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Rabbi Howard Morrison Rabbi Leslie Lipson Chazzan David Edwards Rabbi Joseph Kelman zt"l Cantor Louis Danto zt"l

Rabbi Howard Morrison

Howard Morrison, grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts.  There, he attended the Maimonides Day School for elementary and high school.  He attended services at the Young Israel Synagogue and Congregation Kehillath Israel.

After spending his undergraduate years at Boston University and the Hebrew College, Rabbi Morrison entered the Rabbinical School at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.  His rabbinical training included a year of study at Neve Schechter and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

After receiving his ordination, Rabbi Morrison assumed the position of Rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom in Union New Jersey from 1987-1991 and then assumed the position of Rabbi at the Wantagh Jewish Center in Long Island, N.Y. from 1991-2000.

He is retired from his duties in the U.S. Air Force as a Reserve Chaplain, performing most of his duties at McGuire Air Force Base in southern New Jersey. 

Since beginning his tenure with Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue in 2000, Rabbi Morrison has served as President of the Ontario Region of the Rabbinical Assembly and the Toronto Board of Rabbis. He also served on the Executive of the International Rabbinical Assembly. He acts as Chaplain to local Jewish War Veterans. Rabbi Morrison also writes a monthly dvar torah on the weekly parsha for the Canadian Jewish News. Rabbi Morrison was awarded an honorary doctorate of divinity by the Jewish Theological Seminary in April of 2015 for his years of dedicated service to Conservative Judaism and to the Jewish people.

Rabbi Morrison is married to Tamara and between them, they have four children, Elie Natan, Yonah Ari, Nicole & Ryan.
You may reach Rabbi Morrison at

Rabbi Morrison received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, fall 2012. Please click here for the story!


Rabbi Leslie Lipson

Rabbi Leslie Lipson grew up in Rochester, New York; attending Camp Ramah in Canada for ten summers as both a camper and on staff.  After graduating from Haverford College,  Rabbi Lipson traded currency on Wall Street and then returned to Toronto to work on his MBA at York University.  After working in the foreign exchange industry for several more years, Rabbi Lipson decided to study at the Jewish Theological Seminary. While studying for rabbinic ordination, he also received a Masters in Education. He spent ten years in the pulpit world: two as an assistant in Monmouth County, New Jersey and eight years as the senior Rabbi at a shul in western Morris County New Jersey.  Most recently Rabbi Lipson served as the Dean of Jewish Studies at the San Diego Jewish Academy. Rabbi Lipson is married to Adina, an early childhood educator. They have four children: Rebecca, Hannah, Yardena, and Eitan. In whatever spare time he may have, Rabbi Lipson enjoys studying Torah, listening to Jazz and the Grateful Dead, and avidly following his favourite baseball team: the New York Yankees.

You may reach Rabbi Lipson at

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chazzan david



Chazzan David Edwards

Chazzan David Edwards was born and raised in the UK where he spent his formative years. He lived in a traditional Jewish home where Judaism was certainly an important aspect of life. On completing his high school education, he spent a period of time in Israel where he studied at an ulpan and then worked in Tel Aviv. Following his move to Toronto in 1974, he embarked on a successful business career.

Although he enjoyed a love of music, it wasn't until much later in life that he discovered his voice and began to take the art of cantorial music seriously. Following the passing of his late mother in 1993, he began to study intensely and in 2000 became the Chazzan of the Lodzer Centre Congregation in Toronto for 9 years. Chazzan Edwards next served as the cantor of the Calgary Beth Tzedec Congregation from 2009- 2011 and during his tenure, engaged the congregation and gave them roles in the service believing that this is one of the best attributes for a successful Synagogue community.

He enjoys singing beautiful repertoire with the Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Community by combining the treasured traditional music of the past with new modern themes. In performing the sacred craft of chazzanut, he holds the belief that without a tzibur, "a congregation," there can be no "shaliach" (leader).

Chazzan Edwards has been married to Sandra Maker since 2007 and between them have 4 children, Jessica, Sara, Melissa and Samantha.

You may reach Chazzan Edwards at

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Our founding clergy of blessed memory, Rabbi Joseph Kelman zt"l

Joseph Kelman, was the founding Rabbi of Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue in Bathurst Manor, Toronto's third largest Conservative congregation. Coming from a rabbinic family reaching back eight generations, Rabbi Kelman devoted his life and career equally to scholarship and to the mentally handicapped. His two sons, Jay and Maury are now ninth generation rabbis.

Born in Vienna, his family came to Toronto when he was three. He was ordained in New York and returned to Toronto in 1959 to become the spiritual leader of Beth Emeth, a new congregation of 100 families in burgeoning North York. In the beginning, services were held in a member's home. Today the Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue on Elder Street has a congregation of nearly 1,500 families.

Early on, Rabbi Kelman recognized his role in the rabbinate as an opportunity to serve all segments of the community. As chaplain of a psychiatric centre in 1960 he became convinced that the disabled were entitled to programmes tailored to their disability. In 1961, he established the Kadima School for these ''special'' children and teenagers. Here they were taught Torah, Jewish laws, customs and traditions. Then, in 1971, he established the Kadima Centre, a recreational, social and cultural program for special needs adults. Two years later he became the founding President of the Reena Foundation which has since earned a world wide reputation for teaching the mentally handicapped to live an independent lifestyle under supervision and/or in their own apartments. He also founded, with the help of Rabbi Irwin Witty, the Dr. Abraham Shore Academy for children with learning disabilities. Shearim has helped these children mainstream back to CHAT and other hebrew high schools. He was also instrumental in founding a group home for young adults with psychiatric problems.

