Kiever continues to play an important role in the Toronto
Jewish Community. Although most of the members of the
community slowly moved away from the Kensington area during
the 1950s, the Kiever has maintained its position as a
social and religious source of Jewish identity within
the old Jewish neighbourhood.
shul still offers services every Sabbath that are led
by Cantor Pinchas Gutter and Rabbi Gedaliah Zweig. Both
individuals have important leadership roles in the community
outside of their work at the Kiever. Cantor Gutter, a
Holocaust survivor, has led services at the Kiever for
about thirteen years. He has also contributed significantly
to the Baycrest Home for the Aged and was declared the
Service Group of Baycrest’s Man of the Year in 2002.
He advocates for the rights of the elderly and is a volunteer
chaplain for Jewish Family and Child Services, Toronto
Rehabilitation Institute, as well as for other organizations.
Rabbi Zweig serves the Kiever part-time. He is also known
for his musical band, The
Kiddush Club Band.
The band has recorded three albums of Jewish songs for
children. Rabbi Zweig runs bar mitzvah
classes as well.
Kiever remains an important social venue for Toronto Jews.
Recently, Rabbi Zweig and the Kiever hosted a singles
for young Jews. The Kiever still conducts bar-mitzvahs
and weddings, as well as special holiday services. It
has been a venue for cantorial concerts and was recently
the site for the launch of the Jewish
Toronto Tomorrow campaign.
all, today the main role of the Kiever is an educational
one. Public and separate schools continue to visit the
Kiever as part of history and comparative religion classes.
Jews and non-Jews alike are interested in the Kiever’s
historical role as part of early Jewish Toronto. The current
President of the shul, David Pincus, is constantly approached
for information about the shul’s history. Toronto
tour books often highlight the Kiever as a ‘must-see’
remain involved in the Kiever even though most are unable
to attend services every week due to the fact that they
live too far from the shul. Many of the descendents of
the original members have assumed Executive positions.
Women also continue to support the shul. In fact, members
are discussing reviving the Ladies’ Auxiliary in
an official capacity.
is clear that members have a personal attachment to the
Kiever because it has been a part of their family history.
The individual histories associated with the Kiever are
visible throughout the building – memorial plaques
decorate the sanctuary, an ark in the basement commemorates
Fischel Cooper, leader of the youth minyan,
and names like Litvak and Rotenberg are carved into the
stone exterior. The fact that the Kiever holds these special
tributes and histories explains why the Synagogue maintains
its membership and receives so much support from the community
more than 90 years after the creation of the congregation.