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Rabbi Idan Scher

Rabbi Idan Scher was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, but frequent trips to Ottawa to visit his large extended family always made the Nation's Capital feel like his second home. He has fond memories of skating on the canal, playing pond hockey with his cousins, and going to more Senators games than he can count.

Rabbi Scher is a dynamic and sought-after speaker, and a warm and engaging relationship-builder. And though he loves spending time with congregants inside the shul, he especially loves hosting guests for Shabbat meals at his home, together with his wife Shifra, their son Shlomo, and their daughters, Esther and Shayna.

Rabbi Scher earned an undergraduate degree from Yeshiva Shaar HaTorah in New York, a Masters degree in Talmudic Law from the Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, and an M.A. in Public Policy and Management from John's Hopkins University. He holds rabbinic ordination (semikha) 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. Rabbi Scher also studied at Yeshivas Brisk in Jerusalem, where he was a student of Rabbi Shalom Schechter.

Please feel free to contact Rabbi Scher to discuss a life-cycle event, an idea for the shul, or just for a good schmooze! He can be reached at 613.521.9700, or

Check out Rabbi Scher's Website! 

Rebbetzin Shifra Scher

Shifra Scher is the dedicated Rebbetzin of Machzikei Hadas. One of Shifra's passions is Jewish education. She is a popular teacher for adults in our community and is very active in Jewish day school education in our community as well.

Born and raised in Chicago, she spent a year in Israel at Bnos Chava Teachers Seminary. After completing her undergraduate degree she trained as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer at Johns Hopkins, and now utilizes her expertise as a sonographer at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Shifra loves the Ottawa Jewish community and cherishes the special relationships she has with so many in our shul and beyond. Balancing her professional responsibilities with her personal life, Shifra, along with her husband, is the proud parent of three beautiful children, Shlomo, Esther, and Shayna.


Rabbi Dr. Reuven P. Bulka Z"L (June 6, 1944 - June 27, 2021)

Rabbi Dr. Reuven P. Bulka had been the spiritual leader of Congregation Machzikei Hadas in Ottawa since 1967. In addition to being an accomplished author of more than 30 books and countless articles in the fields of religion, health, and psychology, he was also host of Sunday Night with Rabbi Bulka on CFRA and regular contributor to "Ask the Religion Experts" in the Ottawa Citizen.

A dedicated grass-roots volunteer, Rabbi Bulka was renowned for his tireless commitment to the Ottawa community through service on charitable and civic boards and regular participation in charity events. He had received numerous awards including the prestigious Gilbert Greenberg Distinguished Service Award for his exemplary service to the Jewish Community of Ottawa and was the inaugural recipient of Scouts Canada's National Salute Award. He was cited by Canadian Blood Services for more than 300 blood donations and was actively involved in the promotion of organ donation programs. Rabbi Bulka served as Honorary Chaplain of the Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion,  was the chair of the Trillium Gift of Life Network (responsible for organ and tissue donation in Ontario), and chaired the Hospice Ottawa West campaign.

Rabbi Bulka received his Semikhah (Rabbinic ordination) from the Rabbi Jacob Joseph Rabbinical Seminary, New York, in 1965 and his Ph.D. (concentrating on the Logotherapy of Viktor Frankl) from the University of Ottawa in 1971. He received an honourary Doctor of Laws from Carleton University in 2006 for his community and humanitarian service, and was awarded the "Key to the City" in February, 2010. In June 2013, Rabbi Bulka was appointed a member of the Order of Canada.

In 2015, Rabbi Bulka became Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Machzikei Hadas.  Despite his high public profile and many volunteer activities, Rabbi Bulka remained very accessible to his congregants for support, advice or questions. His weekly inspiring sermons, delivered seamlessly without notes, was one of the highlights of Machzikei's Shabbat service.

In January 2021, Rabbi Bulka announced that he had been diagnosed with late stage cancer of the liver and pancreas and relocated to the New York area to be closer to his extended family.  After a brief battle, he passed away on June 27th, 2021, at the age of 77.  

Sat, July 20 2024 14 Tammuz 5784