What our students have to say
"I love Hebrew and Jewish Studies. I think my teacher this year is an awesome teacher and she is my favourite so far! I like being in this classroom a lot even though it's on zoom."
"Loved this first term with my teacher, I look forward to doing more with homeless and helping organizations next term!"
"I think the DJCS is doing a good job with converting everything online."
"The best part of DJCS is my teacher. Nothing would be boring, She made everything very interesting, even though it was over a computer. Most teachers can't do that."
"The enrichment options are so cool. I got to learn a little bit more about photography and I learned some helpful tips to use when I take photos in the future. I loved doing all the little projects."
"The enrichment option with Simon and Rebecca was great. They are very nice and they allowed everyone to have a turn. It is a very inclusive class! And they are very good at doing what the option enlisted. It was a great environment of laughing and having fun."
"I love making a new puppet every week. I like to craft so it was fun. The enrichment option was great"
"Dear DJCS, Happy 40th birthday! Thank you for teaching me and my classmates in grade 5. I hope my teacher next year is as good as mine this year. We learned so much about the Torah portion. I hope next year is just as good."
What our parents have to say
"Thanks to you - Rabbi Garry! We wanted to write and thank you for yesterday. You put so much care and thought into the ceremony and it showed. We were proud to be part of this first of many Simchas. Thank you as well for the beautiful Tzdaka box. We will be sure to fill it. We are going to work hard at finishing our Talit in time for graduation! "
"We feel very grateful to be part of a community that celebrates and appreciates children so much. I think it is one of our greatest strengths in the Jewish tradition. Participating with our child brings back many memories of my own Hebrew and Jewish studies programs and I realize more and more how much I benefitted."
"As my daughter's time with the DJCS is ending, I wanted to send a quick note. First and foremost, thank you for the energies, time and effort that you have all put in so the kids could undertake online Hebrew School. Additionally, you have accommodated our move to Ottawa and my daughter was able to continue to be part of the DJCS community this year.
Finally, my daughter was over the moon when she received her package that we picked up from the hotel in Ottawa yesterday afternoon. The hamantaschen were eaten within a short time and she loves the yoyo (she has 'always wanted a yoyo'). We were truly touched. Thank you for creating such a kind and inclusive space on Sunday mornings. It has been a ray of light and hope for us during these most challenging times. And has shown my daughter what it is like to be a part of such a wonderful Jewish community."
"While we've had some resistance at home getting her to practice her school work, she's always been happy to come to DJCS classes with you or do the exercises you've assigned. Thank you for making her learning experience educational and very fun and positive for her!"
"Deepest thanks for the amazing work you did this year with children in Grade 1 Jewish Studies. Of all her virtual activities this year this was by far her favourite. Thank you for creating such a fun and welcoming atmosphere to engage with Jewish studies in all its multi-faceted complexity. The DJCS went above and beyond with all of the treats and supplies for art and cooking dropped off to our house, and we sincerely appreciated all of your efforts to bring Jewish history and culture alive despite the pandemic (and your costumes were great!!)."
"It was great to have you as our child's teacher because I can see how much you care about Jewish education, as well as how much he can take away from this program. To me, it is very important for him to understand himself as a proud Jewish boy, and what it means, what it's all about. So thank you very much from the bottom of my heart!!"
"Thank you for making this a great year for our daughter! She has been engaged, had fun, created, participated and learned a lot! We know it must have been challenging to adapt to doing all this virtually, but from our end we see nothing but a great success!"
"I wanted to thank you for the very meaningful and fun high school program - my child very much enjoyed it (and learned from it) these past 3 years. Particularly this year, while in general online studying has been difficult for him as he becomes disengaged, he was always excited to join the Sunday DJCS program. My son has been at the DJCS starting in Kindergarten!
Together with him, we have had a wonderful time, and we particularly appreciated the diversity of teachers who reflected different ideas on Judaism, the diaspora and Israel. The DJCS, and as a result the JCC is really like a second home with so many great memories of learning, friendship and fun."
"I chose to sit in on the grade 4 class to help my child with focusing and staying engaged today. It was really wonderful to see how many different teaching techniques were used: breakout rooms, problem-solving, mindfulness yoga, storytelling, video. The teacher made such an effort to engage the kids and was so affirming of their participation despite all the challenges of zoom learning. Thank you for all that you do. It was really lovely."
- DJCS Parent
"Our experience with online school at DJCS has far exceeded our expectations for both Jewish studies and Hebrew and we are very happy with how much our kids have learned. If you need a parent to talk with any families unsure about returning online, I'd be happy to talk about our kids' positive experiences this year. It would be sad for kids to miss out on another year of Jewish education when you and the teachers have provided excellent programs and the kids have learned a lot. Obviously what's missing is the time to socialize with friends but it's been good for our son to see the kids in his Hebrew class and maintain the continuity of the relationships from past years.
We were doubtful that our younger son would learn much starting Hebrew online but his teacher is amazing and even though he's not a model online learner, she's kept him on track and he's learned so much! We're very proud of both of them.
All four of the kids' teachers care about them and have connected in ways that help me feel that our family is part of a community. I wish that they could mentor the younger teachers in the public school to show how to create community and connections, both online and in person. I'm looking to the next few weeks of class and another great year, whether online or in person."
