The downtown Toronto Jewish community is really experiencing a tremendous renaissance these days! One of the most exciting parts of my job involves coordinating the Downtown Jewish Community Council, a networking body of more than 40 Jewish schools, prayer communities and synagogues, social service agencies, cultural organizations, and more. The Council gives these organizations an opportunity to share resources and information, and strengthens the power of each organization through new partnerships and collaborations. In turn, this allows the leaders of all downtown Jewish organizations to better serve the needs of individuals and families who live downtown.
This year, for the first time, the Council is running a Downtown Jewish Family Info Fair, with the generous support of the UJA Federation’s Centre for Jewish Education. This Fair will showcase most of the organizations that serve young Jewish families in the downtown area, stretching east and west across the city. From formal schools (both day schools and supplementary schools) to camps to informal experiential programs like the MNjcc’s own Got Shabbat, the Downtown Jewish Family Info Fair is a going to be a great gateway to the breadth and diversity of programs for your young family.
Whether your children (or grandchildren) are infants, toddlers, pre-school or school-aged, we know you’ll find valuable information at the Fair. It’s a chance for you to meet the people who work with families across the city, and to hear first-hand what they can offer yours. You’ll find creative and inclusive enrichment opportunities of all sorts, from Jewish Studies, holiday celebrations, Hebrew immersion, local Jewish history, Shabbat family services and community meals, and so much more.
And we’re so lucky that acclaimed children’s author (and very good friend of our community), Andrew Larsen, will be on-hand to share new ideas for engaging kids in family storytelling. Aimed at parents, but accessible to kids, Andy’s talk will focus on how parents and children can share stories new and old. If we’re “people of the book,” Andy says, then how can we use storytelling as a tool to foster our kids’ creativity and to define families and create communities? Drawing on examples from his own family and work – including his latest book, Bye Bye Butterflies!, which “grew up” with his son at the Miles Nadal JCC’s Nursery – Andy will help you give your children’s stories a home.
For full details on the Downtown Jewish Family Info Fair and the participating organizations, click here. Hope to see you there!
-Sharoni Sibony, Manager, Jewish Life Department, MNjcc