Rabbi Yael Splansky

Rabbi Yael Splansky

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.

Contact Rabbi Splansky



The Rabbi Splansky Blog Archive

VIDEO: Yom Kippur

Rabbi Yael Splansky

By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Click image above to play. Yom Kippur: Wednesday, October 12, 2016. Rabbi Yael Splansky. Holy Blossom Temple. 5777 Read more »

VIDEO: Kol Nidre

Rabbi Yael Splansky

By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Click image above to play. Kol Nidre: Tuesday, October 11, 2017. Rabbi Yael Splansky. Holy Blossom Temple. 5777 Read more »

Bob Rosenberg z'l - father of Rabbi Jason Rosenberg


Rabbi Jason Rosenberg served our congregation as Assistant Rabbi until 2007 when he moved to lead his own congregation in Tampa. We regret to share the sad news that Rabbi Rosenberg's father, Bob Rosenberg z'l, died last week. The funeral was in Connecticut on Sunday. Rabbi Rosenberg gave a loving eulogy and is now returning to Florida to lead his congregation in the Yom Kippur services. Condolences can be sent to Rabbi Rosenberg and his family Read more »

VIDEO: First Day Rosh Hashanah Sermon

Rabbi Yael Splansky

By Rabbi Yael Splansky. In Celebration of Holy Blossom Temple’s 160th Anniversary Click image above to play. Second Day Rosh Hashanah Sermon: Monday, October 3, 2016. Rabbi Yael Splansky. Holy Blossom Temple. 5777 Read more »

VIDEO: Second Day Rosh Hashanah Sermon

Rabbi Yael Splansky

By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Honouring Jews-by-Choice and Thanking Non-Jewish Parents who are Raising Jewish Kids. Click image above to play. Second Day Rosh Hashanah Sermon: Tuesday, October 4, 2016. Rabbi Yael Splansky. Holy Blossom Temple. 5777 Read more »

On Being Certain


By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Everyone likes to be right.  Nobody likes to be wrong.  But some people, some of the time are truly open-minded enough, open-hearted enough to reconsider what they thought to be true. During these forty days from Ellul through Yom Kippur, we are charged to reconsider, reflect, return to harder truths.  Now is when we say:  More than I want to be right, I want to be good.  More than I want to be in control, I want to Read more »



By Rabbi Yael Splansky. I’ve heard of a statistic.  I don’t know if it’s true.  It goes like this: If you are a North American Jew who would like to live in the same city as your grandchildren, Toronto is your best bet. Many people lament that this isn’t as true today as it once was, but one of the things I still admire about the Toronto Jewish community, one of the things that makes Jewish life flourish here is that many people tend Read more »

Join Leading Rabbi In Israel

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By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Join me for a jam-packed, tough-stuff tour of what divides and what unites Israeli Jewry.  We call this a “Machloket Mission.”  A debate that is “for the sake of Heaven.”  Join the conversation, ask thoughtful questions, and really listen to the honest answers that emerge.  The Jewish future depends on it. Jewish Unity is an essential mission of our time and Reform Jews have an important role to play in the conversation/debate.  Read more »

Building a Bridge of Free Will and Good Will


By Rabbi Yael Splansky. The word is out.  By now you know all about our new Terumah membership model for young families at Holy Blossom Temple.  (If you don’t, please click here.)  It’s based on mutual trust between the generations.  It isn’t a freebee or a gimmick.  It isn’t a seasonal sale.  We believe congregational life is valuable and to be treasured, so we have carefully designed a model that celebrates what Holy Blossom can Read more »

Sermon: June 12, 2016 - Rabbi Yael Splansky

Rabbi Yael Splansky

Click image above to listen. God's broken Heart. - Rabbi Yael Splansky - June 12, 2016. Read more »

Sermon: June 11, 2016 - Rabbi Yael Splansky

Rabbi Yael Splansky

Click image above to listen. From Continuity to Engagement. How the Next Generation Signs onto the Covenant. - Rabbi Yael Splansky - June 11, 2016. Read more »

Lock Down at Mount Sinai

Rabbi Yael Splansky

By Rabbi Yael Splansky. I was on my way to Hart House.  Being rerouted around University Avenue wasn’t unusual; it was Graduation Day after all.  I found my parking spot and continued on foot.  Maybe it was my years living in Israel, maybe it was the news from Orlando, but I noticed a look on the face of a security guard by Robarts Library.  “What’s going on?”  “Well, we’re not really sure.  There’s been a report of a masked Read more »

Sermon: June 4, 2016 - Rabbi Yael Splansky


Click image above to listen. IM (if) Rabbi Yael Splansky - June 4, 2016. Read more »

“God in the Laboratory”


click image above to play By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Delivered May 3, 2016 upon receiving The Israel Cancer Research Fund’s Women of Action Award When Norman Shiner called with this very special invitation, I was, of course, very honoured, but truth be told, it wasn’t an easy “Yes.”  ICRF is a remarkable organization, led by remarkable people, so why did Norman’s call catch me off-guard?  Because my ‘cancer story,’ Thank God, Read more »

Yizkor Sermon: April 29, 2016 - Rabbi Yael Splansky


Click image above to listen. It is never just one thing... We are a complicated people. Rabbi Yael Splansky - April 29, 2016. Read more »

Who’s Coming to Seder?


