Calendar & Activities

For further information on any of these events, email to:

Please NOTE:  The events below are listed by date descending…that means you will need to scroll down to see the events according to their date in the year.  For example, July events are further down in the list than August events. 


Coronavirus-19 Update

Dear Beth Israel Congregation,
The Jewish legal principle of Pikuach Nefesh tells us that saving a human life takes precedence over virtually all else.


Below you will find an outline of our policies for upcoming in-person events:
1. All people entering the building must wear a well-fitting mask that covers the nose and mouth. Exceptions to this policy will be made for those on the Bimah and/or when people must eat indoors, for example in the case of bad weather (see #5);
2. Spacing: We will maintain as much space as possible between household groups. We will also ask that people respect each other’s personal space. During services, we will avoid practices that bring members of different households within close contact;
3. Removing our Vaccine Mandate: BIC will no longer require those attending in-person events to be fully vaccinated as there is little evidence that 2-dose vaccination limits the spread of Covid, only that it limits the severity of the illness;
4. Ending Contact Tracing: We will no longer collect names and numbers of participants in events as contact tracing is no longer viable;
5. Eating at in-person events: We will limit food to finger food or to meals that can be easily eaten outside. While food may be set up inside, we will strongly encourage people to eat outside unless their accessibility needs or the weather necessitate indoor dining. If indoor dining is necessary, we will set up tables in a manner to allow proper distance between households.
We very much look forward to celebrating together in the weeks to come!
Just in case you still might be getting a booster, have a look at the blessing below:
Vaccination (Booster) Blessing
Many of us have now started to receive COVID vaccinations and so I though it might be time to once again re-transmit the Vaccination Blessings that Cantor Leon Litvack had put together for us:

image.pngBlessings to recite on receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine image.png


For everyone who has undergone and survived the trials and tribulations of the last year, receiving the vaccine will be a relief; but it may also be considered a blessing, in the Jewish sense. We recite blessings every day of our lives: when we get up or go to bed, eat, sleep, pray, and on many other occasions; indeed all of our human functions emanate from the showering of God’s grace upon us. For this reason, it is appropriate to recite these two blessings when receiving the vaccine.

1. A blessing to thank God for the miracle of our bodies:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעֹולָם, רֹופֵא כָל בָּשָׂר וּמַפְלִיא לַעֲשֹות בִּידֵי כָּל יֹושְׁבֵי תֵבֵל

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha-olam, rofeh chol basar u-maflee la-asot bi-dei kol yoshvei tevel.

Baruch atah Adonai, our God, sovereign of time and space, who heals all flesh, and works wondrously through human hands.

2. The Shehecheyanu: a blessing to celebrate special occasions. We recite it to give thanks to God for new and unusual experiences.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעֹולָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזַּמַן הַזֶּה

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha-olam, shehecheyanu, ve-kiyemanu, ve-higiyanu lazman hazeh.

Baruch atah Adonai, our God, sovereign of time and space, who has given us life, sustained us, and has enabled us to reach this moment.

Cantor Leon Litvack (1 Nisan 5781, 14 March 2021)



Kabbalat Shabbat Service


When:  Feb. 3rd, 2023.  6:45 – 8:30 p.m.

Where:   On-Line.  Zoom.  See below for details.

We will make every attempt to have in-person services combined with live-stream (Zoom) access for those who wish to attend remotely.  This may not always happen.  For this week’s community gathering and Kabbalat Shabbat service Zoom connection please contact  Ron or Dana at  if you:
    • wish to attend and require the Zoom connection details;
    • would like to do an English reading; and/or,
    • wish to receive a copy of the service in pdf.
If you are interested in doing one of the English (or Hebrew) service readings or you wish to read a poem or some other short piece as part of the service, an original work, or just a favourite, please let us know NOW, like NOW.  Kids, this means you too.  The absolute cutoff for replies is before Thursday evening prior to service date.  Because of the need to exchange emails and set up schedules to plan the service, last-minute replies cannot be accommodated.
Do you want to practice those familiar Kabbalat Shabbat songs as presented by our talented religious leader, Dan Houpt?  Unequivocally, the answer is yes, so go to this YouTube link:
Many, many thanks to Dan and his technical director and producer (and btw, son) Sam Houpt, direct from deepest Douro, Ron Molnar and many other volunteers for their dedicated efforts to make these Kabbalat services happen!!
NOTE:  Return to this page often to find out details about upcoming Kabbalat Shabbat services and gatherings.  Content below will change as we transition more to in-person Kabbalat Services.  COVID requirements are still in place.  Please read the details above regarding what you need to do to keep yourself and others safe while at Beth Israel Synagogue.  To summarize, the requirements for participating in the Kabbalat Service in-person when they happen are as follows:
  • Wearing of masks.
  • No drink or food consumption.
  • Social distancing.


