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


Breakfast Sponsored by Brotherhood: “Above and Beyond” – a film by Nancy Spielberg

Click image above for more information

Click image above for more information

Sunday, May 3, 2015
9:30 a.m.

A repeat screening for those who missed our February showing of this film because of the inclement weather.

It was not their war, but they made it their fight! In 1948 Israel was under attack. They had some planes, but what Israel needed was pilots.

Jews and non-Jews from the Diaspora answered the call, all WW2 veterans who had survived aerial combat missions against the Axis.

These unsung heroes tell their story as they helped to create one of the strongest and most determined air forces on the planet.



‘Be the change’ with Mira Lyon

Breakfast Sponsored by Brotherhood.

Sunday, April 12, 2015
10:00 a.m.

On the Great Wall

On the Great Wall

By Mira Lyon.

‘Be the change’ is not just a good quote for a t-shirt or a student council speech; it’s truly a way of living. If we hope for or expect change, we need to embody it. I’m excited to be talking about how small, local actions connect intricately with large, global causes, and how my work in youth education and international development – and now with Me to We and Free the Children – aims to bring those together.

This generation of youth is not apathetic, they’re just treated like they are; I’ll address how my involvement in youth group and other programs brought me to where I am today (including dancing with the Kichwa in Ecuador, learning to shoot a bow and arrow with the Maasai in Kenya, and scaling the Great Wall of China last week) and how we can best work with today’s youth to ensure their voices are heard.


Brotherhood Havdallah/Film event

Above and Beyond

Brotherhood Havdallah/Film event

Saturday, February 7, 2015
7:00 p.m.

It was not their war, but they made it their fight!

In 1948 Israel was under attack. They had some planes, but what Israel needed was pilots. Jews and non-Jews from the Diaspora answered the call, all WW2 veterans who had survived aerial combat missions against the Axis.

These unsung heroes tell their story as they helped to create one of the strongest and most determined air forces on the planet.

Sponsored by Brotherhood


Radical Thoughts: Torah, Talmud, Reform Judaism

Click image above for more details

Click image above for more details

Rabbi Michael Stroh joins us once again for a 6 session course, sponsored by our Brotherhood.

Rabbi Stroh always brings the perfect mix of intellectual stimulation and casual learning style. Everyone loves to learn with Rabbi Stroh.

Join us for one or all six sessions!


Brotherhood Breakfast with Mike Fegelman – Honest Reporting Canada

Mike Fegelman

Mike Fegelman

Mike Fegelman, the Executive Director of Honest Reporting Canada (HRC), will speak with us about the ongoing battle against the anti-Israel/anti-Jewish media bias in mainstream media today.  The media sways public opinion, which directly affects foreign policy towards Israel and in turn the lives of her citizens.

“‘Honest Reporting’” monitors the media, exposes cases of bias, promotes balance, and effects change through education and action. Since 2003, HRC has prompted hundreds of apologies, retractions, and revisions from news outlets. These efforts are changing the face of the media and reporting of Israel throughout the world.

This is not merely about Israel; public opinion affects Jews everywhere in the world and most certainly here at home.

Come on Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. and learn how you can help in this effort!


Breakfast Sponsored by Brotherhood with Daniel Roher

Daniel Roher

Daniel Roher

Daniel Roher,
filmmaker, HBT member

Sunday, November 9, 2014
10:00 a.m.

Please join us for the next Breakfast Sponsored by Brotherhood on November 9th to learn from film maker Daniel Roher, a member of Holy Blossom, former religious school student, and graduate of the Etobicoke School of the Arts.

Among Daniel’s films is “Kids of the Rocket Siren”, a documentary about the children of Sderot, Israel, and their daily life under the constant threat of rocket attacks.

Daniel will share his journey as a documentary filmmaker, will teach us about the many people and far-off places he’s travelled to, and the films he’s made so far through his own company, Loud Roar Productions. He will also share with us one of his short documentaries. This presentation promises to inspire all, especially our youth who may want to pursue a career path which is definitely off the beaten path.


Kids of the Rocket Siren – 2013

Kids of the Rocket Siren- 2013 from Loud Roar Productions on Vimeo.


Congratulations to the Holy Bs – ISBL Champions

Holy Bs - 2014

Holy Bs – 2014

By Richard Borins.

Congratulations to the Holy Bs on bringing back the ISBL softball trophy with an exciting, come from behind, 17-14 win against Beth Tikvah today at Bayview Reservoir!

Congratulations as well to Beth Tikvah for an excellent season, also reaching the championship game for the 3rd year in a row.

We trailed by a score of 12 – 6 after five innings but that is when the defence settled down and the bats heated up.  Defensively, there was an excellent catch in left field by Jordan Glicksman and some very nice catches in right field by Adam Griff.  David Rosenberg came in as an infield rover in the 9th inning and he turned a very nice (and important) double play.

We had some great hitting performances today with almost every member of the team reaching base at least once.  Jordan Glicksman and Ryan Abrahamson were each 4 for 4 at the plate including a double for Ryan.  Joe Cass went 2 for 4 and it was his two out hit in the 7th inning that started our 5 run inning in which we took the lead, a lead that we would not relinquish.  David Rosenberg, Matthew Dicker, Steve Gryfe, Randy Cass and Allan Lyons all went an impressive 3 for 4 at the plate.  Allan knocked in our final two runs of the game with an opposite field double in the 8th inning playing on a banged up knee.  Jon Burton played very well at shortstop and had a couple of big hits for us including an opposite field double.

Randy Cass deserves special mention for playing through a couple of injuries today as well.  Randy had to come off the field twice but each time he kept going back out there.

We had some other injured players who were not able to play today but still came out to cheer on the team.  John Phillips has been out all season with a bad back but expects to be back next year.  Bob Cooper was a late scratch due to a nagging ankle injury.  Bob came just in time to see us finish off the come back.  Richard Banks and Jeff Levy helped coach today.  Ken Herlin played well today and also did a very nice job coaching at 3rd base (as mentioned by the guys a couple of times at lunch).

We had more fans out today than for any other game this season and that really helped us!  Thank you to:  Zita Gardner (David Rosenberg’s mother in law), Marion Rosenberg (David’s mom), Ben Rosenberg (David’s son), Harry and Marsha Glicksman (Jordan’s parents) and their dog Winston, Nathan Cass (Joe’s grandson and Randy’s son), Adam Oaknine (my nephew and son of Holy B alumnus Avy), Matthew Dicker’s dad Jeff Dicker and Matthew’s girlfriend (and new team photographer) Emily, Jerry Borins (my Dad), Sheryl Brodey (my better half), Max Borins (who helped track Beth Tikvah hitting), Jack Borins (Holy Bs scorekeeper), Isabelle Borins (my daughter) and Slash Borins (our dog).

It was another great season and we finished with an overall record of 12 -1 – 1.  The Holy Bs had what was probably a league high 18 players contribute this year.  Josh Silver and Nate Charach were out of town today but have been big contributors all season long; they were important factors in our first place finish and playoff run and they deserve mention in this final entry.

It has been a real team effort all year.  We celebrated once again at Yitz’s with a great lunch (thanks Barry Silver for hosting and for providing the ice for the injured players).  Thanks as always to Jeff Levy for schlepping all the equipment, drinks etc. and to Marc Levy for always taking care of the bases, bats, etc.

Plans are under way to honour our 2nd championship in Holy Blossom history (and in the last 3 years).

What a great way to start the New Year!