Pastoral Guidance & Counselling Page

To read general information on Humanistic Jewish Life Cycle Events, click here.

Let our community and staff support and embrace you in your times of celebration and mourning and let us guide you to decisions and actions that lead to a fulfilled and meaningful Jewish life.  We offer this help to Oraynu members.

Pastoral Support

When times are tough and you can use some words of wisdom or solace to get through the day, call Rabbi Denise Handlarski, our Congregational Rabbi, or Rabbi Eva Goldfinger, our Life Cycle Director, or Rabbi Karen Levy, our Rabbi Emerita, for pastoral guidance and support.

Pastoral/Philosophical Guidance & Counselling

If you are confused about the best actions to take to benefit yourself and your families during important life transitions, and want some advice from an experienced and independent person, we may be able to help you.  If you want information and guidance about ‘being and doing Jewish’, pastoral/philosophical counselling is provided to Oraynu members, and can be provided to non-members on a fee-for-service basis.

Educational Guidance

Educational guidance regarding your child or youth’s Jewish education or community involvement is also provided by Steven Shabes, the Principal of our Children’s School. The school is an integral part of the Oraynu Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, created in 1968 by a group of dedicated parents to provide their children with a meaningful secular Jewish education.  Please refer to the school web site for more information.

Some Questions We May Answer for You

Medical or Ritual Circumcision/Brit mila
How to Welcome a New Baby or Child
Clarifying between Religious and Cultural Traditions
What Does a Jewish Home Mean
Raising Children in an Intercultural Family
Can People be Jewish and another Religion Simultaneously
How to Educate our Children Jewishly
How to give Children a Strong Jewish Identity
Is Torah Chanting a Necessary Part of Bar/Bat Mitzvot?
How to Keep Teens and Young Adults Jewishly Engaged
Who or What is a Jew
Religious or Humanistic Conversion
Living a Jewish Life that has Personal Integrity
Can one be Jewish without Believing in God
How to Improve your Jewish Literacy
What to Say to Someone Who is Dying
Dying with Dignity
Dealing with Grief and Mourning
To Sit or Not to Sit Shiva
Creating Meaningful Jewish Life Cycle Ceremonies
Creating Respectful Intercultural Life Cycle Ceremonies
Intermarriage Issues
Dealing with Religious/Cultural Demands/Expectations of Family

Pre-Nuptial Counselling

Oraynu offers full and half day pre-nuptial counselling sessions with Rabbi Eva Goldfinger to give couples the necessary tools to build a lasting marriage.  Half day sessions can be either for marriage issues or intermarriage issues.  Full days include both.  This service can be booked independently or attached to a wedding booking.

Intermarriage Support Group

Intertalk events, offered by Oraynu act as an information and support group for couples in intercultural relationships.  The program is also open to parents of intercultural couples and some of the programs include the children of intermarriage.  To see when our next Intertalk session will be, click here.

Adult Education & Information

Rabbi Karen Levy and Sandi Horwitz, our Music Director run regular Introduction to Judaism workshops to share our philosophy and practices with those who may wish to learn more about finding a Jewish home at Oraynu.  In addition, at various times throughout the year, in our School or at Congregational Adult Education events, Oraynu offers programs where our speakers are experts on issues of concern to the community.  Some examples might be Dealing with Bullying, Multiculturalism, Values Taught Through Judaism, Trends in Jewish Education, When our Children Join a Cult, Dealing with Anti-Semitism, Meditative Practices in Judaism, Significance of Torah for Humanists, Peace in the Middle East, etc.

Contact Us

For more information and costs, please contact our Life Cycle Director, Rabbi Eva Goldfinger at evagoldfinger007@gmail.com or 416-494-7450.