I expect many of you are not looking forward to the next few months as they’re likely to bring snow, cold, and darkness all around. To help cheer up any who dread winter, you’ll find some events below that’ll put a pep in your step. Before we go any further, it’s my duty to inform you that Hanukkah is early this year. The holiday falls on November 28 and ends on December 6, so mark your calendar! Though, doesn’t it feel as if the holiday is always either early or late . . . is it ever on time?!
First up on my list is an event that you can access online or in-person (the best kind of event!). Directed and produced by Sara Yacobi-Harris, the founder of No Silence on Race, Periphery is an exhibition currently on display at the Prosserman JCC.
Produced by No Silence on Race in partnership with the Ontario Jewish Archives, Periphery features work from a variety of Jews of Colour and is an exhibit that sheds light on the ethnic diversity of the Jewish community. On the Periphery website, you can view a 30-minute short documentary film delving into the question of what it means to be Jewish, especially for individuals who exist at multiple ethnic, racial, and cultural intersections.
You can catch the exhibit live until November 28 and check out the recorded Q & A on the Virtual JCC’s website.
Every year the Koffler Centre hosts an annual national awards program called Vine Awards, which honours the best Jewish and non-Jewish Canadian authors who write on Jewish subjects. View the shortlist for inspiring reads you’ll want to add to your Hanukkah wish list.
The Awards Ceremony is scheduled for November 23, and the Koffler Centre is also presenting three virtual panels as part of the Vine Awards. The panels are: WWII Fiction & Stories of Survival, (November 16), Storytelling, Family & Loss (November 17), and Memoir & Motherhood (November 18).
Don’t forget that the Koffler Gallery is open for viewing from Wednesday to Sunday between 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The current exhibit, A Heap of Random Sweepings is open until November 14 and the Koffler Centre will be announcing the next exhibit shortly.
Have you ever attended Limmud Toronto? Limmud is an inclusive festival of Jewish learning that brings people together to celebrate Jewish culture and heritage.
The festival is on Sunday November 21, and will take place online again this year, so make sure to free up your Sunday in order to attend all day. It runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. And this year, Limmud is hosting some extra special guests—Clarrie Feinstein and Orly Zebak, co-founders of Niv!
Don’t miss their panel Kvetching with Niv Mag: a discussion on new Jewish media at 11 a.m.
Make sure to scroll through the website to see the variety of topics that will be covered, from antisemitism, to arts and literature, to Canadian Jewry, to community, to environment, to food, to ideas and philosophy, to medical and mental health, and so much more.
Here is a sampling of events that caught my eye: Advancement or Dissonance? A look at 25 years of Orthodox Feminism, Beyond Kosher: Jewish Ethics and What We Eat, and Sex, Drugs and Fermented Seal Flipper—Harm Reduction in Jewish Public Health Ethics.
You can purchase a ticket for the suggested price of $18 (or more) or pay what you can.
HOLOCAUST EDUCATION WEEK
Holocaust Education Week takes place during the first week of November. The Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre is holding programs again this year that will run from November 1 to 17. Though you’re likely reading this on or after November 14, you should be able to watch them afterwards because the programs will be recorded. So don’t fret if you’ve missed them.
This year the Centre’s sessions cover many current topics, such as, video game culture, anti-vaxxers’ use of the yellow star, and TikTok portrayals of Holocaust victims. Check out the schedule here, and prepare yourself for some powerful conversations. One session you definitely want to add to your calendar is the exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the Toronto Holocaust Museum, set to open in 2023.
Lastly, I can’t write the November/December edition of Arts & Kvetch without throwing in a couple of Hanukkah activities! I discovered some fun family-friendly events, so here’s the first one: a Hanukkah sing-along hosted by the Miles Nadal JCC on November 25 (what more could you want, really). Register here and let Kobi Hass introduce you to some holiday tunes you’ve never heard before.
If you have kids or grandkids and you’re part of an interfaith Jewish-Christian family, you’re in luck, because the Miles Nadal JCC, JCC Greater Boston, PJ Library, and 18Doors are hosting the event you didn’t know you needed: What To Do in December—A Live Q & A for Parents Balancing Hanukkah and Christmas (along with a similar event for grandparents). As the event descriptions say, “the holidays can be a joyful time, but challenging when trying to figure out what and how to celebrate.”
Gila Münster is back with their queer Jewish variety show 8 Gays of Channukah happening on December 5 at 7 p.m. Toronto’s cross-dressing, cross-stitching Jewish American Princess will be hosting the show and celebrating the holiday season accompanied by other Toronto-based queer Jewish talent. Get ready for a night of drag, comedy, spoken word, music, and more!
The night will also feature guests such as Chianti, Gladys Saturday, Eve Anne Jellicle and others. Tickets are $10 dollars and the event will be held at Comedy Bar.
That’s all for now folks! Maybe next year we can hope for an in-person Limmud, an in-person Holocaust Education Week, and in-person Hanukkah celebrations! Should we hold our breath for in-person Passover seders and Shavuot celebrations in 2022? Only time will tell!
Till next time,
Header image design by Orly Zebak.
Lara Bulger has a deep-rooted commitment to the arts. With a Bachelor’s degree in Music with minors in Film and English, plus a Master’s Degree in Arts Leadership, she is passionate about the capacity of art to bring about social change. Lara is currently pursuing her PhD in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University, focusing on documentary film and its social, political and cultural impacts.