knows Jack best for his roles as President and Honourary Life President.

In the words of Morris Cooper, the President during whose term Jack was appointed to his role as Honourary Life President, “Jack was a remarkable voice of reason in our Congregation”.  Widely admired for his common sense and leadership, he was appointed for his unique ability to combine that common sense with an historical perspective. At board meetings he was able to use his skills to resolve difficult discussions, guiding the board to wise outcomes.

Jack’s mentor was Max Enkin. The value of selfless service to the community which Jack embraced placing the community first before personal connections or relationships, reflected the model Max Enkin provided. And Jack became a model for those values himself.

Rabbi Emeritus Dow Marmur writes:

He was a widely respected member of his profession, a pivotal figure in the life of Holy Blossom Temple, a beloved and valued counsellor, a steadfast friend. He faced heroically the pain, the limitations and the frustrations that his disability imposed on him over many years. He was supported with boundless love and amazing fortitude by his wife Sybil, their children and their families. He was a giant of a man, a devoted Jew and a distinguished Canadian. He was a role model and an example. 

We are honoured to have worked, studied and prayed with Jack. We will miss his wise counsel, his leading presence, and his unwavering commitment to Holy Blossom Temple.  Jack Geller’s memory will forever be a blessing to our congregation.

The funeral will be at 1:30 p.m. on Friday at Holy Blossom Temple.  Shiva details will soon be posted on the website of Benjamin’s Memorial chapel at www.benjaminsparkmemorialchapel.ca.

Please leave messages of condolences to the Geller family or to share a memory of Jack’s leadership at Holy Blossom below.

The Geller Family has indicated that donations in memory of Jack, may be made to the Holy Blossom Temple Renewal Project, the Aphasia Institute or The Temmy Latner Centre For Palliative Care.

Rabbi Yael Splansky                    Joan Garson
Senior Rabbi                                 President

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Showing 28 comments
  • Jason Stein
    Reply

    Dear Sybil and Family, it was such an inspiration to witness Jack Geller’s deep commitment to and profound influence on Holy Blossom Temple over the years. He was a fixture in his regular seat next to the centre aisle at services. I particularity recall his reasoned intelligence on display at a Monday Evening class in which I had the privilege to participate with him. May the memory of his wisdom and dignity be of great comfort to you all at this sad time.

    Warmest regards,

    Jason Stein

  • Richard and Sydney Krelstein
    Reply

    As I am out of the country, sadly I will not be able to be part of the Honour Guard for Jack Geller. I had the pleasure and benefit of either sitting next to Jack, or across from Jack, at the HBT Board Room table from my first day on the board, until my last sitting day on the board along with collaboration on various committees.

    Jack was always calm, and the voice of reason when an issue became challenging. Jack was a sincere member of HBT and loved every aspect of HBT. Current board members and future board members will miss having Jack in their presence and his counsel.

    I will cherish my own fond memories of Jack, and express our thoughts of well being to Sybil and family at this time of their grieving.

  • Carol Abugov
    Reply

    Dear Sybil and family,
    I am saddened to learn of Jack’s death. What a bright light and fine, warm, kind person! Please accept my warmest and best wishes in your journey. Carol

  • Shelly Berenbaum
    Reply

    Sybil and Family, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time. Jack was a very special and wonderful man and I am glad that I got to know him over the years. May you be comforted among the mourners of Zion.

  • Ruth Ellen Greenwood
    Reply

    Dear Sybil and Family

    You, Holy Blossom and the whole community have lost a brilliant and caring man. You and “Uncle Jack” greeted me with warmth and kindness many times at Temple. As you know, Debbie spoke often and fondly of her Uncle Jack and Aunt Sybil and so I feel very close to both of you. His contributions to our congregation have made Hoky Blossom what it is today. He was an outstanding legal professional, a person of principle, and a warm and caring family man. And you supported and encouraged him always. We hope that the love of family and friends and your wonderful memories of Jack will being you comfort at this sad time.,
    With our love and sympathy,
    Ruth Ellen and Shelly O

  • Lily and Reuben Katz
    Reply

    Dear Sybil and family,
    We are so sorry to hear your sad news and would like to extend our sincere condolences
    To all of you. An absolute gentleman. He will be missed.

  • Pat Brethour
    Reply

    Dear Sybil and all the Geller family. Jack has always shared a special place in my heart and in all those who were privileged to know him. His intelligence, quick wit, and moral compass will be an everlasting inspiration for all. There are no words to encompass my deepest condolences to the family and to the temple community.

    Pat Brethour

  • Michael Sidlofsky
    Reply

    Dear Sybil and family,
    I am saddened to hear of Jack’s passing. I’ll remember him as a kind and cheerful man, and a good friend to my parents and our family.

  • Beny Maissner
    Reply

    Jack Geller a tower of a man statures and enormous in dignity reason and clarity of mind. Jack was music chairman when I was hired as Cantor of our congregation. he loved music and always appreciated the highest standards which made our congregation so unique in the world of Jewish music. Among his many highly recognized awards he was an honorary member of the American Cantorial association. May his memory be for a blessing and his song resound in the high heavens

  • Harvey Schipper
    Reply

    Jack left an indelible impression on me, going back to 1966. He was the graduate advisor to student committees which led Hart House at the University of Toronto. His role was to gently teach leadership, and he was a marvellous mentor. One of the committees was the Debates Committee, where the likes of Bob Rae, Michael Ignatieff, and Michael Levine honed their skills. On that committee I learned from Jack the meaning of words and the nuance of debate. He taught from the principles of integrity of ideas, respect for divergent views, and an ear for resolution.
    Fast forward 45 years, during which interval he had suffered the almost biblical cruelty of a stroke that took his speech. I sought his counsel about my role at Temple. With Sybil at his side, and with his eyes he provided the same wise counsel. I called on him many times, and he was always there.

