The new spiritual leader of Young Israel of Ottawa believes that Orthodox Jews in the synagogue’s vicinity need to find “common ground” more often.
“We need to work together,” said Rabbi Yair Tanger. “I find that only by working together will we be a stronger community.”
Young Israel is a traditional Orthodox congregation located in Westboro that welcomes the community to take part in daily, Shabbat and holiday services, as well as family programs and activities for all ages.
Rabbi Tanger, 34, moved to Ottawa this past fall after working in Montreal for 13 years where he was rabbi at two seniors’ residences: the Montefiore and the Waldorf.
“My goal first of all is to unite everyone together,” he said, referring to the several Orthodox minyans or study centres in the vicinity of his synagogue, “to resolve differences, and to be very welcoming and provide outreach to the Jewish community.”
Other Orthodox minyans or study centres in the area include the Chabad-affiliated Jewish Youth Library, the Kollel of Ottawa, and Hillel Lodge.
Since taking over at Young Israel, Rabbi Tanger has instituted a weekly parsha discussion and uses social media to offer thoughts on the week’s Torah reading in advance of each Shabbat. The congregation has also hosted a number of community events, including a Chanukah celebration, a children’s concert, and a visit to the local fire station.
Rabbi Tanger – who is also the spiritual leader of the Sephardi Association of Ottawa – is married to Miriam Zarecki and they have a blended family of six children.
He is also a ritual scribe who transcribes Torah scrolls, tefillin, mezuzahs, ketubahs and other religious writings.
Rabbi Tanger said he’s looking forward to working with Ottawa’s Jewish community and hopes to see Young Israel grow through his dedication and leadership.