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HBTogether is a new way for congregants to come together to form their own communities within the larger Holy Blossom congregational family. 

Small Groups, also sometimes called Chavurot, provide micro-communities — groups of Temple members who you will get to know through small gatherings organized in one of four ways: by like-interests (affnities); by life-stage (demographics); by profession; or by neighbourhood (geography) — sometimes groups might be brought together based on all four! Each group may want a different structure, a different leadership model, different programming opportunities. 

The possibilities are endless! Whether it’s for adults of-a-certain age, families (with or without their kids — consider this: parents can schmooze while a Jewish educator provides an experiential educational experience with the kids!), teens, multi-generations, we know that Small Groups are one of the best ways to add even more meaning to your Temple life. 

What’s more, the Temple is here to support you! We will help you: 

  • Make “matches” — find participants for your group; 
  • Set up a leadership model;
  • Find educators;
  • Book space in the building for your programs; 
  • Identify opportunities for you to participate in Temple life as a small group; 

HBTogether co-chairs Jill Kamin and Karen Kollins

…and many other things that we learn together as we develop this initiative. With your HBTogether Manual in hand, our dynamic Co-Chairs, our Clergy Team, and the Director of Community Engagement behind you, we look forward to building this community of communities with you! 

How do groups form?

Any Temple member can form a group. If you have a Small Group (or Chavurah) that is already meeting, we want to applaud and support you. Your group is already part of the vision of HBTogether. We are happy to work with you to provide resources and leadership training to a group member if you wish. 

If you have a great idea for a small group and need help getting started, the Temple is here to support you and match you with members who might be a good fit.

Click here to join a small group now, or contact Tema Smith, Director of Community Engagement (416-789-3291 x232) with questions about starting a group.

Small Groups

HBTogether Affinity Groups

These small groups are brought together by like-interests or shared hobbies. Groups can form to learn, take in arts and culture, watch and discuss film, read and discuss books, hike, bicycle, walk their dogs, knit, or anything else that sparks their interest. 

Groups marked with * are currently complete. 

 

Curling Club*

A group of HBT members who bring out the brooms and the rocks and face off in a friendly curling match.  

Israeli Film Night*

Join together for a curated selection of Israeli film accompanied by discussion, led by Temple member and film professor Gillian Helfield. 

Holy B’s Men’s Baseball* 

Our talented Brotherhood baseball team has led Holy Blossom to victory in the Inter-Synagogue Baseball League championships for many years. This intergenerational team has come together and honed their skills as they have built a community of baseball lovers. 

Zentanglers 

For new and experienced zentanglers alike. Come together and create miniature pieces of unplanned, abstract, black and white art created through a very specific method from an ensemble of simple, structured patterns.

Cyclopaths*

A rag-tag group of Holy Blossom cyclists borne out of Shabbat Family Services who embark on bike trips together each year, stopping to celebrate Shabbat on the road. 

Mussar*

For graduates of Holy Blossom Temple’s Mussar class, this group gathers to continue to explore the middot in each others homes. 

The Sky’s The Limit: Arts & Culture Lovers*

This Art and Culture Small Group will focus on community building as we join together creatively on a path of common life interests and programming that is all up to our imaginations.

Igniting the Soul through Jewish Music and Poetry

When the flame of Divine wisdom ignites the soul, the person is closer to be complete. This is what this program should do—ignite souls, renew the spirit. The goal of small group is to reveal the bare beauty of Jewish soul through the art of words, beautiful music, and powerful messages. Through a program created by group members we will share Jewish experiences, new insights to the meaning of Jewish stories and culture, especially music and poetry, using talents from our own synagogue. This performance group will work to prepare engaging programming to share with the Temple membership at large. 

Hebrew Speakers

Whether it’s your native language or your acquired tongue, there is a special music to the Hebrew language. Join other members of the Temple community for a small group conducted all in Hebrew. The content is up to you!

Israeli Society and Politics Discussion Group

Come together with like-minded congregants to discuss Israeli politics and society. Groups can be formed from any place on the political spectrum!

Jewish Book Club

Whether fiction, philosophy, or history is your preference, the canon of Jewish books is large and growing. Come together to discuss books with other Temple members.

Jewish Starters & Restarters

Whether you’re new to Jewish home ritual, or returning to it from some time away, this group is for you! Come together with others to learn and do “Jewish” together in a home setting. No matter your background, you are welcome here!

Sunday Morning Running Club

Join with other Temple members for a recreational Sunday morning jog. Whether you’re new to running, or a marathoner, joining this group will be a great way to get to know your fellow Holy Blossom-ites.

What’s Happening? Current Events Discussion Group

If you can’t live without the news, this is a group for you! Come together to discuss current events with fellow Temple members. The focus is up to you!

