The Okanagan Jewish Community Association’s Purim party featured a variety of costumes. (photo from OJCA)
So far this year, the Okanagan Jewish Community Association has held several events, including Shabbat services on more than one weekend, as well as gatherings for Purim and Passover, and the first Ladies Group Meeting.
At the Purim party on March 13, children from all across the community enjoyed making their own batches of hamentashen – Nutella was the overall favourite filling, but strawberry was also popular – and unique groggers. They had a “Hamen-tossin’” battle (Haman-shaped beanbag toss) and put the groggers to good use twice: while OJC members Natalie Spevakow and Steven Finkleman showed them the Megillah and told them the story of Esther, and during the costume parade. There was an eclectic and creative selection of costumes – even the grown-ups dressed up. And there was a mishloach manot basket exchange, with the kids eager to devour the treats they received, as well as a light sushi buffet and a variety of hamentashen that people brought to share. Mark Golbey and Abbey Westbury organized the party.
More than 100 people attended OJCA’s Passover seder at the Harvest Golf Club on April 10. This was the first year it was held there and the chefs created, with the help of her expertise, many recipes that OJCA member Barb Finkleman shared with them. The seder was led by OJCA members Philippe Richer LaFleche and Barb Pullan, with parts of the ritual in English and parts in Hebrew.
On March 4, services were led by OJCA member Evan Orloff with a dairy potluck following. On April 21 and 22, services were led by Rabbi Shaul Osadchey of Beth Tzedec Congregation in Calgary, who has been coming out on a regular basis; there was a community potluck Shabbat dinner and luncheon. On May 5 and 6, services were led by Cantor Russell Jayne from Calgary, also with a Shabbat dinner and lunch.
On May 11, the first Ladies Group Meeting was attended by approximately 25 women. OJCA members Lillian Goodman, Cindy Segal and Barb Pullan organized the get-together at which attendees enjoyed refreshments and the screening of the documentary entitled The Lady in Number 6. There was a discussion period following and it is hoped that the meetings will continue on a monthly basis.
For information on more OJCA events, including a June 24 BBQ, visit ojcc.ca.
The Bayit joined forces with Chabad of Richmond in an emoji-themed Purim celebration held at Richmond’s City Centre Community Centre March 12. Pictured here, left to right, are Chabad of Richmond’s Rabbi Yechiel Baitelman, Bayit president Mike Sachs, Yoav Rokach-Penn and the Bayit’s Rabbi Levi Varnai. (photo by Lauren Kramer)
In every community, and ours is no exception, there are folks who frequently capture the spotlight for their work while others quietly get things done behind the scenes, flying below the media radar. In our new Kibitz & Schmooze profile, we’ll try to highlight members of Greater Vancouver’s Jewish community who are doing outstanding, admirable and mention-worthy work out of view of the general public. If you know of profile subjects who fit this description, please email [email protected]
Kids and anxiety go hand-in-hand, but, when kids’ anxiety gets out of control, many parents turn to Annie Simpson.
The 39-year-old Vancouver Talmud Torah mom boasts a PhD in psychology and 10 years’ experience in pediatric psychology. She founded the Cornerstone Child and Family Psychology Clinic in Vancouver in January, where she works with nine other psychologists. But Simpson’s focus is on young patients with anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, selective mutism and depression.
Her interest in selective mutism, an impairment defined as an inability to speak in some social situations despite speaking perfectly fine in others, began six years ago. That’s when Simpson started getting referrals of children with the impairment and wanted to gain a better understanding of how to help them. She traveled to New York to confer with world-renowned expert Dr. Steve Kurtz, helped run one of his camps for selectively mute kids and came back enthusiastic about applying his cognitive behavioural therapy methods in Vancouver.
Within two years, Simpson ran the first camp of her own at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver and soon started receiving calls from all over North America, from parents who wanted to enrol their children. Just under one percent of kids have selective mutism.
