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It has been an uplifting High Holy Day season. Temple President Joan Garson and Jeff Denaburg, the Vice President of the Department of Worship, join me in wishing everyone another round of blessings for the new year and another round of thanks to the many people who contributed skill and precious time to make our thirty services so meaningful.  At the risk of missing someone, here is evidence of how it really does take a village to bring our congregation together for prayer, contemplation, and celebration.  (And if we have inadvertently missed someone here, first, please forgive us – next Yom Kippur is a long way off!  And then, please let us know so we can add your name for proper acknowledgement.)

Many have asked to for copies of the Rabbis’ sermons. Follow this link.  You can also revisit the High Holy Day melodies by following this link. I am most grateful to my colleagues Cantor Beny Maissner, Rabbi Michael Satz, Rabbi Jordan Helfman, and Cantorial Soloist Lindi Rivers for bringing their whole selves to every bimah.

In addition to our Rabbis and Cantors, many congregants help to lead our many and varied services.  Thanks to their talents and devotion, we are able to offer services designed especially for families, for young professionals, for little kids, big kids, and teens.  They are:

  • David Gershon
  • Mark Weinstock
  • Lisa Isen Baumal
  • Robert Sniderman
  • Jeff Denaburg
  • Suzanne Hersh
  • Mike Morgulis
  • Michael Cole
  • Darren Sukonick
  • Nadine Charendoff
  • Brenda Saunders

Our Torah and Haftarah Readers bring honour to our sacred texts.  They practice for months to ensure every letter and every note elevates the occasion.  Under the leadership of Cantorial Soloist Lindi Rivers they are:

  • Oona Nadler
  • Jaryd Diamond
  • Sid Troister
  • Matthew Diamond
  • Eric Petersiel
  • Jennifer Shiner
  • Nisa Diamond
  • Marc Levy
  • Michael Leese
  • Caroline Ingvaldsen
  • Jane Herman
  • David Friedland
  • Pavle Levkovic
  • Levi Cassidy
  • Grace Valihora
  • Adrienne Klein
  • Avishai Sol
  • Camille Lisser
  • Adam Sniderman
  • Joan Garson
  • Ted Shafran
  • Suzanne Hersh
  • Gail Kerbel
  • Paula Warren
  • Mike Morgulis
  • Taiga Lipson
  • Jeff Denaburg
  • Max Mickelson
  • Ellie Davidson
  • Olivia Arbess
  • Ellen Levine
  • Lisa Isen Baumal
  • Brian Lidsky
  • Helena Fine
  • Jonathan Gordon-Chow
  • Benji McLean
  • Lindsay McLean
  • Nathan McLean
  • Cynthia Good
  • Robert Steiner
  • Maddy Toker
  • Audrey Shiner
  • Eli Sol
  • Tema Smith
  • Brenda Saunders
  • Susan Baskin
  • Adam Sol
  • Sarah Rosen

A Gabbai is like the stage manager, who ensures that the bimah rituals are performed inclusively and gracefully.  Under the leadership of Jill Hertzman our High Holy Day Gabbaim are:

  • Barry Silver
  • Michael Davis
  • Alberto Quiroz
  • Mark S. Anshan
  • Ted Shafran
  • Carly Baldachin
  • Harley Jonatan
  • Phyllis Denaburg
  • Brenda Saunders
  • Sam Sapera
  • Lisa Isen Baumal
  • Thuy Morgulis
  • Dr. Barry Borden
  • Avra Rosen
  • Mark Schlossberg
  • Jane Herman
  • Etienne Caplan
  • David Mock
  • Judy Toker
  • Johanna Faulk

Mitzvah-Honours

Organizing the dozens of congregants who carry mitzvah-honours throughout our High Holy Day services is deceptively complex.  Many thanks to Brenda Saunders, Judy Malkin, and Karen Abells for overseeing the process from beginning to end.

Our Shofar Blowers call us to attention throughout the month of Elul and ring in the new year with kavanah (soulful intension).  Under the leadership of Cantor Maissner they are:

  • Tal Maissner
  • Michael Cole
  • Joseph Samuel
  • Jacob Zemans-Ronthal
  • Peter Dan
  • Steven Dan
  • Ryan Bockner
  • Robin Malach
  • Howard Goodman
  • Yoel Abells
  • Ethan Krangle
  • Jacqueline Loeb
  • Sam Sapera
  • Peter Dan
  • Steven Dan

Our Temple Singers lift the words of the Machzor (High Holy Day prayerbook) off the page and transform them into sincere prayer.  Under the direction of Cantor Maissner and Nadia Adler, and together with our devoted professional choir members, our Temple Singers are:

