Our Jewish Cultural Programs focus on enlivening the environment and enriching the lived experience of the holidays.
Providing holiday programs and celebrations, whether it is Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah, Purim or Pesach, decorations, music, entertainment, children’s groups, special foods and community guests contribute to enhancing the holiday experience for residents.
Activities include L’Chaim parties at Rosh Hashanah, visits to the main floor Sukkah, and a Simchat Torah parade. On Rosh Hashanah, the shofar is blown on the floors across the Centre. Community high schools e.g. CHAT students visit the floors and assist with holiday celebrations.
Chanuka is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah each day in the Winter Garden Court and a special Chanuka Family Day program on a Sunday afternoon, complete with latkes, dreidels, and chocolate gelte.
Tu Bishevat is celebrated with a special program and an opportunity for planting. Purim includes Megillah readings and a parade.
On Passover, a special seder is held for hospital patients and their families while a more traditional seder is open to all clients and families in the hospital and Apotex. There is also a community Passover Dinner during the midweek of the Passover holiday, for Apotex residents and their families, with the assistance of CHAT students, and community rabbis and volunteers. On Shavuot, visiting rabbis and community leaders bring Sefer Torahs up to the floors, going from room to room.
Israel’s Independence Day (Yom Ha’atzmaut) is celebrated with a special concert, a slide show in the main lobby, Israeli flags, a special blue and white cake and a falafel stand on the main floor. Many clients and staff enjoy the concert and stop to watch the slides, ask questions and share stories.
We also mark Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, with another picture presentation on the main floor.
On Lag B’Omer, an artificial campfire is built in the Winter Garden Court, and a strolling musician engages clients in a sing-a-long.
During those times in the Jewish calendar that are associated with more somber or tragic periods in Jewish history, music programs are modified or replaced with other activities. Music therapy and music programs continue on the floors, as we are cognizant of the essential role music plays for our residents’ health and well-being. However, our larger, more public gatherings are modified to include cantorial concerts and alternate social activities.
The Oneg Shabbat and Shalom programs occur on alternative Fridays for Hospital patients. The Oneg Shabbat program is on a smaller scale and takes place in the Recreation area of the 7th floor of the Hospital. The Shalom program is held in the Wortsman Hall on the main floor. Both programs welcome family members to attend and participate. During the past 2 years, the format has been changed to meet the needs of our clients. Each program encourages the clients to participate. This is done by having clients take part in readings, saying prayers and lighting candles. The Shalom program includes an entertainer. Tea, coffee and cookies are served, with special provisions for those on food precautions.
A weekly Kabbalat Shabbat Service takes place in the Winter Garden Court. This program was designed to meet the spiritual and religious needs of all our Jewish clients in the Apotex, but also includes centre-wide participation from clients living in the Apotex, Hospital, the Terraces, 2 Neptune and several people from our community. Different community cantors take turns leading these services.
All religious leaders are provided with guidelines and strategies with the expectation that they provide an engaging and interactive service to enhance our clients’ spiritual experiences.