Oneg Shabbat Service

When:  January 28th, 2023 10:0 am – 12:00 pm

Where:   Beth Israel Synagogue

This Week’s Parsha: Bo (Sefaria link)

Oneg Shabbat” means Joy of Shabbat. Together (and in person!) we’ll daven a few highlights from the Shabbat morning service followed by Torah study of the week’s parsha. Shmoozing, asking questions, and quiet reflection are all encouraged! Whatever brings you joy in our shared space. Feel free to drop in at any time from start to finish.
Bring a comfortable mask!  Masks will be required during singing, learning, and socializing.  Proof of vaccine is not required for this event. 
Available to help? We always need volunteers to act as greeters or to help create the shared service by providing a d’var torah reading, melody, sponsoring a kiddush (or part of the meal), or something else! Email with “Oneg Shabbat help” in the subject line. 


Tu BiShvat Seder

When:  February 6th, 2023, 6:00 pm for Seder, 7:30 pm for Elder Taylor’s Talk

Where:   Beth Israel Synagogue (Social Hall – Lower Floor)

RSVP:            Please register for the seder by Friday, February 3. 

For registration form please contact:

At 6:00 pm, Nevia Frank and the youth of Beth Israel will lead a seder for the community.
The seder will only be offered in person. For those who cannot attend in person, you can join us virtually at this link at 7:30 pm to listen to the talk from Dorothy (no registration required).
At 7:30 pm, Elder Dorothy Taylor, an honoured knowledge holder and environmental activist, will join us virtually from Curve Lake First Nation to share some teachings about water and our relationship to the lands we live on.
Who is invited?
Everyone in the Beth Israel community! We will also be extending an invitation with limited seating to the Unitarian Fellowship. The virtual talk with Dorothy will be available to anyone around the world.
What is Tu BiShvat?
Tu BiShvat is the New Year of the Trees. We celebrate by turning our attention and gratitude to our forests, perhaps by planting trees, and also by engaging in the practice of the Tu BiShvat seder. See the attached booklet courtesy of our intrepid kids’ crew coordinator, Marty Cleary.
What is a Tu BiShvat seder?
The Tu Bishvat seder is not a full meal like the Pesach seder! So you may want to eat an early dinner before attending. At the Tu Bishvat seder, we taste different fruits to honour the different seasons for the trees as well as the different seasons in our own lives. This tradition was developed by kabbalists in the 16th and 17th centuries, and is now celebrated in a diverse range of communities as a way to connect the land to ourselves.   

Have a look at the Tu BiShvat Booklet to get a better idea of the fun we will have.

Do I really have to register?

We will be relying on registrations to procure the right amount of foods for the event. No one will be turned away, but please register if you can. If you are not sure whether you can attend, please fill out the registration, and add a comment that you are a “maybe”.
What are we raising money for?
Elder Dorothy Taylor lives with muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair to get around. She is in need of a more powerful chair in order to reach certain shorelines where she leads water ceremonies. However, she does not qualify for government assistance. The Sacred Water Collective has raised almost all the funds needed to purchase the $32,000 chair. We at Beth Israel can help get them to the finish line and support Dorothy’s ability to participate fully in daily and ceremonial life. Our community is blessed by the knowledge and care of the Elders whose communities have lived in relationship with these lands for millennia. This is a wonderful opportunity to offer tzedakah and to support the work of protecting the waters and lands.

Donations are entirely voluntary and can be offered at the event via cash, cheque made out to Sacred Water Circle, or etransfer to Feel free to contribute even if you cannot attend the event.

For more information, you can visit the (now closed) gofundme page at:

You can learn more about the Sacred Water Circle at:

Do you need volunteers?

Thank you for asking! Yes, we sure do. Please let us know if you can help with set up, clean up, greeting people at the door, promoting the event, supporting tech for the zoom talk, and offering rides. There is a place to note this on the registration form. 

See you at the seder!

Holocaust Education Week Events:

Confronting Antisemitism Today

When: Nov. 16th, 2022,
               2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Where: Beth Israel Synagogue
Beth Israel Congregation and its Outreach Committee are offering two events on Nov. 16th that look to Holocaust Education as one way to combat antisemitism and other hatreds in our present day.  
  • a Yad Vashem exhibit entitled:  ‘Stars Without a Heaven:  Children in the Holocaust’;
  • two educators from Yad Vashem who will speak to the theme of Confronting Antisemitism Today.

For more details, please go to our Holocaust Education page.


