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

Lessons of the Holocaust: An Author's Presentation


Thursday, November 3 , 2016 7:30 p.m. When Professor Michael Marrus was a student in Toronto and then at Berkeley in the 1960’s, the Holocaust—the great catastrophe of European Jewry—was hardly a footnote to the study of WWII. Since then, as the full horror of Germany’s Nazi regime emerged, the Holocaust has come to be seen as a foundational event of the 20th Century. Join Professor Marrus as he shares Lessons of the Holocaust, his Read more »

Zentangle! What is it? How does one do it?


Zentangles are miniature pieces of unplanned, abstract, black and white art created through a very specific Method from an ensemble of simple, structured patterns called tangles Zentangles are not only exquisitely beautiful, they are fun and relaxing to create. Join our own Lesley Miller, a certified Zentangle artist, as she shows us how to do it! Pre-registration is a must! Use the attached form or contact Sara, ext 237. “Anything is Possible Read more »

Contemporary Jewish Novels with Cynthia Good


The Holy Blossom Centre for Contemporary Jewish Literature Contemporary Jewish Novels with Cynthia Good Tuesdays, October 18 – November 8, 2016 10:00-11:30 a.m. Join us for Cynthia Good’s iconic Conversation on Jewish books. Each Fall Cynthia shares some of her favourite books. It is a must see! Here is a short synopsis of the books. Join us for one or all 4 sessions! Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 by Francine Prose A rich, Read more »

In conversation with... Affinity Konar, Author of Mischling

Click the above image for complete details

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 7:30 p.m. Click the above image for complete details MISCHLING is about twin sisters fighting to survive the evils of World War II. Arriving in Auschwitz Pearl and Stasha Zagorski take refuge in their identical natures, comforting themselves with the private language and shared games of their childhood. As part of the experimental population of twins known as Mengele's Zoo, the girls experience privileges and horrors Read more »

The Golden Age of Jewish Television at the CBC

Holy Blossom Temple Centre for Art and Culture presents: The Golden Age of Jewish Television at the CBC Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. Stuart Hands, Program Director for the Toronto Jewish Film Festival Special Guest: Jack Kuper, author of the internationally-published classic, Child of the Holocaust and the director of various independent films such as Run! Who was Jerzy Kosinski? and A Day in the Warsaw Ghetto. On October 19th Stuart Read more »

Visions of People and Land: Hebrew Poetry

rabbi tepper

Visions of People and Land: The Hebrew Poetry of Rachel Bluwstein, Nathan Alterman, Leah Goldberg and Yehuda Amichai Rabbi Bill Tepper Thursdays, October 6-20, 2016 7:30 p.m. Join Rabbi Bill Tepper, who returns to Toronto after 8 years in Chattanooga, Tennessee as he explores the poetry of 4 brilliant Israeli poets, Rachel Bluwstein, Nathan Alterman, Leah Goldberg and Yehuda Amichai. These thoughtful 20th century poets were the builders Read more »

Is Change Possible?


Every year at this time we ponder the mistakes of our past, repairing relationships, and becoming the best person we can be. We pledge to do better, and yet, every year we start over again. Is change even possible? Learn what contemporary brain science and Jewish texts have to say about free will, change, and repentance with Rabbi Michael Satz and Dr. Frank Sommers. Frank Sommers is President of the Ontario District Branch, American Read more »

CANCELLED - An Evening with Etgar Keret, Israeli author


Etgar Keret was involved in a car accident last week. Regretfully he has to cancel his appearance in Toronto at Holy Blossom Temple. He was released from the hospital with a broken rib and fortunately no other serious injuries. However he is experiencing significant pain from the accident, and was ordered by his doctor not to travel. A personal note from Etgar Keret: "I've waited for this event for a very long time and nothing short of a speeding Read more »

Anita Diamant - Untold Stories: Jewish Women's Lives


Anita Diamant has touched the lives of so many over the past years. Her books speak to our lives as Jews. We are honoured to welcome her to our congregation under the auspices of the Centre for Contemporary Jewish Literature which brings a variety of literature to life for us. Anita is an inspiring speaker, educator and Jew. Please join us for this important event. Anita Diamant was born in Brooklyn, and following her university years, moved Read more »

You Can Ukulele


September 7, 14, & 28, 2016 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. The Intensive program is finished as of Sept. 28 and the regular Sunday classes start on Oct. 30, 2016. You Can Ukulele-Intensive Refresher with teacher and musician Suasan Baskin. The ukulele is back and it's all the rage.  Join in the jam and learn to play a wide variety of songs including Jewish favorites, in a supportive and up-beat environment. All experience levels are welcome. Read more »

Rabbi Stroh and an uncanny look at Jewish history


Rabbi Michael Stroh joins us once again; this time with an ‘uncanny look at Jewish history’. We have a long interesting history as a Jewish people. How does or does time change and affect Jewish history and Judaism? Our daytime class is well-attended, provocative and there is always an interesting discussion & conversation. Please join us. Read more »

My Mother’s Secret: Sunday Book Club is back!

