Rabbi Cory Weiss
Approachable and caring, Rabbi Weiss is committed to making Temple Har Zion a place where adults and children alike feel welcome and at home. His goal is to share the historic heritage of our people—its laws, stories, traditions, ethics, and hope for the future—so that, together, we can be a holy people.
To ensure that congregational life remains relevant and accessible, Rabbi Weiss has introduced several initiatives such as Kol Bo Shabbat, a Friday family-oriented Shabbat service followed by dinner and music, Thursday Lunch and Learns, and a community Second Seder. School was moved from Saturdays to Sundays so that he could lead T’filah and spend time with our children
In addition to playing the accordion and French Horn, Rabbi Weiss is a composer who has written compositions for synagogues throughout North America, and has a number of pieces published by Transcontinental Music. In 2013, he was commissioned to write a setting of Psalm 100 for the Curling Club’s Interfaith Choir Concert.
A native of Connecticut, Rabbi Weiss served as the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford, Connecticut and as Rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester, Connecticut prior to becoming the Rabbi at Temple Har Zion in July 2006. Moreover, he is a member of the Toronto Board of Rabbis and the Reform Rabbis of Greater Toronto and is past president of the Greater Toronto Interfaith Clergy Curling Club. Rabbi Weiss has also served on the Board of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and on the editorial board of the Reform Movement’s new prayer book for youth and families, Mishkan T’filah L’No’ar.
Rabbi Weiss received his rabbinical ordination at the New York campus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1993, and his Bachelor of Music degree in 1986 from the University of Michigan, where he studied French Horn, composition, and Judaic Studies.
An advocate for lifelong learning, Rabbi Weiss is currently working toward a Doctor of Hebrew Letters degree, with a focus on Aramaic Additions to the biblical Book of Esther.
Rabbi Weiss lives in Thornhill with his wife, Karen, who is a professional Jewish Educator. He is very proud of their two sons, Michael and Jacob.
Cantorial Soloist Tara Abrams
As B’nai Mitzvah Co-ordinator, Tara oversees the program and tutors most of the students herself. In addition, Tara enjoys teaching “Introduction to Torah Cantillation” classes to grade 6 students in our Beit Ivrit ( Hebrew School ). Tara liaises with Rabbi Weiss and Ronit Strobel-Dahan, Director of Education, ensuring that children and parents alike have a positive experience in preparation for becoming Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
Tara teaches Torah and Haftarah cantillation to both the Adult B’nai Mitzvah classes and other adults in the congregation who want to learn this Jewish life skill. She provides support on an ongoing basis to congregants who chant Torah and Haftarah at services.
An Honours graduate of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and an A.R.C.T. graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Tara first encountered Jewish music as a student at Temple Har Zion’s Religious school. Her love of Jewish music was nurtured while attending URJ’s Goldman Union Camp Institute where there was a tremendous focus on singing. She is a true product of the Reform movement, and specifically Har Zion, from Consecration through to Confirmation and beyond. Tara has served as a Faculty member of our URJ’s Camp George. She is a member of the Guild of Temple Musicians and the Toronto Council of Hazzanim.
Tara works closely with Rabbi Weiss and Eleanor Rice, our Music Director, to make Temple Har Zion’s worship services spiritual, inclusive, musically-infused and participatory through the singing of songs that cover the spectrum from traditional to contemporary.
Perhaps that explains the eclectic group of CDs in Tara’s car right now: James Taylor’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2, The Fantastiks (musical), Barbra Streisand’s What Matters Most, Jennifer Warnes’ Famous Blue Raincoat, Amy Sky’s Phenomenal Woman, Samuel Barber’s Greatest Hits, Craig Taubman’s Holy Ground and THZ’s Hak’hel et Ha’am…a labour of love!
Tara is married to David and has two children, Emily and Ryan.
Rabbi Emeritus Michael Stroh
Rabbi Stroh received his B.A. from Queen’s College, Summa Cum Laude. He was ordained at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC – JIR) at which he earned an M.A. with honours. In l991, he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from HUC – JIR. He has been an instructor at Queen’s College and taught Jewish Thought at the School of Education and philosophy at the School of Sacred Music of HUC – JIR. He has been an instructor in Jewish Theology at the University of Waterloo.
Rabbi Stroh teaches and lectures regularly at Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist synagogues in the Toronto area. He lectures frequently at interfaith programs at the University of Toronto, York University and secondary schools. He was a member of the Theology faculty of the University of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto. Rabbi Stroh spent his last sabbatical in New York and Israel. He taught Covenant Theology with Professor Eugene Borowitz at HUC – JIR and did research on Franz Rosenzweig.
Rabbi Stroh is a Past President of Arza Canada, (Reform Zionist Organization) and a Past Chairperson of Arzenu: International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists. He was a member of the Zionist General Council (Va’ad Hapoel) of the World Zionist Organization and the Assembly of the Jewish Agency. He is a past president of the Toronto Board of Rabbis and was a member of the Commission on Sustaining Rabbinic Education of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion/Central Conference of American Rabbis. Rabbi Stroh was a chair of the Reform Round Table, a group of rabbis who discuss the content and direction of Reform Judaism.
He is married to retired publicist Celia Stroh. They have two children and four grandchildren.
Among Rabbi Stroh’s publications are the following:
- Marshall McLuhan and the Shape of the Reform Jewish Future
- Tradition for Reform Judaism
- A New Look at Franz Rosenzweig’s Speech Thinking
Central Conference of American Rabbis Journal
- The Authority of the Tradition for the Reform Rabbi
Yearbook of the Central Conference of American Rabbis,Vol. XC, Part Two
- A Reform Perspective
- Authority, Autonomy, and Authenticity: A Personal Search
Jewish Spiritual Journeys
Lawrence A. Hoffman and Arnold J. Wolf, Behrman House Inc.
- Mending The World And The Evil Inclination: The Human Role In Redemption
Duties of the Soul
Niles Goldstein and Peter S. Knobel, URJ Press
- Martyrdom: Suicide for the Sake of Heaven
The Freehof Institute of Progressive Halakhah