Rabbi Julia Appel is a dynamic and cutting-edge rabbi and Jewish educator based in Toronto. She is passionate about creating a Jewish community that meets the challenges of the 21st century – in which Jewish identity is a choice not an obligation, and in which the old forms of Jewish life are losing relevance to a younger generation.
She is a talented and powerful prayer-leader and a teacher of Jewish spirituality, contemplative practice, Chassidic thought, feminism, and many other topics. She has a particular talent for connecting with those rediscovering their Jewish heritage or who have felt themselves to be on the margins of Jewish community. Rabbi Julia is a registered wedding officiant in both Ontario and Quebec and loves helping couples design their Jewish weddings.
Rabbi Julia is available as a consultant on engaging Millennials and Gen Z; combating anti-Semitism from a relational approach; shifting Jewish communities from event-based to user-centered; and structuring Jewish institutions to integrate diverse voices. Rabbi Julia integrates innovative community-building methodologies, relational engagement pedagogy, data-driven approaches, and change-management theory to reimagine what Jewish communities are and can be.
Rabbi Julia honed her approach to young adult Jewish engagement through her work at M.I.T. and Amherst College Hillels, Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom and Congregation Dorshei Emet in Montreal, and currently as the Senior Jewish Educator and Campus Rabbi of Hillel at the University of Toronto. She has also worked on strategy and organizational structure as Assistant Director of NewCAJE and Director of Makom Afterschool.
Rabbi Julia Appel was ordained by the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in 2011, where she also earned her M.A. in Jewish Studies. She earned her B.A. in Social Studies, Magna Cum Laude, from Harvard University. Rabbi Julia’s energy is contagious. She brings humor, warmth, and openness to her work as a rabbi and educator.
Header photo by Laurent Castellucci