No other place, no other culture, bolsters Jews, builds character and betters religious community as does the synagogue. No other institution provides deep and broad learning about the world as does the synagogue. No other institution brings Jews together in prayer, in a longing of hope and humility, as does the synagogue. No place can so persuade Jews that service to God and to others is the best nourishment for a hungry soul as does the synagogue.
Welcome to Holy Blossom Temple
We are located at 1950 Bathurst Street, one block south of Eglinton Avenue West, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (see map and directions)
Our HistoryHoly Blossom Temple dates its history to September 1856, when 17 members of the small Toronto Jewish community met to form a congregation and make plans for the upcoming High Holy Day Services. Seven years earlier, some members of the Jewish community had created a cemetery on Pape Avenue, which was later absorbed by the new congregation. The Ontario Heritage Foundation lists Holy Blossom as the first Jewish congregation in Canada, west of the Ontario/Quebec border.
For the first 20 years of the Temple’s existence, Services, conducted in the traditional orthodox manner, were held in a rented room over Coombe’s Drugstore on the southeast corner of Yonge and Richmond streets. In 1876, the congregation built its first synagogue a block east on Richmond Street.
By the 1890s, the congregation had outgrown the Richmond Street Synagogue and made plans for a new one. The dedication of the Bond Street Synagogue on September 15, 1897 attracted much media attention. By that time, Temple membership had grown to 119 families.
During the latter part of the 19th century, changes began to be introduced to ritual and the way services were conducted. Music was introduced and mixed seating allowed. In 1920, Holy Blossom invited Rabbi Barnett R. Brickner, ordained at the Hebrew Union College, to be its rabbi and made application to affiliate with the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the Reform Movement’s umbrella organization.
While the sanctuary of the Bond Street Synagogue was indeed beautiful, space for the growing religious school and social programs was severely lacking. By the 1930s, the congregation recognized that the time had come to move again. At the height of the depression, with a membership of just over 250 families, enough money was raised to buy the land and to build a sanctuary at a location on the then outer edge of the city. Holy Blossom Temple at 1950 Bathurst Street was dedicated on May 20, 1938.
Today, Holy Blossom has more than 6,500 members and celebrated its 155th anniversary in 2011.