CHATTER Magazine Spring 2020

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CHATTER SPRING 2020 / 5780


A window on the world of TanenbaumCHAT Powering TanenbaumCHAT – Now and Always Engaging with Israel, Connecting with Peers Alumni News & Notes

CHATTER Spring 2020 / 5780


The Chatter is published through the TanenbaumCHAT Advancement Office and is distributed to more than 8,000 alumni, parents, donors and friends of the school.

Message from the Head of School  3 Board Update  4

Editor: Jane Rimmer

Quick Study: Highlights from around the school  5

Design & Layout: Ulrike Balke

All About Alumni:

Cover Image: Daniel Malen

Alumni News & Notes  26

Printing: Origo Communications

Profiling Alumni: Dr. Aaron Schimmer ‘87  28

Follow us on

Mazal Tov  30 The Power of Alumni  33

Facebook: @TanenbaumCHAT1 Instagram: @tanenbaumchat LinkedIn: TanenbaumCHAT Alumni Association

The Power of Grads  35   FEATURES: Powering TanenbaumCHAT  11 The Power of Celebration  14


The Power of Community  15 The Power of Generations  16

Director of Advancement Frances Bigman, CFRE Director of Admissions Laurie Wasser, CAEP

The Power of Giving  17 Photo Essay: TanenbaumCHAT Today and Every Day  18

Alumni News & Notes submissions: or contact Laurence Barchichat:

Engaging with Israel, Connecting with Peers  23

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TanenbaumCHAT 416-636-5984

from the Head of School Jonathan Levy, Ph.D., Head of School


elcome to the Spring 2020 issue of the Chatter. You may have picked up this copy of the magazine and begun to flip through it from the back page, first taking in the joyful Mazal Tov entries and news of our amazing alumni. Or perhaps the magazine fell open to the stunning photograph across the centre spread. And maybe you started by turning the front cover, and this column is one of the first pages you arrived at. No matter your point of entry, this issue of the magazine is a little like taking a stroll through the school – and by extension our school community. Wherever you turn, you’ll find something interesting or inspiring. The cover shot and the stunning photo essay literally provide a peek into the world of TanenbaumCHAT. The Quick Study feature gives a brief glimpse of some of the incredible programming that happens here, every day. And, you’ll get a sense of our Israel engagement efforts as we work to ramp up our commitment to connecting our students with their Israeli peers. The magazine as metaphor for the TanenbaumCHAT experience is apt. No matter where our students come from, they become part of our school family and enjoy a rich and rewarding educational experience at every turn; and no matter which direction our alumni have taken in their lives, they have strong Jewish identities and are thoughtful and contributing members of the world. None of this is possible without the ongoing generosity of all our donors. As we begin the next chapter, the recently-launched Powering TanenbaumCHAT campaign will support our reduced tuition initiative and will ensure we maintain our educational excellence. So please keep on turning the pages of the Chatter, in this and subsequent issues – because TanenbaumCHAT makes for a compelling read!  ◆ | 3

Board Update TanenbaumCHAT Board of Directors Jonathan Zepp President Howard Simkevitz ’91 Vice President Melanie Kraft Secretary Russel Orelowitz Treasurer Ray Rubin Immediate Past President Eric Adelson Vered Feldman Andrea Frankel Claire Glowinsky Standing L to R: Shawn Sigesmund, Eric Adelson, Jordan Rodney. Sitting L to R: Joel Monson, Sara Gottlieb ’91.


the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on December 11, 2019, current parent Howard Simkevitz ’91 –  board member since 2018 and current Chair of the Risk Management Committee – was elected to the position of Vice President. He will succeed current President Jonathan Zepp when Jonathan’s term concludes at the end of 2020. Said Claire Glowinsky (Chair, Governance Committee): “Howard is strongly committed to the mission and vision of the school. He will no doubt bring TanenbaumCHAT into the next chapter with commitment, passion and success.” Congratulations to Howard and the five new members who were also inducted at the AGM. B’hatzlacha (good luck) to all Board Members as they continue to serve the school and to build upon TanenbaumCHAT’s legacy of outstanding lay leadership. u

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Sara Gottlieb ’91 Alan Grad ’88 Mark Gross Hart Heller ’89 Suzy Kauffman ’90 David Mansell Joel Monson Jordan Rodney Tilda Roll Ilana Segal Shawn Sigesmund Stephen Turk Sue Valencia ‘85

