MAY 2019 


The longstanding custom of post-Passover challah baking known as Shlissel Challah, was celebrated simultaneously in seven JRCC Branches following Passover last month. Though communal Challah baking sessions are organized throughout the year, and are a tremendous source communal blessing for those in need, the post-Passover challah baking is known to be especially auspicious for eliciting healing energy and sustenance. The custom usually involved a key - according to some versions the key is baked into the challah, some pierce the challah with a key, and some bake a challah shaped like a key. They “key” connection is that the channel from which heavenly blessings flow is often referred to as a gate - such as, the gates of mercy, the gates of healing, the gates of forgiveness, the gates of wealth, etc. Since we are asking that the gates of blessings be open, we symbolically connect a key to the custom, as if to say that this challah will serve as a key to open the gates of blessings for the Jewish people.


Throughout the year, the JRCC organizes various events and educational programs specifically for women. As the days get longer after the Passover holiday, it is customary to set aside some time on Shabbat afternoon for the study of Pirkei Avot, the Ethics of the Fathers. The JRCC’s Institute of Jewish Studies recently launched its annual Summer Women’s Classes, with dozens of women coming together in three locations each week. Every Shabbat afternoon women gather to network, connect, and glean wisdom from the Sages through study focused on one chapter of Pirkei Avot.


On May 6, the JRCC marked the birthday of the Rebbe Maharash, Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch, with a special farbrengen (Chassidic gathering) at the [email protected], complete with food, song and words of wisdom. One of the Rebbe Maharash’s best known teachings is the approach of “L’chatchila ariber” – elevating oneself above life’s challenges without hesitation. Indeed, that is one of the cornerstones of what a farbrengen gathering is all about – listening and supporting one another trough the challenges we face in living meaningful, spiritual lives, so that we may transcend those challenges together as we learn and grow from them. Stay tuned for upcoming farbrengens in the community.


The GTA Jewish community experienced another amazing Lag B’Omer Family Celebration at Earl Bales Park on May 23. Organized by the JRCC together with Tzivos Hashem Canada and The Interactive Torah Education Centre, and generously sponsored by Natan and Flora Aronshtam, the annual carnival-like Lag B’Omer event draws thousands of people from different communities throughout the GTA and beyond for an afternoon of fun and unity. This year’s event featured live music, a bird show, rides, and carnival games, along with a children’s rally and parade, a bonfire, and lots of awesome food. By far the greatest aspect of the event is the mere fact that some many Jewish people from different backgrounds celebrated together – a tremendous show of unity that is very much in the spirit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, for whom the day of Lag B’Omer is established. Thank you to all staff, volunteers and Rabbi Yonah Vilenken from Tzivos Hashem and TIJEC. 


The JRCC and the Library staff express gratitude and appreciation for books recently donated to the JRCC Library by Dr. Alexander Aronov, the family of Eugenia Solomonovna Shuster, of blessed memory, and Alexa Salmon. The additional books will expand the Library’s collection, enrich the minds and lives of people on our community, and bring added joy to more readers and lovers of modern literature. Thank you very much!