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The Legacy of Camp Kadimah

Shayli Liederman feels a fondness for Shabbats at Camp Kadimah in Nova Scotia. Every Friday night during the six-week overnight summer camp, everyone gathers in one of the recreational buildings, feet at the ready to jump into dancing as Israeli music blasts from the speakers.  “Everyone in the entire camp is in the same room…

Keeping in the Saint John Jewish tradition

Norman Hamburg lives his life in the Saint John, New Brunswick Jewish tradition.  “My family story mirrors many other Jewish families in the city,” he explained with a clear, methodical voice during our phone interview.  At 77 years old, Hamburg has lived in Saint John since he was five weeks old.  “I’m one of the…

Jewish motorcyclists in Toronto hit the open road with purpose

For 18 Sundays of the year (give or take), Jewish motorcyclists band together to embark on full day rides outside of Toronto. The objective is simple: enjoy each other’s company and the open road.  The Yids on Wheels (YOW) Motorcycle Touring Club, has been part of the Jewish community since 1995. With 65 members, typically…

Small but mighty: how the Jewish Atlantic Council supports a thriving community in Canada

Over a year after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, Jewish community members in Atlantic Canada still check in on their neighbours to make sure needs are being met, and personal connections are being made.  President of the Atlantic Jewish Council (AJC), Naomi Rosenfeld, told me she connected an isolated senior to a younger volunteer last…

Capturing an emotion with empathy

In 1948, David Seymour—known as Chim—on assignment for Unicef, returned to a Europe ravaged by war. His task was to photograph children who had lived through the conflict. The devastation he encountered must have resonated deeply with him, for his parents, Polish Jews, had not survived the Holocaust. There is a particular poignancy to his…

How JQT Vancouver is queering Jewish spaces and Jewifying queer spaces

JQT Vancouver (pronounced J-cutie) is a Jewish queer and trans non-profit. Our mission is queering Jewish space and Jewifying queer space. When JQT was just starting out, a survey was conducted to determine the community’s needs. Unsurprisingly, we found that folx wanted a queer-friendly place to celebrate Shabbat and the holidays. And also wanting services…

Toronto day school hosts panel on the importance of Jewish education

Over 1,000 people tuned into a virtual panel discussion on March 11 about how and why Jewish education is relevant today. Hosted by The Toronto Heschel School, the event was in honour and memory of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks who sadly passed away in November. He was a world renowned Jewish thinker who bridged the…

Jewish belonging in Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island is the only province in Canada to not have a synagogue or rabbi. While they are glad to have a rabbi come for funerals and other occasions they don't feel the need or have the resources for a rabbi on the island.  For Leo Mednick, the President of the PEI Jewish Community,…

Stepping into Magic: the story of two teachers taking their students on a magical ride

Did you ever wish to “ride on” the magic school bus? On her shape-shifting bus, Ms. Frizzle drives and/or flies her students to the source of their lessons, whether it is inside a volcano, a human body, or all the way to outer space. As a kid, I’d watch The Magic School Bus and yearn…

How the MNJCC is bringing disability awareness and inclusion to the forefront

February is Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month. But at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre (MNJCC) in downtown Toronto, disability and inclusion awareness are integrated into everyday life, and are at the forefront of important discussions. Though, this hasn’t always been the case. Over six years ago, Liviya Mendelsohn who is the Director of…

A Jewish charity helps develop and nurture independence for individuals who have disabilities

When students who have disabilities finish high school at the age of 21, there are very few options. Developing and Nurturing Independence (DANI) was created in 2006 to assist with families as they help their children transition to the next chapter. Co-founded by Susie Sokol and Kathy Laszlo, parents of children who have disabilities, DANI…

A Toronto Jewish food bank faces greater obstacles in the pandemic

Founded in 2013, the Chasdei Kaduri Jewish Food Bank initially began to provide four families in need with packed boxes of food and essential supplies to have a proper Shabbat. But within a few months the operation grew to a small supermarket-like setting in the founders basement, then to a warehouse, and now Chasdei Kaduri…

A look into the past and present: learning about Montreal’s Jewish Public Library

The history of Montreal’s Jewish Public Library began in 1902, when 26-year-old Hirsh (Harry) Hershman moved from New York to Montreal. He was disappointed to learn that there was not a single Jewish library or forum to explore Yiddish culture. There were no meetings or lectures to attend, only a few Yiddish newspapers, and a…

How MAZON Canada is addressing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic

The pandemic has changed everyone’s life. Though each of our circumstances may be different, this experience has given our communities the opportunity to recognize the struggles that over four million Canadians were already facing before the pandemic started in March: food insecurity.  Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, one in eight Canadians were experiencing a form…

Annamie Paul’s historic win could turn over a new leaf for the Green Party

It’s not often that a conversation with a federal leader of a Canadian party includes a debate over which city makes the best bagel: Montreal or New York?  “That thing in New York is not a bagel, I'm surprised you would ask that. That’s just bread with a hole in the middle,” Annamie Paul, newly-elected…

Jewish day schools adapt to the new normal in the face of the pandemic

Most schools have now been open for just over a month and continue to face unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19.  Before classes began, there was concern in multiple areas: would children find it difficult to wear a face mask for long hours? Would children be able to maintain a safe distance from their peers? Or…

Drive-ins & radio broadcasts: How Toronto synagogues are providing High Holiday services during the pandemic

Aliza Spiro, the creative director of Song Shul in Toronto, faced a logistical dilemma: how to safely host the High Holidays during the COVID-19 pandemic? It’s a question that has posed one of the biggest challenges for most synagogues this year. According to Spiro, live-streaming could not be the only option. As a non-denominational congregation,…

JCCs connecting globally amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

Over 10 months ago, I began working full time in the Jewish Life department at the Mandel Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Cleveland, Ohio, and people would often ask what I did.  I explained that my job was to help put the “J” into the JCC.  But each time I answered this way, a question…