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  1. JLIVE Streaming Schedule Saturday, April 4 - Friday, April 10

    FITNESS streams can be found on the following accounts

    Instagram: @Wearejfitness

    Facebook:  JCC Fitness & Aquatics Vaughan, Schwartz/Reisman Centre


    PROGRAMMING streams can be found on the following accounts

    Instagram: @JCCtoronto

    Facebook:  Schwartz/Reisman Centre

    Saturday, April 4th

    9:30am - Express Bootcamp with Heather

    10:30am - Lyengar Yoga with Michèle


    Sunday, April 5th

    9:30am - Cardio Sculpt with Alin Rista

    10:30am - Pilates with Sharna


    Monday, April 6th

    9:30am - Boot Camp Blast with Karen 

    11:00am - Tips and Tricks for Manicures at Home with Rita Remark, Nail Expert

    2:00pm - Danya Koplowitz interviews Elana Horwich demo Charoset 

    5:30pm - Cardio Sculpt with Alin Rista

    8:00pm - Financial Relief Programs during COVID-19 with Basia Pozin

    8:30pm - Healing Yoga with Orli


    Tuesday, April 7th

    9:30am - Pilates with Nadine 

    10:00am - Nealy Fisher demos Passover chocolate chip cookies -HB

    12:30pm - Midday Stretch Break with Irina

    1:30pm - Lana Feinstein interviewing Sara Dimerman - Helping Families Cope with COVID-19

    4:00pm - Passover Hebrew Storytime with Naama Yaacov  

    5:30pm - Total Body Sculpt with Lesley

    8:30pm - Lyengar Yoga with Michèle


    Wednesday, April 8th

    9:30am - Cardio Sculpt with Heather

    5:30pm - Passover Sedars

    7:30pm - Passover Sedars

    9:30pm - Passover Sedars 


    Thursday, April 9th

    9:30am - Circuit Challenge with Stephen

    9:30am - The Jack and Pat Kay Centre Camp presents Passover Kahoot (register via zoom)

    12:30pm - Midday Stretch Break with Irina

    5:30pm - Passover Sedars 

    7:30pm - Passover Sedars

    9:30pm - Passover Sedars


    Friday, April 10th

    9:30am - Cardio Sculpt with Alin Rista

    10:00am - Lisa Oberman Passover/ Shabbat Program -HB

    10:30am - Pilates with Nadine

    12:30pm - Healing Yoga with Orli

    1:30pm - Keeping Clean & Organized with Melissa Maker

    12:30pm - Healing Yoga with Orli


    Read more »
  2. JLIVE Streaming Schedule Saturday, March 28 - Friday, April 3

    FITNESS streams can be found on the following accounts

    Instagram: @Wearejfitness

    Facebook:  JCC Fitness & Aquatics Vaughan, Schwartz/Reisman Centre, Prosserman JCC


    PROGRAMMING streams can be found on the following accounts

    Instagram: @JCCtoronto

    Facebook:  Schwartz/Reisman Centre, Prosserman JCC



    FEATURED STREAMS:


    Monday, March 30th @ 1:00pm

    Own Your Anxiety with Julian Brass (International Best-Selling Author)


    Tuesday, March 31st @ 1:30pm

    Tips for Parenting During Covid-19 with Joe Rich (Marilyn Denis, CTV & CityLine/City TV)


    Wednesday, April 1st @ 1:30pm

    Nutritional Advice with Dr. Joey Shulman (CityLine Health Expert)


    Wednesday, April 1 @ 6:00pm

    Dance Party with Jed Harper the official DJ for the Toronto Blue Jays Grey 


    Thursday, April 2 @ 8:30pm

    Goose Date Night Cocktail Lesson with Stephanie Lamb (Canadian Brand Ambassador)


