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

Jewish Communities Around the World: The Jews of India

Jews of India

Jews of India Our series on Jewish communities Around the World, generously sponsored by Sisterhood has been a great success! We learned about the Jewish communities in Ethiopia and Italy. To round out our series, join us on Thursday January 15 at 7:30 p.m. for our program on The Jews of India. Bala Menon, a publisher and writer, will join us along with Kenny Salem to share with us about Jewish life in India. Bala writes: The Cochinin (as Read more »

Rescheduled: "Before the Blacklist"

Marked Woman

Marked Woman We missed you on Nov 24 for the first of two sessions presented by Stuart Hands on “Before the Blacklist”. Please join us on Monday December 8th and the follow-up program on Monday December 15th as we explore two different films which Stuart will present. Stuart is a talented film aficionado. He loves watching, talking about and critiquing all kinds of films and has the credentials to do it as the Director of the Toronto Read more »

Sunday Book Club: A Guide for the Perplexed by Dara Horn


A Guide for the Perplexed by Dara Horn Sunday December 14, 2014 10:00 a.m. “A genuinely page-turning kidnapping story that also incorporates historical, psychological, and interpretive insights into Maimonides, sibling rivalry and motherhood, as well as the increasing digital footprints we leave.” Josie Ashkenazi is a software genius who has invented an application that tracks and records everything its users do. She is invited to an Egyptian Read more »

Jewish Communities Around the World: The Jews of Italy

Rabbi Leigh Lerner, Rabbi Emeritus at Montreal’s Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom, is also volunteer rabbi at Beth Shalom Milano and Shir Hadash Firenze, both young Reform congregations where he is in his 3rd season of service.  He has lived Italian Jewish life as it unfolds today, from 2012 to the present. In his illustrated talk, and after a brief review of Italian Jewish history, Rabbi Lerner will give insight into the nature of today’s diverse Read more »

Torah Stitch by Stitch


For more details please click the image above On Tuesday, Temma Gentles is back with us for another 2 session workshop – Torah Stitch by Stitch. This is an amazing project of stitching a Torah which has had hundreds of participants world-wide. Temma is a great teacher, speaker and lover of art. Join us on Tuesday, November 25 and December 2 at 7:30 p.m. To download the Torah Stitch by Stitch postcard, and learn more about this worldwide Read more »

Beit Midrash Shabbat Learning

For more information, please click the above image

For more information, please click the above image Are you interested in Torah study on Shabbat after services? This Shabbat, November 22, Beit Midrash Shabbat Learning will take place in Room 209 following congregational Kiddush. Join Marla Powers and others as they study the week’s Torah portion using the WRJ Women’s Commentary alongside many other sources. All learners are invited... if you know a little or a lot. Everyone shares his/her Read more »

Uniting with Ethiopian Jewry for Sigd holiday


Cry of the Giraffe: Based on a True Story Join us on Thursday, November 20th as we welcome author Judie Oron to Holy Blossom Temple for the first speaker in our series on Jewish Communities around the World , sponsored by Sisterhood. Judie has written widely on the topic of Ethiopian Jewry and is looking forward to sharing her vast knowledge of that community with us. Join us on Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. For more information Read more »

Before the Blacklist

Marked Woman

Marked Woman Stuart Hands, TJFF Director Monday November 24, 2014 7:30 p.m. NOW MONDAY DECEMBER 15, 2014 7:30 p.m. Sorry for the confusion on Monday Nov 24, 2014 with the power outage. We have re-scheduled the program to take place on December 8 & 15. Looking forward to seeing you there… See how Jewish screenwriter Robert Rossen redefined the Hollywood crime drama in 1937 with Marked Woman, a forgotten gem starring Bette Davis Read more »

