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					Chabad Goes Downtown                       The Jewish Women’s Circle
    I  n four short years, Downtown
       Vancouver’s identity as a Jewish
community underwent a drastic change.
                                               I   cing flowers, photographs, fragrance oils and latkes – what can
                                                   these items possibly have in common? The Jewish Women’s
                                           Circle brings all these items together and more.
In the year 2000, a Federation survey
estimated two to three thousand Jews            The JWC is a unique women’s league, open to Jewish women of
living in Downtown Vancouver. With         all backgrounds and affiliations. The monthly meetings give Jewish
the Yaletown boom those numbers            women the opportunity to rejuvenate spiritually and discover the special
have reached the upper range. Today        role women play in Judaism.
Downtown boasts a vibrant and
growing Jewish community. In July of            The monthly
2005, Rabbi Binyomin and Malky Bitton      JWC        meetings
established Chabad of Downtown, an         take place on the
address for all and any Jewish needs.      closest Sunday to
“The Lubavitcher Rebbe taught us that      the beginning of
we are to look upon every single Jew as
                                           the new Jewish
being a diamond,” emphasizes Rabbi
                                           month. The focus
Bitton,director of Chabad of Downtown.
“A diamond, no matter its size or its
                                           of the evening is
shape, is a diamond nonetheless and        always related to a
is always precious.” January 2006 saw      significant date or
the opening of the Downtown shul,          event coming up on
with regular services every Friday night   the Jewish calendar,
and Saturday morning. “Our goal is to      with theme-related
expand,” says Rabbi Bitton, “G-d willing                              Mrs. Malky Bitton teaches how to make Challah
                                           refreshments and a
we are anticipating outgrowing our
                                           hands-on workshop or activity. “It’s the only Jewish event in town
present space.”
                                           specifically for women, that involves learning a particular skill, something
    For more information on the            useful that you can bring back home with you, rather than just hanging
programs and services offered by           out and socializing at a party,” says Alison Szilagyi, general practitioner
Chabad of Downtown, please contact         and member of the Jewish Women’s Circle. All the JWC workshops are
Rabbi or Mrs. Bitton at 778 371 9508 or    conducted by teachers who are experts in their field.
                                               The opening JWC event, titled “Happy Birthday World”, was related
                                  Downtown Update • Winter 2006 \ Kislev 5767                                            1
    to Rosh Hashana, the birthday of the world, and featured theme of the night was “The Miracle of Oil”, a glimpse
    a professional cake                                                                        into the properties of
    decorating class, with                                                                     oil and their spiritual
    tips on how to properly                                                                    counterparts          to
    ice a cake and a hands-                                                                    enhance one’s personal
    on demonstration of                                                                        relationships.      The
    how to create exquisite                                                                    hand lotions, bath salts,
    icing flowers.        The                                                                   and body scrubs were
    next month featured a                                                                      made from scratch
    scrapbooking class led by                                                                  from the most luscious
    a certified scrapbooking                                                                    combinations of various
    consultant, in honour of                                                                   fragrance oils, and a
    our Matriarch Rachel’s                                                                     good time was had by
    anniversary of passing.         The beautiful results of the JWC cake-decorating workshop  all as the most terrific
    “A Mother’s Legacy” incorporated the spiritual legacy colours emerged in the various bottles and jars!
    left to us by Rachel with a fun course on how to                    Stay tuned for the next event, “Warm up the
    display our personal legacies through properly storing Winter”, to take place December 26, 7:00-9:30 pm.
    and creatively exhibiting photographs on a scrapbook Highly acclaimed knitter, Astor Tsang, published
    page. The most recent event offered a taste of the author and designer of exclusive knitting patterns, will
    forthcoming holiday of Chanukah, with a latke bar of demonstrate how to knit a trendy scarf on your own,
    various takes on the traditional potato pancake. The and a buffet of hearty soups will be served.

