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Read about current events, articles on happenings around the congregation. To submit your article, please e-mail admin@kolami.ca

Educator's Corner

 

Resilience in Children

 

When you hear the word resilience you often think of adults bouncing back after something has happened to them. We are finding many children need to learn how to be resilient in today’s society, because we have created a culture of everyone wins and some children never have experienced failure . For example, everyone playing on the team will get a medal when they are in first and second grade and the first time that this isn’t the case, the child often feels very let down as they have not experienced not being the one recognised. There are many things that we can do to aid our children in becoming stronger, more resilient members of society.

 

From : https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/resilience

Resilience Guide for Parents & Teachers

 

We all can develop resilience, and we can help our children develop it as well. It involves behaviors, thoughts and actions that can be learned over time. Following are tips to building resilience.

  1. Make connections
    Teach your child how to make friends, including the skill of empathy, or feeling another's pain. Encourage your child to be a friend in order to get friends. Build a strong family network to support your child through his or her inevitable disappointments and hurts. At school, watch to make sure that one child is not being isolated. Connecting with people provides social support and strengthens resilience. Some find comfort in connecting with a higher power, whether through organized religion or privately and you may wish to introduce your child to your own traditions of worship.
  2. Help your child by having him or her help others
    Children who may feel helpless can be empowered by helping others. Engage your child in age-appropriate volunteer work, or ask for assistance yourself with some task that he or she can master. At school, brainstorm with children about ways they can help others.
  3. Maintain a daily routine
    Sticking to a routine can be comforting to children, especially younger children who crave structure in their lives. Encourage your child to develop his or her own routines.
  4. Take a break
    While it is important to stick to routines, endlessly worrying can be counter-productive. Teach your child how to focus on something besides what's worrying him. Be aware of what your child is exposed to that can be troubling, whether it be news, the Internet or overheard conversations, and make sure your child takes a break from those things if they trouble her. Although schools are being held accountable for performance on standardized tests, build in unstructured time during the school day to allow children to be creative.
  5. Teach your child self-care
    Make yourself a good example, and teach your child the importance of making time to eat properly, exercise and rest. Make sure your child has time to have fun, and make sure that your child hasn't scheduled every moment of his or her life with no "down time" to relax. Caring for oneself and even having fun will help your child stay balanced and better deal with stressful times.
  6. Move toward your goals
    Teach your child to set reasonable goals and then to move toward them one step at a time. Moving toward that goal — even if it's a tiny step — and receiving praise for doing so will focus your child on what he or she has accomplished rather than on what hasn't been accomplished, and can help build the resilience to move forward in the face of challenges. At school, break down large assignments into small, achievable goals for younger children, and for older children, acknowledge accomplishments on the way to larger goals.
  7. Nurture a positive self-view
    Help your child remember ways that he or she has successfully handled hardships in the past and then help him understand that these past challenges help him build the strength to handle future challenges. Help your child learn to trust himself to solve problems and make appropriate decisions. Teach your child to see the humor in life, and the ability to laugh at one's self. At school, help children see how their individual accomplishments contribute to the wellbeing of the class as a whole.
  8. Keep things in perspective and maintain a hopeful outlook
    Even when your child is facing very painful events, help him look at the situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Although your child may be too young to consider a long-term look on his own, help him or her see that there is a future beyond the current situation and that the future can be good. An optimistic and positive outlook enables your child to see the good things in life and keep going even in the hardest times. In school, use history to show that life moves on after bad events.
  9. Look for opportunities for self-discovery
    Tough times are often the times when children learn the most about themselves. Help your child take a look at how whatever he is facing can teach him "what he is made of." At school, consider leading discussions of what each student has learned after facing down a tough situation.
  10. Accept that change is part of living
    Change often can be scary for children and teens. Help your child see that change is part of life and new goals can replace goals that have become unattainable. In school, point out how students have changed as they moved up in grade levels and discuss how that change has had an impact on the students.

 

 

President's Message

 

Summer is NOT over yet.  Just because the school year has started, doesn't mean we have to think of boots and jackets.  Autumn officially begins September 23rd, so we've got LOTS of Summer days still to enjoy. In fact, the weather experts just reported we are going to have a warm and beautiful September and October.  I for one am thrilled. This means more outdoor fun, more family walks, more fresh air and less computer time for my kids. This also means we can really appreciate the beauty of Autumn colours and take full advantage of the Fall harvest.  Apple picking, pumpkin patches, hayrides, fruits, vegetables, flowers and honey fresh from our local farms.

