I have spent nearly four weeks in Israel.  Thankfully it has been a quiet summer.  A year ago, we were in the midst of a war, and every day was tense.  The effects of the war still linger on, however, in the memorial ceremonies that mark the first yahrzeit of the soldiers who fell defending the State.  Friends, family, and complete strangers showed up to express their gratitude, solidarity, and words of comfort.

Shortly after we arrived a few weeks ago, we were permitted to visit Avi, our son, on his base.  His commanding officer could not be more accommodating.  As we entered the gate to the base, it felt like visitor’s day except that we were the only visitors.  One by one his friends came out and greeted us warmly.  They were happy to see that we brought with us a few kilos of “regulach” and gummy worms from Machaneh Yehudah.

They invited us into their living quarters, a makeshift caravan that was poorly lit and appropriately messy and looked strikingly similar to a camp bunk.  The boys showed us a video of one of their unit’s final training missions last year where they proved their stamina and strength.  Even after watching, I found it hard to imagine these kids are fighters.  They are way too kind, polite, and playful.  Even the flies buzzed around their beds without fearing harm.  On our way out, we met Avi’s commanding officer, who, continuing the metaphor, was the “senior counselor.”  He was an articulate and personable young man who had only the nicest things to say.

Shortly after our visit to his base, Avi showed us a letter that one of his commanding officers wrote to each of the families in the unit last summer after the war.  It was addressed to us but we only saw it now.  “To the Buckman family: In the recent weeks of Operation Protective Edge, you were full partners in the war effort.  The worry, understanding, and confidence that you exuded strengthened the fighters.  I pledge that we did and will continue to do everything in our power to return the country to a state of security, all of which is due to the courageous and strenuous work of the members of your family.  We, the IDF, stand with you today and are proud of the support that you provide from home.”

The IDF may be one of the strongest armies in the world.  But its greatest strength lies in its humanity and kindness. The army continually reminds me that we are one family with a shared future and fate.

 

American High School Age Olah

An American high school age “olah” who is volunteering to raise money to send packages to IDF soldiers.

 

One of our overarching goals at TanenbaumCHAT is to help studentsdevelop a deep relationship with Israel and Israelis. We have an exciting opportunity to bring a new type of Shalich (literally “emissary” or “messenger”; plural shlichim) to TanenbaumCHAT who will help advance that goal.

I am pleased to announce that we have recruited two married shlichim, Shlomi and Ya’ara Edelshtein, who will join our school community for the next two years. Their focus will be informal and experiential education as opposed to classroom teaching.

Shlomi and Ya’ara are about 4 years post-army.  Shlomi served as a commander in the Haruv Battalion and earned the rank of Company Sergeant Major.  On Israel’s Independence Day in 2010 he receive the “President’s Citation Award” for his excellence in service.  Ya’ara served as a medic in the Navy Seals unit and worked as a high ranking medic in IDF Central Command.  Both are current students at Hebrew University.  Shlomi is studying political science and education, and Ya’ara is studying political science and sociology.

Ya’ara has worked with at-risk youth in Jerusalem, served as a counselor at Camp Ramah in New England for three summers, worked as a counselor in the B’nei Akiva Youth Movement in Israel, and participated on the Birthright Partnership Program.  Shlomi has worked for Ramah Seminars in Israel as a Division Head and for Camp Ramah in New England as a summer counselor.  He is also a certified Guide in the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem museum.  Like Ya’ara, he, too, was active in a leadership role in the B’nei Akiva Youth Movement in Israel.  Their references describe them as creative, passionate, hard-working, risk takers, not afraid of failure.

As I mentioned, Ya’ara and Shlomi are not formal teachers.  Rather, they are experiential educators who will help infuse the school with additional Israeli ruach (spirit), explore ways to connect our students to their peers in Israel, enhance the shabbaton experience, increase awareness at school of Israeli current events, and assist with the hand-off from TanenbaumCHAT to university life.

They will report to Rabbi Mandel at TCW and Judith Shapero at TCK, work with Kyle Borenstein and Josh Sable at TCW and Keren Romm and Jamie Cohen at TCK, and collaborate with our current Shlichim and other staff members.

The continuation of our Shlichim program has been made possible through the generosity of the Jewish Agency in Israel, the UJA Federation here in Toronto, and donor parents who are committed to seeing the Shlichim program continue even amidst budget cuts.

The presence of Shlichim has been a signature program of TanenbaumCHAT that has made a significant impact on our students.  (For more about the change in the role of Shlichim, see my blog post on Edline dated January 29, 2015.)

