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Wedding Season at the Shaar

by Molly Lohner

It’s wedding season! As we get ready to celebrate the rush of weddings this summer, let’s look back at some Shaar wedding celebrations from the past century.




The congregation dedicated its current sanctuary in 1922 after leaving its second building on McGill College Avenue. The above image shows the sanctuary decorated for a wedding in the 1920s, making it one of the first weddings held in this building. 


In 1953, in an effort to increase recently married young women’s involvement in the congregation, the president of the Women’s Auxiliary instituted annual bridal teas. All the brides married that year would gather to meet the women of the Auxiliary and the inner family of the synagogue. This image shows a bridal tea hosted by Saidye Bronfman in 1954. The initiative was successful, resulting in many young women joining the Auxiliary.





This invitation and souvenir program are from the golden wedding anniversary of involved members of the congregation Harris Kellert and Esther Matts. Married in 1867, they held their 50th anniversary at the Montefiore Club in 1917. The event was chaired by Michael Hirsch, who was a prominent philanthropist, lifelong Shaar member, and one of the founders of the Montefiore Club. It also included toasts by Rabbi Dr. Herman Abramowitz, Lyon Cohen, and family members and friends of the couple.




These three benchers celebrate Shaar couples in different ways. The one on the far left is from the wedding of Connie and Charles Solomon. The one on the far right is from the golden anniversary of Lillie and Moe Heillig, also lifelong active members of the congregation. The one in the middle is from the wedding of Miriam Sochet and Rabbi Wilfred Shuchat, the Shaar’s rabbi from 1946 to 1993. You’ll notice that Rabbi Shuchat’s first name was misprinted on his own wedding bencher! As pictured beside these, the couple signed the inside of the bencher with their real names, Will and Miriam.

Monday, June 17, 2024 11 Sivan 5784