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Introducing our 2019/20 Shinshinim, Ben and Shalev.

25/06/2019 03:32:49 PM


In the Fall, Darchei Noam is pleased to be welcoming two new Shinshinim, Ben and Shalev, to our congregation. To introduce themselves, they have created this entertaining video to share with all of you. We look forward to meeting them in the...Read more...

Goodbye Speeches from our 2018/19 Shinshinim, Noa and Itamar.

25/06/2019 02:50:51 PM


This past year, Darchei Noam was fortunate to have two wonderful Shinshinim, Noa and Itamar. On Saturday, June 8, they addressed our Shabbat congregants to say goodbye and tell us about all that they had learned during their year in Toronto.

Here is the transcript of their speeches:

Shabbat Shalom,

Being a Shinshin in Toronto has meant a great deal to me. It meant leaving my family, the kibbutz and my home,...Read more...

The Month of May in Pictures

24/05/2019 08:50:21 PM


Yom Ha'atzmaut:









Music Therapy

02/05/2019 04:04:35 PM


We had a very successful program with Aaron Lightstone last year.   Myra Schiff shares here about that experience.  We look forward to welcoming him back again this year, on Thursday, May 30 at 7:30 pm in the triple rooms.  We hope reading this blog post inspires you to join us for this year’s program. 

You may know Aaron Lightstone as a musician who sometimes leads us in singing on Shabbat...Read more...

DN: The Early Years - Reflections from Harvey and Gilda Freeman

16/04/2019 11:23:03 AM


Reconstructionism has metamorphosed many times since it was introduced to Toronto in the 1940’s. Initially it was a few ‎dozen individuals who subscribed to the Reconstructionist magazine and were philosophical acolytes of Mordecai Kaplan’s....Read more...

Parshat Vayechi: D'var Torah by David McKee, December 22, 2018

02/04/2019 11:49:35 AM


This parasha is the last in the book of Genesis.  It is the end of the stories of the ancestors.  It contains three parts: the blessing of Menasha and Ephraim and their incorporation into the B’nei Israel (though once again, the younger brother prevails).  A long and sometimes bitter farewell from Jacob to his sons, rewarding some and cursing others.  And a final confrontation of Joseph and his brothers (other than...Read more...

Parshat Vayigash: D'var Torah by Karen Weinthal, December 15, 2018

19/03/2019 02:56:47 PM


This week we are looking at Parsha Vayigash, which continues the story of Joseph. At this point he has risen high in the Egyptian court, to 2nd in command, as a result of his interpretations of Pharoah’s dreams, particularly the one indicating an upcoming  7 year drought and famine, which the Egyptians were then able to anticipate and prepare for. He is in charge of dispersing the food. The famine eventually brings his brothers to...Read more...

Event Recap: Tu B'Shvat Seder

04/03/2019 02:15:32 PM


Tu B’shvat Seder 15 Sh’vat 5779 - January 20, 2019 


"Parents were thrilled and felt it was a meaningful event. They enjoyed seeing the kids’ presentations and overall had a wonderful time.” Ariel Zaltzman, Director of Youth Education and...Read more...

The Whys, Wheres, Dos, Whos, and What's of the Spring Book Club

19/02/2019 01:41:35 PM


By Leslie Pomer, Adult Education Committee

Here are some some questions that only you can answer...

All the Rivers, by Dorit Rabinyan

~~Why was this book named Book of the Year by Haaretz?

~~Why was this novel awarded the Bernstein Prize?

~~What would be the outcome of an Israeli of Iranian origin falling in love with an Arab?

~~Where does guilt come into play with this...

Parshat Ki Tavo: D'var Torah by Charles Novogrodsky, September 1, 2018

04/02/2019 10:33:18 AM


Ki Tavo is a migration/immigration story. It is fitting we discuss it this shabbat after a summer when migration - and the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers - are such contested features of our world.

Ki Tavo means “when you enter”. This is a famous Torah portion. It is about First Fruits, tithes and blessings and curses. In Ki Tavo Deuteronomy moves to a climax- and here as the people of Israel get ready to enter the...Read more...

Parshat Haazinu: Whither the Generations, D'var Torah by Jack Muskat, September 22, 2018

23/01/2019 12:34:31 PM


The structure of this week’s Parsha, Ha’azinu (lit. Give Ear) is a poem, or Song by Moses for  the Children of Israel poised to enter the Promised Land. 38 Years have elapsed since Moses’ first Song “Az Yashir Moshe” was given to the first generation of Exodus, upon their triumphant crossing of the Reed Sea, upon their exit from Egypt. But this is a new generation, for whom the trials and tribulations of the past generation are...Read more...

