Welcome to Lishma: a community of learners in our 20s and 30s
Whether you're a seasoned scholar or brand new to Jewish learning, we value the perspectives and experience you bring to the class.
In grateful recognition of J.B. and Dora Salsberg Fund for their support.
Semester 1 In-person @ Beth Tzedec October 25 - November 29, 2023 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Women Haunted: Yiddish Literature from Folklore to Modernism : with Julia Sharff Golems, dybbuks, demons, and witches occupy a place in the Jewish folk and literary imagination. In this course, we will encounter the spectral imagination of Yiddish women writers from the 20th century. Starting with Ashkenazi folktales of the supernatural before the 20th century, we will explore haunting thematically to interrogate how women use poems and short stories to complicate these earlier superstitions while channeling the often tumultuous realities of daily life. In doing so, this course will provide a modest look at the history of Yiddish literature through texts translated into English. No previous knowledge of Yiddish literature or culture is required.
Julie Sharff is a PhD student in the Department for the Study of Religion and the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. Her work broadly focuses on Yiddish Literature written by women, transnational Jewish identity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the occult and translation theory. You can find some of her work here: https://ingeveb.org/people/julie-sharff
The Spirituality of Secular Music: with Rabbi Ryan Leszner We're about to embark on a journey into the world of secularmusic that, surprisingly, holds deep connections to our Jewish teachings and traditions. Throughout this course, we'll be doing some singing and delving into ancient texts, finding the common ground between ancient wisdom and modern lyrics. But what makes this experience truly special is that, along the way, you'll have the chance to discover Jewish values that resonate with you personally. We'll foster meaningful discussions about these values through the lens of music, making this a unique opportunity for deepened growth and connection.
Ryan Leszner serves as the Assistant Rabbi and Director of Jewish Living and Learning at Congregation Darchei Noam in Toronto, Canada. He was ordained from the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in 2023. Ryan’s passion lies inprovidingeducational musical experiences that connect people to Jewish wisdom, traditions, and communities. With a wealth of experience in youth education, community organizing and worship, serving communities in Toronto, San Francisco, and Boston, he is committed to enriching the lives of learners at their level.
If These Walls Could Talk: Archaeology as Source Material: with Amit Rozenblum This lecture series will look at and examine different archeological sites throughout Israel. We will see if physical artifacts that were found can prove or not, the stories we read in the Bible. We will compare and see if physical evidence actually follows Mishnayot, or if is it the other way around. We will learn how a totally new architectural style was created to serve the new Halachot after the second Temple destruction. And we will see how different religions already co-existed in Jerusalem hundreds of years ago.
Amit Rozenblum was born and raised in Israel and has degrees in Hebrew Literature, Archeology, and Biblical Archeology. He participated in many archaeological excavations in Israel and worked as a Project Manager in the conservation department of the Israel Antiquity Authority. He also led numerous conservation projects in the old city of Jerusalem, the Upper Galilee and Golan Heights, Safed, and Caesarea. Amit moved to Toronto six years ago and began working for one of Canada’s leading restoration companies on several major heritage sites. Later, he worked for JIAS Toronto as a Project Manager and later, as the acting Program Director at Adath Israel Congregation. For the last 2.5 years, Amit has worked for Hillel Ontario, first as the Campus Director at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, and currently, as the Senior Director and Senior Jewish Educator at the University of Toronto.
