1. 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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  2. 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.

    Mandel Center for Jewish Education logo

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    2017 Maccabi Games & 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 protected].


    “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

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  4. Kachol Lavan is Expanding!

    Kachol Lavan Supplementary Hebrew School


    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!
    If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact us at 905-303-5025 or email [email protected]

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  5. We are excited to release the online version of our Fall/Winter Program Schedule!

    Happiness Happens here

    We are excited to release the online version of our Fall/Winter Program Schedule!

    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.

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  6. Fall 2017 Aquatics Registration

    Aquatics Registration is now open

    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

    Click here for Fall 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 protected]

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  7. #MyJCCStory North Bay girl using The Maccabi Games to connect with Jewish identity


    North Bay girl using The Maccabi Games to connect with Jewish identity

    Mia Playing soccerWhen 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.

    Learn more about JCC Maccabi Games

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