Arts, on stage and off

The school boasted a full roster of performing arts events at local venues.  At the annual Talent Show in December more than 100 student musicians, singers, and dancers gave it their all with the help of the student producers and creative crew who worked tirelessly under the direction of Josh Sable ’90. In January, TanenbaumCHAT returned to the City Playhouse with three sold-out viewings of Disney’s High School Musical. Students performed twice at Meridian Arts Centre during March. Dance/Fashion Show was dubbed “A Night at the Oscars” and arguably unlike the real-deal, it was fast-paced, funny and talent-filled; and Music Night saw TanenbaumCHAT music students performing a variety of pieces and styles, under the direction of Jaclyn Klimitz ‘03 and Orly Lewis ‘16. In the much-anticipated return of Arts Café, our students’ skills in instrumental music, vocals, scene-work, sketches and visual arts came to the fore. In just one example of the wonderful visual arts produced by our students, Melissa Dubin’s Grade 11 class worked on original shoe designs, complete with custom tags laser-cut with the Abramsky Family Art Studio’s new Glowforge 3-D printer.

In the classroom

In Grade 12 Israeli Archeology, taught by Rachel Urowitz ’89, students created stylized maps of ancient Jerusalem that allowed them to develop a deeper understanding of the unique geography of the land, with a focus on the City of David and the surrounding mountains. A new course, Nutrition and Health, developed by Health and Physical Education teacher Gerry Shindo, focuses on nutrition and health needs at different stages of life, and features in-class guest speakers on topics such as local and global food issues and kashrut considerations, as well as opportunities for students to enhance their practical skills and understanding with off-campus field trips.

Holiday celebrations

Our Israeli Engagement Committee teamed up with UJA’s Israel Engagement ShinShinim who were on hand to transform the Hennick Family Atrium into a massive Israeli-style Hannukah party and, later in the year, to share their knowledge of Tu Bishvat. With four different readings of Megillat Esther there was something for everyone at Purim including plenty of creative costumes and a carnival.

Israel connections

In October, our school welcomed Mark Regev, former Israeli Ambassador to the UK. Currently the chair of the Abba Eban Institute for Diplomacy at Reichman University, Ambassador Regev gave a fascinating talk to students that touched on regional geo-politics as well as the rising anti-Israel/antisemitic climate around the world. 

As a member of an elite special forces unit, Rami Sherman was an integral part of Operation Entebbe. He spoke to Grade 10 students about the incredible 1976 mission that saw the IDF rescue 102 Jewish and Israeli hostages from capture in Uganda after the hijacking of their Air France plane.

With a focus on bringing contemporary Israel education and Jewish identity into the classroom, a delegation of 15 educators from Eilat – a twin city of Toronto – were in Toronto in the fall. The group is participating in a two-year professional development program in partnership with local middle school teachers, under the auspices of the UJA. While visiting TanenbaumCHAT, the group met with VP Rabbi Eli Mandel, Keren Romm ’98 (Co-director of Student Activities–Jewish Life), Shira Meirman (Israel Engagement Officer/Shlicha), and student leaders.

UJA’s Regional Manager of Community Security, Niv Goffman, is a decorated Krav Maga champion. In a pilot program, Niv introduced a group of Grade 12 students to this self-defense discipline that is derived from a combination of techniques used in aikido, judo, karate and boxing.

Before the elections that were held in Israel in November 2022, TanenbaumCHAT students had their say. The Israeli Engagement Committee organized an interactive Israel mock election featuring a voter compass that provided students with the opportunity to gain insights based on their answers to various social and political issues.

Think Pink

This October, in two annual events, TanenbaumCHAT turned red and pink for cancer awareness. Athletic CounciI organized our Terry Fox Walk raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society, and our students held their Think Pink fundraiser for Rethink Breast Cancer. Students, faculty and staff came out in force to support and contribute to these meaningful school traditions.

