Our community started its life at a Rosh Hashana service in 1996 at OISE (U of T), attended by 70 people who migrated down from other shuls, or were just curious about this nascent, progressive group they had heard about from others. Then, we moved to Cecil Community Centre, at the site of the original Anshei Ostrovtzer Synagogue (a downtown shul in the 1920s, to which some of our older members attended as children!). Having outgrown that facility, we now daven at the congregational building of First Unitarian Congregation, a light-filled and lovely facility in midtown.
You will note how welcoming is this community to our own: during the holidays, the building hums with the activity of our congregants who enter doors marked by our own mezuzot and face a bimah with our own aron hakodesh (ark) that houses our Torah, and Torah table, backed by the gleaming brass circle of life sculpture on the wall. Members’ artwork and Judaica adorn the walls at the back of the sanctuary.
Our children participate in special programming in a nearby room or make challah in the downstairs kitchen, and there is always a kiddish after services in the social hall.
Our participatory Yontiv services are always led by Rabbi Goldberg and Chazzan Gesundheit, with plenty of lay involvement by our Torah readers, choir members, professional and amateur musicians, shofar blowers and poetry readers, There are group aliyot and sermons by members of the congregation in addition to Rabbi Goldberg. Our services have been described as joyous, uplifting, meaningful, funny and poignant.