April, 2015

Over 500 Attend Communal Passover Seders

The Passover Seder is a universal Jewish ritual observed almost identically by Jews around the world, regardless of their affiliation or level or observance. It is the quintessential reliving of the quintessential Jewish experience. Over 500 people attended Community Passover Seders organized by the Jewish Russian Community Centre in 12 locations on April 3 and 4. The Seders provided people with the opportunity to experience a traditional Seder in a warm and welcoming environment with family and friends. The insightful guidance and explanations of the presiding rabbis enriched the Seder with added meaning and depth, while the camaraderie and singing enhanced the jubilant holiday atmosphere. In addition, dozens more families were able to make traditional Seders at home - many for the first time - thanks to the assistance and instruction of JRCC staff and rabbis. Special Seders were also organized by volunteers for youth and seniors.

Model Seder at JRCC Hebrew School

The JRCC Hebrew School prepared its students well for the Passover Seder by conducting an entire reenactment of the Seder. After learning about the significance of Passover and what the Seder is all about, each of the five Hebrew School branches held its own Model Seder, during which they went through the entire Seder experience. This enabled the students to feel more ready the Seder since they know what to do and what to expect, and in some cases the children took leadership roles in their family Seders.

Post-Passover Challah Baking

A tradition of communal challah baking following Passover, known as Shissel Challah, was celebrated simultaneously in five locations last month. Though communal Challah baking sessions are organized throughout the year, and are a tremendous source communal blessing for those in need, the post-assover challah baking is known to be especially auspicious for eliciting healing energy and sustenance. The custom usually involved a key - according to some versions the key is baked into the challah, some pierce the challah with a key, and some bake a challah shaped like a key. They “key” connection is that the channel from which heavenly blessings flow is often referred to as a gate - such as, the gates of mercy, the gates of healing, the gates of forgiveness, the gates of wealth, etc. Since we are asking that the gates of blessings be open, we symbolically connect a key to the custom, as if to say that this challah will serve as a key to open the gates of blessings for the Jewish people.

Furniture Depot Hosts Open House

The JRCC Furntiure Depot hosted its first ever open house in order to famliarize community leaders and social service organizations with its much-needed community service. The event featured a tour of the facility, a short film explaining the concept and benefits, and a demo of how the website and service work. Forty people participated, and seven organizations signed up to become partner organizations and refer their clients to the Furniture Bank.