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Cultural and Educational Classes

For more information contact Roslyn Brozovsky Wollock
Adult Education & Cultural Programs Manager • (613) 798-9818 ext. 254


  1. To register click on the purple Login/Register tab at the top right of the page and follow the prompts.
  2. All of the below courses and lectures will be held via Zoom. After registering you will receive your Zoom invitation the day before classes begin.
  3. Course registration is stopped three days before courses/lectures begin.

Stimulate your mind and your soul at the SJCC. Learn a new language, take a literature course to discuss current affairs, or, be part of the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning. It’s always a good time to learn something new!


Exodus Shemot Part 1 (10 weeks) From Slavery to Sinai

with Rabbi Steven Garten

This ten-week course follows the development of the emerging Jewish nation from their awe-inspiring encounter at Sinai through the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness. The high points of divine revelation are sharply contrasted against the lows of the Golden Calf incident and the overarching sense of despair. The text addresses many of the laws and regulations that would later bring great meaning, purpose, and relevance to our lives. Join Rabbi Garten as he navigates this fascinating journey through the first part of the book of Exodus where you’ll discover – Pharaoh’s Paranoia, Moshe’s CV, The Burning Bush, Bridegroom of Blood, Off to a Tough Start, Hail: Profile of a Plague, The First Pesach, Into the Sea, Manna from Heaven and Amalek.

Thursdays January 14 – March 18
10:00 am – 11:30 am


Searching for Meaning in Midrash 

with Rabbi Steven Garten

Midrash is the Rabbinic investigation into the meaning of holy texts. The root d-r-sh means ‘to explore, enquire, explain, expound’. When Torah text leaves too much unanswered, the Midrash fills in the gaps. Join Rabbi Garten for this eight-week course when he will explore ancient homiletical midrashim from all five books of the Torah.

Wednesdays January 13 – March 3
10:00am – 11:00am
$95 SJCC Members • $105 Non-Members


Twenty-First-Century Israeli literature

with Professor Gefen Bar-On Santor

We will study six works of Israeli fiction written in the twenty-first century: David Grossman’s To the End of the Land, Amos Oz’s Judas, Zeruya Shalev’s Thera, Ronit Matalon’s And the Bride Closed the Door, A.B. Joshua’s The Tunnel and Etgar Keret Fly Already.  Together, these works will provide a vivid picture of Israel’s diverse and energetic literary and cultural landscape since 2000.  While reading the works is recommended, the course will be taught as an introduction to the texts, so reading the texts in advance is not a requirement for taking the course.

Tuesdays   10:00am – 12:00pm
January 19 – February 23
$150 SJCC Members • $165 Non-Members

Literature and History

with Dr. Nick Milne

History may not always be “written by the victors” — but it IS written by the writers. Much of our understanding of the past is mediated through texts, both fictional and non-fictional, and this format can have a significant impact on how we understand our own history and that of our families, our communities, and our world. How do the conventions of storytelling shape how we approach such history? Through writing by authors like Tim O’Brien, Virginia Woolf, Pat Barker, Alice Munro, and Jorge Luis Borges, participants will explore this and other complex questions.

Mondays 10:00am – 12:00pm
February 15 – March 22
$150 SJCC Members • $165 Non-Members


Astronomy 101 – Understanding the Night Sky

with Scott Ship

This six-week astronomy course is a beginner level class to the stars and constellations that pass us by every night. Students will learn how to quickly spot over a dozen stars and twenty constellations in our sky. We will study the stars as they appear under normal viewing conditions, making this an excellent course for amateur stargazers, campers, hikers, parents, and kids of all ages with an interest in Astronomy.

Thursdays   1:00pm – 2:00pm
January 14 – February 18
$60 SJCC Members • $70 Non-Members

Behind the Headlines

with Dr. Elliot Tepper

In this Global Affairs series, we will discuss current events that are making the news. Hot topics of the week will be explored in-depth, providing context and background for stories in the headlines. We will also be exploring some topics that did not make the headlines but should have. The content will be determined weekly by emerging issues of importance that affect our lives and our world. Come for a lively discussion of the news that matters. Dr. Elliot Tepper is a veteran Carleton University political scientist and well-known media commentator.

