Family & Youth
Early Childhood Education
This is a unique educational moment in the life of your child. It’s a time when children are free to focus on building positive relationships and self-esteem. At the Early Childhood Centre at Holy Blossom Temple, we believe that these skills prepare your child to thrive in life. In a warm and nurturing environment, we work closely with you to honor your child’s special talents and needs. Above all, we strive to create a strong sense of community among our families.
About the ECC
The Early Childhood Centre (ECC) at Holy Blossom Temple views each child as competent, capable, curious and rich in potential. We offer a nurturing environment that respects each child, fosters self-esteem, and supports the growth of the whole child in his/her social, emotional, physical, cognitive, spiritual and creative development.
We follow an emergent, play-based, developmentally appropriate curriculum as set forth by the Ministry of Education that involves a balance of child-initiated and adult supported experiences which allow each child to develop at his or her own pace. Our classrooms include a variety of learning centres designed for purposeful play and children’s exploration, literacy and math readiness, science, daily physical activity and outdoor play. Reform Jewish traditions, values and rituals are interwoven into the curriculum.
Your child will be provided with an enriched and loving Reform Jewish learning experience in our warm, nurturing and stimulating school.
Beyond the ECC
There are so many wonderful opportunities at Holy Blossom. Please join us and become part of our Temple family!
Beyond the ECC
- Little Blossoms with L’Dance
- ECC drop-in play program
- Fridays Little Blossom Online with Marky Weinstock
Beyond the Classroom
Special Programming at the ECC
- WEEKLY MUSIC
- WELCOMING SHABBAT MUSIC ON FRIDAYS
- Children will also have the opportunity to experience many other enrichment opportunities on a rotating basis:
- Drumming with Rufus
- Library with Caroline in the Temple newly renovated library
- Music and movement
- Our nursery children visit Baycrest where they participate in an intergenerational program and purchase for the seniors with the tzedakah coins collected in the classrooms.
- Summer Camp at the ECC!
We hope that you will join us throughout the school year on special occasions.
- Intergenerational Shabbat
- Holy Blossom Kabbalat Shabbats with a focus on our ECC
- Little Blossom Friday music AND Little Blossoms with L’Dance on Wednesdays
All children have an opportunity to spend time each day outside, weather permitting.
At the ECC we teach 3 very important principles: Mitzvot, Tzedakah and Tikkun Olam; good deeds, giving to charity and trying to make the world a better place.
- The children collect Tzedakah every Friday which is generously shared with various charities. They also use this money to purchase flowers for the seniors at Baycrest.
- The children collect toys and food to share with those in need during Chanukkah and Pesach and they contribute to the Temple’s Out of the Cold program.
A Message from Our Director
The Early Childhood Centre at Holy Blossom Temple is a wonderful choice for your child’s first school experience. I am happy to receive you not only as part of the ECC family but as part of our Temple family as well. Together with our teachers and Temple community, we begin our partnership with you and your children.
Designing learning environments that are engaging and meaningful for children is my passion. I am committed to creating a strong Jewish-based educational program where sound foundational skills and play with a purpose are always the focus. I am especially attuned to the needs of parents and strongly advocate for parental engagement in our children’s educational process. I believe that each child should feel valued and each parent’s voice heard.
My role as Director is a very hands-on approach. I will always be available to you and really enjoy the time I spend in the classroom with the children. I value our parents as partners in education and welcome your participation. I want you to be engaged in meaningful ways and hope that you will join us in the classroom as a parent volunteer in whatever capacity you feel most comfortable.
I have an open-door policy and I will always be available to you.
When we say the learning happens through play and that play is a child’s work, it is important to understand that the best play is purposeful and engages children’s’ minds, bodies and emotions.
All learning is integrated-learning is never isolated. Concepts are woven into various play/work centres and are presented in ways that will engage the tactile, auditory, visual or kinesthetic learning. Our wonderful staff are engaged in both child-initiated and teacher-guided learning experiences. Careful observations allow us to present materials and activities to stimulate interests or build on acquired skills.
Although our days seem short, they are action-packed! Your children will have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of developmentally appropriate activities that will challenge and further their development of key skill domains, fine and gross motor, creative, cognitive, numeracy and early literacy. They will build self-confidence, self-awareness and self-help skills. Our teachers plan curriculum bases on an emergent philosophy set out by the Ministry of Education.
