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D'var Torah by Jenny Isaacs, Social Justice Scholar-in-Residence - October 14, 2017

21/11/2017 01:06:40 PM


Good morning. Shabbat Shalom. I am honoured to have been chosen to be the Social Justice Scholar-in-Residence for this new year, 5778. Over the past many years, I’ve had multiple opportunities to connect with the Darchei Noam community. Each time has been positive and enriching and I look forward to the year ahead of connecting in this new way.

My first time at Darchei Noam was as the Assistant Coordinator of the Shinshinim Program...Read more...

Self-Forgiveness - Kol Nidre Sermon by Rabbi Tina Grimberg, September 29, 2017

07/11/2017 10:14:52 AM


A white note in a shape of a dove flew past me as a late autumn wind carried it in to the sky. Shivering daveners at the Wall hurried home as the Jerusalem evening descended. The note was taken by the wind from the crevices of  Western Wall and carried in to a shivering air. What happens to these notes I asked myself, never wondering before. Since I learned that one million prayer notes are placed in the crevices of the Western Wall...Read more...

Many Messiahs - Rosh Hashanah Sermon by Rabbi Richard Hirsh, September 21, 2017

24/10/2017 01:49:36 PM



A year ago on Rosh Hashana, I offered a sermon based on three Jewish teachings about Satan. In Jewish tradition, Satan is the persecuting prosecutor. He is the one who places the record of our accumulated transgressions before God on these days of reckoning.

In the interests of equal time, this year I want to share three Jewish teachings about the Messiah, the mythical character who...Read more...

The Gantze Megillah: About the Five Megillot

10/10/2017 11:48:53 AM


By Sydney Nestel on behalf of the Adult Education Committee

Almost everyone has heard of Megillat Esther (the Scroll of Esther), but not everyone knows that there are five “megillot” (scrolls) in the Tanach (the Hebrew Bible).

And those who know even a bissel Yiddish ( a little Yiddish) know that the phrase “the gantze megillah” means, literally “the whole scroll”, but figuratively-  “the whole story”: (an allusion, perhaps, to having to sit through a complete and overly...Read more...

Rosh Hashanah D'var Torah by Marcy Tepner & Rona Kosansky, September 21, 2017

02/10/2017 10:44:19 AM


We are about to participate in a mitzvah – the sounding of the shofar. But, before we do, I would like to talk about the last of the 613 mitzvot, the obligation for every Jew to write a Torah scroll, and about the concept of “Hiddur Mitzvah”, the “beautification of a mitzvah”. 

Take a moment to look at the magnificent panels of Torah that surround us. This is Hiddur mitzvah....Read more...

My Summer at Darchei Noam, by Katarina Kusic

18/09/2017 01:05:34 PM


This summer I had the pleasure of working at Darchei Noam as the summer student administrative assistant. Through this position I learned valuable professional skills, worked with an amazing group of people, and was warmly welcomed into a kind and compassionate community.

My primary role as the administrative assistant was to assist with the membership renewal process and High Holy Days ticket mailing. This included the mailing of...Read more...

Experiencing the DN Downtown Pop Up School, by Jessica Greenberg

05/09/2017 03:06:10 PM


I grew up at Darchei Noam. I attended Shabbat services, Hebrew School (the very first classes of which were held in my family's basement!) and had my Bat Mitzvah and later my aufruf at Darchei Noam. Now I have my own family and I've migrated downtown. We are an interfaith family committed to the values of inclusion, social justice and creativity, and while Darchei Noam will always feel like a kind of home to me, I've been craving a Jewish...Read more...

Parshat Ekev D'var Torah by Judy Katz Howard

14/08/2017 11:56:57 AM


“ And if you do hear these rules and keep them and perform them, God will maintain for you the covenant and the love  that He swore to your fathers.  He will  love you and bless you and multiply you.  He will bless the fruit of  your belly and the fruit of your soil, your new grain and new wine and oil, the calving of your herd, and the lambing of your flock in the land that He swore to your fathers to give to you....Read more...

From the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College: Let's Journey Together

11/07/2017 02:26:45 PM


In the words of Rabbi Deborah Waxman, the president of RRC/Jewish Reconstructionist Communities:

This beautiful collection of words reflects so well on participants in the Reconstructionist movement. It is a mirror of who we are – a community of thoughtful, engaged people on the frontier of new ideas who welcome all people to join with us in ways they find comfortable and meaningful.


Parashat Korach D'var Torah by Avi Magidsohn

27/06/2017 10:43:07 AM


D’Var Torah

Parashat Korach

June 24, 2017


Shabbat Shalom.  And Happy Pride! 

