Rabbi Julia Appel is known for creating welcoming and diverse Jewish spaces for exploration and empowerment. Rabbi Appel is the Director of Innovation Training and Curriculum for Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, in which role she creates and leads Clal’s city-wide and graduate training programs in innovation and Jewish entrepreneurship, as well as designing Jewish community around creating belonging. Ordained by the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College, she is passionate about creating 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.
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 previously served as Assistant Rabbi of Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom and of Congregation Dorshei Emet, in Montreal. 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, the Wisdom Daily, and the Forward. Rabbi Appel holds an M.A. in Jewish Studies and Rabbinic Ordination from Hebrew College and a B.A. in Social Studies from Harvard University. Rabbi Julia brings humor, warmth, and openness to her work as a rabbi and educator. Originally from Boston, she lives in downtown Toronto with her family.
Header photo by Laurent Castellucci