Sign In Forgot Password

Beth Emeth - The Traditional Synagogue in the GTA

02/02/2023 09:08:24 AM


Recently, I was asked to define the nature of Beth Emeth and explain how our shul is distinguished from other synagogues on the religious landscape. Here are some of my thoughts:Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda is a unique traditional synagogue serving the GTA Jewish community.

Many congregations in our area are affiliated with or define themselves as Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative-Egalitarian, or Orthodox. What exactly does "Traditional" mean for Beth Emeth? Ideologically, "Traditional" is situated somewhere between Conservative-Egalitarian and Orthodox.

Ten points of interest about Beth Emeth - The Traditional Synagogue in the GTA

1.Our traditional synagogue adheres to the classical sources, texts, and methods for understanding, abiding by, and interpreting                    Halakha (Jewish Law). Any modifications of religious practice must conform to the normative processes used in Jewish legal                      interpretation.

2. Our traditional synagogue abides by the age-old criteria for counting men in the Minyan and distributing Aliyot to men during a Torah service.

3. Our traditional synagogue accepts some of the halakhic interpretations offered in classical Conservative Judaism which allows for mixed and family seating as well as the use of a PA system during services.

4.Our traditional synagogue adheres to a full liturgy and Torah reading, utilizing Siddurim (prayerbooks) published by classical Conservative Judaism and contemporary Orthodoxy.

5.Our traditional synagogue accepts diverse modes of Torah study and explanation. Thus, we provide the Hertz Chumash, the Etz Hayim Chumash, and the ArtScroll Chumash, whose choices of commentaries may be considered independent, from the Conservative Movement, and from contemporary Orthodoxy.

6.Our traditional synagogue encourages women's participation in many ways which conform to traditional halakhic interpetation. These include leading non-statutory prayers and readings in Hebrew and English, the chanting of the Haftarah, leading Kabbalat Shabbat, and more in congregational services. Women may lead statutory prayers and Torah readings for fellow women in a Simchat Torah women's setting and in the context of a women's Minyan. 

7.Our traditional synagogue, recognizing religious diversity in the Jewish world, permits private services which allow for Mechitza/separate seating as well as private services which allow for female participation in Torah reading and Torah honors.

8.Our traditional synagogue is welcoming, respectful, and non-judgemental. We embrace a diversity of religious practices and beliefs among our attendees and members.

9. Our traditional synagogue is a learning place for all. We offer classes regularly in Hebrew reading, contemporary responsa, rabbinic literature, the weekly Torah portion and more. Our approach to learning takes an age-old tradition and makes it relevant to our times. These and other topics are taught by our clergy, educated members, and guest speakers.

10. Our traditional synagogue fulfills the Torah's axiom, "With our young and with our old we go forward." we strive to find meaningful points of Jewish entry and involvement for all ages within our congregational family.

Rabbi Howard Morrison

Sat, 22 June 2024 16 Sivan 5784