What’s happening at the SJCC

By Pamela Rosenberg, Soloway Jewish Community Centre

The Soloway Jewish Community Centre (SJCC) may be quiet on the surface but plenty of interesting virtual programs are keeping community members engaged and connected to what continues to be the centre of Jewish life in Ottawa.

November is Jewish Book Month and the SJCC’s Greenberg Families Library is celebrating in a big way with Book Festival in your Living Room, a program of the Marcus Jewish Community Centre of Atlanta and the National JCC Literary Consortium.

The SJCC presents 12 events from the line-up and kicks off on October 29 with storied hotel executive and respected Jewish leader Mike Leven. The lectures take place through November and extend beyond the official Jewish Book Month with new authors being added into the winter months.

While not all the presenting authors are Jewish, they all touch on themes important to the Jewish community including a talk on morality by actor Michael J. Fox, the challenges of aging, by Joan Lunden and cooking, with Ina Garten.

“As a fan of Jewish content in popular culture, I am excited to see Rachel Bloom speak,” says librarian Carlie MacPherson of the Greenberg Families Library. “Some other highlights include Michel Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the United States, who is trying his hand at fiction, and Esther Safran Foer, who has written a moving post-Holocaust memoir about her parents’ plight as the only surviving members of their families.”

Other authors on the roster so far include Natan Sharansky and Gil Troy, Rachel Beanland, Kristin Harmel, Lawrence Wright, Raffi Berg and Mimi Lemay. Find all the details about the Book Festival in your Living Room and purchase tickets at jccottawa.com.

On Thursday, November 12, Carleton University political scientist and media commentator Elliot Tepper presents Power in America: Election 2020. Part 1, which took place earlier in October, discussed the upcoming U.S. election. Part 2 will delve into the election results and how they affect our lives in Canada. The lecture is $15 and once registered a Zoom link will be sent.

The Vered Israel Cultural & Educational Program continues to come up with exciting and innovative ways to keep everyone at home connected to Israel. Coming to your screen on November 19 is a program on Israeli innovations that introduces participants to the country’s latest inventions.

The annual Winter Israeli Film Series takes place in December along with Israel During Covid-19, a look at how Israel and its people are responding to the current situation. In early 2021, there will be an opportunity to take a virtual tour of Israel with Jewish National Fund.

The Vered Program, in partnership with the Jewish Peoplehood Museum in Tel Aviv, recently hosted more than 40 participants for a virtual program looking at the origins of Jewish humour.

The session, led by the director of international programs at the Koret International School for the Jewish Peoplehood Museum at Beit HaTfutsot, looked at the origins of Jewish humour and the major contributions of Jews to the global industry. It celebrated the diversity and vitality of Jewish humour, and explored how elements of Jewish joking have remained constant regardless of time, place and language.

And, while the café seating area is still off-bounds, the kitchen itself is bustling as A Dashing Pinch has taken over the space to provide lunches for the kids at the Ganon Preschool and to serve the community through their take-out, curbside pick-up. Pre-order by midnight for pick-up the following day. Find their menu at www.dashingpinch.ca/order-here.

For information on everything happening virtually and in person at the SJCC in the coming months, please visit jccottawa.com.

Photo: Author Esther Safran Foer presents her book, I Want You to Know We’re Still Here: A Post-Holocaust Memoir, Monday November 9, 8 pm, as part of the Book Festival in Your Living Room.