About Shaar Shalom


The Shaar

Founded in 1953, Shaar Shalom Congregation serves the needs of Halifax’s Conservative Jewish community.  Through its affiliation with the United Synagogues of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), the Shaar maintains close ties with the Conservative and Masorti movements in Canada, the United States, Israel and around the globe.

Shaar Shalom is an egalitarian congregation where both women and men participate fully in the spiritual, ritual and social life of the community. We warmly welcome people of all ages, socioeconomic statuses, ethnicities, races, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities. We are proudly a community comprised of Jews by birth and Jews by choice alike.

To enhance communal connection and support, the congregation offers a variety of activities and organizations: religious services on Friday nights, Saturday mornings and holidays, Jewish education and religious training for young and old alike, which includes a religious school for preschoolers to grade 7, a Chevra Kadisha (Burial Society) and cemetery, a library for community use, kosher kitchens, function rooms, and a Tree of Life.  Close ties to the Atlantic Jewish Council offer access to additional Jewish communal programmes.

Shaar Shalom serves as the focus for important Jewish communal and family life cycle events: weddings, funerals, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Baby Namings, Circumcisions, Conversions.  Religious counselling to congregants can be arranged.

In addition to the Hebrew School, worship services, and Chevra Kadisha and cemetery, the Shaar has many avenues of membership participation and support.

  • Fund-raising activities such as Gala Concerts, Clothing Sales and a Gift Shop.
  • The Congregation supports Mazon Canada and the Metro Food Bank Society.
  • The congregation sends out a weekly update to members, periodic newsletters, and Yahrzeit notices.

Proud member of USCJ





Rabbi Gary KarlinRabbi Gary Karlin

Before coming to the Shaar Shalom, Rabbi Gary Karlin served as a congregational rabbi, a day school Rabbi-In-Residence, a teacher, a graduate school Adjunct Instructor, and a curriculum writer, translator and editor. Most recently, he helped to guide two congregations – in Connecticut and Florida — in transition as interim rabbi. His educational publications include the Hebrew High School curriculum Who Wrote the Bible? (IJE/Brandeis University), and a forthcoming curriculum on the book of Jonah (MaToK/Schechter/JTS).

Rabbi Karlin graduated from the University of Pennsylvania (BA), and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he also earned an MA. In addition, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by that school, where he is a doctoral candidate in the School of Education of JTS (ABD).

In his spare time he enjoys reading, listening to music, playing guitar, cooking, and spending as much time as he can with his children, Michal, who just graduated from the Mason Gross School of the Arts of Rutgers University in New Jersey and was born in Ontario, and Moshe, a rising sophomore at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.




Office Administration

Tamara Daiman joined the Shaar Shalom staff as Office Administrator in 2012.  Originally from Russia and later Israel, Tamara attended the Chelyabinsk College of Economics, where she studied finance. Before joining our staff at the Shaar as Office Administrator, Tamara’s work experience includes working as a travel agent and serving as an accountant in Israel. Tamara enjoys regularly interacting with Shaar members and the deep connection she feels to the community. She is excited by the dynamic growth and development of our community.

Board & Committees

The Board

A Board of Directors manages the daily affairs of the Shaar under the guidance of the Articles of Association. The Board meets monthly, and is elected yearly by the Annual General Meeting of the congregation.  Additional general meetings are called when important decisions face the Congregation.

Members of the Board

  • Joanna Mirsky-Wexlar
  • Linda Law
  • Devorah Gillard
  • Jon Goldberg
  • Lysa April
  • Karen Conter
  • Hilary Doda
  • Bob Lester
  • Rachael Goldberg
  • Irma Juuti
  • Ethel Cooper-Rosen
  • Beth Donald
  • Ben Schelew
  • Yariv Wolfe
  • Joanna Mirsky Wexler
  • Linda Law

Our Community

The first Jews arrived in Halifax in 1750, only a year after the city was founded. They were merchants from Newport, Rhode Island and little is known about them or their offspring. The Halifax Jewish community, as we know it today, took form in the 1890s when Jewish immigrants fleeing from the Pograms in Russia settled in the city. In 1895 the first synagogue, an orthodox synagogue, was established in Halifax. As the Halifax Jewish population grew, Jewish religious practice diversified and in 1953 a conservative congregation, the Shaar Shalom Congregation, was established. On October 5, 1954, the Shaar Shalom Congregation broke ground for its synagogue on the corner of Oxford and Pepperell Streets where it continues to serve the needs of Halifax’s Conservative Jewish community today.

In addition to the Shaar Shalom, the Halifax Jewish Community includes:

More information about the Halifax Jewish Community and those across Atlantic Canada can be found on the Atlantic Jewish Council website.