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  1. #MyJCCStory: Meet Marty Leaf

    Video screenshot

    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.

    Click Here to watch video

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  2. Summer 2017 Aquatics Registration

    Summer Aquatics Registration 


    Summer Session Registration Dates


    ·  SRC Members: Registration opens Sunday, May 28th at 10:00 am.

    ·  Non-members: Registration opens Sunday, June 4th at 10:00 am.

    ·  Summer 2017 lessons begin on Monday, June 26, 2017

    ·  Once registration is open (May 28th), click here to register:

    Schedule and Pricing 

    Click here for Summer 2017 schedule and pricing 

    New and Improved Schedule

    We are now offering “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.

    • - Weekday summer lessons have a distinct July session and August session. Lessons are acclerated and offered twice per week. You can choose July session, August session or BOTH! Your kids will have the opportunity to complete a level in July and can register for the next level in August! Complete 2 levels in the summer!
    • - Weekend lessons are offered once per week and run through the entire summer. 


    Registration is ONLINE ONLY. Phone registration is no longer available.
    Summer session registration will be open as per dates above. Click this link 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 x 3023 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 protected]

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  3. Inclusion Services Multisport Festival

    Multisport festival

    The Schwartz/Reisman Centre in partnership with Special Olympics Ontario is inviting children ages 4-12 years with intellectual disabilities and their families to join us for a fun and active afternoon!

    Each athlete will be given a “Sport Passport” to explore different sports and skills & drills stations while having lots of fun!

    Date: Sunday May 28th 2017

    Time: 1:30 - 3:30 PM

    Location: Schwartz/Reisman Centre 9600 Bathurst Street, Vaughan, Ontario L6A 3Z8 Gym D (Main lobby)

    Attire: Each athlete should wear proper attire for physical activities (i.e., running shoes, athletic shorts/pants, and shirt).

    The Schwartz/Reisman Centre is committed to accessibility. Please let us know in advance if you have any accessibility needs: [email protected] or 905-303- 1821 ext 3042 

    Special Olympics Ontario is dedicated to enriching the lives of individuals with an intellectual disability through active participation in sport providing grassroots sport programs and competition opportunities.

    Everyone is welcome at no charge.


    The Multisport Sport Festival is designed to be an introductory event for young athletes with intellectual disabilities. It’s an opportunity to participate in a variety of sport stations and learn about the benefits of living a physically active and healthy life.

    Kicking, dribbling, passing, running, throwing – soccer is a very popular sport that requires athletes to have a wide range of skills. At this soccer station, athletes can work on all of their soccer skills and see how many goals they can score!

    At the basketball station, athletes will be given the opportunity to shoot some hoops and also work on dribbling and passing. Basketball is a great game for athletes of all ages and abilities and the skills introduced at this station will allow athletes to be successful at every level of basketball!

    Running, jumping, throwing, and catching are all very important basic fundamental movement skills and are all components of track & field. At this station, athletes will be introduced to the basic skills needed to participate in all track and field events. This station will also emphasize the importance of these skills in other sports. Mastering these skills opens up opportunities in every other sport!

    Rhythmic Gymnastics is one of Special Olympics coolest sports! Allowing athletes to dance and move to their favorite songs, at this station athletes will get a chance to learn a dance routine or just dance to their hearts desire!

    Active Start and FUNdamentals are generic physical literacy courses that provide opportunities for athletes to learn the basic physical literacy skills needed to participate in any sport. These programs are play-based, inclusive, and non-competitive. To demonstrate some of the skills introduced in this course, we will be building a Special Olympics Obstacle Course – see if you can make it through!

    For more information please contact Karina at [email protected] or 905-303- 1821 ext 3042.

    Ontario Trillium logo

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  4. [email protected] Celebrations

    We always pride ourselves on having wonderful events and celebrations at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre. This year is no different! Our [email protected] celebrations are right around the corner. Have you bought your tickets yet and RSVP’d? There are a few big events coming up that you will not want to miss!!!!

    Jane Bordeaux Band

    Join us for a very special [email protected] Concert featuring Jane Bordeaux Band

    Israel's favourite Indie Folk Group is spreading its wings!

    Jane Bordeaux Band is an act based out of Tel Aviv, making Live n' kickin' American folk-country style music in Hebrew. The trio met a few years ago and haven't stopped playing since. From the moment their debut album aired, the band burst into the scene and began selling out every venue they came across while receiving warm reviews from the audience and music critics.

    They will be performing a very special performance live at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre on Saturday, May 6th!
    Doors: 8:30pm Concert: 9:00 pm
    *Tickets are only available online. No tickets will be available at the door.

