Dear Friends, When we feel helpless and afraid, we turn to Jewish wisdom, ritual, and community for guidance and grounding. With our eyes and our hearts locked on Israel, please consider the following. Pray. If you are in town, please make every effort to come to Holy Blossom this Shabbat. (Friday, 6 pm. Saturday, 10:30 am.) It will be good to raise up our voices together in prayer. If you are out of town, find the local synagogue this Shabbat. Read more »
Rabbi Yael Splansky
Rabbi Yael Splansky is the Senior Rabbi Designate of Holy Blossom Temple. She came to Toronto in 1998 after ordination from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. She served first as Assistant Rabbi, concentrating on youth and young families from 1998-2000, then as Associate Rabbi from 2000-2013.
From the Boston area, Rabbi Splansky completed her undergraduate studies in Anthropology and Jewish Studies at Indiana University in Bloomington and at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her rabbinical thesis is entitled, “All is Forseen and Freewill is Given: A Debate in Rabbinic Literature.”
She is the immediate past chair of the Reform Rabbis of Greater Toronto. She is the editor of the new prayerbook, Siddur Pirchei Kodesh, author of the Union for Reform Judaism’s “Reform Voices of Torah: 2012 Commentary on Deuteronomy,” and monthly contributor to The Canadian Jewish News.
Her husband, Professor Adam Sol, is an award-winning poet and together they raise their three sons.
Rabbi Splansky has the unique privilege of being a fourth-generation Reform Rabbi.
The Rabbi Splansky Blog Archive
Click image above to listen. This week I met with a member of our congregation, a professional in business, and she confided that she has been recently troubled because she has found herself in business meetings where people don’t know that she is Jewish and the banter in the room turns anti-Israel. Rabbi Yael Splansky - Sermon: July 19, 2014. Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Yesterday was the 17th of the Tammuz, when the walls of Jerusalem were breached by Rome two thousand years ago. According to the Mishnah (Taanit 4:6) this is also the day when Moses smashed the tablets of the law. It’s a day of things coming undone, leaving us exposed, vulnerable. With the relentless rockets raining down on Israel we hear the echoes, feel the tremors of Jewish history. It seems the walls have Read more »
Click image above to listen. I want to begin with a bit on an apology or a confession. Last night I spoke about Israel, of course, Operation Protective Edge, and I included in my remarks what I thought was an excerpt of a speech given by Prime Minister Netanyahu from the Knesset floor. Rabbi Yael Splansky - Sermon: July 12, 2014. Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky and Dr. Harvey Schipper, President. Dear Congregants, We know you are watching the news from Israel very closely. As the rockets rain down and our troops are called up, please consider supporting the following campaigns: UJA Israel Emergency Relief Fund the URJ supported JewishFederations.org/StoptheSirens (*please note that JFNA donations will not be tax deductible) AZRA Canada / the IMPJ: To donate please Read more »
May 6, 2014 - The Jewish Tribune Multi-generational rabbinic family continues to blaze new trails May 12, 2014 - The Canadian Jewish News New senior rabbi seeks to stabilize Holy Blossom May 13, 2014 - The Jewish Tribune Holy Blossom's new rabbi likes to lead from the centre May 13, 2014 - The Toronto Star Holy Blossom Temple official appoints a female as senior rabbi May 17, 2014 - The Globe and Mail A Toronto rabbi builds Read more »
It is with immense sorrow that we learned about the murders of Naftali Frenkel, Gil’ad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach z”l – 3 teenagers who were murdered by terrorists. May their memories be for a blessing. Our hearts are broken knowing that Eyal, Naftali, and Gilad will never return to the warm embrace of their families. Please join our community for a MEMORIAL SERVICE Monday July 7th at 7:30pm Shaarei Shomayim Congregation 470 Glencairn Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Baruch Dayan HaEmet. For the past three weeks we have, collectively and privately, prayed for the safe return of the three Israeli teens, Gilad Shaar (16), Naftali Frenkel (16), and Eyal Yifrach (19), who were abducted by terrorists on June 12. We at Holy Blossom were blessed when Gilad Shalit was with us for Kol Nidre and led the Prayer for the State of Israel. How moved were we then to be in his presence and Read more »
September 19-21, 2014 | 24-26th of Elul, 5774 With visiting Scholar, Rabbi David Ellenson, Chancellor of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Friday: Kabbalat Shabbat Service and Study Shabbat Morning: Torah Study and Service Saturday Evening: Champagne & Dessert Reception, Havdalah, Installation Ceremony & Selichot Sunday: Family Picnic Read more »
#bringbackourboys #bringbackourboysRabbi Yael Splansky, Holy Blossom TempleRabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl, Beth Tzedec CongregationRabbi Daniel Korobkin, Beth Avraham Yosef of Toronto By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Since Friday, Jews all over the world have focused their prayers on the well-being of the three young Israelis who were kidnapped when hitching a ride home from their yeshiva in Gush Etzion. Israel security forces are working around the Read more »
Click image above to listen. The Menorah is the oldest symbol of Jewish Life. Older than the Lions of Judah, older, much older, than the Star of David. The Menorah is found on ancient Israelite coins, and ancient frescos. It invokes memories of Maccabean triumphs. Rabbi Yael Splansky - Sermon: June 7, 2014. Read more »
