This congregation is invaluable to me and to so many others—it is a place of non-conformity, and of each person finding and sharing their full wingspan.
Chazzan Daniela Gesundheit
Congregation Shir Libeynu is Toronto’s longest-running, intentionally LGBTQ+-inclusive synagogue, established 25 years ago. Seventy people came to our first High Holy Day services. Since then, we have grown to a congregation of about 300 people who pray, sing, learn, celebrate and mourn together.
Our diverse community welcomes everyone, including traditional, non-traditional, and interfaith individuals, couples and families. Children are always welcome at our services and we offer special children’s programming during the High Holy Days and other services, where possible. We are continually striving to offer more opportunities for families and children.
Our mission is to celebrate and experience joyfully all aspects of Jewish life and spirituality within an environment of inclusivity, innovation and intellectual challenge. We embrace new rituals and liturgy, while recognizing and affirming the many paths our tradition offers.
We are a progressive, egalitarian congregation, unaffiliated with any particular stream of Judaism. Our members come from a variety of backgrounds—Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, Orthodox and secular—with varying degrees of Jewish education and experience.
“Shir Libeynu” is Hebrew for “song of our hearts,” and our services include prayers and music, both ancient and modern. All our service materials are provided in Hebrew and English. We seek to use liturgical texts that reflect our values of diversity and inclusivity. Whenever we can, we opt for egalitarian, gender-inclusive language that allows each member of our community to find their own connection to the prayers.
Read our co-founder, Rabbi Emerita Aviva Goldberg’s thoughts about what makes Congregation Shir Libeynu unique.
Our members participate in our services through group aliyot (to be called up to the Torah for a blessing) and in many other ways, including singing, playing music, reading (from the Torah or in English), storytelling, giving sermons, sounding shofar, and providing workshops and presentations. We are always open to new ways of involving members.
Please let us know if you require accommodation to participate fully: email@example.com, or 416-465-5488.
Our Services and Events
We hold monthly Shabbat services, usually on the first Saturday of the month, High Holy Day services, and holiday services, for example, for Chanukah and Purim. In 2007, we were the first congregation in Toronto to hold a special Pride service, which we continue to celebrate every year in June.
As part of our services, we have honoured Holocaust survivors and their families, our elders, writers and artists. Many members celebrate important milestones at our services, including B’Mitzvahs, baby namings, aufrufs (a blessing for a couple before their wedding), anniversaries and memorial tributes. We always enjoy a kiddush (a small meal to sanctify Shabbat after services), often sponsored by members to mark important milestones or honour people in their lives.
In addition to our services, we offer many other opportunities throughout the year to learn, connect and celebrate. These offerings have included a Speaker Series, film club, book club, meditation, healing circles, dance, storytelling and singalongs.
We partner with the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, the Danforth Jewish Circle, and other downtown Jewish organizations to sponsor or participate in many other cultural, social and learning events.
We hold all our services and events in midtown or downtown Toronto, such as at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre. We do not have our own building but wherever we meet, we make it a holy place!
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been offering all of our programming virtually via Zoom.