Our Mission Statement
Makom: Creative Downtown Judaism is a grassroots Toronto community fusing Jewish tradition and progressive values through spirituality, learning and culture. Makom creates inclusive space that inspires diverse participants to explore together how Judaism can meaningfully enrich our lives.
In Hebrew, Makom (accent on the “o”) means place or space. We are a Jewish community rooted in downtown Toronto, both in the present and historically. Downtown is not just our geography, but our ethos. The spaces we inhabit as a community (The Kiever Shul, Kensington Market, Bellevue Park, Queens Park, and more) inform our identity, just as we influence our spaces through our activities in them.
Makom is also an ancient rabbinic name for God, signifying God’s omnipresence, the felt sense of God’s immanence in the world and our lives. We hope this name and mission will both reflect the nature of our community and give voice to our collective aspirations as partners in creating it.
We are a diverse community. Members include those who are Jewishly disaffected, unaffiliated, and committed; religiously observant and not; LGBTQ and straight; singles, couples, and families; interfaith couples and families; artists and musicians; cycling activists; children of all ages through older adults; and those who identify in many other ways.
You’re invited to join our community and get involved.
Downtown Toronto is an incredibly vibrant, multicultural urban landscape—an amazing place to live.
This was the heart of the city’s upstart and eclectic Jewish life in the first half of the twentieth century. Post-WWII, the vast majority of Toronto’s Jewish population migrated to less urban environs. More recently, though, a growing number of young Jewish adults and families are choosing to live downtown.
In informal conversations with downtown Jews he met in parks, bars, coffee shops, preschools, and street corners, Rabbi Aaron Levy found that many were unaffiliated and uninvolved in Jewish life, but, like himself, looking to be part of a spirited, creative, intellectually open, and politically progressive downtown Jewish community. He founded Makom in January 2009 to meet these needs.
Makom is bringing back vital, multi-faceted, and creative Jewish life to a place where it once thrived.
Rooted in both Jewish tradition and progressive values, Makom inspires downtown Jews to imagine a grassroots Jewish community – in which participants actively create Jewish life for themselves and others – and create a continuous, living link with local Jewish history.
This image, which we adopted in the fall of 2010, visually expresses our community’s present and historical rootedness in downtown Toronto, our fusion of traditional and progressive Jewish values, and our creativity, diversity, and warmth. We are deeply appreciative of the gracious folks at the Brainstorm Group (especially Ron, Dorothy, Joe, Deborah, Jen, and Sarah) for their dedicated and patient pro bono work designing our logo from concept to final rendering.