The JRCC’s annual Public Menorah Lighting, one of over thirty JRCC Chanukah events, was held on the first night of Chanukah, Tuesday, December 12 at Mel Lastman Square. The event, sponsored by Stan Cho and his family, attracted over 300 community members, local residents, as well as a number of passers by who were curious about the festive event, live music, refreshments and the 13-foot tall menorah in front of City Hall. Several dignitaries and public figures were in attendance, including Toronto Mayor John Tory and members city council, who honored the celebration and the community with their presence and their warm words.


The fourteenth annual JRCC Chanukah Wonderland Carnival brought an exciting day of activities to the Lebovic Campus in Maple to the delight of over 1,000 participants. As in past years, the event was held at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre. Continuing a development that began last year, the SRC partnered with the JRCC’s Chanukah Wonderland, rather than holding its own Chanukah carnival, which made the annual event even more spectacular and diverse than ever. The event featured amazing performances by Doo Doo the Clown and Steve the Magician, as well Mad Science and Animal Shows. The community was also treated to a special visit by Canadian MP Peter Kent, who stopped by to show his support. Parents and children enjoyed an afternoon full of different activities: An expanded crafts area coordinated by the wonderful people at Ashkenaz Foundation, menorah making and olive press workshops, rides, carnival games, while live music played throughout the day.


All JRCC branch and program held their own unique Chanukah parties for its participants, complete with a menorah lighting and Chanukah refreshments like doughnuts and latkes. Several branches hosted evenings especially for adults, including JRCC South Thornhill (Chanukah Cafe evening), JRCC S Richmond Hill & Maple (Bistro Chanukah evening), JRCC West Thornhill (Wine & Cheese) and JRCC East Thornhill (Saturday night Chanukah Cafe evenings). These festive evenings, billed as “An Adult’s Night Out,” giving parents in the community the opportunity to get together and meet new friends in a relaxed setting while enjoying refreshments and entertainment, lighting the Menorah together, and enjoying the festival atmosphere. For children, there were special Chanukah parties just for kids, featuring activities and crafts focused on “edu-tainment” to teach kids about Chanukah in a fun way, including a Chanukah Kids Party at the JRCC West Thornhill and Kiddie Holiday Chefs Chanukah Parties at the JRCC East Thornhill and the JRCC S Richmond Hill & Maple, where children made dreidels and baked their own Chanukah treats.


Farbrengens, or “informal gatherings,” are a regular and central part of community life, where friends and neighbors get together, usually to mark important collective and personal dates and milestones. Farbrengens generally feature one or more persons leading the gathering with stories and Torah thoughts, as participants share words of wisdom, encouragement and song, while enjoying l’chains and refreshments. There were several farbrengens at the JRCC in the last few weeks. The highlights included Shabbat gatherings at all JRCC Branches to mark 14 Kislev, the Rebbe’s anniversary date, which carries special significance as the date that “connected” the Rebbe to his father-in-law, the previous Rebbe, and hence to the Chassidim.