Peggy Jacobson Pardo
At the age of 12, I joined Young Judea, started to learn Hebrew and had a desire to move to Israel. Life happened and I got married at 19 and had two beautiful daughters.
I had begun a search for truth at the age of 16 due to physical pain. Over the years, I investigated many religions, ideologies, philosophies including the New Age, studied psychology, became a hypnotherapist, but always felt empty inside. In 1989, I was about to visit the Lubavitcher’s due to its similar beliefs to the New Age, I was sidetracked instead to the Hebrew – Christian movement, which later became the Messianic movement. I attended Bible Study and went through a change in my soul where the emptiness disappeared however when I was advised to attend church, I would come home weeping. I was a Jew and nothing could change that.
In 1992, Rabbi Percy Johnson arrived in Montreal and set out to found a congregation, Kehilat She’ar Yashuv ( of which I was co-founder. Here we could learn how to live the life of Torah as Jews outside the tenets of religion.
Slowly over time, in the same way that the Israelites were weaned away from the gods of Egypt, Ranebi helped to wean us away from the gods of our past, which would now include the man-made god, Jesus. He showed us that the Torah was clear that the only God, the Bore Olam is the Creator of the Universe and that man is not God.
He taught us to see Yeshua for who he was, a prophet, a great teacher,, a rabbi at the time of the Romans, who wanted his people, Israel to return to the written teachings of Moses in the Torah, specifically the Ten Commandments, so that we could fulfill our calling to be “ohr l’goyim”, light to the nations. We left Messianic Judaism along with all the other “isms” except for Biblical Judaism and its book, the Torah, which is a Book that holds life and healing in all its pages.
In September 2020, our Creator took Ranebi home to be with Him. It was a shock, but I knew that I had a decision to make. I remembered him telling us that if this congregation depended upon him to remain open, then it was not from God. Ranebi left us with teachings that live on. He would say to me, there’s nothing left to teach; now my students need to live the Torah and appropriate its moral values, live and teach them to others.
I immediately went to work setting up our new board and reworking our constitution with the continuation of our community in mind. Now I can see the wisdom in our rabbi’s words. My desire as an ordained (I received Smichah in 2010) leader at Kehilat She’ar Yashuv, is to continue to the work Ranebi began.
The Shabbat messages from the weekly Torah portions are now taught by four people, Sr. Mauricio Quintero from El Salvador, Sr. Alejandro Alvarado, who is also an ordained leader and who serves as one of our Hazans (Cantors), a past recorded message from our rabbi and by me. The three of us do not have a degree in theology as our Rabbi did, but neither did the people who stood at the base of Mt Sinai where they heard the voice of the Creator. This community is in my blood and I look forward to seeing how God will lead us in the days ahead.
Sr. Mauricio Quintero
Mauricio Quintero is a businessman, husband, and father of three children and resides in El Salvador. He was first introduced to our Rabbi about 7 years ago by Rabbi Iosef Chemi from Argentina. Rabbi Chemi was mentored by and later became a colleague of our Rabbi for many years. Mauricio began attending our rabbi’s Tuesday Torah studies and he too became his Talmid (student). His love for the principles of Torah and the God of Israel left him quite alone not only in his family but all those around him. Undeterred, he continued to study under Rabbi Percy and after his death, Mauricio devoted himself continuing the rabbi’s work through this community. He accepted the role of President of the non-profit organization in the US called She’ar Yashuv International and shortly afterwards accepted a role on the board of KSY Canada. He hosts our Spanish “tertulia” (Discussion Group) once a week and delivers the parashah message once a month. We call upon Mauricio on many occasions to help answer more difficult biblical questions and he is always ready with detailed and well researched responses.
We are so grateful to have him as our head teacher. His love for the Torah and his knowledge of both Talmud and New Testament allow him to be an excellent teacher and especially since he always remains humble. Our community is blessed to have three people whose love for Torah shines through in their lives not as a religion but in word and in deed.
Mi esposa Yanet y yo llegamos a Canadá en octubre de 1992 con nuestro hijo Andrés, que en ese momento tenía 1 año. Nuestras hijas, Adrianna y Ann-Marie nacieron aquí en Canadá. Poco después de llegar a Canadá, conocimos al rabino Percy Johnson, quien era invitado a hablar en las iglesias donde él hablaba acerca de las raíces judías del cristianismo. Fue así como empezamos a conocer nuestras raíces judías y comenzamos a adentrarnos cada vez más en este conocimiento. Asistimos a eventos en Kehilat She’ar Yashuv donde celebramos las fiestas bíblicas y poco a poco nos fuimos sumergiendo en la vida judía de una manera más participativa y con una conciencia más clara acerca de lo que estábamos aprendiendo.
Asistíamos a la congregación cada Shabat y pronto nos convertimos en miembros de la congregación. Desde entonces hemos participado plena y activamente en cada evento y festividad porque nos sentimos parte de esta comunidad. A través de las enseñanzas de nuestro amado rabino, a lo largo de los años hemos crecido como familia e individualmente, aprendiendo a vivir los principios de la Torá.
La familia Alvarado tiene habilidades y destrezas naturales en las artes culinarias, entretenimiento y organización de fiestas. Han organizado bodas, Bar Mitzvot y otros eventos nuestros. Alejandro fue ordenado ministro en nuestra comunidad en 2021. Después de la muerte de nuestro rabino en septiembre de 2020, dado que era uno de sus mejores talmidim (alumnos), Alejandro ahora entrega un mensaje sobre el parashá una vez al mes a nuestra comunidad y figura como uno de nuestros maestros. También participó en nuestra junta interina durante el primer año durante la reestructuración después de la muerte de nuestro rabino, hasta que pudimos reemplazarlo con un miembro de la junta a tiempo completo. Él, su esposa Yanet y su hijo, quienes tienen hermosas voces para cantar, dirigen nuestros servicios litúrgicos cada Shabat y Festivales. Nos sentimos honrados y bendecidos de tener a la familia Alvarado sirviendo en nuestra comunidad durante casi 30 años. (Peggy Pardo, Administradora Kehilat Shear Yashuv)
My wife, Yanet, and I arrived in Canada in October 1992 with our son, Andrés, who was 1 year old at the time. Our daughters were born here in Canada. Soon after we arrived in Canada, we met Rabbi Percy Johnson who was invited to speak at churches where he introduced the people to the Jewish Roots of Christianity. That is how we began to learn about our Jewish roots and decided to leave Christianity. We attended events at Kehilat She’ar Yashuv where we celebrated the Biblical holidays and little by little, we became immersed into Jewish life in a more participatory way and with more knowledge.
We attended the congregation every Shabbat and soon became members. From that moment on we have fully and actively participated in every event and holiday because we feel part of this community. Through the teachings of our beloved rabbi, over the years we have grown as a family and individually, learning to live the principles of the Torah.
The Alvarado family have natural abilities and skills in catering, entertaining and party management. They have organized weddings, bar mitzvahs and all our events. Alejandro was ordained as a minister in our community in 2021. After the death of our rabbi in September 2020, since he was one of his best talmidim, Alejandro now delivers a message on the parashah once a month to our community and is listed as one of our teachers. Alejandro sat on our interim board for the first year during the restructuring after the death of our rabbi, until we were able to replace him with a full-time board member. He, his wife Yanet, and son, who all have beautiful singing voices, lead our liturgical services every Shabbat and Festivals. We are honored and blessed to have the Alvarado family serving in our community for almost 30 years.
(Peggy Pardo, Administrator Kehilat Shear Yashuv)