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Our Mission & History

The mission of Shaare Zion Beth-El Congregation is to ensure the perpetuation of egalitarian Jewish worship and prayer, Jewish Community, education and family life within the precepts of Conservative Judaism and in the traditional role of the synagogue. 

With our active clergy, we offer a dynamic blend of worship opportunities that span from the small and intimate to grand classical services incorporating a myriad of musical accompaniment. Our main sanctuary, constructed in 1931, is on the National Register of Historic Places and provides a truly awe-inspiring space in which to practice Jewish ritual life.

We offer prayers, twice daily, 365 days per year.  Now, as always,  Shaare Zion Beth-El Congregation is your home.

Meet Our Team

Rabbi Barry Leff
Rabbi Barry Leff (Rav Barry) has been Shaare Zion Beth-El’s interim senior rabbi since July 2022.  Rav Barry was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies (American Jewish University) in Los Angeles in 2002, after a 20-year long career as an entrepreneur and business executive in Silicon Valley. After ordination Rabbi Leff served congregations in Vancouver, Canada, and Toledo, Ohio.  He moved to Israel in 2007 with his then wife and the three youngest of his five daughters and went back to work in business.  He is on the board of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary in Jerusalem and has served as chairman of the board of Rabbis for Human Rights.  Rav Barry serves on the Conservative Movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards and has written and lectured extensively on business ethics. He also holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, and undergraduate degrees in psychology and liberal arts. This is Rav Barry’s third interim assignment: he has also served as interim rabbi for congregations in Birmingham, Alabama and Mercer Island, Washington. In his spare time Rav Barry likes to fly small planes (he’s a flight instructor), run, bike, and play piano. When not doing interim rabbinical work, he and his partner Susy Lutz split their time between New Mexico and Jerusalem.

Cantor Adam Stotland
Adam is a graduate of Concordia University where he studied music. A native Montrealer, Adam went to Hebrew Academy and spent many summers at Camp Massad. Upon graduating high school, Adam spent some time in Israel learning in Yeshiva. A lyric tenor vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Adam has spent the last decade singing and performing at concerts and weddings here in Montreal and throughout North America, Europe and Israel. Married to Yahel Farkas, granddaughter of long-time Shaare Zion members Louis and Valerie Farkas (z'l), Adam and Yahel have 4 young children, three boys  Shaya, Yahav, Eden and a daughter Aria.

Reverend Asher Tannenbaum
Ritual Director
Asher studied at the Bar Ilan University and has degrees from both Concordia and McGill Universities. Asher has been the Ritual Director since 2004,. Prior to that, Asher was the Ritual Director at Congregation Beth David in Toronto. He has two children, Benjamin, born in 2001, and Madelyn, born in 2007. In his free time, Asher enjoys spending time with his family and working on his golf game.

Rabbi Lionel Moses
Rabbi Emeritus
Rabbi Lionel Moses is the Rabbi Emeritus of Shaare Zion Beth-El Congregation.  He served as Shaare Zion's spiritual leader for 23 years from 1995 until 2018. Rabbi Moses is a native of Toronto and a graduate of the University of Toronto, where he holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and a Masters degree in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Literature. Rabbi Moses was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1977 and has held pulpits in New York City and in Sacramento California. He is a Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute and currently chairs the National Beit Din of the Conservative Movement. 

Rabbi Ronnie Cahana
Rabbi Emeritus
From a long rabbinic line, Swedish-born and US-raised, educated, and ordained, Rabbinical Assembly member, Rabbi Ronnie Cahana has enjoyed an international rabbinate.  He held pulpits in Bolivia, Sweden, USA and Canada before becoming   Congregation Beth-El’s rabbi in 2001 and now serving as the SZBE Rabbi Emeritus.  A lifelong activist, Rabbi Cahana earned a Swedish Peace Prize for co-founding the Nordic Center for Inter-religious Dialogue and for his peace mission during the Bosnian War.  He is also a 2012 recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal “for significant contribution to Canada”.  
Since his stroke in 2011, Rabbi Cahana has devoted his free-time to writing Divrei Torah for the Amen Institute, poetry for his blog, and he’s currently working on a series, called Locked-Down Poetry, for which he received a Canada Council Arts Grant. 

Karen Knie-Cahana
With a background in Jewish Studies, Social Work, Family Therapy & Conflict Resolution,  Karen Cahana is available  by appointment to provide confidential  social work and pastoral services about psychosocial issues or concerns you may be facing.  

Myriam Bensimon
Executive Director

Rosanne Puritz
Communications Director

Jonah Sofer
Program Director

Roni Porter-Pritikin

Seth Rosen
Office Administrator

Gershon Katz
Operations Manager
(438) 875-8015

Shimon Radu
Choir Director

Board of Directors

Gilla Geiger, President

Susan Abramowitz- First Vice-President
Howard Schwartz- Vice President
Wendy Rapps- Vice President
Peter Yaffe- Parnas
Ken Adessky- Secretary
Jimmy April- Treasurer
Suzanne Grant- Immediate Past President
Maxine Bercovici- Immediate Past President
Paul Graif- Member at Large
Andrew Toeman- Member at Large
Mitchell Steinberg- Member at Large
Robert Joseph- Member at Large
David Budman- Past President Once Removed
Seth Dalfen- Past President Once Removed
Rosalyn Hailpern
Corey Frenkiel
Robert Steinman
Ryan Sanft
Arthur Nussbaum
Jordan Isenberg
Naomi Margolis
Linda Shohet
Jack Wiltzer
Martin Scheim
Jonathan Auerbach
Sergio Moskovitz- Associate Parnas
Neil Bernstein- Associate Parnas
Jack Shaicovitch- PPC 1
Carol Liverman- PPC 2
Arthur Sanft- PPC 3
Gary D. Shapiro- Honorary Vice President

SZBE General By-Laws

Tue, 27 September 2022 2 Tishrei 5783