Our Clergy

Rabbi Tina Grimberg - Senior Rabbi

Rabbi Tina Grimberg grew up in the Ukrainian city of Kiev, and moved to North America with her family when she was sixteen. She soon took up the cause of the rights of “refuseniks” in the USSR, which led her to develop a passionate interest in the Jewish heritage that was so hard to access during her childhood behind the Iron Curtain. This led her to immediately become involved in the Jewish community of Indianapolis.

Rabbi Grimberg was initially trained as a family therapist, specializing in women’s issues and domestic violence. Her love of Jewish tradition and family life led her to the doors of the Hebrew Union College’s Jewish Institute of Religion, and in 2001, she was ordained as a Rabbi. During her studies, she worked as an intern at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, New York, and facilitated workshops for interfaith couples at the 92nd Street Y and the Jewish Community Centre of the Upper West Side. Before arriving at Darchei Noam in 2002, she served as Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Beth Elohim.

At Congregation Darchei Noam, Rabbi Grimberg has dedicated herself to serving her community and to advancing its profile in Toronto. She has worked with the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto and the prestigious Blavatnik Archive to host an exhibit in the synagogue. She has also been committed to interfaith dialogue with Toronto’s Muslim community, including working with Imam Shaykh Yusuf Badat at the Islamic Foundation of Toronto in a “twinning” project, and teaching at Jum’ah prayer services at the Noor Cultural Centre. Additionally, she has been a vocal advocate of organ donation, including presiding over the first “bar mitzvah” celebrating the 13th anniversary of a life-saving liver transplant. Her articles on Judaic topics have been published in the Canadian Jewish News, and she teaches frequently in the Toronto Jewish Community.

Rabbi Grimberg’s care for Darchei Noam’s members is most evident in the spiritual and emotional support she provides through her pastoral counselling, and by presiding over life cycle events. She is also particularly committed to working with the community’s young women to better their self- esteem and sense of Jewish belonging.

Rabbi Grimberg’s love of the ancient craft of storytelling creates an environment of teaching and prayer that never fails to engage and captivate students and worshippers alike. Her passion for all kinds of ancient and contemporary literature provides her with an endless well of stories with which she illuminates and clarifies Jewish lessons, traditions and ethics from our multifaceted heritage. Her first book, Out of Line: Growing Up Soviet, was published in 2007 by Tundra Press, and received numerous awards, including the Stein Memorial Award in Youth Literature and the Bronze Award for Book of the Year from ForeWord Magazine. This autobiographical work offers a unique window into the life of a young Jewish girl growing up with her family in Kiev in the 1960s and 1970s. Her short stories have also been published in various anthologies.

Rabbi Grimberg is a member of the Toronto Board of Rabbis, and the Canadian Council for Reform Judaism, and is an associate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

Rabbi Ryan Leszner - Assistant Rabbi, Director of Jewish Living and Learning

Rabbi Ryan Leszner is honoured and proud to serve as the Assistant Rabbi and Director of Jewish Living and Learning at Congregation Darchei Noam. Born in Thornhill, Ontario, Rabbi Leszner is thrilled to be returning home after years studying at the Rabbinical Student at Hebrew College, with Specializations in Pastoral Care and Spirituality & Social Justice Leadership.

Most recently, Rabbi Leszner served Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, MA, as their Student Rabbi, officiating dynamic Shabbat and holiday services, teaching weekly Torah study, and supporting youth programs from pre-school age to B’nei Mitzvah! His role extended to counselling congregants as part of the Pastoral Care Team, offering support to those navigating grief, illness, and theological distress. Rabbi Leszner’s rich background also includes serving as the Director of Youth Engagement at Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael, CA, where he created experiential educational experiences for students and fostered a strong focus on social justice and volunteer service.

Beyond the synagogue, Rabbi Leszner has brought his spiritual care expertise to diverse settings. As a Spiritual Care Provider at the Osborne Association in Harlem, NY, he offered pastoral support to clients impacted by incarceration through one-on-one sessions and spirituality groups. His commitment to pastoral care also led him to a Chaplain Internship at Beverly Hospital, where he provided presence, prayer, and support to patients and families in the hospital, with focus in the Oncology Treatment Unit and Behavioral Health Unit.

Rabbi Leszner’s journey as a spiritual leader is marked by a wide range of experiences in educational leadership. His experience began at URJ Camp George in Parry Sound, Ontario, as a camper, CIT, and then as staff in the role of Head Songleader. From serving as the Director of Jewish Life at URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech to being the Reform Minyan Songleader at Boston University Hillel and the High Holiday Service Leader at the University of Michigan Hillel, Ryan has continuously connected with diverse communities through music and education.

An advocate for lifelong learning, Rabbi Leszner pursued a Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults at Hebrew Union College in 2015. His educational journey also includes a Bachelor of Arts in Jewish Studies from York University in 2013.

Rabbi Leszner has a passion for teaching, learning, building bridges, and sharing the beauty of our Jewish tradition. He could not be more thrilled to be back home, serving a vibrant Jewish community that helped shape him into the person he is today. He joyfully shares his life with his partner, Dalia, and his son, Asher.

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