In governance, lifeatholyblossom

Holy Blossom Temple, Toronto’s first synagogue, is a leading Canadian Reform Jewish congregation with a rich history of responding to both tradition and modernity in our religious and spiritual expression. We pursue meaningful opportunities for personal growth and family fulfillment at every stage of life through belonging, learning, prayer and ritual, and acts of service for our congregation and community, our city and country, the Reform Movement, Israel, and all the world.

[toggle title=”Tradition and Modernity – מסורה וחדשנות”]Founded in 1856 as an Orthodox congregation in downtown Toronto, Holy Blossom Temple joined the Reform movement in the 1920’s and soon became known the world over as a flagship congregation of Reform Judaism.  In the 1970’s we began to embrace more traditional practices and today our prayer language and ritual draw from the best of the Reform tradition as well as from Klal Yisrael (the totality of the Jewish People).  Within our congregation there is a respectful range of Jewish observance and beliefs.  Our commitment is to create a Jewish life, which is meaningful and challenging, authentic and joyful, responsible and relevant.[/toggle] [toggle title=”Belonging – קהילה קדושה”]We aspire to be a sacred congregation in which all of our members, old and new, can connect through participation in Temple life.  We come together to learn, pray, have fun, share in each other’s joys and sorrows, reach out to one another in support and compassion, and create lasting and meaningful memories. We strive to be a sacred community in which all congregants and those who may wish to join us feel they are known as individuals and families and that their participation and contributions of all kinds are welcomed, valued, and fulfilling.[/toggle] [toggle title=”Learning – תורה”]We pursue lifelong learning — from formal and experiential education for children and teens to adult lecture series and seminars taught by our teachers, clergy and visiting scholars.  Our wide range of enriching study includes sacred Jewish texts and music, Jewish history and literature, practical Judaism, and Jewish leadership, public affairs and Israel.  We pride ourselves on the breadth and depth of our offerings and that we open our doors to the broader community to learn with us.[/toggle] [toggle title=”Prayer and Ritual – עבודה”]Worship not only draws us closer to God, but also to one another. By coming together for prayer services every day of the year, we sanctify the Jewish calendar.  By celebrating and mourning significant moments in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones, we sanctify the Jewish life cycle.  Our congregation enjoys many prayer settings — formal and informal, grand and intimate, for young and old, for holy days and ordinary days, led by Rabbis, Cantors and Lay Leaders. Music is central to our religious expression.  Our own prayerbook, Siddur Pirchei Kodesh, reflects our congregation’s unique blend of scholarship, innovation and tradition.[/toggle] [toggle title=”Acts of Service – גמילות חסדים”]Throughout our history, Holy Blossom has fulfilled religious and civic duties by being at the forefront of major social justice issues, both within Canada and outside of its borders. Over the years our leadership has taken bold and courageous positions in support of such causes as the civil rights movement, refugees to Canada, Soviet Jewry, AIDS, and local poverty, to name a few. Through advocacy, fundraising, and fulfillment of ethical mitzvot, we strengthen the lives of individuals as well as our society as a whole.  We encourage all who join us to continue our work in mending the world (Tikkun Olam).[/toggle] [toggle title=”Israel – אהבת ישראל”]We recognize and celebrate Israel as the centre of the Jewish world.  The relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jewry is one of partnership and shared destiny.  We feel close to Israel and its growing Reform movement.  We share in Israel’s joys and sorrows; we are proud of her many accomplishments and worry for her security.  We hold a wide range of views on her social, religious, and political issues and encourage the expression and respectful exchange of these views.  We encourage our congregants to provide tangible support for Israel through investments and donations.  We also encourage our congregants to travel to Israel for tourism, study, volunteerism, leadership, and aliyah.[/toggle]
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Showing 8 comments
  • Jill Kamin
    Reply

    This Statement of Identity is a wonderful effort to capture who we are. I look forward to the dialogue that this will create. Yasher koach!

  • Florence Hertzman
    Reply

    I consider Holy Blossom Temple ‘my second home’..
    where I am welcomed, enjoy relating to others, and can relax in a sacred milieu.No matter how few, or how many are present at a service,there is an ‘energy’ that pervades–.due to our dedicated Rabbis, Cantors, and volunteers.Yasher Koach.

  • Lloyd Duckman
    Reply

    Creating a Statement of Identity for a Community that is Holy Blossom is a challenge.
    Was there consideration of more emphasis on Torah as our gift to the world and our 2,000 year successful quest to return to Israel?
    Thank you for your sincere effort.
    Lloyd Duckman

  • Ann Rosenfield
    Reply

    Great work, wonderfully realized. Congratulations to all participants.
    One of the special aspects of Holy Blossom is how we have built an HBT space in prayer – I would respectfully suggest the section under Prayer and Ritual note clarifies that we wrote the book (so to speak) in that both the prayerbook was developed by HBT rabbinic and lay leadership and that our Torah commentary was developed by HBT rabbinic leadership. I’m sure there is someone who is better with words who can frame that more succinctly and elegantly.

    As one of my friends used to say “it’s not bragging when it’s the truth”

    I’d also like us to say “Toronto” and “Canada” – we are #WeTheNorth and it is good to specify that because that is part of what makes us special.

    Wonderful work and process that is so well done.

  • Barry & Susan Borden
    Reply

    Great meaningful words – we must remember that our collective.”identity” at Temple exists because of its members and staff – our individual identities are cumulative and together form this collective result Past / Present / Future – many live in the past and resist change – others only look to the future and tend to allow the present to slip by – as stated these words of our “identity” description today are not static but will constantly allow us and our congregation and community to preserve and utilize our significant past – pay active attention to our needs at present – ultimately allow us to adapt appropriately into the future.
    The words in this document have intent and understanding and emotion – the words speak directly to me and will speak directly to groups such as leadership and community – yasher koach.

  • Silvia
    Reply

    Extremely well said. Not one word extra, not one word is missing. In my personal and humble view, this Statement of Identity clearly describes the values and feelings of our congregation. Thank you to the group of people that spend the time to compile this document.

  • Lindi Rivers
    Reply

    Yasher Koach on this excellent piece of work, as it tackles the difficult job of capturing the essence and depth of our broad-reaching, many-faceted religious, spiritual, educational and social destination. The greatest strength of Holy Blossom Temple will always be it’s people and it’s relationships. I hope that many will join in the development of this living document, and most importantly, bring their open hearts and minds to the future of this beloved home.

  • Phyllis Denaburg
    Reply

    The Statement of Identity with its simple clear words expresses the wide variety of activities we engage in or hope to engage in. We hope that all members can see how and where they fit in, and choose at least one new area to explore, to enrich their membership experience.
    Kol HaKavod to the authors – you have reflected the mosaic that is Holy Blossom Temple.

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