Simpson’s summer clubs are annual now, and in high demand. “I see a wide variety of impairment, from kids who only speak to one parent to kids who cannot speak at school,” she says. “At the camps, we develop a trusting relationship with the children and then expose them gradually to the feared situation, rewarding their success.”
Camp is Simpson’s favourite week of the year because the progress is so rapid. “The children are improving so quickly and they get so excited about their success,” she says. “With the right supports in place back home, the kids continue to thrive after the camp.”
For parents who don’t seek help for selectively mute kids, Simpson warns that the mutism gets more challenging to treat the older a child gets, and is particularly difficult when kids become teens and have had so many years of not talking.
When she’s not counseling patients, you’ll find this enterprising Vancouverite at B.C. Children’s Hospital, where she’s a staff psychologist in the pediatric OCD Program; at Simon Fraser University, where she’s a clinical associate in the department of psychology; or consulting for AnxietyBC.
Purim is a time of deception and inebriation. The story we commemorate in the reading of the Megillah is one of hidden identities and near catastrophe. As is often humorously pointed out, the Purim story ends as most Jewish holidays do, celebrating victory over oppressors and overindulging.
Purim is a fun holiday, with layers of meaning for people of different ages. The young (and many of their elders) enjoy the costuming and playacting, while we appreciate both the laughs and the historical and contemporary nuances of the shpiel perhaps more as we age.
The circularity of the Jewish calendar is both an indicator of consistency and of constant change. While the readings and rituals may stay more or less the same century after century, we as individuals and as a community are different than we were when we read the same verses last year, or the years before.
Certainly, much has changed since last Purim. We were keenly aware of this when we prepared this year’s Purim spoof page. Each year we have a few laughs (and try to bring some to readers) by making fun of current events. But it becomes exceedingly challenging to conjure witty parody when real-life events beggar belief and seem like bad TV comedy.
On Purim, we try to upend the truth or make fun of situations by taking them to their extremes. This takes special aplomb when upended truths and extreme situations are the apparent norm.
The parallels extend beyond the form, even mimicking substance. If the White House today is Ahasuerus’s castle, in this far-fetched narrative, there is even a Jewish consort credited for reining in the worst inclinations of the king.
George Orwell is invoked constantly these days, and rightly so. The fictional dystopia the author imagined in 1984 bears creepy similarities with current events.
The U.S. president habitually says (or, more frequently, tweets) outright falsehoods, either completely made up from within his own imagination or regurgitated from untrustworthy sources on the fringes of the internet. Then he repeatedly refers to legitimate media outlets as “fake news.”
The lies are so bald-faced and the accusations so exactly misdirected that we need to wonder if, rather than being the product of an unhinged loose cannon, they could conceivably be part of a genius strategy. Could it be that the president is inundating his constituents and the world with so many outlandish assertions and utter deceits that he is trying to inure us before laying on something he’s had in the works all along? If this sounds crazy or paranoid, well, we can review the facts, such as they are, next Purim.
Goldie Kassen at Louis Brier Home and Hospital’s Purim party last year. (photo from Barbara Taranto)
There are not many news stories in print or online that laud the everyday work of women. Occasionally, studies are published regarding the status of women’s salaries relative to men’s, the position of women’s roles relative to men’s, the division of labour in the household, etc., but very little is published about the everyday life and sacrifices of women. When stories are published, they are most often about how women have contributed, as a female actor in a traditional male role, to the social and economic welfare of the greater community.
I do not have many “heroes.” I never quite got the appeal of adoring a public figure or wanting to model myself after a stranger regardless of his or her qualities. One person I do admire, however, is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg – obviously for her remarkable contribution to the U.S. Supreme Court, her leadership and her example to American women – but more for the non-public and under-appreciated value she has added as a mother and a grandmother.
Bader Ginsberg is very much like Queen Esther of Purim – a woman with a private life who serves the greater good in the public sphere. There were not, and are not, many opportunities to have a life like hers. But, ordinary women, women not in the spotlight, have been serving the greater good throughout human history – volunteering in the community, giving time, food, sustenance and support to help their communities not only survive, but thrive.
