News & Events
Posted: August 15, 2017
THE 2017 JCC MACCABI GAMES AND ARTSFEST
By Andrew Levy, Executive Director of the Schwartz/Reisman Centre and Prosserman JCC
The lens through which we see the world defines our experiences and our JCCs continuously explore opportunities to strengthen Jewish identity and build community locally, continentally and globally. Last week over 2000 teenagers took part in a powerful and transformative experience in Miami, FL and Albany, NY at the 36th annual JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest. The JCC Maccabi Games brings Jewish teenagers together from around the world to represent their communities by competing in sporting events, while ArtsFest provides talented artists with the opportunity to work with experts in their fields in order to fine-tune their craft. However, the competition was secondary this past week to the celebration of our Jewish heritage and the global Jewish community.
Every year Toronto sends a very strong delegation and this year we were represented by 130 outstanding athletes and coaches, the third largest delegation at the Games. Accompanying them was a large contingent of enthusiastic and patriotic family members who were soaking in the experience with Canadian flags and big smiles.
While the games foster a healthy sense of competition, every aspect of this unique experience is infused with Jewish values. Awards for rachmanus (compassion) and tikkun olam (repairing the world) are awarded in addition to the traditional gold, silver and bronze medals. Lior Cyngiser, who sits on the Board of the Schwartz/Reisman Centre and Prosserman JCC, found the games to be “an extremely powerful and inspiring experience. The JCC Maccabi Games provided great insight into the power that sport, Jewish values and community have not only on the athletes and artists, but for the families, volunteers and the community at large as well. The Games are more than just a sports tournament – they galvanize the community. The passion and Jewish pride from all those involved was contagious and inspiring.”
On behalf on the Toronto delegation, we are incredibly proud of all the young people who took part in this year’s Games and ArtsFest and would like to congratulate them on their many accomplishments. Our swimming team brought home an impressive 71 medals from Miami, the most in Toronto’s history at the games. Toronto was undefeated in hockey, bringing home the gold. Other highlights include a gold medal in girls soccer, a silver medal in boys soccer, a gold medal in girls tennis, and innumerable showings of sportsmanship, teamwork and Jewish spirit along the way.
Lorne Goldstein, Chair of the Schwartz/Reisman Centre and Prosserman JCC Board of Directors, had the pleasure of attending this year’s games and found it be a hugely impactful experience, stating that “This gathering of young athletes and artists from North America, Great Britain, and Israel really provided a unique opportunity for the participants to share and grow their Jewish identity and values under the JCC international banner. Kol Hakavod to our 130 athletes and coaches who competed. A special thanks to our Miami hosts who worked so hard to put these games together and graciously housed our Toronto contingent.”
The games are so much more than a sporting competition. The JCC Maccabi experience is truly one that our athletes and artists will carry with them for the entire lives. It connects on the highest level their passions with their heritage and offers them a deep and meaningful Jewish experience. This is made possible by our incredibly dedicated volunteer coaches and passionate delegation heads. We are so fortunate to have them on our team.
We look forward to seeing everyone at the 2018 JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest (Aug. 5-10, 2018), to be hosted by the Merage JCC of Orange County and the Alpert JCC of Long Beach in California. For information about how you can join a future delegation, email us at email@example.com.
MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE GAMES:
“Victorious athletes not only winners at Maccabi Games” – Times Union, Albany, NY
“Thousands expected at JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest in Miami” – Sun-Sentinal, Broward County, FL
Video: “JCC Maccabi Games Underway” – WBRC Fox 6 News, Birmingham, AL
Additional coverage can be found on our Facebook page.Read more »
Posted: August 14, 2017
KACHOL LAVAN IS EXPANDING!
Our school will now have better means to strengthen our student’s Israeli-Jewish identity and connection to Israel
Founded in 2006, Kachol Lavan is a unique supplementary Hebrew school that serves a diverse community in the Greater Toronto Area. It focuses on nurturing a love for the Hebrew language and a strong connection to Israel and its culture for children starting at the young age of four.
Since its inception, the school has consistently raised awareness in our community about the value of what we teach and has become one of the leading Israeli supplementary schools outside of Israel.
