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  1. Fall Aquatics Registration is quickly approaching!

    Fall Aquatics Registration


    Fall Aquatics Registration is quickly approaching!


    Member Registration: July 22 at 10:00 am
    Public Registration: July 29 at 10:00 am


    DISCOVER WHY OUR MEMBERS LOVE TO SWIM AT THE J

    Aquatics Video

    New and Improved Schedule!
    We offer an “ANY LEVEL, ANY TIME” format for most swim lessons. We offer all levels at almost any time. Just select the date and time and we do the rest! This is great for families with multiple kids!

    Registration Details:
    Registration is ONLINE ONLY. Phone registration is no longer available. Winter session registration will be open as per dates above.

    Creating an Account:
    If you haven’t already done so, we strongly advise setting up your free online registration account in advance of the above registration dates.

    Click here to learn more about online registration and how to create your free account!


    New to the Aquatics Program?
    Are you new to our program and not sure what level to register your child for? Call our Aquatics department at 905-303-1821 x 3023 to setup a free 5 minute swim assessment. Our instructors will assess your child’s swim skills and recommend an appropriate level for registration.

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  2. Welcoming the new additions to our Fitness Equipment Family!

    New Fitness Equipment



    Welcoming the new additions to our Fitness Equipment Family!

    We have an announcement to make! There’s a new addition to our family, and they aren’t babies!

    We have 2 brand new Life Fitness strength machines: the High Row, and the Incline Press. Both come with adjustable seating, are plate-loaded, and offer more opportunities for muscle growth! The High Row is used to target your back and is a nice alternative to our Low Row machine. By using both the High and Low Row, we can target the back at different angles.

    To use this machine correctly, you have to adjust your shoulders in the correct position (down and back) to stabilize your position. Pull through with the elbows and feel the squeeze in your mid back. The angle of this High Pull machine allows you to target the latissimus dorsi muscles (lats) more.

    The best part about this machine is that it complements the second addition to our fitness center, the Incline Press. The Incline Press is a compound exercise similar to the bench press; the difference is that it targets the front of the shoulders and upper chest. Although the movement and muscles targeted are similar to the incline bench press, using this machine allows for more stability as you build up the confidence and strength to tackle the incline bench press.

    Make sure to stop by the fitness centre and ask our Trainer on Duty to help you try these new babies out!

    - Jayden Hylton
    Certified Personal Trainer

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  3. Week 9 of construction and going strong!



    We are now in our 9th week of construction at the Prosserman JCC. It is completely amazing to see the large steps that have been accomplished in such little time.

    The large machinery has been brought in and the foundation is in the process of being laid down. The contractors have begun the backfilling and compaction for the new roadway.  Additionally, the excavation for the pool and lower level foundation walls has started and the pouring of concrete for the foundation footings commenced last week. 

    Whether you grew up with the Flintstones or Bob The Builder – it’s exciting to watch!

    The daycare kids are mesmerized with their front row seats watching as their future JCC comes to life right in front of their eyes. One of the construction workers even showed them some of the equipment and see how it works. They loved it!

    Despite all the excitement, we wanted to take this opportunity to remind members and visitor that the trucks and heavy equipment traffic will be sharing the access road.  Please use extra caution.  When necessary, there will be flagmen in place to direct traffic.  For safety purposes, all pedestrian access should be through the Bathurst Street entrance. The potential relocation of the southbound TTC stop has been delayed due to some technical considerations so we will update you once the situation has been resolved. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at anytime.

    If you haven’t already, check out this time lapse which will be updated each month, here.

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  4. Challenging Homework: A Recipe for Academic Growth

    Challenging Homework


    Challenging Homework: A Recipe for Academic Growth   

    Many parents report feeling frustrated when their child says: "I don't 'get' my homework - we didn't do this kind of question in class." That frustration, however, can be curbed with the following insight: students are actually best served when they are both encouraged and challenged - yes, to the point of not 'getting' their homework (at first!) and facing feelings of being 'stuck.' Indeed, research shows that these kinds of "I don't 'get' this" moments are actually the key ingredient in the recipe for students' academic success.

      What does this all mean? 

      Progressive teachers who are up to speed on both cutting-edge pedagogical research and the science of learning and success know that homework assignments should be split between questions that: A) Give students an opportunity to reiterate and reinforce skills and techniques that they have learned in the classroom (to this point), demonstrating that they have understood the materials and bolstering their confidence in their developing mastery of the subject; B) Challenge students to tackle problems that go a beyond what they have learned (or seen demonstrated) in the classroom (to that point), requiring that they make creative use of the skills and techniques they have learned in order to see and solve problems from a new perspective.   

