SHUCHAT, WILFRED G.


SHUCHAT, WILFRED G. (1920– ), Canadian rabbi. Shuchat was born in Montreal, Canada, and received his B.A. from McGill University in 1941. In 1945, he was ordained at the *Jewish Theological Seminary, which awarded him an honorary D.D. in 1971. After serving as rabbi of Congregation Sons of Israel in Albany, New York (1944–45) and Temple Beth El in Buffalo, New York (1945–46), he was appointed assistant rabbi of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Montreal, becoming rabbi in 1948. In 1993, he retired and was elevated to emeritus. Under his leadership, the synagogue instituted such pioneering programs as home study groups and the Shaar Israel–Shabbat Yachad Project, which connected congregants to Israel through a series of family weekends featuring religious and educational programming, as well as dialogue with Reform and Orthodox invitees. At Shuchat's initiative, Shaar Hashomayim also became the founder and co-owner of Camp *Ramah in Utterson, Ontario.

In the larger Jewish community, Shuchat co-founded in 1947 the Board of Jewish Ministers of Greater Montreal (now the Board of Rabbis), comprising the city's English-speaking rabbis, and was instrumental in creating its chaplaincy committee. He also served as chairman of the Religious Welfare Committee of the Canadian Jewish Congress, where he headed a committee on marriage and family that established the Jewish Introduction Service for singles. In 1960, he set up the *De Sola Club, a kosher dining club in Montreal. He also taught Judaism at the School of Nursing at the Jewish General Hospital. In 1967, he was the creator and program chairman of the Pavilion of Judaism at Expo 67, which attracted three million visitors – the most popular exhibition of its kind.

In the Conservative movement, Shuchat served on the Committee on Law and Standards of the *Rabbinical Assembly, but he is better known for being one of the original founders of the Union for Traditional Judaism (UTJ), an organization that promotes traditional Jewish observance within the framework of Conservative Judaism. UTJ sponsors a rabbinical college; a speakers' bureau; a preparatory program for lay men and women who would like to spend a year in intense Torah study; and a Masters in Public Administration, which offers in-depth training to Jewish leaders of the future. Among the books Shuchat wrote are The Gate of Heaven: The Story of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Montreal (2000) and The Creation According to Midrash Rabbah (2002).

[Bezalel Gordon (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.