    For more information please contact Gustavo Rymberg at [email protected] or 905.303.1841 or Galya Sarner at [email protected] or 905.303.1821 x3030

    Buy your tickets today!

    Join us to Celebrate the Birth of the Jewish State and the Strength of it’s People!

    We will be having a HUGE Yom Ha'atzmaut Israel @69 Community Celebration, Monday May 1st at 6:00 pm!

    You won’t want to miss:

    -A Live Performance by Tal Vaknin

    -Arts and Crafts

    -Photo Booth

    -Activities for the whole family

    Admission is FREE! Everyone is welcome!

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  5. Learn about Canadian and American politics from two experts in this double-header!

    Arts & Ideas Speaker Series

    Learn about Canadian and American politics from two experts in this double-header!

    With today’s fast-paced news cycle and the growth of “fake news”, it can be difficult to get a handle on the political developments affecting our country. As a result, we want to invite you attend two special lectures:

    Trudeaumania with Dr. Robert Wright

    Date: Thursday, April 27 at 7:00 PM

    Location: Prosserman JCC

    Fee: $15

    Delve into the hype surrounding Pierre Trudeau’s entry into federal politics and his unique assessment of the issues facing Canada and the world. The lecture will conclude with Trudeaumania’s second incarnation, during the election campaign that saw his son, Justin Trudeau, elected Prime Minister of Canada. Dr. Robert Wright is a best-selling author and professor of history at Trent University Durham.

    Click here to watch an interview with Robert Wright

    The Trump Administration with Dr. Robert Bothwell

    Date: Thursday, May 4 at 7:00 p.m.

    Location: Schwartz/Reisman Centre

    Fee: $15

    Donald Trump has overturned decades of American policy, both foreign and domestic. This lecture will delve into some of Trump’s most controversial decisions and make informed predictions regarding their potential impact on Canadians. Dr. Robert Bothwell is a renowned specialist in political and foreign policy history, and a professor in the Department of History and the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.

    REGISTER NOW for either or both of these fascinating lectures!

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  6. Meaningful Inclusion Results in new friends for the whole family

    My JCC Story - Gabriel

    Ready to join in the Autism Speaks Light it up Blue campaign? Around the world, on April 2nd, thousands of iconic landmarks and communities will shine blue to support people living with autism.  At the Schwartz/Reisman Centre, we are no different. In addition to the blue touches you will see in our Centre, we thought we’d share this great JCC story.

      Meaningful inclusion results in new friends for the whole family

    GabrielDespite a shared love of Lego, trains, tennis and pizza some children have a harder time than others making friends. Such was the case for grade 4 student, Gabriel, who is on the Autism spectrum. Then, he found the Schwartz/Reisman Centre and a series of programs that have included social skills, early engineers, Sportball, karate and yoga.

    It has been close to three years now and the greatest impact of these programs has been on Gabriel’s feeling of belonging and his bond with new friends.

    “Gabriel skips into class and runs out with excitement,” said Elaine his mother. “When we put him in other activities he got bored or lost interest. But this one he always loves. The quality of programming, the talent of ABA instructors and the consistency of the same kids, the experiments and activities makes it so successful.” Gabriel

    Gabriel is not the only family member benefiting from the SRC’s inclusion programming. While Gabriel and his friend are having fun in their weekly social club, their two sisters enjoy swimming lessons together.

    “I’ve also met a group of mothers that I hang out with and talk about our situations and challenges,” said Elaine. “We have a bond – they get it. If one of us has a bad day we text each other. We may live anywhere from the Beaches to Vaughan but once a week we meet at the JCC.”

    It’s time the entire family looks forward to each week making Gabriel’s excitement to hang out with his new friends, quite typical.

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  7. My JCC Story: Kayla Daniels

    My JCC Story

    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.

    Kayla Daniels

    Click Here to view video

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  8. Meet Elizabeth Greisman

    Elizabeth Greisman

    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 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

    'The Angel Sisters' by Elizabeth Greisman

    Nuit Blanche 2012

    'La Paris Passage' by Elizabeth Greisman at Nuit Blanche 2012

    Sensing the Shadows

    'Sensing the Shawdows' by Elizabeth Greisman at Nuit Blanche 2009

    Read more »
  9. Spring/Summer 2017 Program Schedule

    Spring/Summer Program Schedule

    We are excited to release the online version of our Spring/Summer Program Schedule!

    Click Here to view Spring/Summer 2017 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 registering.


    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.

    Watch the video tutorial to see how the new "Program Finder" will help you find the programs you're most interested in.

    Click Here to view a helpful video on registering for programs.

    Read more »
  10. What does it mean to be "Educated"?


    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"  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: 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.

    Brain Power

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