Gifts of Light: United in Humanity
In Support of Ve’ahavta
Sunday, December 3, 4:00 pm
Holy Blossom Temple
Tickets are $36 (in person) and $18 (online) or pay what you can.
Children under 18 are free of charge.
United in Humanity
As the winter approaches, there are so many in the GTA who face poverty and homelessness. Many wonder where their next meal will come from or if they will have a safe and warm place to sleep. On December 3, we will join in humanity to raise support and funds for Ve’ahavta, a non-profit Jewish organization dedicated to promoting positive change in the lives of people of all faiths and backgrounds who have been marginalized by poverty and hardship and to address the crisis facing our unsheltered Torontonians. We are honoured to partner with individuals and organizations from all faiths and backgrounds to fulfill our collective responsibility to care for our neighbour.
Starting November 27, Holy Blossom Temple is collecting new or gently used donations for Ve’ahavta’s Winter Clothing Drive. Learn more about what to bring here: https://veahavta.org/drivetosurvive/
Learn more about Ve’ahavta here: veahavta.org
- Babel is an innovative choir with a mission to create cultural understanding through choral music. Founded in 2018 by Dr. Elaine Choi, the choir has toured Hong Kong, Macau, and Taipei performing Canadian and Chinese music, while also working with local choirs and schools. The numerous artists the choir has performed with include the Centre for Music Innovations, Hibiki Project, and The Tenors. As an avid supporter of composers, Babεl launched the Choral Composers Mentorship Program to develop new choral works. Babεl has also produced numerous online offerings including premiere recordings and Babεl & Beyond, a series of conversations with conductors from Hong Kong, Senegal, Iceland and Colombia. Babεl’s unique programming has led to numerous invitations to perform, most recently, by Mass Culture for their Convergence Conference. In May of 2023, Babεl performed as part of the COC’s Showcase Series to celebrate Asian Heritage Month. The diversity of Babεl’s repertoire that explores cultural exchanges is unlike any other choir in Toronto.
- To view translations for Babel’s program: click here
- Metropolitan Community Church
- Musical Director, Accompanist and Arranger: Jason Jestadt is a Canadian composer, conductor, pianist, and Dora Award nominated music director. Over his career, he has worked on diverse musical theatre productions including the world premiere staging of Lord of the Rings, the Queen musical We Will Rock You, and the current Toronto production of Come From Away. He has also music directed concerts in Japan and New York for Tony Award nominated singer Colm Wilkinson, and acclaimed Canadian gospel singer Jackie Richardson. Since 2008, Jason has music directed Toronto’s annual Heart and Vision Awards which has honoured the highest achievements in social justice work by prominent Canadian artists including Margaret Atwood, Norman Jewison, and Gordon Lightfoot. Over the past two decades, Jason has worked passionately to create and program interfaith events and concerts where choirs, Cantors, and instrumentalists from all different faiths can come together in song. As a music director, he has also collaborated with Cantor David Rosen, Cantor David Edwards, and Cantor Alex Stein on special concerts, services, and Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrations for the congregations of Beth Radom, Beth Emeth and Adath Israel.
- Pride and Joy has been singing together as an ensemble group for over 20 years. We came together after initially meeting through the choir at Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto. Although members have changed throughout the years, what has remained constant is a desire to make beautiful music together and to be a joyful healing presence for others through song. Music is a universal language that cuts through diversity and difference. Music unites us a human beings. We love to go out beyond the walls of MCCT and sing at other churches, weddings, memorial services, and other community events.