    Yeshiva night                                         a one-to-one basis. “Yeshiva night is unique in the sense
                                                          that there is more student-teacher interaction than one

        A     nyone chancing upon the Shul of
    any given Thursday evening,
                                                          would ordinarily have in a regular Torah class,” says
                                                                                   Roger Rivera, MBA, Parts
                                                                                   manager for Lamborghini,
    will be greeted by the
                                                                                   “and the Yeshiva students
    unmistakable     sound      of
                                                                                   whom we pair up with are
    intense Torah discussion, in
                                                                                   just amazing. The energy
    the time-honoured tradition
                                                                                   with which they imbue each
    of chavruta (learning partner)
                                                                                   discussion adds a dimension
    style study. Yeshiva night
                                                                                   to Torah study that I haven’t
    offers the unique opportunity
                                                                                   experienced anywhere else. I
    to explore any Jewish topic of
                                                                                   only wish that we could do
    choice together with an highly
                                   Engrossed in Torah study during Yeshiva night   this more often!”
    learned Rabbinical student, on

                     Bar Mitzva Lessons
                         Got a Bar Mitzva boy? Contact Rabbi Bitton. The comprehensive curriculum includes Beginner
       Hebrew reading, Torah reading and blessings, Haftorah, and an overview of basic concepts in Judaism.
2                                    Downtown Update • Winter 2006 \ Kislev 5767
Adult Education                                                    at the weekly Torah portion with a practical approach.
                                                                   “We peel the layers off well-known Bible stories, and

     W        hether it’s the esoteric side of Judaism, a
              unique discussion group on the weekly
Torah portion, or a lecture on the Jewish ethics of
                                                                   t    h     e
euthanasia, there is something for everybody in the
                                                                   of depth
classes offered at Chabad of Downtown. The latest
word is the most recent in the series of Monday night
                                                                   in     each
Kabbalah classes, the extremely popular “Mystery of
the Hebrew Alphabet”, a glimpse into the unfathomable
depth of the Hebrew alphabet through the design,
                                                                   in      the Rabbi Bitton teaches the Monday night Kabbalah
numerical equivalent, and various meanings of each
                                                                   Torah. Each Class: The Mystery of the Hebrew Alphabet
Hebrew letter. “The Rabbi’s passion and enthusiasm
                                                                   week we are all, teacher and students alike,
really     bring      the
                                                                                                     inspired      by     the
material to life,” says
                                                                                                     richness            and
publicist David Litvak,
                                                                                                     opportunities for self-
“When I leave the
                                                                                                     awareness and growth
class I can practically
                                                                                                     inherent in the Torah,”
see the letters dancing
                                                                                                     says Mrs. Malky
in my head!”
                                                                                                     Bitton, teacher and
     P r e v i o u s                                                                                 co-director of Chabad
Kabbalah            series                                                                           of Downtown. Tanya
include, The DNA                                                                                     Paz,        car-sharing
of the Soul, The                                                                                     manager, says she finds
Mystery of the Oil                                                                                   Soul Talk “moving
Flask, Meditation or                                                                                 and enriching. Every
Action?, The World to                                                                                week it just amazes
come, The Creation in                         Hanging out at the summer barbecue
                                                                                                     me how something
Light of Kabbalah.                                                 written so long ago can continue to be so relevant to
                                                      Tuesday our modern lives of today.”
                                               night is ladies          As part of its Special Lectures series, Chabad of
                                               night         out, Downtown hosts guest lecturers to address various
                                               f e a t u r i n g contemporary issues and their place in Judaism. Says
                                               Soul        Talk, Andrea Ringrose, psychiatric research assistant, “I
                                               a        weekly found the lecture very enlightening. There’s always
                                               d i s c u s s i o n something to learn that we don’t even know we don’t
                                               group           for know. The topic of euthanasia really expresses how
                                               w o m e n important it is to have a foundation of spirituality in all
  The ladies deep into a Soul Talk discussion  offering          a aspects of life.” Coming soon: a lecture on relationships.
                                              mystical look More information will be forthcoming.

