September 2017

High Holiday Energy Permeates the City

As this issue of Exodus goes to print, JRCC staff and volunteers are hard at work making last minute preparations for the High Holidays. Rabbis are writing their sermons and insights that will be delivered during the services. Facilities are being outfitted not only with seating for thousands, but also with all the necessary furnishings and religious paraphernalia – arks, Torah scrolls, Bimas, multilingual prayerbooks, and more – needed to convert a theatre or multipurpose room into a synagogue. In addition, volunteers have been delivering thousands of honey packages to homes around the GTA to bring the joy of the holiday to everyone, and the JRCC has been making arrangements for those who are homebound to have rabbis or rabbinical students visit to blow the shofar for them during Rosh Hashana.

Pre-High Holiday Workshops

Ever feel a bit lost during the High Holiday services? Those seeking to enhance their Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur experience were treated to special preparatory classes that helped people get ready for the High Holidays in uplifting and informative ways. The JRCC West Thornhill hosted a series of classes for men and women on High Holiday prayers that provided participants with an overview of the High Holidays and their various customs and prayers. The insights gained certainly made the High Holiday experience more meaningful and enjoyable for all who participated.

Chai Elul Farbrengens

The 18th of Elul, known as Chai Elul (the word chai in Hebrew, which means life, has the numerical value of 18) is a special day on the Jewish calendar. It is the birthday of both the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Chassidic movement, and the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schnuer Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad. It is also the yahrzeit of the Maharal of Prague, a great sage and mystic who is an ancestor of the Alter Rebbe and whose teachings form some of the underpinnings of Chassidic thought. Because the 18th of Elul fell on Shabbat this year, each JRCC branch hosted its own local farbrengen, a gathering where participants connect spiritually, share inspiring wisdom, sing songs, and empower one another to grow and make positive resolutions that add more depth and meaning to their lives.

Kiddie Holiday Chefs

In the lead-up to Rosh Hashana, children and their parents were invited to participate in a special version of the popular Kiddie Chefs program. Participants at two locations, JRCC S Richmond Hill & Maple and JRCC East Thornhill, were treated to an uplifting experience. Together, parents and children prepared a traditional holiday food and engaged in a holiday-themed craft, as they gained insights into the beauty and meaning of Rosh Hashana. Kiddie Chefs programs, a hand-on learning experience, take place every month or two, and connects the content of the activities to the upcoming holiday when relevant.

New Year Begins at JRCC Schools

The new school year is off to a great start at the JRCC, thanks to the preparation and hard work of the staff at the JRCC Hebrew School and the JRCC Preschool & Daycare. Students have already learned about the significance of the holidays through interactive activities and art projects, and began using the acclaimed Aleph Champ system to learn to read Hebrew. The JRCC Hebrew School offers a friendly and stimulating Sunday and/or after-school program at eight locations throughout the GTA. Visit for a list of times and locations. The Preschool and Daycare offers an enriching ECE program based on Montessori principles. Visit for more information.