Please join us in welcoming Shlomi and Ya’ara when they arrive September 1, 2015.

 

One of our overarching goals at TanenbaumCHAT is to help studentsdevelop a deep relationship with Israel and Israelis. We have an exciting opportunity to bring a new type of Shalich (literally “emissary” or “messenger”; plural shlichim) to TanenbaumCHAT who will help advance that goal.

I am pleased to announce that we have recruited two married shlichim, Shlomi and Ya’ara Edelshtein, who will join our school community for the next two years. Their focus will be informal and experiential education as opposed to classroom teaching.

Shlomi and Ya’ara are about 4 years post-army.  Shlomi served as a commander in the Haruv Battalion and earned the rank of Company Sergeant Major.  On Israel’s Independence Day in 2010 he receive the “President’s Citation Award” for his excellence in service.  Ya’ara served as a medic in the Navy Seals unit and worked as a high ranking medic in IDF Central Command.  Both are current students at Hebrew University.  Shlomi is studying political science and education, and Ya’ara is studying political science and sociology.

Ya’ara has worked with at-risk youth in Jerusalem, served as a counselor at Camp Ramah in New England for three summers, worked as a counselor in the B’nei Akiva Youth Movement in Israel, and participated on the Birthright Partnership Program.  Shlomi has worked for Ramah Seminars in Israel as a Division Head and for Camp Ramah in New England as a summer counselor.  He is also a certified Guide in the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem museum. Like Ya’ara, he, too, was active in a leadership role in the B’nei Akiva Youth Movement in Israel.  Their references describe them as creative, passionate, hard-working, risk takers, not afraid of failure.

As I mentioned, Ya’ara and Shlomi are not formal teachers. Rather, they are experiential educators who will help infuse the school with additional Israeli ruach (spirit), explore ways to connect our students to their peers in Israel, enhance the shabbaton experience, increase awareness at school of Israeli current events, and assist with the hand-off from TanenbaumCHAT to university life.

They will report to Rabbi Mandel at TCW and Judith Shapero at TCK, work with Kyle Borenstein and Josh Sable at TCW and Keren Romm and Jamie Cohen at TCK, and collaborate with our current Shlichim and other staff members.

The continuation of our Shlichim program has been made possible through the generosity of the Jewish Agency in Israel, the UJA Federation here in Toronto, and donor parents who are committed to seeing the Shlichim program continue even amidst budget cuts.

The presence of Shlichim has been a signature program of TanenbaumCHAT that has made a significant impact on our students.  (For more about the change in the role of Shlichim, see my blog post on Edline dated January 29, 2015.)

Please join us in welcoming Shlomi and Ya’ara when they arrive September 1, 2015.

Tonight, I think not just about your last four years but about the last 17 or 18 years of your life. These were tumultuous times.

When you were about two years old, everyone everywhere was worried about the Y2K bug. People feared all our databases would crash on January 1, 2000. Christians feared the end of the world. Of all the New Year’s Eves to stay awake, this was the one to do so.

I remember where I was on December 31, 1999. It was erev shabbat. I had a big shabbat dinner with my wife and four boys; dinner and kiddush wine lulled me to sleep by 8 or 9 pm. I woke up the next day, and, as your presence today attests, the world didn’t come to an end.

When you were four, you were too young to understand, but the deadliest terrorist attack in history took place on American soil on September 11, 2001. America lost its innocence. I remember where I was at that time as I’m sure your parents do too.

When you were about 7, Facebook was launched; over a billion people now have accounts. It connects you and your “friends” but also guided the protests of the Arab Spring and transformed the war in Gaza this past summer into one that was personally felt in an unprecedented way by Jews everywhere because we are so connected.

You probably don’t remember when Gilad Shalit was kidnapped in June of 2006, but you certainly remember his release in Grade 9. You likely remember well the Boston Marathon bombing at the end of G10, and certainly the 12 Charlie Hebdo murders and those of 4 Jews two days later in a kosher grocery store in Paris in January of your G12 year. Those events were the backdrop of your educational journey.

As you prepare for the uncertain times ahead, I want to leave you with a message based on a comment by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of the leading Jewish theologians and philosophers of the 20th century in America, an activist in the Civil Rights Movement and anti-Vietnam protest movement, who died in 1972.

Heschel once said that the worst thing a Jew can do is to forget what he or she represents. The worst sin we can commit is to forgot what we stand for because only if we stand for something, can we make a difference in the world.

