In Featured at HBT, First, holidays, splansky

This High Holy Day season was particularly uplifting this year because we were able to move freely throughout our campus of our old, new and renewed spaces. Temple President Judy Winberg and Gerry Prendergast, the Vice President of the Department of Worship, join me in wishing everyone another round of blessings for the New Year and another round of thanks to the many people who contribute skill and precious time to make our twenty-six services so meaningful.

At the risk of missing someone, here is evidence of how it really does take a village to bring our congregation together for prayer, reflection, and celebration. If we have inadvertently missed someone first, please forgive us – next Yom Kippur is a long way off! And then, please let us know so we can add your name or correct the spelling for proper acknowledgement. Just drop a note to Deanna Levy ([email protected]) and we’ll be sure to make the correction right away.

I hope to see you over the coming days filled with more opportunity to pray, learn, remember and celebrate together. Shabbat Shalom, Chag Sameach and L’Shanah Tova. May it be a year of joy and blessing for us all.

Rabbi Yael Splansky


In addition to our Rabbis and Cantors, many congregant volunteers and professionals help to lead our many and varied services.  Thanks to their talents and devotion, we are able to offer services designed especially for families, for young professionals, for little kids, big kids, and teens. They are:

  • Brenda Saunders
  • Jared Gershon
  • Mark Weinstock
  • Lisa Isen Baumal
  • Becca Lash
  • Jeff Denaburg
  • Avishai Sol
  • Michael Leese
  • Michael Cole
  • David Gershon

Our Torah and Haftarah Readers bring honour to our sacred texts. They practice for months to ensure every letter and every note elevates the occasion. Under the leadership of Cantorial Soloist Lindi Rivers they are:

  • Cynthia Good
  • Samantha Sherman
  • Lauren Adelson
  • Jonathan Gordon-Chow
  • Ellie Davidson
  • Robyn Lewis
  • Lindsay McLean
  • Eric Peterseil
  • Daniel Abramson
  • Helena Fine
  • Charly Warwick
  • Eli Sol
  • Robert Steiner
  • Jeff Denaburg
  • Shoshana Iny
  • Brenda Saunders
  • Susan Baskin
  • Ellen Lupu
  • Judy Malkin
  • Sara Rosen
  • Mike Morgulis
  • Caroline Ingvaldsen
  • Pavle Levkovic
  • Neri Slan
  • Joeley Pulver
  • Marc Levy
  • Taiga Lipson
  • Camille Lisser
  • Levi Cassidy
  • Jaryd Diamond
  • Debra Bennett
  • Matthew Diamond
  • Lisa Isen Baumal
  • Paula Warren
  • Robyn Blatt
  • Jennifer Shiner
  • Nisa Diamond
  • Jonathan Toker
  • Adam Sniderman
  • Suzanne Hersh
  • Gail Kerbel
  • Joan Garson
  • Ted Shafran

A Gabbai is like the stage manager, who ensures that the bimah rituals are performed inclusively and gracefully. Under the leadership of Jill Hertzman our High Holy Day Gabbaim are:

  • Barry Silver
  • Michael Davis
  • Alberto Quiroz
  • Mark S. Anshan
  • Ted Shafran
  • Phyllis Denaburg
  • Brenda Saunders
  • Sam Sapera
  • Dr. Barry Borden
  • Avra Rosen
  • Jane Herman
  • Etienne Kaplan
  • David Mock
  • Eli Davidson
  • Adam Sniderman
  • Denes Rothschild
  • Adelaid Bertoia-Dixon
  • Eric Roher
  • Ben Freedman


Organizing the dozens of congregants who carry mitzvah-honours throughout our High Holy Day services is deceptively complex. Many thanks to Judy Malkin, and Karen Abells for overseeing the process from beginning to end.

Our Shofar Blowers call us to attention throughout the month of Elul and ring in the new year with kavanah (soulful intension). Under the leadership of Cantor Maissner they are:

  • Tal Maissner
  • Michael Cole
  • Peter Dan
  • Steven Dan
  • Ryan Bockner
  • Robin Malach
  • Ethan Krangle
  • Sam Sapera
  • David Gershon
  • Eli Sol
  • Mark Weinstock
  • Joel Lehman

The music this season was especially beautiful. Our Temple Singers lift the words of the Machzor (High Holy Day prayerbook) off the page and transform them into sincere prayer. Under the direction of Cantor Maissner, Cantorial Soloist Lindi Rivers, Nadia Adler and Steven Glass, and together with our remarkably devoted professional choir members, our Temple Singers are:

