Our Mission & Vision

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Dedicated

We draw on Judaism’s wisdom to nourish a spiritual, educational, and cultural community. We also reach beyond our walls, taking pride in building bridges, promoting dialogue, and creating a world of justice and peace – the work we call Tikkun Olam

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Dynamic

We believe that Judaism evolves from generation to generation. Inspired by our traditions, we embrace change; we question, and seek meaningful answers. In this way, our community is both timeless and timely.

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Diverse

We know that we are better together, and we see our diversity as a blessing. We value accessibility, inclusion and integrity. We continue to grow a community which embraces Jews by birth, Jews by choice, and all those who support them.

But don’t just take our word for it…

The best way to find out about our wonderful Temple family is to experience it for yourself. Everyone is always welcome at Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom. Come to any of our Shabbat services, festive holiday celebrations, or exciting programs and activities. You will be warmly welcomed by our friendly Rabbi and members of our congregation. Please be sure to say hello. You can also email us with questions or to arrange a conversation.

Inclusion at Temple

Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom is more than a synagogue – it’s a community!

We are a warm and welcoming congregation of members of all ages, abilities, sexual orientations, family configurations and backgrounds. We are committed to creating a place of worship where Jews by birth, Jews by choice, Jews at heart, and those who love them truly feel at home.

Here at Temple, our efforts are guided by our commitment to promote inclusion, engage the community and eliminate barriers. We have a committee made up of leadership, professionals, parents and other congregants who are dedicated to working together on our collective Inclusion journey. Thanks to the hard work of the Special Needs Working Group, we’ve received a grant from the Miriam Foundation to support our All Abilities Inclusion Project. To learn more about our Inclusion Journey click here.

Our History

More than one hundred years ago they met, barely 36 in number, to put their names to this declaration:

“We, the undersigned Israelites of this city, recognizing the necessity of preserving Judaism in all its pristine glory, and making it clear and comprehensible to the raising generation, are in favour of organizing a progressive congregation and to discuss the best means to reach this desirable object, at a meeting called for this purpose.”

They were the founders; and the Congregation to which they gave the name of Temple Emanu-El held its first service during High Holy Days of 1882.

On Aug. 24, 1882

Congregation Temple Emanu-El is founded. Rabbi Samuel Marks was our first rabbi from 1882 to 1889
On Aug. 24, 1882

1892

Congregation Temple Emanu-El is founded. Rabbi Samuel Marks was our first rabbi from 1882 to 1889
1892

1911

A new building was built, on the same location that we occupy today, to house the growing congregation. Its Byzantine style became a familiar landmark in Westmount.

1911

1927

Rabbi Harry Joshua Stern comes to Temple, Temple Youth group founded and Junior congregation services and Sabbath morning services instituted.

1927

1957

A terrible fire destroyed the building. Although the Torah scrolls, some ceremonial objects and the congregational library were saved, the Sanctuary was completely gutted.

1957

1960

The new building was completed as we know it today.

1960

1980

Beth Sholom, a sister congregation formed in 1953, merged with Emanu-El becoming Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom.

1980

1989

Rabbi Leigh Lerner begins his tenure as Senior Rabbi.

1989

1992

Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom receives donation from former Rodeph Shalom Congregation and names chapel in honour thereof.

1992

1996

By-laws amended to include same-sex couples under Family Membership and Le Dialogue Judeo-Chrétienne is formed.

1996

2012

Rabbi Lisa Grushcow becomes Temple’s first female Senior Rabbi, and Rabbi Lerner becomes Rabbi Emeritus.

2012

2015

First Pride Shabbat, co-sponsored with Ga’ava.

2015