High Holy Days Family Services 5779
Family Services Families with newborns to teenagers (and sometimes beyond) come together for a service with fast-paced music and a story. During these services, parents model engagement in the music and the text, following along and praying so loud that our children can’t help but want to sing over us.
Feel free to use the take-a-break rooms if you have children under 8 years of age. Please stay with your children in these rooms. Don’t hesitate to bring snacks and quiet activities like books, for the pews and the take-a-break room. You know when your kids are making the right amount of noise and when they need to take-a-break.
On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur afternoons, join us for our Little Blossoms (ages 0-5) and Young Readers (ages 6-8) services – with music and movement for the youngest, and some storytelling and reading for the young readers in our community. If this will be your first time at Holy Blossom, we invite them to come to these two services as our guests, free of charge. Please contact Tema Smith to pre-book your tickets at [email protected].
Teen Kol Nidrei Service (13-18) takes place at 8:30 pm on Kol Nidrei, and is a space where teens can have meaningful conversations about the themes of the High Holy Days with their peers.
Tashlich and Picnic on Rosh Hashanah afternoon (4:45 pm) in Cedarvale Ravine
The Tashlich ceremony is a chance for families to cast bread into the flowing water which symbolizes casting away our sins and is also a great occasion to meet more of the Holy Blossom community.
Neilah service at the end of Yom Kippur (around 6:30 pm).
Neilah sees out Yom Kippur, and many children join us in the Philip Smith Congregation Hall as we pass out glow sticks and blow the Shofar one final time as the setting sun swings closed the Gates of Repentance.
New this year! High Holy Day babysitting for Children (Age 0-10). Many of our adults book a babysitter for a service, and come ‘solo’ to Kol Nidrei, to experience the splendour of our adult services.
This is a great way of taking time for your own reflection. This year, look out for information about babysitting here at HBT.
Beit Olam at Glenview Memorial Gardens
At Beit Olam, Jews will be buried with all the Jewish rites and rituals, while having the comfort of being laid to rest alongside their loved ones. To Honour the Deceased (K’vod haMeit) and To Comfort Mourners (Nichum Aveilim) are essential mitzvot. With the establishment of Beit Olam, we will further our ability to do both with dignity and compassion. Glenview Cemetery is pleased to provide the Jewish community with an identifiably Jewish burial section, which will preserve the Jewish Heritage in their serene landscapes.
Beit Olam is intended for persons of Jewish faith, interfaith families, and those with Jewish connections. Burial within Beit Olam is to be made in accordance with Jewish customs and protocols, and monuments are expected to contain Jewish symbols or be non-denominational. All burials and monuments at Beit Olam will be respectful of the Jewish nature of the gardens. Only Jewish clergy, or our designates, will officiate at the burial services. Beit Olam will be surrounded by borders and roads to delineate it from the rest of the Glenview Cemetery.
A Rabbinic Advisory Group will oversee all of Beit Olam and ensure that our established Standards of Ritual and Practice are honoured and upheld.
To find out more about Beit Olam, please contact Cindy Zimmer at ext. 229 or [email protected]
Glenview Cemetery is a tranquil blend of natural beauty, manicured landscapes, and magnificent perennial garden beds. To learn more about Glenview Memorial Gardens, please visit their website here.
Last week I was invited by Israel’s Foreign Ministry and Ambassador Ron Dermer to attend a four-day mission of North American Rabbis to explore and promote Israel-Diaspora relations. The invitation outlines the purpose of the mission. “We will hold frank, open and honest conversations with opinion makers and leaders to foster greater understanding on both sides of the Atlantic…. If we do nothing, the divide between these two great communities could deepen and become insurmountable. This mission is not for everyone – it is for rabbis who are motivated by the principles of Clal Yisrael [commitment to the totality of the Jewish People] and Ahavat Yisrael [love for the Jewish People and the Jewish State.] It will require open mindedness, which will transcend allegiance to any ideology, organization or movement.”
