The new Torah Day School of Ottawa – which merges the school communities of two former Orthodox day schools: Torah Academy of Ottawa and Rambam Day School – has launched its inaugural school year.
According to Evan Green, vice-chair of the Torah Day School board, the new school’s curriculum will combine solid secular education – offering enriched French and a music program – with a strong Judaic education.
“The goal is that every student coming out of this school will have the ability to get into any Yeshiva or any high school of their choice,” he said. “That’s the excellence we’re striving for at Torah Day School of Ottawa.”
Rabbi Eleazar Durden has been appointed principal and head of Judaic studies at the school, while the vice-principal and head of secular studies is Sharon Holzscherer.
Rabbi Durden, originally from New Zealand, has a master’s degree in educational leadership and comes to Torah Day School after serving at several schools, most recently the Vancouver Hebrew Academy.
Rabbi Durden said students attending the school can expect to develop a strong understanding of Judaism, ranging from the very basics in the early years to a deeper more text-based understanding in the later years.
Rabbi Durden also stressed the importance of “role model leadership,” a value he will be bringing to his role as principal. According to Rabbi Durden, when you embody positive character traits and lead by example, the benefits trickle down to both the teachers and the students.
Holzscherer, who has a master’s of education degree, said she’s excited to spearhead the curriculum for the school’s general studies, and will focus heavily on further developing the science and mathematics programs.
“We’re going to be trying out a few new small programs this year, and I hope that students and parents alike will see the benefits,” she said.
While Green is happy to finally have the new school up and running, he stressed the importance of community support, saying that the school has the power to attract Orthodox families who are considering a move to Ottawa.
“When Jewish families consider moving to a city, they look for Jewish infrastructure. This new school has the power to be an anchor for the community and serve as a starting point for families who are considering calling Ottawa their home,” he said.