Toronto Synagogues Celebrate Rosh Hashanah

Synagogues are all abuzz with preparations for the High Holy Days. As Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur quickly approach, many in the Jewish community gather to attend services and participate in events. The New Year is one of togetherness and many synagogues in Toronto have a wonderful array of programming to engage young Jews and young families, as well as long-serving congregants. Niv reached out to many synagogues in the city and compiled responses from those who responded. Take a look at the plentiful offerings for the Jewish New Year. 


Holy Blossom Temple  

My favourite part of this sacred season is the opportunity it grants us for introspection and renewal. It serves as a spiritual checkpoint in our lives, urging us to pause, reflect, and take stock of our existence both on a deeply personal level and as a community. It’s a time when we engage in a soulful examination, assessing our actions, values, and intentions over the past year. We acknowledge where we may have “missed the mark” or fallen short of our ideals.

This process of self-reflection and teshuva is not just about dwelling on our mistakes; it’s a chance to embrace the journey of self-improvement and growth. Rosh Hashanah inspires us to strive towards becoming our best selves, to seek forgiveness, and to make amends where needed. It’s a reminder that we are all works in progress, capable of positive change and transformation.

For those kehilah curious folks who would like a taste of our community, I am happy to highlight our B.Y.O.C. (Bring Your Own Crumbs) Taschlich. It is a wonderful way to meet our rabbis and cantors in a more intimate setting. Please join us at the Don River, Glendon Campus of York University Entrance, Saturday, September 16, 4:30 p.m. to symbolically cast off our sins and regrets of the year past and prepare ourselves for the good year ahead. Come hear the shofar, explore the easy trails, and enjoy the outdoors together. All are welcome. You bring your crumbs, we’ll bring something sweet to share! If you are interested in joining us for Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur services or some of our many study sessions, please reach out at and I will be happy to get you connected.

Engaging younger generations is a priority at Holy Blossom. This year, I joined the team as their first Director of Outreach and Next Gen Engagement; my rabbinate is focused on actively listening to young professionals and young families, ensuring they feel seen, heard and supported. This is a year-round endeavour but at this sacred season we offer a Yom Kippur morning prayer experience tailored for those in their 20s and 30s. For those with children, we have a range of offerings for different ages and stages. To learn more about our flexible membership models for young adults and young families, please reach out at

From our littlest blossoms to our wisdom generation, there are opportunities to connect with our tradition in meaningful ways. We’re committed to creating a vibrant, inclusive community that resonates with the aspirations of our younger members, ensuring our traditions continue to thrive. 

-Rabbi Taylor Baruchel 


First Narayever Congregation

Rosh Hashanah is the time of year when Jews come out in the greatest numbers of the year to participate in synagogue life. It lifts my heart to know that these days remain important and precious enough that Jews who follow  different levels of observance,hold varied beliefs about God and  prayer, and about Israel, choose to come out on these days.

Narayever is very excited to once again be offering High Holiday services at both the Miles Nadal JCC (MNJCC) and in our newly renovated shul on Brunswick Avenue. We are also offering family services in the MNJCC theatre and a new initiative—a special outdoor family service on  Robert St. Field on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. At the MNJCC we are introducing a new machzor (Lev Shalem), a new seating arrangement, and stimulating adult education that we hope will appeal to attendees of all ages.

-Rabbi Ed Elkin


The Annex Shul 

I love the invitation to begin again. In our daily liturgy we acknowledge the world is created anew in each moment, and on Rosh Hashanah we might be able to feel that more fully. We have the opportunity to move in a different, more aligned direction. Returning to alignment is the practice of teshuva, which the High Holy Day season is all about. 

Annex Shul is doing all of our services outside in Bickford Park again this year. The beauty of the day and gathering together shimmers more, for me at least, when we can see each other’s faces in the sunlight, feel the breeze and weave our yearnings and prayers in with the grasses and trees, insects and birds, in the life-filled park. 

Our community is run and shaped by Jews who are under 40, so we are building a community that works for us. We are making ongoing decisions about what is meaningful in our tradition today and I think that the decisions we come to point us in compelling and grounded directions.