Darchei Noam's Mission to Pittsburgh: Participants' Reactions

03/01/2019 12:00:19 PM


Esther Enkin:

There are times when we are lucky enough to have the privilege to participate in transformative events. Our weekend in Pittsburgh was one of those times for me – and, judging by the comments by members of Dor Hadash and the 28 DN members who participated, it is a widely shared feeling. It was truly remarkable - six weeks after such a profound trauma, our Pittsburgh hosts opened their homes and...Read more...

Tia Asks Why: A CBC Interview with Rabbi Grimberg

11/12/2018 01:30:58 PM


Thai Asks Why: What happens after you die?

Tai Poole is trying to find...

Drash for Shabbat Shuva by Mark Matchen, September 15, 2018

27/11/2018 11:20:14 AM


Shabbat Shalom

I’ve had a question in my mind for a very long time, and I return to it once in a while without really reaching any clarity. And that’s OK; it’s nice to have these meaty questions out there for reflective moments. This one is, why does Yom Kippur follow Rosh HaShanah, rather than precede it? That might seem arbitrary, but another way to think of it is, why...Read more...

Aging with Wisdom: Rosh Hashanah Sermon by Rabbi Tina Grimberg, September 10, 2018

13/11/2018 11:12:30 AM


Last year, after the High Holy Days, I spoke with one of the members of our community who mentioned to me that, upon entering the sanctuary for the holidays, she noticed how much older everyone around looked. “Age,” if we are fortunate, is the price we pay for a long life. The alternative, I am often reminded, is not particularly welcomed.

So, what does our tradition say about getting old? Does it have an opinion or wisdom to...Read more...

My Spiritual Journey: Remarks by Isabelle Kaczmarek, Kallat B'reishit, 5779 / 2018

30/10/2018 12:56:11 PM


I was once a good Catholic girl.

My parents were immigrants who came here from post-war Europe...Polish Catholic refugees who met and married in a British DP camp in Germany. When they came to Canada, they spent a short time in the depths of Northern Ontario, where my sister was born, but ultimately settled in Oshawa, where my father worked in a car parts factory.

They brought with them their religion and their culture, which...Read more...

Shofarot: A Drash for Rosh Hashanah by Zoë, September 11, 2018

16/10/2018 10:07:07 AM



Why is the shofar such an important part of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur? How can something as simple as the horn of a ram bring all of the Jewish people together once a year? The shofar is not only an instrument, but an item that has a lot of symbolism associated with it.

Shanah Tovah. There are three main themes of the musaf, which teaches us the meaning of Rosh Hashanah. The three main...Read more...

Getting to know our Shinshinim, Noa and Itamar, by Marcy Tepner

03/10/2018 10:00:58 AM


Marcy: Welcome to Toronto Noa and Itamar! I understand that Toronto has the largest group of shinshinim in the diaspora and the program here is in its 12 th year. You have both deferred your army service for one year in order to
volunteer as Israeli emissaries here in Canada. Tell me a bit about yourselves and what part of Israel you are from.


Malchuyot: A Drash for Rosh Hashanah By Evan Prosserman, September 11, 2018

17/09/2018 02:55:30 PM


One of the three major themes of Rosh Hashanah is Malchuyot. It proclaims God as sovereign over the world. He is the creator with absolute power and a source of everything. During the service we reaffirm this belief.


The words on Malchuyot from our Mahzor may roll off your tongue easily. To someone like me, who is...Read more...

10 Questions to Ask Before You Join Our Book Club, from the Adult Education Committee

28/08/2018 02:24:05 PM



Do you have to see the American 2018 Book Club film as a pre-requisite to joining the DN Book Club?


Will there be enough time to obtain and read the fall selections?  Check out the dates! The books are available in various formats from the Toronto Public Library for optimum exposure to selections...Read more...

A Mishpocha Picnic, by Richard Osolen

07/08/2018 12:55:19 PM


On Sunday, July 8, the Downtown Mishpocha group, with the participation of the East Mishpocha group, held our annual picnic in High Park. Already in the unrolling of the days, the impact is fading but the fact remains strong: of the several annual picnics we’ve had this one stands out as extraordinary.