BIC High Holy Day Services

Please go to this link for more details about the High Holy Day services offered by Beth Israel.


Peterborough-Nogojiwanong Pride Parade 2022

When:  Saturday September 24th, 2022 at 2 pm

Join the Beth Israel Congregation as we celebrate diversity, community, unity and PRIDE! We have a BIC Pride Banner and will march together as a group in the parade. The parade begins at 2 pm, but meet us at City Hall for pre-parade activities at 1:30 pm.

The parade will run from City Hall on George Street, south to King Street, and then east to Millennium Park. Post-parade parking of vehicles will be on Water Street. 

More information will be given shortly, but feel free to direct questions to Jenn at



BIC Annual General Meeting

When: Tuesday,  June 28th  7:00 p.m.


We will review the past year including our finances, discuss the future and take questions from the floor. And of course vote in our Board for the upcoming year.
Anyone who is interested in serving on our Board, please contact Larry Gillman.

Passover Seder Plate

Community Passover Seder

When: Saturday, April 16th.  6:00 p.m.


To register for the Community Passover Seder please see the link below or email with the following information to
  • Subject: Community Passover Seder registration
  • Content:  Your name and other persons who might be attending

to receive the registration link and further information such as access to a Haggadah.

It won’t be the same as seeing each other in person, but we are nonetheless quite excited to embark on our third ever online Seder.

We ask that you register BY WEDNESDAY, April 13th(see registration link below) so we can ensure we have the capacity for all. We will also be ‘seating’ guests at ‘tables’ (virtual subgroups) so you will have times during the Seder when you can talk and interact with those at your table. The link to the Zoom call will be forwarded to you once we receive your registration. You may join by phone or internet.  

Please click the following link to register.    

You are welcome to invite your friends and family. 

Hag Sameach!


Passover Graphic

Shabbat Hagadol Service 

When: Saturday, April 9th.  10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.


A message from Cantor Litvack, our spiritual leader for this event:

Dear friends,

     The Shabbat before Pesach is known as “Shabbat Hagadol” (“the Great Shabbat”). It holds special significance in Jewish tradition, because it was the day, in the year of the Exodus (some four thousand years ago), that the Israelites were first commanded to prepare a lamb for the Passover sacrifice. Such an act would have upset their oppressors, the Egyptians, because the lamb was sacred in their pagan culture. The fact that the Egyptians did not rise up in anger against the Israelites, just before they were due to leave Egypt, is considered a miracle in Jewish tradition.

     On Shabbat Hagadol there is a custom to read a portion of the Haggadah, in preparation for the festival. We read from the “Magid” section of the Seder, beginning with the words “Avadim hayinu” (“We were slaves”) up to the words, “le-chaper al kol avonoteinu” (“to atone for all of our sins”). This section includes such famous rituals as the recitation of the Ten Plagues while we spill drops of wine, and the songs “Ve-hi She-amdah” and “Dayenu”. It also includes the biblical commandments to remember the Exodus and tell its story throughout our lives (Devarim 16:3).  This custom of reading the Haggadah reinforces the point that the miracle of redemption began on Shabbat Hagadol.

     In addition to our musical service, we will engage in a discussion by congregants, about their experience of miracles. There are times in our lives when we have experienced extraordinary things. Sometimes we end up attributing these to coincidence; at other times they fall within the sphere of the marvellous; still on other (unique) occasions, they may be attributed to divine intervention or the miraculous.

     To celebrate the miracle of redemption from slavery, and the formation of the Jewish nation at Pesach, we will invite congregants to share with us their experiences of the miraculous (whatever that may mean to them). I will also share with you a story of my own experience of the miraculous, which confirmed for me beyond doubt that there is a God, who listens to humankind.

I look forward to seeing you on 9 April at 10 am!

With love from Cantor Leon


purim graphic

Purim Celebrations

When: Friday, March 16th.  6:00 p.m.


To register for the Purim Play please email with the following information to
  • Subject:  Purim Play registration
  • Content:  Your name and other persons who might be attending

Is there still time to participate in the Purim Play, you ask?  Glad you asked that question.   If you’re interested in taking part in the Purim Play featuring kids and adults, please fill out this form:  (Click on this link: All ages and abilities welcome!

What about all those wonderful Hamantaschen snacks, you ask?  You wanted them delivered, maybe?  BIC Outreach Committee hears your call.    Please contact us with your registration email stating you wish Hamantaschen, and whether you want them delivered or not.  Email link is:

You say you want to help with Hamantaschen deliveries, and/or would be willing to help with the Purim Play technical operation?  Again, with your registration email mention you wish to help, and how!

Finally, don’t miss the fun and bring your “greggers and clackers“!