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Our Rabbi Emerita

Rabbi Elyse Goldstein is the visionary spiritual leader, and founding Rabbi of City Shul. She retired in June 2024 and is now our Rabbi Emerita.

Rabbi Goldstein is known throughout Canada as an outstanding educator. She founded Kolel: The Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish Learning in 1991; she was its director and principal teacher for 20 years. Kolel was recognized worldwide as a leading institution in the field of Jewish adult education.  In 2005 she was awarded North America’s highest honour for Jewish Education, The Covenant Award For Outstanding Educators. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by Ryerson University in 2017 for her work in Canada.

Rabbi Goldstein is also known as a community activist and public speaker. She served on the Canadian National Board of Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger and was an elected officer of Canadian Jewish Congress, Ontario region. She is the first woman to be elected as president of the interdenominational Toronto Board of Rabbis and is the past president of the Reform Rabbis of Greater Toronto. She has been a guest lecturer at universities and Jewish and Christian organizations throughout North America, Israel, and Great Britain, including numerous radio and T.V. appearances. She is one of seven women featured in the Canadian National Film Board documentary, “Half the Kingdom.” She is on the Board of Access Education, helping to build schools in rural communities in Guatemala, where she is also serving as a volunteer Rabbi to the small group of Jews-by-Choice in Guatemala City known as Adat Israel.

In addition, Rabbi Goldstein is a prolific writer. She wrote a monthly column for the Canadian Jewish News for four years called Ideas on Identity. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Reform Judaism, Sh’ma, Lilith Magazine, Grail, The Journal of Canadian Women’s Studies and others. Her first book, ReVisions: Seeing Torah through a Feminist Lens, was published by Jewish Lights in the fall of 1998 and won the Canadian National Jewish Book Awards in the field of Bible. Her second and third books, The Women’s Torah Commentary, andThe Women’s Haftarah Commentary  are anthologies of 54 different women rabbis from different movements on the weekly Torah and Haftarah portions, published by Jewish Lights in 2000 and 2003. Her fourth book,New Jewish Feminism: Probing the Past, Forging the Future, was published in October 2008 by Jewish Lights and won finalist in The National Jewish Book Awards. She is also the author of a self-guided adult study textbook on Women and Judaism called Seek Her Out,  published by the URJ Press. You can find all her books at

Rabbi Goldstein has a rich experience in the congregational rabbinate. While in Rabbinical School, she served at Temple Beth Or of the Deaf, where she became proficient in sign language and specialized in serving the Jewish deaf. After ordination, she was assistant Rabbi at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto. From 1986 to 1991, she served as Rabbi of Temple Beth David in Canton, Massachusetts, a congregation that grew under her guidance from 80 families to over 200 families. 

She is passionate about reaching Jews, as well as individuals who are drawn to Judaism. She is dedicated to helping all of those in her community to grow on their spiritual and intellectual Jewish journeys. She is inspired by her young adult children, Noam
, Yonah, and Micah and her husband Baruch. She takes pleasure in cycling, travelling, gourmet food, singing in the MNJCC Community Choir, and the six months she spent on the Frozen Chosen Interfaith Clergy Curling Team (no joke.) She also wrote and acted in a Fringe Festival play called The Clergy Project, about life as a female Rabbi in the 21st century,  which won Best of Fringe in 2016.

Rabbi Goldstein is happy to hear from you. You can reach her directly at

Rabbi Goldstein receives her Honorary Doctorate

Wed, July 17 2024 11 Tammuz 5784