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On the first night of Sukkot, a dinner is held in the Congregation’s large sukkah, constructed within the Deitcher Courtyard and decorated by the children of the Congregation. Throughout the week of the holiday, the sukkah is the site of numerous events, including Sisterhood luncheon and the Bar Mitzvah Sukkot dinner. Services on the first two days of the holiday include the Hoshanot processions around the Sanctuary, boasting more than 80 participants, each holding their own Lulav and Etrog. The event is made even more impressive by the fact that the line of worshippers extends around the entire perimeter of the huge Sanctuary.



Complete your celebration of Sukkot with a set of the four species. $80 per set. Limited

supply available. 100% certified kosher.

Deadline to order: September 26;

Pick-up: Friday, September 29 between 9 –11 AM



Simchat Torah

On the afternoon preceding Simchat Torah, there is a special children’s Simchat Torah celebration, with an emphasis on every child feeling connected to the Torah. In this spirit, a Torah scroll is completely unrolled, allowing children to get a close look and find letters and words that they recognize. There is food, dancing, and games. This program leads directly into the evening hakafot in the Sanctuary, where all are invited to dance and celebrate with the Torah scrolls. On Simchat Torah morning, there are multiple Torah reading stations to allow the maximum number of people to receive aliyot. There is a separate women’s Torah reading in the Chapel. Children receive a group aliya, which is accompanied by the singing of a special children’s song (Hamal’ach Hago’el). The Congregational honourees (Chatan Torah, Chatan B’reishit, Eishet Chayil) are elaborately feted by Cantor and Choir, with fanfares and processional music. There is a festive dinner and a celebratory lunch in tribute to the honourees.


Chanukah is a joyous time at the Shaar and around the Westmount community. Celebrations include a community-wide lighting of the Chanukah candles at Westmount City Hall, an exciting Chanukah party that attracts hundreds of children and their parents, and various service opportunities, including a visit by Shaar teens to a local seniors’ residence.

Join Rabbi Adam Scheier out and about in his “neighbourhood” wishing people a Happy Chanukah!

Tu Bishvat


Tu BiShevat is the 15th of Shevat on the Jewish calendar. This is the day that marks the “birthday” for trees and the season in which the earliest-blooming trees of Israel begin a new fruit-bearing cycle. We acknowledge this festival by eating these fruits: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates.


Purim is a time for the Shaar to let its hair down. It is a day of high energy, costumes, food, and fun for all. The reading of the Megillah features sound effects and musical moments. Families with young children look forward to the Shaar’s blockbuster Purim party every year, in which hundreds of kids play party games, win prizes, and show off their costumes.


The Shaar is there to help congregants prepare for the holiday by facilitating the sale of chametz.
On the sixth night of Passover, a recent tradition is Samuel Alman’s elaborate performance of the Counting of the Omer Service.
The Yizkor (Memorial) Service, also recited on Shavuot, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot, features responsive readings and prayers for individual and communal loss, with unique musical settings. Instead of individual names being read, the names of all members who have passed away are inscribed in a special memorial book.

Online Sale of Chametz form

Download the Preparations for Passover booklet


The theme of Shavuot Torah Study. The first night of Shavuot involves a festive congregational dinner with a panel discussion followed by an all-night learning session taught by Shaar members and clergy. In addition to the adult study sessions, Shaar teens come together for all-night discussions, classes, and ice-cream treats! On the afternoon of the first day of Shavuot, our pre-Bar and Bat Mitzvah Shaar youth enjoy their own parent-child study program. There is something for everyone on Shavuot at the Shaar!

Shabbat Shirah


Shabbat Shirah, the Sabbath of Song, on which we read Moses’ Song at the Red Sea, is a highlight of the synagogue’s musical calendar. Since the 1950s, this Shabbat Service has showcased the Cantor and Synagogue choir in an especially elaborate service, often premiering new additions to the liturgical repertoire. The kiddush following services is traditionally the time when the choir is formally honoured for their musical contribution to the Congregation.

Sunday, July 14, 2024 8 Tammuz 5784