The self-reflection and the purposeful soul-searching that are the individual, private gateways to Rosh Hashanah compel us to dedicate this last missive of 5780 to the diverse, caring, giving Jewish community of the GTA. We do so in keeping with the always-important value of hakarat hatov, i.e., acknowledging the good that others do for us.
Covid-19 has indiscriminately and relentlessly swung a scythe of harm, sorrow and anxiety throughout the world. After absorbing its initial shock, our community assessed, planned, resolved and responded. Not perfectly of course, but successfully, with constantly refining adjustments, driven by the belief that we cannot retreat from finding the answer.
We will direct our comments to matters of education – the core of our mission – though praise should be cast in a far wider net.
It is a remarkable achievement for the community that for the first time in 17 years, enrollment in our day schools increased. Enrollment is 2.5% higher today than this time one year ago. There are two reasons for the increase:
- More parents noticed the excellence of the day schools. As the pandemic debilitated public school, the day schools quickly pivoted, innovated, adapted and guided their students through the Covid-caused disruptions. The remarkable performance of the schools was even noticed by the general media. Some parents decided to move their children from the public to Jewish day school.
- The decisions of the Federation and the Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education to focus on the immediate needs of families whose sources of income were impaired if not ravaged by Covid. The Federation/Centre introduced two new financial programs – emergency scholarships and interest free loans – that attempted to abate somewhat the widespread financial hardship on young families especially and make tuitions more affordable.
The increase in enrollment is a tribute to parents, schools and the Federation/Centre leadership. We would be horribly remiss were we not to acknowledge their collective fine effort. We urge more families to consider enrolling their children in the school system next year and in years to come. This system sparkles with excellence, devotion to its children and as Covid-19 proved, the ability to respond quickly to unforeseen dire pressures.
Be safe. Stay safe. Be well. Stay well. Be strong. Stay strong.
Shabbat shalom. Shana tovah techatevu vetechatemu.