Our Head of School, Dr. Jonathan Levy, and his wife Dr. Meredith Deutsch-Levy were looking for a way to honour the lives and memories of four dear grandparents. Jonathan and Meredith already felt a strong connection to the Beit Midrash. Their entire family had come together in 2017 to name it the Cooki and Barry Levy Centre for Torah Study – known simply as “the Merkaz” (the centre) – for Jonathan’s parents. Thus, dedicating the Ner Tamid (eternal flame) there seemed especially appropriate. Below they share some thoughts on the dedication.

The biblical concept of ner tamid first appears in the book of Exodus. B’nai Yisrael are commanded to erect an “eternal flame” as an integral part of the mishkan. This light is meant to symbolize the presence of God in the temple; a reminder of God’s eternal presence in the camp.

Throughout Jewish history, the concept of eternal flames has evolved to include commemorating the memories of loved ones who have died, and their never-ending legacy of Jewish identity and commitment to Jewish community.

It is with this in mind that we chose to dedicate the ner tamid in the Mercaz in memory of our grandparents, Lea and Harry Hoffert z”l (above left), and Edith and Emery Deutsch z”l (above right), Shoah survivors who endured the worst atrocities to start Jewish lives over in the United States. Despite their past, they remained committed to raising their children as proud Jews. As they struggled to build a new life, they made it a priority to send their children to Jewish day school. Ultimately, their children became Jewish educational leaders in their own right, and their grandchildren all continue to live proud Jewish lives.

We know how meaningful this dedication would be to our grandparents. The ner tamid will forever be a tribute to their memories as well as to TanenbaumCHAT’s commitment to Jewish identity and community – and in particular, the school’s mandate to make Jewish education accessible to all who seek it out, thus ensuring that the sacrifices our grandparents made for their children will continue to benefit future generations tamid.