SYLVAN ADAMS YM-YWHA’s Ivri Anochi program doesn’t just teach values – they practice what they teach

Ivri Anochi translates to “I’m a Jew and I’m proud,” and this is exactly what the SYLVAN ADAMS YM-YWHA’s Ivri Anochi program is all about. It’s an experiential learning program for children from kindergarten to Grade 6 who are Jewish and don’t attend Jewish day school. “We want to strengthen the Jewish identify of these children who can’t go to Jewish day school and encourage friendships among other Jewish kids,” said program manager Yamit Ochayon. “We provide them with basic comprehension of Jewish values and traditions, but the uniqueness of this program is that it’s pluralistic – we’re teaching Judaism with a more humanistic approach rather than a religious approach. Our pillars are: Jewish identity, social justice, leadership, and Israel. All these pillars were taken into consideration when building the curriculum. We want to focus on self, family, peers, community, and the world/Israel – everything is interconnected.”

The 22-week program will take place at the Y on Sundays from 9:30-11.

The Ivri Anochi program is based on leadership, projects and values. Children are viewed as the future leaders of our community, and they don’t just learn about Judaism but it’s more about practicing Judaism. “We teach leadership and projects based on doing different acts of kindness in our community,” Ochayon explained. Over the course of the program, students will volunteer at food banks, interact with kids who have disabilities, they will meet seniors and prepare baskets for shelters. “They will also be meeting interesting people in our community, such as Rabbis from different streams of Judaism, from reform to reconstructionist, and this offers a full spectrum of what Judaism is.”

The children will work with the Ethiopian Jewish community as well as meet inspiring college and university students who are doing advocacy for Israel. There are a lot of projects and outings too, from visiting synagogues and the Montreal Holocaust Museum to going on virtual tours of Jerusalem and Anne Frank Museum. “The focus of the program is experiential: We want the kids to fall in love with Judaism not just through theoretical learning but through doing,” Ochayon added.

For more information on the SYLVAN ADAMS YM-YWHA Ivri Anochi program, visit