Tuesdays 1:00pm – 3:00pm
January 19 – February 23
$150 SJCC Members • $165 Non-Members

Sharing Your Story: A Memoir Workshop

with Linda Besner

You want the story of your life to jump off the page—but how will you know if you’re getting through to your readers? In this discussion-based course, participants will read and respond to each other’s writing, and learn how to write with one eye on their audience. Whether you’re already hard at work on a memoir or looking to explore through writing exercises, in this course you will write, share, and discuss what makes a compelling true story. Maximum 10 students.

Read Linda’s work in The Guardian, The Atlantic, The Globe & Mail, and The Walrus, among other places.

Mondays 1:00 pm-2:30 pm
January 11 – February 8
$125 SJCC Members • $145 Non-Members


NEW! Hebrew Slang with Ella Dagan

Join Ella for this fun, practical introduction to Hebrew conversation. An eclectic mix of influences from Yiddish to Arabic can be found in modern Hebrew communication, especially in its’ slang. This six -week course is for those wishing to learn some colloquial Hebrew and for those who are planning a post Covid era visit to Israel.

Mondays  1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
February 15 – March 22
$88 Member • $98 Non Member

Yiddish Conversation Circle

with Ellen Caplan and Judith Weinman

Open to all lovers of Yiddish.

This group meets on Wednesdays from 2:00 pm-3:00 pm, from January 6 – March 24
$36 JCC Member and Non-Member. Maximum 12 students.

Special Interest

In the Kitchen with Chef Ilan Dagan

Sunday, February 7
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
$15 SJCC Members • $18 for Non-members

Please note that registrations for this program will not be accepted after Monday, February 1. Recipes and the Zoom link will be sent to those who have registered on or before that date. 

Join Ilan as he prepares a delectable main course Moroccan Salmon and Lemon Dill Basmati Rice dish.

You can either bring your laptop/device into the kitchen and cook along with Ilan, or, you can simply take notes and prepare the dish when you are ready.


Ilan is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College in Paris and attended Tadmor College for Hotel-Restaurant Management in Israel. He is the recipient of the Canadian Red Cross Chef competition in Emergency Preparedness, the winner of CBC News Chef’s challenge, and has catered the Canada Day event at Parliament for two years in a row. Ilan is currently an Independent Chef and a culinary consultant in Ottawa.

A Language Without Frontiers – Yiddish in Twenty-First Century Films

with Dr. Natalia Vessalova

In his Nobel Lecture Isaac Bashevis Singer called Yiddish a language “without frontiers”, meaning that it had no land to claim as its own. In the new millennium, this phrase can be applied to the growing phenomenon of the international revival of Yiddish as an artistic tool used by filmmakers to various ends. Yiddish can now be heard in films made in France, Israel, Poland, Canada, the USA, Hungary, Belarus, Russia, Germany, and Argentina. Yiddish spoken in 21st-century films provides a wide audience with an unexpected connection to a nearly-obliterated culture and opens a door that might seem to have closed. The lecture offers a review of the artistic role of Yiddish in a number of international films.

Monday, February 22   1:00pm
$8 SJCC Members • $10 Non-Members

Jewish Music in Jewish Canada

with Professor Hernan Tesler-Mabé

In 1952, the highly-influential Canadian Jewish writer Israel Rabinovitch (1894-1964) published Jewish Music, Ancient and Modern. Within this volume filled with rich essays devoted to Jewish music, Rabinovitch articulated his highly poetic vision that “the power of these melodies, rooted in the Jewish soul” tied “the contemporary Jew at one with the generations of the past.”

What were these melodies that Rabinovitch called “Jewish music”? How exactly did this music unite Jews across generations? And, why was he making these decisions?

Hernan Tesler-Mabé will lead an animated discussion on the subject of Jewish music and how its definition across the 20th Century shaped the culture of the Canadian Jewish community.

Hernan Tesler-Mabé teaches in the departments of History, Modern Languages and Literature, and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa. His most recent publication (Mahler’s Forgotten Conductor: Heinz Unger and his Search for Musical Meaning, 1895-1965, published by University of Toronto Press, 2020) was awarded the 2020 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Best Biography. Dr. Tesler-Mabé is President of the Association for Canadian Jewish Studies and Coordinator of the Vered Jewish Canadian Program at the University of Ottawa.

Thursday, March 18th, 1:00 pm
$8 SJCC Members • $10 Non-Members