A Tale of Two Europes

By Rabbi Lawrence Englander, Chair ARZENU

Rabbi Lawrence Englander

The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) is charged with strengthening relationships between the State of Israel and Diaspora communities. At a recent meeting of the JAFI Board of Governors, we heard two presentations on the Jewish communities in Europe and the prospects for their future. These two "tales" gave me two distinct perspectives on the relationship between the State of Israel and Jewish communities throughout the world.

The first tale gave the story of a population in crisis. It reminded us of the recent anti-Semitic attack on the Jewish-owned grocery store in Paris. This tale pointed out that the attack was not an isolated incident; in fact, there were twice as many anti-Semitic incidents in France in 2014 as there were in the previous year. We were informed that one of the causes of this increase is the alarming rate of unemployment in France and the resultant unrest. As a result, several thousand French Jews have made Aliyah to Israel, and thousands more — especially young people — have attended extended programmes in Israel or have made inquiries about making Aliyah. The tellers of this tale projected that Israel could expect up to 20,000 more Olim in the year 2016. French Jewry was graphically depicted as a community in crisis.

But this did not apply only to France. The UK, as well, witnessed a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic incidents between those two years. Add to this the crisis in Ukraine and growing racism in many Western European countries, and we seem to be facing the disappearance of European Jewry and a mass emigration to Israel. The Jewish Agency was encouraged to work in Europe to facilitate the process of Aliyah. in order to save this embattled community.

Then we adjourned to another room to hear a second tale. In this programme, entitled Cafe Europa, a group of ten European Jews in their 20's presented a more nuanced tale. Each of them expressed a deep love for the State of Israel, but were also patriotic citizens of their country of origin. They acknowledged the presence of anti-Semitism but stressed that it was not a steadily growing trend but rather became rampant in response to events in Israel — for example, the Gaza wars in 2009 and 2014. They were encouraged by the fact that government leaders in France, the UK and Germany spoke out forcefully against anti-semitism and pledged their protection of Jews and any victims of racial hatred. Moreover, they pointed out that many countries were experiencing a renaissance of Jewish religious and cultural activities, revealing the creativity of European Jewry. With regard to Aliya, for those who were thinking seriously of making their home in Israel, they preferred to do so out of love for Israel rather than out of fear of anti-semitism. The tellers of this second tale perceived the role of the Jewish Agency of facilitating Aliya for those who choose to live in Israel, but also of providing the resources for those who choose to remain in Europe and to live proudly there as Jews.

In a single day we heard two distinct tales of Jewish life. According to the first, Israel is the centre of world Jewry, the sun that sends its rays to communities in the Diaspora. In countries where the Jewish light becomes dimmed and life becomes inhospitable, Israel must draw the light back and bring Jewish people into the sun. According to the second narrative, there are many flames of Jewish life throughout the world, each kindling and sustaining each other. Israel is the brightest flame but it, too, is sustained by the others. In this tale, the Diaspora plays a vital role in making Jewish values and Jewish culture a global phenomenon, thus making the world itself a better place.

Both these tales are prevalent in contemporary Jewish discourse. As Reform Zionists living in the Diaspora, I believe that the second tale is the one that resonates for us. But it also presents us with a responsibility. We must make sure that our Jewish flame remains strong, not only to sustain ourselves, not only to nourish other Diaspora communities who are less numerous or prosperous, but also to add our own creativity and insight to the State of Israel. This relationship of mutuality is one that ARZENU seeks to promote.


Planning your Event

 Our Commitment | Temple Sinai Venues | Our Services | Caterers | Photo & Video | Contact Temple


 Our Commitment

Whether you are arranging a wedding, bar/bat mitzvah, baby naming, business meeting, or training session, Temple Sinai, with its ample parking
and central location, is a perfect place to host your next function.Start in our beautiful garden and take pictures with family and friends.
Enter through the bright and airy rotunda and greet your guests with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Spend the evening in one of our halls dancing
and enjoying your simcha because when you book an event at Temple, you can take part in your own celebration, and Temple will take care of the rest.
Our versatile and spacious venue can accommodate up to 390 guests. The professional staff will help make your event a memorable celebration,
and our caterers offer extensive menu options and can customize their menus to suit your needs.
Temple Sinai is a wonderful place to host your upcoming simcha. Leave the details to us and you can be confident your event will unfold flawlessly.


Temple Sinai Venues

When planning your simcha, Temple Sinai provides a perfect setting for an unforgettable event. Enjoy the exclusive use of one of our banquet halls,
which can accommodate up to 390 guests. 

