Elena Grouzmanfacecommfeb18.JPG

Winemaking Specialist


How long have you lives in Ontario, and why did you choose Thornhill?

I’ve lived in Toronto since 1990. First we lived in Forest Hill area, a very beautiful area with old parks and traditional houses often chosen by wealthy people, mostly third-generation Canadians. Since housing in Forest Hill was very expensive, and we at that time, like most newcomers, had limited financial resources, we decided to move to Thornhill. We did not regret it. In Thornhill we found a like-minded community of people with similar stories and life histories, a vibrant Jewish Russian-speaking community with active synagogues. As a result, our worldview and connection to Judaism was transformed, deepening our understanding of our religion and allowing it to play a greater role in our lives.

Where does your family come from?

We came from Odessa, the famous city on the Black Sea coast. Odessa produced a number of internationally renowned writers, musicians, poets and artists. It could be safely called "the Jewish city" of that time, since it was the Jews who formed the unique "Odessa color". It was customary to send children to the gymnasium, a Jewish hospital was set up, and there was a well-known school for talented children (often from poor families) named Stolyarsky. At the world-famous Moldavanka - the traditional area for poor Jews - the focus was Jewish life, with several synagogues that were once functional but later, during my time there, became disused since it became unsafe to be openly Jewish. I remember that matzah was baked underground for Passover on the outskirts of the city, and everyone bought it secretly. My parents knew Yiddish, but even inside the family they tried not to speak it.

What do you do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?

I'm engaged in singing and drawing, from which I derive a lot of pleasure. I enjoy creating a finished work from nothing, and to give joy to other people.

When did you start to participate in JRCC programs? What do they mean to you and your family?

The programs created by JRCC have helped me from the very beginning. They unite people, convey important knowledge and information, and fill the soul with warmth and care.

What are your future plans?

I plan to bring a variety of new alcoholic kosher drinks to Ontario. We currently bring wines and liqueurs made from berries – raspberries, strawberries, blueberries – which have several advantages. The berries grow in the wild, rather than on farms, so they are environmentally friendly healthy, without pesticides and chemicals. Berry wine also contains all the vitamins and minerals found in fresh berries. It has a very unique taste, that many people enjoy even prefer. And, perhaps most importantly, the wine is kosher without requiring pasteurization often used to make grape wine kosher, a process that also lowers the quality of the wine.