…to be a Congregation guided by Torah teachings, Spirituality and ideals of Community, welcoming all Jews as equals and all people as Children of G-d.
Congregation House of Jacob-Mikveh Israel is a modern Orthodox synagogue. Its mood is that of historic Judaism as applied to contemporary society.
Congregation House of Jacob-Mikveh Israel believes:
Our Torah is the word of G-d.
The Torah and Jewish law, having patterned the life of our people for almost 3500 years, are applicable to all social situations, in all ages. It continues today as a major, vital, progressive force in Jewish existence.
Many of our present members have faced the problem of correlating the level of their personal observance with the standard of observance set by traditional Judaism. Specifically, they were troubled with the seeming inconsistency of someone who is not a fully observant Jew belonging to an Orthodox synagogue.
The synagogue serves as a spiritual center that points out the goal which we strive to attain for ourselves and our children. Each of us has room to grow in our personal commitment to Jewish living. The important thing is the recognition of the goal towards which we are striving.
RABBI BINYOMIN HALPERN
Raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Rabbi Binyomin Halpern grew up with an appreciation for the Green Bay Packers and tight-knit community togetherness. Rabbi Halpern studied at WITS Yeshiva High School in Milwaukee, just a few blocks from his home, where his father, Rabbi Eliezer Halpern, is a Judaic studies teacher.
After four years of Beit Midrash, post High School Talmudic Study, Rabbi Halpern continued on to New York’s Rabbinical Seminary of America (Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim), to pursue a Rabbinic career. Upon his marriage to his amazing wife Malka, Rabbi Halpern joined the Yeshiva’s Kollel (fellowship) program for six years. Upon receiving his Rabbinic ordination, (semicha) from R.S.A. Rabbi Halpern went on to become a founding member of the Kollel at Yeshiva Madreigas Ha’adam, (Hillcrest, NY) and began teaching Jewish studies at Yeshiva Tiferet Moshe.
Malka holds a dual major in education and special education, with a concentration in Judaic studies, as well as a Masters in Literacy and teaching certificate from the Misrad HaChinuch in Israel. Malka’s love of teaching began as a young child when she would tell her mother to sit on the couch and listen to her lessons. It was exciting to finally have a classroom of her own when she started teaching and directing programs in the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County, a day school in Long Island; a position she held for nine years.
“Seeing the path that my parents took in pursuing careers of Jewish leadership and the fulfillment that they received from those decisions, inspired me to want the same for myself” says Rabbi Halpern.
Over the years, Rabbi Halpern has served as a hospital volunteer for the Wisconsin Jewish Chaplaincy, tutored Jewish public school students through the Jewish Education Program, and has lectured and taught at synagogues and schools whenever possible. He is the author of several books on Halacha (Jewish law) on topics including Hilchot Sta”m (Scribal Laws) and Kashrut.
In 2017 the Halperns moved to Calgary, where Rabbi Halpern served as Associate Rabbi, at House of Jacob until Rabbi Yisroel Miller’s retirement in 2019. Both Rabbi and Rebbetzin Halpern teach Judaics at Halpern Akiva Academy as well.
Rabbi Halpern is certified by the London School of Circumcision, as a mohel and by the Va’ad Mishmereth Stam, as a sofer (scribe).
The Halperns are the proud parents of Sarah, (age 7) Ahuva (age 6) and Shneur (age 3).
“Our HOJMI family has welcomed us from day one” say the Halperns. “We love being part of such a warm, community that is focused on spiritual growth and serving Hashem; each person in their own unique way. We invite you to come experience it for yourself!”
Congregation House of Jacob-Mikveh Israel is the oldest Jewish organization in Alberta. Jacob Lynn Diamond, the first permanent Jewish settler in Alberta, came to Calgary in 1888 from the Vilna area as a fur trader. He and his wife Rachel became the pillars of the town’s fledgling Jewish community. Their home in East Calgary was the Synagogue, ‘Jewish Center’, and even the funeral chapel, until the first Synagogue building, located on 5th Ave. SE, was consecrated in 1912.
Formal organization of the congregation took place in 1909, and it was appropriately named ‘House of Jacob’. Over the years, it spawned independent Jewish organizations such as the Chevra Kadisha, Calgary Talmud Torah, and others.
By the late 1950’s the membership of the parent House of Jacob began to decline. Its original historic site gave way to urban renewal, and the aging congregation found a second home near 12th St. and 12 Ave. SW. Since then, the congregation has succeeded in reestablishing its membership, which now includes many young families drawn to the Synagogue by the warmth and beauty of Jewish life.
House of Jacob is now located at Jerusalem Rd. and 92 Ave. SW. In keeping with its early beginnings, the revitalized House of Jacob-Mikveh Israel has again asserted the role of traditional Judaism in Calgary. Thanks to the gracious support of members and friends of the congregation in Calgary, and in other cities in Canada, and in particular the Koschitzky family of Toronto, Alberta’s oldest center of Jewish life can now look forward to a second youth and a bright future.
Today the Synagogue has a strong family and youth orientation, as well as a strong emphasis on Jewish adult education and outreach through innovative and educational programs. Its future is guaranteed by the new generations growing up in its environment.