I hope to participate. The principles of Clal Yisrael and Ahavat Yisrael are indeed the first and the last motivators of my Zionism. I carry these driving principles with me wherever I go. They live in my bones. In between the first and the last, however, are many other, more nuanced principles, which are best expressed as the principles of Reform Zionism. Reform Zionism is driven by values, which are Jewish, religious, modern and democratic. Reform Zionism is passionate and principled, rooted in the land and rooted in the words of the biblical prophets who call for justice and righteousness. Reform Zionism is growing in importance and influence as The State of Israel seems to be losing its grip on how to remain both Jewish and democratic.
Last week Aviv Levi, an Israeli sergeant was killed at the Gaza fence where he volunteered to be stationed as Hamas violence was escalating. Alav HaShalom.
Last week the controversial Nation State Bill was passed late at night in the Kenesset (62 in favour, 55 against, 2 abstentions). While much of it reads like “motherhood and matzah ball soup,” with a little imagination, it’s easy to see how certain sections can be used in unseemly ways — against the growing non-Jewish minorities and against non-Haredi Jews. Read the FAQ prepared by The IMPJ (Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism).
Last week Israel rescued 800 “White Helmets” from Syria and brought them to Jordan. Eventually they and their families will be taken in as refugees by Canada, England, and Germany. Unlike most of Israel’s global humanitarian efforts, this one seems to be receiving good media attention.
Last week a Conservative Rabbi in Haifa was taken from his home at 5:30 in the morning and brought to police headquarters for questioning about the Jewish weddings he performs without the consent of the Chief Rabbinate. He wrote from the police station, “Iran is here,” meaning Israel is becoming an unrecognizable theocracy. Rabbi Haiyun’s lawyer is Director of Hiddush, Rabbi Uri Regev, who came to speak to us at Holy Blossom last spring. That same day Rabbi Haiyun went to Prime Minister Rivlin’s home for the annual pre-Tisha B’Av study with leaders and representatives from across the Jewish spectrum. Only in today’s Israel does a rabbi go from police investigation to the President’s home!
Last Sunday was Tisha B’Av, the darkest day on the Jewish calendar when we mourn the destruction of Jerusalem’s ancient Temple and the many calamities, which befell us throughout our history. On Tisha B’Av we ask: What did we do to allow for our enemies to overtake us? What weakness of faith or weakness of cohesion or weakness of will made us vulnerable to external threats? We hold up the mirror and we ask: How are we doing as a People? Some fast, some mourn, some pray, some study, and then some get to work.
Now it is a new week. Now we mend what has been torn; we repair what has been broken; we reinforce what has been weak. Here are a few ways you can help.
- Become a Reform Zionist. Each year you see in your Holy Blossom Temple membership package an invitation to join ARZA Canada. ARZA is the Association of Reform Zionists of America. By becoming a member of ARZA you will have a voice in the World Zionist Organization, you will be invited for unique local learning opportunities, and you will be informed of relevant news as it unfolds in Israel.
The President of ARZA, Rabbi Josh Weinberg, is coming to Holy Blossom. To learn more about our role in shaping the Jewish character of the Jewish State, come for Shabbat evening services on Friday, August 10th, 6 – 7 pm. Learn more about his visit here.
- Become a vocal Ohev Yisrael, Lover of Israel. A false assumption about Diaspora Jewry is that we care less and less about Israel and her development. Please consider writing to Prime Minister Netanyahu ([email protected]) or to our regional Consul General Galit Baram ([email protected]). Express both your commitments and your concerns, whatever they may be. Let our voices of attachment be strong enough to build up the bridge from here to there.
- Join our Holy Blossom team of Israel Engagement leadership. Pam Albert, Les Rothschild, and Rabbi Michael Satz welcome your ideas and your volunteerism to bring more Israel programming to Holy Blossom Temple. We offer a range of opportunities from learning from expert thought-leaders to exploring Israeli literature, film and food. Our sister congregation outside of Tel Aviv, Kehillat HaShachar, provides a great connection of friendship.
