Recapping the community’s role in strengthening day schools

Prizmah, is a New-York based organization that supports North American Jewish day schools with all manner of services and resources to “help them grow their reach and impact and tackle the challenges on their paths to success.”Last week, on its website, the organization published an article by Dan Held, Chief Program Officer at the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, that shares with readers the essence of the Federation’s efforts these past five years to help bring Jewish day school education within the financial reach of middle-income families.

Held introduced the mini-review of Federation’s initiatives by restating the first empirical principle concerning the connective tissue between thriving schools and thriving communities.  “Recognizing the profound impact that day schools have on the vibrancy and vitality of a Jewish community, we aim towards creating a day school system that is affordable and sustainable and offers an excellent education. Our work in building endowments—both a communal fund and individual school endowments—is a piece within our larger efforts to establish a culture of giving to day schools across the community.”

Held provided a brief summary of the four-component initiative by the Federation aimed at reinvigorating enrolment at our Jewish day schools. He concluded the short article by articulating some of the lessons that lay and professional communal leaders learned through the five-year education boost experience.

Held’s article is worthy reading.

Despite the harsh, compounding effect of the many difficulties of the past few years, enrolment in Jewish day schools has increased. He explains how that has been achieved and how the labour of the perpetuation of that achievement will go forward and continue. 

The full article is available at:

https://prizmah.org/blog/communitys-role-fostering-day-school-endowments

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On Wednesday of this week, Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health participated in a press conference with the Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce to announce the intended, imminent return to in-school learning in Ontario on Monday January 17.

Dr. Moore provided a concise description of how he views his mission as it relates to ensuring the health and safety of children attending school during the pandemic.

“In-person learning is critical to the mental health and well-being of our children and youth,” said Dr. Moore. “In light of the unique challenges posed by the Omicron variant, my team and I will continue to work with the education sector to review all of our guidelines and all environmental, health, cleaning, and ventilation standards to ensure our schools remain as safe as possible for all.”

Dr. Moore did not differentiate between the health risks faced by children in public and the very same risks faced by children in independent schools. Nor would he. For his first priority is to preserve life – all life – against the encroachments of the Covid virus. In fact, he emphasized this very point with clear, precise meaning by categorically stating his goal is “to ensure our schools remain as safe as possible for all.”

As of this writing, the day after the joint press statement, it is unknown whether Minister Lecce shares Dr. Moore’s view that the government’s highest priority in these horrible Covid circumstances, is “to ensure our schools remain as safe as possible for all.” Will he – the government – make available to children in independent schools the same protections he has promised to children in public schools?

As readers of this weekly update know, GAJE has decided to try to end the discrimination in the province’s educational funding by resort to the courts. If you wish to help underwrite this lawsuit, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at imida1818@gmail.com

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

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Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

January 14, 2022

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