Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto


You can do it too!

Reading Torah by Florence Wunch

As I approach my 86th birthday, I realize that it might be more difficult to learn something new. I am not good with modern technology, and as long as I can e-mail and Skype, I am perfectly happy. To me tablets are for a headache and not for reading.

So after much thought, I had a Eureka moment and knew exactly what was right for me. It should have been obvious right away. Our family observes Yahrzeit on Rosh Chodesh Kislev, which in the Reform Movement is a service where women lead the prayers and read from the Torah. Could I do that?

I spoke with Cantor Katie Oringel and she encouraged me to go for it. I started learning my Torah portion in the summer and my goal was to chant in the middle of November. Sometimes it was one step forward and two steps back, but Cantor Katie did not give up on me. Not wanting to put too much pressure on me, she shortened the reading and I felt more comfortable. Now I would like to learn the rest and carry on this tradition for as long as I can.

The morning finally arrived. My children and grandchildren were there, and I must admit that when I saw Rabbi Dolgin, it made me a bit nervous. I took a deep breath and started. What threw me a bit was that I couldn’t see the words on the top of the scroll. (I wear bi-focals and cannot see anything from the top of my glasses.) I adjusted the scroll and was able to finish.

Afterwards, I was surrounded by my precious family and Rabbi Dolgin came over to speak to us. It was one of the most cherished moments of my life. I felt that I had been successful in setting a good example for our children and grandchildren in a setting that was very important to me. Thank you, Rabbi Dolgin for that moment and Cantor Katie for your help and encouragement. And to those who will follow me, make sure you are standing on a stool so that you can see the top of the scroll and just go for it!

If you are interested in learning the ancient art of chanting Torah,
please contact

Rabbi Jordan Shaner