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 2 ONLINE
Wednesday evenings, Feb 2 - Mar 9 (online)
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Tackling Talmud: Leadership and Society with Rabbi Jordan Shaner
The Talmud may be one of the most challenging texts in our tradition, but it offers essential lessons on moral reasoning, righteousness, and realism. Over six sessions, we’ll tackle some of the Talmud’s “greatest hits” and discuss the ways these passages can help us understand contemporary issues and arguments. This course is sponsored by Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto.
Rabbi Jordan Shaner is the assistant rabbi of Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto. A fan of sharing old Jewish ideas with modern Jewish people, Jordan leads Temple Sinai’s NextGen program for 20’s and 30’s.
Diaspora Judaism & Reconciliation: Locating Ourselves in the Conversation with Sterling Stutz
This six-week course is an invitation into conversation and discussion to consider how Jewish people living on Indigenous lands are responsible for the work of reconciliation and responding to colonial violence through ongoing action and relationship with Indigenous peoples.
Through collaborative group discussions, guest speakers, and optional readings, participants will be asked to consider how we can show up in support of Indigenous peoples and communities as Jews and as individuals who benefit from ongoing colonization. This course will utilize the Transcending Jewish Trauma framework as a tool to understand how Jewish intergenerational trauma may impact our & our communities openness or discomfort in these discussions and invite participants to lean into any discomfort as we move through the curriculum. Participants will leave the course with an understanding of why we as Jews hold responsibility to respond to the Truth & Reconciliation Calls for Action and how we can begin to engage in that work both as individuals and as members of our own respective communities and organizations.
Sterling Stutz (she/her) is a community builder & educator whose work is rooted in the Jewish principles of Tzedakah and Tikkun Olam. A white settler of Ashkenazi Jewish and Irish/English ancestry, Sterling grew up attending synagogue in Thornhill and currently lives outside of Nogojiwanong (Peterborough) on Michi Saagiig Territory. One of the founders of IfNotNow Toronto, Sterling is a long-time member of the Toronto Jewish community and is passionate about building relationships and supporting anti-racist, anti-colonial spaces and futures within diaspora Judaism.Sterling is committed to participating in and facilitating complex discussions about dismantling colonialism in the Toronto Jewish community and believes in the power of communities to create meaningful and sustainable change.
Image of Rabbi Yosef Messas reading
North African Jewish Storytelling: Miracles, Folk Tales, and Histories with Chaim Grafstein
The North African Jewish literary tradition includes many familiar and unique genres of Jewish literature. One of the most interesting genres are the Sifre Maasiyot, books of stories, that constitute a form of popular storytelling. These stories, written mostly in Judeo-Arabic and Hebrew, include Midrashim (rabbinic stories), Sipure Tsadiqim (tales of righteous people), and some fascinating historical narratives. In this six week exploration of the genre, we will look at stories recorded by Rabbi Yosef Messas (1892-1974) in his work Naḥalat Avot. Each week will look at 1-2 stories, some parallel tales within and beyond the Jewish tradition, and look at some of the themes and values that emerge from these stories.
Chaim Grafstein is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto's Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations. His current research is on the 20th Century rabbinic author Rabbi Yosef Messas. Chaim is passionate about North African Jewish culture, maintaining the Judeo-Arabic language, and developing a North African and Middle Eastern Jewish community in downtown 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)
2021/22: Semester 1: ONLINE Shmita: Release, Rest, and Reset with Risa Alyson Cooper Spoken Word Poetry: Resistance and Resilience with Ayla Lefkowitz
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