Spiritual Leadership

Beth Israel Synagogue does not have a full-time Rabbi.  Our community is simply too small to manage that at the moment.  However, we do enjoy the services of Cantor Leon Litvack, who leads our High Holy Day services.

Cantor Leon was born in Toronto, and grew up at the Beth Sholom Synagogue. His Jewish education was undertaken at the Associated Hebrew Day Schools and the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (CHAT). He is a graduate of Trinity College, University of Toronto (BA); King’s College, University of London, England (MA); and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland (PhD). Since 1991 he has worked as a Professor of Victorian Studies at the Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is a world-recognised authority on the life and work of the Victorian writer Charles Dickens.

He did his vocal training at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, from which he holds an ARCT Diploma. He studied Jewish liturgical music in Canada with Cantors Efraim Rosenberg and David Bagley (Beth Sholom), and Cantor Solomon Domb (Beth Torah). More recently he has studied with Cantors Stephen Robins and Jacky Chernett, in London, England.

In the past Cantor Leon has led High Holy Day services in Canada, at Beth Sholom, the Beach Hebrew Institute, and the Lodzer Congregation (Toronto). He has also sung at synagogues in England, the United States, Spain, Italy, Japan, South Africa, and Israel.

Leon travels to Canada each year to be with us for the High Holy Days at Beth Israel. The services are participatory and fun, with many opportunities to sing along! Leon himself has written many musical arrangements, which we use in our worship.

To listen to the Cantor’s recordings please see WEB PAGE OF MP3s

We also enjoy the expertise Dr. Dan Houpt, a community member who periodically leads Friday night Kaballat Shabbat services, which all are welcome to attend.  Consult the calendar page to find out when these will take place.