    Saturday, March 28th 

    9:30am - Total Body Sculpt with Karen

    10:30am - Yoga Flow with Fern


    Sunday, March 29th 

    9:30am - Cardio Sculpt Challenge with Alin

    10:30am - Pilates with Sharna

    11:15am - Yoga with Avital


    Monday, March 30th 

    9:00am - Baby Circle with Lisa Oberman

    9:30am - Basement Boot Camp with Andy

    1:00pm - Own Your Own Anxiety with Julian Brass

    5:30pm - Cardio Sculpt with Alin 

    8:30pm - Healing Yoga with Orli


    Tuesday, March 31st 

    9:30am - Pilates with Nadine 

    10:30am - JProjects Presents: Kitchen Science Experiments For Kids

    12:30pm - Midday Stretch Break with Irina

    1:30pm - Tips for Parenting During COVID-19 with Joe Rich

    5:30pm - Full Body Blast with Lesley 

    7:30pm - Latin Jam with Irene


    Wednesday, April 1st 

    9:30am - Total Body Sculpt with Heather 

    12:00pm - The Jack and Pat Kay Centre Camp Playdough Making with Evan Roth 

    1:30pm - Nutritional Advice with Dr.Joey Shulman

    5:30pm - Cardio Sculpt with Alin

    7:00pm - JProjects Presents: Imaginarium Story Time with Veronika

    8:30pm - Yoga Flow with Fern 


    Thursday, April 2nd  

    9:30am - Circuit Challenge with Stephen 

    12:00pm - Challah Bake with JRCC 

    12:30pm - Midday Stretch Break with Irina

    5:30pm - Full Body Blast with Lesley 

    7:30pm - Yoga Flow with Avital


    Friday, April 3rd 

    9:30am - Cardio Kick with Alin Rista

    10:30am - Pilates with Nadine

    12:30pm - Healing Yoga with Orli

    Read more »
  3. JLIVE Streaming Schedule Monday, March 23 - Friday, March 27

     

    Dear Schwartz/Reisman Centre and Prosserman JCC Community,


    Social distancing does not mean you and your family can’t have fun at home! The JCC is more than just a building and we are here for you, mind, body and soul!


    With JLIVE STREAMING, our JCC community can still enjoy custom programming, fitness and activities ONLINE! Our trainers, teachers, dancers and leaders you have come to love, are helping us stay active, healthy and entertained in time we need it most. Check out the schedule below for all we have going on – STREAMING LIVE in the first ever Virtual JCC!


    JLIVE STREAMING SCHEDULE AND ACCOUNTS


    FITNESS streams can be found on the following accounts

    Instagram: @Wearejfitness, @JCCtoronto

    Facebook:  JCC Fitness & Aquatics Vaughan, Schwartz/Reisman Centre, Prosserman JCC


    PROGRAMMING streams can be found on the following accounts

    Instagram: @JCCtoronto

    Facebook:  Schwartz/Reisman Centre, Prosserman JCC


    *The schedule is subject to change


    Monday, March 23rd

    9:30am - Restorative Yoga with Orli Ziv
    10:30am - Mini Movement with Lisa Oberman
    1:30pm - JROOTS Music with Eldan Cohen
    5:30pm - Total Body Sculpt with Alin Rista
    7:30pm - Boot Camp Blast with Andy Hvizd


    Tuesday, March 24th

    9:30am - Pilates with Nadine
    3:00pm - ADULT LEARNING: Reiki-Physical, Mental & Emotional Healing with Rabbi Corber
    5:30pm - Full Body Blast with Lesley
    7:30pm - Synergy & Social with the Fitness Team


    Wednesday, March 25th

    9:30am - Express Morning Boot Camp with Roz
    10:30am - Life in Israel during COVID-19 With Yael & Ravid
    1:30pm - Talking Sports with Elliotte Friedman
    5:30pm - Total Body Sculpt with Alin Rista
    7:30pm - Yoga Flow with Fern


    Thursday, March 26th

    9:30am - Total Body Sculpt with Heather
    10:30am - THE JACK AND PAT KAY CENTRE CAMP FLAGPOLE with Bounce Entertainment
    2:00pm - Challah Bake with Anat Ishai
    3:00pm - JCC READS: Zelda Abramson – The Montreal Shtetl
    5:30pm - Full Body Blast with Lesley
    7:30pm - Full Circuit Challenge with Stephen Gray


    Friday, March 27th

    9:30am - Morning Cardio Kick with Alin
    10:30am - Pilates with Nadine
    12:00pm - Israeli Cuisine with Gayla Sarner
    12:30pm - Restorative Yoga with Orli

    Read more »
  4. JCC CLOSURE INFORMATION

    To our valued JCC Community,

    The Schwartz/Reisman Centre and Prosserman JCCs are vibrant communities made up of diverse populations including many who may be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. The health of our community is our priority.