My favorite honey can be found right around the corner at the Kavanah Garden run by Shoresh.  https://shoresh.ca/kavanah/

Mmm...Honey!  Makes me think of apples and honey cake and my dad.  My dad loved the holidays. I remember when I was a very little girl, maybe 5 or 6 sitting next to him in Shul watching him hum and sing along to the prayers and songs.  I wanted to be able to sing along with him so I paid close attention to the tunes and words. After one or two verses and choruses, I found myself humming along and kind of half singing as well.  I felt happy.  

When Neshamah combined with Kol Ami I along with many others had to learn new melodies to prayers.  It didn't take long to catch on. I have found that after attending a few Friday night Shabbat Services I am now quite comfortable with the music.  The same for Saturday morning. Like anything, the more you do something, the easier it becomes. I also have found Shabbat services at Kol Ami to be a perfect place to reflect on my past week.  Life is busy. I am a full time working mother and wife. It's difficult to find time to press the pause button. With Shabbat services I have found that. The added bonus is beautiful music and a wonderful community.     

As we enter into the High Holiday season I wish you and your family a healthy, happy and joyful 5780!  May you find the time to pause and reflect during these Shabbat services leading up to Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.    

 

L'Shalom,

Dana Glickman & family

 

Book Review - Judas

Howard Mintz

Howard Mintz of Kol Ami gives his take on Judas by Amos Oz, the last novel of the late and great Israeli writer.

About 18 months ago, the Kol Ami Book Club discussed Judas, the final novel of late Israeli writer and political activist, Amos Oz. Oz believed in a vision of both Jews and Palestinians mutually recognizing each other’s national aspirations within two separate nation states. I am dedicating this review of Judas to his memory ....

Life is difficult for Shmuel Ash, a graduate student at Hebrew University in the late 1950’s. His long-term girlfriend has left him to marry someone else, who is financially more established. His parents’ business has gone bankrupt and struggle to support him financially while he studies. Shmuel’s research on Jewish views of Jesus, during his lifetime, seems to have stalled, and much to the consternation of his academic advisor, he decides to drop out and look for work. This is how Judas begins.

Shmuel finds work as a live-in caregiver for a cantankerous old man named Gershon Wald, who is physically disabled and largely wheelchair bound. Wald is a retired history teacher with a passion for heated intellectual discussions with people on the telephone. Part of Shmuel’s duties involve engaging in discussion with Gershon Wald. Shmuel is an idealist who is involved in a tiny socialist group at the fringe of Israeli politics.

Atalia Abravanel is the third presence in the home. She is the beautiful daughter of a deceased Zionist leader and is also Gershon Wald’s daughter-in-law. Shmuel is attracted to her intellectuality and beauty. She sends mixed messages to Shmuel regarding her interest in him and their relationship is fraught with difficulties.

There are two deceased characters in the book. One is Shaltiel Abravanel, Atalia’s father, who was expelled from the Zionist executive, under Ben Gurion, for not supporting the establishment of a Jewish state, but advocating, instead, for a bi-national Jewish Arab state. He was viewed as a traitor by the Jewish public, was shunned, and lived the rest of his life in isolation.

Gershon’s son, Micha, was a brilliant mathematician who was Atalia’s husband; he was killed in the Israeli War of Independence. His body was savagely mutilated. Judas Iscariot (Yehuda Ish Kariot) is also discussed at length by Oz. In Christian tradition, Judas is viewed as a traitor to Jesus for informing on him to the Sanhedrin for 30 silver pieces. Oz claims that Judas was not a traitor to Jesus, but a loving supporter.

The intellectual discussions in this book are often centred around the complexities of the Jewish-Palestinian national conflict and the difficult historical experience of the Jewish people in Christian lands.

To many in Israel, Oz had been considered a traitor due to his dovish views on the Palestinian issue.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is open to considering a range of perspectives on Jewish history, political Zionism, the origins of Christianity, and the concept of being a traitor.

 

President's Message

Elliot Miller

On March 1st we sent an informational email on Voluntary Community Support to the entire congregation. Those of you who were members of Kol Ami last year are probably wondering how successful was the transition from fixed membership dues to Voluntary Community Support.

Those of you who are new to Kol Ami this year are probably wondering about the Sustainer level, how it was calculated and what does it reflect. This President’s Message will attempt to address both those questions.

