Reform Judaism in Atlantic Canada

Bruchim Habaim: blessings of welcome to all!

Reform Judaism in Atlantic Canada is a new and emerging progressive religious community located in Nova Scotia and serving the entire Atlantic region. Our mostly virtual community is dedicated to serving those who are unaffiliated or otherwise disconnected from the existing Jewish community options in Atlantic Canada, with a specific focus on being “barrier-free” and serving interfaith families, 2SLGBTQIA+ Jews and others who are seeking a progressive Jewish community.

We affirm that we are located on the ancestral and unceded territory of Indigenous peoples, whose inherent rights were recognized in a series of treaties that did not surrender Indigenous land, resources or sovereignty to the British Empire, but instead established rules for an ongoing relationship between nations. These treaties were later reaffirmed by Canada and remain active to this day.

Our community of faith is rooted in the Torah principles of “tzedek, tzedek tirdof: justice, justice shall we pursue”. We are committed to exploring how the principles of decolonization and reconciliation can inform our own spiritual journey. In addition to Torah (study) and Tefillah (prayer), we are defined by our Tikkun Olam (the ways we join together to bring justice and healing to this world).

With virtual and interactive services, once a month online primarily in English, and focused upon translating ancient messages into new, spiritual and personally relevant ways. We have services once a month and on major Jewish holidays, and are also connected to the Union of Reform Judaism to support those who are interested in conversion, with online classes. Additionally, there are other virtual classes and other events. The Union of Reform Judaism also has virtual religious school classes for children of our community to join with other Reform Jewish children across North America. Finally, we are exploring ways of connecting individuals to in person activities, such as break-the-fast or Hanukkah parties in different parts of Atlantic Canada. We are still new and newly forming, and welcome new ideas and thoughts on creating Jewish community, as well as supporting and linking individuals to existing Jewish community resources as appropriate.

Grounded in Reform Jewish values and open to all who wish to join, we are especially dedicated to working to removing traditional barriers to membership in a synagogue- be they geographic, financial, philosophical or otherwise. We celebrate the rich diversity of creation and unconditionally welcome all who wish to explore the teachings and practices of Reform Judaism. We believe that we are strengthened by our diversity and embrace people who wish to join our community from all gender/sexual identities as well as all racial, economic, social, national, political and religious backgrounds.

As increasing numbers of people move to the Maritimes, it is time to create a new spiritual community where Reform Jews and interfaith families are unconditionally welcomed. Thanks to online tools, and our relationship with the Union of Reform Judaism and the Reform Jewish Community of Canada, we are excited to welcome anyone interested in joining us in exploring what such a community can become.

Our community is founded by and led by Rabbi Dr. N. Siritsky, who is a Reform Rabbi, a board-certified interfaith chaplain and a registered social worker with a doctorate in ministry and pastoral counseling from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the Post Graduate Center of Mental Health in New York City. Originally from Montreal, with roots in the Maritimes and now living in Unama’ki (also known as Cape Breton), Rabbi N began this community in April 2022 to address a growing need for a progressive and inclusive community of faith especially for those for whom existing Jewish community options are not viable or accessible.

Having studied in Orthodox yeshivas in Israel and served as a rabbi of several Reform congregations in the United States and Canada, alongside a long and exciting career as a social worker and nonprofit leader, Rabbi N is committed to thinking creatively about ways to solve problems and transform them into opportunities. Inspired by social work values of nonhierarchical community organizing, Rabbi N is excited to join with other progressive Jews across Atlantic Canada and beyond in transforming the Jewish landscape.

Rabbi N is available upon request to discuss the officiation of life cycle events.