Through all of this, our teachers also strive to impart a Jewish identity to all the children. Hebrew songs and blessings, learning about Jewish holidays, visits to the Sukkah, hearing the blowing of the Shofar, Preparing for Shabbat every Friday, Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday nights with the Temple community all contribute experiencing Jewishness in a Reformed Jewish Context.
I am so honoured to serve as the Director of the Early Childhood Centre at Holy Blossom Temple and build on its remarkable reputation for over 50 years.
Wendy Steinberg Himmel
Parents as Partners
Parents as Partners
We value our partnership with our parents! As you know, we love having all of you as a part of our program! Parent and grandparent volunteers provide for an incredible experience for the children and we consider this integral to the relationship that we build together.
Summer Camp at the ECC
Youth Education Centre
The vision of Holy Blossom Temple Religious School is to create an atmosphere of warmth, excitement, and love of Jewish learning in which students in JK through to Grade 10 Confirmation acquire
- Jewish values, skills and knowledge
- Values of life-long Jewish learning and mitzvot
- Commitment/love of Judaism and Israel
- A deep sense of connection and belonging to their Jewish community
Through a combination of creative and hands-on learning experiences, we aim to build a sense of community and belonging to Holy Blossom Temple, to the Jewish communities within Toronto and Canada, the broader Reform movement and Israel.
The development of skills and knowledge are meant to enable Jewish young people to read Hebrew, participate comfortably and capably in worship services, and master the basic skills required to study Torah, Haftarah, and the holy days.
To attain these goals, we rely on an integrated curriculum and experiential/creative teaching models. Our teachers are dynamic, enthusiastic, and positive Jewish role models for our students. We aim to create a partnership between teachers and parents at home, to support and encourage Jewish learning and living, and we are grateful for the support of our congregation, who places importance and values Jewish learning at all ages.
Not only is our goal for our students to gain Jewish skills, but also, to form meaningful relationships and ties to their peers and to our congregational community. All students are encouraged to continue along their path of Jewish Education beyond B’nei Mitzvah, to Confirmation in grade 10, and take their place in a photo on the wall.
JK – Grade 7
JK, SK and Grade 1: Sunday mornings 9:30-11:30 am, in-person only.
Grade 2-5: Sunday mornings 9:30 – 11:30 am, in-person and virtual (these will be separate classes, not hybrid).
Hebrew for ALL students in grades 2-5 will be virtual, and in small groups on a weekday after school/evening.
Grade 6&7: Monday evenings 6:30 – 8:30 pm, in-person and virtual.
Hebrew for grade 6 students will be ALL virtual in small groups at a different time/day.
Link to registration: https://cloud4good.tfaforms.net/390064
JTEM: Grade 8 – Grade 10 Confirmation
JTEM is new and improved for the 2021-2022 school year!
Meeting on Monday nights from 6:30-8:30 pm, Grades 8 to Grade 10 (Confirmation) will be starting Monday, October 4th.
The first hour will be JTEM’s classic and much-loved learning sessions with Geri Durbin, covering deeper topics relevant to today’s Jewish teens which will include exciting guest speakers.
The second hour will be a “workshop” hour. In this time, we will rotate through four different workshop types: Madrichim Training, Arts, Life Skills, and “Kulam”.
In our new Madrichim Training program, teens will learn the skills necessary to be young leaders in our community. This ranges from leading and writing programs to problem-solving with younger kids.
Arts Workshops will bring in a facilitator to run creative and practical activities such as drama and writing, painting and music.
Life Skills is an exciting one, focusing on skills that everyone should know how to do; from changing a car tire to cooking chicken soup to putting up a shelf.
The last section will be “Kulam”. This program runs through Moving Traditions, equips Jewish teens to engage in dynamic and authentic conversations in order to think reflectively, act courageously, and develop healthy, honest relationships. In this program, Jewish teens ask big questions about where, why and how they belong while exploring issues of identity, equity, and justice.
Link to registration: https://cloud4good.tfaforms.net/390076
Israel Engagement ShinShinim
UJA’s Israel Engagement ShinShinim are young Israeli leaders who have just finished high school and come to the GTA for one year to volunteer in our community. Each year, the ShinShinim are hosted by local Toronto families, and engage more than 3,000 Jewish community members with cutting edge programs focusing on contemporary Israel.
