In an environment where being Jewish is a choice, inspiring young generations to embrace Jewish life is one of UJA’s priorities. That is why UJA Federation places a strong emphasis on investing in Jewish education and a vast array of identity programs.
Research shows that summers at Jewish camp transform Jewish youth into spirited and engaged Jewish adults, laying the groundwork for strong Jewish communities. UJA Federation’s incentive program, One Happy Camper, provides a one-time incentive grant of up to $1,000 to first-time overnight campers. Since its inception in 2009, grants have been awarded to 2,600 children.
Through JF&CS and JIAS Toronto, UJA Federation provides financial assistance that enables more than 350 children of low-income families to attend Jewish day and overnight summer camp.
Each year, the Sarah & Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre engages over 50,000 students, educators and community members from the GTA and surrounding areas through a vast array of dynamic professional programs, events and services, to foster an understanding of the Nazi aggression during the Second World War and its horrific consequences.
UJA Federation’s Israel Engagement ShinShinim are pre-army Israeli teens who defer their army service for one year to volunteer. The ShinShinim informally teach about Israel through creative programs and challenging discussions. In 2016, they engaged approximately 12,000 Jewish community members, in over 35 day schools, synagogues, supplementary schools, youth movements and summer camps across Toronto. With 24 ShinShinim in Toronto, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto has the largest delegation of ShinShinim in the world! 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the ShinShinim program.
Jewish arts, culture and heritage are a powerful portal to Jewish identity and engagement. UJA Federation provides an annual allocation to the Ashkenaz Festival, the Ontario Jewish Archives - Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre, The Sarah & Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre, Koffler Centre of the Arts, Committee for Yiddish and Toronto Jewish Film Festival.
In its fifth year, the Diller Teen Fellows Program is UJA Federation’s premiere leadership development program for Jewish teens in grades 10 and 11. The goal of the Diller program is to develop future generations of active, effective leaders with a strong Jewish identity, commitment to the Jewish people, respect for pluralism and love of Israel. Partnering with teens from Eilat/Eilot, the Fellowship prides itself on producing strong lifelong Jewish teen leaders around the world, including 20 teens per year from Toronto. In total there have been 70 Diller Teen Fellows in Toronto.
Three Jewish community centres in the GTA serve as vibrant hubs of cultural, educational, athletic, recreational and communal activity. UJA Federation allocates funds annually for JCC programs, that enrich the lives of thousands of community members by providing opportunities for social, cultural, and educational activities.
Since its inception, Birthright Israel has sent over 500,000 participants to Israel, including 18,600 Torontonians. This free ten-day trip to Israel for Jewish young adults (ages 18- 26) introduces them to key landmarks of historical, national, archeological and natural significance that have shaped, and continue to shape Jewish life. Most participants say that the trip was a life-changing experience that made them feel closer to Israel and their Jewish heritage.
The March of the Living is a two-week intensive educational experience that takes Grades 11 and 12 students to Nazi concentration camps in Poland and then on to Israel. UJA Federation subsidizes the participation of high school students who cannot afford to pay the trip’s full fee. To date, more than 10,000 students from Toronto have taken part.
The Joshua Institute for Jewish Communal Leadership ensures that new leadership is identified, cultivated, placed, tracked and supported. The program creates a network for participants as they take on leadership roles in the Jewish community of Toronto. Since its inception, the Joshua Institute has partnered to recruit, train and/or place over 100 volunteer leaders.
Newcomers comprise over 25% of the Toronto Jewish community, and are amongst the most unaffiliated. UJA Federation has developed the following initiatives that engage Israeli and Russian speaking Jews.
J Roots is a supplementary Hebrew school with over 400 students. J Roots provides a wide range of innovative Jewish and Hebrew educational programming for children ages 3-14. J Roots focuses on Jewish Identity classes (Jewish holidays, values, history and literature), Hebrew literacy & conversation skills development, and Judaic Arts. Students become active participants of the Jewish community through engaging and inclusive school culture, meaningful school assemblies, holiday celebrations, fieldtrips, and involvement in citywide educational initiatives.
Kachol Lavan is a unique Israeli, Hebrew-speaking supplementary school in the GTA with over 250 students. Kachol Lavan offer programs from ages 3-14 that focus on speaking, reading and writing Hebrew, as well as celebrating holidays and making meaningful connection to Israeli studies and culture.
Limmud FSU Canada gathers individuals and families from the Russian-speaking Jewish background in Canada every year to learn and teach, motivate and be inspired and have fun. It combines three days of seminars, lectures, workshops, and discussions focused on an enormous range of topics. In the past three years, Limmud FSU Canada engaged over 1,000 young adults and families from Russian-speaking Jewish background and empowered them to take ownership of their identity and connect to their communities through pluralistic, egalitarian, volunteer driven conferences of Jewish learning and culture. The past conference in March 2017 had over 700 participants.
Kochavim is unique Hebrew summer camp experience which is part of the Jack and Pat Kay Centre Camp. Children in Kochavim are engaged in a regular camp schedule while learning to understand and speak Hebrew naturally, by listening to and speaking with their counsellors (Israeli Shlichim) and peers. The program is infused with Israeli culture, Hebrew songs, books, and fun summer activities, all conducted in Hebrew. Over 100 campers ages 3-14 participate in the program during the summer and holiday camps.
J. Academy Camp is a unique sleepover summer camp for children and teens ages 8-16 from the Russian-speaking Jewish community in the GTA. The camp aims to connect children and teens from Russian-speaking families, introduce them to the Jewish world’s culture and help them discover their Jewish roots through their personal engagements in various creative arts, interactive activities and sports. From 2010 to 2016 J. Academy Camp grew from 70 to 250 participants.
JDY Theatre is a youth-based community theatre established in 2015. Since then, the group put together three sold out plays with audience of all ages. It is produced and funded by J. Projects, the Russian-speaking outreach department at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre. Currently JDY consists of more than 30 dedicated and talented actors, singers, dancers, and crew members and draws over 500 audience members to each show.
The “Tzofim” is Israel’s leading youth movement, which was brought to Canada in 2004 by Israeli parents and youth volunteering in Toronto’s Jewish community. It offers a social structure enriched with interactive scouting activities, with Jewish/Israeli flavour, for children (ages 3-9) and youth (ages 14-18) of Canadian Jewish Hebrew speaking families. The local chapter – Shevet Hermon serves 160 children and teens.
Through your gift to UJA, you have helped send over 18,000 young Torontonians to Israel for the first time, and explore their birthright to Israel thanks to UJA Federation, Canada Israel Experience, and Birthright Israel. To continue to make a huge impact, please consider a gift to UJA.
Jewish Young Adults (18 - 26)
that have participated in Birthright Israel
PJ Library Families
in the GTA that receive Jewish-themed children's books
Students, Educators, and Community Members
engaged in programming each year at the Sarah & Haim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre