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About Our Welcoming Downtown Toronto Synagogue

General Information

We are delighted that you are interested in the First Narayever Congregation. Our congregation welcomes visitors, and we want to make the experience of those who come to our services as comfortable and rewarding as possible. Here are some things that might be helpful to know about us.

Liturgy

Our shul follows the traditional Hebrew liturgy, with changes made for the purposes of gender egalitarianism.

Services

Services are held every Friday night (6 pm), on Shabbat morning (9am), and Sunday morning (9 am), as well as on Rosh Hodesh and festivals. We take great pride in our strong congregational participation in services – congregational members routinely assume the role of prayer leader for our services, and all are invited and encouraged to take an active role in our service. Children are welcome at our services. Our informal atmosphere means that kids sometimes come in and out of the sanctuary during the service — we enjoy and appreciate their presence. We serve kiddush lunch after services every Shabbat and most holidays. Both members of the shul and visitors are welcome to join us for lunch downstairs.

Non-Jewish guests are always welcome at our services.

For first timers

We make an effort to try and welcome new people. If you’re a visitor and we happen perchance to miss you, please introduce yourself to the usher, to the president, or to the rabbi — we’d love to meet you.

SHUL PRACTICES

Head Covering

Our egalitarianism is expressed not only in the rights that are extended to women and girls in our community, but also in the obligations that we ask them to fulfill while in our building. Therefore, like the men and boys, women and girls are asked to keep their heads covered while in our building. Head coverings are available for those who may need them.

Cell Phones and Cameras

We uphold Jewish tradition by making sure that all cell phones, cameras, and other electronic devices are turned off on our premises both inside and outside on Shabbat and holidays.

AFFILIATION

Our shul does not belong to any of the streams of Judaism. We are independent, and our membership is drawn from diverse backgrounds. Some grew up Orthodox, some Conservative, some Reform, some unaffiliated with the Jewish community at all, and we also have many converts in our midst.

One of the things that makes our shul special is our serious commitment both to preserving the Jewish traditions of the past and to honouring the egalitarianism which is characteristic of our own time. Some ways in which our traditionalism is expressed include our use of an Orthodox siddur, our recitations of the prayers and the full Torah reading in their original Hebrew, our kosher kitchen, and our observance of the laws of Shabbat in our building. Some ways in which our egalitarianism is expressed include men and women sitting together, women leading prayers and reading from the Torah, women counting as part of a minyan, the inclusion of the matriarchs in our prayers in addition to the patriarchs, and our affirmation and celebration of same-sex weddings.

Wed, December 2 2020 16 Kislev 5781