    As a result of this two-pronged approach, students are NOT expected to get every question correct on their first attempt(s). It is important that students, especially gifted students, are challenged, and that means getting stuck on certain questions, getting certain questions incorrect, and returning to rethink certain questions more than once. As recent studies have shown (see below), the experience of taking several attempts to master a new skill/solve a new problem not only encourages children’s academic growth, but also bolsters their self-reliance, resilience, creativity, and flexibility in the face of intellectual challenges. Children with such a “growth mindset” view challenges as “energizing rather than intimidating” because “they offer opportunities to learn” (Dweck 2015). These "growth mindset" students go on to be more successful at any academic endeavours in comparison with their peers.  

    At Brain Power (the SRC's unique after-school enrichment learning centre - check out: www.brainpower.ca), for example, when students receive weekly homework feedback from their professor (before their next class!), they are expected to make another attempt at solving the questions they got incorrect and actually revel in the challenge (and parents should not feel obliged to “step in” and explain the question to their children). At the beginning of each class, once the students have had the opportunity to work through difficulties on their own, the instructor reviews all of the homework questions, taking extra time to explain those that students found particularly challenging. Students are encouraged to ask questions, so that they will leave the classroom feeling that they have a grasp on the question and the skills/techniques necessary to solve it. In this way, students get the benefits of both A) struggling to solve the problem on their own, and B) having it explained by a professional instructor. Voila! A growth-mindset is nurtured in this way.  

    So if a child 'gets' all of his/her homework with ease - maybe it's not so wonderful after all. In such cases, I encourage parents to ask their child's teacher for more challenging homework to balance out the relatively easy work received.  

    For more information on developing a “growth mindset” in gifted children, see: 

     Dweck, Carol S. “The Secret to Raising Smart Kids.” Scientific American. (Jan. 1, 2015). https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-secret-to-raising-smart-kids1/  

    Post, Gail. “A life lesson for gifted children: failure.” Gifted Challenges. (Aug. 9, 2013) https://giftedchallenges.blogspot.ca/2013/08/a-life-lesson-for-gifted-children.html  

    Written by the SRC's Education Expert: 
    Dr. Karine Rashkovsky-Tomas (B.Sc., B.Ed., M.Ed., Ph.D.)
    Founder & Director
    Brain Power Enrichment Programs Ltd.  

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  5. #MyJCCStory: All heart!

    Kaylee



    #MyJCCStory: All heart!

    For some art is a hobby, for Kaylee painting provides a sense of pride and accomplishment & allowing her to feel as though she can do anything. It is also the main reason she continues to come to the Schwartz/Reisman Centre (SRC).

    Kaylee is a resident of Reena, and she walks to the SRC to participate in an art class every Thursday. Painting is a way for Kaylee to express herself and the SRC community can always spot one of Kaylee's pieces.

    "I have lots of hearts in my art. That is who I am...it is what I do for my signature and people know my signature."

    Beyond support in her artistic endeavours, Kaylee loves her weekly visits to the SRC as it provides her with a sense of community, interacting with fellow members and staff and picking up new techniques to incorporate into her painting. It is also where she came up with her signature heart – a symbol that truly encompasses her spirit.

    Kaylee’s JCC Story is about empowerment through art and the heartfelt creations developed each Thursday.



    Watch Kaylee tell her story

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  6. Suzanne Metz at the SLATE Atrium Gallery in Vaughan City Hall

    Suzanne Metz



    Artist Suzanne Metz is celebrating a career milestone. The Thornhill, Ont.-based artist has a one-woman art show now running at the SLATE Atrium Gallery in Vaughan City Hall.

    Suzanne regularly teaches at both the Schwartz/ Reisman Centre and the Prosserman JCC.

    Born in South Africa, Suzanne Metz graduated with an Honours BA (fine arts) degree in 1980 from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. She emigrated to Canada in 1986. She has been teaching art and painting professionally for over 25years. Suzanne is the recipient of numerous accolades and awards, her work having been featured in solo and group art exhibitions, including Toronto and New York art expos and the Artist Project Toronto. Her work is housed in private and corporate collections in Canada and internationally.

    Website: www.suzannemetz.com

    Learn more about her upcoming show here: http://www.cjnews.com/culture/artists-urban-graffiti-welcomed-inside-vaughan-city-hall

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  7. Jews of Iran

    Jews of Iran



    Jews of Iran
    by Elizabeth Katchen, Programs Department



    Did you know that there are still Jews living in Iran today?

    The Jews of Iran event grew out of my surprise in discovering this information. My curiosity was a catalyst to weeks of research on this community and on the Persian Jewish community in North America.

