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 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) begins on November 2, 2015. 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, Read more »

Holocaust Education Week: Inside Hana’s Suitcase

Inside Hana's suitcase

As we prepare to observe Holocaust Education Week, The Holy Blossom Centre For Contemporary Jewish Literature invites you to join us for a unique opportunity bringing many aspects of the book and film, Inside Hana’s Suitcase together for you in one setting. Join us for “Presenting Hana’s Suitcase: the many expressions of the true story” on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. We are extremely fortunate to welcome the following participants Read more »

Contemporary Jewish Books: Two Types of Mystery

Two Types of Mysteries

Click image above for more details Join us on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 for the first of Cynthia Good’s four-session course, Contemporary Jewish Books: Two Types of Mystery at 10:00 a.m. The first book to be discussed will be Norwegian By Night by Derek B. Miller. Here is a short description of the book: Eighty-two years old, and recently widowed, Sheldon Horowitz has grudgingly moved to Oslo, with his grand-daughter and her Norwegian husband. Read more »

The 5776 - 2015/2016 Schwartz/Reisman Centre listings are now available online

Adult Ed Cover

Click image above to download Please peruse these pages carefully for many interesting courses, events, discussions and programs. There is literally something for everyone. We look forward to your participation which we hope will promote further conversation “post-event”. Stay in touch with us – let us know what you are thinking. Comment on our website or leave an email. Non-members friends are always invited – for a nominal Read more »

Walking in our Moccasins, First Nations Perspectives


‎ A four session course with First Nation instructors. Thursdays, October 1-22, 2015 7:30 p.m. A hands-on conversation and information about our First Nations community. Each week will bring a new topic and speaker. Join us for the following conversations: The Creation Story from an Anishinaabe Perspective, Amy Dejarlais – a political conversation. In 2003, Amy founded, EarthTALKER, a magazine focused on women and families. In 2008, Read more »

Haaretz Editor-in-Chief, Aluf Benn, speaks on Religious Pluralism in Israel

Aluf Benn

Aluf Benn Wednesday, September 9, 2015 11:45 a.m. Aluf Benn, editor-in-chief of a leading Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, will speak to us about issues of religious pluralism in Israel. Marriage, conversion, non-Orthodox Judaism, and freedom of (and from) religion in the Jewish State are all topics that will be discussed. Opening remarks by DJ Schneeweiss, Consul General of Israel in Toronto. Cost: $10, Kashrut observed‎, RSVP to Read more »

Sisterhood Torah Study with Rabbi Jill Borodin

Rabbi Jill Borodin

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 Room 209, Holy Blossom Temple Rabbi Jill Borodin Rabbi Jill Borodin Senior Rabbi, Congregation Beth Shalom Seattle, Washington Holy Blossom Temple Sisterhood invites you to attend a lecture discussion with our guest, Rabbi Jill Borodin, Senior Rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom, a Conservative Congregation, in Seattle Washington. Rabbi Borodin will lead a discussion as sourced in the Talmud titled: “Productive Read more »

You Can! Ukulele at Holy Blossom Temple

‘JEW’KULELE Susan Baskin, teacher & musician Sundays, October 25-December 13, 2015 12:30 p.m. -1:30 p.m. 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 to Holy Blossom. Come on out and have some fun learning to play Jewish songs—old and new—on your uke.   The ukulele is a wonderful instrument for beginners and it is a Read more »

Toronto's Poverty Reduction Plan


God upholds the cause of the orphan and the widow, and befriends the stranger, providing him/her with food and clothing. -- You too must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt --(Deut. 10:18-19). Tuesday, September 29, 2015 7:30 p.m. Youth Chapel The City Council will soon be debating a poverty reduction plan. The Holy Blossom Temple Community, in conjunction with the inter-faith coalition Faith in the City, has the Read more »

Calling All Performers!


