Cultural and Educational Classes

Contact: Roslyn Wollock
(613) 798-9818 ext. 254,

Fall/Winter 2017-2018

Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning

The Dramas of Jewish Living Throughout the Ages
with Rabbi Steven Garten

What are the lessons and dilemmas of Jewish history, from the earliest wanderings of Abraham to the modern experiment in Jewish statehood? How do the turning points in Jewish history influence our lives today? This course investigates how the Jewish past gives meaning to the Jewish present.

The Ethics of Jewish Living
with Rabbi Scher

This course shows how Jewish teachings, through the wisdom of ancient and modern rabbis, scholars and thinkers, shed light on contemporary issues such as the environment, interpersonal relationships, end-of-life decisions, and stem-cell research.

Monday, 10:00 am–12:15 pm

Fall: September 11–December 11
No class: October 9

Spring: March 26 – June 11

Scholars Course

Beyond Borders: The History of the Arab Israeli Conflict
with Rabbi Steven Garten

Students are provided with a strong, text-based historical overview from the late nineteenth century through today. The complexity of the conflict will have students looking at issues of religion, culture, history, politics, economics, identity and survival through primary sources. Course material is designed to help students appreciate the basis of the conflicting historical claims made by both sides.

Wednesday, 10:00 am–11:30 am

Fall: September 13–December 13
No Class: November 1, 8, 15

Spring Session: March 28–May 30

To register for Florence Melton Adult School courses please visit 

For assistance please call Roslyn Wollock (613) 798-9818 ext. 254

150 Years of Jewish Life in Canada

with Professor Pierre Anctil

The mass migration of Jews to Canada began shortly after the signing of Confederation in 1867. This class explores the reasons why Jews began entering Canada and what opportunities they found there. Of special interest in this class are the internal differences found in the Jewish community in Canada during various periods, the obstacles that Jews found in Canadian society and the means through which they surmounted these difficulties. The discussion will also cover the German refugee crisis of the late 30s, the post war period and the Quiet Revolution in Québec.

September 18–November 6
Monday 1:00 pm–2:30 pm
$148 M • $163 NM
No class: October 9, 23

Eastern European Jewish Authors – In Translation

with Rubin Friedman 

During this five week course, students explore how Jewish masters of the short story combine humour and pain in their narratives—from the real, to the surreal, to the fantastic. What is their art? Is “Jewishness” evident in how and what they write? Selected stories from: Shalom Aleichem (Yiddish), Franz Kafka (German), Isaac Babel (Russian), Isaac Bashevis Singer (Yiddish), Etgar Keret (Hebrew)

October 19–November 16
Thursday 1:00 pm–2:30 pm
$117 M • $133 NM

The Beauty, Meaning, and Intention of Psalms (Tehillim)

with Lauren Schaps

During this four week course, students encounter texts that are bold, profound, and literally breathtaking. Tehillim, (Psalms) have been turned to by Jews for comfort and catharsis in times of challenge, illness, and suffering, and, they are also recited at times of joy and celebration. Through a close reading of selected Psalms, we will deepen our understanding of their meaning and the worldviews they express, and, discern why they have occupied a unique place in the life and history of the Jewish people. Each class will focus on a deeper understanding of a Psalm familiar to us from the prayer service, grace after meals, or the funeral service

October 24–November 14
Tuesday 1:00 pm–2:00 pm
$77 M • $87 NM


Masterpieces of European Literature

with Gefen Bar-On Santor

Many people in English-speaking countries primarily study literature written in English, with less attention to the European literary tradition. This course aims to familiarize participants with the richness and depth of masterpieces written in Spanish, French, Italian, German and Russian. We will read short key highlights from the works (in English translation), analyzing their literary qualities, historical context and timeless insights into human nature. Authors studied will include Miguel de Cervantes, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Primo Levi, Johann Goethe, Stefan Zweig, Thomas Mann, Nelly Sachs, Victor Hugo, Albert Camus and Simone de Beauvoir.