Social Hall 

Maximum capacity with an open dance floor: 230 guests
Maximum capacity with no dance floor: 300 guests

• Crystal chandelier and wall sconces
• Carpeted
• Full parquet dance floor
• Stage


New Hall

Maximum capacity with open dance floor: 230 guests
Maximum capacity with no dance floor: 320 guests

• Beautiful stained glass windows
• Carpeted
• Full parquet dance floor

* Can be used in conjunction with Fanny Green hall to accommodate a larger event of up to
  390 guests


Fanny Green Hall

Maximum capacity with a small dance floor: 120 guests
Maximum capacity with no dance floor: 160 guests

• Stained glass windows
• Full parquet flooring



Available for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres



Maximum Capacity: 40 guests

Available for small intimate buffet breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.



 Our Services

Temple Sinai hosts one event per evening. Take advantage of these special services available at no extra cost
when you book your event at Temple Sinai.

• No room rental fees for our members
• Free parking
• No corkage fees—option to purchase your own liquor and beverages
• Standard 60” round tables and banquet chairs
• Standard tableware (dishes, cutlery, and glassware)
• Availability of microphones, podiums, screens, and easels
• Secure cloakroom with trained attendants available




T. 416.386.9946
60 Scarsdale Road, Unit 113,
Toronto, Ontario M3B 2R7

The CaterTrendz brand encompasses urban hip, nouveau chic and classical elegance. It provides discerning clientele with a full range 

of first-class catering services essential for creating the most-
memorable personal and professional events. With detailed perfection, CaterTrendz offers award-winning, sensational cuisine; an insightful, devoted team of industry professionals; exquisite and attentive service; and a discriminating taste for any affair.


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L’Eat Catering
Dana Ryckman-Kelly
T. 416.631.9226
3829 Bathurst Street

At L-EAT we believe that to cater is to accommodate. We cater to all your entertaining needs including intimate dinners, daily office catering, dream weddings, b’nei mitzvah, charity functions, house parties, and corporate galas.

Allow us to guide you to a fabulous function because we understand that catering an event begins with a “vision” and that the true success of your event is in the details. You will work with one of our catering representatives, who can create the perfect menu for your function, as well as see you through the planning process from start to finish, giving you the confidence to enjoy yourself as a guest.


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Marigolds and Onions Ltd. Catering
Carol Jacobson
T. 416.256.4882
2700 Dufferin Street, Unit 20

Our event planning team will do their utmost to ensure that your expectations are exceeded—not met! From food and beverage to décor, entertainment, and all other aspects of event planning, we guarantee a one stop shopping experience. Using Marigolds and Onions will give you the absolute freedom to concentrate on your guests, while we do the rest.


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Sonny Langer’s Catering
Josh Abrams
T. 905.881.4356
180 Steeles Avenue West, Unit 12 

We love preparing and presenting food. Since 1985 the people of Toronto, Hamilton, the Golden Horseshoe (and sometimes beyond) have loved what we’ve prepared! The highest praise and our best endorsement come from your friends and colleagues. Ask and they’ll tell you that whatever the event, whether corporate or private, 

Sonny Langer’s will make it a pleasure and your life a little easier.



Zuchter Berk Kosher (COR)
T. 416.386.1086
60 Scarsdale Road, Unit 113,
Toronto, Ontario M3B 2R7

Our mission is to interpret your needs and translate them into a kosher event that exceeds your expectations. Planning an event, whether it’s a bar or bat mitzvah, wedding celebration, Or corporate gala can be difficult and at times confusing. At Zuchter Berk, we realize the importance of choosing the perfect venue, the flowers that are just right, and the creative team that have the knowledge to assist you with the many decisions you will have to make during this time. Our goal is to guide you on this journey to make it an enjoyable and exciting experience for all involved.

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 Photo & Video

Create a lasting memory of your simcha. Twins Photo & Video can provide you with a high quality digital recording of your wedding,
bar/bat mitzvah, baby naming, or auf rief.

Twins logo color 2

Twins Photo & Video
Andrew: 905.764.6556
Paul: 905.707.2385

We are creative, experienced, professional, friendly, and reliable photographers and videographers. Give us a call to discuss your needs.


Contact Temple

For information regarding booking your event, please contact
Ilona Meron, operations manager, at 416.487.4161 ext. 234 or
e-mail ilona@templesinai.net.


The Birth of Modern Day Zionism, Herzl and Other Leaders

1. Lecture on Tuesday, October 10, 2017
2. Lecture on Tuesday, October 17, 2017
3. Lecture on Tuesday, October 24, 2017

About Us

Temple Sinai Groundbreaking CeremonyTemple Sinai is an inclusive, accessible, caring Reform community that aspires to a dynamic, constantly evolving Judaism, and is committed to life-long learning, traditional Jewish culture, ethics and meaningful worship.

It is a spiritual home to its many congregants of diverse ages, backgrounds and capabilities.

It is a dedicated supporter of the State of Israel and of the principles of tikkun olam.

Temple Sinai embodies the highest ideals of tzedakah within its own walls, in its outreach to the multi-faith community of Toronto, and to the wider sphere of the global community.