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03/11/2020 08:54:52 PM

Mar11

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Words of the Spirit, by Rabbi Liz Bolton, Or Haneshamah's rabbi and spiritual leader

What If?

03/18/2020 10:33:32 PM

Mar18

I am finding delight in the craziest little things. Or, more accurately, I’m allowing myself to seek, find, and relish such delight.

Here’s one. The plastic bottle with the dish washing soap was almost empty, so I went downstairs to pull out the large jug for a refill. As I was spinning the top back on to the large jug, it popped out of my hand and spun out behind the laundry machines. Oof, that’s an awkward spot, I thought,...Read more...

The Jewish Experience in Canada Today: A Presentation on the 2018 Srvey of the Jews in Canada

03/10/2020 08:55:12 PM

Mar10

In 2018, the Environics Institute for Survey Research conducted the first ever survey of Canadian Jewry, inspired by the 2013 Pew Study of American Jews. On March 4, 2020, OrH and the Soloway JCC hosted an event featuring an overview of the report’s six themes by one of the project’s principals, ORH member Keith Neuman.
 
A succinct yet rich presentation of the survey’s key findings was followed by a thoughtfully probing...Read more...

The Awe in the New Year of the Trees

02/05/2020 10:18:41 AM

Feb5

In anticipation of our annual Tu B'shevat seder taking place on Sunday, February 9, we are reprinting a Words of the Spirit column written in January 2016.

What is the most awesome, inspiring, jaw-dropping moment of all? This may be as close to a universal accord as one can find. Surely the answer must be: the birth moment.
The moment a baby comes into the world; the first tender slips of a bud; the emergence...Read more...

To Repair the World, One Spark at a Time

01/14/2020 09:17:29 PM

Jan14

Vehayyei olam nat’a betochenu   … letaken ‘olam bemalkhut shaddai -  endless potential lies within us to repair the world through the power of malkhut.
 
These phrases are embedded in each and every prayer service, in the words of the Aleynu prayer.
 
We don’t just say it, we sing Aleynu – it is up to us, through malkhut – sovereignty.
 
It was during their interpretive message...Read more...

Connecting Heaven and Earth

12/10/2019 09:35:35 PM

Dec10

On December 9th, 1948 the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and on December 10th voted to pass the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These landmark documents, created in direct response to the Holocaust, fundamentally transformed the ways in which the world thinks about responsibilities to every individual person.
 
The pair of documents calls to mind Jacob’s...Read more...

Filling in the Missing Pieces of Sarah's Life

11/26/2019 11:44:51 PM

Nov26

Should we be surprised that a parasha entitled Hayey Sarah, “the life of Sarah”, in fact opens with the death of Sarah, and encompasses nothing of her life story?

Torah is full of round-about tales and messages. Here is one that is perhaps more significant for being less straightforward. It is about Sarah, and yet not about one person, for it clearly connects to the origins of a people.

To find the beginning of this tale...Read more...

Happy Living in "Two Civilizations"

10/29/2019 08:14:22 PM

Oct29

And now, for something completely … regular.
 
We say farewell to Tishrey 5780 the same week that we welcome (regard with annoyance? celebrate? ignore?) Halloween. Because nothing says the Jewish fall festivals are over more clearly than the proliferation of skeletons, ghosts, and the creepy spray stuff that covers doorways and shrubs.
 
My view of Halloween? Two thumbs up, because it doubles the number of times...Read more...

Shelter for All

10/15/2019 09:12:23 PM

Oct15

As a young Jewish Canadian kid, Thanksgiving was, well, nonexistent. I vaguely knew that it was a Big Thing in the United States, mainly because we had relatives there. And because it often overlapped with Sukkot, which I only celebrated at school or shul, the fall harvest festival season didn’t really have an impact in our home.
 
Particularly after living in the US for 23 years, I learned that Jews there take Thanksgiving...Read more...

A Light New Change

09/24/2019 07:55:11 PM

Sep24

For some of us, this time of year evokes memories of new school items, perhaps a lunch box, sharp pencils with erasers that work, snazzy fresh outfits. For others, it’s the weather and its changes, from the hot-cool-warm-hot-cold pendulum swings to the changing colours.

Early in the week before Rosh Hashanah 2019/5779-5780 the fall equinox arrives, the date when the length of the day is perfectly balanced between light and dark. I...Read more...

Renew our Prayers, Renew our Days

09/03/2019 08:20:12 PM

Sep3

Right in the middle of Labour Day weekend 2019, Rosh Hodesh Elul - the first day of the month of preparation for the Jewish New Year - fell on September 1st. For one month, the Jewish calendar numbers will completely align with the Gregorian dates.

The High Holy Days, paradoxically, line up pretty well with the rest of year. There is a lot more alignment than there is difference between what we do on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur than...Read more...

Sun, September 20 2020 2 Tishrei 5781