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On November 14, 2013, IDI GTA had the pleasure of presenting Rabbi Michael Dolgin as guest speaker of the Exploring Faiths Luncheon. Through an intriguing and significantly informative presentation, Rabbi Dolgin discussed the festival of Chanukah, and how one may come to an understanding of Judaism and Jewish traditions through an understanding of Chanukah. He addressed some of the common misconceptions about what Chanukah is not, spoke to what Chanukah significantly is, and expressed what can be understood about the Jewish tradition in light of this understanding. Chanukah is a celebration that requires communal gatherings to be observed, and so Rabbi Dolgin discusses the bringing together of the Jewish community in observance.  He explains the story of Chanukah as coming out of the first clear example of religious oppression, where Jewish people living as a minority struggled to maintain their identity and tradition in the midst of a greater empire that wished to limit them.  Chanukah represents a call to reflect upon and celebrate the kind of courage it takes to maintain a distinct identity, and to reassert the right to protect one’s ideals and traditional practices.

Photos from the luncheon can be seen above. Video of the talk is given below.



Understanding Judaism through Chanukah, Rabbi Dolgin

IDIalgoue Forum 2013 – Exploring Faiths / Luncheon
Co-organized by IDI GTA and Ontario Multifaith Council

“Understanding Judaism through Chanukah”


Michael Dolgin
Senior Rabbi, Temple Sinai

Rabbi Michael Dolgin is the Senior Rabbi of Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto and Past President of both the Toronto Board of Rabbis and the Reform Rabbis of Greater Toronto.  He was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1992 and is proud to have served Temple Sinai as Assistant, Associate and Senior Rabbi during his 21 years of service.  His congregational rabbinate has increasingly focused on the creation of new liturgy and helping members find new ways of meeting the challenges of modern Jewish life through study, prayer, and learning.

Rabbi Dolgin’s community involvements extend beyond local rabbinic bodies.  He serves on the editorial advisory board of the Canadian Jewish News, acts in an advisory role with the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company, has taught and attended leadership Relation and Encounter retreats for the Roman Catholic Sisters of Sion, and has strong connections with many local Christian clergy colleagues.  He recently travelled to Kiev and Israel with the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America and sits on the URJ Commission on Outreach and Membership.

Originally from Chicago, Rabbi Dolgin attended Miami University in Oxford Ohio, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degree in speech communication.  While in university, he trained in crisis counselling and worked as a volunteer at Oxford Crisis and Referral Center.  During rabbinical school, he served as a part-time instructor at Miami University where he taught interpersonal communication and public speaking.  Rabbi Dolgin became a Canadian citizen in 2006.  He is married to Joan and they have three sons, Andrew, Matthew, and Zachary.

DATE: November 14, 2013
VENUE: IDI GTA, 481 University Avenue, Suite 711, Toronto ON M5G 2E9

11:45am: Registration
12:00pm: Lunch
12:40pm: Speech and Q&A
01:30pm: Closing