Meet Our Rabbis

Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg, husband Zach Paul and their son Jacob

Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg, husband Zach Paul and their son Jacob

Rabbi Mikelberg article in the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin

If you missed the Rabbi’s article on Purim from the March 9 edition of the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin, you can read it HERE.

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.Meet Rabbi Mikelberg

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.

From the Pulpit

It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to join 5000+ brothers and sisters for Kabbalat Shabbat services. I and our all star delegation of Temple leaders had this unique opportunity recently at the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial in Chicago. True, the room was diverse in every way, but we shared so much as Reform Jews committed to leading our people into the next generation. Our values, our passion, our Torah bound us together as one. 

 A few highlights to share: 

• The president of our movement, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, focused us on expanding the concept of big tent Judaism. Whether considering ethnicity, gender identity, family formation, just to name a few topics, we are called to affirm the countless ways to serve Jewishly. He introduced the term “Jew adjacent” as in members of our community who are not formally Jewish, but support their Jewish families and community. The term “Jew adjacent” better describes the commitment offered by these loved ones, rather than defining oneself based on what one is not, ie. non Jew.

• We were inspired to serve as loud and proud voices for pluralism in Israel. Our progressive brand is under threat by the Orthodox monopoly of the state and we were reminded of the need to demonstrate both our love of Israel and our commitment to our liberal practices. A concrete way to show our support is to join ARZA Canada as a voting member. If you have not already done so, please sign up right away at: 

• I had the honour of representing the Temple on a panel examining young family programming. Rather than sit orderly, we left our rows and explored our youthful sides with song and creativity. Our youngest members will carry our hopes and dreams, we’re called to prioritize their place in our spiritual homes. 

Just three thoughts, many more to come. A todah rabah to Margot Montgomery, Sue Potechin, Mark Kamins, Sue Fried and Dara Lithwick for representing Temple Israel in this important mission. Mark your calendars for Dec 2021 and come join us in Washington.

Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg 

Web Publications by Rabbi Mikelberg

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.