Rabbi Michael Dolgin
Rabbi Michael Dolgin has served Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto since 1992. He is proud to have fostered a culture of innovation and tradition during his decades as senior rabbi. Rabbi Dolgin has worked with his professional colleagues to create a new, cultural approach to prayer and spirituality, bringing into the synagogue many forms previously found only in the theatre. His personal creative work is expressed in a three volume original siddur, Mikveh Yisrael used at shabbat, daily, and holiday services at Temple Sinai. Rabbi Dolgin’s love for learning and teaching traditional text has helped him to create a treasury of brief lessons housed on the Temple Sinai website on topics such as prayer and mitzvah. His work is imbued with the values of inclusion and welcoming, seeking to help Temple Sinai grow as an exemplary community with a warm place for all who wish to make it their spiritual home. Rabbi Dolgin is passionate about community engagement, interfaith and intercultural understanding and tikkun olam. His commitment to the State of Israel and its Reform and Progressive Movement is essential to his identity as a Jew and his work as a rabbi. Michael is the father of three sons, Andy, Matthew and Zach.
Rabbi Jordan Shaner
Rabbi Jordan Shaner, originally from Denver, Colorado, is a newly ordained rabbi from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. He was also ordained as a cantor in 2017.
During Rabbi Shaner’s time as a rabbinical student, he was part of the inaugural ARZA HUC-JIR Fellowship class, which encouraged an in-depth understanding of the American-Israeli relationship.
He interned at Reform Congregation Oheb Sholom (Reading, PA), Or Olam, the East 55th Street Synagogue (Manhattan, NY), North Shore Synagogue and Temple Adas Israel (Long Island, NY).
Jordan spent two summers as a community educator at BIMA — Brandeis University’s summer arts program for high school students. He has also worked as a hospital
chaplain for the Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, Delaware.
Rabbi Shaner is married to Kate, a violist and music educator. They have two small dogs named Bosco and José.
Rabbi Lawrence Englander
Rabbi Lawrence Englander is a child of our congregation. He grew up, was confirmed and learned as a student rabbi from Temple Sinai. In July 2014, Rabbi Englander retired form Solel Congregation, of which he is the founding rabbi and served there since its inception in 1973, and renewed his connection with Temple.
Rabbi Englander received his Honours B.A. degree from York University in 1970. He then attended Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, receiving ordination as rabbi in 1975.
Rabbi Englander received his Doctorate of Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1984, in the field of Jewish Mysticism and Rabbinics. He has taught in the Religious Studies Department at York University and spent a semester teaching rabbinical students at Leo Baeck College in London, England. He has written several articles on Jewish Mysticism, as well as a book, The Mystical Study of Ruth, published by Scholars Press. He is former Editor of the Central Conference of American Rabbis Journal.
Rabbi Englander has also played an active role in establishing two Mississauga interfaith organizations: Foodpath, a community food bank; and Pathway, a non-profit housing corporation, of which Rabbi Englander was the founding President. In 2005 he was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada for his work in the community.
Both Rabbi Englander and his wife Cheryl are natives of Toronto.
Cantor Charles Osborne
A native of Suffern, NY, Cantor Charles Osborne is internationally recognized as a singer, composer and conductor. He attended Hartt School of Music, studying there with Cantor Arthur Koret, and the Cantors Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. His original compositions include four oratorios, a symphony, concerti for flute, guitar, viola and harp, and more than 200 choral pieces.
Cantor Osborne has taught at Hartt College, the Jewish Theological Seminary, Northeastern University, and the Hebrew College of Boston. He is the founder and director of Kol Rinah—Boston’s Jewish youth chorus—and a regular participant in the North American Jewish Choral Festival and the “Hazamir” National Jewish High School Choral Festival, with which he toured Israel as music director during the summers of 1996 and 1997. His piece “Samachti” is one of the most popular pieces of synagogue music in the world. The beauty of this setting inspired us to include this psalm in our Temple Sinai prayer book.
Cantor Osborne has one son Paul and three beautiful granddaughters.
Cantor Sharon Brown-Levy
Cantor Sharon Brown-Levy has more than two decades of experience and two certifications with distinction in cantorial arts, through the American Conference of Cantors and the Cantors Assembly. She also has extensive experience in the genres of opera, operetta, Broadway, folk, contemporary, and big band music.
She holds summa cum laude degrees in Spanish and Voice from the University of South Florida and was class valedictorian of Gratz College in her native Philadelphia.
Prior to arriving in Toronto, she has held pulpits in Florida, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.
Her concert career spans the US and abroad. She is also a respected choral conductor, co-leading one of the country’s largest community interfaith choirs, Voices in Harmony.
She is a devoted parent, wife, teacher, linguist, and community builder. She is married to Eytan Levy (a rabbi’s son) and they have one son, Mattan.
Composer-in-Residence Ben Steinberg
Ben Steinberg, born in Winnipeg, Canada, was educated at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto. He is well known across Canada and the U.S. for his lecture-recitals on Jewish Music history and style, and has conducted and lectured overseas in such places as Israel, Hong Kong, Australia and Japan.
