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Learn about Membership

Annex Shul is making a presence in your neighbourhood! There is no doubt about it – we are growing and we need your help to sustain and nurture that growth. Help us do this by becoming a member!

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Community

We are often asked, why join the Annex Shul community?
What brought us together?

The answer is different to different people, but common themes resonate among many of us. Despite us coming from vastly different backgrounds, we hear the same words over and over again.

Inclusive. Non-judgmental. Multi-denominational. Family. Comfort.

We are not the stereotypical place of worship.
We are a community.
We don’t fit into a box, and neither do you.
We welcome everyone.

You can be religious, non-religious, anti-religious, or irreligious. We don’t care if your background is a cavernous shul, a small intimate shul, no shul, or another religion.

We welcome all levels of Jewish experience, knowledge and levels of Hebrew literacy. We don’t label ourselves and don’t expect you to label yourself. We only care that you’re comfortable while you’re with us. White, black, a different colour, straight, gay, feminist, or whatever other label you choose, or other people choose to put on you, it doesn’t matter here. You’ve chosen to be a part of our community, and we welcome you. We like to think of ourselves as a trans-denominational shul, whose members are multi-denominational. Or, in other words, just “Jewish”.

Spirited davening (prayers) is important to us. Our davening is upbeat and filled with singing and ruach (energy). We incorporate tunes from many Jewish singers and composers, with the majority of them coming from the musical legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. We often pause to reflect on the meaning of our prayer.

The synagogue element of our community is not the only thing that makes up our Shul. We focus heavily on social events, and social action. Our events rely on member participation – it’s up to you to impact change, and work for change. Come to as many or as few events as you like – no pressure. Anyone who participates is a member of our community.

Don’t take our word for it – below, some members of our community have written stories about what the annex shul means to them.

What does it mean to you?
Why do you come?
And then why do you come back?

What we are now is fluid and flexible – we are changing all the time. We might be something else in five years from now. We hope we will be, as there are always new opportunities to use to grow. We hope you will grow and change with us.

To find out how you can support the shul, email info@annexshul.com

Annex Shul Testimonials

With the incredible challenges facing the Jewish people today, the divisiveness which results from having to choose a “stream” of Judaism is the last thing the community needs. The Annex Shul, which I have attended for a year now, taught me the meaning of Jewish pluralism and nurtured key elements of my complex Jewish identity – a strong grounding in joyous and traditional prayer, progressiveness on human rights and the role of women, and emphasizing the importance of active debate. I have become a proud regular at the Annex – I leave uplifted, rejuvenated, and happy every time I go, and am proud of the friendships which have resulted from my involvement.

– Andrew

My wife and I have been attending the Annex Shul the past six years. We have seen many changes and growth within this community and are proud to be involved in this shul. We have experienced many simchas at the Annex; aufrufs, baby namings, weddings, and have created long lasting friendships in the process. The Annex shul community was a big part in my decision to be part of the Jewish faith, in forms of daily practice but also a spiritual level. The base for my Jewish connection, knowledge and commitment started at Annex Shul. When I first started attending I did not know what to expect, and the community has always welcomed me. I was and am able to give back to the community, through various volunteering, fundraising and social events. Now with new leadership there is a transition at the Annex. We were sad to see (our former spiritual leader) Yacov leave, however, Jan and I have a good friend in Yacov and his family through this community. It’s exciting to think where the Annex will be next year, and in five years, the exciting events and involvement we can be a part of, and the familiar and new faces that will be a part of this great community.

-Francis

Annex Shul, in addition to being my primary prayer community, is a community hub that I rely on for Jewish life downtown. The connections I’ve made as part of the Annex Shul community were some of the first that made me feel at home when I moved back to Toronto three years ago, and continues to be be a source of new friends and shared community. Annex Shul has provided me with the opportunity to take a leading role in shaping my own Jewish life, from learning how to lead prayer prayer services, to organizing educational events and leading classes. Annex Shul’s embrace of diverse ways for Jewish expression, both socially and religiously, make it a unique and essential institution in Jewish Toronto.

– Aaron

We both moved to Toronto from Montreal for a fresh start in a semi-familiar city. Looking for ways to connect with new people, each of us found Annex Shul and quickly became part of its group of regulars at Shabbat dinners and other events. One fateful summer night, we were seated at the same Shabbat table, and the rest is history. As we’ve started our life together, Annex Shul and the wonderful community we found here have been there through all our major life events. We will always be grateful for the special people and experiences that Annex Shul has brought into our lives.

– Sue and Brian

I found the Shul through a path of self-discovery following a very challenging period. I was looking for a place to call home. A place where I could be part of a community religiously and help with social welfare projects that are near and dear to my heart. I have been told that the Shul was created originally as a pathway through the larger Jewish Community. A pathway that followed life events with many on and off ramps. Since I have become involved, we have seen engagements, births, weddings and unfortunately deaths of loved ones. We have seen us join together for simchas and sadder occasions. But through it all, it is the sense of family that is the key to the community.  It is this sense of community and family that led me to want to sponsor a Shabbat Dinner this past spring in honour of the end of the Shloshim after the death of my father. You see shul life was central to my father’s life and I could think of no better way to honour the end of the Shloshim period than to do so at my shul with my community. Annex afforded me an opportunity to honour his memory and I honour his memory by trying to build our Community.

-Stephen

The Annex Shul has been a focal point of my Jewish cultural, spiritual and social life in Toronto since I moved here three years ago. In fact, I vividly recall having spent my very first Shabbat in the city attending the Shul’s annual outdoor potluck and Shabbat services in Christie Pitts Park. Since then, the Shul has become a kind of Jewish ‘home away from home’ for my fiancée, Lisa, and I. Through attending Annex Shul programs, we have made enduring friendships and have strengthened our connection to our faith and our community.  Most recently, we participated in the Shul’s excellent ‘Jewish Couplehood’ course, which provided us with valuable and timely insights as we prepare for our upcoming marriage. We look forward to participating in the many stimulating programs that the Shul has in store in the years ahead.

-Jon