September 19–October 24
Tuesday 10:00 am–12:00 pm
$148 M • $163 NM

Art Appreciation

Sculpture, Architecture, and Design in the Gardens and Woods of Italian Renaissance Villas

with Dr. Susanne McColeman

In the sixteenth century, the villas of Italy’s political and ecclesiastical elite often included large areas of land dedicated to formal gardens and woods. In this course, we will explore the art of six of the most extraordinary Renaissance gardens in central Italy: The Medici Villas in Tuscany, including The Villa Medici di Castello, The Boboli Gardens in Florence, The Villa Medici di Pratolino; and the Grand Villas Around Rome; The Villa d’Este in Tivoli, The Villa Lante in Bagnaia, and The Sacro Bosco in Bomarzo.

Cancelled for the Fall session. Returning January 2018.


SJCC Shira Ottawa Choir

Join conductor Ben Sajo and accompanist Aviva Lightstone as they lead the JCC choir through its 18th season. The choir sings a wide repertoire of songs in Hebrew, Ladino, Yiddish, English and French. Shira Ottawa performs at community events throughout the year. If you love to sing and have a passion for Jewish music this choir is for you.

Join us for our Open House: Tuesday, September 12,
6:45 pm–8:45 pm Teen Lounge, SJCC.

Tuesdays 6:45 pm–8:45 pm
September 26, 2017–May 22, 2018

The choir will break from December 12 – February 27.

Canadian Jazz: Going Strong for More Than a Century

with Karl Nerenberg

This course will celebrate all that (Canadian) jazz, on the occasion of our country’s 150th birthday. The work of Canadian jazz musicians including Oscar Peterson, Diana Krall, Nikki Yanofsky, Michael Bublé, Sophie Milman, pianist Oliver Jones, and the late flutist Mo Koffman will be examined. We will consider the over-sized contribution Jews in Canada and elsewhere, have made to this art form, particularly as song writers. This class is for all, those with none or considerable music knowledge.

Cancelled for the Fall session. Returning January 2018.


Mixed Media

with Violeta Borisonik

An overview of several techniques using acrylic paint and acrylic mediums. Experimentation to convey ideas and building confidence through art will be the focus of this course. Through guided exercises students will cover notions of design, composition, color, texture and learn how to build up backgrounds and focal points using various painting methods such as: action painting, dripping, drybrush, and, layering with a palette knife. Students will also learn techniques such as stamping, stenciling, photo transfers and collage.

Participants will complete between 2 and 3 pieces of art during this six week course. Class size limited to 12.

October 18–November 22
Wednesday 12:30 pm–3:00 pm
$153M • $173 NM
+$30 supply fee payable to instructor on October 18.

Judaic Papercutting for Beginners – Evening

with Hy Cooper

Learn the history of the beautiful time honored art of papercutting. Create your own expressive work, and be amazed at what creations are possible by simply employing knife, scissors and paper.

October 16–30
Monday 7:00 pm–9:00 pm
$71 M • $82 NM
+$15 supply fee payable to instructor on October 16.

Traditional Aboriginal Drumming Workshop – Make Your Own Deerskin Drum!

with David Finkle and Family

Immerse yourself in the rich and unique culture of Canada’s first peoples! Drumming has been a central feature across many cultures throughout humanity’s history. During this workshop we’ll focus on Traditional North American Aboriginal drumming and the role it plays in ritual and ceremony. Craft your own wild whitetail deerskin drum stretched over a 14 inch Canadian Spruce Wood frame. The workshop will also include an intimate storytelling/aboriginal musical-performance with David Finkle and his wife Laura Leonard.

Sunday, October 22
10:00 am–1:00 pm
$77 M • $92 NM
+$80 supply fee payable to instructor upon arrival.

Special Interest

Bauhaus and the White City of Tel Aviv: The Plan, The Architects, The Buildings (1920-48)

Former Diplomat Ian Ferguson, who holds an M.A. in Art History, examines Bauhaus architecture and how it travelled to Tel Aviv during the British Mandate in Palestine. Learn why UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has declared Tel Aviv: “… a synthesis of outstanding significance of the various trends of the Modern Movement in architecture and town planning in the early part of the 20th century.”  You will learn of the architects who adapted new ideas to local cultural and climate conditions creating an architecture for a future nation, and look at examples of their work reflected in urban design, apartments, and public buildings.

Sunday, October 1
10:30 am–12:00 pm
$5 at the door

Churchill and the Jews

with Ronald I. Cohen

Some doubt whether the aristocratic (by birthright) Winston Churchill could have been a friend of the Jews and a supporter of the creation of a Jewish Homeland. In this 100th anniversary year of the penning of the Balfour Declaration, Ron Cohen will recount the history of Churchill’s admiration of the Jews and his unflagging support for the Land of Israel, as well as his views on Hitler and the Holocaust.

