A visionary new leader

Headshot of Carly Pildis

Tema Smith is a visionary new leader in the Jewish community. Her unique perspective and intersecting identities make her a natural bridge builder, bringing together racially diverse Jews, interfaith families, people with disabilities and Jews throughout a variety of cultural and political divides.

Tema is the voice our community needs as we face new challenges to Jewish continuity and security. Her ability to break down barriers to building community and foster understanding and partnership is unparalleled. She is engaging, kind, and deeply knowledgeable about Jewish life. She is one to watch.

Carly Pildis
Contributing Editor

A brave and strong voice

Headshot of Liv Mendelsohn

Tema Smith is a light in our Toronto Jewish Community and beyond. She is a connector, bringing people together across difference and with an intersectional lens. Her commitment to inclusion as a mindset and an action is manifest in everything she does.

Tema is a brave and strong voice, committed to a vision of equity and justice in her Judaism and her activism. It is a joy to stand beside her in this work.

Liv Mendelsohn
Director, Accessibility and Inclusion

An indispensable voice

Headshot of David Schraub

I’ve had the distinct honor of collaborating with Tema on one of her many projects exploring Jewish identity and social positioning. She is a uniquely adroit writer and thinker, comfortable with both high academic theory and in-the-trenches activism. Her work on matters of equity and inclusion in Jewish spaces — including, but not limited to, matters of race and disability — is characterized both by an uncompromising intellectual focus and a deep and abiding kindness and care for the entirety of the Jewish communal world. Hers is a voice that is indispensable in the present moment and I suspect will become only more influential in the coming years.

As the Jewish community starts to take intra-communal egalitarianism more seriously, they will need thoughtful, provocative, and engaged thinkers like Tema in on the front lines.

David Schraub
Lecturer in Law

Look out world!

Headshot of Rivka Campbell

Tema Smith is a rising star at a time when we need real leadership. She uplifts, building bridges within our diverse Jewish community. Always approachable, she is not afraid to challenge and to be challenged. Weaving her identity and her passions into everything that she does, she is an engaging teacher and writer, who always encourages her audience to reflect and to act.

Tema is dynamic and she is smart. I see big things in her future and look forward to benefiting from her work in the Jewish community.

Rivka Campbell

A crucial beacon of light

Headshot of Batya Ungar-Sargon

Tema Smith is a crucial beacon of light in a dark world. Courage, brilliance, and kindness make up this absolutely stunning human being. A brilliant, incisive mind coupled with a compassionate heart whose every beat seeks justice, Tema’s presence in the Jewish community is indispensable.

At a time when cowardice reigns supreme, public shaming and other forms of cruelty are on the rise, and people clamor to achieve popularity by rushing to judge and condemn, Tema never allows anyone to think for her. She is a radical free thinker who insists on making up her own mind. Fiercely independent and a brilliant critical thinker, Tema is also brimming over with kindness. It’s an absolutely unique combination, one as rare as it is necessary for navigating 21st century life. As a Jew and as a human, I find myself wanting to be on the same side as Tema, no matter what side that is.

Batya Ungar-Sargon
Opinion Editor

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