    As of today, there are no known cases or potential exposure to COVID-19 at either the Schwartz/Reisman Centre or the Prosserman JCC.

    However, to ensure the continued health of the larger Toronto community, the JCCs have decided to close their doors effective Sunday March 15th, 2020. This decision is in line with all Toronto public health directives. We are tentatively scheduled to reopen on April 6th, 2020, and will re-evaluate as the situation evolves.

    WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?

    • The fitness centre, pools and gymnasiums and all scheduled programs, services, group exercise classes, drop-ins and personal training sessions are closed
    • The Early Childhood Centres, under the strong recommendation of the Ministry, are closed at both campuses
    • There will be controlled access to the medical facilities on the 3rd floor of the Lebovic Campus through the North Entrance only



    Our administrative offices are closed, though many of our staff will be working remotely.

    We appreciate your patience with us, and we will communicate regularly with you during this time. Please check our websites srcentre.ca, prossermanjcc.com or social media platforms for the latest updates and announcements.

    We thank you for your support, and look forward to welcoming you again as soon as possible.



    Stay healthy.

    Andrew Levy
    Executive Director

    Read more »
  5. Event Cancellation Due to Covid-19


    Supplementary Hebrew Schools

    Kachol Lavan Classes and Events

    closed starting March 15th

    All locations

    Postponed

    J. Roots Classes and Events

    closed starting March 15th

    All locations

    Postponed

    J. Roots Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony

    April 19th

    SRC

    Cancelled

    Mifgash

    Sivan Rahav

    March 21st

    SRC

    Cancelled

    Sing A Long Events

    March 24th, April 21st

    SRC

    Cancelled

    Zikaron Ba Salon

    April 22nd

    SRC

    Cancelled

    J. Academy/J. Projects

    Camp reunion (Midbar & Arava)

    April 5th

    SRC

    Cancelled

    J.Projects Presents: Interactive workshop for children and parents with Victoria Prooday

    April 6th

    Sky Zone

    Cancelled

    JCC Reads Events

    Miel and Spiel

    March 22nd

    SRC

    Cancelled

    Susan Kaplan Carlton

    March 24th

    Lipa Green

    Cancelled

    Zelda Ambramson

    April 20th

    Bernard Betal Centre

    Cancelled

    Other Events

    Shabbat Dinner (Shabbat at the J)

    March 27th

    SRC

    Cancelled

    Rikudiyah

    March 29th

    SRC

    Cancelled

    Challah Baking w/JRCC

    April 17th

    PJCC,SRC

    Cancelled

    Read more »
  6. We Were Given T-shirts – My JResponse Experience

    We Were Given T-shirts
    – My JResponse Experience


    October 25 – 28, 2019
    Written by Cheri Szereszewski
    Director of the Prosserman JCC Daycare and Preschool in Toronto, Ontario

    We were given t-shirts so we could be identified but we were also given name tags with the Pittsburgh JCC logo on it and our name.  

    When I first heard about JResponse at the JCCA Professional Conference last year I was so interested in finding out more about this amazing initiative.  The idea behind the JCCA initiative is that a group of JCC staff from throughout the JCC community could volunteer to go help Jewish communities in need. With permission from their Executive Directors they would be released from their jobs at home. They would be called upon to go wherever there was a crisis to help in any way needed. The difference is that usually JResponders, as we are called, would normally go after all the other social agencies, volunteers and media were gone. To me this was truly demonstrating Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and Chesed (acts of kindness and compassion).

