By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Kol HaKavod to all the Holy Blossom-ites who walked in a sea of blue and white on Sunday. And congratulations to Micki and Sam Mizrahi, co-chairs of this year's Walk with Israel! Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Read more »
Rabbi Yael Splansky
Rabbi Yael Splansky is the Senior Associate Rabbi of Holy Blossom Temple. She came to Toronto in 1998 after ordination from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a rabbinical student she served small congregations in Texas, Michigan, North Carolina, and Colorado, and as a hospital chaplain as well. Her rabbinical thesis is entitled, “All is Forseen and Freewill is Given: A Debate in Rabbinic Literature.”
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.
She is the immediate past chair of the Reform Rabbis of Greater Toronto. She is the editor of the new prayerbook, Siddur Pirchei Kodesh and author of the Union for Reform Judaism’s “Reform Voices of Torah: Commentary on Deuteronomy,” summer of 2012.
Her husband, Professor Adam Sol, is an award-winning poet and together they raise their three young sons.
Rabbi Splansky has the unique privilege of being a fourth-generation Reform Rabbi.
The Rabbi Splansky Blog Archive
Click to enlarge By Rabbi Yael Splansky. It’s wedding season. Most of my Sundays these days include a wedding. Each one is unique. An outside observer might think they are the same – chuppah, white dress, rings, ketubah, breaking of the glass, hora. But I know each one is distinct from all the others, because that is the very definition of Jewish marriage. The Talmudic term for marriage is “kiddushin.” Like the words “kadosh” Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Click image above to enlarge. This city is sacred to so many faiths. Christian pilgrims from all over the world fill the Old City in anticipation of Christmas. The city workers are taking down the large Chanukah menorahs stationed throughout the city squares. As my family walks on the ramparts, we hear the Muslim call to prayer and the church bells ringing. For some it's a harmonious symphony for others its an awkward Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. “Operation Amud Anan” is named for the “Pillar of Cloud,” which protected the People Israel when we were most vulnerable, wandering forty years in the wilderness. We pray that God will guide Israel’s leaders with good counsel and will strengthen the hands of Israel’s soldiers. May peace be established throughout the lands and for all of Israel’s inhabitants. There are many worthy organizations which can Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. We’re stocking up on jars of golden honey for Rosh HaShanah. What can we learn from bees, famous for their honey and their sting? Cooperation, hard work, planning ahead, effective leadership and effective follower-ship. In many ways, the complex social structure of bees in and out of the hive is more successful than any human social structure. Bees are impressively adaptable. They can live in a range of climates and Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Our new prayerbook, Siddur Pirchei Kodesh, contains an essay by Professor Irving Abella, entitled, “A brief History of Holy Blossom Temple’s first 150 Years.” Professor Abella’s contribution of scholarship, his retelling of our story, is colourful and illuminating. Our history is now literally bound together with our prayers. This is unusual. I don’t know of any o ther prayerbook that contains the history of a Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Meet Jessica Click here to meet Jessica. She’s one of the 21 teen-campers I got to know the first week of July at our Reform Jewish camp near Parry Sound, Camp George. Our study-topic was, “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People and other Questions I Can’t Answer.” The self-selected group came ready to think, to really listen to one another, and to be challenged by one another’s beliefs. They also came Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. “Shalom, Chaverim. L’hitraot!” The Leo Baeck Day School students and teachers are packing up and it’s hard to say good-bye. So many Holy Blossom members were among the community leaders who launched The Leo Baeck Day School and then brought it to the Holy Blossom campus twenty-one years ago. Our Honorary Life President Jack Geller, our Past President Fred Zemens, together with Phil Epstein, Zita Gardner, Read more »
by Rabbi Yael Splansky. Parashat HaShavuah – Timely Insights, Timeless Wisdom. Starting this July. The Rabbis of Old often compared Torah to water. Both can quench our thirst. Both can refresh the soul. Both can replenish our bodies. So whether you prefer the lakeside, poolside, or seaside, please join me and fellow congregants for Shabbat morning Torah study this summer. Immerse yourself or just take a dip into the vast sea Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. So at Wednesday’s dinner table my eight year old has an announcement. His homework assignment is to bring local, organic fruit to school the next morning, in preparation for Shavuot celebrations. We hit the two neighbourhood produce markets -- closed. We hit a supermarket. There are lots of Ontario apples, but they are not organic. There is a nice assortment of organic fruits, but they were shipped in from Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Yasher Koach! Together the families of Holy Blossom Temple and The Leo Baeck Day School have done a world of good. 350 Kinder Kits were packed with school supplies for students in Haiti (Thanks to Jascha Jabes and Eli Shore, together with our partners at VeAhavta) 75 Potted Flowers and cards were decorated and hand-delivered to elderly congregants (Thanks to Liz Tarshis, Jennifer Hunter, Lynn Gluckman, and the Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Nothing brings people together like sacred study can. I'm looking forward to joining the women of Holy Blossom's Sisterhood for a lovely day of good learning, good food, and good relationships -- both old and new. To learn more about the May 10th Sisterhood Kallah, please click here. Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Eleven are the mitzvah stations ready for us, our children, and grandchildren this Sunday. Let's roll up our sleeves and get to work, making this world a little kinder one mitzvah at a time. Holy Blossom Temple, The Leo Baeck Day School, 11 partner organization and many dedicated volunteers have prepared a wonderful afternoon, so that together we can raise up the next generation of kids and teens who are responsive Read more »
The karpas on our seder plate tells us the spring harvest is beginning to emerge from the soil. Holy Sprouts is our synagogue’s CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture), designed to put the ethics, nutrition, and fun back into eating. Early-bird registration (2 free weeks of produce) closes by this Shabbat. By registering for a share in this season’s harvest, we reduce the number of steps between farm and table and help to feed the hungry Read more »
By Rabbi Yael Splansky. Holy Blossom Temple was the gathering place for 700 people on a rescue mission. Thanks to the passionate leadership of our congregant, Lucy Waverman, and thanks to the remarkable ways that social media can motivate and animate a community, hundreds more are now registered in the One Match Stem Cell Registry. At this Pesach season of rescue from harm, we've increased the odds of saving lives. Yasher Koach! Read more »
"You shall therefore keep my laws and my rules; if a person does them, he shall LIVE by them: I am the Eternal God.” (Leviticus 18:5) The Rabbis interpret this verse to mean that "one shall LIVE by the mitzvot, and not die by them." (Babylonian Talmud, Yoma 85b) The preservation of human life takes precedence over all the other commandments in Judaism. Related to this, is the urgent commandment: "You shall not stand idly by the blood Read more »
Tuesday evening I got this email, entitled "Zero Degrees of Separation" from Michelle Lynn-Sachs, our former Director of Education: "I'm at an exhibit at JTS (The Jewish Theological Seminary in NYC) about Rabbi Judah Nadich. He led the crew of Jewish chaplains in WWII - and guess who I spotted?" Michelle attached a photo of the photo. She snapped the shot with her iPhone, so it's a bit hazy. But among the chaplains gathered round Rabbi Read more »