Days of Significance

In honour of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Black History Club broadcast a speech throughout the school on MLK’s life and legacy and mounted an informative display encouraging students and staff to learn more and to “continue the essential conversation he began 70 years ago.” 

Our TanenbaumCHAT community came together for a thoughtful and poignant presentation to commemorate Remembrance Day and to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today. 

To mark the start of Holocaust Education Week in November, the student-run Holocaust committee invited Gershon Willinger, grandfather of Grade 12 student Aliya, to speak to students. Gershon recounted his story of survival as a young child growing up in both the Bergen-Belsen and Theresienstadt concentration camps. 

Athletic Wins!

The Senior Boys and Girls Varsity Basketball teams traveled to Baltimore, MD to compete in the annual Weiner Basketball Tournament. The girls won the tournament undefeated, finishing with a perfect 7-0 record. Carmel Baratz was selected as second team all star and Samara Glazer was crowned first team all star and tournament MVP. 

After an almost-undefeated season, our Senior Boys Hockey team won this year’s Varsity A Hockey Championships in a down-to-the-wire overtime nail-biter when Team Captain Logan Shnier scored with less than five minutes to go on the clock.

Our Grade 9 Boys Flag Football defeated St. John Paul II 32-12, in a win that ended our seven-year flag football victory drought.Quarterback Evan Abrams was recognized by City News Toronto as their Student Athlete of the Week. 

Building interfaith connections

With Covid-related limitations over, students were excited for the relaunch of an interfaith group with our partners De La Salle College (a Catholic school) and Gibraltar Leadership Academy (a Muslim school). Approximately ten Grade 11 and 12 students from each school are participating. The overarching goal is to build personal connections between the students from the three faiths so that they can be ambassadors for the concept of coexistence and peace between all peoples – one relationship at a time.


After qualifying at the regional level earlier in the year, TanenbaumCHAT’s DECA team attended the Ontario Provincial Competition in downtown Toronto. They were accompanied by staff supervisors Jordan Hoffman, Paula Sousa, and Sara Black. More than 5,700 students participated in this province-wide competition. Our students garnered 24 medals, as well as top-10 placements for Noa Melnick, Shiraz Meisels, Daniel Guterman and Lily Hendler.

Our student Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) committee put together a program of events in March aimed at encouraging dialogue and ending the stigma surrounding mental illness. Chris Coulter who began the “How Are You Feeling” organization following the loss of his teenage daughter to suicide spoke at an assembly set up by Grade 10 students Izzy Galansky and Abby Mandelkorn, who went through the organization’s peer training program for their community service and felt it should be shared more widely. It was a powerful and important session that spoke to the skyrocketing levels of mental health problems in youth today. The week also included a visit from St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs team, an informative display in Sunshine Square, and hot chocolate and cookies for a quick mood boost.

In February, students took part in grade-specific assemblies led by Samantha Braiman, MSW RSW C-DP, a former TanenbaumCHAT Class of ’14 student, who is the Director of Youth Outreach at JACS Toronto (Jewish Addiction Community Services). Samantha spoke about the dangers of substance abuse, and shared strategies for improving mental health, and the services JACS offers to members of Toronto’s Jewish community in need. 

On staff

Important and timely professional development took place once again this year. In November, staff both shared and devised best practices to ensure success in the areas of academics, student mental health, and school safety. In February, an informative keynote by Innovation Evangelist and Future of Education Strategist, Dwayne Matthews, provided insights into the “Future of Education” with particular reference to the positive and negative implications of AI.

TanenbaumCHAT sent a contingent of six staff members to the 2023 Prizmah Conference which gathered more than 1,000 North American Jewish day school professionals in Denver, Colorado for three days of professional development and relationship building. Head of School, Dr. Jonathan Levy, took the conference stage to discuss TanenbaumCHAT’s position as North America’s flagship community Jewish high school and the development of the school’s Tuition Accessibility Program.

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