Kachol Lavan is committed to maintaining and strengthening the connection between the local Canadian community to Hebrew language, Israel, and Jewish heritage. It achieves this through the cultivation of excellent programs, fostering leadership and social cohesion within an enriching, experimental framework.
From 70 students in the first year, Kachol Lavan now annually attracts around 250 students each school year. For some classes, there’s been a waiting list due to space limitations.
From the outset, the school’s vision has always been to provide a valuable resource to the Israeli and Jewish community through its innovative, engaging program that focuses on the educational and cultural needs of families and students with an experiential, dynamic Israeli spirit.
Kachol Lavan has consistently made our constituents appreciative of what the school contributes to the community, developing a greater interest in and connection to Israel. “This incredible school has filled a significant void in our community by enhancing the teaching of Hebrew, creating a rich connection to Israel, and building a new community” says Merav Munz who has two children at Kachol Lavan. “We are fortunate to be able to give our children the ‘home-away- from-home’ feeling at Kachol Lavan.”
One of our highlights of fulfilling our dream and vision for Kachol Lavan was the integration of the school into the Schwartz/Reisman Centre and the Prosserman JCC.
The success of Kachol Lavan is a major priority for the Schwartz/ Reisman Centre and the Prosserman JCC and significant resources have been allocated for its continued growth.
Over the past four years, the JCC has been proud to be the home of Kachol Lavan.
In order to continue to provide an effective, comprehensive response to the needs of all students and in keeping with our aspirations for excellence, we are pleased to inform you that the school will relocate from the Schwartz/Reisman Centre to Bialik Hebrew Day School, located just across the street, starting September 17, the first day of school.
This move offers our Kachol Lavan students:
• A more suitable educational setting
• Classes with state-of-the-art technology
• An environment that strengthens the love for Israel
• An Israeli atmosphere and spirit, that reinforces our roots and tradition, like the Schwartz Reisman Centre.
• On-site security
• Drop off and pick up area – parents will be able to enjoy a system similar to the one offered at public schools.
Kachol Lavan will continue to hold a number of events and celebrations at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre, as well as classes on Thursday evenings.
For the convenience of families who live in the central/southern part of Toronto, Kachol Lavan will also continue to operate at the Prosserman JCC for which registration is now in progress.
We look forward to a meaningful year of studies in both locations and are excited for the move to our new location.
*Spaces still remain for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year. Click here to sign-up today!Read more »
If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact us at 905-303-5025 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: August 10, 2017
We are excited to release the online version of our Fall/Winter Program Schedule!Read more »
Click Here to view Fall/Winter Program Schedule.
Please download the guide and browse through it to find all of the new and exciting programs being offered this Spring and Summer.
Have you created your new website account yet? Get setup today. It's quick and easy!
In order to take advantage of member value pricing, you will need to create an account on our new website and connect your membership information. We've made it easy to do and you can watch this video walk-through to see the exact process. (Once you've created your account, you never need to do it again and program registration will be a breeze!).
Click Here to view a helpful video on creating an account and linking your membership.
How can I register for programs online?
Registering for new programs is better, faster and easier than ever before! You can register from your desktop computer, tablet or phone with just a few clicks.
Click Here to view a helpful video on registering for programs.
Posted: August 09, 2017
Fall Session Registration Dates
· SRC Members: Registration opens Sunday, August 13th at 10:00 am.
· Non-members: Registration opens Sunday, August 20th at 10:00 am.
Fall 2017 lessons begin on Monday, October 2, 2017
Schedule and Pricing
New and Improved Schedule
We offer “ANY LEVEL, ANY TIME” format for most swim lessons. We offer all levels at almost any time (you just need to select the day and time, and we take care of the rest!) Great for families with multiple children. Small group and private lessons available. Swim lesson program and instructors are Red Cross certified. Facilities include 2 beautiful and warm salt water pools + free underground parking.
Registration is ONLINE ONLY. Phone registration is no longer available. Fall session registration will be open as per dates above. Click this here to register
Create 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 here
Follow this link for help on how to setup your free online 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 x3023 to set up a free 5-minute swim assessment. Our instructors will assess your child’s swim skills and recommend an appropriate level for registration.