Engaging with Israel: iEngage with Rabbi Michael Satz

Rabbi Michael Satz

Engaging Israel Please join Rabbi Michael Satz for a new and interesting course on Engaging with Israel. iEngage, the Shalom Hartman Institutes program on looking at Israel from many perspectives will be intriguing and inviting for all members of community. The course begins on Wednesday November 26th at 7:30 p.m. in the Enkin Board Room. Registration is appreciated. The goal of the iEngage Project is to respond to growing feelings of disenchantment Read more »

Cry of the Giraffe – a Jewish Slave Commemorates the Ancient Sigd Holiday

Cry of the Giraffe: Based on a True Story

Cry of the Giraffe: Based on a True Story On November 20, 2014 at 7:30 p.m., Canadian/Israeli journalist and award-winning author, Judie Oron, will speak about the Sigd holiday in the context of her novel, Cry of the Giraffe: Based on a True Story. In the novel, a young Ethiopian Jewish girl named Wuditu has been trapped in domestic slavery. One morning, the child wakes up to realize that, having been separated from her community, she has Read more »

Collaboration and the Jews in Wartime France: the Myth of la France eternelle


Professor Michael Marrus Holocaust Education Week. Professor Michael Marrus. Wednesday, November 5, 2014 7:30 p.m. Join us as we welcome Professor Michael Marrus who shares the following: This lecture will take us back seventy years, to the delirious events of the liberation of Paris commemorated last summer. Drawing upon films made at the time, Professor Marrus will point to a tragic oversight of those days — the Jews.   Few people Read more »

Jewish Leadership Institute at Holy Blossom Temple

Leadership Banner

To be launched January, 2015 Rabbi Yael Splansky and Lisa Taylor, Founder of Challenge Factory  What's Jewish about Jewish Leadership?  How to lead in a secular world, Jewishly? The Leadership Institute is an innovative four month course designed for congregants in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Together we will explore how Jewish values can strengthen your professional leadership as well as how you may wish to offer your leadership to strengthen Read more »

The Sweet Sound of Music: High Holy Day Trope

Lindi Rivers

Click image above to enlarge Wednesdays, November 12 - 26, 2014 7:30 p.m. With Lindi Rivers, Cantorial Soloist Now that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are behind us, come and learn High Holy Cantilation! Perhaps you can become one of our Torah or Haftarah chanters on the High Holy Days. Bring your friends and let’s enjoy this beautiful trope together. RSVP to Lindi Rivers at 416-789-3291 ext. 252. Read more »

The Lost Matriarch: What Really Happened on Leah’s Wedding Night?


Click image above for more details Jerry Rabow, author Tuesday, October 28, 2014 – 7:30 p.m. A resident of California, we welcome Jerry Rabow for an interesting conversation and a look at some of the unique interpretations of the Torah text - the relationship between Jacob and Leah, Jacob and Rachel and Jacob and Laban, the girls’ father. We will even have a chance to write our own midrash….our own story, about what might have really happened Read more »

Great Jewish Books


Click image above for more details Join us on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. as Cynthia Good begins her class on Great Jewish Books. The first novel, is  The Afterlife of Stars by Joe Kertes (Canadian) Award winning author Joe Kertes provides an intriguing sequel to his novel Gratitude with this story of Robert, age 9.8 and his older brother Attila. The Beck family flee Hungary in 1956, escaping to the Paris townhouse of great-aunt Read more »

Learn to Read Hebrew: Hebrew for Beginners


Click image above for more details Is Hebrew something you always wanted to learn, but “didn’t have the time” – or thought you “couldn’t do it”? This is your chance. Join our master teacher – Dalia Alalouf, who has been teaching children and adults of all ages over the past “many” years. Dalia is Holy Blossom Temple! She can make it happen for you Please contact Dalia and join her for her class on Mondays, October 27-November Read more »

The Lost Matriarch: Finding Leah in the Bible and Midrash


Click image above for more details Tuesday, October 28 - 7:30 p.m. Jerry Rabow, author. The Lost Matriarch offers a unique response to the sparse and puzzling biblical treatment of the matriarch Leah. Although Leah is a major figure in the book of Genesis, the biblical text allows her only a single word of physical description and two lines of direct dialogue. The Bible tells us little about the effects of her lifelong struggles in an apparently Read more »

Library Book Club begins again!

