Global Hatikvah:  A show of solidarity with Israel


Attention Jewish Schools and other organizations:

We, the students at TanenbaumCHAT in Toronto, invite you to join students and adults around North America and beyond in a global, simultaneous singing of Hatikvah in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Israel.

On Monday, December 7 at 12:30  p.m. EST, we would like students in schools around the world to sing together Hatikva and proclaim loudly that we will not join the chorus of the silent.  We stand with Israel.  We are one people.  We are “chazakim b’yachad.”

All you need is:

  • a quality web cam (HD is preferable) OR a high quality video camera that can be connected to a computer / laptop
  • audio speakers
  • a microphone (external is preferable)
  • a projector and screen attached to a computer to project the exciting event
  • a tech person who will be your contact person
  • an assembly of students to sing on cue

Some schools are doing this as part of a Chanukah assembly.  Others in the context of a larger Israel program.  Some may simply assemble to watch the countdown and sing along.

Please connect at least 30 minutes in advance so that the technology is set up, as the singing will happen at 12:30 p.m. sharp.

To sign up and receive more information, go to   A link will be provided prior to December 7 to connect you to participating schools.

For more information, contact


The Students of TanenbaumCHAT

I met with a prospective student this week who wanted the opportunity to ask a rabbi some questions. He wondered how I could believe that the Torah’s ancient laws have any relevance in the 21st century. How could the antiquated laws of the Torah possibly speak to today’s world with all its modern discoveries, inventions, and complexities?

The remarkable thing is, I said, that many of the most ancient laws in the Torah are incredibly contemporary even as they apply to devices that have just come onto the market.  Take, for example, the world of technology.  The typical multi-tasking modern worker sits at a desk surrounded by screens—a desktop, a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone.  The typical child, according to a recent study, spends nine hours every day using media for non-homework purposes, more time than they spend sleeping or interacting with their parents.

We are inundated with email, Facebook posts, tweets, news alerts, and more.  For most of our awake hours, we suffer from the most contagious malady of the day, FOMO, the fear of missing out.

Along come the ancient laws of Shabbat, and they command us “six days a week you can ride the information superhighway.  Six days a week you can tap your screens and view the world through a bunch of pixels.  But on the seventh day, you must live life not controlled by technology.  For 25 hours your screen must go dark and you must experience the real world, not a virtual world or one of emoticons, but one of touch and smell and taste and sounds and sight and emotions.”

I explained to that inquisitive prospective student that when shabbat arrives, I say thank God for shabbat. For without it, I’d be on my devices 24/7. I’d be completely controlled by technology. Shabbat liberates me from the chains of the virtual world and treats me for 25 hours to an island of stillness and peacefulness. Who in the modern world today couldn’t benefit from that?



Rabbi Buckman’s address to G12 students at “Life After CHAT”

I usually give a talk at “Life After CHAT” about my philosophy of running and how it applies to life after chat. But today, I just want to share a brief thought.

Much of contemporary schooling promotes a very narrow definition of success.  It defines success in terms of test scores and marks and acceptance to elite university programs.  It makes it seem as if education is about a march to some predetermined destination.

Maybe you’ve even felt this…that you are defined by a score or a mark and your fate and perhaps even your worth are determined by marks.  The bad thing about this is that education becomes about success and not learning.

The sad thing is that university students say that the race in high school continues in university.  They do community service not necessarily because it helps people but because it’ll look good on their resume.  They often make friends not because of friendship but to network.  They do an internship not because they’re necessarily interested in the work but because it will help them get into graduate school.  Resumes and networking and graduate school are all good, but they shouldn’t be the raison d’etre of making friends or chesed or doing an internship.

I want you to do one simple thing:  Give yourself permission to change your mind and take your time.  Give yourself permission to make friends because friends enrich our lives.  Do acts of chesed because your heart can’t ignore the needs of others.  Do an internship because it’ll help you figure out what you like and what you’re good at and because you want to learn something new.

If I were speaking to your parents, I’d want them to give you permission to explore your academic interests when you get to university and to change your mind and not feel as if you wasted your time or their money.

I’d want them to give you permission to see life after TanenbaumCHAT not as a march toward some predetermined destination but as a process of discovery with room for stops and detours and surprises along the way.

It’s hard to give yourself permission to do this. It’s hard for parents to do this.  They’re just as much caught up in the race to the top and worried about the competitive world out there and financial success.  I understand their fear; I’m a parent, too, of four sons.

Nevertheless, give yourself permission to go to Israel for a gap year.  It’ll be the only opportunity you’ll have to get out of the resume race and just learn and experience for the sake of learning and experiencing.  It’ll also build a deep connection with Israel before you go to university and find out that standing for Israel isn’t so popular or comfortable or easy.

Give yourself permission not to know exactly what you want to do with your life and to be an 18 year old and explore your interests.

Give yourself permission to think not just about pursuing a career but about creating a deep and rich inner life, a deep and rich Jewish life, where you discover your God-given talents and use them to help others achieve their goals.

Give yourself permission and perhaps your parents will too.