Do you have specific questions about swimming lessons or levels, etc? Call our Swim Lessons Information Line: 905-303- 1821 x3023 (not for registration) or email: email@example.comRead more »
Posted: August 02, 2017|Categories: Blog
North Bay girl using The Maccabi Games to connect with Jewish identity
When most girls look back on their bat mitzvah celebrations they will remember their party with friends or a portion of learning they nailed in a speech or in front of the Torah.
For Mia Cochran from North Bay, however, deciding what to do to mark her Bat Mitzvah wasn’t as easy. Her two older brothers had bar mitzvahs – one in Israel and one in the local North Bay synagogue. But, Mia wasn’t sure either of those options was right for her.
While her brothers played football in high school, she is considered the jock of the family. So, when the opportunity came along to participate in the JCC Maccabi Games, she knew this was it – THIS was going to be the way she marked her Bat Mitzvah and formal connection to the Jewish community. At 15 years old, Mia will be going to the JCC Maccabi Games in Florida as part of the girls soccer team Toronto delegation. She will be traveling with a new network of Jewish teammates and staying with a local Jewish family in Florida. Her parents, Irit and Rob, will be flying down to cheer her on.
Mia’s ambitions including playing soccer in university and is hoping her talents will be noticed by members of the sporting community at the Games.
What they will surely see is a midfield and defense player that is a fast runner, patient, driven and skilled at reading the game. They will also notice her light-heartedness and joy of playing, often with a huge smile across her face.
Mia has been playing soccer for as long as her father can remember. Currently, she is playing with the North Bay Rep team and she is part of the Northern Soccer Academy (Centre of Excellence). This year, she took the ref course and currently is a referee for North Bay Women’s Soccer and Youth Soccer leagues.
There is no doubt she is exceptional and will be noticed for her sports prowess and, no less, for her unique way of building her Jewish identity.
Mazal tov Mia Cochran on this amazing milestone! May you continue to go from strength to strength.
Read more »
Posted: June 14, 2017
Meet Marty Leaf
For some, camp is a summer escape. But for Marty Leaf, it’s his passion.
Marty isn’t a man of many words but his character speaks volumes as he walks down the corridors of JCC.
Marty is a resident of Reena, a home in Thornhill for individuals with developmental disabilities. He grew up going to The Jack and Pat Kay Centre Camp and declares it his second home.
“I love it,” exclaims Marty.
During the summer, Marty is often the first person you’ll see in the morning. His smiling face greets campers at drop off and this happy nature is enough to let you know your child is in good hands.
Marty is a true mentor figure and friend, evidenced by the onslaught of kids that run up to him for a hug or a good laugh.
He keeps old cabin photos in his backpack to show campers and share memories of the years when he too was a camper at this same camp. The nostalgia and excitement that these photos evoke remind him why he continues to reach out and connect with new people.
Marty’s been coming to the JCC for almost 19 years now and enjoys every second. His warm-hearted approach and gentle nature make him one of the most popular figures at camp and his loyalty, passion and involvement won him the prestigious Dan Shulman Community Volunteer Award last year.
As a camp volunteer, he participates in a variety of activities such as swimming, dance, drama and sports. It’s almost as though he’s reliving his own childhood through the work he does.
Marty Leaf’s JCC story is about building a sense of belonging and developing relationships that transcend decades.
Read more »
Posted: March 14, 2017
Ten years ago Kayla Daniels was referred by JF&CS to The Jack and Pat Kay Centre Camp to, in her words, “develop who I am and make new friends”.
Kayla’s story is just one of the many success stories that come from community collaboration and outreach. It is also testament to the notion that when we give, we actually get more in return.
An amazing inspiration to her fellow staff and campers, Kayla is now in her fourth year as a counsellor. As a camper, she developed strong friendships that she believes helped her achieve personal success and navigate tough times. In addition to making new friends, camp also helped her reconnect with old friends broadening her support network.
Kayla says one of the reasons she likes being a counsellor is the ability for her to give back to campers the skills, support and confidence that she received once herself.