A professional composer of both sacred and secular music, he is perhaps the most widely commissioned composer of Jewish music worldwide. His works have been published in the U.S., Canada and Israel; these include Sabbath services, choral and orchestral settings, instrumental and vocal chamber music and solo works.
In addition to his published music, Steinberg is author of two books on adult and youth choirs and is a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. His honors include the l983 Kavod Award from the Cantors’ Assembly (Conservative), the l990 Guild of Temple Musicians’ inaugural Shomer Shira Award, honorary membership in the American Conference of Cantors in l992, a Composer’s Award from the American Harp Society in l983, and the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in l998.
On Dec. 6, 2001, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations presented him with its highest honor, the ‘Eisendrath Bearer of Light’ award. He has been twice honored by the City of Jerusalem, which invited him to be an artist-in-residence at its creative retreat. There he researched and wrote his cantata “Echoes of Children”, which won the l979 International Gabriel Award.
He is the founding chairman of two unique annual competitions which encourage young musicians to compose and perform; Temple Sinai’s “Ben Steinberg Musical Legacy Award” to a young performing artist, and the Guild of Temple Musicians’ “Young Composer’s Award”.
Ben has served as Director of Music at Temple Sinai since 1970, and was appointed Composer-in-Residence in 1996. We are blessed that he continues in that role today. In recognition of his contribution to Canadian music and Jewish music worldwide, the University of Calgary (Alberta) has established a “Ben Steinberg Archive” to house his original manuscripts, scores and papers.
Founding Rabbi Jordan Pearlson z”l
On February 19, 2008, spiritual leader, humantiarian, and founding rabbi, Rabbi Jordan Pearlson z”l passed away. He was 83.
Born on September 2, 1924 in Somerville Massachusetts , Rabbi Pearlson came from humble beginnings. His love for study led him to earn degrees in engineering, law and ultimately the rabbinate.
As founding rabbi of Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto , Rabbi Jordan Pearlson z”l guided the growth of the congregation from fourteen families to a community of over 6,000 men, women and children. His commitment and leadership assured that the increase in size was accompanied by a growth in learning and caring. His example inspired dozens of members and teachers at Temple Sinai to seek careers as rabbis and Jewish professionals. His unique gift in crafting meaningful lifecycle events touched generation after generation and made Temple Sinai its members’ second home.
The effects of Rabbi Pearlson’s energetic and determined efforts are far-reaching. He developed the first multi-faith service for Her Majesty and Prince Philip in 1985, and is the only rabbi to give the Chancellor’s Lectures in the hundred-year history of the lectureship at Queen’s Theological College , Kingston, Ontario . He was a Canadian member of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations.
His efforts towards the betterment of humankind have not gone unnoticed. As a national board member of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, Rabbi Pearlson was a recipient of their National Humanitarian Award for contributions to human rights and interfaith conciliation. On a local level, he was voted Honourary Citizen of Metropolitan Toronto. Internationally, Rabbi Pearlson was named Global Citizen by the Canadian Committee for the United Nations 50th Anniversary and One Voice.
Rabbi Pearlson lent his finely honed ability to articulate the written word as religious opinion columnist for the Toronto Star. He also acted as corresponding editor for Christian-Jewish Relations, published by the World Jewish Congress of London, . As a broadcaster, Rabbi Pearlson pioneered a daily religious interfaith dialogue on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation with Rev. William Bothwell. He was the first rabbi appointed to chair the National Religious Advisory Committee to the CBC.
Rabbi Pearlson strongly believed in universal education. His devotion to study brought him to serve as national president of the Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University. He developed the Jordan Pearlson Outreach Program to enable children who lived in development towns in the Negev work towards a university degree.
Cantor Emeritus, Severin Weingort z”l
On Tuesday, December 12, 2019, our beloved teacher, mentor and friend, Cantor Emeritus Severin Weingort z”l, passed away. Cantor Weingort z”l recorded his story, which can be viewed online. The documentary film was first released in November 2013 as part of Holocaust Education Week.
Cantor Severin Weingort’s z”l career in singing sprang from a love for music from a very early age. Born in Poland, he immigrated to Toronto in 1948, and commenced studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music and Opera School.
For fifteen years, he performed with the Canadian Opera Company, and sang in numerous musical productions, such as Elijah and Avodat Hakodesh with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra. Over the years, he has performed on television and in radio recitals and plays.
A love for Jewish music led Cantor Weingort z”l to study Chazanut, and he studied traditional Chazanut and Torah chanting with noted Cantor Berele Charloff for five years. He served as Cantor for auxiliary and High Holiday Services at Holy Blossom Temple, and in 1966, he became the Cantor of Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto.
He brought to Temple Services the music of many Jewish composers, and introduced the participation of his post Bar and Bat Mitzvah students in the chanting of Torah and Megillot at services on a regular basis.
Cantor Weingort z”l became certified as a Cantor by the Hebrew College in 1972. He served on the Board of the American Conference of Cantors for many years, and in 1996 became Cantor Emeritus of Temple Sinai.