Rabbi Heschel was right. Think of the great figures of the last century or two who were known for their wisdom.

Mahatma Ghandi was first and foremost a Hindu. His methods of civil disobedience influenced political activists in other countries decades after his death.

Mother Teresa, who died in the year many of you were born 1997, she was first and foremost a Catholic. She dedicated herself to helping the poor and sick throughout the world.

The more deeply these individuals immersed themselves in the message of their own particularistic tradition, the more universalistic they became. These individuals teach that when we are rooted in something, we affect the world most deeply. It`s when we are different that we make a difference, not just for ourselves but for other people.

A former student of mine was once asked when he was in Grade 10, whether or not he would be prepared to survive on a university campus, in the “real world,” after going to Jewish day school all his life. The person wanted to know: when he leaves the day school bubble, how will he navigate the diversity of university life?

He responded, “I will have such a good sense of who I am as a Jew that I will have something to contribute to that diversity.” Indeed, that’s what he did.

There is a man named Natan Sharansky who is head of an organization like the UJA Federation but in Israel. In the 1970`s and 80`s he was a human rights activist in the former Soviet Union. He fought on behalf of Soviet citizens like Andrei Sacharov who advocated freedom of thought and Alexander Solzhenitsyn who tried to draw public attention to the existence of forced labor camps during the Stalin era. When Sharansky, himself, tried to emigrate to Israel, he was refused an exit visa and thrown into prison. In his autobiography, Fear No Evil, he tells how the more he discovered his Jewish roots, the more he redoubled his efforts on behalf of all dissidents. He draws a famous analogy that I`m sure you know but is worth repeating. He says that just as a shofar only makes a sound if you blow from the narrow end, so too do we, as Jews, make an impact when we speak with a Jewish voice.

We make the biggest contribution to the world around us the more we remember who we are.

We Jews comprise a fifth of one percent of the world’s population. Yet, 3 of 9 Supreme Court Justices in the US are Jews, 1 in 3-4 Nobel Laureates are Jews, over half of world chess champions are Jews.

You are part of a people whose contributions to better the world are found in the inventors, scientists, thinkers, teachers and poets that have all helped make the world a better place to live.

You are part of an amazing people, graduating from one of the leading Jewish high schools in North America, with parents who have raised you with enduring values.

Remember who you are, and you will bring great blessing to the world.

Mazel tov and congratulations to the class of 2015.

The big news for the Jewish future in Toronto is that next year’s entering Grade 9 class at TanenbaumCHAT is on track to be larger than the current Grade 9.  Our goal is to continue that trend despite the precarious state of Jewish day school education.

The accepted wisdom is that there are factors underlying a vulnerable state of Jewish schooling that are beyond our immediate control, some demographic and some economic. As such, we might call out for a task force to solve the problem. We might hope and pray that someone devises a fantastic low-cost high yield model for privately educating Jewish youth.  Or we can solve the problem ourselves. The future is in our hands.

That’s why TanenbaumCHAT is pursuing an independent strategy towards academic excellence and financial sustainability at our two high school campuses. It is a strategy that focuses on evolution, not revolution.  We are making the changes that the times demand.

Like many other private schools in Toronto, we are transforming ourselves into a more competitive recruitment-based operation.  An energetic group of parents has been meeting regularly to drive this campaign.  Efforts are already yielding results: the entering Grade 9 class for 2015-2016 is now projected to exceed the size of this year’s Grade 9 class. Previously, we focused exclusively on admissions, i.e. processing applicants as they came to the school. Those days are over. We are now tapping into the collective power of our students, parents, alumni, and staff to reach out to prospective families.

Besides this shift to a recruitment-based focus, we are investing in the educational value proposition of the school by introducing more academic options for advanced students. A recent gift of approximately $1.5 million will see the launch of a robotics and engineering program at TanenbaumCHAT.  In 2016, we will offer Advanced Placement courses that enable students to gain university placement or credit. Curricular study in Israel during high school will become an integral dimension of a TanenbaumCHAT education. Last year, 30 of our students conducted 50 hours of research in marine biology in Eilat sponsored by Ben Gurion University; this year, students will study robotics at the Technion University in Haifa and conduct a three-week archaeological dig near Ashkelon under the auspices of Harvard University.

To continually enhance the TanenbaumCHAT experience, we are streamlining operations on both campuses to avoid duplication and have set as our goal to raise $1.5 million annually. As expenses continue to climb, we, as a community and as TanenbaumCHAT parents, must all do more to ensure that we put Jewish education as a priority.  We must raise necessary funds to ensure that we continue to raise the next generation of proud, passionate, and engaged Jews.

