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Lishma Jewish Learning Project

Presented by: Annex Shul, BASE, Beth Tzedec Congregation, Holy Blossom Temple, UJA:Genesis and the Miles Nadal JCC

Lishma is a 20s and 30s learning space.

For more information, visit

Wednesdays, 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Semester 1 (ONLINE via Zoom): October 14/21/28 and Nov 4/11/18

Registration Information 

Course Selection

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Course Descriptions: 
Hands on Track Fall 2020

Hands-On Track: Middle Eastern Cooking with Ronnie Abraham

Join us as we explore a different dish every week and learn about its background, featuring flavours from Aden, Yemen and the Middle East. We hope to introduce everyone to new recipes, ingredients and broaden our culinary horizons. All dishes will be vegetarian with no nuts or dairy. 


Ronnie Abraham is an Adeni Jew raised in London, England. He grew up in a family of talented cooks with decades of family recipes and cultural traditions from the historic Jewish community in Aden, Yemen. Now living in Toronto at Moishe House Maple Leaf Gardens, Ronnie is a community builder with a passion for sharing his love of cooking.


Judaism & Modernity Fall 2020


Judaism + Modernity Track: Finding our place: Jews in the Struggle for Racial Equity with Tema Smith

With a renewed awakening about the pervasiveness of systemic racism in our society, questions about where the Jewish community fits in are appearing more and more. How do we show up for Jews of Colour? How does the social construction of race impact the Jewish community? Are Jews white? And what about antisemitism? In this 6-week course, we will dive into some of these hot-button topics and emerge with a deeper understanding of each of our places in the fight for justice. 


Tema Smith is a diversity advocate, writer and Jewish community builder. She is currently the Director of Professional Development at 18Doors (formerly InterfaithFamily) an organization that empowers people in interfaith relationships to engage in Jewish life and make Jewish choices, and encourages Jewish communities to welcome them, and a contributing columnist at The Forward whose writing on Jews, race and community has been published in MyJewishLearning and the Canadian Jewish News. Tema is dedicated to building a meaningful and inclusive Jewish community through research, training, writing and relational engagement work.  

Text & context fall 2020

Text and Context Track: Exploring Sepharadi Jewry through Rabbinic Texts with Chaim Grafstein

Jewish life in the Middle East and North Africa remains a complex and vibrant part of Jewish history and continued reality, which is often unrepresented in typical European and Ashkenazi study of Jewish texts. In this class we will read pan-Sepharadi rabbinic texts from Morocco to Egypt to Iraq to better understand North African and Middle Eastern Jewish life, along with culture, political views, religious ideas, and discuss how it connects to our communities today. 

Each class will focus on a different region, explore the legal reality, and look at some of the more unique texts that frame these communities. In a time when travel is difficult, take this opportunity to travel through the Jewish past of the Middle east and North Africa!

Chaim Grafstein is a PhD Candidate in the University of Toronto’s Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations studying Moroccan rabbinic writing. His focus is on 21st century reactions to the controversial Moroccan rabbinic writer Yosef Messas. He is also passionate about revitalizing Judeo-Arabic and advocacy for Jewish graduate students.

The registration fee helps us cover our costs.  The suggested contribution is $72 ($12/night). There is a minimum of $36 for the semester ($6/night). If you are unable to make a contribution at this time, please be in touch in confidenc with Suzanne Carson, Lishma Coordinator at 
If you value this offering/program beyond the sliding scale rate, we encourage a larger contribution. 


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