Our bi-monthly Bulletin contains messages from our clergy.
Rabbi S. Robert Morais, Senior Rabbi
From the Pulpit: Cuban Jewish community is small but vibrant, writes Rabbi S. Robert Morais of Temple Israel.
Installation Of Rabbi S. Robert Morais
November 14, 2015
Led by: Rabbi Emeritus Steven Garten, Temple Israel Ottawa; Rabbi Dr. Laurence A. Kotok, Rabbinic Scholar and Senior Advisor for Lifelong Jewish Learning, Temple B’rith Kodesh, Rochester, New York; Rabbi Sharon L. Sobel, Temple Isiah, Stony Brook, New York
Rabbi Morais is thrilled to be joining the Temple Israel community: “I am very excited to have been selected as your next rabbi. Ottawa has an incredible Jewish community and I am looking forward to beginning our sacred journey together. I am eager to begin getting to know everyone at Temple Israel. Together we will chart a new course for Temple, one that will take us on a journey of prayer, education, life cycle events and programs that are all filled with the richness and joy of Judaism.”
Rabbi Morais was born in Toronto and attended York University where he earned an Honours degree in History and Judaic Studies. He received rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati Ohio in 1997.
After ordination, Rabbi Morais served Temple B’rith Kodesh in Rochester, NY for 7 years as the associate rabbi. In 2004 he became the Executive Director for Hillel of the Rochester Area Colleges and the congregational rabbi for Rochester’s Temple Beth Am.
Since its opening summer in 1999, Rabbi Morais has been a member of URJ Camp George’s faculty and is currently on the camp’s steering committee.
In 2001 he was selected by Brandeis University as an inaugural fellow of the Institute for Informal Jewish Education.
In 2006 Rabbi Morais moved to Metro Detroit to become the Director of Education and Lifelong Learning for Temple Israel of West Bloomfield MI. Temple Israel is the largest Reform synagogue in world with a school of 1300 students. At Temple Israel, Rabbi Morais oversaw the educational aspects of the congregation, as well as teaching a variety of classes for children and adults. He was also faculty member of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School of Metro Detroit.
In the summer of 2011 Rabbi Morais became the director of Shalom Street Museum, a hands on Jewish children’s museum that specializes in creating experiential Jewish programs for children and youth. Also in 2011 Rabbi Morais became the rabbi for Temple Beth Israel in Jackson MI.
Meet our new spiritual leader – featured in the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin
Rabbi Steven H. Garten, Rabbi Emeritus
June 19, 2017 – Tonight Steven Garten, Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Israel of Ottawa and Mohamad Jebara, Chief Imam, Cordova Spiritual Education Center were honoured with the Wallenberg Citation for their joint work in confronting antisemitism. The ceremony took place in the newly-renovated Sir John A. MacDonald building on Parliament Hill and was emceed by the Hon. David Kilgour. The well-attended event included beautiful singing by Cantor Daniel Benlolo and Floralove Katz, Celtic Tunes by Kevin Dooley and Family and a violin performance by Ralitsa Tcholakova. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany was honoured with the International Wallenberg Citation, an honour that was accepted by the Chargé d’Affairs of the German Embassy in Ottawa on behalf of the Chancellor.
Rabbi Steven Garten arrived in Ottawa from Los Angeles in the summer of 1995. He has had the pleasure of teaching, story telling and leading Tefilot since then.
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.