Our History

The short history of Or Hadash is that of a few passionate people, proving that Jewish life could flourish in an area where others had thought it couldn’t exist.

For years, Jewish families in Newmarket and Northern York Region functioned as a “disapora within the diaspora” – finding themselves largely isolated from Jewish living. Then, a few families informally started to get together to celebrate their Jewish identity. This lead them to establish a small Hebrew School to ensure that their children could carry forward their Jewish sacred traditions. Later, these families found that there was a need for more. On November 7, 1993, Or Hadash was founded as a formal synagogue and shortly afterwards it became a member of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ).

As the membership continued to grow, services were offered in several different locations until we were able to secure our very own space on Leslie Street. Ten years later we were on the move again to accommodate our growing congregation. In July 2010, we secured a location at 451 Botsford Street. This place in downtown historic Newmarket became our home for the following five years. However, increasing costs and decreasing memberships led to our decision to vacate those premises by the end of June 2015.  As we strove to find a proper new home for ourselves, we continued to have Shabbat services at the house of one of our members. One and a half years later – after an extensive search – we were finally able to rent again a new place. Since January 2017, we call 130 Davis Drive, Unit 210 (second floor, next to “Young Drivers”) our home where we offer regular Shabbat services as well as a variety of social activities and events throughout the year.

Where others see weakness in being so detached from so called ordinary Jewish life, we see an opportunity. Today we continue to remain true to our heymish roots as a warm, friendly and egalitarian Jewish Community.

We ARE the Jewish Community in Newmarket and Northern York Region, and we welcome you to explore all we have to offer!