UJA Federation of Greater Toronto has the largest delegation of ShinShinim in the world – currently 26. Toronto’s ShinShinim are active in over 40 day schools, synagogues, supplementary schools, youth movements, community programs, and summer camps across Toronto, with increasing demand each and every year. The ShinShinim informally teach about Israel through creative programs and challenging discussions, bringing an authentic Israel experience to the Toronto Community.
Youth Activities & Events Calendar
Family Shabbat Education
New this year: Family Shabbat Education option on Saturday mornings starting in October!
This pilot program will combine YEC-style classes with our Family Shabbat services. It will be a combination of family learning, service participation, and student-only classes, and can be an alternative (or an add-on!) for Sunday morning YEC classes.
Families will gather at 9:45 for a family learning experience before family Shabbat services begin. At the start of the Torah service, kids will leave with designated teachers for a YEC-style class and then reunite with their families at the conclusion of services. Our expert teachers and family service leaders and facilitators are excited to embark on this new learning opportunity with you!
Link to register: https://congregationconnect.tfaforms.net/f/HBTFSE2021
Contact Lisa Isen Baumal [email protected] for more information
There’s lots to do at Holy Blossom Temple for our families with children, and it all starts with Family Programming!
See below for a complete listing of all our Family and Youth programming, and learn how you and yours can get involved!
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Day School Community
Holy Blossom Temple, the Leo Baeck Day School and the other Jewish Day Schools share the belief that relationships and community are central to living a joyful, fulfilling Jewish life. Through learning, tikkun olam, prayer, celebration and caring, both HBT and our day schools foster Jewish journeys that are relevant and meaningful, and that enrich each child and parent individually and communally. With our shared vision and values, school and synagogue are each an extension of the other and both places feel like home. Read on to learn more about how you can deepen your connections. As you become more engaged, you will experience first hand what makes HBT and our day schools a perfect fit!
Prayer: Shabbat and Holidays
Shabbat is a wonderful time for day school communities and the HBT community to come together. Join us to welcome Shabbat in prayer, song and study. Family First Fridays evenings we have family Shabbat activities and dinners for community members who are not yet bar/bat mitzvah. On Saturdays, we offer both traditional and family-style Shabbat services. Our family services are generally co-led with David Gershon (of Judy & David) and include age-appropriate learning for children and adults. Worshippers of all ages are welcome at our services.
Holidays bring the day schools’ and HBT’s community together through programming offered specifically for families that supplement the celebrations with the broader HBT community. From holiday-centred programming, ‘Holy Chag!” to carnivals to learning opportunities for all ages, there are numerous ways to celebrate and connect to the holidays throughout the year.
Act and Connect
We all connect to our Jewish identities and tradition in different ways. Where will your Jewish journey take you this year?
- Participate in tikkun olam opportunities for children, adults & families.
- Join a chavurah.
- Get involved in our Kids Mitzvah Club programs.
- Attend a broad offering of concerts, speakers and community events.
- Come to Weekday YEAH and Kef.
Find your path!
Learn: Explore, Play, Discover, Connect
Holy Blossom Temple’s learning programs help our children take their day school experience to the next level as they begin to navigate their Jewish journeys and turn their passions into action.
Our Kids’ Mitzvah Club provides hands-on mitzvah projects. We celebrate and honour our day school families and their commitment to Jewish learning and living, and include them in the shehechayanu moments we celebrate with students in many of our primary grades. HBT’s youth engagement programs help students and families explore their Jewish identities and connections through innovative, experiential and fun activities and projects while building strong relationships with peers, faculty and our community in a variety of settings.
Our sixth and seventh graders begin to design the next adventures of their Jewish journeys in our Na’arut learning program. Our day school students join in for seventh grade on Monday nights to experience what being at HBT is all about.
Havayah, the teen community at Holy Blossom Temple, honours post B’nai Mitzvah teens as adults in the community and meets the needs of their busy lives by providing many options for engagement. Our teens love spending time at HBT.
From affinity-based Chavurot to Shabbat experiences to youth group and leadership opportunities, we strive for our teens to find meaningful engagement in Jewish life based on their interests, schedules and Jewish journeys. As LBDS and other day school alumni head out to many different high schools, they stay connected to each other by participating in our Havayah community.
Parents can shape their Jewish journeys at HBT, too! From classes, Shabbat services, tikkun olam programs, we believe that making a commitment to a fuller Jewish life will help you become happier, find new meaning in the blessings of Judaism, and experience more gratitude in your life.