For over 50 years TanenbaumCHAT has graduated a steady stream of knowledgeable and empowered young people. Our alumni include many who become committed leaders in the layered communities that comprise Toronto.  We find them at the forefront of the Jewish community, active in all professional ranks, in Toronto’s educational leadership, in the business world, and political realm. Our graduates shape the Toronto Jewish community and much of Toronto and Canada well beyond it.  We will do the same for the next 50 years and we will set an example for others on how to create a sustainable, vibrant future of enduring significance.  There is a lot to talk about.

June is a good time to reflect back on the year’s accomplishments.  I can point to many sports tournaments where we took the trophy, mock trial championships where we won the championship, science and math competitions where we out-placed our competition.

However, what impresses me most are the instances where our students became a source of light to the world around them and illuminated the lives of others.  I think about one of our students who collects empty bottles from people’s recycling and takes them to the beer store for a refund and donates the money to charity; another who paints fingernails of patients in the hospital and of residents in old age home; and another who collects gently-used school supplies and sent one shipment already to India and a second to Kenya.

But it’s not just individuals.  It’s entire grades of students and in some cases the entire school–students and staff–that show the value of TanenbaumCHAT to the community.

Our Grade 11 and 12 students spent a week building and repairing homes in West Virginia on behalf of indigent families aided by Habit for Humanity.  The entire Grade 9 class spent a whole day engaged in Chesed Day around the community.  They prepared lunches for hungry members of our community who are served by Ve’ahavta, a Canadian Humanitarian Agency.  They sang with adult clients at REENA, read stories and taught about Purim to children at the SRC preschool, and offered companionship and company to residents of the VIVA Retirement Residence.

When a school reaches out to and serves others, it shows its value to the community.  A school gains significance as an indispensable agency when it serves as a source of light to others.

In fact this is the case for any institution.  It’s a truth that comes through in a midrash about the Temple in Jerusalem.  Our tradition teaches that the windows of the Temple were constructed in an unusual way.  Typically, windows were constructed in such a way to maximize the amount of sunlight that comes in.

With the Temple, the opposite was the case.  The windows were constructed in a way to allow the light of the menorah to emit outwards.  That light came from the seven-branched menorah.

The light of the menorah was meant to shine from the Temple and light up the world.  It was meant to be a source of illumination and inspiration to the outside world.  It enriched the world.

Our school is and must always be a source of light to the community and to others’ lives.

We have many stories and examples of how our students do that. And we need to share them with our outside communities – Federation, donors, prospective parents and students. When they see how brightly the light inside our schools shines, they are more likely to be invested in our school.  They will see that yes, TanenbaumCHAT may be a strain on the budget of our community or of families, but in fact, it’s a bargain.

A few weeks ago, I proudly wrote about two of our current students who stood up for Israel at the Model UN (Click HERE to read this post).  In this post, I want to commend one of 2014 TCW graduates, Billy Schwartz, who attends Queens University in Kingston, ON for doing something similar.

Billy is a film student who just completed a first year undergraduate film course taught by Dorit Naaman, an Israeli-born Jewish professor.  At first he was excited to be taught by a professor with whom he shared a common bond.  Then he discovered that despite her heritage she was virulently anti-Israel.  Billy did not remain silent.  Below is something Billy wrote to alert the university and the public what is going on in at least one lecture hall at Queens University.

In this week’s vodcast (video podcast) Professor Naaman talks about how the Jews in Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds” (2009; See the trailer HERE) were unjust war criminals and that the Nazis are the victims of the Jewish brigade’s “illegal war crimes.” The professor then compares the Jewish brigade to a pack of Roman gladiators. Her views become even more obvious when she raises the argument that Shoshana, the protagonist of the movie, was equivalent to a suicide terrorist. Professor Naaman illustrates her argument by drawing on the example of when, in March 2002, Hamas – a radical Islamic terrorist organization – carried out a suicide bombing attack at a supermarket in Jerusalem that killed an innocent 17-year old Israeli girl along with an innocent Israeli man.

Professor Naaman put this example side-by-side with the conclusion of “Inglorious Basterds.” At the end of the movie, Shoshana, a young woman who is secretly Jewish and had escaped the murder of her entire family years earlier, burns down her cinema to kill a large number of Nazis at an organized event inside the theatre. The fact that the professor equates innocent Jewish civilians with the evil that caused the death of 60 million people in 6 years is disgusting and utterly offensive.