- Travel to Israel. There’s nothing like being there. Soon we’ll announce our next congregational trip to Israel. If you’d like to be matched with congregants who can tell you about family trips, high school programs, gap-year programs, Birthright and Honeymoon Israel, study and volunteer opportunities for retirees, or even aliyah, please contact us and we’ll put you in touch with a fellow-congregant who can share his or her experiences and provide you with helpful resources.
“For Zion’s sake I will not be silent.
For Jerusalem’s sake I will not be still.
Until her justice shines like the dawn,
Her deliverance like a blazing torch.” (Isaiah 62:1)
Support Social Action at Holy Blossom
At Holy Blossom Temple, we are a congregation that cares about others.
One core value that animates a significant amount of our programming hinges on the notion of Tikkun Olam, which literally means “Repairing the World” and which we seek to accomplish through Social Action. Led by our clergy, lay and professional leaders, Holy Blossom and its membership are at the core of innovative social action programs in Toronto, Canada, and around the world.
Some of our Tikkun Olam programming relates to education and advocacy, while other parts involve our congregants’ hands-on participation assisting the vulnerable.
The Temple’s longest running and largest Tikkun Olam initiative is our Out of the Cold program. During November to March, from Thursday evening until Friday morning, as many as 2000 guests gather in our building to receive meals, a warm place to sleep for the night and compassionate fellowship from the hundreds of volunteers who participate in this flagship program.
Other programs connect us with current issues of international significance. For example, this past winter, news from Israel emerged about the plight of African Asylum seekers and refugees.. Building on our prior experience assisting Syrian refugees, there is now an opportunity for congregants to sponsor those of the Asylum seekers and refugees in Israel who are able to come to Canada.
Our congregation’s ability to continue our innovative programming and to blaze new trails in the area of social justice depends on your generosity. All of our Temple’s services and programs – including those that support social action – are funded by our membership contributions and the generous donations made to the Holy Blossom Annual Congregational Appeal. By making an annual contribution above and beyond your sustaining membership, you ensure that all who wish to are able to participate in Holy Blossom Temple, regardless of financial circumstances.
By supporting the Annual Appeal, you are supporting a compassionate Holy Blossom Temple Community, connected to those less fortunate who need our help – be they local or global, Jewish or non-Jewish.
If you have already supported the Annual Appeal, thank you. To make your gift, please click here or call Anna Gurevich at 416-789-3291 ext. 227.
Holy Blossom – Life Can Blossom Here.
Announcing the Sixth WRJ Northeast District Biennial Convention
The sixth Northeast District Convention is October 25-28, 2018 in Framingham MA (a suburb of Boston) at the Sheraton Hotel and Convention Centre. The theme for our convention is “Ten Years Together – Growing our Community.”
Highlights of the convention include:
- The opening plenary on Thursday night will feature Judith Rosenbaum from the Jewish Women’s Archive
- Lisa Berman from Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikvah will be speaking at the YES Fund brunch on Friday morning.
- Torah study with Rabbi Allison Berry, co-senior rabbi of Temple Shalom in Newton, MA
- Shabbat morning services with Rabbi Berry, Cantorial Soloist Lisa Marcus Jones and the WRJ Northeast District Choir.
- The Brass Sisters, PBS cooking stars of the show “The Food Flirts”
- A musical concert by Sue Horowitz, Jewish folk singer
- Our WRJ guest, Jane Taves, WRJ Vice President of Advocacy and Marketing and Communications.
- We are very fortunate to have Marla Feldman, the WRJ Executive Director attending and leading a few workshops, including one on how to run a listening campaign.
- Our Social Action Project: Fleece “comfort blankets” for patients at the Cancer Center of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and at the Darla Farber Cancer Institute.
Any Canadians attending the convention will have the exchange rate refunded for the early bird registration, using the exchange rate for September 1, 2018. There are 10 grants for the early bird registration of $125.00.