                                    Downtown Update • Winter 2006 \ Kislev 5767                                                 3
        “    Spending Shabbat at Chabad of Downtown
             is like being with family,” says Aren Altman,
    business lawyer. “And the food does justice to
                                                             is warm and welcoming and the conversation
                                                             always meaningful,” says Altman, “it’s a very special
                                                             experience.” Avi Kay, account manager at Royal Bank
    generations of great Jewish cooking!” The monthly        of Canada, describes his Shabbaton experience as very
    Shabbatons are filled with authentic Shabbat spirit.      fulfilling. “Shabbat with Rabbi Binyomin provides a
    The beauty of a room filled with Jews honouring the       very satisfying spiritual experience,” Kay explains, “you
    Shabbat together, singing traditional and Chassidic      know you’re in the company of good people.” The
    Shabbat melodies, sharing words of inspiration, is       Shabbatons are exceptional events not to be missed.
    uplifting and truly permeates the coming week with       Be a part of it.
    an added dimension of spirituality. “The atmosphere

                              Yeshiva night

                                                                      Mayor of Vancouver, Sam Sullivan and Rabbi Bitton
                                                                        At the Downtown Menorah Lighting Ceremony


                        W       ellsprings is a weekly publication offering insights into the Torah portion,
                                timely stories, perspectives on life issues based on the teachings of the
                    Lubavitcher Rebbe, community news and much more.
                       To subscribe to Wellsprings weekly by mail or email, or to dedicate a single issue,
        please contact us.

4                                   Downtown Update • Winter 2006 \ Kislev 5767
Holidays                                                                                    – Purim 2006 was an
                                                                                            authentic      Chinese

    W       hatever
            the Jewish
holiday, there’s bound
                                                                                            Purim! As Yaletown
                                                                                            resident    Stephanie
                                                                                            Co so aptly put it,
to be something
                                                                                            “the great food,
                                                                                            enthusiastic crowd,
happening. Chanukah
                                                                                            unique entertainment,
2005 marked the first
                                                                                            and       enlightening
annual     Downtown
                                                                                            lecture, all made
Chanukah          party,
                                                                                            for one great Purim
jointly arranged by
Chabad of Downtown
and the VDJC. The                                                                        The        Ten
party featured a                A crowd of spectators at the Purim Chinese magic show Commandments took
beautiful menorah lighting ceremony with Chanukah on a new meaning this Shavuot for many members
songs, a hands-on demonstration of how olive oil is of the community. Twelve o’clock (am not pm) of
made, exclusive Chanukah boutiques and of course,
lots of good, traditional Chanukah food. The
tradition continues bigger and better this Chanukah of
2006, with candle lighting on a meter high chocolate
menorah, a dazzling light show, and of course, lots of
good, traditional Chanukah food.
    Shall we say Purim in China was a bit of a culture
shock? Walking into a red and gold hall strung with
Chinese lanterns, not to mention Rabbi Bitton in
his oriental straw hat, delicious Chinese food with
chopsticks, a Chinese auction, a Chinese magic show
                                                         Olive oil workshop at the first annual Downtown Chanukah party