In general, we were very pleased with the results. Among returning Kol Ami members, 40% contributed a higher amount and overall contributions were up 8%. However, with 26% contributing the same, that means that 34% contributed less than the year before. We were fortunate that those that gave more gave twice as much as those who contributed less, hence the overall increase.

For all our new members, plus the 34% who contributed less than the previous year, it is critical that everyone understand the importance of “sustaining” the congregation. The Kol Ami sustainer level was calculated by looking at the total cost of salaries, office expense, school expense, occupancy cost, High Holy Days etc, divided by the number of membership units.

The sustainer level for 2019-2020 is $3,100, the same as this year. While that, at first glance, can seem like a significant amount, remember that it includes the cost of running the religious school. Therefore, if you are paying religious school tuition, you are already contributing toward the sustainer cost.

We know that not everyone is capable of contributing at the sustainer level. This year, 40 members contributed at or above the sustainer level, helping to offset those who couldn’t. But only by supporting Kol Ami to the best of our ability (tax deductible and available in monthly instalments) can we ensure the long-term viability of our congregation, meeting its members’ needs for simchas (e.g. B’nai Mitzvah), Chesed, lifelong education (school, Adult Ed, Rabbi’s learning series), ritual observance, and an overall feeling of community.

L’shalom,

Elliot

A Message from Judy Silver

Judy Silver

Editor’s Note: Judy Silver will be departing shortly to take on a new position. We all wish her the best!

 

Thank you!

 

Back in 2011 when I first set foot into the Kol Ami school as the Madrichim Coordinator, I had no idea that I would have the privilege of being part of this wonderful community for seven more years.

 

For the past eight years, I felt lucky to have a foot firmly planted in two congregations that I called home. It started at Temple Har Zion with my parents as founding members and my dad as the first Director of Education. I grew up there and was launched towards a Jewish career, first as a student teacher, then camp at GUCI, and finally living in Israel for three years. I realized that this is where I wanted to be - in a Jewish world doing Jewish things.

 

A move to Minnesota and a first taste of being a Director of Education in a small inclusive temple in Minneapolis gave me the “aha” moment. One day I came home from work and said to my husband Ian “This is what I’m supposed to do”.

 

Eleven years later, I’m back in Toronto, and looking for a new job. A call to Chari Schwartz was all it took to find yet another amazing welcoming community – Kol Ami.

 

In my time here, I have seen your children grow and learn, take on the task of learning a new language and command the Bima on their B’nai Mitzvah. I’ve watched them struggle, discuss, build their own friendships and engage in Reform Judaism. I have welcomed many new kids and their families and said goodbye to others. I have worked with professional, fun, dedicated and caring teachers. our little Kol Ami office, we worked together to make programs happen, meet deadlines and catch up on life. We supported each other through our struggles and celebrated our victories together.

 

Thank you for welcoming me into Kol Ami and into your children’s lives. Every student that has come through our doors and learned in our classrooms has a special place in my heart. I will truly miss them. It has been an absolute honour meeting and getting to know your kids and watching them grow and learn. Thank you for helping me grow as a person and as a Jewish educator.

 

If you ask any of our students what “Shalom” means, they will reply “Hello, Goodbye and Peace”. Thank you for your warm hellos when I first arrived, it will be difficult to say goodbye and I wish you all Shalom in your future.

 

 

  1. להתראות

 

Judy

Interfaith Discussion

Interfaith Committee

We wish to briefly summarize for you, the work of the Kol Ami Interfaith Committee as it pertains to our community development.

Kol Ami established an Interfaith committee in August 2016 to identify and examine interfaith issues at Kol Ami. Kol Ami recognized that interfaith families are a growing reality in the Jewish community. As Jews, we can feel a responsibility to connect with our fellow Jews who choose to construct their own Jewish lives in an Interfaith construct; they do not choose to run from Jewish life but rather to construct a Jewish path that includes a non-Jewish partner (with or without children).

Moreover, we can choose to engage non-Jewish partners in a manner that reflects our respect for their choice to be a part of our community and facilitates their learning, identification, and engagement. It is an opportunity for us to embrace each other, grow and mature our community just as Jewish communities have done so for centuries.

Our committee, together with our community, has considered how to extend this embrace in a way that respects our values as Reform Jews and provides a respectful, helpful pathway for non-Jewish partners who seek to engage our community and Jewish life, more fully.

Over the course of the past two years, the committee received community input through numerous interviews and focus groups, provided a series of educational programs (scholar in residence weekend, invited speakers, Torah study) and held a series of discussion forums to educate and dialogue on the relevant issues.