Between Gods by Alison Pick

November 9, 2014 Marrying Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris Nineteen year old Chani, from an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family in London, England, is learning from the rabbi’s wife, Rivka, about what she needs to know as a Jewish wife. Of course, questions arise and draw us in to this story that ultimately, revolves around choice Between Gods by Alison Pick December 14, 2014 A Guide For the Perplexed  by Dara Horn This book is set in modern day Read more »

What Don’t We Talk about When We Focus on Israel's Security

Anat Hoffman

Anat Hoffman Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center. Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 7:30 p.m. Officials representing the state of Israel often focus on the Israeli-Arab conflict. Focusing on the conflict with Israel's neighbors distracts people from exploring some of the conflicts that rock Israeli society from within such as women's rights, religious pluralism, racism against minorities and struggles for freedom Read more »

Stolen Art of the Holocaust

The Secret Life of Max Stern

The Secret Life of Max Stern Sara Angel, Trudeau Doctoral Scholar Department of Art, University of Toronto, will present Stolen Art of the Holocaust. Sara has actively been researching this topic for many years and has recently published an article in The Walrus this week on Max Stern – the subject of her talk on Wednesday, October 29 at 7:30 pm. Please join us for this thoughtful and stimulating conversation. Please click here to Read more »

Great Jewish Books

Cynthia Good

Cynthia Good Cynthia Good, Professor Emeritus, Humber College. Tuesdays, October 7 - October 28, 2014 - 10:00 a.m. We will look at two of Cynthia’s favourite books. In The Afterlife of Stars, Joe Kertes, provides an intriguing sequel to his novel Gratitude. The Beck family flees Hungary in 1956, escaping to the Paris, for a seeming journey of adventure, but minefields both real and imagined confront them. The darkness of life is balanced Read more »

The Real Israel - Without the Hype, Slogans or Spin.

Jim Lederman

Jim Lederman Jim Lederman, Senior Middle East analyst for Oxford Analytica Wednesday, September 17, 2014 – 7:30 p.m. Jim Lederman is the longest-serving foreign correspondent in Jerusalem. In a career stretching over four decades, he has been a reporter for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, National Public Radio, and The New York Post. At Holy Blossom Temple 1950 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON M5P 3K4 Read more »

Yiddish lovers at HBT: The Chaim and Inna Grade Archive


By Rabbi Edward Goldfarb. Imagine that a hitherto unknown cache of unpublished manuscripts and correspondence of Ernest Hemingway had just been discovered. The interest in the scholarly community and the public would be enormous. Hemingway was a giant. Chaim Grade, pronounced Grah'de was such a giant of Yiddish literature. He died in 1982 and his widow was determined to protect his legacy. Unfortunately she became increasingly reclusive, and when Read more »

Preparing for the High Holy Days

Rabbi Jordan Helfman

Click to enlarge Get your Rosh (head) Ready; prayer of Rosh Hashanah Rabbi Jordan Helfman Tuesday September 16, 2014 7:30 p.m. The High Holy Day prayer book is like a mirror, showing us reflections of different parts of our being throughout this season of renewal.  “On Rosh Hashanah it is written,” according to the words of our Unetaneh Tokef piyyut.  Before we say these words in their place in the Rosh Hashanah service, come to get a Read more »

Observations From the Periphery

Holy Blossom Stories

Adult B’nai Mitzvah program - A peak experience. Bob Hodes, Temple member and Adult B’nei Mitzvah class graduate. ...All of us to whom Judaism, to whom being a Jew, has again become the pivot of our lives, we all know that in being Jews we must not give up anything, not renounce anything, but lead everything back to Judaism. From the periphery back to the centre, from the outside in... Franz Rosenzweig, 1919 - Siddur Pirchei Kodesh, page 532. Read more »