The warm, knowledgeable clergy and staff of Shaarei Shomayim invite you to join us, get in touch with a question, and get involved. Read More
Rabbi Chaim Strauchler
Office Phone: (416) 789-3213 ext 201
A native of West Orange, New Jersey, Rabbi Chaim Strauchler received his ordination from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University. Before joining Shaarei Shomayim in August 2008, Rabbi Strauchler served as rabbi at Beit Chaverim Synagogue in Westport, Connecticut from 2005 to 2008. He trained under Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt at the Riverdale (NY) Jewish Center, from 2003 to 2005. Rabbi Strauchler believes the role of a rabbi is to care for people. This entails being there for them in their time of need, to shepherd them through the ups and downs of life, and at the same time to inspire them to be a catalyst for personal spiritual growth. He sees the shul as a centre for addressing larger communal issues, as well as a place that cares for Jews in Toronto, Israel and elsewhere, as well as for the non-Jewish community.
In university, Rabbi Strauchler was a pre-med science student before switching to English literature and rabbinical studies. Committed to Modern Orthodoxy, Rabbi Strauchler believes that the term ‘Modern Orthodox’ is useful in the sense that it reflects the basic problem of every Jew: Modernity is something that is ever present in our lives and brings many advantages. It also brings many challenges. In the modern age, people can choose. They can choose to be Jewish, they can choose not to live as a Jew. That did not exist before the modern era. At the same time, ‘modern Orthodox’ and ‘Orthodox’ are labels imposed upon individuals by others; fundamentally, we are Jews. Rabbi Strauchler stresses the importance of being able to see past the labels, towards the right and towards the left, to be able to look at a person for what they are, as opposed to the external dress they may have on at that moment.
Rabbi Strauchler earned a diploma in theology and a master’s in religious studies from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He also holds a master’s degree in Biblical studies from Bernard Revel Graduate School, and is a Wexner Graduate Fellowship alumnus. He publishes scholarly articles on the Bible and the Talmud in addition to publishing his own poetry.
Rabbi Strauchler is married to Avital. They have four children: Tehilla, Adir, Atara, and Zvi.
Rabbi Elliott Diamond
Rabbi Elliott Diamond has long been associated with Jewish education in Toronto and currently serves as the Vice Principal of Jewish Studies at Netivot HaTorah Day School. Rabbi Diamond has been an important member of the Shaarei Shomayim community for many years and has contributed to the synagogue in many capacities. Currently, he is the leader of our Downstairs Minyan and a member of the synagogue clergy.
Rabbi Diamond holds a B.A. from the University of Toronto, pursued his Masters in Education from the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education and received his rabbinical ordination from the late Chief Rabbi of Montreal, Rabbi Pinchas Hirzprung, z”l.
The Downstairs Minyan at Shaarei Shomayim offers an intimate Shabbat and holiday service led by participants. Rabbi Diamond’s weekly d’var torah is a thoughtful and meaningful part of the service. “Everyone deserves a moment of inspiration,” says Rabbi Diamond. “At the Downstairs Minyan we try to make that moment happen in our warm and friendly atmosphere.”
Rabbi Diamond and his wife Rochelle have three children, Avi, Eliana and Amiel.
Ralph Levine, Shaarei Shomayim’s Shamash and Baal Koreh, is responsible for the Torah readings at our services and for overseeing daily morning services. Ralph is a resource to those who are sitting shiva and can assist with the recitation of kaddish. He offers training to boys in advance of their Bar Mitzvah and can provide tutorials to adults who wish to improve their davening or haftarah reading skills.