Rabbi Eva Goldfinger

Life Cycle Director and Adult Educator
Licensed to perform marriages

Eva Goldfinger graduated from Bais Yaakov High School and Teacher’s College in Toronto, studied Sciences, Psychology and Hebrew at University of Toronto, and is a graduate of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism (“IISHJ”) headquartered in Jerusalem and in Farmington Hills, Michigan. In 1988, she was ordained by the Leadership Conference of Secular and Humanistic Jews (“LCSHJ”) as a “Leader/Madrikha” and certified as a “Philosophical Counsellor”. She has also completed training in Jewish Family Education. Eva has earned a Bachelors and Masters in Jewish Studies from Hebrew College, Boston, a Masters in Rabbinics at the IISHJ and was ordained as a rabbi in October 2005.

Eva is a Psychotherapist with advanced training in inner child, cognitive, systems and humanistic therapy and has training in Emotion Focused Therapy at York University. Since 1986 she has run a successful private practice for individuals, couples and families. She has created a popular prototype for couples’ workshops on learning how to communicate effectively. As an independent consultant to staff at private schools, she advises on students with cognitive/learning and emotional challenges. Eva is a respected Intermarriage Specialist working with interfaith and inter-racial couples and families and running workshops at various conferences around North America.

Eva has been a spiritual leader of Oraynu since her ordination in 1988.  She provides pastoral support and pre-nuptial counseling, adult education workshops, seminars and lectures, and is the Director of Life Cycles. As such she is in charge of coordinating baby namings and welcomings, bar and bat mitzvot for youth and adults, weddings, funerals, memorials, unveilings and dedications, and conversions/adoptions. She mentors all conversion/adoption candidates and officiates beautiful and meaningful life cycle ceremonies that she creates. “Intertalk”, a support group she developed for couples in inter-cultural relationships, was launched at Oraynu in the 1990’s and is still offered by them. It is a model for such groups all over North America.

Eva has travelled to Congregations all over North America to lead their festival services and provide guidance, education and training to the communities and their leadership.

Actively involved in building the Movement and developing its philosophy and practices locally, nationally and internationally, Eva has served at various times on the Boards of Oraynu Congregation, the IISHJ, the Society for Humanistic Judaism (“SHJJ”), the Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations (“CSJO”) and the North American section of the International Federation of Secular Humanistic Jews.  Until his recent death, she was an advisor to the president of the International Federation of Secular and Humanistic Jews. She has been the President of the LCSHJ, now the professional association of its Rabbis, Madrikhim, Musical Directors, Educators and Spokespersons.

Eva currently sits on the Executive Committee of the Association for Humanistic Rabbis, on the Board of the IISHJ and on Oraynu’s Philosophy Committee. She is the Chair of the IISHJ Admissions Committee and also Chairs its Psych Advisory Committee. For many years Eva planned and executed Movement conferences for the CSJO and the SHJ.  She continues to plan the weekend programs for the joint IISHJ and Oraynu’s Davida Glazer Seminars.

A Jewish educator, Eva offers courses and lectures extensively in Toronto, other parts of Canada and the States. (See publications below.) She is on the faculty of the IISHJ and is the Director of the Canadian Section of the IISHJ. She creates Humanistic Jewish celebrations/observances of festival and life cycle ceremonies, many of which have been published and are widely-used throughout the Movement.

Eva is committed to the flourishing of Oraynu and the Secular Humanistic Jewish Movement.

Publications

  • Judaism: A Civilization in Motion, an introductory course in Jewish history, philosophy and culture, 1990
  • Curriculum for Secular Humanistic Jewish Supplementary Schools, co-written with Karen Levy – a developmental, values and history based curriculum from JK through Grade 7, currently used by many schools in the Movement, 1995
  • Basic Ideas of Secular Humanistic Judaism, published by the IISHJ, is used as a basic text for the Movement, 1996
  • Introduction to Judaism: An Evolving Civilization, an intensive adult education course endorsed by the IISHJ, which is also used for conversion/adoption classes, 1998
  • Guidebook for Adult Education Programs, community training and policies manual for creating, executing and delivering adult education, commissioned by the SHJ, 2001
  • Admission & Ordination Criteria and Applications for all Training Programs, commissioned by the IISHJ, 2010