If you would like more information, please go to the convention webpage on the District’s website: https://wrj.org/wrj-northeast-district-6th-biennial-convention. You can also reach this page by going to the homepage wrj.org/northeast. The homepage has a link to the Call to Convention.
Timing is everything
We continue to make rapid progress on the largest transformational synagogue building project in Canadian history.
If you visit our site (and we encourage you to drop by at any time to see the magnitude of the project for yourself) you’ll observe Pomerleau, our general contractor, and scores of tradespeople working to get most of our Phase 1 construction spaces ready for access during the coming High Holy Days.
For just a taste of what’s happening on site, click on the video of the installation of the last section of our glass panelled “curtain wall,” framing our new main entrance on the Ava Road side of the campus.
Here’s what we’re aiming for by Rosh Hashanah:
We WILL have access to most of our renewed spaces, including our brand new Central Atrium. This means we’ll have the excitement and anticipation of exploring our own renovation as it comes to life. We’ll be able to travel from the Main Sanctuary through the Atrium to the Philip Smith Hall (and its new foyer), as well as the rest of the school wing, including the boardroom, the activity room, and the current Youth Chapel. And access to the Atrium means we’ll be able to explore most other parts of the new construction, including our new Family Chapel (in the space that previously housed the Eisendrath Auditorium). Following the High Holy Days, Pomerleau will reoccupy these new spaces and finish off the construction for a period of about six to eight weeks.
So keep watching this space. We’ll keep you updated on our progress all summer long. And also watch for an announcement soon, about an exciting Grand Opening Event planned for the first day of Chanukah in early December.
Updates to our fundraising and budget.
We’ve raised just under $28 million for Phase 1 – more than any congregation in Canadian history has raised for a synagogue capital project. Together, we’re creating a new Holy Blossom Temple for ourselves and future generations. That’s the true value of our fundraising charge of ALEINU – It is upon us … each of us can point individually to what we did to help accomplish our shared dream.
But there is more money to raise. As we mentioned in the last [email protected], our budget has recently been updated by the Board to $32.9 million, a 4% raise from our previous budget of $31.5 million. As you might expect of any project of this scope, this is the result of unforeseen site complications and some delays, plus greater than anticipated costs on a few different fronts along our path to Renewal.
Our (chutzpahdic) goal is to have Phase 1 as fully funded as possible by the High Holy Days – fitting in the season of Renewal. We thank all of our generous current donors from the bottom of our hearts. Please know that our canvassers are currently engaged in active meetings and discussions with dozens of Temple families who are ready to join our ever-growing list of contributors. If you are ready to begin your own conversation about making a meaningful contribution to our Renewal Project, please reach out to Jonathan Ain, our Director of Development at 416-789-3291 (ext 249) or at [email protected]
As always, we thank you for your continued support (financial and otherwise) of our shared Renewal Project.
Musical Mission to Bulgaria
Cantor Maissner led a musical mission to Bulgaria in early July. He had been invited to participate in the European premiere of A Melancholy Beauty. This oratorio powerfully recounts and honours the saving of 49,000 Bulgarian Jews in the Second World War, virtually its entire Jewish population. The resistance of King Boris, the clergy, and the Bulgarian people showed true courage and decency against the demands of Hitler to hand over the Jews of Bulgaria. Bulgaria has been celebrating the 75th anniversary of this little known and extraordinary historic event.
Singers from Holy Blossom Temple choir, Lachan Jewish Chamber Choir, and Temple Singers sang together with Bulgaria’s national philharmonic choir and orchestra before ambassadors from the US and Israel in 2 sold-out performances. A children’s choir from the US and the renowned national women’s folk choir from Bulgaria joined us.
The most emotional moments may have been our own concert of Jewish music in Sofia’s historic synagogue and a warm welcome evening from the local Sephardi Jewish community.
You can follow the preparation and tour in the photo journal here.
Thank you to Cantor Maissner and Varna International Festival for the opportunity to be part of this extraordinary historic celebration.
Susan Cohen and Denise Gordon