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

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. 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 the millennia? Part of the two-year 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 »

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 »

Eye on Israel with our Shinshinim Noam and Bar and film scholar Dr. Gillian Helfield

The Green Prince

Tuesday, December 8, 2015 Tuesday, December 15, 2015 session cancelled. 7:30 p.m. After his arrest, Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of a founder of Hamas, becomes an informant for the Israeli secret service. The Green Prince is a documentary of his experience in the critical months of Israel’s history during the Second Intifada. Join us for this two-part series, as Bar and Noam, our Shinshinim, walk us through this captivating documentary film. Read more »

Jewish Symbolism in the works of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Ceiling

Sistine Chapel

Thursday, December 3, 2015 7:30 p.m. Rouhama Danto Join us as Rouhama Danto leads us through a fascinating exploration of the Jewish Symbolism in the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo lived in Florence most of his life. He was born into a Catholic family and grew up nurtured in the practice of the Christian faith. So, “Jewish Symbols and Messages”? Michelangelo had a bit of a thing for Jewish Mysticism. Michelangelo demonstrated it in the hidden Read more »

Sisterhood Torah Study with Mark Good

Mark Goodman

The Great Jewish Civilizations: Jewish Life in Medieval Spain. Wednesdays 9:30 a.m. The history of the Jews of the Iberian Peninsula spans six centuries, living under Islam and Christendom. The Jews of Spain were exalted by political powers, tolerated by the local religious leadership, and at other times, persecuted. Spanish Jewry produced some of the greatest scholarship of the Middle Ages: Maimonides, and others were some of the most Read more »

Eye on Israel with our Shinshinim


Remembering Together; a look at Canadian Remembrance Day and Israel’s Yom HaZikaron Tuesday, November 10, 2015 7:30 p.m. Noam Nadler and Bar Cohen, our Shinshinim at Holy Blossom and Leo Baeck South Join us and we remember together the expressions of “remembering” on our special days. November 11th brings many feelings and memories for many in our community, and the 4th of Iyar in the Hebrew calendar also brings many thoughts and emotions Read more »



Thursday, November 26, 2015 7:30 p.m. Our participants: Rabbi Michael Satz Yoni Goldstein, editor of Canadian Jewish News Karen Mock, former National Director of the League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith and HBT member Shahid Akhtar, founding Co-Chair, Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims Alia Hogben, Executive Director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women Our agenda is long and difficult. There is nothing simple or Read more »

Me and my so-called friends

Sharon Neiss-Arbess

Sharon Neiss-Arbess, author Thursday, November 19, 2015 6:30 p.m. Me and my so-called friends is a story that is entirely fiction. It was written with the hopes of teaching readers that no matter how bad things get, you will come out on the other side - stronger and smarter and with help from the unexpected to get you through it all. A program for parents and teens & tweens, with facilitators for children’s groups. Good refreshments Read more »

Stitching Treasures: Exploring the Art of Judaic Needlepoint

Jodi Bager

Jodi Bager, needlework artist and designer Tuesdays, November 10-December 15, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. to Noon. or CANCELLED: Thursdays, January 7-February 4 and February 18, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. This is a unique opportunity to design and create a lasting piece of art. All participants will be given materials needed for the perfect original challah cover or tallit bag. Participants will learn new and creative stitches, design and paint their own canvas, Read more »

Playing Hitler’s Games: The 1936 Nazi Olympics Canada and Holy Blossom Temple

More Than Just the Games Canada and the 1936 Olympics

Professor Harold Troper, University of Toronto Tuesday, November 17, 2015 7:30 p.m. Next year will be the 80th anniversary of the infamous 1936 Olympic Games in Nazi Germany, an priority event not only for Hitler and Germany but also for the Canadian Olympic Committee and Holy Blossom Temple’s Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath, outspoken crusader on behalf of a Canadian boycott of the Nazi Olympics. The boycott campaign failed. Canada participated in Read more »

Rosh Hodesh Torah Trope Orientation with Lindi Rivers

Lindi Rivers

Sponsored by Sisterhood. Two options for learning: Monday November 2, 2015 7:00 p.m. Wednesday November 4, 2015 10:30 a.m. Have you wanted to learn to read Torah – but were afraid to learn? This is the perfect opportunity to learn a specific Torah reading that you can chant over and over again – monthly! Join us for one of these orientation sessions and we will decide together on future dates. All are welcome! Please RSVP to Read more »

The Garden of Eden with Rabbi Michael Stroh

Rabbi Michael Stroh

The Garden of Eden: Leaving and Trying to Return Natural Law, Human Nature, Violence and Hope Rabbi Michael Stroh, Rabbi Emeritus Temple Har Zion Thursdays, November 5-26, 2015 10:30 a.m.  The Garden of Eden is Paradise, at the beginning; the Days of the Messiah is Paradise, at the end. We live in the middle with all the ambiguities of the human condition. What is this all about? Join Rabbi Stroh for a thoughtful four week course. Read more »

Jews in Space with Dr. Gillian Helfield

Gillian Helfied

Centre for Arts & Culture Jews in Space with Dr. Gillian Helfield, York University Tuesdays, October 13-27, 2015 7:30 p.m. As a nomadic, and diasporic people, through centuries of migration and acculturation, Jews have long been pioneers of new worlds, ideas and technologies. Join us on our ‘voyage of discovery’ as we explore the contributions of Jewish writers, filmmakers and television producers, to the field of Science Fiction. Read more »

An Evening of Honour and Gratitude with the Vietnamese Community

Howard Adelman

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 7:30 p.m. Still in the 40th anniversary year since the fall of Saigon, the local Vietnamese Community wishes to honour Professor Howard Adelman and Holy Blossom Temple for our help in bringing refugee families to Canada and in helping them to establish their new lives here. A special invitation goes to all congregants who were a part of this initiative and to congregants who are now interested in helping with Read more »

Reform Judaism in Israel with Rabbi Gilad Kariv


Building a pluralistic authentic Israeli Judaism- achievements and challenges. Rabbi Gilad Kariv, Executive Director, Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism. Thursday, November 12, 2015 7:30 p.m. Join us for a wonderful evening with Rabbi Kariv as we learn more about the challenges of the Reform Movement in Israel. Rabbi Kariv, along with many others works hard to share the accomplishments and the struggles of our sister congregations in Israel. Read more »

Sunday Book Club: The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis

The Betrayers

The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis is the book we'll be discussing on Sunday October 25, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. in Room 209. Baruch Kotler is a Soviet Jewish dissident, now a disgraced Israeli politician who opposes the settllements in the West Bank. His political enemies attack him and expose his affair. He and his mistress flee to Yalta, a resort in Crimea where he spent some of his youth. There, he comes face to face with the person who, forty Read more »

Liberation: Aftermath and Rebirth - with Professor Michael Marrus


Holocaust Education Week (HEW). As is our tradition at Holy Blossom, we are very fortunate to hold one of the key lectures of HEW, which is organized by the Chaim and Sarah Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre, by Professor Michael Marrus. Professor Marrus brings an incredible wealth of knowledge to these lectures each year, and it is once again our honour at Holy Blossom to have Professor Marrus join us on Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. Read more »