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Participants prepare their meal at Lemon, Garlic & Olive Oil

homemade pita bread, bourekas and techina

Rabbi Shmuel Altein speaks to a group of youth

Lifelong Learning Program Allows WBJE to Bring Adults Together through a Variety of Special-interest Sessions

By Ashley Morgan, posted Feb 13, 2012

The Winnipeg Board of Jewish Education (WBJE) doesn’t only reach out to elementary and high school students in the community, it reaches out to adults, too. And since introducing its Lifelong Learning Program in 2010, the WBJE continues helping its community forge relationships with each other through a wide variety of new learning opportunities.
“Our Lifelong Learning Program started out as a way of bringing newcomers to Winnipeg’s Jewish community together,” says Rory Paul, CEO of the WBJE and Head of School for Gray Academy, “but since its start, it’s grown into something many community members are benefitting from – both old and new.”
In its humble beginnings, the Lifelong Learning Program was Lemon, Garlic & Olive Oil, a cooking series led by Dubi Shlenger, the program’s coordinator; an Israeli man who – at that time – was new to Winnipeg, himself. The program has since grown to include year-long sessions, covering many different topics from Israeli cooking to Hebrew language to dealing with teen substance abuse, and many more.
“It’s exciting to watch the program grow,” says Shlenger. “I knew after our first year we had people who were very interested in coming together. We just needed to discover what other needs they were looking to have met.”
So, Shlenger quickly compiled a series of questions and surveyed a wide variety of community members.
“The response was overwhelming, and we saw exactly what our participants wanted,” Shlenger adds. “Through a number of specific topics, it became clear that they were looking for ways to explore what Judaism looks like in today’s society, while having the freedom to embrace what it means for them.”
For the Lifelong Learning Program, that meant continuing with the ever-popular Lemon, Garlic & Olive Oil, and adding an entire series geared toward Jewish families. Topics for this year’s family series included: Succeeding Academically, Managing Teen Risk Behaviour, Parenting a Jewish Family, Valuing Judaism and Reading Hebrew.
Rabbi Larry Lander has been there from the start, and has gone from a regular cooking series participant to participant and presenter for the Family Series.
“It is fabulous to see that what started out as people meeting to cook and enjoy amazing food has blossomed into helping them find common ground and explore other outlets for learning,” Lander says. “I’m grateful to be able to be a part of the bigger picture, and help our community to form new relationships through their common interests.”
The Lifelong Learning Program is an initiative of the WBJE, which aims to bring Winnipeg’s Jewish community together through a variety of learning opportunities. Sessions run annually from October to May. There are limited spaces available in the Lifelong Learning Program’s two final series: Parenting a Jewish Family and Valuing Judaism.
For more information about the Lifelong Learning Program’s series, or to register, please contact
Dubi Shlenger at 204.477.7514 or email [email protected].
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