The mission of TanenbaumCHAT is to challenge, support and prepare students to live lives of high moral character, intellectual curiosity, Jewish commitment and civic duty. This mission serves as the cornerstone, embodying the unique essence – the ‘special sauce’ – that TanenbaumCHAT offers to its students. As the world seems to have turned upside down since October 7, the significance of this mission has only been amplified.

In the face of hate-filled demonstrations permeating the streets of Toronto, clamouring for the annihilation of Israel and inciting an intifada against Jews worldwide, we are presented with a choice. We can either succumb to the prevailing anger and animosity or rise above it, focusing on empowering our students with knowledge, critical thinking and a deep-seated love of Israel. This equips them to directly confront the arguments thrown at them or, alternatively, to stand steadfast in their values and ignore the noise.

The unique blend of experiences within the school, coupled with immersive classroom learning, cultivate a moral compass within our students that will help guide them through these turbulent times. Numerous examples abound – from a myriad of student-led clubs dedicated to community service, to enlightening guest speakers addressing a spectrum of topics, to the camaraderie fostered during the many spirit days that instill a profound sense of belonging (in addition to a seemingly never-ending supply of donuts).

A shining testament to this ‘special sauce’ was the recent Chesed Solidarity Mission to Israel in February. It was a moment of immense pride as 36 students from Grades 11 and 12, including my own daughter, embarked on a journey to witness firsthand the aftermath of October 7. Their encounters, starting with their meeting with released hostage Maya Regev, resonated deeply, setting the tone for a week of profound learning, volunteerism, and a deepening of their bonds with Israel. Upon their return, these students shared their insights, enriching the entire school community. It’s a journey I am certain will leave an indelible mark on these students for a lifetime. (See page 17 for more.)

The Board’s role is paramount in ensuring the school remains committed to its mission and possesses the necessary financial resources and philanthropic initiatives to do so. Never before has this responsibility felt as critical as it does now.