Rabbi Julia Appel is known for creating welcoming and diverse Jewish spaces for exploration and empowerment. She is passionate about building Jewish community that meets the challenges of the 21st century – in which Jewish identity is a choice, not an obligation. She especially loves connecting with those rediscovering their Jewish heritage or who have felt themselves to be on the margins of Jewish community.
She recently founded the start-up Bina Community Circles, a new spiritual project fostering Jewish personal flourishing and communal change through deep relationship-building circles. Rabbi Appel also serves as Faculty for Clal, teaching “Leadership Through Innovation” to rabbinical and cantorial students and leading communal change projects. She served for four years as the Senior Jewish Educator and Campus Rabbi of Hillel at the University of Toronto, during which she led the team through a multi-year innovation redesign, in partnership with the Organizational Design Lab of Hillel International. She has also served congregations, Hillels, and schools in the U.S. and Canada. Rabbi Julia is a registered wedding officiant in both Ontario and Quebec and loves helping couples design their Jewish weddings. An executive committee member of the Toronto Board of Rabbis, she regularly speaks on feminism, antisemitism, and innovation and her writing has been featured in such publications as the Canadian Jewish News and the Forward.
Rabbi Julia Appel hold an M.A. in Jewish Studies and Rabbinic Ordination from Hebrew College and a B.A. in Social Studies, Magna Cum Laude, from Harvard University. Rabbi Julia brings humor, warmth, and openness to her work as a rabbi and educator. A native of Boston, she lives in downtown Toronto with her family.
Header photo by Laurent Castellucci