Each year, your strong support of the Annual Congregational Appeal allows Holy Blossom Temple to bring to life so much that is wonderful and meaningful in our congregation. Over the last two years, your generosity enabled Temple to be nimble and creative. During this time, many struggled and the Holy Blossom community became a lifeline to so many.
By Moving Forward Together, we ensure that Life can Blossom here.
We are extending the Match! Every donation made to the Annual Campaign will be matched by funds provided by our four generous Match donors until we raise $100,000. Help us cross the finish line and give to the Match today!
You can track the Match HERE. This page will be updated daily so you can watch our progress.
The Power of Tzedakah
A Message from Rabbi Yael Splansky, October 21, 2022
This week we completed the season of holydays. We welcomed thousands of people – young and old – into our sanctuaries for High Holyday services and several hundred screens were open for many more to join us online. The livestream production was made possible by a gift in memory of Etta Ginsberg McEwan z”l, who was devoted to increasing accessibility here at Holy Blossom Temple and across the city of Toronto.
Below is a portrait of the magical scene when at the end of Yom Kippur, the congregation poured out of the sanctuary onto the Bathurst Street Plaza for Havdalah, sweet wine, and honey cake. The shofar’s final Tekiah Gedolah rang in the new year, so full of promise and potential.
The twelve days that followed brought these scenes: a Sukkah Decorating Party, grandparents joining our Early Childhood students in the sukkah, Yom Tov and Yizkor services, including the dedication of new Memorial lights, one wedding, three B’nei Mitzvah, a regional youth group event, which brought 80 teens for a weekend of leadership training. Ninety people in their 20s and 30s welcomed Jewish newcomers from Ukraine into the sukkah and toured the JIAS (Jewish Immigrant Aid Society) exhibit on the history of refugee relief in Canada. Holy Blossom is proud to house this exhibit in celebration of one hundred years of partnership with JIAS. The grand finale of our fall festivals was Simchat Torah when our Grade 1 Consecration Students received their own “baby Torahs” and our Grade 7 B’nei Mitzvah Students received their Plaut Torah Commentaries as a gift from the Temple Brotherhood, presented by John Freund, a survivor of the Shoah. They all joined the congregation as we danced our twelve Torah Scrolls around the sanctuary to the joyful sounds a live Klezmer band. One of the seven hakafot (Torah parades) was led by representatives of our new member households, more than 150 strong! See the photos attached/below for a glimpse into the energy and pride of our celebrations.
On Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, I spoke about replacing hoping for dreaming. I believe it is healthy for individuals, congregations, and the Jewish People as a whole to allow ourselves to dream again. Building on the momentum of the fall festivals, I am eager to advance the vision for Holy Blossom’s future. In a few short weeks, the Temple Board will roll out our new Strategic Plan. Partnerships of professional and lay leaders are preparing for a year of ambitious experimentation, innovation, and restoration. Please be part of this sacred effort by contributing to the Annual Campaign.
On the night of Kol Nidre, you heard about our four match donors: Ilsa and Jeff Blidner, Angela and David Feldman & family, David and Helena Fine, and Axel and Nazli Goldenberg. I have asked them to extend the timeline of the match, so everyone has a chance to participate in the mitzvah of tzedakah for our Holy Blossom Temple community. They have graciously agreed and so I invite you to please consider what would be a meaningful gift for you to offer, knowing that the impact of your contribution will be doubled thanks to the generosity of fellow congregants.
Last spring, I invited you to help write the next chapter in the storied life of our congregation, Toronto’s first synagogue. Just as each of us is the author of our own Book of Life, there is another book which we write collectively together. The energy of the congregation was palpable throughout the holyday season. This generosity of spirit is evidence that we are ready to once again advance our mission, expand our impact, and create the vibrant Jewish life we seek for ourselves and for the generations to come.
In gratitude, I wish you a Shabbat Shalom and a Shanah Tovah.