After community consultation and extensive within-committee discussion, it became clear that a primary matter of concern was the existing constitutional restriction on the rights of non-Jewish members of Kol Ami. We examined those restrictions, again soliciting input in 2018 from the community through a community program and consultation from the board of directors, school committee, choir, snow birds, and individuals who responded to our outreach. Based on our congregational consultations and approaches used at other congregations, our committee recommended that our constitution be changed to remove several restrictions. We presented this to the board in the Spring 2018 and decided to present it at the 2019 AGM to discuss and then vote as a larger community after our merger took place.

We will be putting forth resolutions related to participation of non-Jewish partners in Kol Ami community life in June 2019. These resolutions will be the subject of voting at the AGM.

Our hope is that it provokes thought and engenders open-hearted discussion. Our intent is that we embrace one another in discussion and extend the conversation moving forward to strengthens us as a community. We hope many of you will come for discussion and voting!

Informational Session - May 27, 2019 AGM June 17th, 2019

Warm wishes,

Interfaith Committee, Kol Ami

Anita Small & Norman Rosenblum [Co-Chairs]; David Bernstein; Audrey Diamant; Peter Diamant; Andrea Gregor; Tomas Gregor; Elaine Page; Sylvia Starosta; Rabbi Micah Streiffer [Ex-Officio]

President's Message

Elliot Miller

When I was growing up in Montreal (St-Laurent to be specific), we had four sets of cutlery and dishes; meat, dairy, Passover meat and Passover dairy. I was never sure which plates to use when we ordered pizza with pepperoni on it, so we usually ate that directly out of the box.

We were members of an Orthodox shul, although we often drove to services, and we never ate pork, unless it was disguised with a name such as “spare ribs”.

What I suppose I’m saying is that I grew up Reform, without knowing it. I was raised with a love for Judaism, its holidays and traditions, the land of Israel, the Hebrew language and the prayer liturgy. It didn’t matter that we weren’t kosher or shomer-Shabbat, we were proud to be Jewish and celebrated it in our own way.

That is part of the attraction to Reform Judaism in general, and Kol Ami in particular. The essential elements of Judaism are front and centre: we celebrate the holidays, in the sanctuary and in our schools, we make connections to Israel, we teach our children to read Hebrew and to pray and to be proud of being Jewish.

And at the same time, we are inclusive, non-judgmental and welcoming, regardless of how many sets of dishes you have, and which ones you use when eating pepperoni pizza.

So celebrate being part of your community by continuing to observe it in the way that is most meaningful to you, knowing that you will always be welcome at Kol Ami.

L’shalom,

Elliot

Educators' Corner

Judy Silver & Cally Rootenberg

Kol Ami's Shabbat School

There is so much to look forward to!!

I think I can safely say that we are all glad that February is now history and we can look forward to Spring and all that it brings. Was it a coincidence that Purim fell on the very first day of Spring? I’d like to think not! Our Purim celebration was everything that we could hope for - an amazing Purim Service and Spiel were filled with music, laughter and the retelling of our story of perseverance and freedom. The carnival and Haman’s Hideaway provided something memorable for everyone and we couldn’t have done it without the cast of volunteers, actors, and donors. Thank you all.

It usually feels like the school year speeds very quickly to the end of our school year once Spring arrives, and yet there is so much to look forward to!

With Spring in the air, our students and teachers will be diving into everything Pesach! I look forward to taking in the aromas and sounds of Passover in the hallways of our school.

Our Madrichim are putting together an Israeli Shuk experience for the whole school!

Our Grade 7 students will be celebrating three more B’nai Mitzvah together and visiting the Mikvah together!

Our Gan and Grade 1-2 class will be participating in the final Rock Shabbat of the school year! Grade 6 families will spend time experiencing Jewish literature with Heather Berger.

Our students will continue advancing in Hebrew and moving onward and upward in their Hebrew levels.

Our teens will enjoy some time at retreats, escape rooms, and NFTY Spring Kallah together and with other teens from the GTA!

(And if I may, the Blue Jays season will be well underway – hopefully a great thing this year!)

Have wonderful first moments and Spring and all the joy that it may bring!

Judy Silver

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Neshamah School of Kol Ami Highlights 

Chag Purim, Chag Purim! Students explored the holiday by putting their acting skills to the test, designed hero masks, unique greggors and more!

