Reflections on My Recent Trip to Israel (Parashat Pekudei)

By |2019-06-06T14:22:13-05:00March 14th, 2019|Categories: News|

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 [...]

Crying My Way through Israel

By |2019-06-06T14:22:21-05:00February 21st, 2019|Categories: News|

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 [...]

Postcards from the Edge of Europe: A British View

By |2019-02-28T12:00:34-05:00October 29th, 2018|Categories: News|

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 [...]

Joseph Kaiser Returning to Temple for High Holidays

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

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 [...]

Pride Shabbat

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

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 [...]

Message from Israel

By |2019-02-28T11:59:45-05:00July 26th, 2018|Categories: News|

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 [...]

Message from Jerusalem 2018

By |2018-07-11T10:29:34-05:00July 11th, 2018|Categories: News|

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 [...]

Dale’s Story

By |2019-02-28T12:00:47-05:00May 24th, 2018|Categories: News|

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 [...]

“My Journey to Judaism”, Helen’s story

By |2019-02-28T12:00:56-05:00May 24th, 2018|Categories: News|

As far as I can remember in my adult life, I have been attracted to Judaism. At the age of 34, I sat down with my father and told him that I believed he was born Jewish. He was speechless. I had just uncovered a family secret.  Psycho-genealogy might explain this subconscious awareness I had, an awareness that was passed on from my ancestors. I felt Jewish in my kishkes. What follows are snapshots of various experiences I have had along my journey to Judaism and since my conversion. On Shabbat When I worked in the oncology clinic at the Jewish General Hospital, (and yes, I had specifically [...]


By |2019-02-28T12:01:01-05:00March 20th, 2018|Categories: News|

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 [...]

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