Upon arriving in Canada’s capital to assume the leadership of Ottawa’s Congregation Machzikei Hadas, Rabbi Idan Scher was the youngest Senior Rabbi of a synagogue this size in all of Canada.
His warm, upbeat and engaging manner coupled with his brilliant synthesis of the modern and the traditional have allowed him to build on the prestigious 100 year old history of his synagogue. Rabbi Scher continues to see great success guiding Machzikei towards a vibrant future – over 100 families have joined the synagogue since his tenure, and the congregation continues to grow.
In addition to this growth, in the short time that Rabbi Scher has been in Ottawa, Machzikei developed into the synagogue that one would most recommend to a friend in Canada (Measuring Success, 2016).
Rabbi Scher’s work is grounded in the Jewish community, but also extends beyond in his work as a Jewish liaison to Ottawa’s other faith communities. He frequently represents the community in multi-faith platforms, chairs an interfaith panel for federal government and private business workshops, and is the Jewish representative to the Spiritual Care Advisory Board at the Ottawa Hospital. Rabbi Scher has also led an unprecedented Ottawa delegation to Berlin, Poland, and Israel.
Rabbi Scher's thoughts are sought out by both the news media and leading politicians. Rabbi Scher has been featured on both CTV and CBC News, and has met with the Prime Minister, The Official Opposition and other leading representatives. Rabbi Scher is also on the executive of the Rabbinical Council of America.
HUSBAND AND FATHER
Before coming to Ottawa, Rabbi Scher lectured in Judaic Studies at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Rabbi Scher holds a Masters in Talmudic Law from the Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, and an M.A. in Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University. He holds rabbinic ordination from both Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, the director of the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court, and from Rabbi Gedalya Schwartz, the director of the Beth Din of America.
Outside of the work environment, Rabbi Scher is probably best known in Ottawa for his championship winning goal in his freshman year in the Jewish Men’s Ice Hockey League of Ottawa.
In Rabbi Scher’s opinion, his greatest accomplishment is marrying his wife Shifra, and raising the three beautiful children they share.