Meet Our Rabbis

Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg

Rabbi Mikelberg

Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg prides himself on being a homegrown Canadian rabbi. He grew up in Vancouver, BC, active in the Reform movement. He started off on a science path at the University of British Columbia before discovering his passion for everything Jewish. He completed his studies at Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles and was ordained in May 2008. After his ordination, Rabbi Mikelberg had the unique opportunity to return to Temple Sholom, his home synagogue in Vancouver as Assistant Rabbi. In 2011 Rabbi Mikelberg became Associate Rabbi of Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto. Since 2019, Rabbi Mikelberg has been the Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel of Ottawa.

Rabbi Mikelberg prides himself in forming trusting relationships, officiating meaningful life cycle events, and exciting people of all ages about their Judaism. He is a strong progressive voice for tikkun olam and inclusivity. Rabbi Mikelberg has excelled at inspiring people with his words of Torah, experimenting with innovative worship practices, redesigning and implementing tot activities for young families, overseeing pastoral care and spearheading young adult initiatives. Rabbi Mikelberg spent two years living in Jerusalem and is an ardent voice for Israel. Rabbi Mikelberg has volunteered on service projects in El Salvador, Cuba, and Ghana.

Outside the synagogue, Rabbi Mikelberg loves Scrabble, anything to do with Mac computers and skiing. Rabbi Mikelberg is married to Zachary Paul, a high school teacher with the Ottawa School Board. Together they have a young son named Jacob.

Web Publications by Rabbi Mikelberg:

Welcome Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg!

Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg, Email

Message from our President Stephen Asherman
Temple Israel is delighted to welcome Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg to our Temple Israel family as our next Rabbi, beginning in August, 2019. We are excited to welcome this successful leader who has shown exemplary skills, experience, leadership qualities and character.

Meeting Rabbi Mikelberg, May 13, 2019

Meeting Rabbi Mikelberg, May 13, 2019

 
Strengthening Temple for our children and grandchildren: It seems b’shert, meant to be, that Rabbi Mikelberg, a rabbi with tremendous success in Toronto in engaging young families, should also be seeking a home for his young family in our congregation. We want to welcome Rabbi Mikelberg, his husband Zachary Paul, a high school teacher and their young son Jacob.
 
A mensch: Those who know Rabbi Mikelberg best speak of his personal warmth, his strong pastoral and interpersonal skills, his kindness and compassion, his spiritual leadership, learning and passion for the rabbinate. Throughout the search process, Rabbi Mikelberg has demonstrated integrity, collaborative spirit and humility.
 
“As soon he got into the car, I felt an immediate connection and ease speaking with him,” said Tamara Taub, co-chair of the Rabbi Search Committee. “I was struck by his sincerity and authenticity which was confirmed again and again throughout the process.”
 
It was clear from the feedback received after Rabbi Mikelberg’s visit that his experience, warmth and authenticity shone through during his various interactions with congregants. “Rabbi Mikelberg clearly demonstrates his commitment to Jewish living and a deep sense of spirituality,” said one. “He is committed to building an inclusive community, and supports welcoming of everyone who wishes to learn, study and participate in Jewish life, both personally, and in community. He made the worship experience positive, inclusive, and joyful, and recognized the need for personal space and prayer.”
 
Respect:  One of the things that became evident early in the process was how well respected Rabbi Mikelberg is. One reference joked, “he’s a joy; if he moves to Ottawa I may consider moving there.”
 
Rabbi Mikelberg has served a number of Canadian congregations including Temple Sholom in Vancouver, BC and most recently Temple Sinai in Toronto. Just a few of the highlights of Rabbi Mikelberg’s experience have been building a highly successful program for young professionals called “Temple Sinai Next Generation”; organizing Early Bird Shabbats and holiday meals for homebound seniors; embarking on a yearlong exploration of tot programming to better meet the needs of young families, and establishing Sinai Connections, a new process of small groupings of congregants, promoting a culture of building genuine relationships.
 
He also managed pastoral relationships to support congregants facing health struggles, including hospital visits and overseeing pairings of volunteers with congregants in need, and designed special Shabbat experiences called “Shabbat Shirim” (interactive musical services) and “Shabbat Itanu” (multigenerational services with a focus on a stirring topic).
 
The congregation played a key role in selecting our new Rabbi, and your feedback and survey responses have been essential throughout the process.
 
In its search, the committee put in place a rigorous evaluation and assessment process, evaluating seven candidates. After the interview stage, two candidates were invited to meet the congregation and lead services. One withdrew their application prior to the interview.
 
Rabbi Mikelberg, the overwhelming favorite of the committee, was invited to Temple Israel in December 2018 to meet the congregation and lead services. Based on the very positive feedback from the congregation from Rabbi Mikelberg’s visit, the committee proceeded to the next stage and completed five reference checks with the Senior Rabbi, co-workers, board members and with an external organization in which he leads a volunteer program.
 
All of the reference checks yielded extremely positive feedback, and we knew that we had before us a very strong candidate who embodies the values and essence of what Temple Israel is, and the future we want it to be.
 
The search committee’s recommendation was approved by the Board of Directors. We truly believe Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg is the right fit for our congregation, and we are honored to have him join our family.

Rabbi Steven H. Garten, Rabbi Emeritus

Rabbi Garten has been overseeing the direction and curriculum of the Religious school since 2007. The expansion of the Temples commitment to Tzedakah projects, interreligious dialogue, programming which strengthens the relationship between Temple members and the State of Israel bring him great joy. In addition the ongoing commitment of members to Jewish study, either through traditional Jewish texts or modern Jewish literature is a source of great Nachas.This sacred community is one which has helped the Rabbi continue his journey to greater belief and understanding of the Divine experience in our lives. All the members of Temple have helped along this path. Rabbi Garten teaches widely in the community and is active in Ottawa’s interfaith dialogues. He has led many congregational trips to Israel and travels to Eretz Yisrael as often as possible. Rabbi Garten was born in New York City but has lived in canada for over thirty years. He is married and is the father of two University graduates, both of whom celebrated B’nai Mitzvah at Temple Israel and served as president of FROSTY. He is an avid player of the game of golf hoping one day to become a golfer.

Rabbi Steven Garten, Temple Israel’s longest serving spiritual leader, has requested and been granted by the Temple Board retirement one year early, effective 30 June 2014.

Rabbi Steven Garten retires after more than 19 years at Temple Israel, Ottawa Jewish Bulletin, January 2014

Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Israel of Ottawa and Mohamad Jebara, Chief Imam, Cordova Spiritual Education Center were honoured with the Wallenberg Citation

Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Israel of Ottawa and Mohamad Jebara, Chief Imam, Cordova Spiritual Education Center were honoured with the Wallenberg Citation, June 2017.