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

An Evening with Etgar Keret, Israeli author


Sunday, September 25, 2016 7:00 p.m. Centre for Contemporary Jewish Literature at Holy Blossom Temple Presents... Etgar Keret is an Israeli writer known for his short stories, graphic novels, and scriptwriting for film and television. In his most recent book, The Seven Good Years, a memoir, we learn about the time between the birth of his son and the death of his father, a Holocaust survivor. It covers the gamut of life in Israel, from the 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. 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.  Ages 8 to 108.  Bring your own ukulele. Intensive sessions for beginners:  Wed Sept 7 & 14 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 »

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 »