Life Long Learning
Schwartz/Reisman Adult Education Program
Holy Blossom Temple is as much a House of Study as a House of Worship.
The Schwartz/Reisman Adult Education Program prides itself on excellence in education. For many years we have continuously brought high quality programming and people to our home. Courses, lectures, and hands-on learning all are a part of the adult learning program at Holy Blossom Temple.
Our expanded seven pillars of learning. Torah and Text Study, Jewish Life & History, Centres for Contemporary Jewish Literature and Arts & Culture, Israel, Social Justice, Health & Wellness and Language are sure to have something for everyone. Our programs all fall into one of these areas of experience, which leads to a full, complete way of life. Judaism is a collective memory of a people who will not disappear from history and we are happy to have you become a part of our history of learning.
We have so much to offer you as a learner. Try out a program and we know you will stay for a while! We look forward to being with you.
20s & 30s
Students, Young Professionals and Young Marrieds @ Holy Blossom Temple are communities of 19-38 year olds who join together for Shabbat, learning, social action, and community engagement. On the cusp of downtown, we are a short walk from Eglinton West station.
Our current programming includes social justice programming, webinars for university students, networking opportunities, and Jewish learning through food, text, art and worship. We have many partnership events with Annex Shul, Beth Tzedec, Temple Sinai, Adath Israel, Ve’ahavta and Shoresh throughout the year.
We also are constantly forming chavurot – groups of 6-8 individuals or couples gather monthly to do Jewish together. These chavurot are a great way to add richness to your life – creating a group which grows and learns together.
- For information on HBT on Campus contact Rabbi Goodman on Facebook or by email.
- To stay apprised of our upcoming Young Professionals programs, please connect to our Facebook community.
- Young Marrieds mostly gather through chavurot and our Beyond the Chuppah class. Please contact Rabbi Goodman on Facebook or by email for more information.
- If you have ideas for future programs, please contact Rabbi Zachary Goodman.
Anchor your leadership in Jewish ideas.
Join Jewish communal leaders from across North America and from across the Jewish streams for stimulating study at The Sholom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Learn from a faculty of creative thought leaders who will guide you through ancient and modern texts. Rabbi Yael Splansky will be studying in parallel with you on the beautiful Hartman campus and will join you for meals and shared programs.
You may wish to extend your stay in Israel to travel or visit with family and friends before or after the study seminar.
Melton at Holy Blossom
A Worldwide and High-Quality Program for Adult Jewish Study- a project of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Named for Florence Melton, its founder, Melton is an internationally renowned, formal program for adult Jewish study. It offers a well-rounded and sophisticated approach and provides a comprehensive exploration of Jewish thought, practice, ethics, and history utilizing a cross-denominational curriculum. It is designed for all levels of Jewish knowledge and practice – there is no Hebrew knowledge required, nor are there tests, grades or homework. In its 30 plus years, the Melton program has graduated more than 30,000 students from its classes in “mini-schools” all over the world. Hailed as “the best of the best adult Jewish education.”
For more information about Melton at Holy Blossom, contact Debbie Spiegel at [email protected]
Who can attend Melton?
Melton is open to anyone in the Jewish community (members or non-members of HBT) who want to study on a regular basis and acquire a comprehensive foundation of Jewish literacy. It is appropriate for all levels of students (no Hebrew knowledge is required) and there are no prerequisites for Year 1.
Who teaches Melton?
Our faculty consists of Holy Blossom Temple clergy and other specially trained, clergy and educators.
How often does Melton meet?
The core curriculum is taught once a week for two hours, twenty-five weeks a year, for two years. The class will be offered on Tuesday evenings for the Core course, Year 1. The course is called, Rhythms of Jewish Living and Purposes of Jewish Living. Year 2 will be Crossroads of Jewish History and Ethics of Jewish Living. Class descriptions can be found below.
What if I can’t commit to two years?
Fair enough. Come for one year. We think you’ll be hooked.
What happens at the end of two years?
Students will “graduate” Melton and be honoured at a special Graduation Ceremony where they will receive certificates.
Can I keep studying after I graduate?
Of course! We hope to continue to offer Melton Scholar Courses in years to come. There are numerous options in the Melton curriculum.
Are there any other perks?
Yes! Not only will Melton provide you with an outstanding Jewish education, participating in it is also a wonderful way to meet new people and become part of your own small community. We find that our Melton students develop long-lasting friendships amongst themselves and strong bonds with their instructors.