April 2011 News


Over 600 People Attend JRCC Passover Seders

Over 600 people attended Community Passover Seders organized by the Jewish Russian Community Centre in 8 locations throughout the Greater Toronto Area on April 18 and 19. 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.

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.


Passover Matzah & Food Packages

Thanks to the assistance of dozens of volunteers, the JRCC distributed over 3,500 packages of hand-made shmurah matzah, the unleavened bread that is a must have for the Passover Seders. The Rebbe specified that even those who use regular matzah later in the holiday should be sure to have shmurah matzah for the Seder. The JRCC also sold over 2,000 pounds of matzah through its office and delivered 600 holiday food packages to needy families from the Former Soviet Union in conjunction with the NCJW, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to share in the joy of the Passover holiday. Special thanks to all the volunteers who made the time to personally deliver the matzahs and food packages.


How to Passover

For dozens of people who attended the JRCC’s pre-Passover workshop, it was a valuable learning opportunity that they just couldn’t, um, pass over. A whole slew of preparatory Passover classes were hosted this year by each of the JRCC rabbis in their respective neighbourhoods. In addition to insightful classes highlighting the meaning and inner significance of Passover, several classes placed particular focus on the practical aspects of celebrating Passover, with workshops demonstrating how to conduct an enjoyable Seder at home. Several additional programs were geared specifically for women: The JRCC Thornhill Woods dedicated its monthly Women’s Circle gathering to preparing for Passover, enjoying a kosher wine tasting and Passover tips. A joint program was hosted by the JRCC @ Rockford, West Thornhill and East Thornhill in which Nechama Dina Jacobson presented a practical guide to a successful (and stress free) Passover experience. 

The Feast of Moshiach

The last day of Passover is particularly associated with Moshiach and the future redemption. The Haftarah (reading from the Prophets) for this day is from Isaiah 11, which describes the promised future era of universal peace and divine perfection. Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Chassidic movement, instituted the custom of partaking of a "Moshiach's Feast" on the afternoon of the last day of Passover; in addition to the matzah eaten at "Moshiach's Feast", the Rebbes of Chabad added the custom of drinking four cups of wine, as in the Seder held on Passover's first days. Each JRCC branch conducted its own Moshiach Feast toward evening at the conclusion of Passover, including the JRCC S Richmond Hill which held it for the first time. Heartfelt songs and words of inspiration focused on the dream of the imminent redemption and the coming of Moshiach. In addition, a special Moshiach Feast for women was hosted by Nechama Dina Jacobson of the JRCC West Thornhill. For more information about Moshiach, visit www.jrcc.org/moshiach.


Daycare Visits the Matzah Bakery

Students attending the JRCC Preschool and Daycare were treated to a hands-on programs that enabled them to experience Passover related activities first hand. Students took a special field trip to the Children’s Matzah Bakery. The children were able to learn how matzah is made, from the grinding of the wheat into flour to the baking of the matzah in 18 minutes flat. They even got to don their own baker hats and take rolling pins to the dough to make their own matzahs. For more information on the JRCC Preschool and Daycare, please visit www.jrcc.org/daycare or call 416.222.7105.


Learn “The Whole Torah”

Last month, the JRCC joined thousands of congregations and communities around the world in celebrating the annual completion of the study of the magnum opus authored by the Rambam (Maimonides).

As Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz writes, “the Rebbe, however, opened a new epoch in Torah, a path that actualizes the Rambam's original intent in compiling the Mishneh Torah, as Maimonides himself elaborates in his introduction to that work: the path of "learning the entire Torah... in the entirety of Torah literature there is not a single work – not the Mishnah and Talmud, none of the halachic or agadaic Midrashim, etc – that encompasses the totality of Torah.”

About one hundred people gathered for the gathering hosted by the JRCC @ Rockford, in which the teachings on the Rambam and their importance were discussed and celebrated.


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-Passover challah baking is known to be especially auspicious for eliciting healing energy and sustenance. As always, participants enjoyed the community experience, and were amazed at how easy it is to bake delicious, fresh home-made Challah. 

Kids Cook Up a Storm

The JRCC S Richmond hill launched a new creative cooking program for kids called Kiddie Chefs, which combined Challah Baking and arts & crafts in a fun-filled evening program. “Learning through creative mediums like baking and art is really effective,” explains Sara Zaltzman, who lead the program. “The kids are much more engaged and open when they are involved with a satisfying and enjoyable activity that accompanied the learning.” And it’s fun.