HBTogether Lifestage Groups

Meet Temple members of a similar age and stage. Come together to “do Jewish”, to socialize, and to build a Holy Blossom Temple community outside of the Temple itself. These groups provide a participant-led opportunity to experience Jewish life together, in your homes.

Daytime Moms

This group of moms of school-aged children is for women with flexible daytime schedules. We meet in each others’ homes and at Temple events, sometimes with kids, but often without. A great opportunity to come together with a group of women of a similar life-stage as we build community in and out of a Family Programming context.

Dads and Donuts

An opportunity for dads of young kids to get together and build community. This group is modelled after similar groups in congregations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York, where men and their kids gather on Sunday afternoons at local play spaces, and while the kids play, the dads chat over coffee and donuts. A great chance to meet other Temple fathers as your kids build friendships with each other as they play.

Young Family Havdalah

End Shabbat with other families of a similar life stage as you come together to mark the beautiful Havdalah ritual and spend time with other Temple members. A bit of family learning, some ritual, and lots of fun!    

HBTogether In My Neighbourhood

Want to bring the spirit of Holy Blossom to your home or work neighbourhood? Temple members can come together to mark Jewish ritual together, to socialize, or to discuss issues of shared concern. These groups provide an opportunity to meet your neighbours and bring Holy Blossom Temple closer to home. 

Manulife Centre

The Manulife Centre and adjacent buildings are home to many Temple members who come together monthly for some learning, some socializing and, of course, a nosh. A group especially well-suited to our older members who aren’t able to make it to Holy Blossom as often as they once did. 

HBTogether My Jewish Year

Mark the moments of the Jewish year with other Temple members. Share Shabbat and Festival observances as you come together with others from the Holy Blossom community to mark rituals and celebrations in community. Whether you host each other in your homes, or use space at Temple, these small group Jewish experiences will enhance your Jewish year. 

Time-Limited Small Group Experiences

These small group learning experiences are not only interesting, but also will help you build community with like-minded Temple members as you come together to explore topics relevant to your lives.

Beyond the Chuppah 

Meet with other couples in an informal and fun setting to discuss a variety of topics that will help strengthen your marriage, such as expectations and changing roles: family, career, friends; finances and setting Priorities: yours, mine, and ours; intimacy and romance for a lifetime; Jewish home and Jewish values: how might Judaism enrich your life?; and communication, negotiation, and compromise: speaking effectively. For engaged couples and newlyweds within their first year of marriage. 

 

Downtown Business Ethics Learning Circle

A monthly lunch-and-learn with Rabbi Satz on Jewish ideas of business ethics. Bring your lunch and meet with others interested in this topic in a Bay Street boardroom. You don’t need to be a Bay Streeter to join, but if you are, this quick get-away will bring Jewish learning to your work life. 

HBTogether Professional Groups

Bring Jewish community to your work life. Find Temple members within the same profession as you. Network with your colleagues and discuss issues related to your work through a Jewish lens. Let the Holy Blossom Temple community enrich your work life through a small group. Whether you are a doctor, a social worker, a teacher, a lawyer, a non-profit professional … meet members who share your vocation.

Open Circles

Learning

Shabbat Morning Torah Study

Each Shabbat morning, members come together with Rabbi Splansky to study the weekly Torah portion, its corresponding commentaries both ancient and modern, and discover their eternal relevance. Experienced students are valued for their accumulation of knowledge. Newcomers are valued for their fresh insight. Make a weekly commitment or stop by from time to time.

Sisterhood Torah Study

Every Wednesday morning, members gather to discuss Crisis & Continuity — the development and evolution of Judaism with Temple member Mark Goodman. All materials are in English, and all backgrounds are welcome. 

Talmud Study

Every Thursday over breakfast after Morning Services, Temple members meet to informally study Talmud under the leadership of Temple member Mark Goodman, and with Cantor Beny Maissner. Handouts are in English and the discussion includes not only the text, but also material from other sources that contextualize the material in both historical and rabbinic contexts.

Worship & Spirituality

Rosh Chodesh

Rosh Chodesh is the name for the first day of every month in the Hebrew calendar marked by the appearance of the new moon. In ancient times, Rosh Chodesh was a significant festival day. In modern times, we no longer sound the shofar or participate in special sacrifices. We do, however, meet at the synagogue to welcome Rosh Chodesh in prayer and song. Because of the historical significance of Rosh Chodesh to women, Holy Blossom Sisterhood has taken a leadership role in encouraging attendance at and participation.

Jewish Meditation

Savour Shabbat just a little longer… with Shabbat Meditation, Mussar, and Contemplation. This group comes together before Shabbat Mincha service & Havdalah service for reflection, contemplation, and meditation on the spiritual themes of the parashah, led by Rabbi Satz and Temple member Cheryl Sylvester. All are welcome — previous meditation or mussar experience is not necessary.

Jewish Culture

Israeli Folk Dancing

A monthly class after kiddush on Shabbat led by Temple member and avid Israeli dancer Paula Warren. Come for fun, laughter and a new (or even not so new) skill. It is a great opportunity to be with friends of all ages.

