On the eve of Purim, over 1,500 people participated in simultaneous community Purim parties at JRCC Branches and other locations in the GTA. Each of the parties included a Megillah reading, music, refreshments and prizes for every child in costume. All of the parties were warm and lively community events that focused on the children, and many included amazing top-notch entertainment, such as the JRCC S Richmond Hill & Maple Bubble Show, the JRCC East Thornhill Clown Magic Show, the JRCC West Thornhill The Ben Show (juggling and more), the JRCC Hilda Gilmard Live Music, the JRCC Concord Magic of Aaron Mathews, the JRCC Rockford Mad Science Show, and the JRCC of the City Arts and Magic Show.


On Tuesday, March 10, over 500 people joined the JRCC’s annual Grand Purim Banquet. This year’s event took on the theme of “Purim in India.” The cuisine, decor and costumes all took on an exotic Indian theme, transporting participants into an alternative reality that is very fitting for the Purim holiday. The evening was kicked off with a traditional and lively Megillah reading. The festive sit-down dinner was accompanied by music, DJ, percussions and dancing, giving the evening a communal and celebratory feel. A separate children’s program, which included its own professional entertainment show, kept the kids busy and happy. Marc, who attending the banquet with his family for the first time, expressed his amazement: “I was totally blown away. I didn’t really know what to expect. I heard good things and felt it would be a nice opportunity for us to experience our Jewish roots together as a family, and to meet new people. I did not expect such an out of this world experience unlike any event I ever attended. We can’t wait until next year!”


Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of staff and volunteers, over 2,000 Purim “Mishloach Manot” gift packages were delivered to homes in Ontario, most notably in Concord and East Thornhill. Several hundred packages were also gifted by people to each other via their local JRCC Branch, which coordinated the deliveries. The community participation in delivering the gifts, and the festive atmosphere and joy it spreads, made it an enjoyable and meaningful community activity. Special thank you to all the volunteers who assisted with the deliveries in their neighborhoods.


Following the fire that destroyed much of the JRCC at 18 Rockford Rd., plans are underway for the rebuild. The interior will be completely gutted down to the brick walls and studs, and new construction will begin shortly thereafter. Beautiful new designs have been drawn up by a world class interior designer. “There is a Jewish principle that every descent is for the purpose of an ascent,” says Rabbi Shmuel Neft, Director of JRCC Rockford. “So we’re looking forward to the grand reopening of a stunning space once the renovations are completed.” In the meantime, the temporary location down the street at the JRCC Head Office at 5987 Bathurst St. was doubled in size and underwent some cosmetic improvements to make it more functional and welcoming.