    As the Early Childhood Director at a JCC I have worked diligently to incorporate the principles and lenses of the Sheva Learning framework into our program. The lenses take our Jewish values and help us find concrete ways to teach them to the children.  I cannot think of a more concrete way to demonstrate these values than being a part of the JResponse deployment to Pittsburgh.

    The Pittsburgh JCC gave all their staff the day off for the one year anniversary of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting. The staff could spend the day in any way they wished. There was a morning of therapeutic activities they could choose to attend or they could spend time with their families. They could attend the commemoration activities in person or by watching on tv. Regardless, they did not have to work- we did that for them.

    In addition, aside from all the therapeutic activities being offered at the JCC, the rest of the facilities (fitness, pool, etc) were closed for the day.  The 20 JResponders from communities all over North America answered phones, guided people to where they were going, helped at the two blood drives that were going on and did anything else required.

    To be honest, I had no idea what to expect. I was assigned to the reception desk with Steve Wendel, the Executive Director of the JCC in Newport News, Virginia, answering phones, granting access to the building and helping people sign in.  We were distinctive in our blue t-shirts and people asked who we all were. When they found out that we were 20 JCC professionals who came to help, the response was always the same, "Thank you so much for being here. It means so much."  I was so humbled and grateful to be there. My response was "You are welcome; I am honoured to be here to help." 

    Some people just wanted to talk.  I heard so many stories about that terrible day from people who had been there- in the synagogue, in the neighbourhood.  Even from a police officer who was helping on Sunday and who had been responsible for the Tree of Life synagogue for 25 years as part of his daily beat.  Everyone had a connection and a story. Many just needed to be heard or to get a hug.  A local coffee shop sent over coffee and bagels for the police officers who were keeping us safe that day. When people in the Brueggers heard that they were donating the coffee and food, they insisted on giving money to the owner to offset the cost.  There were signs that said Strength Not Hate everywhere. From the airport monitors when I arrived, to signs in every store window the support shown was remarkable.  This was a community in the truest sense and they were actively showing the Jewish community that they were there for them.

    This JCC is a true hub within this community. They have built a resiliency centre which gives people a place to come just to have a space to be (even if they don't want to talk), support staff who can help, and a space for community groups (like AA) to meet. This grew out of the circumstances of the shooting that took place when the JCC became command central for law enforcement, media, and the people in the Squirrel Hill community, whether Jewish or not.

    So often we see things on the news and we feel like we wish we knew how to help (other than financially, which is easy).  I know that being in Pittsburgh at this time was appreciated but I so appreciated the opportunity to be able to DO something. Being able to work with my JCC colleagues from all different departments and from all over North America in a meaningful and concrete way. During our preliminary Zoom meeting 2 weeks ago and orientation when we arrived, we quickly formed close relationships as we knew we were sharing something special. As we all sat in the large hall at the JCC ago watch the live stream of the Commemoration ceremony we took each other's hands, offered each other kleenexes and truly felt the emotions of this yahrtzeit.  We all go home feeling connected to the Pittsburgh community, each other and our JCC community.  Through JResponse we made a made a difference and I am so grateful that I could play a small part in that. While the hope is that we will never be needed, Should I be asked to deploy again to another crisis I know I will be part of something special.

    A few of the takeaways that I brought back to Toronto with me included how as a JCC we help build connections, we support our community and that it is so important to give to those in need - to those we know and to strangers equally. We were given t-shirts so we could be identified but we were also given name tags with the Pittsburgh JCC logo on it and our name and this truly made me feel like I belonged.

    We were supporting the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh and the Jewish Community as they joined to reflect, to remember, and to build resilience as we commemorated one year since the attack at the Tree of Life synagogue. 

    I would be happy to speak to anyone who is interested in volunteering to be part of JResponse to tell you more about this incredible initiative and my experiences in Pittsburgh. 

    Read more »
  7. More patience or a different point of view?

    Tribe Team Training

    More patience or a different point of view?

    Toddlers are busy little people. They like to run, explore and have things their way. As an early childhood expert, parents often ask me: ‘how are you so patient?’. The truth is, I do have patience but when you understand the toddler’s perspective you don’t need as much.

