Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto

Temple Sinai Eternal Record Books — Nell Waldman

Searching for one’s past —for roots, connections and ancestors — has become a popular activity in the past twenty years. Successful enterprises such as Ancestry.com, JewishGen.org, and 23andme.com speak to our abiding fascination with those who have come before us.  Who were they? Where did they come from? Whom did they marry? How many children? What was their connection to their Jewish heritage?

But did you know that Temple Sinai maintains its own archive? The eternal record books detail people and events — dating back to 1958, when our founding rabbi, Jordan Pearlson, initiated this important documentation of congregational life.

The eternal record books comprise twelve hardcover folio books secure in the office of Rabbi Michael Dolgin at Temple. These books detail sixty-plus years of members’ milestone events, which makes them a powerful communal resource.

The twelve volumes of the eternal record books include:

  • Birth: two volumes (1958-2001 and 2001-2019)
  • B’nei Mitzvah: two volumes (1958-1977 and 1977-1989)
  • B’nei Mitzvah: two volumes (1989-2017 and 2018-2020)
  • Confirmation: two volumes (1958-1980 and 1981-2019)
  • Marriage: two volumes (1958-1989 and 1989-2020)
  • In Memorium: one volume (1958-2005)
  • Membership: one volume (2012-2019)

Along with providing a comprehensive record of congregational life, the eternal record books have served another purpose since 2012. Initiated by Rabbi Dolgin, the more recent Membership Eternal Record book mirrors the previous eternal record books (i.e., b’nei mitzvahs and weddings). The innovation is that new members are invited to a special ceremony where they sign their English and Hebrew names into the book. They are asked to bring an item connected to their Jewish identity to the ceremony. New members have brought prayer books, candlesticks, photos of events, and other personally significant items. These ceremonies help new members develop deeper connections with Temple Sinai.

To connect long-time members with the eternal record books and the community, Temple has been inviting people who joined in past decades to contribute to the archive. This initiative began with members from the 1950s and ’60s and has moved on to congregants who joined in the 1970s. Long-time members sign the book and share personal memories of Temple.

Think of the eternal record books as a Temple Sinai family album, an archive of memories and connections to the rich congregational life of our community.

Our Team



Marcie Goldberg
Operations Coordinator

416.487.4161 ext. 228