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E-Update May 1st, 2013
In This Edition 


1. Next Shabbat Service - This Saturday, May 4, 2013


2. Upcoming Services

a)  Shabbat Morning Service/Doran Green Bar Mitzvah - Saturday, June 1, 2013

b)  PRIDE Oneg Shabbat - Friday, June 7, 2013
c)  Meditative Afternoon Service - Saturday, June 22, 2013


3. Other Shir Libeynu Items

a)   Tikkun Leil Shavuot - Tuesday, May 14/Wednesday, May 15, 2013

b)  **UPDATE** Talmud Study Group


4. New Feature: Help Wanted

a) Volunteers for Tikkun Leil Shavuot

b) Host Families for Heart to Heart


5.  Community Announcements 

a)   Jewish Mindful Meditation Retreat and Workshop

b)   Jewish Mindfulness Meditation as a Contemporary Jewish Mystical Path


6.   New Feature: Shir Libeynu People 




  Our Next  Service


Saturday, May 4th, 2013

10:30 a.m.


Miles Nadal JCC

750 Spadina Avenue @ Bloor

Michael Bernstein Chapel


Join our Chazzan, Daniela Gesundheit, and long-time member, Charlie Lior, this Shabbat as we look towards Shavuot, the holiday of the revealing of the Torah on Mt. Sinai.  This music-filled service will include the welcoming of one-year-old Nathan Robert Burkhalter into our community  
Our free childcare program will include crafts and stories about Shavuot.

A Kiddush lunch is served at noon.


This month's Kiddush is sponsored by Alice Newman & Robert Weir in honour of their first grandchild, Nathan Robert Burkhalter, born on April 10, 2012 to Robin andUpcoming Gary Burkhalter in Kitchener, Ontario.






 Shabbat Morning Service  

 Saturday, June 1st, 2013 @ 10:30 a.m. 


First Unitarian Congregation

175 St. Clair Avenue West


This special service will include the Bar Mitzvah of Doran Green, son of Marc Green and Arlene Hazzan Green. All are welcome.


Our free childcare program will include crafts and stories.

 A light Kiddush will be served after the service.

Please note that this service takes place at First Unitarian Congregation, 175 St. Clair West.Pride


PRIDE Oneg Shabbat

Friday, June 7th, 2013 @ 7:30 p.m.


Miles Nadal JCC 

 750 Spadina Avenue @  Bloor

Michael Bernstein Chapel


Having won
many important battles for equal rights here in Canada, now is no time for complacency. As we gather this June to raise the rainbow flag in celebration of Pride, we focus on the struggles LGBT refugees face worldwide.  
Please join Congregation Shir Libeynu for our
annual Pride Service. This year, we are excited to offer a special Oneg Shabbat Friday evening service, where we will honour local groups that help LGBT refugees flee persecution and find a new home, including here in Toronto. 
A dessert and coffee reception will follow the service. Space is limited, so if you would like to attend,
please RSVP with your contact information to



Meditative Shabbat Afternoon Service 


Saturday, June 22nd, 2013 @ 4:30 p.m.


Miles Nadal JCC 

 750 Spadina Avenue @  Bloor

Michael Bernstein Chapel



This meditative service, anchored by Lorne Blumer, will provide an opportunity to enjoy some Shabbat stillness through chanting, silence and some guided meditation. All are welcome. 


Please note that child care will not be available for this service.Other


Light refreshments will be served afterward.


 Other Shir Libeynu ItemsTikkun   


  Tikkun Leil Shavuot All-Night Learning Celebration - Tuesday, May 14th/Wednesday May 15th, 2013
From 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. the next morning

Miles Nadal JCC

750 Spadina Avenue @ Bloor


Meet up at the corner of Sinai and Spadina for a full night of community, study, singing, snacking and more! The downtown Toronto Jewish community gathers together to mark the occasion on which the ancient Israelites received the Torah at Sinai. Drop by for an hour or stay the whole night. Enjoy a variety of classes including: Torah and Talmud study, cooking, philosophy and Jewish meditation. Special programs for kids and teens. All are welcome! Free.


Congregation Shir Libeynu is proud to be a sponsor of this event, along with  Annex Shul, Congregation Beth Torah, City Shul, UJA Committee for Yiddish, Danforth Jewish Circle, Congregation Darchei Noam, Downtown Jewish Community School, First Narayever, Habonim Dror/Camp Gesher, Holy Blossom Temple, Jewish Family & Child, Kulanu Toronto, Limmud Toronto, Makom, Miles Nadal JCC, Nefesh HaHayim, Oraynu, Paul Penna DJDS, and Shoresh. 

Please support our shul by attending one or more of the following sessions, presented by people from Congregation Shir Libeynu:


11:10 P.M. to 12:10 A.M. (THIRD SESSION)


David (Be)Loved: Tales of Passion - Eden Nameri


King David, whose very name meant "beloved," had a devotion to God that was personal and reciprocal. He and Jonathan, his friend and his brother-in-law, shared a love "surpassing the love of women," yet the king's desire for one woman was so great that he stooped to murder. Do these stories of David's intertwining loves show a man who loved not wisely but too well?


Eden Nameri has been telling tales in and out of shul for many years. Her renditions of stories from the Tanach are illuminated by contemporary and traditional midrash.


12:40 A.M. to 1:40 A.M. (FOURTH SESSION) 


Imagining Our Past: Jewish Gay Experience in Contemporary Historical Fiction Shlomo Gleibman

How gay is Jewish history? Can this past be recovered or reclaimed? Can it be imagined? Some Canadian and American authors try to answer these questions - in very different and mind-provoking ways.

Shlomo Gleibman is a PhD candidate at York University, Department of Humanities (Jewish Studies and queer studies) and Educational Coordinator of Kulanu Toronto.