When I grew up, I often came home from school and stopped at the Jewish community centre to see my mother – Goldie Kassen – who was working in the kitchen with the other women of Hadassah, an organization’s whose name is Queen Esther’s Hebrew name. The women of Hadassah were very active in Saskatoon. There wasn’t a week that went by that they weren’t involved in some sort of social action or charity event. And, on the days they were not busy with Hadassah, they were involved in the sisterhood at Congregation Agudas Israel, performing vital ritual tasks for the mikvah, the chevra kadisha or distributing mishloach manot (loosely translated as gift baskets) on Purim.
This culture of volunteerism that was widespread and common in my youth seems to have disappeared. Many smaller Jewish communities do not have the congregation or the means to support these activities and many services have been taken over by professionals. Frankly, many women understandably do not want to volunteer for no pay.
When my father, z”l, died, my mother left Saskatoon and moved to Vancouver. She immediately volunteered for a seniors group, Hadassah and the sisterhood at Temple Sholom. She became an active member of her new community by giving first and receiving warmth and welcome in return.
For the past 28 years, my mother has volunteered at the Louis Brier Home and Hospital. She started out as a salesperson, one day a week, in the gift shop. Over the years, she took on more and more responsibility. Today, she manages the staff and the staff schedule. She does the buying for the shop, she does the books for the shop and she does special requests for those who have no family or aid. She works four days a week, every week.
The proceeds from the shop have been used to purchase diagnostic medical equipment, hospital beds, a barbeque for the residents and much, much more. She greets all the customers in a quiet and gentle way, and I know she is loved for her patience and her concern.
On the Louis Brier’s website, there is a very brief paragraph about the shop. No mention is made of the women who work there, not that they expect it, but it would be nice. I know that the shop is an integral part of the life of the residents and the staff at the home. I know that there are not many women left like my mother.
So, when my mom called and told me she was going to the Purim party last year as Queen Esther, I was especially proud. She was worrying over what dress to wear. In the end, she chose the evening gown my father bought her in Jerusalem in 1962. It was a beautiful dress then and it is a beautiful dress now. More importantly, the woman wearing the dress is beautiful – as beautiful as Queen Esther and as important as all those women who have kept the traditions alive and without whom we would be impoverished.
Barbara Tarantolives in Tel Aviv. A version of this article was published last year on her blog, btarantoaretz.com.
Showcased by Kedem Auction House earlier this month, the Megillah from which the above image is taken features politicians and celebrities as the story’s characters. For example, Osama bin Laden is Haman, George W. Bush is King Ahasuerus and Madonna is Queen Esther. The Megillah was commissioned by an anonymous collector, said Israeli designer Itzhak Luvaton, who was asked to create it back in 2007. Luvaton supervised the project and created the master sketch, which was sent to tens of artists and painters. After all the painting was completed, master scribe Avital Goldner wrote the text. The process took about a year.
When Eastern Europeans immigrated to America, they brought their hamantashen recipes with them. (photo from Infrogmation via Wikimedia Commons)
When it comes to Purim pastries, hamantashen are what most of us think of first. The word is taken from the German mohn, meaning poppy seeds, and taschen, referring to pockets. Some say the pockets refer to Haman, who stuffed his pockets with bribe money.
The original name, mohntaschen, and the tradition of eating them, may date back as far as the 12th century. Israeli historian, caterer and cook Shmil Holland says that, when Jews fled Germany for Eastern Europe in the late Middle Ages, they took the poppy seed pastry with them and added the Yiddish prefix ha, thus making it hamantash.
In the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, Gil Marks (z”l) writes that Eastern Europeans and their foods came to dominate the Ashkenazi world in the 19th century, and “hamantashen emerged as the quintessential Ashkenazic Purim treat.” The original dough was kuchen, a rich yeast dough, and common fillings include poppy seeds, chocolate, prunes or other fruit fillings. When Eastern Europeans immigrated to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the idea came with them.