-Rabbi Aaron (he/him), Spiritual Leader


City Shul 

City Shul is dedicated to making the sacred High Holiday Day moments more accessible and engaging for our younger generation, enabling them to make a meaningful connection to our community and traditions, and fostering a deeper connection to Jewish heritage.

We offer separate programs for teens and middle school-aged individuals during all of our High Holy Day services. This year we will offer these younger members of our community active involvement through Torah study and Israeli poetry, connecting them to the themes of beginnings and conflict resolution, all through hevruta and Pardes text practices.

For several years now postmitzvah kids have had aliyahs on Rosh Hashanah,so the whole community can celebrate their achievement; teens have been invited to volunteer in various capacities; and university students have been offered aliyahs to welcome them back home.

While we are together, over the holidays, we will be announcing our plans to foster a teen group in the year ahead—a program of fun, friendships, celebrations and learning, with opportunities for leadership development and tikkun olam.

This Yom Tov, City Shul teens take charge of our annual Yom Kippur food drive. They have designed a poster to publicize the drive, are distributing food donation bags to neighbours, family and friends; and have signed up to receive food donations and thank donors. Their contributions count towards volunteer hours required by high schools.

Young people who join City Shul for the High Holy Days will have a great opportunity to become a part of a community of our younger congregants and to join us in conjuring and making plans for youth group activities in the year ahead. 

Danforth Jewish Circle

Rosh Hashanah is considered the birthday of the world, a day in which we celebrate the day that all of this was born. What a beautiful reason to gather together: to sing, pray, nosh, learn, and hear the shofar! But it also could be seen as the day of the world’s conception. Seen in this light, we might ask ourselves “What is yet possible? What might yet become in this new year?” Just as the world is pregnant with possibilities, so too are our lives. What is working and should continue in the new year? What changes might we try to make so that our hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits are more in alignment? This is an awe-some time of year to turn inward and turn to community, to explore what is possible.

There is so much happening at the Danforth Jewish Circle (DJC)  over the High Holy days. We have musical and spiritually uplifting Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services in our sanctuary, engaging children’s services and programming, spirited teen programming, a dawn Rosh Hashanah service at Evergreen Brickworks,and this year we are particularly excited about a new offering on Yom Kippur afternoon called Music and Meditations. It’s a two-hour block of time (4–6 p.m.) to simply sit in our sanctuary (and maybe close your eyes) as some of our incredible community members offer their musical gifts on this most sacred day. 

I want to highlight what a gem the DJC is to the Toronto Jewish community. As a joyous, inclusive, accessible, inspiring Circle, we are helping to create a fresh, progressive vision of Jewish community, learning, and spiritual practice in downtown Toronto. This certainly extends to the High Holy Days where every soul who walks through the door (or joins online) is seen and loved.

On both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we run a family service from 8:30 until 9:15 a.m. that is filled with songs, stories, surprises, and the shofar (on Rosh Hashanah). We also offer youth programming (interactive service plus activities) from 10:00 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. and teen-specific programming at 11 a.m. Each of these pieces is facilitated by our experienced and amazing team of educators. And new this year, we’re welcoming post- b’nai mitzvah teens to join our adult volunteer choir on the bimah on Rosh Hashanah morning to help lead our community. Our youth programs throughout the High Holy Days are led by our teens, under adult mentorship and guidance.

The DJC remains committed to making High Holy Day and general membership accessible to all. Both students and folks under 30 have FREE membership to the DJC, and there are sliding scales for all other categories of membership ( new families, first year of membership, single parents). Our services are engaging and topical, relevant and inspiring. The music and melodies we sing bridge traditional and contemporary so there is something for everyone to love. Our Rosh Hashanah day two study session,  led by Rabbi Ilyse Glickman,will explore anger in ourselves and in our world—adults of all ages can no doubt relate. Come one, come all, experience this radically welcoming community. 

Rabbi Ilyse Glickman (she/her)

Header image design by Clarrie Feinstein.

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