My Jewish story

“I know I can expect to have a wonderful time, socialize with many people and I can watch my children marvel at the many different Jewish learning opportunities,” said Sherri Rosenbloom (second from left), seen here at the West Island Jewish Family Learning Centre’s Dancing with the Stars event that she chaired.

By Sherri Rosenbloom

My name is Sherri Rosenbloom and here is my Jewish story. I grew up in Chomedey, Laval, which was a melting pot of various nationalities. Jewish, Greek, Lebanese, Italian, just to name a few. I went to public school in the neighborhood and loved the fact that I had many friends with many different nationalities. Growing up I felt like I had so much to learn from everyone. My mother wanted me to hang around the “Jewish” crowd, but I never felt like I fit in. I felt more at home with “everyone else”. I always felt it was more important to connect with the person, rather than the religion.

My upbringing was not religious in any way. We observed the traditions and holidays, but nothing more than that. Growing up I did not feel that “connection” with religion or a group of people in that sense of community. I had worked for Maison Shalom (a Jewish religious group home for multi-handicapped adults) as an educator for eight years and I always had questions regarding the traditions and laws about how to do everything from when to cut hair, to the way things were cooked, to the way one got ready for Shabbat. Growing up in a non-traditional or religious environment, many of the followings always seemed strange to me.


Sherri is one of over 1,000 people who participate in the The West Island Jewish Family Learning Centre’s events, activities and programs.

Once I got married and moved out to the West Island, I started to look for schools and activities for my son. I found activities in churches, libraries and many other locations. It wasn’t until I wanted to put my daughter in a preschool that I even ever thought of putting the children in a Jewish program or school. I had a friend who spoke very highly of the CPE at Hebrew Foundation School, and I was looking for a place for her, so I said why not?

Having her attend the CPE of HFS was a wonderful experience. She loved the many different programs and the whole Jewish experience. While she was there, I was approached and asked to become the volunteer liaison between the CPE and Federation CJA West Island. I had no clue what I was about to embark on, nor the doors that were about to open for me. I met Cheryl Bender and the whole team at Federation CJA and really felt at home for the first time as a Jewish person.

The many programs organized through the West Island Jewish Family Learning Center really helped my family and I to understand more about our heritage and to be a part of that “community” I missed out on as a child. As the children got older, I realized how wonderful the whole Jewish experience was for them, and together we learned all about our many different traditions and practices. Today when there is a holiday, or even on Shabbat, the children are so proud to participate in the ceremonies and to show off their Jewish knowledge.

As my family grew and grew, I did not go back to work. I hung up my towel as an autism specialist and I became a CPR and First Aid instructor and a Reiki practitioner. I volunteered in my children’s schools and at the CLSC in the Nourri Source department as a breastfeeding support mom.  My need to want to do more in the community stems from my inherent desire to want to create resources for others and to empower others via support. Through my years of volunteering and seeing needs arise in the area of women and support, I have recently created a new support group for women who’ve have had an unplanned Cesarean called HEALING IN SECTIONS. It was due to these skills and specializations that Cheryl and the Tikun Olam Volunteers decided to use my expertise by asking me to become Chair of their new initiative called Shalom Baby. This wonderful new project aimed at supporting women and their new babies in the community is where I feel right at home.

This journey of Judaism for me started off as simply following along at my Bubby`s Seder table to now fully participating in family gatherings at my own Seder and Shabbat tables. The Federation CJA West Island events really opened up my eyes to how much fun learning and implementing the various activities can be for me and my whole family. I really did not know what to expect going in; now I simply look forward to each of the many activities put on by Federation CJA West Island, where I know I can expect to have a wonderful time, socialize with many people and I can watch my children marvel at the many different Jewish learning opportunities at each event.

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When and how did you connect to the Jewish community? Share your personal story with Tikun Olam by emailing Amanda Wener at

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