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What Are We All About?

How It Started


In 1995, The Forest Hill Jewish Centre began as The Ohr Somayach Jewish Learning Exchange under the guidance and vision of Rabbi Nota Schiller, the Dean of Ohr Somayach International. The JLE was supported by Albert Latner and his family, in memory of his dear wife, Temmy. 

The JLE functioned as a learning centre until 2000, when Rabbi Elie and Rifky Karfunkel moved into the neighbourhood to assume leadership of the Forest Hill Jewish Centre. 

It took a decade to build our current home, The Albert & Temmy Latner Forest Hill Jewish Centre. With much anticipation in 2017 we moved into the current space and brought our beautiful new building to life with exciting programming, daily and Shabbat services, and the celebration of Jewish life.   


 

Our Growing Community

 

 
"We're sort of the little synagogue that grew," - John Kaplan 

The Albert Temmy Latner Forest Hill Jewish Centre is a place where everyone can come together regardless of their background. We welcome you and your family to come and experience services and programming at the FHJC.

Shabbat services each week incorporate a wide range of activities: from fun and educational children's programming to the Rabbi’s famous sermons or the illuminating scholar in residence weekends. Rabbi Elie’s approach is personal, fun, funny and always educational.  

The FHJC shows that it is possible to live in today's world while still maintaining and embracing our rich tradition. In a vibrant and accessible way, our educational classes reinforce the link to this tradition while strengthening the bonds of community.  
 

"We’re always trying to create that place where everyone will feel comfortable to come and make it their own – no matter what level of background or observance or affiliation." - Rabbi Elie 
 

Holidays are a focal point with each significant day on the Jewish calendar accentuated with special programming. 

The common thread throughout all of the Centre’s activities is that here people feel cared for, included and encouraged to grow at their own pace. As Rabbi Elie says "Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name - and they're always glad you came" 

 


 

The Jaslo Connection 

 

It was a dream of it's founders to connect the new home of the Centre with the past by replicating a synagogue destroyed in the Holocaust. The exterior of the Centre was built to match the former Grand Synagogue in Jaslo, Poland.  

On September 15, 1939, the Nazis set the Jaslo Synagogue ablaze with the intention of burning the beautiful edifice to the ground. The Nazis’ plan failed when firefighters came and extinguished the flames. Tragically, the arsonists returned five days later, gathered the local Jews, along with the heroic firemen, and forced them at gunpoint to set the building ablaze again. 

For 77 years this important building remained just a memory, until the opening of the Albert &  Temmy Latner FHJC. A surviving black and white photograph of the impressive ark of the original shul was used to reconstruct the sanctuary's new three story ark: the largest one ever built by the Israeli craftsmen at Kibbutz Lavi.  

This majestic building is an inspiration and reinforces the importance and miracle of our part in the history of the Jewish people. Am Yisrael Chai!

Recently an incredible story happened here with the return of candlesticks from Jaslo Poland.
 

Click here for TV news coverage of this momentous occasion

Click here for the Canadian Jewish News article on this story


 

Tue, August 4 2020 14 Av 5780