Community Shabbat Dinners

In November, the JRCC branches in West Thornhill, East Thornhill and Rockford each hosted a Friday night Community ShabbatDinner. The evening, which was open to anyone, brought together dozens of regular community participants as well as many new faces. The evening – filled with great food, good company, a friendly atmosphere, and of course the wonderful, uplifting tranquility ofShabbat – was a great opportunity for families and people of all agesto spend time with friends, get to know new people, and connect with their community.

Cooking Demo by Surie Weinberg

The JRCC hosted special “Healthy Family. Healthy You.” evenings with Surie Weinberg at two of its branches last month. The evenings, hosted by the JRCC S Richmond Hill and Maple on November 13 and by the JRCC East Thornhill and JRCC Concord (at the Concord branch), featured a cooking demo and talk showcasing how to increase winter immunity as well as long term disease prevention. Surie, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, shared immunity boosting food ideas and led a cooking demo and presentation. Participants also enjoyed a nourishing soup bar, as Surie also shared elements of her fascinating personal story and journey about how healthy eating transformed her health and healed her from a debilitating condition.

Kabbalah Seminar

The JRCC at 18 Rockford was honored to once again host acclaimed scholar Rabbi Micheal Gitik for a mini-Seminar in Russian based on Kabbalistic teachings under the theme of Personal Redemption. About twenty people enjoyed insightful lectures on “The Era of Moshiach” and “Self Discovery,” followed by a lively question and answer session.

Near Normal Man

The JRCC East Thornhill hosted a truly special evening, featuring a screening of “Near Normal Man” and conversation with its protagonist, Holocaust survivor Ben Stern. Near Normal Man is a half-hour documentary film, told in a first-hand account by Ben Stern, a Polish Jew, who survives two ghettos, nine concentration camps and two death marches. The Nazis identify him as one of the dangerous Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto. Despite his suffering, Ben’s courage, kindness and faith remain intact, and are tested once again in a fiercely public battle against the Nazis in Skokie, Illinois. Participants were deeply moved and inspired by the powerful film, as well as the intensely personal discussion with Mr. Stern that followed.

RCS Off to a Great Start

The JRCC’s Rosh Chodesh Society for women launched a new seven-part course last month called “Insight,” which focuses on practical wisdom from the Rebbe’s teachings that provide insight into meaningful living in the real world. The course began with a discussion of the core teachings that informed the Rebbe’s indefatigable optimism and positive outlook on the world. Participants gained tools to help dig beneath the surface and uncover the goodness and virtue within, resulting in an entirely different view of the world. The women left having experienced a truly inspiring, mind-shifting experience, and a thirst to learn more life-changing ideas in the upcoming monthly installments of the course. For details, times and locations, visit

Babka-llah: New Twists on Old Traditions

One of the age-old Jewish philosophical dilemmas going back centuries (and maybe more), is: When baking, should you bake a challah or a chocolate babka? Being a revolutionary and progressive organization, the JRCC has decided to do something revolutionary: We’ll do both. Together. At the same time. Yes, it might sound crazy. You might not want to try this at home. But don’t worry, we know what we’re doing. Through its newly minted CKids program at the JRCC East Thornhill, two dozen children and their parents baked their own chocolate babka and kneading backing and shaping their own challahs – all from scratch.