“Our son’s short two years at DJCS have been an increasingly important and enjoyable part of our family life. He has gained confidence, not just in his sense of himself as a Jew, but in many other aspects of his life. His growing familiarity with Jewish folklore is fantastic, and he speaks knowledgeably about these wonderful and important old stories; and the confidence he is gaining through such events as the Purim Play, for which he fills the important roll of stage manager, are irreplaceable experiences. His attendance at the school is for him and for us, his parents, the opportunity to make a deep connection with a Jewish community that we hardly knew existed previously in downtown Toronto. Our son’s experience is bringing us all closer to our Jewish roots and our Jewish neighbours too.”
“We have been parents at DJCS since 1999. Both of our children have enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) their experiences there. My eleven-year old son actually doesn’t mind getting up on Sunday morning to attend his classes! Over the years we’ve had some truly wonderful teachers. The school has always been responsive to the needs of modern Jewish families living in downtown Toronto, while maintaining a traditional grounding. Furthermore, the DJCS strives to keep the curriculum dynamic by introducing new activities and incorporating new ideas. Since we’ve started at the school enhancements have included an arts activities selective and an extended high school option. DJCS is a warm and vibrant community that is an important Jewish hub in downtown Toronto.”
- Lori MD, FRCP(C)
“The best part of DJCS is the quality of the teachers. It is not always easy to send young children to extra school on Sunday mornings (and, in the case of our family, on Wednesday evenings). It takes a particularly engaging, imaginative and experienced teacher to transform a reluctant pupil into a receptive and enthusiastic one. In our experience, the teachers at the DJCS together create a rich, artistic, varied and fun Jewish curriculum. Our children demonstrate repeatedly – especially around the holidays – how much they have learned and how joyfully they integrate this knowledge into the various festivities and celebrations. Every week, our gratitude for DJCS is renewed.”
“DJCS has given us the opportunity to pass on a Jewish identity to our kids that we otherwise would not have been able to do. It does this in a relaxed and inclusive environment that doesn’t judge us on our level of “Jewishness”. The staff is energetic and committed, and the attending families all want to be there. Being at Bloor and Spadina doesn’t hurt either!”
“During her seven years at DJCS my daughter has developed a strong Jewish identity, an extensive knowledge of Jewish history and a love for Israel. We are an inter-racial family and DJCS provides a pluralistic and supportive learning environment that fosters a sense of inclusion for all its students. The teachers challenge the kids and keep the parents involved in learning. I know that the years my child spends in the Jewish studies and Hebrew programs are helping to create a solid ethical foundation for her as a member of the Jewish community.”
“We are an inter-married family with three teenage children living downtown. As a direct result of the experience, friendships and education gained at DJCS, our children formally converted to Judaism and developed strong identity and pride in being Jewish. Learning about the Jewish experience over the millennia, the special relationship with and relevance of Israel, and understanding the meaning of the Holocaust, all have a place in their collective consciousness now that would not be there were it not for DJCS. I can say with certainty that had it not been for the years at DJCS our children would not ‘feel’ Jewish and, in fact, would have been lost to the Jewish community, assimilated like so many other non-affiliated Jews. Joan, I will never forget the first time I came into your office and how you helped our family. Thank you for everything.”
“DJCS has been a wonderful experience for our entire family. The school has developed a keen sense of what it means to be Jewish in our son, and kindled an interest in Jewish history and customs that will carry on after graduation. He is proud of how well he can read Hebrew and keep up with the davening in shul and so are we. My son’s Jewish education has also helped me stay in shape, as I am able to work out in the terrific new JCC facilities while my son is in class.”
What our graduates have to say
“DJCS taught me to take a pluralistic, open minded, enthusiastic approach to Jewish life and tradition.”
- Rabbi Rachel, now a Rabbi in the Boston area
“A good-sized group of kids went to DJCS from Palmerston School every Wednesday. We must have looked as if we were going to have fun because I remember one non-Jewish friend saying to his mom “I want to go to the Jewish school too!” My time at DJCS definitely enhanced my Jewish identity.”
“I have many fond memories of my time at DJCS. I learned to read Hebrew, which helped me out a lot when I took interest in Torah study. I really enjoyed singing in the Zimriyah. In my years at DJCS, I made many friends — some which lasted until today, many years later. I think I really benefited from my time there. Getting to be with Jewish friends, having fun, learning Jewish things, helped keep my sense of Jewish identity alive and well, which I very much appreciate.”
“In my bat mitzvah year, I completed an independent research project on the role(s) of women in Judaism. Little did I know that this project would be the beginning of a strong interest in issues of women and Judaism, from an academic and a personal perspective. DJCS was really my first connection to Jewish community and culture outside of my small family sphere. It led to high school studies in Israel, membership in a Near Eastern Studies house in College, becoming a fellow at the National Yiddish Book Center in MA, an organizer in the Boston Jewish community, and a Board Member of a local progressive Jewish organization. Today, Jewish community and family is an important part of my life, and I continue to seek out more knowledge of Jewish history, rituals and customs.”