August 2013

You’ve Got Mail!

Your Exodus package is a little thicker than usual this month due to the mailing of the JRCC’s annual Calendar and Program Guide, which contains a wealth of information on Jewish holidays, as well as lectures, classes, special events, and community programs throughout the year. Also included is a handy magnet that lists the candle lighting times for Shabbat and Festivals throughout the year. We try to match the items you receive to your interests and preferences. To update your information, or let us know about a friend or family member who would appreciate receiving these items, please contact the JRCC office at 416-222-7105 or


New Arrivals at JRCC Bookstore

The JRCC Bookstore carries a wide selection of great books in English, Russian, Hebrew and Yiddish. That selection is even greater, as a new shipment of books, both new releases and classic titles, just arrived in time for the High Holidays, when the Bookstore experiences more traffic than usual. The Bookstore is available at the JRCC office. See page 16 for office hours or call 416.222.7105 for more information. 


Reminder: High Holidays are Early

It may seem like we are in the middle of summer, but the High Holidays are right around the corner and are approaching even faster than usual this year. Rosh Hashanah falls on Sept. 4-6, 2013, and Yom Kippur falls on Sept. 13-14, 2013. Services will be held at nine locations in the GTA. All are welcome to join the services at any time, but seating is limited, so please reserve your seats as soon as possible by calling 416.222.7105, visiting, or visiting the JRCC office. 


Daycare Summer Program

The JRCC Preschool and Daycare completed its highly successful
summer program, where the usual highly acclaimed program of study and friendly care is augmented with additional field trips and outdoor activities that take advantage of the summer sun. Over 100 children participated, and the reviews have been fantastic. Thank you to the Daycare staff for making it an unforgettable summer. 


Celebrating the 20th of Av

The 20th of Av is a special day in the JRCC community, commemorating the yahrzeit (day of passing) of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Schneerson, the father of the Rebbe. Reb Levik, as he as affectionately known, was known for his piety, kabbalistic scholarship, warmth, and self-sacrifice for the Jewish people, and his life and ideals were celebrated at Shabbat gatherings at all JRCC Branches. The 20th of Av is also the birthday of Rabbi Levi Jacobson, named after Reb Levik, who we also think is a pretty good guy. Happy 40th birthday, Rabbi Jacobson, and mazel tov on 15 amazing years inspiring people from all walks of life in the GTA, and especially in Thornhill. Wishing you many more years of success and fulfillment, together with your wonderful family. 


YEDI off to a Great Start!

YEDInstitute, a new startup accelerator in Toronto & York Region in partnership with the JRCC, is off to a great start. The response was amazing, as hundreds of inquiries and dozens of applications were received. Those selected will take part in a 12-week rigorous and free program based out of the Schulich Executive Education Centre at York University, where entrepreneurs can pursue training, top-tier education, and mentorship in order to refine their ideas and build successful businesses or efficient non-profit organizations. Upon completing the program, graduates will pitch their projects for a chance to receive up to $500,000 in venture funding. 


Rabbi Jacobson Honored for 15 Years of Service

Rabbi Levi Jacobson, director of the JRCC West Thornhill, is presented with a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the community and the JRCC by Rabbi Yoseph Y. Zaltzman, JRCC Senior Rabbi. The certificate reads: “The Jewish Russian Community Centre of Ontario proudly recognizes Rabbi Levi Y. Jacobson for 15 Years of dedicated service to the JRCC West Thornhill Branch, and the Jewish community of the Greater Toronto Area and beyond, and for his valued assistance and guidance to the JRCC organization as a whole. Thank you for making the Rebbe’s teachings and messages relevant and inspiring to each person through your words and deeds.” 


Yizkor: A Prayer of Remembrance

Yizkor, a special memorial prayer for the departed, is recited in the synagogue four times a year, following the Torah reading on the last day of Passover, on the second day of Shavuot, on Shemini Atzeret (after Sukkot) and on Yom Kippur.
Yizkor, in Hebrew, means "Remember." It is not only the first word of the prayer, it also represents its overall theme. In this prayer, we implore G‑d to remember the souls of our relatives and friends that have passed on.
In Yizkor, the souls of the departed are remembered in prayer to G‑d and in monetary pledges to charity. It is founded upon the principle that a Mitzvah of the living affects the souls of the deceased when performed in their memory. On Yom Kippur, Yizkor is recited to ask for atonement and give charity on behalf of the deceased since even the deceased require atonement. For this reason, Yom Kippur is commonly referred to in the plural: Yom Hakippurim (The day of Atonement), to include atonement for the living as well as the deceased. Yizkor is also recited on Shmini Atzeret (after Sukkoth), on the last days of Pesach, and on Shavuot. On these days, the Torah reading stresses the importance of charity “Every man according to what his hand can give”. The Midrash states that even departed souls require redemption. Redemption is brought about by means of charity as in the verse “Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and those who return to her with Tzedakah [Charity]”.
When we recite Yizkor, we renew and strengthen the connection
between us and our loved one, bringing merit to the departed souls, elevating them in their celestial homes.
The main component of Yizkor is our private pledge to give charity following the holiday in honor of the deceased. By giving charity, we are performing a positive physical deed in this world,
something that the departed can no longer do. The soul gains additional merit if the memory of its good deeds spur their loved ones to improve their ways.
It is customary for those with both parents alive to leave the synagogue during the Yizkor service. A mourner during the first year remains in the synagogue, but does not recite the Yizkor. Some kindle a 24-hour Yizkor candle (before the holiday). To participate in the communal Yizkor prayer, visit your local JRCC Branch on one of the holidays mentioned above. The next Yizkor
prayers will occur on Yom Kippur, which falls on September 14, 2013, at approximately 11:00am. To find the nearest location or for more information, call 416.222.7105 or visit