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

Book Talk: Between Gods with Alison Pick

Alison Pick

Alison Pick Monday, February 9, 2015 7:30 p.m. Join us as we meet Alison and learn more about her latest book, Between Gods, a memoir about depression, family secrets, and forging a new identity from the ashes of the past. Alison will share her thoughts followed by a conversation with Cynthia Good, Chair of our new Centre for Contemporary Jewish Literature. Read more »

After the Israeli Election: What Will Get Israelis Enthused About the Peace Process Again

Jim Lederman

Jim Lederman Jim Lederman, journalist Tuesday, February 10, 2015 7:30 p.m. US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Europeans have made it clear that they expect that after a new Israeli coalition government is formed, Israel's first order of business will be a renewal of (an American mediated) peace process. The fact is, though, that every American mediation effort has failed. In the past, Washington has placed most of the blame for past Read more »

Radical Thoughts: Torah, Talmud, Reform Judaism

Rabbi Michael Stroh

Click image above for more details Rabbi Michael Stroh joins us once again for a 6 session course, sponsored by our Brotherhood. Rabbi Stroh always brings the perfect mix of intellectual stimulation and casual learning style. Everyone loves to learn with Rabbi Stroh. Join us for one or all six sessions! Read more »

Telling and Retelling Rachel

Professor Laura Wiseman

Professor Laura Wiseman Wednesday, January 14, 2015 7:30 p.m. Professor Laura Wiseman, York University Join us on Wednesday evening, January 14 as Professor Laura Wiseman, of York University, delves into the story of Rachel. Who is she? What made her “tick’? Rachel is one of the most interesting personalities of the Torah. She, in her quiet, and not so quiet way, guides the history of our people as only she could. We will have a special Read more »

Fields of Exile with Dr. Nora Gold

Fields of Exile, Dr. Nora Gold

Fields of Exile, Dr. Nora Gold Tuesday, February 3, 2015 7:30 p.m. Dr. Nora Gold is an author, an Associate Scholar and the Writer-in-Residence at the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education at OISE, U of Toronto, the editor of the online journal, and a social activist. She co-founded the New Israel Fund of Canada, Canadian Friends of Givat Haviva and JSpaceCanada. Dr. Gold will speak about what led her to write Fields Read more »

Israel in a Turbulent Middle East with Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Dr. Mordechai Kedar Thursday, January 22, 2015 8:00 p.m. Dr. Mordechai Kedar Middle East expert at Bar Ilan University …“One of the few Arabic-speaking Israeli pundits seen on Arabic satellite channels defending Israel”. Los Angeles Times PROUDLY PRESENTED BY THE SPEAKERS ACTION GROUP AND HOLY BLOSSOM TEMPLE ISRAEL COMMITTEE ISRAEL IN A TURBULENT MIDDLE EAST: Making sense of the election amidst the chaos and threats … what's Read more »

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 »