Her understanding and appreciation of Jewish and Israeli culture is also something she credits Centre Camp with, and something that she makes sure to pay forward. “You come to camp to have fun, but I’ve learned a lot from camp about the Jewish culture,” says Kayla. “This helps me figure out who I am and as I grow up this still shapes me.” Her first time hearing the Israeli anthem, Hatikvah, was in camp as well as many Shabbat songs and activities. Each time she is inspired, she brings that information and joy home to share with her family, especially her younger sister who is now also a Centre Camp camper.
What is Kayla Daniels’ JCC Story? It’s the message of connection, friendship, support and giving back.
Read more »
Posted: March 09, 2017
Elizabeth Greisman has always had an ongoing love affair with art.
She was born in Toronto, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her resume! If you know Elizabeth, the breadth of her experience won’t surprise you. For those unfamiliar, Elizabeth is the Cultural Arts/Visual Arts Coordinator at the Prosserman JCC and the Schwartz Reisman Centre running a full visual arts program for everyone from toddlers to seniors with a strong focus on ceramics, drawing, painting and printmaking.
No matter what class you’re interested in, you’re certainly in good hands with Elizabeth. Her expertise has been used with The National Ballet of Canada and The Tapestry Opera Company, just to name a few. With educational roots from Paris, France, Elizabeth’s work has been exhibited all over the world, including multiple disciplinary shows for Toronto’s own Nuit Blanche.She also co-curates the Nascent Art Science collective, a group of global artists and scientists dedicated to facilitating scientific concepts through art and social change.
If you can’t already tell, Elizabeth Greisman has a monumental passion for the world of art, and for sharing it with others. We sat down with her to find out more about the role that art plays in her life:
Q: How has your life been shaped by art?
Since my earliest years I have been motivated to create art works to express my individuality. I have worked in many forms, doll clothes design when young, drawing, painting, photography and textile design when older. I have often worked in a cross-disciplinary fashion with dance, science, poetry, cuisine, medicine, and horticulture in the visual arts.
Q: What inspires your creativity?
I would say that the ideas come tome fairly quickly as I view an exhibition or internalize and interpret an event. I concentrate on the emotion inherent in each response. I also enjoy organizing multi-peopled and multi-disciplinary large scale events as much as the solitary practice of the studio. It often takes a while to think of the concept. I never sketch out an artwork ahead but prefer to paint with immediacy ,a la prima.
Q: What does your position at the JCC entail?
At the JCC I am the Cultural Arts and Visual Arts Coordinator at both the Prosserman JCC and Schwartz/Reisman Centre. As such I administrate the visual arts schools for pre-school to senior adult. Our adult classes in drawing, painting and ceramics are instructed at the beginner to professional levels. We also run workshops in specialized subjects. As well I am responsible for the curating and the mounting of the visual arts exhibitions at both locations.
Q: Why were you interested in starting these programs at the JCC?Joining the JCC in this capacity provided a forum for my lifelong dream of leading my own art classes in a community based setting. I enjoy contributing to the Jewish Community.
Q: You say that teaching young children has been a life-long passion for you... what sort of joy do you get from it and why?
The creativity, inventiveness, resilience and expressiveness has always been a hallmark of creative energy. During my thirty plus years as an educator, I have always tried to maintain some of this enthusiasm and originality in all of my programs.
Q: How do you come up with different class concepts?
I base a lot of my decisions on my experience as a multifaceted international artist and educator.
Q: When you teach art, you ensure you incorporate its rich history and make cross-disciplinary references to science, math, and language... why i sit important to make these connections?
Art does not exist in isolation. It must stem from and augment other concepts as inspiration. Looking to other disciplines helps to enrich the breath of credibility and depth necessary for each individual piece.
Q: You also have an extensive background in dance, world-travel and landscape designing...do you still practice any of these things today?
I am very privileged to have been a guest visual artist of Canada’s National Ballet and the Tapestry Opera Company using skills I learned at Central St Martins School in London, England. I have a strong interest in horticulture and botanical gardens and produced a first draft of a cookbook for Le Jardin Botanique du Marnay sur Seine France while I was an artist in residence atLa Maison Verte.