Today’s reading is Parashat Korach - a difficult one to link to Pride Day, what with the earth opening up...Read more...

Event Recap - Israel at Risk: Preserving the Two-State Option

12/06/2017 02:26:05 PM


“Israel at Risk: Preserving the Two-State Option” was the title; “Security First” was one of the underlying themes. A secure, Jewish, democratic state is the goal. Unilaterally completing the security barrier, ending the demolishon of the homes of Palestinians, and taking other immediate steps to bolster its security while at the same time improving the lives of Palestinians and empowering more moderate Palestinian leaders: These...Read more...

Ten Things We Can Learn from Leviticus: D'var Torah by Rabbi Richard Hirsh

29/05/2017 12:24:28 PM


We are nearing the end of the annual reading of the Sefer VaYikra, the Book of Leviticus. Of the five books of the Torah, the one that most often agitates, aggravates or annoys liberal Jews is Leviticus. The archaic content, the priestly perspectives, the elaborate attention to the ancient system of sacrifices, and the regulations about ritual purity and impurity makes Leviticus a considerable challenge for teachers, preachers, and b’nei...Read more...

Yom Ha'atzmaut Speech by Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada

16/05/2017 12:16:55 PM


Thank you, Ambassador Barkan, for such a kind introduction. It is so great to be with you all for the celebration of Yom Ha’atzma'ut —the 69th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. And it's wonderful that we are here amid the opening of this exhibit of...Read more...

From CIJ News: Congregation Darchei Noam Celebrates Israel

30/04/2017 10:48:29 AM


by Tamar Dobner

(see below for Hebrew)

In celebration of Israel’s 69th Yom Haatzmaut, Congregation Darchei Noam is inviting the community to a myriad of events, starting with an Israeli Singalong of Shirei...Read more...

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Class Shabbaton

19/04/2017 10:00:54 AM


From Friday, March 31 to Saturday, April 1, our Bar/Bat Mitzvah class spent a wonderful Shabbat together at Woodland Trails in Stouffville, Ontario.

We asked the students about their experience attending the Shabbaton. Here is what they had to say:

I have learned Jewish Laws We talked about certain Jewish justifications The Shabbat morning service was great and meaningful I enjoyed learning Birkat hamazon we learned new...Read more...

DN: The Early Years - Reflections from Eric and Lil Mendelsohn

03/04/2017 12:20:28 PM


What inspired us to get together in that gathering of like-minded people? Even before the first time we came together ‎with others in a Toronto Reconstructionist service, Lil had a good feeling when she made the first phone call and connected ‎to Rhonda Schild. When Rhonda outlined plans for the first...Read more...

Refugee Family Sponsorship in Lunenberg, NS

20/03/2017 01:18:35 PM


By David Friendly

In late 2015, I was one of 50 residents of the Lunenburg, Nova Scotia area who met at the St. John’s Anglican Church to discuss whether we could collectively sponsor a Syrian family under the umbrella of the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and PEI, one of the local Sponsorship Agreement Holders with the Canadian Government. At that meeting were people from 5 local churches, the Rotary...Read more...

Event Recap: Mysticism Then & Now, World Interfaith Harmony Week

07/03/2017 02:51:59 PM


This year, World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) came along just when we all needed it. More typically, the timing of this celebration is not ideal – the first week of February, when twilight descends fast. Many of us would prefer to stay at home than attend a night-time event in mid-winter.

This year,...

Parashat Yitro D'var Torah by Rabbi Rena Arshinoff

22/02/2017 12:57:12 PM


Darchei Noam Dvar Torah February 18, 2017

Rabbi Rena Arshinoff

Parashat Yitro

Last month, I observed yarhrzeit for my mother z”l who died 14 years ago. I found myself reflecting on her and our relationship. My mother was loving, but quite demanding of my attention and we sometimes struggled to...Read more...

Darchei Noam's Participation in the Circle of Unity with the Islamic Foundation, by Rabbi Grimberg

08/02/2017 01:16:12 PM


In my hands, I’m holding more than 20 colourfully decorated cards. I love one in particular. It is bright pink with two smiling faces on the cover. One has dark and a beard and is wearing a white head covering. The other has lighter skin and wears a green yarmulke. Between them, a heart. When I open the card, it reads: Thank you for supporting us and standing by our side. Our differences should not separate us but they should bring us...Read more...

