WE ARE THE JEWISH FAMILY INSTITUTE
The JFI is about joining your community, about coming together to grow and connect as a Jewish people.
The Yetta Nashman Jewish Family Institute is a grassroots movement, content/program
provider and resource hub that exists to enhance and improve Jewish life in your community. We do so by collaboratively providing excellent resources, podcasts, workshops, classes, programs and meaningful events for individuals, families, schools,
organizations and shuls at all ages and stages of growth. Using experts and resources from psychology and Torah, all of our programs focus on bringing people together in order to
connect and grow as healthy and informed Jewish leaders and families.
Founded by the Village Shul and Nashman Family in 2003, The JFI was established to
provide members of the Toronto Jewish community growth oriented learning that blended
the best of modern psychology with the depth of Jewish wisdom. This year, through joining with Aish Toronto, we are running programs in a multitude of locations across and beyond the GTA and engaging the larger Jewish community with an aim to challenge us all to find
common ground, conversations and positive connections that will propel us forward
towards a strong, healthy and unified Jewish people.
Meaningful Date Night
A cool vibe in a warm place for couples and singles with drinks, nosh and experts speakers on love, relationships, marriage, dating and more. City wide events and online podcasts.
The hardest job deserves the best education. These workshops and programs help parents be the best they can be using cutting edge research, psychology and Jewish wisdom.
Mother Daughter Leadership Program
A journey of self-discovery, laughter and learning in this special time of life for girls in grades 6 and 7 with thier moms. Activities, chesed, art, team challenges and more!
Getting our whole community working for the common good, this is hands on chesed work for all ages and stages helping amazing organizations in our community and beyond.
Israel Palestine for Critical Thinkers
Debate, discuss and delve into Israel with author, educator and host of the hit YouTube series "For Critical Thinkers" Richard Bass
This is both a world-wide movement to learn Jewish values together as well as our ongoing Monday morning women's class at The Village Shul on building our better selves.
THE JFI COMES TO YOU...
If you would like to bring any of our programs or speakers to your school, shul, community or organization we can do that! Please contact Ellie at to start building your community!
Ellie Bass is the Director of The Yetta Nashman Jewish Family Institute in Toronto, Canada. Her efforts are engaging over 3,000 people each year in classes, programs and events. Her experience as a convert, her background in the arts and her extensive community building expertise have enabled her to become a well-versed leader and educator in the areas of building leaders, creating community spaces and serving diverse groups of people in ways that find common ground and deep connection.
She teaches an ongoing popular women's class in Toronto that insists on melding modern issues, psychology, podcasts and challenges with Jewish wisdom. She is a closet computer geek and former professional singer and dancer, and lives in Toronto with her husband, Israel Educator Richard Bass, and her two hilarious kids.
Ellie does various speaking engagements on topics related to community building, leadership, her personal project "On Being Jewish" and more. You can get in touch with her at or follow her on Facebook at
Ellie Bass is the Director of The Yetta Nashman Jewish Family Institute in Toronto, Canada. Her efforts are engaging over 3,000 people each year in classes, programs and events through the JFI. Her experience as a convert, her background in the arts and her extensive community building expertise have enabled her to become a well-versed leader and educator in the areas of building leaders, creating purposeful community spaces and serving diverse groups of people in ways that find common ground and deep connection.
She teaches an ongoing popular women's Torah class in Toronto called Self Steps that insists on melding modern issues, psychology, podcasts and self development with Jewish wisdom. She is also a teacher and curriculum developer at Ulpanah Orot Girls High school where she teachers a popular class on emotional intelligence. She is a not-so-closet tech geek, a former professional singer and dancer, lives in Toronto with her husband, Israel Educator Richard Bass, and her two hilarious kids.
Ellie does various speaking engagements on topics related to femininity in Judaism, community building, Jewish leadership, and her personal project "On Being Jewish" which is a survey that has asked thousands of people from all over the world "What is your Jewish experience?".
You can get in touch with her at or follow her on Facebook at
WANT ELLIE TO COME AND SPEAK TO YOUR COMMUNITY?
Yetta Nashman was born in Winnipeg, went to pre-school in Cobalt, Ontario and grew up in Niagara Falls. Yetta attended the University of Toronto and Queen's University attaining her BA and Teacher's Certificate. For 2 years she taught a classroom in Junior High School before marrying Harold Nashman. They were together for 44 years, they had 5 children and were happily married until Yetta passed away in July 2000. Yetta was dedicated to learning and was always in search of truth. As a young mother she was very interested in psychology, believing that having children should require parents to study various aspects of child rearing. Yetta was one of the early local adherents of Adlerian Psychology and was instrumental in bringing Dr. Rudolph Dreikers, one of Adler's colleagues, to Toronto to address an overflow audience. Realizing how important parent education could be, Yetta became a presenter for the Parent Effectiveness Training Program. For several years she led discussion and provided leadership and practical parenting tools for young mothers .and fathers seeking support and guidance in their effort to raise healthy, happy children. She received her Master's of Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and taught in the Faculty of Education at York University.
Yetta found traditional Judaism to be a source of truth and wisdom that was relevant to life in the 21st century. For her it was truly a blueprint for living, adding new meaning and values to her life experience. As Yetta became more involved in Jewish study, she saw that much of modern psychology had its roots in Jewish traditions. It was this reality that led her to begin efforts to develop a program that combined the guidelines for living of Judaism with the best thinking of contemporary psychology. Thus was born the Jewish Family Institute that was named to honour the memory of her exemplary contribution to Jewish life in Toronto.
Aish Toronto was built on the principle of lay people taking responsibility for the Jewish people. Aish Toronto has not built two shuls and impacted tens of thousands around the city and changed the way people look at Judaism in Toronto, our partners have. Our first shul was built when 5 people sat down one day and decided Aish Toronto needed a centre. Our second shul was built when 3 people sat down one day and decided Aish needed a centre in Thornhill. All major changes in the Jewish community come through the community, not the professionals.
Every Jew plays a vital role and is an important piece of the puzzle. Whether it is hosting a Shabbat meal, making a challah for a family who just had a baby, taking a bit of time out of your week to share a Jewish thought with a friend, or giving tzedaka, everyone can do something. If you want to help, but don`t know how, reach out to us and let us know.