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

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 »

The Truth About Everything Really Important

Rabbi Michael Stroh

Rabbi Michael Stroh, rabbi emeritus Temple Har Zion Thursdays, March 24- April 14, 2016 10:30 a.m. What is truth? What is morality? What is God? What is death? Every religion and philosophy must deal with the difference between truth and falsehood, good and bad, the nature of God and the inevitability of death. What does the Jewish Tradition say? Read more »

Sunday Book Club: The Hilltop by Assaf Gavron

The Hilltop by Assaf Gavron

with Sharon Singer CANCELLED: Sunday, March 6, 2016 NEW DATE: April 17, 2016 10:00 a.m. The Hilltop by Assaf Gavron is about a settlement in Israel and the political machinations surrounding it. Hailed as “The Great Israeli Novel” (Time Out Tel Aviv) and winner of the prestigious Bernstein Prize, The Hilltop is a monumental and daring work about life in a West Bank settlement from one of Israel’s most acclaimed young novelists because Read more »

Abraham Joshua Heschel and the Sources of Wonder


Rabbi Michael Marmur Ph.D, HUC-JIR Friday, April 8, 2016 6:00 p.m. Why is Abraham Joshua Heschel, who died in 1972, one of the most important thinkers and activists of the twentieth century, still so resonant and significant in the twenty-first? And what is the connection between Heschel's 'spiritual activism' and his reliance on thousands of classical Jewish sources? How does tradition inform our reading of the times we live in? Shabbat service Read more »

“Desert Island Texts”

Desert Island Texts 4

Rabbi2Rabbi Live with the CJN Rabbi Yael Splansky and Rabbi Mark Fishman from Congregation Beth Tikvah of Montreal, together with Yoni Goldstein, Editor of The Canadian Jewish News Thursday, March 10, 2016 7:30 p.m. at Holy Blossom Temple Two rabbis from two cities and two backgrounds were brought together by a newspaper man determined to shake up the conversation.  Each month these rabbis exchange ideas in writing.  They delight in Read more »

The “Zohar Revolution” – How Can Kabbalah Enrich our Jewish Lives?


Rabbi Larry Englander Wednesdays, March 16-April 6, 2016 12:00 p.m. Join us for a Lunch & Learn* This course will show the revolutionary impact that the mystical book Zohar had hundreds of years ago. We will discuss how this revolution can continue to influence us today in: our relationship to Torah, both written and oral our understanding of mitzvot and our attitude toward halachah (Jewish law) our dedication to social justice Read more »

Prayer and Other Matters of the Spirit


With Rabbi Yael Splansky Wednesday evenings February 17 – June 22, 2016 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. CANCELLED: March 16 & 23, 2015 Does the prayerbook look like a jumble of words?  Do you want to uncover the drama of our liturgy-narrative?  Does your doubt get in the way of personal prayer?  Are there poetic phrases that challenge or conflict with your personal theology?  Are you looking for critical and/or inspirational Jewish voices from across Read more »

Uke'N Ukulele at Holy Blossom Temple


Continuing due to popular demand! Susan Baskin, teacher & musician CANCELLED February 7 and 14... Resuming February 21, 2016! Sundays, January 10 to May 15, 2016 12:15 to 12:45 for NEW members who need beginner instruction 12:45 to 2:00 for returning and experienced players In 1915, when the ukulele was first introduced to people, it sparked the world’s first uke craze. 100 years later the uke craze is back - and it’s coming Read more »

Mussar: Seeking Everyday Holiness - Second session starting soon!


By Rabbi Michael Satz. When I put the call out over the summer for people at Holy Blossom looking for a Jewish spiritual path based on developing personal virtue, I was overwhelmed by the response. We created two groups for the Mussar Institute’s program “Seeking Everyday Holiness.” Because I know that there are more people interested in the practice of Mussar, I have decided to offer one more cycle of the class for people who can study during Read more »

CANCELLED: The Landscape in Israel Today: Cataclysmic Shift or More of the Same

Yossi Beilin

CANCELLED! Yossi Beilin is a former Israeli Minister of Justice, architect of the Oslo Accords, initiator of the Geneva Initiative and one of the creators of Birthright. His insights into the current situation will be based on his personal experiences and his all encompassing knowledge of the past and present realities in Israel. Saturday, January 30, 2016 1:30 p.m. Holy Blossom Temple Youth Chapel Sponsored by Holy Blossom Temple, Read more »

From Sugarcane to Shul: A History of the Jews of Barbados

Bridgetown Jewish Synagogue - One of the's "Seven Wonders Of Barbados!"

Bridgetown Jewish Synagogue - One of the's "Seven Wonders Of Barbados!" Tuesday, February 9, 2016 7:30 p.m. Join Barbados-born and raised Toronto lawyer, Jerry Kreindler, as he traces the history of Barbados' Jews from 1628 to the present day. Jerry will also share his experience of what it was like to grow up Jewish in the tropical island paradise of Barbados, one of the more exotic and unusual communities of our diaspora. Sponsored Read more »

Mad for Maimonides? Learn more through fiction and study...

Dara Horn

Centre for Jewish Literature at Holy Blossom Temple Getting Perplexed with Maimonides Rabbi Michael Satz Shabbat, February 6, 2016 after Kiddush A Guide for the Perplexed Dara Horn, author Wednesday, February 10, 2016 7:30 p.m. On Shabbat , February 6 after the congregational Kiddush, please join Rabbi Michael Satz for a study session on the “life of Moses Maimonides”. The Shabbat program will be followed by a visit from the author, Read more »

2016: Schwartz/Reisman Centre for Jewish Education at Holy Blossom Temple

Adult Ed Cover

Our Schwartz Reisman Centre for Jewish Learning at Holy Blossom has wrapped up the first few months of the program year with excellent feedback on programming. Attendance has been strong and our leadership has taken an active role in planning our events. We invite you to peruse this chronological listing of programs from January – June 2016. Much more information will follow via our HBT website. Please watch for details on our website, and don’t Read more »

Brotherhood Study Group: Maimonides and Buber

Rabbi Michael Stroh

A 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. Maimonides 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! Read more »

The Jews of China: A Tale of 3 Cities

Jews in China Bz Obv & Rev

Jewish Communities from Around the World Presented by Dr. Margo Gewurtz, Professor Emerita, Modern Chinese History, York University Wednesday, January 20, 2016 7:30 p.m. Learn about the rich culture of Jews in China, with a special focus on the 1000 year history of the Chinese Jews of Kaifeng. As well, the Russian Jews of Harbin, and the refuge of Baghdadi and Ashkenazi Jews in Shanghai during World War 2 will also be examined at this session. Read more »

Three Minutes in Poland: International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Kurtz, Glenn (C) Franziska Liepe copy

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 7:30 p.m. Three Minutes in Poland begins as the story of an old family film rediscovered and veers into an important tale of Polish shtetls during World War II." - Elie Wiesel Come see a glimpse of normal shtetl life on the eve of its destruction, hear about a woman discovering her grandfather's young face in a salvaged film, and learn about the connection to Holy Blossom. Glenn Kurtz will discuss his book, Three Read more »