Holidays During the Year

Holidays are a very special time at Shaarei Shomayim, with meaningful services and many exciting programs. Be sure to join us!


Immediately following the High Holidays, the observance of Sukkot is one full of family and community time. The Shaarei Shomayim sukkah is a large, beautifully decorated hub for kiddushes and special programing during that week. Youth celebrate with a sukkah hop and the seniors of our shul come together for a special tea in the sukkah.

  • Shimini Atzeret & Simchat Torah: On Simchat Torah, men receive aliyot throughout the shul, and the extremely popular Women’s Divrei Torah program draws hundreds of members to hear words of Torah from women of all ages in our shul. Children’s programming runs throughout the holiday. The services conclude with Kol Hanearim, Chatan Torah and Breishit, followed by an enhanced community Kiddush.
  • Arba Minim: Annually, Tom Moos offers top-of-line lulavim and etrogim sets (Arba Minim) for sale along with hoshanaot for use on Hoshanah Rabba. See our Lulav and Etrog page.


Chanukah includes special programming for youth and seniors.


Shaarei Shomayim is hopping with activity surrounding the holiday of Purim. We look forward to celebrating this holiday together as an annual highlight of the shul calendar.

  • Parshat Zachor: The Shabbat before Purim marks Shabbat Zachor with the reading of the special maftir in which we fulfill the mitzvah of zechirat amalek. In order to ensure that all members hear this important section of the parsha, we have a repeat reading of the maftir in the main shul following the conclusion of services for those who arrive late.
  • Megillah Reading: Please check the calendar for megillah reading times and locations.
  • Women's Reading: A very special women’s reading takes place at Shaarei Shomayim each Purim morning, drawing hundreds of women from across Toronto to this trademark program.
  • Matanot L'evyonim & Machatzit Hashekel: The Rabbi collects money to be distributed to the needy on Purim day for the mitzvah of matanot l'evyonim. You can also donate online specifically for matanot l'evyonim. Following services on Purim, there is an opportunity for members to partake in the mitzvah of machatzit hashekel.
  • Seudah: Join Shaarei Shomayim for the annual, festive Purim seudah. The community comes together to celebrate this holiday with a festive, themed meal, a shpiel gently mocking synagogue life in the spirit of Purim humour, and music.
  • Purim for Kids: There are special, themed carnivals and youth programming for Purim that are annual program highlights for youth of all ages. Join us!


To help you prepare for Pesach, Shaarei Shomayim offers classes, facilitation of selling and burning your chametz, and pre-Pesach catered Shabbat meals at the shul.

  • Pre-Passover Learning: Shaarei Shomayim offers classes on the Haggadah, Passover Q & A and other special Pesach shiurim. See list of upcoming events for Pesach preparation classes.
  • Shabbat Hagadol Drasha: The Rabbi’s community drasha given the week before Pesach on Shabbat in two parts, after Musaf in the morning and in the afternoon before Mincha.
  • Sale of Chametz: The Rabbi will be available to arrange for the sale of chametz in person. Download Sale of Chametz Form.
  • Maot Chitim: Traditionally, Jews provide wheat to the poor for the purpose of baking matzot.  We continue this traditional by giving charity to the needy. See our Maot Chitim page.
  • Important Pesach Times: For a printable one-page summary of events, download our Pesach Schedule. For a complete schedule, candle lighting and service times, please check the calendar.
  • Fast of First Borns / Shacharit and Siyum: Join Shaarei Shomayim for services and a siyum for the Fast of First Borns.
  • Omer: Counting of the Omer begins on the second night of Passover.


Shavuot at Shaarei Shomayim centres around celebrating the giving of the Torah with learning culminating in a community siyum. Shavuot also marks the end of the shul’s governance year, with the president’s address.

  • Shavuot Learning: On Shavuot night, we have Tikkun Layl Shavuot, with all-night learning for youth and adults, a dairy dinner, and exciting programming.
  • Annual Community Siyum: On Shavuot, we join together as a community to complete a significant area of Jewish learning.  For more information or to participate, please e-mail the Rabbi.
  • You can download the 2017 Shavuot schedule here.