Act to End Violence Against Women

TH_Penny_headshot___GalleryBreakfast Sponsored by Brotherhood

Sunday, February 7, 2016
9:30 a.m.

Penny Krowitz, Executive Director of the organization Act to End Violence Against Women, will  share her expertise on issues of domestic violence within the Jewish community and the various strategies to support the victims and their families.

Everyone is invited to attend – the social and legal ramifications are of concern to us all.

This is a Sisterhood and Brotherhood co-sponsored event and breakfast will be provided. 

about Penny Krowitz

Penny joined Act To End Violence Against Women, previously known as Jewish Women International of Canada (JWIC) and B’nai Brith Women of Canada in 1984. She assumed the role of Executive Director in 1987.

Since that time, she has guided the organization through a number of significant changes including two name changes, a refocused mission and a paradigm shift in governance.

Over the years, Penny has played a leadership role in identifying the strategic issues facing Jewish women and their families and developing and implementing programs and projects to strengthen their lives. In the late 1980’s Penny was instrumental in developing the first and only shelter program for Jewish abused women and their children in partnership with Jewish Family and Child of Toronto. Since that time, culturally sensitive shelters have been established by Act To End Violence Against Women in Montreal and Winnipeg. She has also been instrumental in implementing other Act To End Violence Against Women projects: Turning the Page – a project that transforms a space in a shelter for women & children into a children’s library; the Legal Information Service for Jewish Women who have experienced abuse.

Penny graduated with honours with a Certificate in Voluntary Sector and Arts Management from the Faculty of Administrative Studies at York University.  She has a Certificate in Voluntary and Non-Profit Sector Management from The Canadian Centre for Philanthropy and she earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in June 1995.  She has participated in many task forces and committees in the violence against women sector to affect change, to evaluate programs and to advocate to government.


Sisterhood and Brotherhood Present: Havdallah Open Mic

Open Mic

The congregation is invited to attend the Sisterhood/Brotherhood Havdallah-Open Mic musical evening on January 9th.

This recurring enjoyable annual event is a pot-luck dinner with home-brewed musicians serving up an intimate night to celebrate the end of Shabbat.

This year we’re especially happy to have Susan Baskin’s Ukelele group, in addition to our usual song leaders and performers.

Please contact Elana in the Temple office for details – 416-789-3291, ext. 221.


Watch the video above for a sneak peek of the The HBT/Susan Baskin’s Ukelele group


Brotherhood Study Group: Maimonides and Buber

1A Religion of the Intellect vs.a Religion of Personal Encounter

Rabbi Michael Stroh, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Har Zion

Thursdays, January 7, 14, 21, 28, 2016
7:30 p.m.

2Maimonides thought in terms of a religion that speaks to the mind; Buber thought in terms of life and its meaning.

Which speaks to us? Can we have both?

Both men and women welcome!


Taking Root: Contemporary Jewish Community Farming

Risa Alyson CooperBrotherhood Breakfast
Sunday, January 10, 2016
Shacharit Services at 9:00 a.m.

Risa Alyson Cooper, Executive Director of Shoresh Jewish Environmental Programs, will share Shoresh’s vision for developing Bela Farm, a rural centre for sustainable, land-based Judaism in Hillsburgh, Ontario.

She will outline the Jewish values that are guiding and grounding this 100 acre farm project and highlight the various educational programs, volunteer opportunities, and farm ventures that will animate the space.

Risa Alyson Cooper is the Executive Director of Shoresh Jewish Environmental Programs. She completed her B.A. Honours at Queen’s University in Comparative Religious Studies and her M.A. at the Centre for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto, focusing on Contemporary Jewish Environmental Ethics. Upon graduating, Risa moved to rural Connecticut where she worked as a Jewish environmental educator at the Teva Learning Centre for three years. She then transitioned into small-scale organic farming as a member of the Adamah Jewish Farming Fellowship where she grew vegetables on a four-acre farm, worked in a raw goat-milk dairy, and dabbled in the art of fermentation. In 2008, Risa returned to her native Toronto to work as the Director of Shoresh and to establish the Kavanah Garden, bringing together her experience in Jewish outdoor education with her love for Canadian soil and the plants and people that it sustains. In 2010, Risa was profiled as a Woman to Watch by PresenTense Magazine and in 2012 she was honoured to be selected as a fellow in the prestigious Joshua Venture Group Dual Investment Fellowship. In 2013, shortly following the birth of her daughter Ayda, Risa was awarded the Covenant Foundation’s Pomegranate Prize for exceptionalism in Jewish Education. Risa believes that growing food sustainably is an expression of her deeply-rooted Jewish ethics. Her favourite vegetable is the beet.