(An aside: In 18th-century Bohemia, Jews added a prune filling. The story is that a local merchant was accused of selling poisoned plum jam; when he was cleared of the charges, his family marked the occasion as a holiday, called povidl Purim, or plum jam Purim.)
In addition to the pocket imagery, several other explanations have been suggested for the triangular shape of hamantashen. Some say they represent a triangular-shaped hat worn by Haman, the villain in the Purim story, and that we eat them as a reminder that his cruel plot was foiled. Others say they represent Esther’s strength and the three founders of Judaism: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as a midrash says that, while reflecting on his plan to get rid of the Jews, Haman realized the three Patriarchs would intercede.
Yet another explanation lies in the cookies’ name in Israel, oznei Haman, Haman’s ears – perhaps referencing an old custom of cutting off the ears of criminals before they were executed. When the resulting treat became known as Haman’s ears for Purim is unknown, although it is mentioned as early as 1550. However, according to Marks, historical oznei Haman were strips of dough fried in honey or sugar syrup – a 13th-century Andalusian cookbook has a recipe for this “ear” dish and it was adopted by Sephardim.
Whatever their name, the reason behind eating hamantashen remains the same: remembering how close the Jewish people came to tragedy and celebrating the fact that they escaped death.
Here are some recipes from my family for your own celebration of Purim, which starts this year on March 12. My grandmother (z”l) made the most beautiful-looking yeast hamantashen.
GRANDMA’S PRUNE FILLING
1 1/2 cups finely cut prunes 1/4 cup sugar 2 tsp lemon juice
Place prunes in a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until soft.
Mash prunes, add sugar and lemon juice.
GRANDMA’S POPPY SEED FILLING
1 cup ground poppy seeds 1/4 cup milk or water 2 tbsp butter or margarine 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts 2 tbsp honey 1 tsp vanilla
Place poppy seeds, milk or water, butter or margarine, raisins, nuts and honey in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until milk or water is absorbed.
GRANDMA’S YEAST HAMANTASHEN
4 tsp dry yeast 1/2 cup lukewarm milk 2 eggs 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup butter or margarine 1 tsp salt 1 cup sour cream 4-5 cups flour vegetable oil
Day before baking:
Dissolve yeast in a bowl with warm milk. Let stand.
Beat eggs and sugar in a bowl. Add yeast mixture, butter or margarine, salt and sour cream and blend well.
Add four cups flour and mix thoroughly. Gradually add the rest of the flour and knead until the dough is smooth and does not stick to your hands.
Grease a large mixing bowl and add the dough. Turn the dough until it is covered with the oil. Cover with a cloth and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a cookie sheet.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured board to 1/4-inch thick.
Cut into 16 squares. Place a spoonful of filling on each. Fold to form triangles. Place on greased cookie sheet. Let rise one hour until double in size.
Bake for 20 minutes or until brown.
MOM’S COOKIE HAMANTASHEN
2 eggs 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup margarine 2 3/4 cups flour 2 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 1 tsp vanilla juice of half an orange or 1/2 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a cookie sheet.
In a mixing bowl, blend eggs, sugar and margarine.
Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix well.
Add vanilla and orange juice or sour cream and blend into a dough. Refrigerate 20 minutes.
Roll out dough 1/4-inch thick. Cut into three-inch circles. Place one tablespoon of filling in the centre of each and fold to make a triangle. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes.
Sybil Kaplanis a journalist, lecturer, book reviewer and food writer in Jerusalem. She created and leads the weekly English-language Shuk Walks in Machaneh Yehudah, she has compiled and edited nine kosher cookbooks, and is the author of Witness to History: Ten Years as a Woman Journalist in Israel.