Book Club

Our Sunday Book Club is back and strong! Sharon Singer joins us once again for a thoughtful morning of sharing. Our Book Club is open to all. We meet monthly to learn from each other on books which cover a variety of topics. This month join us as we read My Mother’s Secret. It is a great read and we will have a great conversation! Read more »

Shabbat Beit Midrash


Once again we offer a learning opportunity for those wanting something different. Shabbat Beit Midrash offers an opportunity to learn in chavruta-style; learning with others using a variety of sources. Marla Powers brings her love of text and desire to learn to the table each month. Join her and others for great learning, stimulating conversation and an interesting experience. No previous experience necessary. Read more »

Israeli Folk Dancing: Fun for All


Paula Warren is a master. Her love of Israel shines through with each step as she teaches the basics and also for those more experienced in Israeli dance. Join Paula for the monthly class after a delicious kiddush for fun, laughter and a new (or even not so new) skill. It is a great opportunity to be with friends of all ages. Read more »

Jewish Life on Campus

Life on Campus2016

Is this your first experience as a Jewish student on a university campus? Have you encountered negative Israel conversation while at university? We will offer a concrete conversation for parents, students and soon-to-be students with the experts in the field. Mark Newburgh, CEO of Hillel Ontario along with Sara Lefton, Vice-President of CIJA of Greater Toronto, along with a panel of active students from campuses across the city will all participate Read more »

Writing & Publishing: Short Stories, Memoir and Enthical Wills


This will be a very exciting series….if you have any interest in writing, ethical will writing and/or publishing,– these are for you. Attend one, two or all three. We are proud to partner with our friend and neighbour down the block. All of the presenters are professionals and experts in each of these topics. What a great way to spend a summer afternoon!  BETH TZEDEC CONGREGATION & THE HOLY BLOSSOM TEMPLE CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY JEWISH LITERATURE PRESENT Read more »

CANCELLED: Jewish Life on Campus: What is the Real Story?

On Campus

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 7:30 p.m. Is it as bad as we hear for the Jewish student population at our colleges and universities? What faces our students as they arrive on campus wanting to make it their home for the next 4 years? Join us for a lively panel discussion with Mark Newburgh, CEO, Hillel Ontario, Sara Lefton, Vice-President CIJA Greater Toronto area, and student representatives, as we tackle some of the current issues that affect our Read more »

Job and a Serious Man

Job and a Serious Man

Tuesdays, June 7-21, 2016 7:30 p.m. How are we supposed to respond to suffering? Should we try to understand its meaning? Or is the search for meaning itself presumptuous? This three-session course, jointly taught by Rabbi Yael Splansky and Professor Adam Sol, will compare the biblical Book of Job, which has fascinated readers for millennia with its ambiguity, to the film A Serious Man, released by the Coen Brothers in 2009 to critical acclaim. Read more »

How to be a Jewish Advocate

Jewish Advocate

Sunday, June 5, 2016 Learn how to translate your Jewish values into community and civic action with Isaac Nuell, manager of congregational social action at the Religious Action Centre of Reform Judaism. Local advocates will also participate. Topics of the day will include Israel, poverty, and refugees. Please RSVP to Rabbi Satz at Read more »

Commemorate and Celebrate Yom Hazikaron/Yom Ha'Atzmaut


Yom HaZikaron – Israel’s Remembrance Day for all fallen soldiers and victims of terror is one of the most important and somber dates in Israel’s calendar and one of the most significant for all Israelis. Please join us for a special service dedicated to the memory of lives lost. Our Shinshinim will share their personal thoughts and remembrances. Yom HaZikaron is immediately followed by Yom Ha’Atzmaut, one of the most joyous events in Read more »

Harry and Blanche Posen Memorial Lectures with Professor Gabi Ben Dor


Harry and Blanche Posen Memorial Lectures Israel 2016/5776 Professor Gabi Ben Dor War and Peace in the Middle East | Monday, May 30, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. Israel 2016 – Good Life in a bad Neighbourhood | Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at 7:30 p.m Professor Gabriel Ben Dor, a leading Israel scholar on strategic initiatives joins us once again for the Harry & Blanche Posen Memorial Lectures on Monday May 30, and Wednesday June 1, 2016. Gabi’s Read more »

Writing and Publishing: Short Stories; Memoir and Ethical Wills


Presented by: Beth Tzedec Congregation and The Holy Blossom Centre for Contemporary Jewish Literature Writing Short Stories Tuesday, July 5, 2016 | 1:30-3:30 p.m. Location: Holy Blossom Do you have a story hidden in your drawer? Have you always thought about writing one? Nick Mount, the fiction editor for Walrus Magazine will discuss the form and potential of the short story genre. He’ll touch on shape and structure, narrative perspective Read more »

The Two State Solution: Time to Say Kaddish?


With Professors Emanuel Adler and Clifford Orwin Thursday, May 12, 2016 7:30 p.m. As we celebrate Israel in May, it is a perfect time to ponder the possibilities of peace. Rabbi John Moscowitz will moderate an open conversation between two noted scholars about the future of the two state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians. Read more »

Are Liberal Jews Trapped by Their Own Ideology? with Barbara Kay

Barbara Kay

Are Liberal Jews Trapped by Their Own Ideology? Barbara Kay, National Post columnist Tuesday, April, 12, 2016 7:30 p.m. Barbara will speak to the HBT community about the problems caused by some segments of the Jewish community, global anti-Semitism, the demonization of Israel, and her very specific views on issues facing the Jewish community and Israel. Come to have your assumptions challenged. In Conversation with her son, Jonathan Kay, Read more »

Old Gems, Newly Polished: Lifelong Learning at Holy Blossom Temple


By Rabbi Yael Splansky. In our daily prayer for Revelation we say:  “Compassionate God, inspire us to know and understand, to listen, learn and teach, to observe and uphold with love all the teachings of Your Torah.”  From these few lines, we can infer a great deal about the Jewish approach to learning. That first spark of inspiration for learning, that first impulse of curiosity is described as God-sent. What we do with it, then, speaks Read more »