2 03, 2020

Journey of a Lifetime: Temple goes to Israel – Day 1

By |2020-03-26T11:03:57-05:00March 2nd, 2020|Categories: Israel|1 Comment

It’s a joy to be writing you from Israel, where we have arrived after some travel adventures. The snow and ice which cancelled some of our flights feels far behind us, and our group of 34 congregants, family members and friends are very happy to be here. We dropped our bags at the hotel in Tel Aviv and made our way to the ancient city of Jaffa. Jaffa is known for being the city the prophet Jonah fled from when God called him - and, more recently, the port where many of Israel’s Jewish immigrants arrived. Noam, our guide, referred to it as the Ellis Island of [...]

13 06, 2019

Rachel’s story

By |2019-06-20T09:39:58-05:00June 13th, 2019|Categories: Conversion|1 Comment

I’d like to share the Journey of my choosing to become Jewish and to my day of immersion at the Mikvah. It was the year 2016, 5776 After getting our instructions from the (super, cool) Mikvah Lady, we all went into our separate changing rooms and one by one, we waited for our turn. Standing behind the door waiting, I was taking deep breaths. I had been a little anxious that I might cry and not be able to recite the Blessings, but in fact, instead, I was filled with the most unusual blend of nervous excitement and complete calm that it’s difficult to find words to [...]

14 03, 2019

Reflections on My Recent Trip to Israel (Parashat Pekudei)

By |2020-02-27T09:53:39-05:00March 14th, 2019|Categories: Israel|0 Comments

March 8, 2019 Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom, Westmount As most of you know, I spent two weeks in Israel at the end of February. I went with a group of young couples from Montreal – all under the age of 40. I was the Jewish Educator on a trip called “Honeymoon Israel,” (HMI). To be clear, it was not anyone’s actual honeymoon! Honeymoon Israel is a North American program established in 2014; between 15 and 20 communities participate; we are the only Canadian city on the list. Since it’s inception, more than 1,000 couples have traveled to Israel with HMI. Close to 75% of the couples who travel [...]

21 02, 2019

Crying My Way through Israel

By |2020-02-27T09:54:03-05:00February 21st, 2019|Categories: Israel|0 Comments

Crying My Way through Israel Rabbi Ellen Greenspan, February 21, 2019 I have been to Israel more times than I can count, including twice for an entire year. I have an emotional attachment to this land not which cannot be shaken by politics or by negative reports in the media. For a variety of reasons, I have never wanted to move here, (to make Aliyah), but I could live here. Israel is complicated; life here is challenging, but at the same time, in some ways, life is simpler than in North America. On this trip with Honeymoon Israel, as I tour this amazing, beautiful, complicated land, I [...]

29 10, 2018

Postcards from the Edge of Europe: A British View

By |2020-02-27T09:54:15-05:00October 29th, 2018|Categories: Guest Sermon|0 Comments

Shabbat Vayera 5779 Temple Emanu-El Beth Shalom, Montreal Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris At the beginning of this week’s parasha, Vayera, we are told of the three messengers of God, who are sent to Abraham and Sarah to foretell of Sarah’s impending pregnancy, despite her advanced age and previous infertility, and the subsequent birth of Isaac. The absurdity of a post-menopausal woman suddenly becoming pregnant by her husband, who too was advanced in years, was not lost on Sarah as she famously laughs when she hears this news. She laughs in amazement and embarrassment and disbelief, yet God cannot understand why she laughs. She back tracks, trying to [...]

22 08, 2018

Joseph Kaiser Returning to Temple for High Holidays

By |2019-02-28T12:00:30-05:00August 22nd, 2018|Categories: News|0 Comments

Joseph Kaiser, tenor (Montreal, August 22, 2018): The internationally acclaimed Montreal-born tenor Joseph Kaiser will be performing cantorial duties at Temple Emanu-El-Beth Shalom for the High Holidays. Mr. Kaiser will be the guest cantorial soloist for Erev Rosh Hashanah (Sunday, Sept. 9 at 7:45 pm), first day of Rosh Hashanah (Monday, Sept. 10 at 10:30 am), Kol Nidrei (Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 5:45 pm and 8:15 pm) and Yom Kippur (Wednesday, September 19 at 10:30 am). “The Days of Awe are a season of renewal, reflection, and repentance,” explained Rabbi Lisa Grushcow, Senior Rabbi at Temple. “Through his extraordinary voice and powerful presence, Joseph brings [...]

22 08, 2018

Pride Shabbat

By |2019-02-28T12:00:25-05:00August 22nd, 2018|Categories: News|0 Comments

Like most kids, I experienced a degree of bullying. It was part of the queer fabric of being a gay kid in Alberta. I didn’t play the right sports. I loved Tegan and Sara – Who are Calgarians, by the way. I was always a little bit different. The transition between grade 6 and 7 was brutal. It was like a switch flipped in everybody’s brain but mine. In June my friends and I were really into riding our bikes down Nose Hill. By September, at our new junior high school, everyone was gelling their hair, popping their collars, talking about girls. Girls? I had never considered [...]

26 07, 2018

Message from Israel

By |2020-02-27T09:54:24-05:00July 26th, 2018|Categories: Israel|0 Comments

It has been a full week in Jerusalem. You may have noticed Israel in the news lately, whether for its heroic role in helping 400 members of the White Helmets and their families escape Syria, or the renewed violence on the border with Gaza. In the middle of these international affairs, there have been three domestic issues front and centre in Israeli news. In the span of 24 hours, Israel passed a controversial nation-state bill; denied surrogacy rights to gay men ; and called a Conservative Rabbi in for questioning for having officiated a wedding. I’d be glad to discuss any of these in detail, but suffice it [...]

11 07, 2018

Message from Jerusalem 2018

By |2020-02-27T09:54:39-05:00July 11th, 2018|Categories: Israel|0 Comments

At the end of my first week in Jerusalem, my mind is full of images and experiences that I want to share with you. First: The Hartman Institute. Founded by Rabbi David Hartman, who made Aliyah from Montreal, the institute is a place with many dreams. Jewish pluralism: Israel-Diaspora relations; ethics and politics; all these are areas of engagement. On any given day, in addition to our cohort of rabbis spanning the denominational spectrum, there are also Muslim and Christian leaders, Israeli army officers, high school students, synagogue lay leaders, you name it... The rabbinic learning this summer has focused on the concept of “derekh eretz,” often [...]

24 05, 2018

Dale’s Story

By |2020-02-27T09:54:48-05:00May 24th, 2018|Categories: Conversion|0 Comments

Good afternoon everyone. Thank you, Rabbi Grushcow and Rabbi Greenspan, for all your hard work and dedication in making Temple the successful community it is. Thank you, Albert and Chantalle, for always being there for me. I would like to say that many things led to my conversion. My love for Albert and 2) I believe I do have Jewish roots, and I have always been drawn to Judaism. I have often compared my life to a series of bus route changes.  One of my bus routes was that of Judaism. Before living with my life partner, I started to research a lot about Judaism.  By the [...]

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