The author and her youngest son, Joel, enjoy Purim at the Louis Brier Home and Hospital. Her eldest son, Benjamin, was the photographer. (all photos by Benjamin Harrington)
When the Hebrew Men’s Cultural Club met in 1945 to talk about starting a home for the elderly, their project began with 14 men, with $5 each. The first home opened in 1946 with 13 residents. Now home to more than 200 seniors, the Dr. Irving and Phyliss Snider Campus for Jewish Seniors includes the Louis Brier Home and Hospital, and the Weinberg Residence. With many new programs and services, the campus has formed powerful bonds with the surrounding community.
This spring sees the launch of a new fundraising campaign by the Louis Brier Jewish Aged Foundation, which provides financial support to the campus. To interview members of the foundation board and staff about the campaign, I made my visit to the Louis Brier Home with both of my children during their spring break. Benjamin, 8, and Joel, 5, are used to volunteering in a seniors home, and are quite comfortable coming to work with me. Without grandparents in the area, it was a blessing for us all to be able to visit the home.
Before even shaking any hands, the first thing we noticed was the art. There is art everywhere, and not mass-produced art but carefully curated, vibrant images, full of life, movement and different textures. According to foundation president Harry Lipetz, this is thanks to the organization’s art committee. Every piece is a donation.
We met first with Dr. Judith Globerman, interim chief executive officer of the Snider Campus. Asked to point to some of the home’s distinguishing features, she described an atmosphere that is “more personal than institutional. Our staff feels it’s their home, too, and they tend to stay with us a long time.”
Residents also have a sense of agency, so, for example, if the seniors want to suggest changes – even to the art hanging outside their room – these changes can be made quickly.
Describing her place of work, Globerman spoke about energy, love and understanding. “The energy is warm, celebrating life; people’s faces here light up, there’s always life going on around you, even if you’re not moving yourself.”
Lipetz joined the Brier Foundation for this very reason. “It is a happy place,” he said. “I saw the level of caring, from custodial staff right through to top management.”
Bernard Pinsky, chair of the current fundraising campaign, can attest to the heimish (comfortable, homey) quality of the Louis Brier Home.
“Both of my parents lived there, as well as my uncles and aunt,” he said. “For a period of 21 years, at least one of my relatives lived there. My mom was at Louis Brier for 13 years. I was there a lot and saw for myself the warmth, the quality of the care. The program director goes into residents’ rooms personally to check in, to encourage seniors to join activities. It makes such a difference to be invited personally, to keep you connected to community life.”
The Louis Brier is the only Jewish home for seniors in the province. As such, it carries a certain responsibility, said Pinsky. He speaks of the community’s pride in being able to offer a life with dignity in a warm and stimulating environment to our seniors.
“Donors’ contributions make it a Jewish home,” he said. “They allow us to offer the special things that help people to live more fulfilling lives: kosher food, a weekly minyan, festivities for every Jewish holiday.”
That said, nothing prepared us for our visit at Purim, where we were greeted by staff wearing rainbow tutus, feather boas, glittery glasses and spotted mouse ears. As we stood in the entrance hall among the balloons, an elderly resident wearing googly-eye glasses strolled through with some friends waving groggers. Needless to say, this was a little different from my sons’ previous experiences of seniors facilities.
When I spoke with Pinsky, he talked at length about the Louis Brier’s music therapy program. Offered by a team of professionals, it is based on research that shows how music calls on a different part of the brain than speech. Pinsky observed, “People can sing songs they knew 60 or 70 years ago, when they can’t even speak.”
He added, “We have the best seniors music therapy in the province. There’s music every single day.”
The March calendar includes weekly Shabbat music, ukelele sing-alongs and jam sessions, as well as a concert of Russian music and a piano recital. We caught a flavor of this during our visit when music therapist Megan Goudreau played her guitar and sang one of the residents’ favorite songs, “Kol Ha’olam Kulo.”
The home was a hive of activity when we visited, with youngsters volunteering, residents – and a couple of friendly dogs! – milling about. Costumed kids came by with their families and sang on both floors of the home. Nothing beats the sight of a mini race-car driver delivering a “Chag Purim!” message with a huge smile to delighted seniors.