Alan Meisner booked a lovely location. Just far enough from the main road to be comfortable and close enough to be convenient. It...Read more...

Darchei Noam Goes to a Wedding! By Rabbi Richard Hirsh

25/07/2018 01:13:20 PM


In the musical “Rent,” we are reminded: “Let's celebrate! Remember a year in the life of friends.” On May 27, under a glorious 6:00 PM sun on Peugeot Sound in Seattle, we were privileged to celebrate not just one year, but thirty-seven years of connections.  Several of...Read more...

The More Things Change the More They Stay the Same, by David Friendly

09/07/2018 04:18:30 PM


In less than 4 years we will celebrate our 50th anniversary and we hope we will will also celebrate retiring our mortgage. We have indeed come a long way, but we have never strayed too far from our roots as a struggling, but intimate, and relevant chavurah. I wrote the following more than 10 years ago:


Although I live in Calgary and get to Darchei Noam only a few times a year, especially on the High Holy Days, my...Read more...

Event Recap: Aaron Lightstone, Neurologic Music Therapist

19/06/2018 03:17:30 PM


By Myra Schiff


You may know Aaron Lightstone as the musician who has led us in song on Shabbat mornings. Or you may know him from Rabbi Tina’s program on aging. On May 31, we got to know him through his program about his work as a music therapist. 

During the program, Health and Rehabilitation Benefits of Music and Music Therapy in Older Adults, Aaron talked about various aspects of music therapy, illustrating many of them...Read more...

DN: The Early Years - Reflections from Fredelle and Harold Brief

29/05/2018 02:41:19 PM


My early memories of Darchei Noam are bound with the sense of intimacy within the new congregation. Most of the ‎members had young children, and a majority of those had their roots in other communities in Canada and the United ‎States. In Canada, Winnipeg, Montreal, and the east coast come to mind, and we were also blessed with members from ‎the USA. People formed social friendships that were more like the relationships within extended...Read more...

My Time with our Shinshinit Batel Mamo, by Marcy Tepner

08/05/2018 10:21:14 AM


I have always wanted a daughter, but, after 32 years, raising three boys to adulthood, I'd come to terms with my lot. A daughter was not in the cards - until this past Fall. When I heard that Darchei Noam's Shinshinit, Batel was still in need of a third host family, I jumped at the opportunity to offer her a place in our home. Having hosted Shinshinim in the past, I knew how rewarding an experience it could be.

"Shinshin" is an...

Parshat Shemini: The Sin of Loving Too Much, D'var Torah by Jack Muskat, April 7, 2018

18/04/2018 12:00:52 PM


“It was in those dogs to care too much and try too hard—

-from Alistair MacLeod’s novel, No Great Mischief

Today’s Parsha has an interesting focus. It begins with the sacrifices offered on the eighth day of the inauguration of the Mishkan:

“Speak to B’nai Yisrael and tell them to take unblemished animals: a goat for a sin offering, and a yearling calf and a lamb for a burnt offering, and a bull and a ram...Read more...

DN: The Early Years - Reflections from Danny Schild

03/04/2018 01:02:44 PM


My interest in Reconstructionism began in the 1960’s when I was a university student and I subscribed ‎to the Reconstructionist magazine which, believe it or not, was published in print form and mailed ‎twice a month. As a result of my subscription I received a letter from Rabbi Lavy Becker of the ‎Reconstructionist synagogue in Montreal late in 1971...Read more...

Event Recap - Our Home, Our Stories: Indigenous, Muslim and Jewish Communities in Dialogue

19/03/2018 01:18:50 PM


An uplifting and heartwarming experiential program filled with stories, music, dance, special foods and wisdom took place at Darchei Noam on February 7, 2018.


For the 3rd year in a row the Interfaith Committee of Darchei Noam and the Intercultural Dialogue Institute worked together to produce an outstanding program as part of World...Read more...

Parshat Terumah: Finding a Place for G-d to Live among Us, D'var Torah by Jack Muskat, February 17, 2018

06/03/2018 04:39:29 PM


“And let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them” (25:8)

Today’s Parsha begins the narrative of the building of the sanctuary and the construction of its utensils. The entire focus of the Torah from this point on, through the end of the Book of Shemot (Exodus), The Book of Vayikra (Leviticus), and half of the book of Bamidbar (Numbers) is on the Mishkan, (Sanctuary). In total, 354 verses are devoted to the building...Read more...

Sun, 29 January 2023 7 Sh'vat 5783