Click image above to listen. Last night, after learning from Rabbi Michael Marmur here, a number of us – Rabbi Helfman, Cantor Maissner, a number of congregants and I – went to the Bloor JCC. And it was a great scene. It would give you great faith in the Jewish People and the Jewish future to see Jews of all ages there from across all denominational lines and from all geographical lines. Rabbi Yael Splansky - Sermon: Shavuot - June 4, 2014. Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. “Na’aseh” - Changing from Within Tomorrow we will reenact the dramatic scene. We will stand together to hear the call of The Ten Commandments. The posture for receiving a gift is standing. The giver knows he’s chosen well when the receiver enjoys the gift right from the start. When a child tears the box open, lights up, and begins to tinker and explore every aspect of what’s inside, the giver is equally Read more »
Click image above to listen. Since we have so many teenagers here today, and we are glad that you are here, I thought I would talk about boredom. Have you ever felt that way? Rabbi Yael Splansky - Sermon: May 28, 2014. *For more on this, see Dr. Erica Brown's book, Spiritual Boredom. Read more »
Click image above to listen. I believe Holy Blossom Temple history was made this week. Toronto's first synagogue founded in 1856, as far as we know Adrienne Klein is the first Bat Mitzvah to take up the mitzvah of tefillin. Thursday morning she came with her family to show her enthusiasm for this particular mitzvah, to put on tefillin as soon as she began of age to do so. Rabbi Yael Splansky - Sermon: May 24, 2014. Read more »
Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Ward and Al are known for comedy, but they bring their natural curiosity to a wide range of subjects. Yesterday I was invited to join them in their satellite radio studio on King West. Click image above to listen. Read more »
Click image above to listen. It is written, that from the day on which you bring the sheaf of elevation offering, the day after the Sabbath, you must count off seven weeks. They must be complete. You must count until the day after the seventh week – 50 days. Then you shall bring an offering of new grain to the eternal God. Rabbi Yael Splansky - Sermon: May 10, 2014. Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. It has been a wonderful month of heartfelt Mazel Tovs and expressions of hope for Holy Blossom’s future. Thank you, everyone, for the emails, Facebook messages, hand-written notes, web notes, and phone calls. Thank you for the firm handshakes and generous contributions to HBT. I receive each and every one as an expression of love for Holy Blossom Temple and for the Jewish People. Everyone knows how important is Read more »
Rabbi Splansky has led our congregation through a trying time of transition. She has provided stability, attracted additional professionals who bring their own strengths to the table and reinvigorated our commitment to Renewal of Space and Spirit. Thanks to the many volunteers and professionals who have joined her, Holy Blossom Temple is now poised to embrace its future. She says: "My recent work has been to stabilize the congregation. Now my Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Our Hagadah instructs us to tell the story: “From Degradation to Exaltation.” It’s an exercise in being truthful about the brokenness in our world and nevertheless, refusing to be resigned. The central theme of Pesach is Redemption, “salvation from the states and circumstances which destroy the value of human existence or human existence itself.” (Encyclopedia Judaica) One midrash asks: “Why did Read more »
Click image above to listen. I was recently invited to meet the Pusuma family. You may have read about them… I went to meet Josef, Timea, and their young daughter Lulu. It was the first sunny spring Sunday. And I went to a church, and I expected it to be dark and a bit depressing. But what I found there surprised me. Rabbi Yael Splansky - Sermon: March 29, 2014. For more information, please visit: http://freelulu.ca/ Read more »
Click image above to listen. The story goes that David Ben-Gurion exempted yeshiva students from army service because they reminded him of the world of his grandfather. They were few in number when Israel was young, a remnant of an old-fashioned way of life. So certain was Ben-Gurion that in just one more generation that particular Jewish way of Life would be a think of the past. Rabbi Yael Splansky - Sermon: March 29, 2014. Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. I’m sure they are right when they say our humor is a survival mechanism. You can endure a lot when you are able to laugh – at yourself, at your enemy, at your own pain, even at the God who is the Source of it all. Jewish humor is so irreverent, that sometimes even God is the butt of the joke. Whenever four rabbis are engaged in heated debate, it always seemed to land three against one. Finally, the odd rabbi Read more »
Click image above to listen. I would like to begin where Rabbi Appleby left off, when she called attention to that little aleph – that irresistible little aleph – at the end of the word Vayikra, the first word of the book of Vayikra. The word itself means “and God called” – God called out, God called upon Moses. Rabbi Yael Splansky - Sermon: March 8, 2014. Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. We are a congregation of learners. I so admire how our congregants run from campus to synagogue to seminar room seeking out expert teachers on every topic. Join me for a new learning initiative: “Jewish University for a Day.” Choose from a range of topics and local experts to help you prepare for Pesach. If you are looking for something new to share at your seder table, this is it! Read more »