By Rabbi Yael Splansky. On my shelf there is “Difficult Freedom” by Emmanuel Levinas, “The Insecurity of Freedom” by Abraham Joshua Heschel, and a gift from Rabbi Marmur’s library, “Escape from Freedom” by Erich Fromm. Each is very different, but each collection of post-Holocaust theology includes reflections on the limits, challenges, and anxieties, which come with freedom. They also, most importantly, reflect on the responsibilities, Read more »
Rabbi Yael Splansky
Rabbi Yael Splansky is the Senior Rabbi 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. Queen Esther received a rousing round of applause in Congress this week. How wonderful and how strange. Rabbi Yael Splansky - Sermon: March 7, 2015 Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. The great theologian, Woody Allen once said: “If it turns out there is a God, I don’t think He is evil. I think the worst thing you can say about God is that He is an underachiever.” (Love and Death, 1975) God made the world incomplete. God made human beings less than perfect. We are vulnerable in this life and sometimes faith is hard to find. On its surface, the Megillah of Purim is a Godless book. Read more »
Update: Friday, February 13, 2015 Yael and I would like to thank everyone for all your good wishes and prayers. Her surgery went very well, and she is now at home, resting comfortably. Shabbat shalom. Adam Sol The outpouring of online comments is truly appreciated. Please continue to participate with the community below and scroll down the page to leave your comment... By Rabbi Yael Splansky January 28, 2015 Resilience is Read more »
Click image above to listen. I’d like to share a few thoughts today about Jewish leadership. Our Torah cycle now introduces us to Moses, the greatest Jewish leader of all time. And this is our first Shabbat without Jack Geller. One of our congregation’s finest leaders. Rabbi Yael Splansky - Sermon: January 9, 2015 Read more »
Today is a moment in time to reflect on where we have been as a congregation, to pause and see where we are today, and to set the course for what’s next. Today is a very good day. I remember very clearly standing before you one year ago, two years ago, three years ago, when the room was thick with worry. You remember it, too. Today is a very good day. We should be proud of how far we have come. In the business world, I believe, this is what’s Read more »
Click image above to listen. Don't be home Wednesday night… Rabbi Yael Splansky - Sermon: November 8, 2014 Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Rabbis of nearly every stripe have embraced the world online, but we still treasure our books. When Rabbi Marmur announced that he was dismantling his library, I knew he was serious. Rabbis don’t joke about their books, their finest tools, and greatest companions. Since his retirement in 2000, Rabbi Marmur and Fredzia have been dividing each year between Jerusalem and Toronto. In his memoir, Six Lives, we see Read more »
Click image above to listen. I wonder how many in the Sanctuary today remember where you were when Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shook hands in Clinton’s rose garden. I remember it very clearly. I was in Jerusalem… Rabbi Yael Splansky - Sermon: November 1, 2014 Read more »
Click image above to listen. I will share that personally it has been a week for me too. Reflecting on these themes, I have taken the first concrete step to apply for Canadian citizenship. Rabbi Yael Splansky - Sermon: October 25, 2014 Read more »
Click image above to listen. Jerome Groopman, professor at Harvard Medical School and Chief of Experimental Medicine at Beth Israel Hospital, is also a deeply committed Jew who says the misheberach for healing for each of his patients. In one of his books – The Anatomy of Hope – he writes about Barbra… Rabbi Yael Splansky - Sermon: Shemini Atzeret/Yizkor Service Read more »
Click image above to listen. Rabbi Yael Splansky - Sermon: Kol Nidre Read more »
ברית ק״ק פרחי קדש Brit Kehillah Kedoshah Pirchei Kodesh A Covenant of Belonging Holy Blossom Temple B’resheet – “In the beginning.” – בראשית Know the stories of Holy Blossom Temple, Toronto’s first synagogue. They are colourful stories, which speak of a congregation that has constantly sought out that good tension, that perfect balance between innovation and tradition. Take pride in this legacy. Treat Read more »
Click image above to listen. How does one go to the theater? You buy tickets in advance, perhaps you call, but more likely these days, there is an online purchase. You might even treat yourself to season tickets. You mark the calendar so you won’t forget. You dress of the occasion, you fight for parking, an usher shows you to your seat. You settle in and look around – is there anyone you know? The performance is about to begin. You watch… Read more »
Click image above for more details By Rabbi Yael Splansky. It will be a true honour to moderate this conversation between Arnold Eisen, Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary and David Bezmozgis, Canadian Jewish writer and commentator. I hope you'll join me and our good neighbours at Beth Tzedec for this provocative debate about the redemptive role of Jewish Culture in the Diaspora. Read more »
…and now with this New Year 5775 laid out before us, standing together with you good people, this night, I feel as if I hear these words – Lechu v’Nelcha – as if for the first time. This is the season of possibility. Tonight we usher in a new era in the life of Holy Blossom Temple… Rabbi Yael Splansky - September 20, 2014 Read more »
womenofinfluence.ca This article electronically reaches over 120,000 people on both sides of the border. The hardcopy magazine accompanies the Globe and Mail in select Toronto neighbourhoods and is now available on newsstands across Canada. To read the article "A Conversation with Holy Blossom Temple’s newly appointed Senior Rabbi Yael Splansky" that appears in the Fall 2014 edition of womenofinfluence.ca, please click here. Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Rabbinic Reflections Elul, 5774 I am so looking forward to being with the congregation for what will be a most meaningful and memorable night of celebration and reflection. I hope you will come on September 20, 2014 to create an occasion, to witness a moment in the life of Holy Blossom Temple. Come for champagne and candlelight; come for study and prayer; come for reunion with Holy Blossom friends old and new; come Read more »
Engagement by Adam Sol, from his most recent book, Complicity The young man knows he’s going to die today, but he’s wrong. The other young man figures the army is the best way to improve his life, but he’s wrong. They both think their weapons will protect them, but they’re wrong. They both believe their prayers will help. Their commanders have intentions and intelligence, but they’re wrong. We’ve heard the story before. It’s Read more »
September 19-21, 2014 | 25-27th of Elul, 5774 Click to enlarge The Rabbi Splansky Celebration Fund In honour of the Appointment of Rabbi Yael Splansky as Senior Rabbi Designate at Holy Blossom Temple As Senior Rabbi Designate, Yael Splansky is leading the way towards transformation and change. Universally loved and respected by our entire Jewish community, Rabbi Splansky is lighting the path towards a vibrant and spiritual Holy Read more »
Click image above to listen. We are a people in mourning but not in despair. Overcome with grief but devoid of self-pity. Lamenting disaster, recollecting sins, self-impeaching, mourning is repentance. We are a people in a mountain that calls for mending, such deep sorrow is cleansing…Rabbi Yael Splansky - Sermon: August 2, 2014. Read more »
4 Av 5774 July 31, 2014 To Hujjatul Islam Wal Muslimeen Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi, to the leadership of The Jaffari Community Centre and of The Islamic Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat of Toronto, We are so fortunate to live in such a remarkable city, in such a peaceful country. Hateful words – in press ink, online or in spray paint – have no place here. The Jewish Community is appalled by the vandalism of your sacred mosque and community centre. The Read more »
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 »
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 »