We asked Amnon and Paulette Kestelman to reflect on their family’s experience at TanenbaumCHAT and why they decided to endow a Social Science Award in honour of their children and grandchildren.

A Jewish education for our children was always of paramount importance to both of us and our commitment to Jewish day school never wavered.

Both of us are children of Holocaust survivors and were brought up in a very Jewish environment, where Jewish holidays were always celebrated, where our Yiddishkeit was at the forefront of our lives and where attending after-school Hebrew religious classes was a key part of our daily routine.

We have chosen to endow a fund at TanenbaumCHAT to assist, even in a small way, a child in the pursuit of a Jewish education”

When we got married, it was a given that we would always maintain a traditional Jewish household and, if and when we had children, that they would be educated in Jewish schools. Our three children all attended Associated Hebrew Schools and TanenbaumCHAT. It was not always easy financially, but given the high value we placed on giving our children a Jewish education, we prioritized it above all else and made it work. This is how we were brought up and this is how we wanted to bring our children up.

We believe that the Jewish education all three of our children received, both at their Jewish elementary school and later in high school, was second to none. It was so instrumental in shaping their Jewish identity and who they are today, that two of our daughters chose careers in Jewish education and are now highly involved in our local Jewish community, which continues to thrive and grow.

Our eldest daughter, Cheryl Wise ’94, married a Rabbi and became the Director of Education at Shaarei Beth El Congregation; our middle daughter, Renee Cohen ’96, became a teacher and then Vice Principal at her alma mater, TanenbaumCHAT, and it gives us great pride that she is now the Principal of TanenbaumCHAT; and our youngest daughter, Alana Bonder ’00, used the invaluable education she received in high school and became a very successful veterinarian.

We can say with tremendous pride that all our seven grandchildren attended, or currently attend, Jewish day schools in the city. One of our granddaughters, Emily Cohen ’23 just graduated from TanenbaumCHAT, and another, Ashley Cohen, will be graduating next year with the Class of 2025.

As is obvious, we value, have always valued, and will continue to value Jewish education. It is for this reason that we have chosen to endow a fund at TanenbaumCHAT, to assist, even in a small way, a child in the pursuit of a Jewish education. We can say with the utmost conviction and certainty that investing in a Jewish education is truly priceless and an investment that will pay huge dividends down the road.