In Featured at HBT, First

Tribute to Russ Joseph

“Do not go gentle into that good night.” This message from the poem by Dylan Thomas was referenced at the funeral for Russ Joseph z”l. How appropriate because Russ was many things, and gentle was not one of them. He was strong, he was commanding, and he was exactly what Holy Blossom Temple needed when he came to us almost five years ago.

Russ helped us prepare for one of the most ambitious building projects in Canadian synagogue history and nothing gave him more pride or sense of accomplishment than sitting on the bimah on December 2, 2018, at the official Housewarming of our new spaces. He sat among the clergy and lay leaders, who had devoted countless hours to the success of the project, and he earned that place of honour celebrating our success on that day.

Russ understood this congregation and he endeared himself to us. He was the welcoming presence on Shabbat mornings and on all of the chagim; the reassuring voice on the phone when congregants called; and the leader of the staff who came to rely on him. Russ was a passionate ambassador for Holy Blossom and the messages of condolence these past weeks have come from friends, and colleagues of his from this city and beyond.

Russ’ impact and influence have been profound. As a congregation, we grieve for him along with his family and will miss him enormously. May his memory be a blessing.

Judy Winberg, President


Russ Joseph z”l
Baruch ben Mordechai HaLevi v’Shayna
January 25, 2019 / Shevat 19, 5779

The first reason Russ took the job at Holy Blossom Temple was for his first love – his family. Becoming the Executive Director of Holy Blossom Temple was Russ and Jan’s way to be close to their children and grandchildren. The best decision.

Read Rabbi Splansky’s Eulogy here


To honour Russ’ life and legacy, in consultation with his family, we hope that you will consider making a gift to the Renewal Fund in honour of Russ. Click here to make a donation, or contact Jonathan Ain, Director of Development at 416.789.3291 ext. 249 or email [email protected].


Treasured Memories of Russ

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

Most Recent Projects