Schwartz/Reisman Centre for Jewish Learning

The Gerald Schwartz/Heather Reisman Centre for Jewish Learning at Holy Blossom Temple

Holy Blossom Temple is as much a House of Study as a House of Worship. Our Gerald Schwartz/Heather Reisman Centre for Jewish Learning reflects this, affording our members, and the larger Toronto Jewish Community, the opportunity to come together for major public lectures which address the important issues of our day. The Centre also provides the opportunity to study in smaller groups and classes — everything from the Bible to Rabbinic Texts; from Jewish Literature to Jewish History; from how to make Jewish marriage work to how to raise Jewish children of strong character.

The Gerald Schwartz/Heather Reisman Centre for Jewish Learning at Holy Blossom Temple is made available through the generosity of our members Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman. Gerry and Heather’s generosity reflects their belief in Holy Blossom Temple as a place of deep engagement in the larger issues of concern to the Jewish People. Gerry and Heather’s commitment reflects their belief that the synagogue is the central address in the Jewish Community.

Ongoing Learning

While our lectures are designed to draw larger numbers, our study classes are no less integral to the Schwartz/Reisman Centre. They reflect the character of Holy Blossom Temple as much as do our lectures: substantive and engaging at the same time, open to all regardless of the level of Jewish learning.

We offer many ongoing classes, providing our members the opportunity to study sacred texts in depth. These classes, designed for the adults in our community, encourage each of our members to move from one level of learning to another. This enables each of us to slowly build a foundation of Jewish learning.

For more information on our Gerald Schwartz/Heather Reisman Centre for Jewish Learning at Holy Blossom Temple, please send an email to Debbie Spiegel or call (416) 789-3291, ext.239.


The Adult Learning News Archive

Baycrest Speaker’s Series Comes to HBT!


Join us on Tuesday April 29, 2013 for the second in our series of three programs – Baycrest Speaker’s Series. Our next program brings Dr. Angie Troyer. Dr. Troyer’s topic is Maximum Memory. Have you ever wondered, “where did I park my car”, “what is that woman’s name?” Is this type of memory loss part of normal aging or does it mean something more serious. What types or memory change are normal and what could indicate the Read more »

Video: The Future of Aboriginal Education with Rt. Hon. Paul Martin

Rt. Hon. Paul Martin

By Dr. Harvey Schipper, President Thursday's extraordinary evening with the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin was, to me, an expression of the best of Holy Blossom. We welcomed an international figure and learned with him, not only about our Aboriginal community, but about a remarkable leader. We all knew of Mr. Martin as a politician, our Prime Minister.  We knew of him as the Finance Minister who restored Canada's financial standing during a very difficult Read more »

Third Night Social Justice Seder: Jewish / First Nations Cultural Exchange and Celebration


We are delighted to invite you to a special Social Justice Seder on the third night of Pesach! We will enjoy a meal together and share songs and stories, along with guests from the Aboriginal Canadian community. Together we will explore the themes of freedom, migration, oppression and overcoming adversity, while delighting in each other’s music, stories and company. We promise that you will leave feeling uplifted and knowing what we can do together Read more »

Harry and Blanche Posen Memorial Lectures 2014


May 12 & 14, 2014. ISRAEL AND ITS NEIGHBOURS FACING THE UPHEAVAL IN THE MIDDLE EAST. Professor Gabi Ben-Dor, University of Haifa, National Defense College. Monday, May 12, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. The Middle East is undergoing massive changes, the likes of which it has not witnessed for a century. New realities are being created by popular uprisings, regime changes, civil wars, countries imploding and new developments in the global balance Read more »

Beit Midrash Shabbat Learning... but the study of Torah rivals them all.

Shabbat Morning Main Service

Shabbat, April 5, 2014 after Kiddush. Please join us for an extension to our Shabbat morning service as we gather for Beit Midrash style learning in the Boardroom after Kiddush lunch. We are guided by the Women of Reform Judaism Torah Commentary. We look at the weekly portion, Contemporary Reflections, Post-biblical Interpretations and Other Voices (poetry). We also look at the Plaut Commentary and other sources. Join us this Shabbat, Read more »

Laundry kept me from Revelation at Sinai...

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Click image above for more details ...and other musings on Jewish life by Israeli poet Hava Pinchas-Cohen. Join Rabbi Ilyse Glickman for a journey into the mind and heart of Israeli poet Hava Pinchas-Cohen. Pinchas-Cohen’s poetry gives voice to the ongoing conversation of what it means to be an Israeli, what it means to be a Jew, and what it means to be a woman in both of these spheres. What is the intersection of ritual garb, motherhood, Read more »

For Book Lovers and Readers!

