20 03, 2018


By |2019-02-28T12:01:01-05:00March 20th, 2018|Categories: News|Comments Off on INTERFAITH EXPERIENCES FOR WHICH I HAVE BEEN GRATEFUL

Sermon by Dr. Catherine Jarvis Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom Friday, March 16, 2018 Thank you to Rabbi Grushcow and Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom family for this invitation to share a few words with your congregation tonight.  I feel welcome and at home in your synagogue.  In fact my history in Montreal is woven/knit in interesting ways to this very synagogue.  I hope you we see that as I speak to you tonight. Chieko Okazaki a past member of the general presidency of the Relief Society (Women’s organization) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke about patterns of interconnectedness.  She said, “We may not know what contribution [...]

24 07, 2017

Letter from Jerusalem

By |2019-02-28T12:01:08-05:00July 24th, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments

Over a week ago, two Israeli Druze soldiers were shot and killed by terrorists on the Temple Mount. This past Friday, along with a small group of colleagues from the Hartman Institute where we are studying, I made the trip up to Hurfeish, near the Lebanon border. We went to give condolences to the family of one of those soldiers. Kamil Shannan (z"l - of blessed memory) came from a prominent Druze family. His father was a Member of Knesset (the Israeli parliament), and the Druze community as a whole stands out for its service in the Israeli military and police force. Although they are not Jewish, [...]

1 03, 2017

Kenya Day Three

By |2017-05-01T09:17:50-05:00March 1st, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments

Chickens. The Israeli embassy gave chickens to St. Mary's School for Girls in Nakuru, Kenya today. It's part of an approach called Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), which the school's top educator learned in Israel. The essence of ESD is for children to invest in school life in an empowered way, working to create a sustainable community. As part of this, they help produce the food which is used for school meals... hence the chickens! But even here in Kenya, challenging and inspiring, I am following the news from North America. I am heartsick at the news of the continued bomb threats against Jewish Community Centres, and now [...]

28 02, 2017

Kenya Day Two

By |2019-02-28T12:01:16-05:00February 28th, 2017|Categories: News|1 Comment

What are we doing here? Members of our group plan to take turns blogging, so I won't be sharing every detail of our trip every day. That being said, each day is so full of experiences, questions, and reflections that I want to share with you. So today, let's explore how a nice Jewish girl finds herself in Kenya in the first place. When I was asked to be involved with this trip, I couldn't say no. Let me admit up front that I love to travel, and I have always wanted to go to Africa. But it's not just the location of this trip which drew me [...]

27 02, 2017

Kenya Day One

By |2019-06-06T14:23:15-05:00February 27th, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments

We landed in Nairobi last night after over a day of travel. Our delegation has twelve members, all young Montreal Jewish leaders, plus a diplomat from the Israeli foreign service. Including me, there are five Temple members on our trip. Today was a remarkable start. We began the morning at the Gatoto school (www.gatoto.org - check it out!). The school has 1082 kids between the ages of 4 and 13... and a staff of just 40, with fewer than 30 teachers. Class sizes range between 50 and 70 students. The school started out in a one-room church in the adjacent slum (which we drove through to reach the [...]

20 02, 2017

Christian’s story

By |2019-02-28T12:01:22-05:00February 20th, 2017|Categories: Conversion|0 Comments

My Journey to Judaism It is hard to pin-point the spark that initiated my fondness for Judaism, its people, its history and its culture. Born into a French-Canadian Catholic family of Irish descent, I certainly did not have anything resembling Jewish in my environment. I had an abnormal interest in the Old Testament: this according to three of my teachers in grammar school, and I was the one with the embarrassing questions about certain rules, practices and even divinities that simply did not make sense to me. I kept asking why we went to church on Sunday, since the last day of the week was Saturday! And I [...]

20 02, 2017

Chuck’s story

By |2017-05-01T09:18:23-05:00February 20th, 2017|Categories: Conversion|0 Comments

I grew up in a house where what most would imagine as an ideal family life did not exist. Relationships were cold and indifferent, and holiday celebrations were nonexistent. We were without the emotional bonds during our lives that makes a family close. Even after death, when speaking of family members lost, we treated them as if they never existed. I enlisted in the military, (U.S. Navy), right after high school, and quickly became a member of a “Unit.” A family. We taught and learned from each other, were responsible for each other’s successes, failures, and our very lives. We revered those who served before us. Those whom [...]

20 02, 2017

Chloe’s story

By |2017-05-01T09:18:40-05:00February 20th, 2017|Categories: Conversion|0 Comments

It is hard to imagine that the word “Jewish” sounded so foreign and completely unrelated to me not too long ago. When I met my now-husband Andrew, I was fed small, delicious morsels of Jewish tradition and history. We made latkes and cholent and charoset, spun the dreidel, felt the tallit that belonged to Andrew’s great-grandfather, and he would tell me the fascinating stories he learned from Hebrew school as a child. I eventually came to realize that this was the kind of home I wanted to create for Andrew and myself. My path to becoming a Jew-by-choice was a gradual one, (as, I suppose, most life-changing journeys [...]

20 02, 2017

Jane’s story

By |2017-05-01T09:18:53-05:00February 20th, 2017|Categories: Conversion|0 Comments

Converting to Judaism was one of the most important decisions of my life and came about when my mother-in-law passed away after seventeen years of marriage. Although I was not a practicing Catholic, I was brought up in a devout Roman Catholic family and strongly identified with religious traditions. Although I married a Jewish man, conversion was never a consideration even though I was firmly ensconced in Jewish life. At my mother-in-law’s funeral, it occurred to me that I could not eventually be buried with my husband in a Jewish cemetery, or sit shiva for him if he predeceased me. Conversion classes changed my attitude from being skeptical [...]

20 02, 2017

Duane’s story

By |2017-05-01T09:19:07-05:00February 20th, 2017|Categories: Conversion|0 Comments

I will begin by saying that August 26, 2013, the day that I went to the Mikvah to complete my conversion, was the best day of my life after my wedding day. In 2007, I met the love of my life, and in 2008, we were married. I was never religious being a Christian growing up. I always did keep my faith in God but did not believe in a lot of what I was told, especially about being gay and that it was a sin. So I kept my faith private within myself and alone. Then, when I got married and even when we began dating, I [...]

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