    What started as a small talk has evolved into a full evening celebration of the culture, heritage and history of the Jews of Iran. As well, a cross-cultural and bridge building initiative with the greater Iranian community has come about thanks to this community’s incredible support of the event. I encourage you to join us Tuesday October 24th. The evening promises to be an enlightening and informative opportunity to learn and celebrate through art, music, imagery, refreshments and discussion.

    To register, please click here

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  8. The Mosaica Project - A Recap

    Goyfriend dinner



    An exciting revival is taking place in the world of Jewish culture. Keen to incorporate their heritage into their work in a manner that is relevant to their generation, young musicians, performers, chefs and bloggers are using age-old cultural traditions as a springboard for creativity and innovation.

    Over the course of the past year, we presented a three-part series in collaboration with the Ashkenaz Foundation to explore new developments in Jewish music and culinary arts, which are at the forefront of this renewal. The goal of the project was to provide a platform to showcase contemporary artists who are interlacing traditional and contemporary influences to produce unique sounds and flavours.



    Goyfriend

    The first event, hosted at A Yiddishe Mame restaurant in January, featured Russian and Eastern European Jewish culture. Lively conversation filled the room as guests noshed on a multi-course Russian-style meal, including specialties such as beet borscht and potato perogies. Afterwards, they were treated to a spirited performance by Goyfriend, a musical collaboration between the klezmer band Litvakus and the renowned Latvian-born Yiddish singer Sasha Lurje, which explores the image and representation of Jews in the folk culture of their Eastern European neighbours over 600 years of common history.



    Aveva Dese

    Following this, we hosted a Shabbat dinner at Temple Har Zion in March to celebrate the unique cultural contributions of Ethiopian Jewry. Guests enjoyed a musical Kabbalat Shabbat services and a traditional Ethiopian meal, after which everyone adjourned to the sanctuary for a special performance by Aveva Dese, an Ethiopian-Israeli singer and songwriter. Aveva expresses her life experiences through her music, which features stimulating African groove and traditional Ethiopian sounds combined with a touch of the fresh urban beat of Tel Aviv. Through a moderated conversation in between sets, Aveva also shared stories of her family’s difficult journey from Ethiopia to Israel.



    Leah signing books

    The third and final event of the series took place on September 17 at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre. Based on the theme of fusion and innovation on tradition in contemporary Jewish culture, the program featured an outstanding performance by Sandcatchers, a quartet that blends the Middle Eastern trope of the oud with the dreamy, Americana infused textures of the steel. The music accompanied a brunch made up of a curated selection of recipes by culinary personalities Leah Koenig and Bonnie Stern, including borscht crostini and smoked salmon hash. After the meal, Leah and Bonnie led an engaging conversation about exciting trends and new directions in the Jewish food movement.

    If you missed out on these events (or if you were in attendance but want to relive the sounds and flavours!), we invite you to check out the following resources:
    Listen to a sample of Goyfriend’s music on their website
    Hear about Goyfriend’s origins in this podcast interview with Avi Grenadier
    Enjoy a sample of Aveva Dese’s music on her website
    Experience the music of Sandcatchers’ on their website
    Try a recipe from The Russian-Jewish Cookbook: Recollections and Recipes of Immigrants from the Former Soviet Union (published in Hebrew)
    Learn about Ethiopian Jewish cuisine in this article about the Beta Israel
    Read about Leah Koenig’s unique twist on Jewish cuisine in this article about her book Modern Jewish Cooking/

    This series was sponsored in part by JCC Association’s Making Music Happen Centennial Grant Initiative, funded by a grant from Marvin J. Pertzik and the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation.



    Making Music Happen

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  9. New D.A.N.I CHALLAH POP UP at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre

    Challah bun

    D.A.N.I Students



    New D.A.N.I CHALLAH POP UP at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre

    When young adults with disabilities finish high school at the age of 21, they have few options. D.A.N.I helps them transition to adulthood in a warm, safe and stimulating environment. We practice skills that have been learned while teaching new practical ones for daily life and emphasize vocational skills for employment opportunities.

    Our adults want the same lives as their peers or siblings. However, the route may be modified or different. D.A.N.I assists the adults in creating their own goals and vision of their lives while becoming self-advocates.

    D.A.N.I relies upon fees for service and other fundraisers and an annual gala. Two years ago, D.A.N.I started a pop-up café selling various foods to local offices and public spaces. This way, these adults can practice their kitchen, organizational, social and financial skills while creating community connections.

    Starting on Friday, September 15th, D.A.N.I CHALLAH POP UP will be at the Atrium at the Schwartz Reisman Centre. The pop up will sell delicious ( in taste and meaning!) home made, parev, COR challah buns.

    Please come and meet the participants on Friday, September 15th. Take home some delicious buns as well as the knowledge that your actions made a difference.

