Rabbi Philip Scheim’s career in the rabbinate began in 1981, when he was appointed Assistant Rabbi at Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am. He served in that capacity for two-and-a-half years until the untimely passing of Rabbi Albert Pappenheim in January 1984. Even though his time serving with Rabbi Pappenheim, of blessed memory, was relatively brief, Rabbi Scheim attributes many of his skills in meeting the needs of congregants during both good and challenging times in their lives, to the example set by his exemplary predecessor. In August of 1984, Rabbi Scheim was officially designated Senior Rabbi of the congregation, and has continued to serve in that capacity ever since.
Rabbi Scheim received his rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in May of 1981, where he earned his M.A. in Rabbinics in 1980, and where he received awards in Jewish Philosophy and Homiletics (sermonizing). His B.A. in Jewish Studies was earned at McGill University in 1976.
Rabbi Scheim is an officer of the International Rabbinical Assembly. He has served on the Committee of Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement, and was co-editor of Megillat HaShoah, a Holocaust liturgy produced by the Rabbinical Assembly and Schechter Institute of Israel, and initiated by Alex Eisen of Beth David and supported by members of our congregation and community. He serves as a board member of several charitable and service organizations in Canada, the U.S. and Israel, and has been active in leadership roles in the Masorti (Conservative) Movement in Israel, and Mercaz Canada, the Zionist arm of the Conservative Movement. He is the long-time chair of the Rabbinic Cabinet of State of Israel Bonds – Canada.
Israel awareness has been a major priority of Rabbi Scheim’s leadership at Beth David and in the community, highlighted by some twenty Israel solidarity tours that he has led to Israel from the congregation, and through the Rabbinical Assembly.
With over 30 years of service to Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am, Rabbi Scheim is proud of the congregation he is privileged to lead, delighted to be part of its clergy team, honoured to serve with Cantor Marshall Loomer and Ritual Director Michael Rubin, and looking forward to even greater strides that Beth David will make in the years to come.
Always involved with liturgical music, as a young man Marshall Loomer sang with the choir at Beth Emeth. He studied voice at The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, medaled in the Kiwanis Vocal Competition and performed in recitals at the University of Toronto Edward Johnson Hall. He subsequently attended Ryerson University earning a certificate in Marketing Management. He continued his studies in liturgical music, specifically, nusach and the art of Hazzanut, with Cantors Benjamin Maissner, Louis Danto and David Bagley. It was renowned Cantor David Kusevitzky who heard Loomer, and suggested that he become a cantor. Years later Marshall decided to make this his chosen path.
Cantor Loomer prides himself on making the congregational singing experience participatory at Beth David during Shabbat and Yom Tov services. His favourite part of the service is when he stops singing and hears the roar of the crowd taking over the melody. He can often be heard singing harmony with Ritual Director Michael Rubin and together they have become well known as The Two Moishes frequently performing at bar-bat mitzvah luncheons. Marshall's warmth is felt throughout the Beth David community be it at services, or in his conducting various life cycle events. He also teaches congregants nusach (the proper mode of chanting), so that they can be proficient in leading services.
In addition to his annual concerts at Beth David, Cantor Loomer has led services and performed concerts in Israel, Europe and in many cities throughout North America. He is presently serving as the Co-President of the Toronto Council of Hazzanim along with Cantor Eric Moses and also is a member of the Cantorial Council of America, and the Belz School of Music at Yeshiva University. He started the concept of Jewish Women In Song which has become popular across Toronto and in many other cities. Cantor Loomer enjoys his amazing relationship with Rabbi Scheim as they have now officiated together for the past 15 years. He reports that the only time they ever argue is when they can’t decide whether to eat milchiks or fleishiks! By the way he is also an honoured member of the Beth David Kiddush Club!
Michael Rubin, son of Bernard and the late Norma Rubin, z”l, has had a connection with Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am since his parents’ involvement in the earliest years of the congregation. Michael participated in Junior Congregation, collecting the weekly Parashah stickers, sang in the Beth David choir and, more recently, has served in the capacity of Ritual Director since 2004. Music and Jewish learning have been a regular part of Michael’s life; he attended Associated Hebrew Day Schools and CHAT, and studied piano and violin in his youth. Michael also sang in a local Toronto choir led by the late Helen Greenberg, z”l, for a number of years.
After completing a degree in history at the University of Toronto in 1985, Michael made Aliyah to Israel serving in various educational and administrative capacities at the Leo Baeck Education Centre in Haifa, before going on to serve as a licensed tour guide for a variety of Israelis and visitors including Bar/Bat Mitzvah family celebrations; Birthright and March of the Living groups; Christian-Muslim-Jewish Interfaith Study Missions; annual Israeli high school field trips. Facilitation of varied groups through the Adam Institute in co-existence and conflict resolution, as well as regular and reserve service in the Israel Defense Forces, were other opportunities for Michael to learn first-hand about the complex nature of Israeli society. Michael also had the honour to be involved with the Israeli ice hockey senior and junior programs since their infancy until his ‘retirement’ in 1995.
Since moving to Toronto with his partner of 16 years, Iris Gershon, and their daughter, Elah, Michael has continued to share his love of Jewish education, music, and Israel in the many different activities in which he is involved in our synagogue. He thoroughly enjoys working with his colleagues, Rabbi Philip Scheim and Cantor Marshall Loomer, the administrative staff, as well as with our dedicated lay leadership, and is grateful for the ‘heimishe’ and participatory environment in which our congregation revels.