From the Holy Blossom Temple Archives Committee
When Queen Elizabeth II passed away last week, Rabbi Splansky marked the occasion with a Shabbat morning sermon extolling her virtues and paying homage to her many years of selfless duty.
When, in 1936, the late Queen’s grandfather, King George V, died, the Congregational Dinner and meeting were postponed until “the official period of mourning permits.” Congregants were urged to attend “a Special Memorial Service” on the Sunday following the King’s passing. (In those years, Holy Blossom’s most attended services were on Sunday mornings.)
The Confirmation class of 1937 dedicated their service to the coronation of King George VI. On the King’s passing in 1952, Holy Blossom once again held a Memorial Service, this time on a Friday evening (now the time of the largest service of the week). In the Bulletin, Rabbi Feinberg eulogized the King as “a good king, a great man, a godly father of his progeny and his people.”
Oddly, we have no mention in our Bulletin of any commemoration of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. (It occurred in late June, after most Temple activities, including confirmation, had concluded until after the summer.)
The founders of Holy Blossom (and its first rabbis) were from Britain. By the 1930s, our membership had a more mixed background, but Canada was still very much oriented towards Britain and still very much devoted to the monarchy. Holy Blossom (and Toronto Jewry) reflected this orientation.
Today, Canadians’ attachments to Britain and the monarchy are quite different from what they were when Queen Elizabeth began her long reign. Nevertheless, as Rabbi Splansky expressed in her sermon, we still feel great admiration for the late Queen, and we join with other Canadians in mourning her loss.