October 2012 News


JRCC Women's Events     

Women's Rosh Chodesh gatherings were held at JRCC Branches in honor of the new month of Kislev - a luminous month containing several historic festive occasions, culminating in Chanukah toward the end of the month. The JRCC East Thornhill, for example, celebrated with a Chanukah-themed evening focusing on the significance of oil, one of the main focuses of the festival of Chanukah. Participants created their own blends of herbal oil, and bottle it to take home and sampled the traditional Chanukah oil infused delicacies of donuts and latkes, while enjoying a meaningful discussion on the spiritual and metaphoric significance of oil. At the JRCC S Richmond Hill and Maple, participants enjoyed a wine and cheese evening, and spoke about the story of Judith, one of the heroes of the Chanukah story.    


Tasting the Tree of Life    

The IJS launched its fall-winter semester to much acclaim. Several new courses at the JRCC delighted and inspired participants of all backgrounds. Rabbi Levi Jacobson lead a series titled "Kabbalah: Mystical School of Thought" at the JRCC West Thornhill, which explored the fundamental concepts of Jewish mysticism. The JRCC @ Rockford continued with its monthly Saturday night Trivia Night series, where participants learn and test their knowledge in the interactive format of a friendly competition. A weekly course called "Torah Studies" that tackles contemporary issues based on thoughts from the weekly Torah portion was launched at the two JRCC branches of West Thornhill and East Thornhill.


Sukkot Celebrations

Sukkot is referred to in Judaism as "the time of our rejoicing," and hundreds of people of all ages participated in JRCC Sukkot family celebrations all week long. All the JRCC branches hosted festival services during the holiday. 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 JRCC East Thornhill set up a moonbounce ride for the kids, and brought out Doo Doo the Clown to entertain, while the JRCC S Richmond Hill and Maple created a Smores in the Sukkah theme where participants were able to make everyone’s favorite campfire treat with marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate. In addition, the JRCC @ Rockford held a special Sukkah Party for its Teen Club, and the JRCC Preschool and Daycare invited families for dinner in the Sukkah on the first night of Sukkot.
In all, it is estimated that over 1,000 people participated in seven different events, not including the five adult events listed below.

Sukkot Events for Adults

As great as it is to get together and celebrate with the entire family, it is also important for parents to have their own time to rejoice in their own way — to focus on their own spiritual growth and social activities. So several JRCC branches held evenings for adults during Sukkot. The JRCC @ Rockford held a Soup in the Sukkah evening where participants tasted different types of soups, shared words of wisdom, and sang songs late into the night. At the JRCC West Thornhill the theme was Sushi and Sake in the Sukkah, giving the Sukkot celebration a decidedly eastern flavor. The JRCC East Thornhill combines its Sukkot celebration with a party celebrating the Birthday of Rabbi Mendel Zaltzman.
Community members demonstrated their love for their rabbi and their desire to partake in the holiday spirit by continuing the celebration until the early hours of the morning. The JRCC S Richmond Hill and Maple also hosted a Soup in the Sukkah evening at their new location on Bathurst Street, where the warmth of the soups and bread selections was ourweighed only by the warmth of the atmosphere in the Sukkah. The joy even spread as far as Waterloo, where the JRCC co-hosted a party for Russian-speaking Jews together with Chabad of Waterloo, with Rabbi Yoseph Y. Zaltzman attending the event. “This event is part of our plan to partner with other organizations in outlying areas where there is a significant but small Jewish Russian community,” explains Rabbi Zaltzman. “Our mandate is to serve the needs of all Jews of former Soviet Union descent residing in Ontario wherever they may live, and the JRCC is committed to creating programs and services that meet their needs.”

Monday Night Live

On Monday evening, October 8, 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.