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Clergy and Management

Our dynamic professional team ensuring our legacy for the future

 

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Adam Scheier – Rabbi

514.937.9474 ext.143 / ras@theshaar.org

 

Rabbi Adam Scheier is Senior Rabbi of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim. He is Past President of the Montreal Board of Rabbis, Vice-President of the Rabbinical Council of Canada, and Senior Rabbinic Fellow of Jerusalem’s Hartman Institute. In 2015, Rabbi Scheier co-edited and published the Canadian Haggadah Canadienne, which received positive acclaim in Canada and worldwide. He is a founding member of the Board of Trustees of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, a leading Modern Orthodox organization consisting of over 200 rabbis, communal scholars, and clergy. He also serves on the Rabbinic Advisory Board of Yeshivat Maharat, the first institution to train Orthodox women as spiritual leaders. Rabbi Scheier is proud to be the rabbi of the first synagogue to hire a graduate of Yeshivat Maharat. He has been active in international Jewish concerns, and testified before a Canadian Parliamentary committee on the topic of human rights in Venezuela. Prior to his post in Montreal, Rabbi Scheier participated in the founding and development of the first Yeshiva in post-World War II Germany, and has continued to work extensively with the immigrant Jewish community in Germany. He is married to Rabba Abby Scheier, and they have been blessed with five daughters, Aviya, Ayelet, Annael, Allegra, and Arella.

 

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Maharat Rachel Kohl Finegold - Director of Education and Spiritual Enrichment

514.937.9474 ext. 174 / rkf@theshaar.org

 

Maharat Rachel Kohl Finegold is the first female member of the Clergy at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim. Maharat Rachel (pronounced “Rakhel”) focuses on engaging young families, supporting youth educational programming, and working with the congregation’s schools, in addition to a wide array of pastoral and religious duties.Maharat Rachel is one of the inaugural graduates of Yeshivat Maharat, the first institution to train Orthodox women as spiritual leaders. She received her B.A. in Religion from Boston University, and she completed the Scholars’ Circle program at the Drisha Institute in New York. Maharat Rachel is a founding member of the Orthodox Leadership Project, is a member of the editorial board of the JOFA Journal, and was named one of Chicago JUF’s “36 Under 36.” She served for six years as the Education & Ritual Director of Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in Chicago. Originally from New York, Maharat Rachel lives in Montreal with her husband, Rabbi Avi Finegold, a native Montrealer, and their three daughters, Kinneret, Nedivah and Hadar.

 

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Gideon Zelermyer – Cantor

514.937.9474 ext. 101 / gyz@theshaar.org

 

Cantor Gideon Yechiel Zelermyer is a graduate of the Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute, where he studied with Naftali Herstik, Chief Hazzan of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue. He completed his undergraduate degree at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. In 2004, Cantor Zelermyer became Cantor at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Montreal. Gideon has a passion for illuminating the liturgy through a blend of traditional prayer modes and a modern harmonic palate, creating a distinctive style of service that makes choral services at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim a spiritually engaging and uplifting experience. Cantor Zelermyer has performed around the world as a featured soloist. He and the Synagogue Choir have toured North America and the United Kingdom and their series of recordings, “The Music of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim” has received widespread critical acclaim. Cantor Zelermyer is married to Michelle, and their sons, Max and Ben, are 5th generation Shaar members.

 

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Yosi Even-Hen – Ritual Director

514.937.9474 ext. 119 / yevenhen@theshaar.org

 

As the Ritual Director of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, Yosi Even-Hen joins the Shaar Family with 25 years of experience in this field. Since the early ‘90s, Yosi has served in the capacity of both Chazzan Sheini and more recently as the Chazzan at Shaare Zedek Congregation in Montreal. He comes from a lineage of Chazzanim and teachers, and merges many attributes from these two fields into his Clergical role. He has studied with numerous Chazzanim, including his father, Rev. Benjamin Even-Hen and Cantor Aryeh Subbar. He has helped nearly 500 Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrants, and the number continues to grow, with many of whom he still keeps in touch. He is a graduate of McGill University, where he received his Bachelors of Commerce degree. Yosi enjoys a variety of hobbies, including a passion for golf, fine scotches and interesting automobiles. He joins the Shaar Family along with his charming wife Brigitte, and his two sons Raphael and Nathaniel.

 

 

 

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Roï Azoulay – Music Director

514.937.9474 ext. 122 / razoulay@theshaar.org

 

Roï Azoulay was born and raised in Dimona, Israel, the son of Moroccan parents who went on aliyah. Roï was selected at age 15 to study at the Israel Arts and Science Academy in Jerusalem, and graduated with honours from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance where he excelled in opera and choral conducting, and was the recipient of several awards, including the 2010 award for excellence in orchestral conducting from the America-Israel Culture Foundation. Roï has guest-conducted with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, the Kammer-Philharmonie Zurich, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Israeli Sinfonietta Beer-Sheva, the Kammer-Philharmonie Graz, the Ra’anana Symphonette, the Israeli Stage Orchestra, Meitar Ensemble and others.As a choral conductor, Roï has worked with the Jerusalem Great Synagogue Choir, the Moran Singers and was Music Director of the Kol-Rina Choir and the Great Synagogue Choir in Strasbourg, France. Roï became Music Director at Shaar Hashomayim in August 2014.
 

