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

November 30, 2016 - When to shout “Fire!”

Rabbi Yael Splansky

Fires roared through regions of Israel for days because of hateful views fanned by hateful speech. Read more »

November 23, 2016 - AGM 2016/5777: Rabbi Yael Splansky’s Address

Rabbi Yael Splansky

There is so much to say and so much to do against the backdrop of a changing world... Read more »

November 10, 2016 - Marking this Moment in Time

Rabbi Yael Splansky

The night of November 9th marks the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht. Read more »

November 3, 2016 - “A Hard Rain is Gonna Fall” - (Shmini Atzeret Sermon, excerpted and reworked)

Rabbi Yael Splansky

According to the Talmud, our prayer for rain is delayed... Read more »

October 20, 2016 - VIDEO: Yom Kippur - Sermon by Rabbi Yael Splansky

Rabbi Yael Splansky

From Wednesday, October 12, 2016 - 5777 Read more »

October 18, 2016 - 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 »

October 5, 2016 - 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 »

August 10, 2016 - Grandparents

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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... Read more »

August 9, 2016 - 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.... Read more »

July 13, 2016 - Building a Bridge of Free Will and Good Will

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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... Read more »

June 17, 2016 - 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 »

June 17, 2016 - 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 »

June 15, 2016 - 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... Read more »

June 6, 2016 - Sermon: June 4, 2016 - Rabbi Yael Splansky

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

May 18, 2016 - “God in the Laboratory”

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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... Read more »

May 2, 2016 - Yizkor Sermon: April 29, 2016 - Rabbi Yael Splansky

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

April 20, 2016 - Who’s Coming to Seder?

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(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... Read more »

April 6, 2016 - It surprises me that it still is not yet widely known that the rabbis of Holy Blossom Temple officiate at same-sex Jewish marriages. 

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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... Read more »

March 23, 2016 - Stump Speech

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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... Read more »

March 2, 2016 - Putting God Second: How to Save Religion From Itself

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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,... Read more »

February 24, 2016 - A Cup, A Gavel, A Mural, An Invitation

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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.... Read more »

February 10, 2016 - Something New: Monthly Shabbat Afternoon/Twilight Services and Celebration...

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…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... Read more »

January 27, 2016 - Prayer and Other Matters of the Spirit

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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... Read more »

January 27, 2016 - “Folk With and Without Faith”

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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... Read more »

January 18, 2016 - Sermon: January 16, 2016 - Rabbi Yael Splansky

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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 »