And our Purim clothing drive for Ve'ahavta was a great success! Students packaged bags reflecting on the Jewish value of matanat l'evyonim (giving to those in need) as well as the physical and emotional needs of the homeless in our city. Kol hakavod to our school community for helping make this possible! And to Heather Slapack and the Social Action Committee for helping bring the packages to Ve'ahavta.

Social Action Committee for helping bring the packages to Ve'ahavta.

It was a day of food and feasting! Students learned about the special manna that G-d gave the Jewish people in the desert. Reflecting on the upcoming Jewish holidays: Purim, Passover and Shavuot - students experienced eating and preparing special foods for these holidays. Ready to bake at home Hamantaschen. Toaster Matzah in under 18 minutes! A bagel and cream cheese schmooze.

Pictures

Want to see pictures? Follow us @Neshamah on our Facebook page.

A Message from Neshamah School of Kol Ami

Cally Rootenberg

Neshamah School of Kol Ami

February School Highlights

Hiddur Mitzvah: Our students learned about the beautiful ways Jewish people in our community express their connection to G-d.

Shabbat: Each grade group focused on different Shabbat rituals and customs and decorated/designed candles, challah covers and Kiddush cups to have in their homes.

Pictures

Want to see pictures? Follow us @Neshamah on our Facebook page.

Grade 7 Mitzvah Project: Raising Awareness for the Passover Food Drive

Our grade 7 students have been learning about poverty and hunger in our community, the affect it can have on families and what we can do as a community to help make a change. They will be taking an active role in our school to inspire their fellow students and will be collecting non- perishable food to support the NCJWC Passover Food Drive. (Collection bins will be beside the storage room at Lebovic campus and at the Kol Ami office closer to the drive)

Upcoming Dates

March 3rd Neshamah Next: How To Do The Most Good - with speaker Mark Rootenberg

March 20th Kol Ami Purim Carnival @36 Atkinson Ave.

April 7th School Bingo Fundraiser @Lebovic Campus

February 23rd and March 30th (Saturday) Grade 7 students will participate in a study session and attend a classmate's Bar Mitzvah. 9:00am - 12:00pm at Kol Ami (36 Atkinson Ave.) This will replace the Sunday program on February 24th at Lebovic campus.

Up Next We Explore!

Judaism and food/ Purim

 

President's Message

Elliot Miller

This month’s President’s Message is about two Jewish holidays that I think about a lot in March: Purim and Rosh Hashanah!

I’m sure some of you are wondering whether I’ve been consuming some new type of edibles, since those two holidays happen 6 months apart and have nothing in common – other than on both occasions I get up in front of a group of people and make a fool of myself.

At the risk of confusing you any further – here are the reasons I think of both holidays in March. Purim is kind of obvious; it’s the fun holiday, where we get to dress up, drink and act silly. Kind of like a frat Halloween party. And Kol Ami gets in the Purim spirit with a party for all ages; our annual Purim Carnival and Spiel, to be held on Wednesday March 20th at Kol Ami, 36 Atkinson.

For me the highlight is the musical parody, or spiel. This year, in honour of the film that picked up 4 Oscars, we present Shushan Rhapsody, based on the music of Queen. A bunch of your favourite Kol Ami ham actors, including Dana Glickman as Esther, Ben Burko as Haman (booo), Aiden Orzech as Mordechai and Ryan Berger as King Achashverosh, will have you singing and laughing at the outrageous story. Look for me in the critical role of “Minister #2”.

After the play, the fun hits another level. The kids make a beeline for the carnival, with fun games and activities, while the adults sneak upstairs to Haman’s Hideaway, where adult beverages will be served. Overall, this is a night not to be missed.

Okay, what’s with Rosh Hashanah? Together with Yom Kippur, they comprise our High Holy Days, one of the most important events of the year. If you were at Avani Event Centre last year, you surely noticed how beautifully the hall was set up for our services, and how seamlessly all the people and the moving parts worked together.

But that doesn’t happen by itself, and preparations for High Holy Days start as early as March (actually, booking the hall happens even earlier). That is why I am thinking of High Holidays at this time of year. WE NEED VOLUNTEERS! The High Holy Day Committee will start meeting soon to make sure that everything is in place for September 30, 2019 Erev Rosh Hashanah. Please call 416-779-0792 or e-mail me (president@kolami.ca) if you would like to help in any capacity.

L’shalom,

Elliot

Fri, 23 October 2020 5 Cheshvan 5781