  • Jeff Baker
  • Susan Baskin
  • Carla Baudot
  • Nancy Bennett
  • Susan Chernow
  • Susan Cohen
  • Ellen Cole
  • Anne Dublin
  • Helena Fine
  • Susan Fremes
  • Denise Gordon
  • Michael Greenstein
  • Barbara Grossman
  • Pam Halpern
  • Ron Hart
  • Carolyn Ingvaldsen
  • Jill Kamin
  • Jack Kugelmass
  • Catherine Mayers
  • Sharon Miller
  • Shelley Miller
  • Lew Molot
  • Eva Ormut-Fleishman
  • Dena Perlmutar
  • Marla Powers
  • Uriel Prewes
  • Joanne Roher
  • Shoshana Sage
  • Sandi Schafer
  • Saul Ship
  • Bella Shupac
  • Sheila Weinstock
  • Judy Wilansky

Our Ushers fulfill the essential mitzvah of hospitality, ensuring that everyone is safe and comfortable. Under the leadership of Gerry Prendergast and Bob Cooper, along with Larry Babins, and Abe Neufeld doing reserved seating, our High Holy Day Ushers are:

  • Dr. Brian Hands
  • Mel Olsberg
  • Yehuda Beni
  • Dr. Fred Saunders
  • Johanna Faulk
  • Michael Ryval
  • Merle Kriss
  • Diana Goodman
  • Rob Herman
  • John Morrisey
  • Harley Mintz
  • Elana Paice Lidsky
  • Karen Kollins
  • Kathy Morrissey
  • Jeff Denaburg
  • Simeon Olsberg
  • Gary Posen
  • Gavin Naimer
  • Joan Garson
  • Marilyn Hahn
  • Gary Goodman
  • Cheryl Sylvester
  • Shiela Smolkin
  • Avra Rosen
  • Terry Yanowski
  • Aubrey Kaplan
  • Les Rothschild
  • Sue Rebick
  • David Tartick
  • Rosalie Sussman
  • Etienne Kaplan
  • Carole Sterling
  • Arnold Englander
  • Judith Slan
  • Dr. Barry Borden
  • Esther Bergman
  • Barry Silver
  • Alan Gordon
  • Fern Lebo
  • Gail Goodman
  • John Phillips
  • Bob Cooper
  • Bambi Katz

Our Greeters are the first friendly faces you see as you approach Holy Blossom Temple. They answer your questions, point you in the right direction and assist with special needs. Under the leadership of Corinne Black, our High Holy Day Greeters are:

  • Sara Charney
  • Karen Abels
  • Elana Paice Lidsky
  • Jan Simonsky
  • Caroline Ingvaldsen
  • Les Rothschild
  • Jacqui Margulis
  • Phyllis Wintraub
  • Soshana Sage
  • Jill Witkin
  • Adam Sniderman
  • Barbara Glaser
  • Dennis Chow
  • Maria Kolominsky
  • Carole Sterling
  • Debra Black
  • Barbara Hodes
  • Jill Kamin
  • Judy Winberg
  • Erin O’connor
  • Julie Solomon
  • Richard Vrooman
  • Cheryl Sylvester
  • Karen Mock
  • Jeff Denaburg
  • Darren Sukonick

Many physicians are on-call and strategically placed throughout our prayer spaces to be of assistance should any of our congregants need medical attention. Under the leadership of Dr. Barry Borden, they are:

  • Dr. Yoel Abells
  • Dr. Chris Hassell
  • Dr. Rhonda Wilansky
  • Dr. Michael Davis
  • Dr. Melissa Nutik

We thank Andrew Kirsch, chair of our Security Committee and the representatives of Toronto Police and Fire who together with our security professionals ensure our safety.

We enjoyed six simultaneous study sessions on Yom Kippur afternoon. We thank Supreme Court Justice Abella, Rabbi John Moscowitz, Professor Judith Baskin, Rabbi Bill Tepper, Rebecca Roher and Mark Waldman from CJPAC and Sophie Helpard from CIJA for expanding our worship to include uplifting learning.

We thank our Director of Facilities, Jim Westcott and his team, who work round the clock to ready our building – inside and out. We thank our Office Manager, Judy Amsterdam and her devoted Administrative Team, who organize the countless details on which we depend and pay careful attention to every special request:

  • Dante Thorne
  • Isaac Amsterdam
  • Xiaver Robinson
  • Lauren Demers
  • Kirtsheel Kirtsheel
  • Belay Getachew
  • Pradeep Dubey
  • Lindsay Mockler
  • Heidi Miller
  • Ella Vatagsky
  • Anna Gureich
  • Alex Anthony
  • Jonathan Ain
  • Ellen Ostofsky
  • Cindy Zimmer
  • Tema Smith
  • Deanna Levy
  • JoAnne Bieman
  • Mari Lynn Rusak
  • Debbie Spiegel
  • Lisa Baumal
  • Wendy Himmel
  • Neomi Offman
  • Dalia Alalouf

And finally, thanks to our Executive Director, Ron Polster who oversees all the pieces of the High Holy Day puzzle to ensure they come together as one seamless whole.

Recent Posts
  • Alberto Quiroz

    It is amazing and invigorating to belong to a community of so many volunteers willing to help everyone feel welcome and have an enriching experience.

Leave a Comment

Most Recent Projects