Stagecraft

Stagecraft’s mandate is simple: to produce plays with Jewish themes and content, and to have fun while doing them.

Support Groups

Understanding Your Bereavement & Healing

A supportive environment for congregants to find new insight into the meaning of their losses.

Whether a loved one died recently or long ago, we hope you will take comfort in this opportunity to find meaning and motivation in memory. 

Living With Dementia

Living with Dementia: Caring and Coping is a free learning and support Program offered at the Miles Nadal JCC ( Bloor and Spadina) for family member caregivers and their loved ones who have dementia. The Program is accredited by Mount Sinai Hospital’s Reitman Centre and provides problem solving and communications skills learning and support to family members who are caring (either directly or indirectly) for a loved one who has dementia. Sessions also run simultaneously to provide stimulation and companionship to their loved one.

Music

Temple Singers 

The Temple Singers have been part of Holy Blossom for almost 50 years. Each year new participants join our ranks and under the tutelage of Cantor Maissner, learn to sing a diverse body of musical compositions created for the synagogue.

You Can Ukelele 

In 1915, when the ukulele was first introduced to people, it sparked the world’s first uke craze. 100 years later the uke craze is back—and it’s coming to Holy Blossom. Beginners, intermediate players, and experts alike come together to jam, perform at Temple events, and get to know each other as they learn new songs in a fun and supportive environment. 

Neginah Band

Imagine if we could attend synagogue and experience events such as Friday night services accompanied by a full-fledged band, made up of guitars, bass, piano, clarinet, flute, banjo, drums, and even an accordion or fiddle from time to time! That’s exactly what many of us witness when the Neginah band joins Cantor Maissner, our rabbis and congregants  to welcome Shabbat. No matter your level of proficiency, there’s a place in the Neginah band for you!

Social Action

Out of the Cold Kitchen Crew

This group of seasoned Out of the Cold volunteers has been coming together in community to prepare food for Toronto’s homeless who are served by Holy Blossom Temple’s Out of the Cold program each week during the winter months. 

20s & 30s

Young Professionals 

Students, Young Professionals and Young Marrieds at Holy Blossom Temple are communities of 19-38 year olds who join together for Shabbat, learning, social action, and community engagement. Our current programming includes social justice programming, webinars for university students, networking opportunities, and Jewish learning through food, text, art and worship.

JNJ (Jews Needing Jobs)  

An informal meet-up group for people in their 20s and 30s looking for jobs. Whether you’re entering the job market, changing careers, or underemployed, this group is for you! Come discuss your search in a group of your peers who will provide support and cheer you on as you are on the job hunt. 

For Seniors

Mondays at the Temple

Each Monday, the Temple offers a variety of opportunities for older adults, including interesting speakers, exercise classes and time to shmooze.

Youth Groups

HABSTY (Holy Awesome Blossom Senior Temple Youth, for grades 9-12)

HABSTY is a great way to gain leadership experience and training, network and meet other Jewish teens from across the GTA and into the USA.  HABSTY is Holy Blossom’s link to NFTY – the URJ’s Youth Movement.  In addition to weekly lounge nights on Mondays, and participation in Temple events and celebrations, HABSTY’s teen board organizes their own monthly programs and events, and gets together with youth from other local synagogues.  HABSTY members also participate in NFTY-NEL (North Eastern Lakes) regional events, which include weekends at camps, and cities throughout Ontario, and parts of the US.  

JVC (Junior Teen Volunteer Corps, for grades 6-8)

JVC offers a combination of age-appropriate social events, as well as an opportunity for students to participate in monthly Social Action/Hands-on Mitzvah programs: HOME (hands on mitzvah experiences). HOME events take place on the first Monday of each month, at 5pm, prior to Senior School.  These are opportunities for students to get a hands on ‘taste’ of what doing mitzvot is all about, and these experiences can count towards their Shaarei Kehillah B’nei Mitzvah program.

YEAH (Youth Excitement at Holy Blossom, for Grades 3-5) 

YEAH provides monthly activities for our students both in and out of our building, as well as opportunities to take part in Temple events together.  YEAH is a great way to spend time with your Holy Blossom friends, and make new friends!

Auxiliaries

Sisterhood

Holy Blossom Sisterhood is a place of friendship, where women can study, worship and socialize in a warm, supportive atmosphere. We continue to provide a high calibre of programming both educational and entertaining, as well as supporting a number of worthwhile Temple initiatives. 

Brotherhood 

Holy Blossom Temple Brotherhood is the men’s club of Holy Blossom Temple. We invite all the men of the congregation to participate in Brotherhood. Join Brotherhood to make a hands-on contribution and to enhance your affiliation with the Temple and your own Jewish life. Help us pursue worthwhile enterprises. 

Interested?

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