  • Anne Dublin
  • Janice Babins
  • Barbara Grossman
  • Carla Baudot
  • Catherine Mayers
  • Dena Perlmutar
  • Denise Gordon
  • Ellen Cole
  • Helena Fine
  • Jack Kugelmass
  • Jeff Baker
  • Jill Kamin
  • Joanne Roher
  • Judy Wilansky
  • Lew Molot
  • Lily Shain
  • Lynn Glazer
  • Michael Greenstein
  • Pam Halpern
  • Ron Hart
  • Sandi Schafer
  • Saul Ship
  • Sharon Miller
  • Shelley Miller
  • Sheila Weinstock
  • Susan Baskin
  • Susan Fremes
  • Susan Cohen
  • Uriel Priwes
  • Caroline Ingvaldsen
  • Pnina Margolese
  • Marla Powers

Our Ushers fulfill the essential mitzvah of hospitality, ensuring that everyone is safe and comfortable.  Under the leadership of Gerry Prendergast, Larry Babins, and Abe Neufeld our High Holy Day Ushers are:

  • Reuben Bromstein
  • Dr. Brian Hands
  • Mel Olsberg
  • Richard Lorie
  • Yehuda Beni
  • Dr. Fred Saunders
  • Johanna Faulk
  • Lloyd Duckman
  • Alexis Singer
  • Aubrey Kaplan
  • Murray Ellis
  • Michael Ryval
  • Merle Kriss
  • Diana Goodman
  • Rob Herman
  • John Morrisey
  • Ethan Faulk
  • Terry Yanowski
  • Karen Mock
  • Harley Mintz
  • David Tartick
  • Rosalie Sussman
  • Etienne Kaplan
  • Marilyn Hahn
  • Jacqueline Margolis
  • Carole Sterling
  • Arnold Englander
  • Phyllis Denaburg
  • Pavle Levkovic
  • Jonathan Ain
  • Judith Slan
  • Dr. Barry Borden
  • Esther Bergman
  • Barry Silver
  • Marcia Zemans
  • Adam Zemans-Ronthal
  • Hannah Zemans–Ronthal
  • Tema Smith
  • Alan Gordon
  • Stuart Gibson
  • Fern Lebo
  • Gail Goodman
  • Bob Charendoff

Our Greeters are the first friendly faces you see as you approach Holy Blossom Temple.  They answer your questions and point you in the right direction, which is especially important now that construction is underway.  Under the leadership of Corinne Black, our High Holy Day Greeters are:

  • Cheryl Sylvester
  • Robert Schenk
  • Barbara Hodes
  • Carole Sterling
  • Karen Mock
  • Marcia Zemans
  • Hannah Ronthal-Zemans
  • Sheila Smolkin
  • Richard Vrooman
  • Elana Fehler
  • Adam Sniderman
  • Nadine Charendoff
  • Bob Charendoff
  • Steve Rayson
  • Tira Ison
  • Lauren Katz
  • Justin Soberman
  • Barbara Glaser
  • Denise Gordon
  • Julia Leese
  • Dennis Chow
  • Caroline Ingvaldson
  • Elana Paice Lidsky
  • Erin O’Connor
  • Claudia Paradis
  • Sara Charney
  • Jan Simonsky
  • Robert Simonsky
  • Judy Winberg

Many physicians are on-call and strategically placed throughout our prayer spaces to be of assistance should any of our congregants need medical attention.  Under the leadership of Dr. Barry Borden, they are:

  • Dr. Yoel Abells
  • Dr. Chris Hassell
  • Dr. Rhonda Wilansky
  • Dr. Gord Arbess
  • Dr. Joel Kirsh
  • Dr. Earl Silverman
  • Dr. Michael Davis
  • Dr. Michelle Naimer

Thanks to Mark Waldman and Professor Howard Adelman for the enlightening Yom Kippur Afternoon Study Session with the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen.

Thanks to Cary Solomon, Chair of the Building Committee, for providing the guided tours of our Renewal Project.

We thank our Facilities Manager, Jim Westcott and his team, who work round the clock to ready our building – inside and out.  We thank our Office Manager, Judy Amsterdam and her devoted Administrative Team, who organize the countless details on which we depend and pay careful attention to every special request.  And finally, thanks to our Executive Director, Russ Joseph and to our former Executive Director, Gary Posen, who oversee all the pieces of the High Holy Day puzzle to ensure they come together as one seamless whole.

In Anticipation of High Holy Days 5779

Next year we will be able to enjoy our new spaces!  Next year our Sanctuary will be reconnected to the rest of the campus.  We’ll be able to linger in one another’s company in that inviting and open Atrium, the congregation’s “living room.”  The kids will climb up Jacob’s Tower again.  Our teens will hang out in the new Youth Lounge.  Adults will browse in the new library.  We’ll drop off clothing donations for our Out of the Cold guests in our Tzedakah Centre. We’ll be able to hold multiple study sessions again on Yom Kippur afternoon.  There will be plenty of Family Service seats thanks to the new Family Chapel.  We’ll ascend and descend the spiral staircases, walk across the balconies on the second and third floors, contemplate in the outdoor courtyard, and look out from the glass lantern.  As I write this, in fact, I realize everyone will have to come early and leave late to have enough time to explore every new corner.

Here’s to 5778!  May it be a year of fulfillment for our Holy Blossom community.  May it be a year of greater peace for all the world.

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