History of Adath Shalom OttawaThe idea for Ottawa’s first egalitarian Conservative synagogue was initiated by Rabbi Roy Tannenbaum. By September 1979, Adath Shalom was officially affiliated with the United Synagogue of America (now called the United Synagogues of Conservative Judaism), and it was welcomed as a member of the Ottawa Vaad Ha'Ir.
PrinciplesSome basic ideas for the Adath Shalom were formulated in early organizational meetings and in negotiations with Rabbi Roy (as he was called at the time). They included:
- more equal participation of woman in the service, such as being called up for an aliyah, reading Torah, conducting parts of the service, etc.
- other aspects of the running of the synagogue would be done on a volunteer basis.
Religious Practice and the LiturgyWith regard to the liturgy, the new synagogue was firmly rooted in main-stream Conservative practice, but was anxious to adopt a more progressive service. We were among the first congregations to use the Sim Shalom siddur.
Shabbat ServicesThe first Shabbat service of the new Congregation was held on July 22, 1978, at the Greenbank Public School. The first service at our current home in the Community Campus was in April 1993.
High Holiday Services and Special EventsDuring the early years Adath Shalom rented the party room at Riviera Gates Apartment Buildings for High Holy Day Services. Bar and Bat Mitzvah events were usually held in hotels or other rented locations Once Adath Shalom moved to the Jewish Community Campus, we were able to have High Holy Days as well as Bar and Bat Mitzvahs on site.
Rabbinical LeadershipIn Adath Shalom’s early days, the members did not have the skills necessary to lead High Holy Day services. At first, a chazzan was hired and then the Congregation relied on students of Jewish Theological Seminary. Being an egalitarian synagogue meant that we could benefit from the talents and perspectives of a women rabbis. Adath Shalom was the first synagogue in Ottawa to have a female rabbi to lead a service. Other rabbis were invited to lead the services from time to time all adding their special talents and perspectives to the fabric that now constitutes the Adath Shalom character. For a number of years, Adath Shalom has benefitted from having Rabbi Shimshon Hamerman as our High Holiday clergy. He provides spiritual leadership, sermons and other learning opportunities for our members. It is worth noting that Adath Shalom members have been leading the High Holiday services since 1990.
Sefrei TorahOur first Torah was lent to us by Beth Shalom Congregation. A brand new Sefer Torah was purchased in 1981. Beth Shalom recalled their Torah in but less than a year later, however, Agudath Israel Congregation was willing to lend us a scroll. That Torah was eventually returned when another Sefer Torah was purchased All scrolls get regular use at our Shabbat and holiday services.
The Adath Shalom Bulletin and Electronic CommunicationThe Bulletin, which is published quarterly, has always been the an important means of communication within our synagogue. Members participate in an electronic discussion group.
Fund RaisingWe are unique among modern synagogues in having no fundraising committee or any fundraising events, although in the early years, fundraising was a major preoccupation. It was decided to keep our expenses within a budget that could be supported with membership dues and unsolicited donations alone, and all active fundraising efforts ceased.
MilestonesAdath Shalom celebrated its Bat Mitzvah year on April 4, 1992 with a gala celebration at the Jewish Community Centre on Chapel Street. For the 20th anniversary, Sharon and Mark created a video of Adath Shalom through the years, and this was shown at a party. Adath Shalom celebrated its 25th anniversary with a Shabbaton led by our founder, Rabbi Roy Tannenbaum and his wife, Loretta. This took place the weekend of February 8, 2002, at our regular venue. The 40th anniversary of our Congregation was on XXX. We celebrated this milestone by XXX.
This page was last updated in June 2020.