Cultural and Educational Classes

Stimulate your mind and your soul at the SJCC with inspirational classes taught by inspiring educators. Learn a new language, take an art class, study Shakespeare or be part of the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Education. Its always a good time to learn something new!

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

Winter 2020


The Holocaust – Rarely Discussed Elements with Avi Marcovitz

Among the numerous questions being examined during this course will be: how did the Jews live in a world of chaos? Would the Holocaust have happened without IBM? The role of bystanders and perpetrators – how was it humanly possible? Women in the ghettos/underground and the camps, the place and meaning of music in the holocaust, medical dilemmas of Jewish doctors during the Holocaust, and, Jewish resistance in different conditions.

Avi Marcovitz has served as director of the International School of Holocaust Studies, World Jewry Division, at Yad Vashem where he initiated, created and sustained educational programs in over 30 countries.

Tuesday 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
January 14 – March 3
No Class: February 18
$170 SJCC Members • $194 Non Members

Great Jewish Philosophers with Rabbi Steven Garten

During this six week course students will explore the essential questions about life, death and religion according to the following great Jewish thinkers – Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon), Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik and Martin Buber.

Thursday 10:00 am -11:30 am
January 16- February 27
No Class: January 23
$150 SJCC Members • $174 Non Members


Science and Medicine in Literature with Gefen Bar-On Santor

What are the similarities and differences between how we understand the world and the human experience through literature and through science and medicine? How do literary texts represent scientific, technological and medical questions such as debates about views of the universe, responsible use of technology and the dignity of human life? How can literature contribute to the development of science and medicine? We will discuss these questions through selections from Jonathan Swift, Daniel Defoe, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekov, H.G. Wells, Bertolt Brecht, Paul Monette, Randy Shilts and Michael Frayn. In partnership with AJA50+

Tuesday 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
January 14 – February 18
$150 SJCC Members • $174 Non Members


First Nations People: The History, The Past and Contemporary Issues with Claudette Commanda, LL.B. Cultural Knowledge Keeper and Educator

This course will focus on the Canadian historical, cultural, political and legal processes impacting First Nations people, their languages, culture and rights.  The course will also speak about past and contemporary issues which are:  the legacy of colonialism, First Nations identity and culture, inherent rights, treaties, resistance, self-determination, government relations, and survival. Overall, this course will also focus on the impact of colonization, government classification, laws and policies leading to the breakdown of traditional governance and culture and present day societal and government relations with First Nations.

Monday 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
January 20 – March 2
No Class: February 17
$150 SJCC Members • $174 Non Members

The History of Humour in the Theatre with Pierre Brault

Join Actor, Playwright, Comedian Pierre Brault, on a rollicking journey through the history of theatrical humour. Participants will take a “serious” look at Comedy, from Aristophanes (Lysistrata) and the Greeks, through Shakespeare (Twelfth Night), Molière (Tartuffe), Wilde, (The Importance of being Earnest) to the satire of Neil Simon (The Odd Couple). From the yuk’s of yore to the present, join the fun! The only prerequisite is a sense of humour.

Thursday 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
January 16 – February 20
$150 SJCC Members • $174 Non Members


Music of the Heart

Join classical guitarist and vocalist Andrew Mah and violinist Anna Baksheeva as they present a program of music of the heart. Included are pieces composed by John Dowland, Edward Elgar, Giacomo Puccini, and Jerome Kern, all in the spirit of romance.

Monday, February 10th
1:30 pm Social Hall A
$15 at the door

SJCC Ottawa Jewish Chorus with Rachel Eugster and Aviva Lightstone

This recreational choral ensemble under the baton of Ottawa soprano Rachel Eugster, and with musical accompanist Aviva Lightstone, is an inclusive choir open to anyone with an interest in singing. The ensemble will be dedicated to the exploration and performance of Jewish choral music (Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino) as well as other repertoire, such as pop, contemporary and world music.