Do you play a musical instrument? Are you a singer or dancer? The Centre for Arts & Culture at Holy Blossom Temple is looking for adults and teen performers who would like to share their talents with the Holy Blossom Temple Community,  for evenings of  music, song, dance and conversation. If you are a performer, or know of any performers who would be interested in joining this illustrious HBT group, please contact Debbie Spiegel, Read more »

Aspirational Judaism

Adult B’nei Mitzvah class light Chanukah candles together

Class lights Chanukah candles together Join us for our new course, Aspirational Judaism (previously known as the Adult B’nei Mitzvah class). Our two-year journey is about the practices, philosophy, and history of Reform Judaism. During each year of the program, we will focus on Hebrew language – at whatever your level may be, from beginners to intermediates – we have an opportunity for everyone. The second hour of the class focuses on Read more »

Conversations About Jewish Life Then and Now

Jack Kugelmass

Jack Kugelmass Sisterhood Torah Study Jack Kugelmass, MSW, RSW Wednesdays, July 8 - August 26, 2015 9:30 a.m. Jewish life is arguably an ongoing odyssey of social, historical, religious, emotional and mythical elements that serve to both enrich the imagination and drive us crazy at the same time. Whether we are living in an era of Kingship, when David was enjoying military success and personal chaos, or now, when we recently learned Read more »

Deadline Extended! Holy Blossom Mentorship Program


We are proud to announce the inaugural group of the Holy Blossom Temple Mentorship Program.  We are extremely proud of our members and all that they do in all aspects of their lives – be it professional, volunteer, at home, or within the Jewish or secular communities. Holy Blossom has been called ‘the most influential synagogue in Canada’ and this program expands on that reputation to bring forward the younger generation to build our sense Read more »

Ramadan Dinner at HBT


Click image above for more details By Rabbi Michael Satz. I believe that true inter-religious dialogue happens when people study together and, of course, eat together. Tuesday, June 23, 2015 Please welcome our guests from the Intercultural Dialogue Institute of the GTA as we study, pray, and break bread for their holy month of Ramadan. At 7:30 p.m. we will learn about Jewish and Muslim views of fasting and dinner begins after sundown at Read more »

Introducing the new ‘Salon’ Series at Holy Blossom!

Introducing the new ‘Salon’ Series at Holy Blossom!

Holy Blossom’s Cultural Centre’s Salon Series Launch: Introducing guest writer and artist, Tilya Gallay Helfield. I am thrilled to inaugurate our Holy Blossom Salon Series on Tuesday, June 9, 1015, with guest writer and artist Tilya Gallay Helfield, who will be reading excerpts from her recently published book, Metaphors for Love. The publication of this book marks the completion of a project that Tilya started some 30 years ago, but which Read more »

Two Revolutions of the Jewish Spirit: Reform Judaism and Zionism


Rabbi Michael Stroh Rabbi Michael Stroh New Dates: Now a two lecture series only Thursdays, May 28 & June 4 - 10:30 a.m. The two revolutionary movements of modern times that have defined our Jewish world are Reform Judaism and Zionism. The same historical forces gave birth to Reform, Modern Orthodox, and Conservative Judaism, Jewish Socialism, Jewish Nationalism and Zionism. Reform and Zionism were once antithetical and now are very Read more »

End of Life Conversations: Jewish, Medical and Legal Perspectives


With the recent Supreme Court decision on doctor assisted suicide, many of us are thinking about end of life issues. We are bringing together legal and medical experts to help us have these important and often difficult discussions in a Jewish context. Tuesday, June 2, 2015 7:30 p.m. We welcome experts from Jewish, legal, and medical perspectives to discuss many of the issues involving this important conversation, including: Jewish Values Read more »

"Through Our Eyes: The Joys and the Complexities of Life in Israel."

Tal and Aviv

Tal and Aviv An evening with Toronto's Shinshinim, Israel's finest young emissaries. Wednesday, May 27, 2015 7:30 p.m. The Toronto area Shinshinim will join together on Wednesday, May 27th for a fascinating conversation on the ‘issues of the day’ in Israel while we will learn from their perspectives on life in Israel in 2015. An Israeli 18 year old has a unique philosophy of life, much different from our North American students, as they Read more »

Harry and Blanche Posen Memorial Lectures: Professor Gabi Ben-Dor

Click image above for more details

Click image above for more details Join us for a fascinating evening or two with Professor Gabriel Ben-Dor. Gabi is one of the foremost thinkers on Israel and the current situation. Gabi has been our guest at Holy Blossom for many many years and again will join us this year as a part of the Harry and Blanche Posen Memorial Lectures on Monday, May 11 and Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 7:30 pm. Any questions that you have about Israel vis a vis the world Read more »

Turning Family into Fiction

Family Fiction2

Family is the glue for so many great stories – from the tales in the Torah to today’s fiction set in Toronto. Join us as three master storytellers talk about the way they weave their family stories and familiar characters into their own great fiction. We can be eavesdroppers as these friends discuss their work. There will be short readings from each and plenty of time for your questions, book signings and informal chats with our speakers. “Turning Read more »