The video proceeds to display two clips from a Palestinian film that depicts martyrdom in terror attacks against Israel. The vodcast ends (and thus concludes the term) with Professor Naaman telling the viewer that we should not follow the “labels that society has set” in clearly regard to what society labels as terrorism, evidently placing the Arab-Israeli conflict in this precise context.

Professor Naaman seems to believe that her dispositions towards the Jewish state allow her to twist a curriculum in favour of her own ideals, and to emphasize those very concepts every single week. As an educator of hundreds of young minds, most of whom most likely know very little to almost nothing about the countries in the Middle East, especially Israel, it is unacceptable to say anything about the conflict at all. Professor Naaman says in the video that the society we live in tends to label and twist certain ideologies. The irony of the situation is that she is doing exactly that. A close friend of mine recently pointed out to me that “the impact that a college prof can have on a large group of students to inspire hatred and violence is huge.” If someone were to have only listened to Professor Naaman and had come in to the term with having no prior knowledge about the topic, they would formulate an understanding that Israel is an oppressive, tyrannical and unjust state. In reality, Israel is truly the single beacon of human rights and true democracy in a vast region where freedom does not exist.

Billy concludes by saying “As a proud Jewish student at Queen’s University, I will continue to remain outspoken about these issues at all times.”  As Head of School at TanenbaumCHAT, I am proud that we are graduating a generation of students who have the courage and knowledge to stand up for Israel.

CHAI Engineering Academy

I have always believed that a school cannot cut its way to excellence.  Important as expense management is, a school must continually invest in its educational program.  That is why I have been leading the way in creating and implementing opportunities for advanced learners who seek enrichment.  One example is the Advanced Placement program, which will begin in 2016 and which will give qualified students the opportunity to earn university credit or placement.

Now, I am thrilled to announce a second initiative that I have been working on for the past two years.  In 2016, we will open the Chai Engineering Academy, a program of study that will offer students Ministry-approved courses in areas related to engineering design, coding, and robotics.  Thanks to a generous gift from Daniel and Anita Chai, grandparents of one of our students, we are inaugurating courses that will prepare students to become some of the most desired applicants to elite university engineering programs.

The goal is to empower students with a robust approach to solving complex authentic problems.  Through hands-on classroom discovery, authentic projects, field trips, and exposure to guest speaker engineers in medicine, technology, energy sciences, business and industry, students will gain intrinsically valuable and transferable skills in problem-solving, creative thinking, and critical reasoning.  A connection to the high tech world of Israel, the “Start-up Nation,” will be an indispensable part of the program.

The Chai Engineering Academy will open officially in the fall of 2016.  However, we will begin to excite students about the Academy with comprehensive and cutting-edge robotics programming in September 2015. Through co-curricular and extra-curricular clubs, we will introduce students to hands-on robotics projects where students learn about and use robot mechanisms, mircro-processors, and intelligent controls.

TanenbaumCHAT will also partner with several companies to expose students to the various uses of robotics technology and introduce other technologies (e.g. CAD).  At the start students will primarily utilize Arduino, which is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software that enable students to make interactive projects.  A highlight for students will be the partnership with the leading robotics team in Israel at the Goldwater School in Eilat.

The Chai Engineering Academy further underscores the value of a TanenbaumCHAT education.  It demonstrates one more way that we reach higher and higher in order to provide our students the tools to contribute something of enduring significance to the world around them.

Every week, TanenbaumCHAT students seem to set new records and exceed past accomplishments.  I could list dozens but I’ll name four:

  • The TCK Moot Beit Din team won 2nd place in a North American competition in Los Angeles with 25 Jewish high schools who debated the Ethics of Social Media and Privacy.
  • Yoni Katchan from TCW was one of 11 students in the Province who earned the second highest mark of 8,336 students in the Cayley Mathematics Competition.
  • Ryan Ripsman  from TCK won fourth place in the International Bible Contest broadcast live on Yom Ha’atsmaut in Israel and was the highest non-Israeli finalist.
  • The TCK physics team placed 3rd out of 72 teams from all over the world in the International Weizmann Physics Competition.

Each accomplishment has a story behind it, and I’d like to share one of those stories.  However, although it’s a story about two of our students, you won’t see them standing on the victory podium.