In 1984 Rabbi Kelman was honoured by Ryerson Polytechnic University with an Honourary Fellowship and in 1991 he received an Honourary Doctorate of Philosophy from Tel Aviv University. The University established The Kelman Research Centre which has hosted several international conferences and published many books dealing with Jewish Education, Language and Identity. In addition to his many posts of community leadership, he has served as chairman of the Toronto Board of Rabbis.

Rabbi Kelman was married to the late Ruth Friedman for over 45 years. They had 3 children. Tova, a lawyer, is married to Allan Gutenberg and they have 4 children, Pnina, Daniel, Joshua and Zahava. Rabbi Jay Kelman is both a Rabbi at the neighbouring Beth Jacob Synagogue, and also a chartered accountant. Jay and his wife Elana have 3 children, Ariel, Elisha and Atara. Rabbi Maury Kelman is a lawyer and also holds the post of International Chairman of KEDMA, an organization which does outreach work in Toronto, Montreal, London & Paris; he is the official Rabbi for their synagogue in Jerusalem. In 2000, Rabbi Joseph Kelman married Sara Schafler.

In tribute to his 38 years of service to the congregation, Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue honoured him with a year of special events, the inscription of a Torah scroll, a dinner and tribute evening, and the establishment of the Joseph Kelman Endowment Fund for Jewish Continuity.

Although officially retired in 1997, Rabbi Kelman continued to busy himself with community and synagogue life. He was honoured in November 2008 with the Yakir Hakahal (Precious to the Community) award. He remained active in the community and the shul up until his passing in June 2009.

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Our beloved Chazzan of blessed memory, Cantor Louis Danto zt"l

After serving for over a quarter century as our beloved Hazzan, Cantor Louis Danto retired in 1998. Cantor Danto was honoured by the synagogue with the title ''Cantor Emeritas'', and remained an important part of the synagogue up until his passing late July, 2010.

Cantor Louis Danto's career started in the early 1930's when as a child in Suwalki, Poland, he sang as alto soloist in the choirs of such ''Greats'' as Jacob Berman and David Moshe Steinberg. Even during those tender years, he thrilled congregations with his pure and fervent tones. Then came Hitler and the war. The Danto family was uprooted but Louis was fortunate enough to escape to Minsk. There he studied at the local conservatory from 1939-1941. When Germany invaded Russia, Danto was moved once more (this time with a group of other talented children deep into Russia where he studied cello and voice).

The war was over and Danto hurriedly made for home. But home was no more. A somber silence greeted him. Only the ashes remained; cloud and sky, and the ominous silence. Centuries of Jewish life and culture and learning had been erased during those frightening years. Only traces of it remained: in the scholar's mind, in the poet's soul, in the sweet singer's throat.

Danto combined the best of his artistic background with his Jewish soul and made Hazzanuth his chosen career. Danto studied Hazzanuth with Leo Lowe and Herman Zalis. He also expanded his knowledge of Jewish sources at the Yeshiva of ''Mirr'' where he studied from 1950 to 1954.

Praised by such immortals as Gigli and Schipa while a student in Rome, Louis Danto has concertized throughout the world - all appearances receiving both critical and audience acclamation. In December 1965, Louis Danto chanted a special prayer at Tito Schipa's funeral in New York at the request of the family with noted Metropolitan Opera stars in attendance.

Cantor Danto, in September 1984, sang before Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens to an inter-faith audience of 16,000 and millions of television viewers. Her Majesty was most impressed with Cantor Danto's richly regal singing.

Numerous leading contemporary composers have written for, and dedicated their works to Louis Danto. In addition, he was a researcher and a companion of rare and unusual repertoire: During his 1989 East-European tour (of concerts in Moscow, Leningrad, Odessa, Kiev and Budapest) he discovered manuscripts of many songs from the long lost original classic Jewish music, several of which he recorded on his ''Gems of the Jewish Operetta'' and ''Masters of the Jewish Art Song The St. Petersburg School'' and are for the first time on record. His body of work included compilations made during his 1995 concert tour of Europe, when he recorded with the State Opera of Prague. This recording, along with one made with noted violist Rivka Golani were released in the spring of 1996. George Jelinek, a distinguished broadcaster and music critic for Stereo Review had this to say about Cantor Danto's album ''The Art of Cantor Louis Danto'' - ''...the technique and overall control Cantor Louis Danto displays on this record no tenor under contract to a major U.S. opera company today can duplicate.''

Another hard-to-please critic, Alan Rich of the New York Times, raved after a Carnegie Hall recital by Cantor Danto...''a voice of great beauty clear and true...breathtaking, radiant, as though from another world.''

In February 1998, Cantor Louis Danto received an Honorary Doctorate in Music from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. While he had title to the designation ''Doctor", he preferred always to be called ''my friend".

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