We are delighted to announce that, following a thorough search that yielded a number of wonderful, qualified candidates, Tema Smith will soon be joining Holy Blossom as our first, Director of Community Engagement. This position, together with our new database management software, will enable Temple to transform the way it engages with each member and member-to-be. Tema will join our team of Senior Staff. She will work with Rabbi Splansky on engagement and with Russ Joseph with respect to membership metrics. Her lay partner is our extraordinary Chair of the Department of Membership, Cheryl Sylvester.
Tema Smith, a third-generation Torontonian, returned to Toronto in 2008 and has since, personally and professionally, dedicated her skills and conviction to Toronto’s Jewish community. She comes to Holy Blossom Temple from Congregation Darchei Noam, where she was the Manager of Membership and Communications since 2012. She formerly held the roles of Programming Co–Chair at Limmud Toronto, Programming Coordinator of Makom: Creative Downtown Judaism, and Project Coordinator of the Canadian National Task Force on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research.
A sought after speaker on issues of Jewish diversity, Tema has presented or facilitated conversations at events such as the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, Limmud Toronto, and Where Sinai Meets Spadina: Downtown Tikkun Leyl Shavuot.
Tema is a Professional Affiliate of Big Tent Judaism, an organization dedicated to creating pathways to Jewish life for those who feel unaffiliated, marginalized, or disenfranchised from mainstream Jewish life. She is also affiliated with Be’chol Lashon, an organization that advocates for ethnic, cultural, and racial inclusiveness in the Jewish community.
Tema holds a BA (Hon) in Cultural Studies and Philosophy from Trent University, and was a Master’s student under the Canada Research Chair in Modern Jewish Thought at McMaster University. She has also studied as a visiting graduate student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
We thank those who joined us in crafting the ambitious job description and in the interview process: Joan Garson, Rick Howard, Rachel Jacobson, Jill Kamin and Cheryl Sylvester.
Holy Blossom Temple acknowledges the invaluable support of the Board of the Holy Blossom Temple Foundation and the chair, Elliott Jacobson, in assisting in making this transformative position happen. The Foundation acts as the philanthropic arm of the Temple by receiving donations for a variety of internal funds, investing them wisely and then returning a portion of the proceeds to the Temple to support valuable causes. Upon a request from the Temple’s lay leadership, the Foundation has provided full funding for this position for the first two years. Thank you to the Foundation for sharing the Temple’s vision for the future. In order to support creative initiatives like this to further animate Temple life, please consider the HBT Foundation as a worthy recipient of your tzedakah.
Tema will be joining us on May 16th. I know you will join us in welcoming her to Holy Blossom.
[blankline][one_half]Rabbi Yael Splansky
Senior Rabbi[/one_half][one_half_last]Russ Joseph