Ronald I. Cohen, is the President and one of the three co-founders of the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Ottawa and is the author of the definitive Bibliography of the Writings of Sir Winston Churchill. 

Sunday, October 15
10:30 am–12:00 pm
$5 at the door

The Role of Jewish Lawyers and Leaders in the Making of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

with Professor Adam Dodek

In partnership with the Bora Laskin Society

Many Canadians contributed to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It was drafted, critiqued, shaped and amended by numerous groups of Canadians, among them, but not least among them, Canadian Jewish leaders and Jewish groups. They made important contributions to the changes that were made to Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s draft Charter. Come and find out why these Canadian Jews should be counted among the unsung mothers and fathers of Re-Confederation.

Wednesday, October 25
7:30 pm
JCC Social Hall A

Celebrating The Contributions of Canada’s Jewish Scientists

with Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Professor of Chemistry at McGill University in Montreal and Director of the McGill Office for Science & Society

As we continue to celebrate Canada’s best at 150, Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Professor of Chemistry at McGill University in Montreal and Director of the McGill Office for Science & Society, will discuss some of the monumental achievements and contributions of  a number of Canadian Jewish scientists – among them, Dr. Ralph Steinman, Dr. Sidney Altman, Dr. Rudy Marcus, Dr. Mark Wainberg and Dr. Leo Yaffe.

Sunday, November 26th
1:30pm SJCC Social Hall A
Admission: $10 at the door.

Canadian Jewry: Past, Present and Future

with Professor Irving Abella

Professor Abella’s talk will highlight the role of Jews in Canadian society and the mystique surrounding their contribution to business, politics and culture in both pre and post confederation Canada.

Date and Time TBA


S’iz Besser in Yiddish – It’s Better in Yiddish —For Lovers of Mamaloshen

with Shirley Steinberg and Rubin Friedman

Join writer, director Shirley Steinberg and humorist Rubin Friedman for a Yiddish smorgasbord, where you’ll enjoy a melange of stories, humorous Yiddishisms, song and improvisation. A true mechaye (a pleasure). No knowledge of Yiddish required. Free Program.

10:00 am–11:30 am
Monday, September 11, Tuesday, October 31,
Monday, November 20, Monday, December 4

Beginner Spanish

with Wendy Ordonez

An ideal entry level introduction for those wishing to experience the fun and flair of Spanish culture by learning everyday language. Emphasis is placed on vocabulary, conversation and grammar.

October 20–December 8
Friday 10:00 am–11:30 am
$168 M • $189 NM
No class: September 21 October 5, 12

Advanced Beginner Spanish

with Wendy Ordonez

For students who have studied basic beginner Spanish. Includes vocabulary, grammar basics, how to formulate questions, memorization techniques, and exercises in reading, writing, listening and speaking.

September 14–December 14
Thursday 12:15 pm–1:45 pm
$224 M • $245 NM
No class: September 21 October 5, 12

Intermediate Spanish

with Wendy Ordonez 

For those who have completed the JCC’s course Bridging the Gaps in Spanish or those familiar with basic conversational Spanish skills.

September 14–December 14
Thursday 10:30 am–12:00 pm
$224 M • $245 NM
No class: September 21 October 5, 12

Israeli Dancing

Contemporary Israeli dances, old favourites, great music, exercise, all in a fun and friendly atmosphere.

Tuesday evenings at the Ottawa Jewish Community School, gym, 31 Nadolny Sachs Private (off Carling Avenue and Broadview) from 7 to 10 pm, starting Tuesday, September 12, 2017.

Learn beginner steps and easier dances to start, progressing to intermediate and advanced dances. No experience or partner necessary. All ages welcome.

$5/evening (pay at the door)

Visit Facebook page, ottawaisraelidance or email for more information

Creative Connections

For seniors who enjoy a weekly day out with their peers. Activities include gentle exercises, music program, speakers, entertainment, games, lunch (bring your own or purchase onsite), fun, laughter and so much more.

Sept 12, 19, Oct 26

Oct 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

Nov 7, 14
For information and registration contact: Merle Haltrecht (613) 824-6833,