“The three things that concern residents the most – beyond housing – are food, music and companionship. The foundation provides that. It’s beyond public funding,” said Lipetz.
The seniors “are not coming here to be housed,” he added, “they are coming here to live.”
Pinsky agreed. “It’s amazing what we’re able to do. Loneliness is one of the biggest problems for seniors, so seniors with families who live out of town can be visited by special companions.”
Louis Brier residents have access to their own rabbi, Hillel Brody, spiritual leader of the Chava and Abrasha Wosk Synagogue. Located within the home, the synagogue is funded solely by the foundation. In other words, like the music, the companions and occupational therapy, it is a gift from the community.
The new campaign is a quest to raise $1 million. Pledges are for two years, so a $5,000 donation would be given in two portions of $2,500 each.
“These funds are essential to maintain continuity in the programming,” said Pinsky. “The home needs to budget 12 months ahead, for the next fiscal year. If we fall into deficit, these life-improving programs need to be cut.”
Added Lipetz, “For many residents, this is their last home. We want to make it their best home.”
Shula Klingeris an author, illustrator and journalist living in North Vancouver.
תצפית אל דרום הכנרת מהכביש היורד מיבניאל. (צילום: אלה פאוסט)
ג’סטין טרודו: מברך את העם היהודי לחג הפורים, מתקומם על החרם נגד ישראל, אך מתנגד להתנחלויות בשטחים
ראש ממשלת קנדה מטעם המפלגה הליברלית, ג’סטין טרודו, מביע לאחרונה את דעתו בפומבי בנושאים שקשורים ליהודים ולישראל. שלא כמו קודמו בתפקיד, סטיבן הרפר, טרודו לא עומד אוטומטית מאוחרי ישראל בכל עניין ועניין והוא אינו חבר של ראש ממשלת ישראל, בנימין נתניהו, אבל עדיין נחשב לידיד קרוב של ישראל.
טרודו פרסם בשבוע שעבר אגרת ברכה לאזרחים היהודים בקנדה לקראת חג הפורים. בברכה נאמר: “חג הפורים מציין את סיפורה של אסתר המלכה והדוד שלה מרדכי, אשר הצילו את העם היהודי בתקופת פרס העתיקה. אירוע זה מזכיר לנו שוב את כוחו ועוצמתו של העם היהודי, אשר שרד וגבר על הרדיפה הבלתי הנתפסת הזו. בזמן שאנו קוראים את מגילת אסתר אנו מאשרים מחדש את המחויבות הקיימת שלנו לנקוט פעולה ולעמוד נגד האנטישמיות, נגד ביטויים אחרים של שנאה ואפליה בקנדה ומחוצה לה”.
רק לפני כחודש חזר טרודו על הבטחתו מקמפיין הבחירות שלו להתנגד לכל חרם על ישראל. טרודו ומרבית חברי המפלגה הליברלית שבראשותו תמכו ב-22 בפרואר בהצעת המפלגה הקונסרבטיבית מהאופוזיציה, לגנות את כל מי שמחרים את ישראל. הפרלמנט הקנדי אישר את ההחלטה הזו ברוב גדול של 229 מול 51 מתנגדים. לפי הצעת הקונסרבטיבים על הממשלה הקנדית לגנות כל ניסיון לקדם את תנועת החרם והסנקציות נגד ישראל בקנדה ומחוצה לה. עוד נאמר בהחלטה כי תנועת החרם הבינלאומית של ‘הבי.די.אס’ פועלת לעשות דה-לגיטימציה ודמוניזציה של מדינת ישראל. שר החוץ הקנדי, סטפן דיון, אמר מספר ימים קודם לכן בצורה ברורה כי העולם לא ירוויח דבר מהחרמת ישראל ויש להילחם באינטישמיות על כל צורותיה השונות.
