October 2011 News


Thousands attend High Holiday Services

Continuing in the tradition of past years, this year’s High Holiday services were exceptionally well-attended, with over 3,000 in attendance at several services in seven locations in the Toronto area, including Thornhill, Thornhill Woods, Concord, North York and Richmond Hill. In addition to the large number of people in attendance, community members also purchased a record number of High Holiday tickets, which is much appreciated since it helps the JRCC offset the costs of running the services. Rabbis and volunteers at the various locations accommodated them with thoughtful commentary and guidance during the services, prayerbooks in Hebrew, Russian and English, and an overall atmosphere of warmth, encouragement and acceptance. Special thanks to all the volunteers for their invaluable assistance in making the High Holiday experience joyous and meaningful for so many in our community.



Sukkot Celebrations

Sukkot is referred to in Judaism as "the time of our rejoicing," and hundreds of men, women and children of all ages participated in JRCC Sukkot celebrations all week long. All the JRCC branches hosted festival services during the holiday, with the JRCC Richmond Hill also organizing a communal festive four-course meal on the first night. JRCC branches in North York, West Thornhill, East Thornhill, Thornhill Woods and S Richmond Hill all held family sukkot parties featuring music, prizes, children’s entertainment, and holiday-themed crafts and activities that made the holiday spirit palpable. The entire family was also invited to engage in the sukkot experience by eating in the sukkah and shaking the lulav and etrog. Each party also added its own theme and unique attractions. For example, the S Richmond Hill party was called Spaghetti in the Sukkah, offering participants a potpourri of pasta choices and accompanying sauces, and delicious Sangria, while the East Thornhill party featured a comedic magic show and the opportunity for kids to create their own flags that they later used on Simchat Torah. For the adults, The JRCC East Thornhill held its annual community party coinciding with the celebration of Rabbi Mendel’s 30th birthday, the JRCC West Thornhill hosted "Soup in the Sukkah" evening," where participants got to taste a variety of homemade gourmet soups as they celebrated together, and the JRCC Thornhill Woods organized a “Sukkah Hop,” in which participants visited various sukkahs in the neighbourhood and concluded with Soup in the Sukkah at the Hildeshaim sukkah. “There were so many wonderful activities and events that were organized throughout the city,” observed Sara Zaltzman of the JRCC S Richmond Hill, “But the most amazing part is the expression of the saying of our Sages that the entire Jewish people should sit together in one sukkah. The feeling of unity... of everyone uniting to experience the beauty and joy of sukkot together under one roof, was the most moving thing for me.”

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Thursday Night Live

On Thursday evening, October 20, the joyous dancing of Simchat Torah was celebrated at six separate JRCC Simchat Torah events. Combined, about 2,500 participants enjoyed buffet dinners and l’chaim, followed by uplifting hakafot and dancing. Special programs and prize giveaways were organized for the children to help get them into the holiday spirit. The energy at the JRCC’s Simchat Torah was electrifying as always. All you had to do was walk into the room, and you were automatically swept up into the joyous spirit and just couldn’t help but join in the dancing.


Bar Mitzvah Clubs Start New Semester

The JRCC Bar Mitzvah Clubs began their new annual session last month. Over one hundred 11-12 year-old boys registered for an exciting program that aims to connect them to their Jewish heritage in anticipation of their upcoming Bar Mitzvahs. In addition to Jewish learning, students experience hands-on workshops, field trips, and have plenty of fun together that builds friendships and creates a sense of community. The JRCC West Thornhill inaugurated its Bar Mitzvah Club and Hebrew School with an impressive registration of 30 children. JRCC Bar Mitzvah Clubs programs are available in the early evening every day of the week at various locations. It is still not too late to join the current session. Contact your local JRCC branch, visit www.jrcc.org/bmc or call 416.222.7105 for more information.



Hebrew School off to a Great Start

The JRCC Hebrew School is off to a great start this year thanks to the preparation and hard work of its staff. Students have already learned about the significance of the holidays through interactive activities and art projects. They have also settled into their respective levels of the acclaimed Aleph Champ reading program, which creates an individualized program of study that enables each student to progress in his/her Hebrew Reading skills by graduating to different levels using various colored “belt” levels like in Karate. The Hebrew School program is focused on education through hands-on experience and fun, where Judaism comes to life with a variety of creative art projects, educational games and interactive seminars. Give your child the gift of Jewish education, and to give yourself the gift of Jewish naches. Registration is still open, and a limited number of scholarships are available. The JRCC Hebrew School offers a friendly and stimulating Sunday and/or after-school program at several locations, including the new JRCC West Thornhill location on Centre Street.