                                                         Shavuot eve saw close to twenty people from the
                                                         Downtown area gathered around a long, snack-and-
                                                         coffee-laden dining room table. A tradition that goes
                                                         back over three thousand years, Jews the world over
                                                         spend this night immersed in Torah study in order to
                                                         rectify a misunderstanding on the part of the Jewish
                                                         nation, which caused them to oversleep on the very
                                                         morning of G-d’s revelation at Mt. Sinai. The “all-
                                                         nighter” challenge was on!
                                                             According to plan, ten community members
                  Full of Purim spirit!
                                                         prepared a five to ten minute talk on one of the ten
                                  Downtown Update • Winter 2006 \ Kislev 5767                                            5
    commandments of their choice, touching on its literal followed by a fantastic ventriloquist performance amid
    interpretation as well as its significance on a deeper much festive singing and dancing.
    level. As the night wore on, the beautifully prepared      Other special events this past year include a terrific
    talks sparked animated
    discussions     on     issues
    such as worshipping one’s
    pleasures and ambitions,
    stealing recognition and
    acclaim, essential integrity,
    the Kabbalah of Shabbat, to
    name just a few. Hearing the
    Ten Commandments in the
    Synagogue the next day no
    longer felt like a ritualistic,
    commemorative affair, but
    as a powerful experience
    of intimate interaction with
    G-d, the giving of the Torah
    right there in Downtown
                                                                 The sukkah on Homer Street
         Possibly for the first time ever, Homer Street        summer BBQ at Second Beach in Stanley Park. Great
    boasted its very own sukkah this year, open all day       weather, lots of hotdogs and burgers, and a grand
    and night the entire week of Sukkot for those wishing     soccer game, combined to create a memorable event,
    to recite the special sukkah blessing and fulfill the      just a hint of things to come!
    commandment of blessing the four species. “Pizza
    in the Hut” at the Shul featured pizza in the Sukkah

                                      The first annual summer barbeque at Second Beach
6                                   Downtown Update • Winter 2006 \ Kislev 5767
The Shul of Downtown                                          congregants. Prior to Friday night services, there is a
                                                              short Torah class, and at the conclusion of the service

    A     t the heart of the fast-growing Jewish
          community of Downtown, is the Shul.
With its warm and welcoming atmosphere, the Shul is
                                                              every Shabbat morning, the entire congregation gets
                                                              together for a Kiddush and light buffet, Shabbat songs,
                                                              and L’chaim. “Attending our Synagogue is a positive
a place where Jews of all backgrounds and affiliations
                                                              experience for people. A real sense of community has
feel comfortable. Each individual is a vital contributor
                                                              developed,” explains Leon Berenstein, coordinator of
to the growth of our community through attendance
                                                              Synagogue events. “The Shul was absolutely packed for
of this Synagogue, and finds great satisfaction being
                                                              the High Holidays, with over eighty people there. The
involved. Moreover, the many visitors to the shul from
                                                              services were beautiful, well organized and inspiring.
out-of-town, who often remark on how impressed they
                                                              Rabbi Bitton is a one-of-a kind spiritual leader.”
are with the friendship and camaraderie among all the

                        “Pizza in the hut!”                                              Purim in China!

                                          Thank You
            We would like to take this opportunity to extend a heartfelt thank you to our many supporters for their
                                                 continuous generosity.

             A special thank you to our good friends and dedicated supporters Leon and Renia Blumenfeld. May
                               Hashem bless you with good health and abundant nachas.

              A special thank you to the Bnai Brith Manor and its president Mr. David Herman for graciously
                                allowing us to use the facilities for the Downtown Shul.

                                   Downtown Update • Winter 2006 \ Kislev 5767                                          7
                                                Mini Cooper Car Parade Chanukah 2005

    Chef Alik Schastlivenko and the metre high chocolate Menorah           JWC Miracle of Oil - Creating scented soaps

     Coming soon…                                                  Contact Us...
          Mommy and Me – an enriching Jewish                                          Chabad of Downtown
     experience for babies, toddlers, and their moms!
                                                                           943 Homer Street Vancouver B.C. V6B 2W6
     Jewish songs, holiday awareness, hands-on activities
                                                                                       Tel: 778.371.9508
     and crafts, are just part of a wonderfully interactive
     curriculum designed to teach and delight. Winter                                  Fax: 604.263.7934
     session begins mid January. Stay tuned for more                         E-Mail:
     details.                                                                  Web:
8                                       Downtown Update • Winter 2006 \ Kislev 5767

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