Last week, a delegation of 23 TCW students participated in Southern Ontario Model United Nations simulation held at the University of Toronto.  Our students represented countries like Romania, Peru, and North Korea and participated in a variety of committees such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the European Union.  Among the topics of debate was the Palestinian refugees.

A girl from one of our local private high schools for the gifted represented Israel.  She wasn’t Jewish and admitted later that she couldn’t find Israel on the map.  Unlike most of the other students, she did not come prepared to represent her country.

True to UN politics, countries hurled one accusation after another at Israel.  The girl remained silent.  Somehow, perhaps as an act of conciliation, she entered into an agreement with Arab nations to give the Palestinians control over air space and the borders of Israel.  More anti-Israel resolutions were proposed.

The moderator asked the girl if she wanted to respond to diatribe.  She was flustered and silent. Students were required to have done all their research beforehand and were not permitted to use any electronic devices during the simulation; they could only use human resources, i.e. the other delegates in the simulation.

The moderator again asked her if she had a response to offer.  Again, the representative was silent except this time she asked to go to the bathroom.  She left the room.  Two of our TCW students Jonathan Aronowitz and Josh Benjamin saw her leave the room and excused themselves too.  A staff member raced out to make sure that the girl was safe.  Indeed she was.  Jonathan and Josh spoke with her encouragingly and intelligently and then handed her two pieces of paper.

The girl returned to the hall and delivered a speech in defense of Israel and received a standing ovation.  Jonathan and Josh had written her speech.  It was replete with cogent arguments, relevant dates, and incontrovertible facts.  This girl—no, these two boys—made the case for Israel.  Our team may not have won the competition but they took the prize and set a standard worth emulating for all Jewish students. It was a proud day for TanenbaumCHAT and for the State of Israel that brought honor to both.  That’s the TanenbaumCHAT difference.

It’s hard to believe the year is winding down already.  Our students can rightly boast of many spectacular achievements:  

  • Our TCK mock trial team just won first place in the regional competition.  
  • Our TCK budding scientists and engineers took first-place in the Toronto Weizmann Physics Competition and competed in Israel in the international competition.  
  • Our TCW DECA team qualified among over 6,000 students in the provincial competition and earned a place at the International DECA competition in Orlando, Florida.  
  • Our TCW Tigers added two more league championships to make it four for this year’s Junior and Varsity Girls’ Basketball championships and the Varsity Boys’ and Girls’ Hockey championships. 
  • Students from both campuses in Grade 10 recently returned from a mini-mester in Eilat where they conducted field research in marine biology with post-doctorate students from Ben Gurion University.  

I say:  Spread the word!  We’re on fire!  Every day, we have over 1,100 reasons to be proud.  Each student is contributing something important to the school and brings honour to the Jewish community.

Spread the word because I hear concern in the community about declining enrolment.  Yes, our enrolment is declining, as it is in all schools in Toronto due largely to demographic shifts.  Sadly, this has meant, for us, that we have had to lay off teachers.  However, we have developed a long-term plan that ensures that TanenbaumCHAT will remain the premier place for educating Toronto’s Jewish teens.

Spread the word about what we are doing to retain our edge. Let the community know that we are: 

  1. Intensifying recruitment efforts by hiring a full-time recruitment and admissions director and establishing a parent Recruitment and Volunteer Engagement committee.
  2. Managing expenses more tightly, eliminating tiny classes (<4 students) that drain the budget, and implementing cross-campus programming that minimizes duplication.
  3. Adding Advanced Placement (AP) and other advanced Jewish Studies and General Studies courses starting 2016-2017 as well as offering summer school courses starting 2016.
  4. Raising the academic standards of grads by requiring Grade 12 students to take G12 English at TanenbaumCHAT and not through an outside service – effective the 2016-2017 academic year.
  5. Piloting a new Jewish Studies curriculum in New Stream written by the Melton Centre and tested in Jewish day high schools in the USA.
  6. Developing the Jewish Studies curriculum so that students in the upper grades starting 2016-2017 have a wider variety of Jewish Studies courses from which to choose.
  7. Utilizing technology to link the two campuses so that we can continue to offer a broad range of courses and minimize course cancellation due to lower numbers.

If you hear negative rumours such as we’re closing a campus, please assure them we have marshalled the creativity, grit, and vision to retain two campuses of enduring significance. 

Let me conclude by saying how much joy I have experienced at TanenbaumCHAT and what a privilege it is to lead this great institution.  Although we are living through challenging times, I see opportunity and excitement in the years ahead.  The administration, board and I welcome your questions and ideas.  We are stronger when we work in partnership.