(an excerpt from the sermon given on Shabbat HaGadol, 5776) By Rabbi Yael Splansky. The seder is for many a wonderful time of family reunion.  And for many it is a time of anxiety, when the complexities of family dynamics come to the surface again.  Seating arrangements may be strategically assigned, so that this one and that one are at opposite ends of the table.  It may be something that happened long ago, something someone said or did – Read more »

It surprises me that it still is not yet widely known that the rabbis of Holy Blossom Temple officiate at same-sex Jewish marriages. 


By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Many remember the groundbreaking work of The AIDS Committee in the 1980’s and 90’s, when Holy Blossom rabbis, lay leaders, and countless volunteers offered a range of supports for people living with and dying from AIDS.  Their partners and extended families were welcomed with dignity and care at a time when most of the Jewish community was silent. The rabbinic question of marriage officiation, however, was not a Read more »

Stump Speech


By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Synagogues do not choose political parties nor back candidates.  Statements made by the Reform, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, and Conservative Movements, however, point to a growing consensus among American Jewry that a “neutral business as usual” approach can no longer hold where Donald Trump is concerned. When AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) announced that Trump would be given a platform at Read more »

Putting God Second: How to Save Religion From Itself


I'm reading Rabbi Donniel Hartman's latest call for moral courage: Putting God Second. Please join us at the exquisite Aga Khan Museum. All are welcome. - Rabbi Yael Splansky Join us for an evening of conversation with Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman and Rabbi Yael Splansky on: Putting God Second: How to Save Religion From Itself Wednesday, March 16, 2016 7:00 p.m. Free Registration Aga Kahn Museum 77 Wynford Drive, Toronto In his latest book, Read more »

A Cup, A Gavel, A Mural, An Invitation


By Rabbi Yael Splansky Symbols matter. Words have power. A Jew sanctifies Shabbat by raising up a cup of wine and reciting words which praise God’s creation and recall the exodus from Egypt.  The fruit of the vine and a melody are enough to enter into sacred time and transform a table into an altar. At Holy Blossom when we raise a cup of wine we also express our devotion to Israel.  How so?  When the BDS movement was first catching fire in Toronto, Read more »

Something New: Monthly Shabbat Afternoon/Twilight Services and Celebration...


...throughout the Fall and Winter Seasons By Rabbi Yael Splansky. On behalf of our Rabbis and Cantors, on behalf of Jeff Denaburg, the Chair of our Worship Department and Eric Klein, the Chair of our Bar/Bat Mitzvah Committee, I’m pleased to share the news of how we intend to expand our congregational prayers.  Once a month, during the five dark months of the year, we will hold Shabbat afternoon/evening services.  We’ll begin with Mincha Read more »

Prayer and Other Matters of the Spirit


With Rabbi Yael Splansky Wednesday evenings February 17 – June 22, 2016 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. CANCELLED: March 16 & 23, 2015 Does the prayerbook look like a jumble of words?  Do you want to uncover the drama of our liturgy-narrative?  Does your doubt get in the way of personal prayer?  Are there poetic phrases that challenge or conflict with your personal theology?  Are you looking for critical and/or inspirational Jewish voices from across Read more »

“Folk With and Without Faith”


By Rabbi Yael Splansky. When one joins our congregation, when one becomes a member of Holy Blossom Temple, the form calls for name and address, how many children, Hebrew names, etc.  But nowhere is there a request for a statement of faith, not even a check box.  Belief in God is not a requirement to be an upstanding member of our community.  If we asked the question, I’m sure we’d see a range of responses.  The box most likely to be checked Read more »

Sermon: January 16, 2016 - Rabbi Yael Splansky


Click image above to listen. Over the High Holy Days, I spoke about Religiosity in a few different ways. And I asked what people mean when they say something like "I'm not religious, but I am spiritual". Rabbi Yael Splansky - January 16, 2016. Read more »

I Almost Forgot to be Furious


By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Adam and I have our twentieth anniversary coming up.  To celebrate we treated one another to a week in Barcelona.  We walked the charming alleyways.  We took in the art and architecture.  We drank Cava and strong coffee.  We enjoyed performances of traditional guitar and Flamenco dancers.  I almost forgot to be furious.  Centuries of one of the great Jewish civilizations of all time have been erased from the map.  Read more »