In helfman, Third

By Rabbi Jordan Helfman.

We as the clergy of Holy Blossom Temple will now attempt to be present at every Brit Milah connected to the HBT community.  We will be there to lead the prayers naming and wishing future successes on your children. 

But for this to happen, we need your invitation to attend and participate in this core life-cycle event.

Here are some reasons why we have decided to make celebrating the birth or adoption of each new baby into our Jewish community a priority, and why you should give us a call (Elana at 416.789.3291 ext. 0) or e-mail to invite us:


It matters that our children be treated equally and given the same amount of celebration regardless of their sex at birth.[1]  I personally celebrated the birth of my daughter on the eight day with language of covenant and a baby naming, requiring my relatives to travel on short notice, just as they would for a boy, and I don’t regret it one bit.

As Jewish leaders trying to work for a more equitable society, we feel we must make it a priority to be at the celebrations of both males and females, as until now we have only mainly celebrated babies of one sex publicly. 

We are also revisiting our baby naming rituals in the synagogue to make sure they meet our egalitarian standards. 

As New Parents, You Have Support

By seeing the clergy at your simcha, we hope that you will see that it is not just your family celebrating your little one – the whole Jewish community is strengthened and celebrates this birth.

We seek to strengthen you not just through our presence, but through making sure you have an additional place you can turn if you need help.  Child birth can cause some mothers to need extra support, and we can refer you to people and organizations that can give you that emotional care.  We can also provide some extra help with food needs, especially as we know we have some families that are in Toronto without ‘back-up’.  Our Bikkur Cholim committee (visiting the sick) is able to provide you with visits and with food if you need support during your recovery and readjustment to this new life.

Additionally, we hope to support you through our ongoing programming and relationships – such as a new mother’schavurah (group) that our member Ashley Berger is looking to start.  (She welcomed her little one at a naming ceremony this past Friday night.)  E-mail me if you know of a new or expectant mother who may be interested in this group. 

Our growing Little Blossoms program and Tot Shabbats provide an instant community for your family.  By meeting one of the HBT clergy at your simcha, it provides an instant friendly face when you show up for these communal events.

Your Baby / Grandchild is the Potential Messiah

You may me asking yourself – isn’t this a Reform Shul?  And the answer is yes – we believe that every individual has the potential to make the world closer to the ideal.

We set out the Kiseh Shel Eliyahu –  Elijah’s chair – at every Brit (covenant) ceremony.  Though we don’t see the Prophet Elijah sitting in the chair, we know that each and every child is pure potential – potential to make our dreams of a world more complete come true. No matter the sex, we look forward to being there to welcome your child’s potential with you.

So please, give us a call (416.789.3291 ext. 0) or send us an e-mail and invite us.

[1] To hear about this in a narrative form, listen here.

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  • Beny Maissner

    Incredible reflection Rabbi Helfman along with all our clergy team is a super spokesman for our younger generation with the hope and dream of making HBT even more homely warm place for all generations

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