Tomorrow There Will be Apricots

Tomorrow There Will be Apricots Please join us on Tuesday, April 8 at 2:30 p.m. (please note special time!) for Dr. Janna Nadler’s first of two Book Talks. Janna will be reviewing the book, Tomorrow There Will be Apricots.  She recommends highly that if anyone is interested, please take a moment or two and listen to the audiobook version of Tomorrow There Will be Apricots ?  The readers are excellent! For a complete listing of all Read more »

Sunday Book Club: April 27, 2014

Crossing Cairo; a Jewish Woman’s Encounter With Egypt

Crossing Cairo; a Jewish Woman’s Encounter With Egypt The next Book Club date is April 27, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. The book we will be discussing is Crossing Cairo; a Jewish Woman’s Encounter With Egypt by Ruth H. Sohn. Rabbi Ruth Sohn, her husband, Reuven  and her two sons embark for Egypt for six months, not for vacation, but for a sabbatical. Her husband is a rabbi also and an academic in the joint fields of Judaism and Islam. After Read more »

Freeing the Trappings with Temma Gentles

Click image above for more details Mondays, March 24 - April 7, 2014. 7:30 p.m. This series of three lectures will examine a number of familiar religious objects to learn more about their origins and evolution, and how we might reinterpret them for contemporary use and new meaning. Week 1: Synagogue articles Week 2: Home and Holiday observance Week 3: Life Cycle and Personal items To read the latest edition of Studio News, click Read more »

Rt. Hon. Paul Martin and the Aboriginal People of Canada by Dr. Harvey Schipper

Harvey Schipper

Rt. Hon. Paul Martin By Dr. Harvey Schipper, President Our former Prime Minister & Finance Minister Paul Martin has a burning passion – Aboriginal people of Canada. Holy Blossom has a distinguished history of leadership both in Social Action and in bringing faiths together in a common purpose. On April 10th Mr. Martin will be with our community, both Leo Baeck & Holy Blossom to teach, learn, share and engage about our role with Read more »

The Future of Aboriginal Education with Rt. Hon. Paul Martin

Rt. Hon. Paul Martin

Rt. Hon. Paul Martin Thursday, April 10, 2014 7:30 p.m. Throughout his business and political careers, The Right Honourable Paul Martin has been devoted to the cause of the First Nations, Métis, and the Inuit. After he retired from political life in 2006, Mr. Martin founded the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative, a charitable organization (MAEI). MAEI’s activities focus on providing educational opportunities for Aboriginal Peoples Read more »

Religious Pluralism and Gender Equality in Israel: Dream or Reality


Click image above for more details Wednesday, March 19, 2014 8:00 p.m. Rabbi Miri Gold Rabbi Gold was the third woman to be ordained as a Reform rabbi in Israel, and the first non-orthodox rabbi to be recognized by the government of Israel. Join us as she looks at the future of progressive Judaism in the State of Israel. Dessert reception sponsored by Sisterhood. Also sponsored by Arza Canada and Israel Committee. Read more »

Natural Law: A Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Trialogue

Natural Law: A Jewish, Christian, Islamic Trialogue

Click image above for more details Not due out until June 2014, in their new book, Natural Law: A Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Trialogue, by David Novak, Anver Emon and Matthew Levering examines natural law doctrine, rooted in the classical writings of our respective three traditions: Jewish, Christian, and Islamic. Each of the authors provides an extensive essay reflecting on natural law doctrine in his tradition. Each of the authors also Read more »

Natural Law: A Jewish, Christian, Islamic Trialogue

Natural Law: A Jewish, Christian, Islamic Trialogue

Natural Law: A Jewish, Christian, Islamic Trialogue Thursday, March 20, 2014 7:30 p.m. Professors David Novak and Anver Emon In their new book, Emon, Novak and a third collaborator, provide a sense for how natural law doctrine arises and functions in each tradition, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic with a reflection upon natural law doctrine and the religious other, giving a sense for why this topic is important. Read more »

Sunday Book Club March 23 - The Art Forger

The Art Forger

The Art Forger Sunday, March 23, 2014 10:00 a.m. Sisterhood Library The Art Forger - a mystery book, a crime novel, literary fiction. Which one or all? The story grows and takes shape after the heist in the 1990’s from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum of millions of dollars of art. Claire Roth, a young painter, creates “art” for She is approached by a well-known gallery owner in Boston who offers her a large sum Read more »