Brotherhood Breakfast: You are what you eat!

Darlene LitmanSunday, November 15, 2015

Darlene Litman, president of Creative Ingredients, Inc.

Come and hear local Jewish poultry farmer Darlene Litman’s first hand experience with raising different chickens, and how we can raise the bar for Kosher chicken. There is a vast difference between the chicken you THINK you are eating as opposed to what industrial chicken farmers are actually growing, and the news is not good.

Before you buy your next Shabbat chicken, please listen to what Darlene has to say.


Brotherhood Breakfast

ShinshinimOur next Brotherhood Breakfast will be on October 18, 2015.

The speaker will be Bar or Noam, one of our two shinshinim, who will speak with us about the current pulse of Israel, what it means to live in Israel right now, Iran, the recent wave of terrorist incidents in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and other current events.

Please join us for what is sure to be a fascinating discussion and to welcome our two young HBT Israeli ambassadors.



The Holy Bs are in the middle of another exciting playoff run.

Holy Bs

The team recently defeated Pride of Israel in a quarter final series and move into the semi-final game against a to be determined opponent on Sunday, September 20th.

If they win that game (or if they already won as we go to press too late to know) then the final game is scheduled for Sunday, September 27th. David Rosenberg recently set a Holy Bs record when he went 8 for 8 at the plate in a very big win for us two weeks ago.

The team plays in the ISBL (Intersynagogue Baseball League) and has won the ISBL championship two of the last three years through a combination of veterans like Joe Cass, Jeff Levy, Allan Lyons, Richard Banks and John Phillips and young guns such as Matthew Dicker, Nate Charach, Josh Silver and Jordan Glicksman. The Holy B captains are Richie Borins and Randy Cass (veterans in their own right). Marc Levy also plays a key role on the team. These are just some of the members of our deep 21 player roster.


Brotherhood 2.0 

Brotherhood MIkeBy Mike Morgulis, Brotherhood President 

No doubt you’ve seen us at shul… maybe an older guy ushered you or led a Shiva service. Maybe you had a drink from the bar at Purim, had a HABSTY bagel box delivered to your home, ate a breakfast that had a lecturer on a Sunday morning, or perhaps one of your children received a Plaut Commentary in Grade 7. These are but a few examples of Brotherhood in action. While we are more officially known as the “Men’s Club of Holy Blossom” what we do reaches far beyond that. We are somewhat like the Levites of the original Temple, however the only sacrifice we make is of our own personal time to assist with education, governance, worship, social activities, and philanthropy.

A Brotherhood volunteer serves on the Adult Education Committee with Rabbi Splansky, Debbie Spiegel and Les Rothschild to help coordinate the courses and lectures which Brotherhood sponsors and hosts. This is an on-going process, and a constant effort is made by Brotherhood to recruit high level, poignant speakers who inform and inspire us to do more as people and as Jews on a monthly basis. We also promote our own; four presenters from last year were Daniel Roher, a film producer, and Mira Lyon, a committed youth developer. Both have grown up at Holy Blossom and continue to give back to our community while also helping the broader world. John Freund shared his first hand experiences as a Holocaust survivor and Michael Cole shared his travels in Australia and gave us insight to the Jewish world ‘down under’. We also sponsor an annual lecture series with Rabbi Michael Stroh, which is edge-of-the-seat and cerebral. It is literally studying Torah for Torah’s sake.

How Holy Blossom governs itself has been an issue of note over the past few years. The Brotherhood president has traditionally served on the Temple’s Board of Directors with a voting seat for decades. The pending modifications to the Temple’s by-laws will see this voting seat remain, but how the Brotherhood person arrives there will be the result of a congregational vote as opposed to the previous ladder-ascension structure; this is a good thing as it helps the congregation understand Brotherhood as part of the congregation rather than as an auxiliary or cloistered entity.