Thursday 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
January 16 – May 7 (12 classes)

Music Concert Series

All of the below concerts are held on Monday afternoons at 1:30 pm and take place in the SJCC Social Hall. Cost for each program differs. Program details and Admission prices TBA.

February 10 Themes of Love with Guitarist Andrew Mah and Violinist Anna Baksheeva

March 16 Gabriel Faurewith pianist Katherine Addleman and Soprano Sophie Bertrand

April 27 Claude Debussywith pianist Katherine Addleman and violinist Galina Rezaiepour

May 25 Maurice Ravel Pianist Katherine Addleman


Daytime Conversational Hebrew for Beginners Level 2 with Ella Dagan

Each lesson will include 90 minutes of spoken language practice. Geared for those who have taken Beginner Conversational Hebrew and for those who have knowledge of the basics. Emphasis will be on comprehension and pronunciation.

Thursday 10:00 am – 11:30 am
January 16 – March 5
$165 SJCC Members • $189 Non Members

S’iz Besser Oyf  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. No knowledge of Yiddish required.

Tuesday 10:00 am-11:30 am – Dates TBA
Free Program.

Yiddish Conversation Circle

Open to all who love the beauty and sound of the Yiddish language.

1:00 pm-2:30 pm
January 15, 29; February 12, 26;  March 11, 25
$35 SJCC Members • $50 Non Members


Mahjong with Merle

If you’re looking for a way to sharpen your memory and keep your mind stimulated while making new friends, why not try Mahjong. This popular past time, with Chinese roots, challenges the brain to stay sharp and improves concentration. Merle Haltrecht, well known Mahj instructor, will patiently guide you through the brain-stimulating game you’ve been searching for. ***Please bring $11 to first class for your Mahj card.

Thursdays 10:00 am – 11:30 am
February 6 – March 5
$65 SJCC Member •  $75 Non Member

More Than Just Mosaics: The Ancient Synagogue at Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee with Professor Jodi Magness

Since 2011, Professor Jodi Magness has been directing excavations in the ancient village of Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee.  The excavations have brought to light the remains of a monumental Late Roman (fifth century) synagogue building paved with stunning and unique mosaics, including biblical scenes and the first non-biblical story ever discovered decorating an ancient synagogue.  In this slide-illustrated lecture, Professor Magness describes these exciting finds, including the discoveries made in last summer’s season. For more information visit

Sunday, February 23
7:00 pm
SJCC Social Hall A

Identity Politics in Ancient Israel with Professor Shawna Dolansky

From Noah’s sons to Lot’s daughters, some biblical stories can seem rather bizarre to us reading them today.  Professor Shawna Dolansky will take us on a quick tour through the book of Genesis, with an eye toward revealing what these less well-known stories might tell us about their authors’ concerns with identity politics in their larger Syro-Canaanite environment.

Sunday, March 29
7:00 pm
SJCC Social Hall A

Rare Book Collection – From the Jewish Public Library of Montreal

Some of the books from the Jewish Public Library’s Rare Book Collection date from 1481. Come and view a selection of these rare books that give a snapshot of the Jewish literary tradition as encapsulated in these texts which were inherited, for the most part, from the Jewish Restitution Organization. After the Holocaust, the organization was responsible for reuniting stolen and hidden books with their owners. Those books that could not be repatriated with their owners were distributed to libraries around the world.

Wednesday, March 25
1:00 pm-3:00 pm
SJCC Teen Lounge


CREATIVE CONNECTIONS – In Partnership with AJA50+

For seniors who enjoy a weekly day out with their peers. Activities include gentle exercises, music programs, speakers, entertainment, games, lunch (bring your own or purchase onsite).

Tuesday 9:30 am – 2:15 pm

Winter: January 7 – March 10
Spring: March 31 – June 9

Creative Connections received generous support from the Congregation Beth Shalom of Ottawa Legacy Fund
For information please contact