    I have trained myself to have a different point of reference when looking at a situation. Here are three examples of natural triggers for even the most saintly of parents and what can be done for a smoother parent-toddler experience.

    Going to the mall

    The first thing a parent must do is decrease the to-do list. Have a plan for your mall visit with only one to two goals. Browsing with a toddler is impossible so set your own personal expectations in advance with that understanding. Plan your visit to be longer than needed, this way you can give your child more time to explore the environment. Leave time for your child to lead the way, and just follow (no questions asked). Approaching the mall visit form your child’s point of view will make the experience less stress for you. You may even enjoy it, along with some good educational time for I Spy games such as finding colours, shapes, animals, or playing catch. Be creative.

    Going to the park

    This may be your toddler’s first spring outdoor experience. There is no need to push children to play with ALL the playground structures at once. As adult, we are conditioned to be excited about the ability to try everything. Toddlers, however, need time to learn new environments. It is better for children to use their senses to understand their surroundings than to simply “play” in the playground. Let your child listen to the birds and airplanes in the sky. Encourage touching the grass, sand, rocks (feel free to take off shoes, and yours too if possible). Smell the flowers, examine bugs, ants, bees, and flies (don’t show your dislikes- be brave). Teach your child to be respectful of nature and share your knowledge and curiosity.

    Going to the grocery store

    We all know toddlers will sit in the shopping cart for less than a minute before asking to be unbuckled. Don’t fight it. Ask your toddler to help with the grocery list and in leading the way. Follow your child through the aisles and load your shopping cart with items on your list (make your shopping list short so the experience can be successful).

    Some grocery stores have small shopping carts that can be used by the children such as the Sobeys on Rutherford and Bathurst. Allow your child to keep busy putting items in the mini-cart, just like you. If possible, allow your toddler to also feel the accomplishment of helping to pack the bags with your support.

    The bottom line is, toddlers will be toddlers! Be there for them, listen, engage, guide, share, laugh and make memories for a lifetime as they don’t stay this age forever. What does stay the same? Stores at the malls, park play structures the supermarket shopping. You’ll have a lifetime of that.

    Naama Yaacov, Director of Early Childhood Education Development at the ProssermanJCC and Schwartz/Reissman Centre

    Read more »
  8. How To Care For Yourself, While Caring For Your Family

    How To Care For Yourself,
    While Caring For Your Family





    Being a mother is one of life's biggest gifts, but we would be lying if we said that it didn't come with its challenges. Until the day you have children, you are the top priority in your life, but the second you have your first child, that all changes. It's truly amazing how quickly the change happens, but as the kids get older, we continue to drop further and further to the bottom of the totem pole. One thing we have learned, is that WE are in charge of inching ourselves back up to somewhere near the top, because when we don't, everyone suffers.



    As the women of our households and entrepreneurs, it is extremely important that we are organized and make the most of every minute of the day. Running Savvy Sassy Moms, an online parenting magazine that provides helpful parenting advice, is our passion and we do our best to practice what we preach! They say it takes a village, or in this case, a community, to get it all done, and we couldn't agree more. Taking advantage of what our community has to offer is how we manage to care for ourselves while caring for our family.





    Self-care in the community



    How many parents can say that they are able to fit in a workout while their child is equally attuned to their arts and crafts program or in a swim class? A 30-minute or 1-hour class for your kids doesn't give any parent much time to hop in the car, drive to the gym, get a good workout in and then make it back to pick up their child on time! Over the years, we have always tried to enroll our kids in programs at the same facility and at the same time to try and minimize the burden of arranging carpools and running through the city like a chicken with our heads cut off.



    However, over the years, we have learned that not only do we need to enroll our kids in programs at the same time and place, we need to consider ourselves and what we will be doing during that time. Our first choice for programming is at the local community centers. The beautiful facility has incredible programs for the kids and a top of the line gym for us. This gives us the ability to do it all. After a long day of work, working out gives us the time to reflect on what we have accomplished throughout the day and allows us to end the day with a clear head. It's second nature to plan for the kids and not for ourselves. When we are constantly running from A to B, our time for self-care used to get shelved until the weekend. That is no longer the norm and we can see how it affects our families in a positive way.





