Community Learning Circles - Temple Beth Ora

Close to 30 people attended the session at Temple Beth Ora (TBO), in Edmonton.  Rabbi Gila Caine spoke about Reform Judaism as opposed to orthodox or conservative denominations and the members present shared the unique history of TBO since its formation in the late 70’s.  

We discussed the origin and meaning of certain jewish symbols and beliefs. Our dialogue touched upon the lives of many influential Jewish Edmontonians such as Tooker Gomberg, Sol Rolinger, Karen Leibovici and Gerald Gall. It was particularly heartwarming to have his wife Karen Gall present to reflect on his life and the role of jewish identity in the choices he made.  

We discussed anti semitism and the experiences of the jewish community in Alberta. Many participants were surprised at the long standing roots of the jewish people in Alberta and remarked on the significance of Edmonton being the location of Canada’s first mosque as well as its first Jewish Day school.  

One Indigenous participant commented on the similarity between many of the teachings in Judaism and certain Indigenous teachings; such as the reliance on the moon to mark the calendar, and the vitality of a strong matrilineal cultural tradition and nomadic nature. It was wonderful to see community partners from our previous session at Shiloh Baptist Church come out to the event and take part in the conversation.  

Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) became a central theme that we examined; What is the role of humanity in healing the brokenness of the world? For the Jews in our circle that day, this fundamental question is tied to their identity as jewish people and is what connects all jews, around the world.

Paint the Rails is all about growing branches and building bridges; we want to go to people and expand our collective circles of knowledge. We know there are uncountable community voices to be heard and we hope to create a platform to collect stories and perspectives.  In advance of the event, we connected with a new restaurant serving ‘Jewish Soul Food’ and the best lox and bagel platter in the land. Huge gratitude to Rooster Kitchen and Cafe for providing us with delicious food!

Neximar Alarcon