Hi Niv readers! Some big holidays are coming up so let’s get straight to them. If you didn’t already know, Purim is from March 16 to March 17 and Passover is from April 15 to April 23, so mark your calendars!
The folks at the Miles Nadal JCC have put together a comprehensive list of all the Purim events this year. At my last count, there were 28 listings, and these are just the events that are taking place in Toronto! There are a ton of kid-friendly and family-friendly events, with your choice of online or in-person gatherings.
Some highlights include a Super Science Purim Celebration, the Mamma Mia Megillah (an in-person live show), Purim in the Park for a costume parade and Megillah reading, and an Open Mic night with ORAYNU. Check out the full list here. There is sure to be something for everyone.
If you’re excited for Purim exclusively for hamantaschen (no judgment)—then get ready to perfect your baking game. Holy Blossom is hosting a Family Hamantaschen Bake and you can learn to create ube hamantaschen with the Jewish& community as part of their cookbook. While hamantaschen are traditionally filled with jam, poppyseed, or even chocolate, this ube tutorial is hosted by Marianna Breytman, who is Jewish Ukrainian, and her Filipino partner. Together, they fuse aspects of their cultures to deliver the perfect Filipinx-Jewish mash-up dish. Sign up for the free session here and find the recipe on Niv.
Another lovely event is Hamantaschen for Ukraine. Bakers around the world are showing their solidarity by hosting a fundraiser where the profits will assist Ukrainian refugees at the Polish border, so tell all the bakeries close to you to get in on the action.
Speaking of food, in exciting news, Jewish chef Michael W. Twitty now has a MasterClass on Ancestral Foodways and Foodsteps. In this series, he teaches how to get a taste of your family history through food. You can explore the migrations that informed the ingredients in your kitchen and then recreate the dishes that helped shape who you are. MasterClass starts at $20 per month and signing up gets you access to a plethora of classes taught on the site.
I’ve mentioned the Virtual JCC a few times before and they continue to produce great content! On Tuesday April 12 (just in time for Passover), The Nosh is hosting a session titled, The Modern Passover Table with Kim Kushner. The recipes shared will present kosher cuisine in a fresh, contemporary light, and you’ll have your menu all set for the weekend. You can also watch last year’s Passover-related episodes as well, including—did you guess it would be hamantaschen-related?—Hamantaschen Hacks: Creating Sweet & Savoury Purim Flavours with Jamie Geller.
On March 2, the Virtual JCC hosted a conversation between Rosemary Sullivan and Heather Reisman (founder of Indigo) that delved into the mystery of who betrayed Anne Frank and her family, and why. The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation is a new book by Sullivan about the new technology and international team that worked to try and solve the mystery that has haunted generations. Vincent P. Pankoke Jr., the lead investigator of the case, joined in for the recorded conversation—watch the discussion for free here.
In other book news, if you’re on the lookout for a book club to join, the Miles Nadal JCC has just the thing. On March 31, May 26, and June 23, you can exchange ideas and participate in engaging discussions with the JCC book club and community members. Upcoming books for discussion are The Slaughterman’s Daughter, Indians on Vacation, and Out of Egypt. Learn more about the club and register here.
If you haven’t checked out FENTSTER’s newest exhibition Transplant yet, you have a few more weeks left as it ends on April 3. The exhibit is a collaboration between artists Yaara Eshet and Aya Rosen, long-time transplants to North America from Israel. In the work, they both grapple with the idea of home and what it means to be disconnected from their place of birth, especially within the context of transience and displacement throughout much of Jewish history. You can also view the CBC Arts short doc about the collaboration here.
Finally, the Miles Nadal is launching an exciting new program for queer Jewish individuals. This is a pilot program set to convene in spring 2022 and the deadline to apply is March 21. This program is a result of year-long consultations with the LGBTQ2S+ Toronto Jewish community in an effort to understand how best to serve those in it. If you’re looking to build relations and explore your Jewish roots, this incubator may be the perfect opportunity for you. Another opportunity to meet other queer Jews is with Shir Libeynu, Toronto’s longest running LGBTQ2S+ inclusive synagogue. They have “lunch and learns” on the third Tuesday of every month.
That’s all for now and for the next two major holidays this year! Thanks for reading and hope I made your Passover prep a little easier.
P.S. The Toronto Jewish Film Festival is coming up and not only is this year going to have some screenings in person, it’s also the 30th anniversary! Sign up for their newsletter to stay up to speed and make sure to add the festival to your calendar. It is running from Thursday June 9 to Sunday June 26, so you’ll have plenty of time to catch some films. And don’t worry, I’ll be covering what to watch in my next Arts & Kvetch article!
If you feel like you can’t wait that long or you’re wondering if there’s a Purim-themed film you can watch, the answer is yes. TJFF has a site called J-Flix which is essentially free Jewish-themed content. Just go on the site and search for the keyword you’re looking for. When you search “Purim,” one film comes up, Spring Chicken, and when you search “Passover,” you get three options: Poisoned, Nora’s Will, and The Book of Ruth.
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.