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Penni Kolb – Executive Director

514.937.9474 ext. 133 / pkolb@theshaar.org

 

Penni Kolb assumed the position of Executive Director in 2003, on the exact day of the start of the Shaar’s $15 million renovation project. Penni’s expertise in communal administration, volunteer management, event planning, and communications, and fundraising developed over years of professional service in the Montreal Jewish community. Her knowledge of construction and building management developed over her first few years at the Shaar.Penni graduated with both Bachelors and Masters of Social work from McGill University and a B.A. in Jewish Studies and Political Science from Concordia University. She also studied at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Prior to joining the Shaar, Penni was Director of Federation CJA’s ProMontreal, charged with creating business, employment, social and community involvement opportunities to encourage young people to build their futures in Montreal. Many of these programs continue today and have been adopted in cities throughout North America and Israel. Penni was a founder and Senior Editor of ProMontreal’s critically acclaimed monthly newspaper In Montreal. In 2002, she was awarded FEDERATION CJA’s Award for Professional Excellence. Penni is the former Chair of the Montreal Association of Temple and Synagogue Administrators.

 

 

Emeritus Clergy

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Dr. Wilfred Shuchat – Rabbi Emeritus

514.937.9474 ext. 138

 

Rabbi Wilfred Shuchat is one of the most prominent rabbinical figures in the history of Montreal Jewry, his guidance spanning over 70 years. A native Montrealer, Rabbi Shuchat played a leading role with many local Jewish organizations. Rabbi Shuchat was appointed Rabbi in 1947. He served as the spiritual leader of the Congregation until his retirement in 1993 and has since continued to be active in synagogue life as Rabbi Emeritus.One of his personal career highlights was conceiving and consulting on the Pavilion of Judaism at Montreal’s World’s Fair, Expo ’67. World-class in both design and content, this marked the only time in history that such a pavilion was featured at a World’s Fair. Rabbi Shuchat’s publications include The Gate of Heaven (2000); a history of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, “The Creation: According to the Midrash Rabbah” (2002); “The Garden of Eden and the Struggle to Be Human: According to the Midrash Rabbah” (2006); “Noah, the Flood and the Failure of Man According to the Midrash Rabbah”(2013).

 

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Sidney S. Dworkin – Cantor Emeritus

cantorsidsd@gmail.com

 

Cantor Sidney S. Dworkin has been affiliated with Shaar Hashomayim since 1987 when he was appointed Cantor. Born and raised in Montreal, he received his Bachelor of Music and MSW degrees from McGill University and his cantorial grounding from the late Cantor Joshua H. Rosenzweig of the B’nai Jacob-Congregation. Possessing a pure lyric tenor voice, Cantor Dworkin is still active at Shaar Hashomayim leading services and life cycle events at the request of the Congregation and its members. The popular concert series “Cantor Sidney Dworkin and Friends” was a highlight of the Montreal Jewish musical calendar during his tenure.Cantor Dworkin has released four CD cantorial recordings as well as a DVD featuring highlights of his career performances. Cantor Dworkin is a Past President of the Council of Hazzanim of Greater Montreal and a recipient of the Master Cantor Certificate, awarded by the Gila and Chaim Weiner Foundation for the Advancement of Cantorial Arts. He has appeared in numerous concerts throughout Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. Cantor Dworkin is Executive Director of Maison Shalom, an organization that provides care, support, and housing for developmentally-disabled adults. Cantor Dworkin was the host and producer of the popular weekly radio show “Cantors Corner” devoted to cantorial music, broadcast on Radio Shalom in Montreal (1650 AM, https://cantorscorner.wordpress.com/).

 

 

wwa_davidRabbi David Woolfson – Ritual Director Emeritus

514.937.9474 ext. 123 / dwoolfson@theshaar.org

 

Rabbi David Woolfson grew up in Ottawa, Ontario. After completing a degree in Business Administration from the University of Ottawa and extensive Judaic studies and studying Talmud, he moved to Montreal where he assumed the position of Vice-President of a major industrial firm. During this period, he pursued advanced Hebrew studies including Torah and Talmud on a private basis. As Ritual Director, Rabbi Woolfson was responsible for reading the Torah and Megillot, supervising the daily minyan services; leading Shacharit and Mincha services on Shabbat, Festivals, and High Holy Days; sounding the shofar; working with the Parnass in allocating aliyot; administrating Yahrzeit information; supervising kashrut; and teaching Hebrew, as well as shofar, nusach, and cantillation and Bar and Bat Mitzvah lessons. More recently, Rabbi Woolfson has studied at two yeshivot and received S’micha specializing in pastoral care, Aveilut (Laws of Mourning) and the laws of kashrut. He retired in June 2017. He is married to Norma Shears and has two stepchildren, Bryan and Stephanie.

Tue, 19 September 2017 28 Elul 5777