- Holy Blossom Temple
- Cantor David Rosen is the Senior Cantor and Music Director of Holy Blossom Temple; the oldest synagogue in Toronto and the largest Reform synagogue in Canada.He is a sought-after performer of Jewish and secular music, having performed in concert venues, synagogues and churches across the United States, Canada and Europe. With his rich and versatile baritone voice, Cantor Rosen has a generous repertoire, singing in a variety of languages and genres. Credits included “Escamillo” in Opera Breve’s production of Carmen and featured soloist with the Westchester Wind Ensemble. His has also been featured on CHIN Radio and has recorded for Transcontinental Jewish Music Publications. Recently, Cantor Rosen recorded and produced “Shabbat in the Woods” , an album of Jewish Music for families, featuring the voices of over 600 children.Cantor Rosen loves to create community through music and collaboration. He is an advocate for Interfaith programming and dialogue, spearheading “Gifts of Light,” an annual interfaith concert, which raises awareness and tens of thousands of dollars for various humanitarian causes. He is the visionary behind Holy Blossom’s Centre for Arts and Culture, a multi-disciplinary centre for performance and education of the Arts.
- Holy Blossom Temple Singers
- Holy Blossom Temple Choir
- Bialik Hebrew Day School choir consists of children grades three to eight who have a love for music and for the Hebrew and Yiddish languages. The choirs are an integral part of the local Jewish culture and heritage as they perpetuate the spirit of Israel through the children’s voices in song. Over 60 years, Bialik has offered an exemplary, non-prescriptive Jewish and General Studies education with a focus on Zionism, Jewish values and Menschlechkeit. From its early beginnings with 54 students and four staff members, Bialik has grown to educate 1,500 students at its now two branches in midtown Toronto and Vaughan. With the growth in our student numbers and our beautiful facilities at both branches, Bialik is doing its part to nurture our young Jewish Canadian thinkers and future leaders. Bialik is collaborative environment with highly innovative and committed educational leaders and faculty and, ultimately, it is our students who benefit from their commitment to providing academic rigour within our warm learning environment. Bialik truly stands out with its hands-on, design-thinking educational approach that incorporates STEM, environmental and sustainability learning. Students come to school each day knowing that they belong to a community built on the foundation of academic excellence, strong Jewish identity and values, and a love of Israel.One of the hallmarks of our school is the warm welcome we give to families, including all generations, to share in the joy of their children’s learning during celebrations, the Chagim (festivals) and on Shabbat. Bialik families have many opportunities throughout the school year to attend events and Family Learning Experiences, and I hope to be able to welcome your family as members of this wonderful community as well.
- Alana Bridgewater is a singer/songwriter who discovered her love of performing at a very early age as a member of the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus and the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir. Alana attended the University of Windsor under the tutelage of Steven Henrikson and Richard Householder. Her professional debut came with The Women’s Blues Revue (1998) and Bump N Hustle. She is a founding member of the Nathaniel Dett Chorale. Alana is best known for her performance as Killer Queen in the Mirvish production of We Will Rock You. She has also performed extensively throughout the Mediterranean. She was featured in Hannibal (NBC) as Denise the feisty Orderly. List of recent credits: Shrek The Musical, The Grand Theatre London; Hairspray/ Spoon River, Charlottetown Festival; Smokey Joe’s Café, Stage West; In A Jam – CBC Television; Women’s Blues Revue- Toronto; CBC Gospel Christmas Special – CBC Television, National Arts Centre; Menopause Out Loud, Toronto. She has sung backup vocals for Carvin Winans, Johnny Reid and The Arkells and is currently recording her much anticipated sophomore CD
- Sterling Jarvis is an award winning actor and singer who has recently returned from performing his principal role in the hit musical Book of Mormon on Broadway. His other
theatre credits include The Lion King, We Will Rock You, Driving Miss Daisy and Caroline or Change for which he received a Dora Award for Best Actor in a Principle
Role. His TV and Film appearances include The West Wing, The Sentinel, The Border, Covert Affairs, Aaliyah, Lost Girls, Suits and most recently The Boys. He has sung anthems for the Blue Jays, the Raptors and the Toronto Maple Leafs and can be heard on many tv and radio commercials as well as singing the themes for the popular kid’s shows Donkey Kong Country, Wild Kratts and Zaboomafoo.
Gifts of Light is generously sponsored by Steven & Gillian Bookman.