Q: Why do you think it’s so important for children –or anyone at any age for that matter –to express themselves creatively?
Art showcases our creative soul and our humanity.
'The Angel Sisters' by Elizabeth Greisman'La Paris Passage' by Elizabeth Greisman at Nuit Blanche 2012
'Sensing the Shawdows' by Elizabeth Greisman at Nuit Blanche 2009Read more »
Posted: February 16, 2017
What does it mean to be "Educated"?
While re-reading Montaigne’s “On the Education of Children” over the holidays, I was reminded of the old, still very relevant, and difficult to answer question: What does it mean to be “educated”? Of course, there are myriad competing answers from across the ages. In the latter half of the 5th century B.C., Isocrates—not to be confused with Socrates—a Greek sophist and the father of education according to some, wrote that an educated person is one who has “good character”: one who manages daily circumstances well and demonstrates accurate judgment, decency, goodness, honour, and good nature. While some parents would add academic prowess to the list, it still sounds pretty good, right? So how does the Ministry of Education in Ontario answer the question of what it means to be “educated”? How does their answer fit (or not) with Isocrates’ ideals? Most importantly, what do Ontario’s schools do to achieve this aim of “educating” our youth?
Over ten years ago, former Premier McGuinty announced that Ontario was to implement a character education policy from K-12 in public schools—a commitment to engage students in developing the positive habits and characteristics of responsible citizens, thereby creating better “educated” individuals. All children in Ontario’s schools are now subjected to this initiative from the start to the finish of their education, and both students and parents have been voicing concerns about the experience over this past decade. At the most fundamental level, many have asked what problem this policy initiative is supposedly addressing. Was Ontario not already producing “educated” graduates ten years ago? And then there’s the glaring contradiction that has puzzled many: McGuinty said that the values and attributes of character development are “universal and transcend racial, religious, ethno-cultural, linguistic, and other demographic factors,” yet he also stated that there was growing need to find “common ground” on the values and attributes Ontarians hold in common. If the values and attributes of character development are indeed “universal,” why do we need to find “common ground”? Indeed, how do multiple social, religious, cultural, political, and racial voices get included in the conversation about character development—especially those of immigrant families?
They don’t. And that is largely due to the fact that the Ontario government didn’t find (or even look for) “common ground” on community values (i.e. not many people were consulted in the process of choosing the character traits schools would inculcate through the program). Despite the rhetoric about creating a school culture of good citizenship, the Ontario Character Education Program is a top-down prescription: typically, in addition to a vague goal of promoting citizenship and a sense of community in schools, ten character traits are provided to each region (one for each month of the school year); each trait is then posted at the school and teachers (who are not provided training or curriculum for this program, and most of whom do not have any credentials in moral education or philosophy) are expected to independently weave their own interpretations of such concepts as “honesty,” “integrity,” or “loyalty” into the classroom as they see fit. In some schools, teachers choose a few students who exhibit a given trait better than their peers (or rather, who have “performed” the trait most convincingly) for a month’s-end award.
In my published doctoral work on the topic, I examined the Ontario initiative, its rhetoric, rosy promises, and seeming contradictions. My research and continued interest in the initiative have left me with four main concerns and one proposed solution. My first concern is that the Ontario government used a (failed) American, rather than a tried and true (or, at least, home-grown) Canadian model, for conceptualizing its project. My second concern is that the Ontario government chose a traits-based approach, ignoring an abundance of research that invalidates this particular conceptual framework. My third concern is that our policymakers did not sufficiently explore the ongoing intellectual dialogue on the subject of character education and “good character,” failing to consider multidisciplinary research, cutting-edge theories of mind, or neuroscience insights into moral development. My fourth concern is the lack of rigour and direction in the implementation of this initiative: there is no extensive character education curriculum or province-wide agenda (or assessment of success) and yet teachers (bright and well-meaning though they may be) are expected to address morality and "good character" in any which way in their classrooms. Of note is the fact that Ontario teachers and students who have been interviewed about the implementation of the initiative have unanimously agreed that character education is an afterthought and/or ignored by most at their schools and the policy has done little to change the school culture.