    Work and play at the same place



    We are always on the go, meeting people for work. Having a place where we can work and play, helps us maximize our days. We can go from a coffee or lunch meeting, into the pool or to an art class in a matter of steps. Making time to do things that we love is so important for us as parents. Whether it's an art class, a water aerobics class, or a workout class, doing something we love gives us real time to ourselves to enjoy and grow as a people. It allows us to make me-time that keeps us calm and enables us to continue finding ourselves.



    More than that, we absolutely love seeing the friendly faces of our community members. Many have become friends from our times spent at the community center or through our children. We look forward to community celebrations and events where we can all come together as a group.





    Come join us



    In a big city or small, we all need our mom tribe. For us, we have found that tribe at the place where we spend most of our time. We feel a strong sense of community that allows us to feel supported as parents and business owners.

    Read more »
  9. 5 Things to Know About Michael Sherman our New Chair of the Board of Directors

    Michael


    Last night, the Prosserman JCC and Schwartz/Reisman Centre Board of Directors announced its new Chair, Michael Sherman. Michael is well known to our community but we thought we would take a few minutes to help you get to know him even better. Use any of the following as jumping off points to start a conversation with Michael the next time you see him at an event, class or meeting (of course other conversation topics are welcome!).


    • When not at the J, he works as head of Behavioural Economics at RBC Royal Bank, introducing new ways to bring about exceptional client experiences.
    • His connection to the JCC began when he first entered law school in the ‘80s and working out a the “J” became part of his daily routine.
    • Where you may have seen Michael at the J: Weight training, playing basketball, taking art classes, swimming in the pool and attending community and holiday events.
    • His lay leadership with the JCC started in 2013 and has included serving on the Marketing, Budget and Finance, and Executive Committees.
    • Personal mantra: It’s all about relationships. Care. Compassion. Connect.
    Read more »
  10. Pillars of Education

    Insight into two of the city’s fast growing Supplementary Hebrew Schools

    We reached out to two JCC educational leaders, Galya Sarner, Director of Kachol Lavan, and Tova Hovich, J.Roots Educational Director to find out the secret to creating two of the most successful supplementary Hebrew schools in the city.

    What is the secret to creating an excellent supplementary Hebrew school?
    Sarner: The secret code of the Jewish people is the Hebrew language — parents intuitively understand that and are looking for that for their children. As with any successful community initiative, the primary element in creating an excellent supplementary Hebrew school is working with passionate lay leaders and staff who believe in the school’s vision.

    Hovich: There are many components in creating an excellent supplementary Hebrew school. First is to create a unique school culture tailored to the requests and desires of the Jewish clientele that you serve. Second is the implementation of the best educational practices from the field of supplementary education. The pedagogy and the teaching philosophy must be high-level, innovative, attractive and engaging with a multi-level Hebrew and Judaic content approach.

    What should parents look for in a supplementary Hebrew school?
    Sarner: Parents should try to find a school that matches their educational vision for their children. Do you want a diverse community within the school? What age range does the school cover? On what does the curriculum focus? Since Kachol Lavan began in 2006, we have focused on one main thing: a love for the Hebrew language and connection to Israel. This value proposition is what we feel has made us one of the leading Israeli supplementary schools outside Israel, especially for native Hebrew speakers.

    Hovich: Parents should check the mission, the teaching philosophy and the educational contents — whether it’s Judaic, Hebrew, etc. — of the schools. Each supplementary Hebrew school differs in these aspects, and parents should do their research in order to ensure that their school aligns with their expectations. Book a tour of the school, meet school management, tour the classes and pay attention to student-teacher ratio in the classrooms. Parents might also want to ask what other educational opportunities are offered within the school, such as art, workshops, events, trips and music.

    What are some of your greatest successes?
    Sarner: One of my personal highlights was the expansion and integration of Kachol Lavan into the JCC community. The incredible spirit of Kachol Lavan overwhelms me and is definitely a huge part of our success. Hearing our students speaking and singing in Hebrew, celebrating Jewish holidays, talking part in community-wide events and seeing our alumni take an active role as new leaders in our community are all huge sources of pride for us as a school.