D'var Torah by Bernie Farber, Social Justice Scholar-in-Residence

23/01/2017 01:54:07 PM


I was brought up in the shadow of the refugee experience. Both my parents left their ancestral homes not because they wanted to but as a result of persecution and antisemitism.

My late mother Gertrude was brought to Canada as a child prior to the Second World War. Driven from their village of Zaslav in the Ukraine by violent pogroms, Canada was a welcoming home at that time.

Arriving by Steamship to the Harbour in Halifax...

Diversity Committee's December Event: Remarks by Andria Spindel

09/01/2017 01:27:37 PM


The Emerging Jews of Brazil and Elsewhere in Latin America


On December 4, 2016, 120 members and guests of Congregation Darchei Noam were presented with an historic and current verbal and pictorial overview of emerging Jewish communities in Brazil and other Latin...Read more...

Sukkot's Harvest Kiddush: Recipes

27/12/2016 02:23:26 PM


The following dishes that were added to the Sukkot Kiddush by the Shomrei Adamah Committee were prepared by Joel Troster and Gloria Boxen with locally grown produce purchased at the Farmers Market held at Mel Lastman Square Thursday mornings in warmer months. These items are marked in the recipes with an “*”.

We once again enjoyed the seven species challah first introduced by Joel for the last Erev Shavuot kiddush. The recipe...Read more...

My Spiritual Journey: Remarks by Paula Blackstien Hirsch, Kallah Bereishit, 5777 / 2016

12/12/2016 10:52:19 AM


Shabbat Shalom, and Chag Sameach

As the wheels of our plane touched down in Berlin 4 weeks ago, I turned on my phone – there was a voice mail from our President, Ryan Friedman, to call back as soon as I could. I assumed he was calling to ask me questions regarding a Special Meeting of the Congregation being held the following evening – one that I was sorry to be missing. I am likely one of few people in this congregation who would...Read more...

My Spiritual Journey: Remarks by Effi Gold, Chatan Torah, 5777 / 2016

30/11/2016 02:52:56 PM


Shabbat Shalom,

This is exciting. I just can’t wait to hear what I have to say.

It would be a stretch to say my spiritual journey began at the Orthodox Shul in my home town of Bournemouth. I would walk 3 miles to Shul every Shabbos with my brothers, I attended children’s service religiously, and I went three times a week to Heder until the age of 16. But this mostly involved learning by rote. I didn’t find it...Read more...

Malchuyot & Zichronot: Rosh Hashanah reflections by Stephen Lurie & Ellen Bialystok

15/11/2016 11:08:06 AM


Malchuyot, by Stephen Lurie

These days on the internet you can find an abundance of information - for example, controversy about where to place the Malchuyot blessing, its combination with Zichronot and whether it occurs on Rosh Hashana only or on Yom Kippur if it is a jubilee fast day.

I will leave this subject to Rabbi Tina and other scholars, but do want to thank her for asking Ellen and I to use Malchuyot and Zichronot to...Read more...

Holy Lies: Rabbi Grimberg's Kol Nidre Sermon, October 11, 2016

02/11/2016 01:33:55 PM


Kol Nidre

5777 / 2016

Holy Lies


Part I

When the Holy One was about to create Adam, an argument broke out in heaven: “Is it a good idea to create a human being or rather four other entities:Righteousness,...Read more...

The Art of Listening: Rabbi Grimberg's Rosh Hashanah Sermon, October 3, 2016

19/10/2016 05:41:05 PM


Rosh Hashanah 5777

Day I



The Art of Listening: The New Year’s Gift

It is this stirring, wild, ancient sound that makes us tremble. It is this sound that we come here to hear. It is this call that our children remember as their earliest memories. Sounded 100 times during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is a shofar call: chilling, challenging,...Read more...

Torah Stitch by Stitch: A D'var by Temma Gentles

28/09/2016 03:36:21 PM


Shabbat Shalom. I am honoured to be here.

I’ve been invited to speak about the Torah Stitch by Stich (TSBS) program, in partnership with Congregation Darchei Noam, that officially launches today. This partnership has been in the works for several months and, thanks to the grace of the Board,...Read more...

Book Series: Jewish Identity in Literature

13/09/2016 10:48:58 AM


This Fall, Darchei Noam’s Adult Education committee is pleased to sponsor a book club that will run for three sessions – all building on the theme of understanding and defining Jewish identity.  The three books were written by people with very different relationships to that identity.  Some of them will surprise you - all of them will provoke and move you.

There is an arc in this journey of Jewish identity that begins...Read more...

Mon, 15 August 2022 18 Av 5782