    Challah Bun: $0.50 each
    Large Challah: $3.50

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  10. Blessing for a Solar Eclipse

    Solar Eclipse



    Blessing for a Solar Eclipse
    By the Mandel Centre for Jewish Education



    If you’ve been following any news source (right, left,” fake,” or otherwise) you surely know there is a total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017. An appropriate Jewish question to ask is which bracha, or blessing should one recite? (There is an entire set of brachot, or blessings for witnessing a natural phenomenon (e.g., thunder, lightning, a beautiful tree, a rainbow, an ocean, etc.). It turns out it’s not that simple.

    According to the Babylonian Talmud, a solar eclipse is a bad omen for the world and a lunar eclipse is a bad omen for the Jewish people (Sukkot 29a).   

    "Our Rabbis taught, When the sun is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for the whole world… when the moon is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for Israel, since Israel reckons by the moon and idolaters by the sun."

    Mostly, this would seem to be based on a variety of verses from the Tanach, or Jewish Bible, describing the darkening of the sun as part of God’s punishment. For example:

    Isaiah 13:10
    "The stars and constellations of heaven/Shall not give off their light/The sun shall be dark when it rises/And the moon shall diffuse its glow."

    Ezekiel  32:7
    "When you are snuffed out/I will cover the sky/And darken its stars/I will cover the sun with clouds/And the moon shall not give its light. " 

    Joel  2:10
    "Before them the earth trembles/Heaven shakes/Sun and moon are darkened/And stars withdraw their brightness." 

    Later, the same Talmud passage interprets a solar eclipse as a warning; depending on the eclipse’s features, it warns of different things.

    "If it is in eclipse in the east, it is a bad omen for those ho dwell in the east; if in the west, it is a bad omen for those who dwell in the west; if in the midst of heaven it is bad omen for the whole world. If its face is red as blood, [it is a sign that] the sword is coming to the world; if it is like sack‐cloth, the arrows of famine are coming to the world; if it resembles both, the sword and the arrows of famine are coming to the world. If the eclipse is at sunset calamity will tarry in its coming; if at dawn, it hastens on its way: but some say the order is to be reversed."

    This is why Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the last Lubavitcher Rebbe (1902-1994) explained the eclipse as warning offers, “…Opportunities for increasing prayer and introspection – as opposed to prompting joyous blessings, [and so] we do not recite a blessing when witnessing one.”

    Still, this seems to run counter to the general approach of the Jewish system of bracha, which is designed to alert people to attend to the world with gratitude, even when we witness something sad (e.g., Baruch Dayan Emet, Blessed is the True Judge, recited upon hearing of a death or passing a destroyed synagogue). It’s hard to argue why a comet gets a bracha and an eclipse doesn’t; they are both natural wonders and part of God’s creation. This attitude also contradicts Jewish thought’s mandate to recite brachot as often as possible (a target of 100 brachot daily is given) during our waking hours  (Babylonian Talmud Menachot 43b).

    If you consider yourself bound by halacha, or Jewish law, it’s a bit of a sticky issue, for reciting an “unauthorized” bracha is considered a waste and is to be avoided. If you are not bound by halacha, though, this is an opportunity for liturgical creativity.  Since there is no “official” bracha for witnessing an eclipse, you have some options:

    1.Apply an existing bracha which seem appropriate to you (each bracha begins with the same formula):
    Apply an existing bracha which seem appropriate to you



    2. Create a new bracha. Again, you have some options:
    a. Use the historical formula (see above) and simply create a new ending.  It’s OK if the “stem” is in Hebrew and the “tagline” is in English; whomever you want to hear this bracha will
    b. Use your own words to create your own “stem.”  Historically, the blessing formula requires words that do four things:

    1. Name God (Adonai, Elohim, Source of Strength, Rock of Israel,  Compassionate One, OMG!…there are lots of options!) 
    2. Reference the concept of blessing (baruch, blessed, the gift, the benefit of, etc.) 
    3. God’s Sovereignty (ruler, creator, maker, etc.) 
    4. Time (forever, till the end of time, eternal, unending, etc.) understand it.


    (Note: this is how Jews have created blessings through history.  If you do not believe in God, figure out what an appropriate substitute would be. Just because it doesn’t fit the historical/Jewish legal bracha formula doesn’t mean it’s not a bracha! With brachot, intention matters.)



    Beyond brachot, it is also appropriate to recite verses from Psalms, such as:

    Beyond brachot, it is also appropriate to recite verses from Psalms, such as:

    Finally, remember the eclipse, like most phenomena (natural or otherwise), has a beginning, middle, and end. Each presents differently (dimming light, darkenss, growing light). It is appropriate to recognize each aspect of the eclipse separately, even as we reflect on the gestalt of the experience.



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