The solution? I have a positive vision for constructing a viable character education program in Ontario: mandatory philosophical inquiry with the aim to enhance critical thinking skills and impart empathy. And I'm not alone in my conviction: The Toronto Star - only a few days ago - echoed this view in the article, "Trump, Trudeau, and Teaching Critical Thinking for 2017" https://www.thestar.com/opin
ion/commentary/2017/01/08/trum p-trudeau-and-teaching-critica l-thinking-for-2017.html Surely Isocrates, were he alive today, would agree that having children tap into the timeless human dialogue about being "educated" (and, in so doing, discuss moral education) is the right way to go. Rather than prescribing traits for students to perform, have students (in age-appropriate fashion) examine philosophical ideas, such as the dangers of moral certainty, the science and nature of the self, as well as the neurology of the “moral mind.” There is such an abundance of scholarly research that points to the beneficial impacts of philosophical study on young people's academic and empathetic development that it is our responsibility to include philosophical inquiry as a subject in our children's schooling. Teachers (those who are expertly trained and accredited) need to facilitate students' philosophical exploration; indeed, topics on ethics (including, perhaps, whether or not a universal approach to morality can be put forward as a valid conceptual framework for character education) would be a great start.
As an educator myself, I make a point of including philosophical inquiry into every lesson I teach and can't imagine extricating this element from my pedagogy (indeed, doing so would detract from the "educating" of my students). Certainly if Google hires philosophers to direct their "moral operating system" (yes, even a tech company cares about the morality of its products! see: http://venturebeat.com/20
11/05/14/damon-horowitz-moral- operating-system/) our education system certainly could use a serious philosophical approach to its own attempts at moral education.
Clearly, the discussion on the subject of being "educated" and having good character is so rich, enduring, and progressive. At the very least, we should aim to let our young people learn how to explore classical philosophical ideas and have philosophical discussions and debates--even if our policymakers can't or won't. I'd like to think that an educated youth is encouraged to carefully and thoughtfully consider a history of ideas and apply their own thoughts to their exploration; in fact, in so doing, they would be heeding sage advice philosopher Immanuel Kant once gave, "Sapare aude!" (Latin for: Dare to think for yourself!)
Dr. Karine Rashkovsky-Tomas (B.Sc., B.Ed., M.Ed., Ph.D.)
Founder & Director
Brain Power Enrichment Programs Ltd.
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Posted: November 18, 2016
Learning from Harley Pasternak
I had a unique learning experience one day in August, when I received an invitation along with my co-workers, to meet and listen to Harley Pasternak speak. Originally from Toronto, Harley has truly built an empire, trainer to the stars, author of several nutrition books and even a blender with his name on it. He was in Toronto for a fitness conference and made time in his schedule to speak with our group. He began with his very interesting and impressive background and then went on to talk about the Personal Training Tool Box. As trainers we know it is vital to train based on your client’s goals, their fitness level, and many other variables that play a role in what their exercise program will look like. We must keep our exercise designs and progressions new and exciting. Harley’s main point was to keep our exercise sessions “Fresh”. It is very important for our bodies and minds to be challenged, so that we will adhere to an exercise program and reach our goals.
Harley also talked about the importance of quality over quantity. You do not have to be in the gym for two hours at a time. When you understand the muscles that you are working and learn some great exercises, using your own body weight, dumbbells, machines, always mixing it up, you can get a great workout in 25-30 minutes. He also talked about the importance for women in particular, and men for that matter, to focus on strengthening their posterior chain. Our posture - as a society - working for hours on end in front of computers, gradually deteriorates as we age. It is vital to keep our backs strong! He also is an avid believer in walking as many steps as you can each day, take a walk for that coffee, park farther away in the parking lot, just keep moving. And of utmost importance, to eat healthy!
When our time with Harley was over, all I could think was, I wish we had more time with him. Though I have been a trainer for a third of the time that he has, with much less experience, I felt empowered about my own training and lifestyle philosophy, as it is similar to this trainer whom I have admired for years!
Written by: Marcie Albert (Personal Trainer at the SRC)Read more »