1:55 A.M. to 2:55 A.M. (FIFTH SESSION)

Judaism Meets Stillness:  An invitation to chant, pray, meditate and, quite possibly, encounter the richness of the present moment. - Lorne Blumer and Daniela Gesundheit


The intention of this "Judaism meets stillness" gathering is to invite participants to settle into a Jewish "here and now." Often, Jewish prayer feels less like a spiritual encounter, and more like an act of simply keeping up. By contrast, this workshop, although not a prayer service, is intended to offer participants an opportunity to go deeper, through chants based on Jewish liturgy, meditation based on Jewish concepts, and focused prayer.
Lorne Blumer periodically leads contemplative services for Shir Libeynu, and is currently a student in the Institute for Jewish Spirituality's program in Jewish Mindfulness Teacher Training.
Daniela Gesundheit has been serving as Chazzan and Musical Director at Shir Libeynu since moving to Toronto from California in 2008. She is also the primary songwriter for her band Snowblink (Arts & Crafts records), a duo projectTalmud with her husband, Dan Goldman.
 *NEW* Talmud Study Group


Our latest programming initiative is a Talmud study group that would meet once or twice a month to read, analyze and discuss different Talmudic passages (in English). No previous experience required!


Several people have already expressed an interest, and we would like to know who else might be into getting this collaborative project off the ground. Our goal is to have a sustainable system of rotating "hosts" who would choose and distribute a passage as well as organize or provide a venue.


Please email Elise Eisenkraft Klein at if you are interested - and pass it on to others who might be. Information on initial meetings will be sent out later this week to those who write in, so sign up now.






This new section will let you know how you can help out at Shir Libeynu - one project at a time. Please keepVolunteers an eye out for ways to pitch in.

Volunteers for Tikkun Leil Shavuot


Help out at this all-night event, co-sponsored by Shir Libeynu, by volunteering for a shift. There is a special need for cheesecake cutters from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and snack dispensers from 10:30 p.m. to midnight. 
Volunteers are expected to attend a Volunteer Orientation Session on Tuesday, May 7 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the MNjcc. Volunteer duties will be scheduled in shifts so you'll have a chance to study, too.
To volunteer for a shift, please email
 by Thursday, May 2nd.
Host Families for Heart to Heart
For the past two summers, a group of Jewish and Palestinian Israeli youth have come to Canada to take part in Heart to Heart, a three-week coexistence program that includes a few days in Toronto. Heart to Heart is looking for families to host two or more participants  each, from Wednesday, July 31st to Saturday, August 3rd, 2013. This commitment mainly consists of providing them with a comfortable place to sleep and several meals. The program has had positive feedback from all of our host families in previous years. For more information, contact the program coordinator at Please help Shir Libeynu support this important programCommunity by opening up your home.




JewishMindfulAnnouncements in this section appear at the discretion of the newsletter editor to help promote Shir Libeynu's community partners and other organizations.

a) Jewish Mindful Meditation Retreat - Thursday, May 23rd to Sunday, May 26th, 2013 @ Galilee Centre, Arnprior, Ontario



Join True North Insight and the Awakened Heart Project for a mindfulness retreat that incorporates teachings from the Jewish mystical tradition. Taught by Rabbi Jeff Roth, the retreat is an opportunity to deepen your own mindfulness practice regardless of any prior connection to Jewish practice.  There is a cost for this program and registration is required. To register or for moreMysticalNew information, please click here.



b) Jewish Mindfulness Meditation as a Contemporary Jewish Mystical Path- Monday, May 27th, 2013 @ 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Miles Nadal JCC, 750 Spadina Avenue @ Bloor


Rabbi Jeff Roth is offering an evening of Theory and Practice of Jewish Mindfulness Meditation. The suggested donation for the event is $15.00.



Rabbi Roth is one of the teachers for the Jewish Mindfulness Teacher Training program attended by Lorne Blumer, who frequently leads contemplative services for Shir Libeynu.




This new section will provide a chance for our congregants to get to know more about each other. If you are engaged in a project, have an interest, have experienced a life cycle event or know of a congregant who has, please let us know. We request that submissions be in before the THIRD MONDAY of the month. Editorial considerations include -- but are not limited to -- length of items, scheduling of listed events, frequency of submissions, and generality of interest.

Shir Libeynu Fund

Proceeds from the fund will go towards ensuring that Shir Libeynu continues to thrive while ensuring access to everyone, regardless of their financial situation.


Click here to donate to the Shir Libeynu Fund (please note that we do not have credit card capability - just PayPal). 


Alternatively, you can make out a cheque to Congregation Shir Libeynu (please write "Shir Libeynu Fund" in the "Memo" or "Re" section on the cheque) and mail it to


Shir Libeynu, 

P.O Box 73509

Toronto, Ontario

M6C 4A7


Please send an email message to 

stating the reason for your donation so we can acknowledge it in the Shabbat handout and on our website. Donations in any amount are welcome and income tax receipts will be issued.




The congregation holds Shabbat services on the first Saturday morning of each month, in the Michael Bernstein Chapel, on the 3rd floor of the Miles Nadal JCC, followed by a Kiddush. Free childcare is available during the services. We also offer adult education workshops and programs, the possibility to participate in our choir and chanting events, as well as holiday celebrations and Oneg Shabbat dinners throughout the year.



Congregation Shir Libeynu is unaffiliated, liberal, inclusive and egalitarian. Our participatory services combine tradition and innovation. Shir Libeynu is Hebrew for "song of our hearts," and our services include prayers and music both ancient and modern. Our diverse community is a welcoming one.

Need more information? Please contact us at: or at (416) 465-5488


Congregation Shir Libeynu

Our New Mailing Address:

P.O Box 73509

Toronto, Ontario, M6C 4A7