    At the close of Neilah in 2013, as President, I stood with Jack at the Aron Kodesh. He looked at me and said, “Hart House”. I was still his student.

    I’ll miss him.

  • Erin O'Connor
    Reply

    Dear Sybil and family:
    Jack was a warm, wise, kind and giving man who was a model to us all – he showed us how to live a full Jewish life, how to be Jewish leaders, and when he was slowed by disability, he showed us how to live with dignity and grace. He will be deeply missed.
    Erin

  • rochelle green
    Reply

    So sorry to hear about jack sybil it was a joy to see you and him in shul on shabbat it made it home for me like when i first came to toronto and spent time with you your mom and belle my prayers and love are sent to you and your family

    Dear cybil my condolences to you and your family i loved seeing you both in shul on shabbat it made me feel at home like when i first moved here and spent time with you your mom and belle

  • Terrye & Jack Kuper
    Reply

    There are few people who have made this world a better place and Jack Geller was one. We send our sincerest condolences. Sybil, you are still my poster lady. We wish you strength and send hugs. Terrye & Jack Kuper.

  • Terrye & Jack Kuper
    Reply

    Dear Sybil and family. There are few people who have made our world a better place, and Jack Geller was one. We send our sincere condolences to the Geller family. Sybil, you are still my role model. We wish you strength and send our love. Terrye & Jack Kuper.

  • Carla Baudot
    Reply

    I am sorry that Holy Blossom has lost such a valued supporter. My condolences to the family of Jack Geller.

    Sincerely,

    Carla Baudot

  • Charles and Joy Cohen
    Reply

    Dear Sybil,
    Charles and I are deeply saddened by the loss of your dear husband, Jack. He was a pillar of the community, the legal profession, and of the Temple. His wide counsel and dignified presence will be long remembered. Charles ways that he is proud to have called him a friend and colleague.
    Sincere condolences from us both.
    Joy and Charles

  • Rabbi Erwin Schild
    Reply

    With memories of years long gone by, I would like to express my sympathy with the mourners and wish them the comfort of remembrance.

  • Michael and Janette Diamond
    Reply

    Jack was a fine man, an illustrious and successful man, but above all a good man. Always a smile for everyone, and always concerned about others. He will be missed

  • Kay and Bill Rosefeld
    Reply

    Jack has been a model in so many respects. His strength, commitment, wisdom and leadership are without equal. He will be much missed. To the Geller and Lampe families, in much sadness, our profound condolences,

  • Anne LeSarge
    Reply

    Dear Sybil and family my sincerest condolences. I will miss Jacks smiles, hugs and kisses that he always made a point of giving at High Holy Days. I will miss him greatly. Love Anne

  • Sandy and Gordon Atlin
    Reply

    We are deeply saddened to learn of Jack’s death. He was a stalwart of this congregation and a leader of the community at large. The caring and compassion which he and Sybil exemplified have been a beacon for us, both in civic and Jewish community service, and, as well, in their support for each other in whatever life sent their way. Our hope is that fond memories of a good husband, father and friend will help you to find comfort in this difficult time.

  • Kaylee Miller
    Reply

    Dear SybilI
    I saw you both at services for many years. Jack was a formidable presence at HBT and will be greatly missed.
    Warm wishes
    Kaylee Miller

  • Richard Lorie
    Reply

    Jean and I are saddened by the passing of Jack Geller. Jack immediately preceded me as President of Holy Blossom Temple and we worked closely together in the years 1976 to 1980. Jack’s opinions and counsel were always welcome and he was a caring and good friend. Jean and I extend our sincere condolences to Sybil and the Geller families.

  • Etienne and Aubrey Kaplan
    Reply

    Sincerest sympathy to the Geller families, May his memory be for a blessing

  • Mark S. Anshan
    Reply

    Brenda and I, together with our family, extend our sincere condolences to Sybil and the family on Jack’s passing. He was a wonderful mentor to all of us at Temple. He cared about our community with a deep sense of commitment and passion. Personally, I knew Jack from the time I was very young growing up at Temple and my earliest memories are of him when he served as Chair of the Education Committee. From that time forward, I could always count on Jack for advice and support. Jack will be missed by all of us who knew him, admired and respected him.
    Mark

  • Morris Cooper
    Reply

    Jack Geller was an inspirational leader and role model for all the Temple Presidents who succeeded him. We were fortunate enough to remember Jack and his pivotal role in guiding this congregation, particularly in those years of his good health. He had a remarkable gift of clear thinking, matched with a historical perspective of life-long engagement with Holy Blossom. And yet his greatest strength was his forward thinking, wise counsel, and support for the next generation of Temple leadership. Holy Blossom was very fortunate to have had Jack as our Honourary President, and he will very much be missed by everyone who had the “honour” to have been mentored by him.
    Our sincere condolences to his family, and his memory is a blessing.

  • Bill Draimin
    Reply

    A wise and helpful mentor to so many of the Holy Blossom Family, always with the best interests of the Temple in mind.

  • Russ Joseph
    Reply

    Although I only had limited contact with Jack, (having only recently joined the Holy Blossom Family), I found him to be a kind and supportive person who genuinely cared about all people. We will miss him.

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