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Mission and History

 

The mission of Shaare Zion Beth-El Congregation is to ensure the perpetuation of egalitarian Jewish worship and prayer, Jewish Community, education and family life within the precepts of Conservative Judaism and in the traditional role of the synagogue. 
We offer prayers, twice daily, 365 days per year. 

Shaare Zion History

It was the 1920s when the late David Cummings organized a minyan in his home in NDG (a suburb of Montreal) and that minyan became the foundation of Shaare Zion.

Shaare Zion was always associated with the Conservative movement and its first Rabbi was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary. In the 1920’s, the fundamental distinction between Orthodox synagogues and Conservative congregations was that Conservative Rabbis were college educated and delivered their sermons in English. Such was not the norm, but rather the exception in Orthodox synagogues until after the War.

 Otherwise, most Conservative synagogues were indistinguishable from Orthodox congregations, including separate seating for men and women and no public participation in religious services.

In 1926, a charter was granted and that marked the official establishment of the synagogue. A Hebrew school was also established in that year. Shortly thereafter (1932), The Shaare Zion merged with the B'nai Israel Congregation.

Unfortunately, the building that housed the synagogue was destroyed by a fire and after having moved to another temporary location, land was finally purchased specifically for The Shaare Zion’s permanent home (Cote St. Luc Road).

The entire building was completed in 1947 at which time, the first Conservative day school in Canada was founded. It was called the Shaare Zion Academy and is now known as the Solomon Schechter Academy.

A resolution was instituted in 1976 which called for family (mixed) seating to commence on the High Holidays.

Shaare Zion was unique in Eastern Canada in the year 2000 when it first started counting women to the Minyan, allowing them to be called to the Torah for an Aliyah, to read from the Torah and chant Haftarot.

Other synagogues in Ottawa, Toronto and London, Ontario would follow, but some retain the male-centric traditions that hark back to the origins of those congregations in the first half of the 20th century.

The synagogue building was dedicated to the memory of synagogues destroyed in Europe by the Nazis. It was originally designed by architect Charles Davis Goodman and then renovated under the watchful eye of architect, Ted Yudelson.

In August of 2021, Shaare Zion officially merged with Beth-El, renamed Shaare Zion Beth-El Congregation. 

 

 

Thu, 21 October 2021 15 Cheshvan 5782