May 2013 News



Last month, a few days before the holiday of Shavuot, the JRCC West Thornhill hosted an enjoyable and inspiring evening for women featuring a flower arranging workshop and dairy treats, in honor of the upcoming festival. The evening featured the creation of floral masterpieces with designer Suzanne Kaye, and an assortment of dairy treats presented by Chava Degandarias. Participants discussed the approaching holiday of Shavuot, its relevance to modern-day life, and, of course, its connection to flowers and dairy food. 



Hundreds of children and adults attended the annual reading of the Ten Commandments on Shavuot at the various JRCC community synagogues on Wednesday, May 15. The children were treated to the now famous Shavuot Ice Cream Party, while the adults enjoyed words of wisdom while celebrating the receiving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai over 3,000 years ago, along with a light buffet. The event was held simultaneously at all JRCC branches, with some branches holding multiple readings and parties throughout the day to accommodate everyone’s schedules.
On Tuesday night, mass insomnia hit as several dozen people turned up for the traditional all night learning sessions, joining classes on various topics and ask the rabbi sessions, delving into Jewish teachings until the break of dawn. 




With the opening of a second location in Richmond Hill, the JRCC Hebrew School currently operates at a total of eight locations in Richmond Hill, Maple, Concord, Thornhill, and North York. Sessions are available at various times and days of the week.
The Hebrew School program was also expanded to include classes for post Bar and Bat Miztvah students, in order to bridge the gap between the Bar/Bat Mitzvah programs and the Teen Club for High School students. Next year, the JRCC hopes to add even more session options and further expand the segment for the older children.
The JRCC Hebrew Schools provide a Jewish environment within the child’s own neighborhood, with his/her own friends, and is a convenient after-school activity for the parents. The opportunity to learn what it means to be Jewish through engaging in Jewish history, Hebrew language, and becoming familiar with Jewish holidays and other observances, solidifies the Jewish identity in the child’s mind. The acclaimed Aleph Champ program 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 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. The children become a conduit of Jewish information for their families, and a source of Jewish pride for their parents and grandparents.
To give your child the gift of Jewish education, and to give yourself the gift of Jewish naches, contact the JRCC Hebrew School at 416.222.7105 x225 or visit Registration is now open for September 2012, and a limited number of scholarships are available. 



On Monday morning, April 29, Rabbis Yoseph Y. and Mendel
Zalzman of the Jewish Russian Community Centre of Ontario were sitting at the Omni Jewels & Java Cafe at Bathurst and Glencairn for a meeting with Igor Korenzvit, Chairman of the JRCC’s Board of Governors, and Joe Feldman, the JRCC’s long-time volunteer legal advisor. The four were planning to discuss the continued development of the JRCC’s new Furniture Bank in Thornhill over breakfast. But before they could start their meal, they got more than they bargained for.
The cafe also houses a store of the popular Omni Jewelcrafters chain. At about 10:00 a.m., three men burst suddenly into the cafe, with hoodies covering their faces and guns drawn.
“They came brandishing some implement that was meant to look like a gun and was wrapped in plastic bags,” one witness said. “I immediately assumed that it was not really a gun.”
Acting erratically, the three men forced the cafe patrons to lie on the floor while they made way to to the Jewelry store section, and screamed at the clerk, demanding access to the vault in the back room and cash. Two of the robbers proceeded to smash the glass display cases and remove the jewelry, while the third stood watch near the door. The entire operation took less than five minutes, and the thieves were long-gone before the police arrived. A witness managed to get the license plate number of the getaway car, but it ended up being a stolen car that did not result in any leads pointing to the perpetrators. There were about 20 customers dining in the cafe at the time, all of whom were forced to lie on the ground, but they were not harmed or robbed.
“Going through an experience like this brings a lot of things to
mind,” expressed Rabbi Yoseph Y. Zaltzman. “First of all, we realize how precious and precarious life can be, and that we shouldn’t take things for granted. And we should be grateful and thank G‑d when we make it through a frightening and potentially violent situation without being harmed. It also brings to mind how we can apply spiritual teachings in different situations, such as the Tanya’s instructions about keeping our emotions in check by empowering the mind to rule over the heart. In general, it is a useful skill to master in one’s life that can have many benefits, but in a volatile situation like a robbery, where one wrong move can result in disaster, G‑d forbid, it can be life-saving.”
And, perhaps, that after all is said and done, life goes on. After giving their statements to the police, the JRCC team headed to the Korenzvit residence to continue their meeting. And later that
afternoon, after the police complete their investigation, Jewels &
Java was open for business as usual. 



This coming June 10-11, the JRCC will be joining thousands of people, from all walks of life and from all over the world, who will visit the Rebbe’s holy resting place and his shul, 770 Eastern Parkway, in Brooklyn. Prayers and requests of G‑d are always important and heard upon high. When they are made on a significant day and especially at a holy site, they are especially heard and accepted by our Father in heaven.
The Zohar teachers that the soul is infinite, and that the soul of a righteous person can, even after the passing, have a profound affect on this world - perhaps even more so that during the physical lifetime of the tzaddik. By connecting to the Rebbe, we elicit his guidance and blessing in our personal lives, for health, sustenance, and spiritual well-being, and in our collective mission as a people.
But beyond being a holy and righteous man, there is something unique about the Rebbe that touches, inspires, and elicits the devotion of so many people from such diverse backgrounds. Many leaders recognize the need of the moment and respond with courage and directions. This is their forte — and an admirable one. Others, though their strength may not lie in "instant response" to current problems, are blessed with the ability of perceptive foresight — knowing what tomorrow will bring and how to best prepare. Still other leaders excel in yet a third distinct area, possessing a keen sense of history and tradition; their advice and leadership is molded by a great sensitivity to the past.
But one who possesses all three qualities was truly unique, standing alone in leadership. Such is the Rebbe — the inspiration and driving force behind the success of Chabad today. Radiating a keen sense of urgency, he demanded much from his followers, and even more from himself, and shows us how by his example.
“The anniversary of when the world heard in 1994, of the Rebbe’s physical passing, is a most opportune time to rededicate ourselves to the Rebbe,” explains Rabbi Levi Jacobson of the JRCC Thornhill and one of the trip’s organizers. “His messages and guidance regarding personal self-improvement and global transformation are as relevant as ever.”
Many in our community have experienced amazing, uplifting moments at these sites. Please consider joining us on this extraordinary journey. If you cannot attend, but would like to write a letter and have it delivered, please contact a JRCC rabbi (see listing below) who can assist you, or drop your letter off at the JRCC office. Please include your Jewish name and your mother’s Jewish name, as well as those of the people you would like mentioned in prayer. May we all see the culmination of the Rebbe’s vision come to fruition with the coming of Moshiach Now.

To learn more about the Rebbe, his life, and his wisdom, visit
To register for the trip, call 416.222.7105.