June 2013 News


Participants of the Bat Mitzvah Clubs of JRCC @ Rockford, JRCC West Thornhill, JRCC East Thornhill and JRCC S. Richmond Hill & Maple celebrated their graduation together in a joint ceremony attended by their families and friends. The girls spent the last year learning and discovering what becoming a Bat Mitzvah is all about, making friends, and developing a sense of pride in being a Jewish woman. For the graduation ceremony, each girl prepared a short speech, heard blessings from their teachers and community
leaders, enjoyed a wonderful festive meal and atmosphere, and received special gifts. The evening culminated with a beautiful and touching candle lighting ceremony.

Several hundred people from our community, including a few dozen on an organized trip, joined tens of thousands of people from all walks of life and from around the world visited the Rebbe’s synagogue and Lubavitch World Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, New York, and the Ohel, the Rebbe’s holy resting place in Queens. The group also spent some time exploring the Crown Heights neighborhood, and took in words of inspiration and personal stories highlighting the living legacy of the Rebbe. Thank you to Moshe Rubashkin and family for hosting the brunch. 

The JRCC East Thornhill and JRCC West Thornhill both hosted community barbecues last month, providing a casual setting for community residents to meet, connect, interact and enjoy an informal family experience. “These types of events are a great way to get to know one another,” expressed Chanie Zaltzman, Co-Director of the JRCC East Thornhill. “It is also a great opportunity and the perfect environment in which to welcome new people to our community.” The barbecues featured music, activities for kids, and, of course, great food on the grill. Thank you to Arkady Aminov who prepared a classic Buchari dish.  

Those who attended the JRCC East Thornhill community BBQ were treated to a special presentation of the Diamond Jubilee Medal to Rabbi Mendel Zaltzman. The medal was presented by Thornhill MP Peter Kent in recognition of exceptional service to the community and to the people of Canada. Rabbi Mendel, as he affectionately known, took it all in stride, expressing his gratitude for the opportunity to serve as a community rabbi and emissary of the Rebbe, and saying that the award is really a tribute to the achievements of the JRCC as a whole and the community at large. Congratulations Rabbi Mendel! 

In front of proud parents, the JRCC’s Hebrew School students celebrated their accomplishments in special graduation ceremonies at each of the Hebrew School’s eight location. The school events recognized the scholastic achievements of the students in Hebrew language and comprehension, reading, and the basics of Jewish life and culture, including Shabbat, holidays and Jewish song. Many of the students will be continuing their Hebrew studies by enrolling in more advanced sessions of the JRCC Hebrew School or by enrolling full-time in Jewish day schools. The sessions take place on Sundays and weekdays after school in six locations. For information and registration, please visit www.jrcc.org/hebrewschool.

Dozens of people gathered at the JRCC S. Thornhill for an uplifting evening celebrating the life and teachings of the Rebbe Rayatz. His unprecedented release from the soviet gulag not only saved the his life, but also invigorated his followers and Jews everywhere to persevere against soviet persecution. The Rebbe Rayatz viewed it as a liberation with profound spiritual and historic undertones, and encouraged Jews everywhere to celebrate it as a day of freedom from oppression. The evening was lead by Rabbi Yitzchok Rapoport, who grew up in Leningrad and experienced the religious persecution first hand and shared many personal anecdotes.



The JRCC prides itself on providing a comprehensive network of Jewish social and educational programs for children of all ages, from its award-winning Preschool and Daycare, to its Hebrew School, Teen program and activities for university students and young adults. These programs are crucial not only for the educational development of the children and their connection to the Jewish community, but also because the children become a conduit of Jewish information for their families, and a source of Jewish pride for their parents and grandparents.

Last year, a discussion ensued about a growing age group that was increasingly finding itself in the gap between two programs. The JRCC Hebrew Schools provide a Jewish environment for cildren aged 5 to 12, establishing 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. This solidifies the Jewish identity in the child's mind. When children graduate from the Hebrew School program at age 11 or 12, they are then invited to participate in a fun and engaging Bar-Mitzvah or Bat-Mitzvah Club, where they deepen their friendships and expand their understanding of Judaism and what it means to be a Jewish adult. At age 15, the exciting and dynamic Teen Club provides teenagers with a lounge and a wide range of after-school activities, trips and outings. But, if you've been paying attention you'll notice that there is no program for those who are between their Bar/Bat Mitzvah and 15 years old.

Enter the JRCC Post Bar/Bat Mitzvah program, which caters to children, or should we say young adults, ages 13-14. The new program, which will currently be offered at the West Thornhill and the S Richmond Hill & Maple branches, will meet bi-weekly, and aim to provide a meaningful Jewish experience for the thoughtful Jewish pre-teen.

"This age is an interesting time for young adults and it is often overlooked,"explains Mrs. Sarale Zaltzman, who will run the S Richmond Hill & Maple program. "They are no longer children, having outgrown the childhood phase and technically they have completed their rite of passage into adulthood. But they have not yet fully embraced what it means to be an adult, or what it means to be a Jewish adult - things that they will really discover and grow into during their High School years. The aim of this program is to keep them engaged Jewishly and socially, to help them have a good time while they grow and learn during this amazing but sometimes awkward stage of their lives."

The bi-weekly meetings will last about one-and-a-half hours each, and will feature a fun food, such as sushi, pizza or a salad bar, discussions on relevant and meaningful Jewish topics, a cultural activity such as music or art, and a community service program where participants will learn the value of giving back to the community.

For more information, about this exciting new program, please contact Sarale Zaltzman at 416-222-7105 x246 or Nechama Dina Jacobson at 416-222-7105 x252.