    Hovich: I think having the highest possible student and staff retention rate in the supplementary education industry is our biggest marker of success. Over 90 percent of students and staff return year after year to continue their J.Roots journey. We have car pools of families coming from all across the GTA — as far as Bolton, Caledon, Newmarket and Barrie. Our student and faculty grow each year and now encompass 372 students and 27 weekly classes at two JCC locations, all delivered by 60 personnel and JVolunteers. Our alumni are another mark of success. We already have a pool of a few hundred of our own alumni who continue to stay connected to UJA and JCC in many ways, whether through volunteering or participating in events and trips.

    How do you come up with innovative and cutting-edge curriculum?
    Sarner: We surveyed families in order to help us set direction for the future. From that information, and discussions with staff, we set certain priorities, including enhanced Hebrew-language instruction and development of a new proficiency model; new enrichment opportunities; enhanced learning experience through a new approach to curriculum and evaluation; an increased opportunity for teacher engagement; and an increased opportunity for parent involvement.

    Hovich: A few experiences have shaped how I develop our curriculum: my Israeli educational background in Jewish history and educational management, my professional experience teaching Jewish history and Hebrew as a second language, and participation in Diaspora curriculum with the Jewish Agency and the Israeli Ministry of Education. The JRoots curriculum is created in teams made up from our school’s Educational Leadership Board. Each year, we evaluate success criteria for each grade level, see what worked and what didn’t and update our multi-grade curriculum accordingly, adding new components, features and pilot projects. At J.Roots, we have created a lot of generic and consistent material that can be used in different classrooms, creating one big picture of the school’s teaching and philosophy. Having this approach sustains the J.Roots pedagogy and allows us to build on and enhance the curriculum as needed from year to year.

    How do you select your teachers?
    Sarner: We are always looking for staff with the vision, integrity, knowledge and, most importantly, passion for the mission of Kachol Lavan. Our educational staff is composed of university-graduated certified teachers who are fluent in English and Hebrew. They have community experience and involvement and are creative thinkers. Mostly, they are strong leaders with an ability to provide an authentic love of Israeli culture.

    Hovich: Aside from looking at the professional background of our teachers, which includes qualifications and teaching experience, we want each faculty member to be an ambassador of the JCC and JRoots. We look for teachers who are engaging and creative and foster a positive learning experience by being role models for our students. Our teachers must have a passion for making the connection between our students’ Canadian roots and their Jewish roots.

    The JCC supplementary Hebrew schools are growing year over year. Why do you think that is?
    Sarner: The success of Kachol Lavan is a major priority for the Schwartz/Reisman Centre and the Prosserman JCC, and a significant number of resources have been set aside for its continued growth. I think we also fill a significant void in our community by enhancing the teaching of Hebrew, creating a rich connection to Israel, and building a new community within the broader Jewish community.

    Hovich: There are many reasons why I believe JCC supplementary Hebrew schools are growing each year. I believe the supplementary Hebrew school sector offers a high standard of education. It provides both informal and formal education, which is helping students and families build and live their Jewish identity. Students are developing their Judaic knowledge and basic Hebrew literacy skills while being able to take part in other learning opportunities, such as workshops, events and activities. It is an easy, convenient and comfortable way to serve the needs of the families and the students, especially families with multiple children.

    What do you think is next for Kachol Lavan and J. Roots?
    Sarner: We have to keep up our efforts in promoting a modern supplementary Jewish education model and to unite Jewish community members from different cultural backgrounds. Ensuring the accommodation of diverse educational needs within the Jewish community will remain important, as will be helping students retain their connections to their respective cultural roots and heritage.

    Hovich: I think the JCC supplementary Hebrew schools are going to continue to grow and will remain strong. As a community, we need to continue to enhance educational components by adding different models of informal education to the formal education. This will continue to build and foster the Jewish identity for the generations to come.

    Click here to register for Kachol Lavan or JRoots

    Read more »
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