Costs and Funding Lishma is funded by student contributions and partnering organizations, providing us with coordination, teachers, facilitators and space. We strive to keep costs accessible and we use a sliding scale. The suggested contribution is $72 ($12/night). There is a minimum of $36 for the semester ($6/night). If you are unable to contribute at this time, please be in touch in confidence with Aaron Rotenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learning to make Lachuch in Middle Eastern Cooking with Ronnie Abraham (October 2020)
2022/23: Semester 1: Tools for Ending Antisemitism: Understanding Ourselves and the Canadian Context of Antisemitism with Aaron Rotenberg The Jewish View on Reproductive Rights with Cantor Cheryl Wunch
Semester 2: Tikkun-ing this Shattered Olam: Kabbalah 101 with Izzy Waxman Jewish Fabulous: Queer and Subversive Figures from Across Jewish Sacred Text with Toby King
Semester 3: Controversy and the Jewish Tradition with Dr. Ori Werdiger Tending the Jewish Garden with Elena Potter Marking Time: Creating a Jewish Calendar Together with Leah Gold, A Printmaking Course for Artists of All Levels and Experience
2021/22: Semester 1: ONLINE Shmita: Release, Rest, and Reset with Risa Alyson Cooper Spoken Word Poetry: Resistance and Resilience with Ayla Lefkowitz
Semester 2: ONLINE North African Jewish Storytelling: Miracles, Folk Tales, and Histories with Chaim Grafstein Diaspora Judaism & Reconciliation: Locating Ourselves in the Conversation with Sterling Stutz Tackling Talmud: Leadership and Society with Rabbi Jordan Shaner
Summer mini-mester: ONLINE Learning and Unlearning: Exploring the Experiences of Jewish People of Colour and Inequality in Canada with Sara Yacobi-Harris
Semester 1: ONLINE @ Beth Tzedec Hands-On Track: Middle Eastern Cooking with Ronnie Abraham Judaism +Modernity Track: Finding Our Place: Jews in the Struggle for Racial Equity with Tema Smith Text and Context Track: Exploring Sephardi Jewry through Rabbinic Texts with Chaim Grafstein
Semester 2: ONLINE @ Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre Multigenerational Trauma and Resilience with Carmelle Wolfson, MSW, RSW and Adrianna LeBlanc, MSW Punishment and Prisons: the Polemics and Politics with Dyanoosh Youssefi Homesteading the Holidays with Rabbi Becca Walker
Semester 3: ONLINE @ Holy Blossom Klezmer Crash Course with Lorie Wolf, Toronto Klezmer Society Hands-on History: The Early Years of the Toronto Jewish Community with Sharoni Sibony The Illustrated Pirke Avot with Rabbi Zachary Goodman and special guest, Jessica Tamar Deutsch
Semester 1: @ CSI Annex Tzedakah (Hands-On Track): Dyeing & Doykheit: An exploration of natural dyeing, connection to land and Jewish diaspora with Sarit Cantor T’shuvah (Judaism +Modernity Track): Returning, Repenting & Reconnecting with Yacov Fruchter T’fillah (Text and Context Track): Learning to Live Whole-Heartedly with Rabbi Julia Appel Semester 2: @ Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre Hands-On Track: Jewish Self-Care through the Arts with Or Har-Gil Judaism + Modernity: Faith Based Social Justice with the Lishma Team Text and Context: 6 Amazing Texts with Rabbi Zachary Goodman
Semester 3: @ Holy Blossom Temple Hands-On Track:New Jewish Film with Aaron Rotenberg Judaism + Modernity: Bad@$$ Sheroes with Rabbi Becca Walker Text and Context:Jewish Couplehood with Yacov Fruchter
Semester 4: ONLINE @ Beth Tzedec Hands-On Track: Creative Writing with Tikva Hecht Judaism + Modernity: Medical Ethics with Rabbi Steven Wernick Text and Context: Queer Apocalypse in the Jewish Imagination with Rabbi Andrea Myers 2018/19:
Semester 1: @ Miles Nadal JCC Hands-On Track: Hebrew Calligraphy as Jewish Art with Baruch Sienna Judaism +Modernity Track: Harry Potter and the Sacred Text with Jenny Isaacs Text and Context Track: Weekly Torah for Beginners with Rabbi Jordan Helfman Semester 2: @ Beth Tzedec Hands-On Track: Tachles! Learning (Beginner) Conversational Hebrew with Lior Sagi Judaism + Modernity: PJ Library/Melton Foundations of Jewish Living with Daniel Silverman Text and Context: People of the Book, People of the Land with Risa Alyson Cooper
Semester 3: @ CSI Annex Hands-On Track:Mindfulness in Silence and Song with Aviva Chernick / Jewish Music for the Healing of the Soul with Aaron Lightstone (split course) Judaism + Modernity:Jewish Couplehood with Yacov Fruchter Text and Context: Feminist Torah with Rabbi Denise Handlarski
Semester 4: @ Holy Blossom Temple Hands-On Track: Starting an Indigenous/Jewish Conversation with Leah Mauer Judaism + Modernity: Refugees, Judaism and Asylum with Howard Adelman Text and Context: Judaism and Happiness with Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl