A mom and tot attending PJ Plus, a Parent/Tot weekly program of PJ Library and the JCCs of Greater Toronto which meets at various synagogues, JCCs, schools, public spaces and homes throughout Toronto
UJA Federation is committed to ensuring that every Jew has a youth and young adulthood informed by multiple, high-impact Jewish experiences. Whether it’s through PJ Library or Jewish camping, Hillel on campus, Taglit Birthright Israel, or any number of programs coordinated in collaboration with our partner agencies, UJA is connecting Jewish Toronto to Jewish life.
Silber Family Centre for Jewish Camping
Established in 2012, UJA Federation’s Silber Family Centre for Jewish Camping, in partnership with fourteen Jewish camps, is helping Jewish children choose to spend their summer at Jewish camps. In 2015/16
- More than 3,000 campers attended our 14 affiliated Jewish summer camps.
- Nearly 400 new campers received One Happy Camper grants
- The PJ Goes to Camp program brought more than 50 families to experience camp for the first time, whetting their appetite for future full-session enrollment.
PJ Library continues to influence families to make Jewish connections in the community, foster Jewish education choices, and guide families to Jewish camps, organizations and causes.
- Over 5,000 families with nearly 8,000 children received PJ Library books each month – that is 55% of Jewish children in Toronto
- 44% of these families report that they read the books at least once a week.
- In collaboration with Jewish day and supplementary schools, camps and synagogues, we facilitated over 100 programs for over 3,000 PJ Library subscribers.
UJA’s Israel Engagement cultivates meaningful relationships and enduring bonds between Israelis and the Diaspora through people-to-people interactions. Our two core programs, the UJA ShinShinim Program and the Diller Teen Fellowship support individuals in increasing their sense of connection and commitment to Jewish Peoplehood. The UJA ShinShinim (Israeli Emissaries) are pre-army young leaders who defer their army service for one year to volunteer across the GTA. Each year, the UJA ShinShinim engage thousands of students, congregants, host families and campers with cutting edge programs focusing on contemporary Israel. Israel Engagement is also home to the award-winning Diller Teen Fellowship, UJA’s premiere leadership development program for teens in grades 10 and 11. The program engages 20 of Toronto’s top Jewish teen leaders in an immersive 15-month program that enables participants to reach their full leadership potential. Through programming in Toronto and our partner region, Eilat-Eilot, the Diller Teens emerge from the program with a heightened sense of commitment to being leaders in the Jewish community.
- 12,000 people impacted annually through UJA’s ShinShinim program
- 20 Toronto Diller Teen Fellows from 12 schools across the GTA
- Over 35 Israel Engagement partner institutions (synagogues, day schools, public schools, supplementary schools, youth movements, Hillel, summer camps)
- 10 Community Impact Projects spearheaded by the UJA ShinShinim, focusing on creating partnership amongst Toronto Institutions
- Toronto Diller Alumni become leaders on campus and are highly engaged in Israel GAP Year Programs
CANADA ISRAEL EXPERIENCE
Canada Israel Experience (CIE) is the leading Israel program organizer in Canada offering unforgettable trips to Israel for youth and young adults and is the only Canadian trip organizer for Birthright Israel. Through our partnership with Canada Israel Experience, UJA helps facilitate powerful and unforgettable Israel experiences for the people in our community. Together with CIE, we ensure that all programs provide participants with an unparalleled Israel experience that strengthens Jewish identity and provides a connection to Israel.
CIE programs include, but are not limited to, Birthright Israel, March of the Living Canada, March of Remembrance and Hope, and Canadian school and camp travel initiatives. CIE also runs UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s Onward Israel initiative and facilitates long-term Israel experiences through MASA Israel Journey. CIE is a department of Jewish Federations Canada-UIA.
- More than 1,600 participants from the GTA have participated in Birthright Israel, March of the Living, Masa/Onward Israel, long-term Israel programs and volunteer/youth trips from the Toronto Jewish Community through Canada Israel Experience
- Over 6,000 young adults engaged in Birthright Israel post programming initiatives through UJA Young Leaders.
For more information on CIE, visit canadaisraelexperience.com
ARTS, CULTURE AND HERITAGE
UJA Federation of Greater Toronto is committed to ensuring that Arts, Culture and Jewish Heritage are a key strategic focus as a means of exploring Jewish identity and as a portal to Jewish life, particularly for ‘Under 40s’. This past year saw the launch of an Arts and Culture Committee, under the leadership of Jill Reitman, who is chairing this initiative. The focus of the committee’s work is to develop an overarching strategy for the support of Jewish cultural organizations in the GTA. This support includes allocation of funds, capacity building and serving as a convener of the sector in order to support large-scale collaborative opportunities that have a significant impact on our community.
COMMITTEE FOR YIDDISH
The Committee for Yiddish fosters and promotes Yiddish language and culture in Toronto through educational, cultural, and outreach programs, some of which the Committee initiates on its own, and others in partnership with other Jewish organizations. This year the Committee for Yiddish co-sponsored and organized a number of community programmes, including: Tikkun Leyl Shavuot with the MNJCC; the Annual Summer Yiddish Concert with the Ashkenaz Foundation; Jewish Music Week; Holocaust Education Week and Yiddish Education programmes including 3 language classes for adults, a Yiddish literature reading and discussion group and a Yiddish theatre workshop, all designed to encourage the learning, reading and enjoyment of Yiddish. The Committee for Yiddish also initiated and presented 6 Yiddish lectures by internationally known scholars, as well as lectures in cooperation with the University of Toronto’s Centre for Jewish Studies. Overall, in 2015/16, these programs reached over 1,000 people.
Through the biennial festival and year-round programming, Ashkenaz showcases Jewish music, arts and culture by leading contemporary artists from Canada and around the world. The 2016 Ashkenaz Festival, North America’s largest, reached over 60,000 attendees with 97 performances from 287 artists, and collaborations with 22 community partners. Highlights included Grammy Award winning music; world class theatre; the new Theodore Bikel Artist in Residence; community dances; celebratory demonstrations; workshops; literary talks and events; as well as innovative kids programming.
Ashkenaz programs encompass the full range of Jewish cultural and musical expression, including Klezmer/Yiddish, Sephardic, Mizrachi, Israeli, and contemporary fusion. Ashkenaz also prioritizes cross-cultural exchange with artists and styles from outside Jewish cultural traditions and places a strong emphasis on local and emerging talent, as well as on education and community outreach.
KOFFLER CENTRE OF THE ARTS
Celebrating contemporary Jewish arts and culture while advancing an intercultural dialogue with diverse perspectives and global voices, the Koffler Centre engaged a broad GTA audience with contemporary art exhibitions, literary programs, theatre performances, the Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature, school and public programs. Over 10,000 people visited the Koffler Gallery throughout the year, while over 1,000 students from 20 different schools and universities participated in the Koffler Centre’s education programs.
UJA ONTARIO JEWISH ARCHIVES, BLANKENSTEIN FAMILY HERITAGE CENTRE
This year the OJA mounted its most successful exhibition to date. Benjamin Brown: Architect highlighted the work of Toronto’s first Jewish architect, whose rich collection of drawings is preserved at the OJA. From February through April, the exhibition was on view at UrbanSpace Gallery, 401 Richmond, in the heart of Toronto’s former garment district and surrounded by Brown’s buildings. Original drawings, photographs, a short film, and a map of Brown’s commissions designed by artist Daniel Rotsztain allowed Torontonians from all walks of life to learn more about the Jewish impact and influence on Toronto’s built heritage.
- 210 acquisitions consisting of thousands of documents, photographs, films, architectural drawings, and artifacts
- 300 research requests by phone, email, social media, and in-person visits
- 150 students engaged in information literacy programs to bring the archives into the classroom
- 500 participants on the OJA’s revamped Stories of Spadina Walking Tour
- 20 Oral histories for the Southern African Legacy Project were added to the collection
UJA SARAH AND CHAIM NEUBERGER HOLOCAUST EDUCATION CENTRE
In addition to Holocaust Education Week 2015 where thousands of participants across the GTA learned about Liberation: Aftermath & Rebirth, the Neuberger Centre offered new programming and initiatives including a Yom Hashoah program for young professionals at a downtown law firm. For the first time ever, the Neuberger Centre produced a series of short films that were presented at various programs throughout the year and online.
In honour of the Neuberger Centre’s community of dedicated Survivor Speakers, the Portrait Gallery at the Lipa Green Building was expanded with the addition of beautiful portraits by Toronto-based photographer Yuri Dojc. Additionally, Portraits of Resilience, a new series of portraiture from photographer Elliot Sylman was featured in an HEW 2015 exhibition at the Miles Nadal JCC.
- 15,000 students and 200 school groups from across Ontario visit the Neuberger’s Holocaust museum, attend our education events, and participate in HEW programs
- 50,000 members of the public, educators, students and young professionals annually attend Neuberger Holocaust education and commemoration events.
- 300 Young Professionals are engaged in programming
- 1,200 participants at Yom Hashoah Commemoration
- 1,000 students at student symposia throughout the year
JOSHUA INSTITUTE FOR JEWISH COMMUNAL LEADERSHIP
UJA Federation’s mission is to preserve and strengthen the quality of Jewish life in Toronto through volunteer and professional leadership. In 2015/16 the Joshua Institute Executive Education Program offered high level interactive lectures and workshops to 22 participants comprised of Executive Directors and Board Chairs representing eleven community organizations. Themes covered included: collaboration, Jewish values and leadership, leading a high performance organization, privacy issues and data sharing as well as a social media workshop. Through its Strategic Plan, UJA Federation is committed to building the community capacity to collaborate in order to enhance impact. By learning together and forming cross sector relationships, the Joshua Institute Executive Education program helps to achieve this goal.
Genesis enhances Toronto’s Jewish Community by providing career mentorship and support for young adults. Through its programs Genesis explores innovation and what this means for the Jewish community of Toronto.
- Over 100 mentees are engaged with the Genesis Mentorship program
- 58 percent of participants in Genesis events and workshops are first time attendees at Jewish community events
- Through workshops, speakers and mentorship, Genesis has attracted over 1,000 Jewish young professionals
- Hillel Ontario is the largest regional Hillel system in the world. Servicing nine universities, six colleges and over 20,000 Jewish students, Hillel strives to inspire every Jewish student in Ontario to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel.
- Sent 540 undergraduate students on a birthright Israel trip during the 2015-2016 academic year
- During Holocaust Education Week at the University of Guelph, Hillel hosted a student-driven exhibit inside an exact replica of a German cattle car, and a Holocaust survivor testimonial that drew over 2500 people
- With its partners at CIJA and Stand With Us, and working collaboratively with the Hillel student leadership, defeated a BDS referendum at the University of Waterloo by over 500 votes
ITANU TORONTO INCLUSION INITIATIVE
ITANU's mission includes capacity building across sectors to remove barriers to including people with disabilities in programs, services, and facilities, and to create and support a culture of inclusion in the Jewish community.
In 2015/16, ITANU:
- Initiated the Inclusive Synagogues Working Group which now includes 22 synagogues that meet regularly, plan together and share best practice about how to create inclusive synagogues in the GTA
- Celebrated its first Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month with 33 programs across the GTA – with 16 community partners – attended by more than 4,200 people
- Hosted over 34 shuls, camps, social service, JCC and other communal organizations for an accessible communications and website training program
- Launched its new jewishtoronto.com/itanu website of resources and program listings
JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTRES
Schwartz/Reisman Centre at the Joseph & Wolf Lebovic Jewish Community Campus
The Schwartz/Reisman Centre opened its doors to the Vaughan community on October 14, 2012. In four short years, the Centre now reaches over 20,000 community members. Last year, over 16,000 people took part in programming and thousands more attended community and holiday celebrations.
Prosserman Jewish Community Centre at Sherman Campus
The Prosserman JCC welcomed over 2,000 members last year who participated in various programs and activities, as well as 1,800 members of the community who enjoyed holiday celebrations. Among these activities and services, 300 seniors participated in programs, 150 children were enrolled in the preschool, and 750 individuals utilized the fitness centre.
Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre
The dynamic hub of the re-emerging downtown Jewish community, the MNJCC opened its doors November 30, 2003 for nearly 20,000 people to explore Jewish experiences, from Jewish Groove holiday celebrations and Shabbat programs and dinners, to the all-night spring learning ‘Tikkun’ festival with 700 participants, 1,700 Israelis in new engagement initiatives, 2,000 seniors, over 400 children in four on-site schools, gallery exhibitions exploring Israel, Holocaust and our collective archival history, and over 40 downtown agencies building capacity and moving forward together through the Downtown Jewish Community Council.