לעומת כל זאת טרודו לא מהסס להעביר ביקורת פומבית של מדיניותה של ישראל בשטחים. הוא אמר לאחרונה כי ישראל עושה דברים מזיקים כמו למשל ההתנחלויות הבלתי חוקיות. טרודו: “יש זמנים שאנחנו לא מסכימים עם בעלי הברית שלנו, ואנחנו לא נהסס לומרת זאת בקול רם. זהו עניין שחברים צריכים לדעת לעשות. כמו למשל ההתנחלויות שהן בלתי חוקיות”. שר החוץ דיון אמר באותו נושא קודם לכן את הדברים הבאים: “ההתנחלויות פוגעות ביכולת להגיע לפתרון צודק באזור”.
בנושא טרודו והרפר כתב ניצן הורביץ בעיתון ‘הארץ’ בין היתר: “ראש הממשלה החדש הוא איש פתוח, מתקדם ובעל חוש הומור. תשע השנים הרפר היו די והותר לקנדים. הם הבינו שהמדיניות התקציבית המרסנת שלו וההסתמכות העיוורת על חברות אנרגיה הביאו אותם אל עברי פי פחת. לעומת זאת טרודו נמצא בצד הנכון של ההיסטוריה. הוא כבר הציג ממשלה שווה של נשים וגברים”.
האם פיצה גנובה טעימה יותר: שישה שליחי פיצה נשדדו בססקטון לאחרונה
שישה נהגים שמובילים פיצות בריכבם נשדדו החל מסוף פברואר ובמהלך מרץ בעיר ססקטון. באחד מסופי השבוע נשדדו ארבעה שליחים ולאחר מכן נשדדו עוד שניים. המשטרה המקומית מאמינה שיש קשר בין כל ששת המקרים בהם משתתפים שני שודדים. המשטרה קוראת לנהגים להגביר את הזהירות ואמצעי האבטחה. עדיין לא ידועה זהות השודדים שכנראה גם מכורים למגשי פיצות חמות וטריות.
השודדים כנראה ממוצא אינדיאני (בגילאי 18-20) לבושים בשחור ופניהם מכוסות במסכות, פועלים בשעות הבוקר המוקדמות וחמושים בשלל של כלים מאיימים: צמידים מברזל, מפתח צינורות, מוטות מברזל וסכינים. צמד השודדים מאיים על הנהגים המופתעים וגונב את הכסף שבידם עם חלק מהפיצות שברכבם.
In costume and while enjoying treats, children in the Okanagan Jewish community learn about Purim. (photo from Okanagan Jewish Community Association)
Many children were part of the Okanagan Jewish community’s recent Purim celebrations. First, the children – dressed in costumes – participated in a half-hour Hebrew class with teacher Nir Light, where he shared the Megillah and translated the Purim story. Then, everyone went to the sanctuary with noisemakers to listen to the Megillah (a kid-friendly version) and partake in the mishloach manot (Purim baskets).
A potluck dinner was followed by services led by Rabbi Shaul Osadchey of Calgary’s Congregation Beth Tzedec. Kaddish was said for Irmgard Reimer, a longtime and very involved member of the Okanagan Jewish community, who passed away recently and will be dearly missed. The rabbi also acknowledged Sam Larry, who was a member of the community for many years and led services from time to time, as Debbie Larry recently donated two chairs for the synagogue in Sam’s memory.
In other news, 100 students from Okanagan Mission Secondary came to visit the OJC Centre on March 8 for a Talk & Tour session. OJCC religious committee chair Evan Orloff, a retired teacher, addressed the students and answered their questions. The OJCC has various schools that visit throughout the year, some every year. The next tour – on April 7 – will be with a group of Mount Boucherie Secondary students, with the talk given by OJC member Steven Finkleman, who has been one of the community’s main presenters.
The annual OJC Passover seder is being planned for April 22 at Summerhill Winery. For more information on the OJC, visit ojcc.ca.