Towards a Jewish Environmental Perspective

Rabbi Shaul Judelman

Rabbi Shaul Judelman Tuesday, February 18, 2014  6:30-7:30 p.m. The CSA ends at 6:00, Ma’ariv is 6:00-6:30, and so we’ll start right after Ma’ariv. Reflections on how to understand and apply todays environmental challenge from within a Torah-based Judaism. How can traditional Judaism meet a modern issue and what lessons can we as socially aware Jews learn from this. The talk will be based on gleanings from an attempt to obtain "environmental Read more »

Understanding Modern Israel with Jane Herman

Understanding Modern Israel

Click to enlarge Thursdays, April 3-May 8 (not April 10). Knowledge of the history of Zionism and the State of Israel can illuminate our understanding of current events in Israel and provide valuable context for interpreting policies, actions, the peace process and political arena. Today's headlines make more sense when you analyze them in the context of the critical events that have led us to today. In a series of 5 sessions, Temple member Read more »

Ariel Sharon – An Evening of Commemoration and Learning

Ariel Sharon - An Evening of Commemoration and Learning

NEW DATE: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 7:30 p.m. On Wednesday, February 19th we'll remember Former Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel (Arik) Sharon z"l, whose illustrious military and political career included prominent roles in all of Israel's major wars and a courageous attempt to promote peace with the Palestinians. The evening will include both a memorial to this great yet controversial leader, and reflections on his career and its impact Read more »

Wells, Prayers, and Desalination

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Click image above for more details Professor Paul Kay, Environmental Studies, University of Waterloo Feb 24, March 3 & 17, 2014. 7:30 p.m. Join us for one or all three sessions as Professor Paul Kay walks us through some of the issues which affect Israel and the environment. Professor Kay is an expert in this field. He will join us fresh from a recent presentation at Limmud, UK, where people of all ages and every perspective, from Read more »

Counter-Missionary Survival Seminar

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Click image above for more details Sponsored by Jews for Judaism Rabbi Michael Skobac, Director of Education and Counselling at Jews of Judaism. Wednesdays, January 15 - February 19, 2014 8:00 p.m. Come to Holy Blossom Temple, Jan 15 - Feb 19, 2014, for Jews For Judaism's Counter-Missionary Survival Seminar, a six-week course, free of charge. This highly acclaimed seminar provides the tools and knowledge to respond confidently to any Read more »

What do the Christian Scriptures say about Torah?

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Click image above for more details Professor Barrie Wilson, Religious Studies, York University Monday, January 20, 2014 7:30 p.m.  Professor Barrie Wilson has a unique perspective on Jesus.  As a Jew by Choice, Barrie will bring more to the table than others, who have discussed and explored the life of Jesus as a Jew. Please join us for this one time program, which will give all great insight into the life of Jesus. Along with others of Read more »

Reform Zionism: What is Our Unique Vision for Israel?

Rabbi Lawrence A. Englander

By Jeff Denaburg. After attending the first session in Rabbi Englander's series on Reform Zionism, I can't wait for this week's continuation. Rabbi Englander's wealth of knowledge and engaging style made the first session enjoyable as well as thought-provoking. The course explores our relationship to Israel and Zionism specifically as Reform Jews. It's an important topic and Rabbi Englander helps us to explore our own views and emotions as we Read more »

Religious School and the First Nations Priority

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By Ashley Berger. In our Grade 7 Religious school class, we have been learning about different religions and cultures as part of our study of our own faith and traditions. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to hear Cheryle Jacobs from the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto speak about some aspects of her tradition. Her focus was on the medicine wheel teachings, which represent so many aspects of life and our world including seasons, directions, Read more »

Thursday Shacharit, Breakfast and Talmud Study

Thursday Shacharit, Breakfast and Talmud Study

Thursday Shacharit, Breakfast and Talmud Study Temple members may be interested in a new study opportunity. After morning services on Thursdays, those who come for breakfast receive an additional treat. A group of regular morning service attendees have initiated their own Talmud study session. We are currently studying a section of Sanhedrin that discusses what our sages teach about life after death. Handouts are in English and the discussion Read more »

Scholar in Residence: Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi

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Click image above for more details Saturday, November 16, 2013 Shabbat morning Torah Study at 9:00 a.m. ''The Challenges of Leadership - Biblical and Rabbinic texts'' Shabbat Morning Sermon at 10:30 a.m. Service ''Autonomy and Authority - What Claims Us?''  Rabbi Sabath Beit-Halachmi will hold a round-table discussion over Shabbat lunch about Hebrew Union College.  Read more »