Brotherhood is called upon for a volunteer to serve on the Nominating Committee. This vital committee vets all nominees and volunteers who wish to serve on the Temple’s Board of Directors, and is becoming a year-round effort. Brotherhood, like Sisterhood, has a sizable membership of dues paying Temple members and each organization has its own Board of Directors. While there are many programs run by each organization, each serves the congregation and helps to grow the future leaders of the congregation through a myriad of activities, duties and responsibilities. Many of our members serve on other committees and involve themselves in other ventures after initially joining Brotherhood and Sisterhood.

Historically ushering and Shiva service leading were strictly a Brotherhood task, however separate committees have been formed to take these on over the years. Still, some Brotherhood members still serve as ushers, and others continue to lead Shiva services. Some serve as greeters in the Ava Road foyer on Shabbat, while others are called upon to read Torah or carry a Torah. A Brotherhood member also happens to serve on the Transition Committee to help the synagogue foresee issues during the various phases of construction.

Socially we host a board meeting once a month and tackle many of life’s issues before getting to our consent business agenda. We’ve also co-hosted 4 Havdallah events with Sisterhood in the last 2 years, each a fantastic success that combined the tranquility of the ending of Shabbat with a camp-like song session and great food. The last event saw a healthy presence from HABSTY, our energetic and committed youth senior youth group.

On the point of youth, Brotherhood has always been committed to developing the Jewish identity of our young adults. In Grade 7 we give each B’nei Mitzvah student a personalized Plaut Commentary to serve as the cornerstone of their Jewish library. Brotherhood also helps to send our youth to URJ Camp George through bursaries. We assisted a HABSTY representative this year so that they could attend the 2015 NFTY Convention in Atlanta. 3 of our HABSTY members are already at URJ Kutz Camp for leadership development, thanks to financial assistance from Brotherhood. Last year the staff and campers at URJ Camp George enjoyed post-sundown activities at the basketball and tennis courts thanks to a sizable Brotherhood contribution to install light posts complete with underground wiring and environment-friendly high output LED lights. We have also begun to contribute to the Study In Israel fund, which supports those youth who wish to pursue post-secondary education in Israel.

We have made other contributions as well; all of our breakfast lecturers has a donation made in their name to the charity of their choice. We are frequently called upon by our Rabbis to support ventures within the shul, like the Summer Gathering luncheon, and we sponsor the Holy B’s inter-synagogue baseball team. Some of the AV equipment used in the shul has been made possible through purchases from Brotherhood.  We’ve also lent physical and financial support to 2 concerts at Har Tikvah, the Refom congregation in Brampton.

Brotherhood’s demographic is changing. As our valiant older members reluctantly leave our ranks due to attrition, we have seen younger men step forward and take up the torch. Brotherhood is a great gateway opportunity to volunteer within the shul on an informal basis, to work with many committees, to assist the Temple’s leadership in a variety of tasks for which there are no other vehicles, and finally to socialize with some of the other men in the synagogue outside of the usual post-worship venues. Meeting and volunteering once per month are easy ways to fulfill the mitzvah of Tikkun Olam. We look forward to seeing you join us at our next meeting in September.


Sisterhood and Brotherhood invite everyone to Havdallah BBQ

Click image above for more details

Click image above for more details

Saturday, June 13, 2015
6:00 p.m.

Brotherhood and Sisterhood present another fabulous Havdallah and BBQ Night!  Bring your family and friends for song, fun and delicious food!

Reserve your tables NOW by calling Elana at 416-789-3291 ext. 0.

Adults $12 | Children 12 and under $8


“Michael Cole Down Under”

Brotherhood Breakfast with Michael Cole
Sunday, June 7, 2015
10:00 a.m.

Michael Cole, long-time Holy Blossom Member, engaged volunteer, and former Brotherhood president, escaped Toronto’s cold last winter by visiting Australia with his wife Josephine.

Michael will deliver an illustrated lecture of his trip to this distant country—from coral reef to rain forest to cosmopolitan cities. He will also bring us up to date on Jewish life Down Under.

Michael in front of the iconic Sydney Opera House

Michael in front of the iconic Sydney Opera House