Rabbi Gila Caine (photo from Kolot Mayim)
Kolot Mayim Reform Temple in Victoria welcomes back Rabbi Gila Caine, spiritual leader of Temple Beth Ora in Edmonton, to speak on the topic Toratah/Her Torah: Women Rabbis Revealing the Goddess in Torah.
The Nov. 7, 11 a.m., lecture on Zoom kicks off a six-part series of talks called Building Bridges: Celebrating Diversity in Jewish Life. The community is invited to listen and learn from Indigenous, Black, Asian, feminist and differently-gendered and differently-abled advocates who are working to make our world a better place.
As a people who have experienced the devastating impact of antisemitism and hatred, Judaism commits us to the responsibility of tikkun olam (repairing our world). In that spirit, Kolot Mayim’s series of speakers will lead attendees on a journey to deepen their understanding of these contemporary issues and how they can support those who do not feel included.
Kolot Mayim’s Rabbi Lynn Greenough describes the series as “an opportunity to build bridges – bridges that enable us to link to what is and what can be, to step beyond our own particular experiences.” The Hebrew word for bridge is gesher, she explained, pointing to the song, “Kol Ha’Olam Kulo,” “the whole world is a very narrow bridge; the important thing is not to be afraid.”
In the series opener, Caine will explore how, throughout the millennia, rabbinic tradition, and especially written tradition, was composed from within a man-focused and -experienced perspective. Now, after around half a century of ordaining women, there is a growing corpus of documented writing flowing from within woman’s experiences and interpretations of Torah and life. In her talk, Caine will read a few Torah commentaries written by (women) rabbis from North America and Israel, as examples of weaving together rabbinic and women’s experience into something new.
Born and raised in Jerusalem, Caine graduated Hebrew University with a master’s in contemporary Judaism and received her rabbinic ordination at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s Israeli program in 2011. Her rabbinic thesis explored liturgical, spiritual and ceremonial aspects of birth in Jewish tradition and contemporary practice.
Stemming from that, as well as her years as a volunteer at a rape crisis centre, Caine is one of the founders of the Israeli rabbinic women’s group B’not Dinah, creating a female and feminist rabbinic tradition of healing after sexual trauma. She now serves as rabbi at Temple Beth Ora and her Building Bridges talk is co-sponsored with her shul.
Other speakers in the 2021/22 series are:
- Carmel Tanaka, founder and executive director of JQT Vancouver (Jewish Queer and Trans Vancouver) on A Day in the Life of a Queer, Neurodivergent, Jewpanese Millennial (Dec. 5);
- Rivka Campbell, executive director of Jews of Colour Canada, on Harmony in a Divided Identity: A Minority Within a Minority (Jan. 9);
- Joy Ladin, poet, author and first openly transgender professor at a Jewish institution, on Jonah, God and Other Strangers: Reading the Torah from a Trans Perspective (Feb. 6);
- Reverend Hazan Daniel Benlolo, director of the Shira Choir, Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue, Montreal, on The Power of Music: In Honour of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (Feb. 13); and
- Patricia June Vickers, Indigenous artist and independent consultant, and Rabbi Adam Cutler, senior rabbi of Adath Israel Congregation in Toronto, on An Indigenous and Jewish Dialogue on Truth and Reconciliation (March 20).
Kolot Mayim has been active for 20 years and this is the fourth year that the synagogue is offering this speaker series. Talks are free and held on the scheduled Sundays from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. PST. To register, visit kolotmayimreformtemple.com.
– Courtesy Kolot Mayim