Our Pride Havdallah Service: June 18, 2016/5776

With reverence and remembrance, our shul commemorated Pride in 2016.  At this our 10th annual one, allies and LGBTQ people stood to recite the names of all those killed in Orlando one week before. As she has done for the past decade, Rabbi Goldberg led the service. She spoke movingly about the plight of queers world-wide while also relaying stories of triumph and joy. Chazzan Gesundheit sang Hebrew prayers and English songs with her customary grace, and Paula Wolfson finished the service with a rousing, musical call-to-action. We heard from a gay man who recently fled Russia and awaits word on the fate of his husband attempting to come to Canada, and from a representative of JIAS on the work they are doing for refugees and immigrants, LGBTQ and straight.  Many who attended rallied afterward to offer help to those in need: that included the possibility of refuge in an observant home for an Orthodox Jewish teenager who has recently come out and been ostracized by his parents, as described by Elise, a young member who spoke from the bimah. Each celebration of Pride has contributed to Shir Libeynu's roster of milestones, from 2007 when we were the first shul to do so and including in 2014, when we were part of World Pride's multi-faith initiatives.  This year's tragedy in the U.S. added particular poignancy to the service. I continue to be a proud member of this inclusive, caring community.
                                                                                     -Harriet Eisenkraft,


Shabbat Morning Services

Saturday, July 2, 10:30 a.m.

Join us as we usher in the summer with Shabbos and a light kiddish afterwards. Rabbi Goldberg will lead, with Alice Newman reading Torah. Our children's program (ages three to eight) will have special activities; of course, children are always welcome to join their parents in the chapel.
MNJCC, third floor.

Our next summer service will be a lay-led one on Saturday morning, August, 6, at the MNJCC.


The Mitzvah of Performing Tahara: Our Renewed Chevra Kadisha/Gemilut Hasadim (Loving-Kindness) Group

Would you like to learn how to perform what our sages describe as a "good deed of truth," chesed shel emet? This is the mitzvah of tahara, the task of ritual cleansing of a deceased and the subsequent dressing for burial according to Rabbinic law. This practice is considered to be a most laudable one, as tending to the dead is a mitzvah truly devoid of ulterior motives or expectation of gratitude.

Congregation Shir Libeynu is hoping to organize a small group to learn this holy task. Our goal is to have at least six men and six women who will be available as the need arises to perform all aspects of tahara for deceased members of our congregation.

Please  contact Rabbi Goldberg if you are interested and for further information regarding classes on tahara, which will take place in the new Jewish year.

This group will be part of our renewed chevra kadisha (sacred society) and gemilut hasadim (loving-kindness society) circle, a dedicated coterie of people who honour the deceased, and comfort the bereaved by supporting families during the shiva (traditional week of mourning). Comforting the bereaved may include the leading of prayer services and/or attending at shiva and also providing food and help during this time. This group may also participate in palliative care before death, as required and requested by the family. These are some of the important ways that members can provide chesed (compassion and grace) to other members in need, and they are essential elements of Jewish tradition and practice.

If you would like to fulfil the mitzvah of participating in one or more of our other renewed groups: for prayer leading (knowing how to read Hebrew is a requirement), write to: prayerleading@shirlibeynu.ca , or to offer help to the bereaved for shiva, write to: shivahelp@shirlibeynu.ca .To be part of the group offering palliative care, as needed, please write to:  lovingkindness@shirlibeynu.ca .

If you would like to speak to Rabbi Goldberg confidentially about any of these groups or about matters to do with death and dying, please write to:  rabbi@shirlibeynu.ca

Join our Choir: A Message from our Chazzan, Daniela

To the members, friends, and families of our Shir Libeynu community,

Each year, several members of our congregation join forces to form the Shir Libeynu High Holy Days choir. Some are professional musicians, while others have never dared to sing outside of their own homes. Some are fluent in Hebrew, while others have never spoken a word of it. 

I have had the pleasure of sitting in on some of the rehearsals - often these gatherings would take place in someone's home, with snacks and tea and chatting and laughter.

Over the course of the weeks leading up to the holidays, the group would bond as they readied themselves to bring something irreplaceable to our services. 

Having a volunteer, member-based choir is central to our value of inclusivity at Shir Libeynu. Our choir director, Vered Philip, also volunteers her time and talents, making the entire endeavour a labour of love and a true offering to the community. 

If you sing, or have any lingering desire to bring more joy and music into your life this year, I encourage you to join the Shir Libeynu choir. Details about participation are below. 

Looking forward to making music with you!

Daniela Gesundheit
Chazzan and Musical Director 

 -six or seven mandatory, two-hour rehearsals, usually at the MNJCC, with one at First Unitarian Congregation where we hold our High Holy Days' services;

- rehearsals are held during weekday evenings or weekend days;

- early arrival on holiday service days when choir is participating.


- While we very much value the time that choir members spend as volunteers for this important element of the services, we do not sanction volunteer time in exchange for memberships or tickets;  2016/5777 Membership and Ticket Price List.

- All participants in the choir must have tickets to the services at which they will be singing: Shir Libeynu membership includes all tickets, or tickets to individual services can be purchased. 

High Holy Days 2016/5777

Our membership and ticket form will be available in early July.

High Holy Days Links:

Artists Wanted for Juried Group Art Exhibition
Curator: Mahrokh Ahankhah     http://queengallery.ca/
We are seeking submissions for the upcoming group exhibition "A World At Peace," which i s the theme for our first multi-cultural art exhibition, to be held by Congregation Shir Libeynu during the 2016 / 5777 High Holy Days period, October 3-12. The exhibition will take place in the sanctuary gallery space at the First Unitarian Congregation site in Toronto, where we hold our services every year.

In this intensely troubled time, the exhibition organizers believe that the multi-cultural, multi-gifted artists of Toronto can do much to bring our communities together. People are seeking outlets to experience peace, harmony and a sense of community. "A World At Peace," which will pay tribute to spiritual, religious and cultural traditions in a juried display of visual arts, can be another healing initiative.

We welcome you to take part in sharing your interpretations of world peace. 


Community-Partner Program, MNJCC

Free Family Jungle Gym - Pride Edition
Sunday, July 3rd, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Movement and fun for children up to eight years old. ALL families welcome - including chosen! Join Shir Libeynu member Daniel, who coordinates the program for the J, and others for this free event.

Newsletter Editor:  Harriet Eisenkraft
Congregation Shir Libeynu
416-465-5488 | shirlibeynu@yahoo.ca | http://www.shirlibeynu.ca
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Congregation Shir Libeynu
Mailing Address: 
8171 Yonge Street # 122
Thornhill, Ontario   L3T 2C6
(416) 465-5488