anna kupinsky.JPGAnya Kupinsky 

Early Childhood Education Specialist - Richmond Hill 


Where is your family from, and how long have you lived in Ontario?

My family comes from the Ukraine. My mother is from the Vinnytsia region, and my father is from Poltava. I spent my childhood and youth in the city of Chernivtsi. In 1989, we came to Canada and settled in North York. A year ago we moved to Richmond Hill, to be closer to our children and grandchildren. 

What do you do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?

I love to cook for all my family and friends. I enjoy reading a lot. I have an interesting collection of exotic plants. But my real hobby is work associated with art: drawing, development and jewelry design - necklaces, bracelets, earrings. Often I happily wear my creations myself, sometimes I give them to friends and, if it is possible, sometimes I even sell them. It's the same with my paintings: They fill the walls of my house and the houses of my children and friends. 

What are the themes of your paintings?

The main theme of my paintings is life in all its manifestations. However, in the last year and a half I haven’t lifted a brush. My main inspiration, the lover and admirer of my work, my dear husband, unfortunately, after a long and severe illness passed away… And he was so proud of my paintings! My children, Renata and Denis, are always telling me, "Mom, start painting again - Dad would really like this..." 

If you were given the opportunity to meet anyone, alive or dead, who would you choose, and why?

I would put together a table of Shalom Aleichem and my mother. I am fascinated by the works of Shalom Aleichem while he was still in the Soviet Union. In my opinion, his subtle humor, admiration and love for the small Jewish towns, its persistence in the face of adversity and difficulties - are all that helped secure our Jewish identity in the Soviet Union through impossible times. And my mother had an invincible faith in Judaism. Suffice it to say that even in Soviet times, she kept a kosher lifestyle, although we did not understand and often poked fun at her (for which I am really sorry). But she was firm in her religion: She only ate chicken that was slaughtered by a shochets, and she had separate pans for meat and dairy. I remember once before Yom Kippur she shut the door and turned the chicken over my head (for kaparot). Because of her insistence I had a real Chupah (Jewish wedding canopy) with a rabbi, who was brought out of nowhere. Mom said, “If there is no Chupah, there will not be a wedding!" 

Do you participate in JRCC programs?

Twenty-five years ago, when we came to Canada, a young Rabbi Yoseph Zaltzman came to the English lessons, which we had at JIAS (Jewish Immigrant Aid Society), and he would tell us why it is important to discover ourselves as Jews. The JRCC Preschool and Daycare, where I work, is a very important part of the JRCC, and each of its employees are aware of its task in the education of Jewish self-knowledge of our children and their parents.

What are your future plans?

Try to be healthy, start painting, and see the Jewish weddings of my grandchildren. And maybe even wait for great grandchildren.