Highlights from around the school

We the Nines  Our Grade 9 students – all 300-plus of them! – had the opportunity to become fully acquainted with TanenbaumCHAT’s friendly and supportive culture at “We the Nines.” Held at the Hangar in Downsview Park, our newest students enjoyed a roster of fun activities, and had a chance to meet, bond, and kick off their TanenbaumCHAT journeys. Studying with community Rabbis More than 35 community rabbis from across the GTA were at TanenbaumCHAT on October 3, 2019 for a Yom Iyun day of study. They led study sessions with our students that addressed the notion of being “a positive agent of change”.

Remembrance Day TanenbaumCHAT marked Remembrance Day in a moving ceremony of words and music. This year, we were honoured that visiting athletes from Eilat (in for the Becker International Invitational) were in attendance as we affirmed our commitment to Canada and recognized the sacrifices of generations of Canadian soldiers.

We were privileged to welcome Rabbis from many synagogues and a wide range of affiliations, and were honoured that they partnered with our school and shared their wisdom and insights with our students. | 5

At the Gairdner Awards

Highlights from around the school

Grade 12 students Talia Levitt and Jacob Mausberg had the opportunity to attend the by-invitation-only Gairdner Awards Dinner. Talia says they were there “along with 30 other science students from the province.” The Gairdner Awards are presented annually to top international biomedical scientists. “We had the chance to speak to the award winners, hear about their scientific contributions, and watch the awards presentation,” says Talia, noting that “it was truly an inspiring night!”


Remembering Jenny Lewis ’95 Our entire school gathered for a memorial ceremony to honour beloved TanenbaumCHAT teacher, friend and alumna Jenny Lewis ‘95 z”l who passed away in May, 2019. Tributes and reminiscences of Jenny’s humour, kindness, passion for education and fondness for the school were shared by family, students and staff. The inaugural Jenny Lewis Memorial Writing Contest was announced – an initiative suggested by Jenny’s family. It will provide a showcase for our students’ literary skills.

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During programming for Holocaust L to R: Elly Gotz, Max Eisen, and Pinchas Gutter sharing important insights Education Week, and reminiscences with our students. our students were privileged to hear from survivors Max Eisen, Pinchas Gutter, and Elly Gotz. Among the many important lessons their experiences highlighted about life before, during and following the war, was the supreme importance of not being a bystander when we see injustice in the world. Grade 9 student Abby Finkelstein also created a moving video to support the campaign to collect six million buttons in memory of the six million lives lost in the Holocaust. TanenbaumCHAT was proud to be part of this project, which was embraced by other schools in the city too.

All Together The Tikvah Club promotes inclusivity and connects TanenbaumCHAT students with individuals with special needs. In January, the club welcomed a group from Yachad, The National Jewish Council for Disabilities, a global organization dedicated to addressing the needs of all Jewish individuals with disabilities. Everyone had a great time becoming acquainted. On the program: board games, “Name that Tune” – and food, of course!

Athletics @TanenbaumCHAT Our refurbished gym! During summer 2019, our gym underwent a much-needed renovation. The floor was completely replaced and a new one – featuring a Tigers logo, naturally – was installed, along with new bleachers and scoreboard. Students, staff and visiting athletes have been enjoying the rejuvenated space.


Go Tigers! The Senior Boys Volleyball team (above) finished in 1st place in the Tier 2 TDCAA and won the Championship. The Golf team (right) participated in the TDCAA Golf Championship. Our Junior Girls Basketball team (below) won the second annual Cardinal Newman Basketball Tournament.

Young Jewish athletes from Montreal, New York, Toronto and Eilat participated in the 4-day TanenbaumCHAT Israel Becker International Invitational basketball tournament. On the court and off, the goal was to create stronger bonds between those who represent the future of the Jewish community around the world. Our TanenbaumCHAT Tigers won the girls championship. In early December, our basketball players also participated in the Florence and Joseph Weiner Basketball Tournament at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School in Baltimore. | 7

Highlights from around the school

Oh Dreidel

Chanukah festivities at TanenbaumCHAT centred around a lively full-school assembly featuring a recounting of the Chanukah story, music, skits, and a TikTok video contest – all topped off with a decorate-your-ownsufganiyah (donut) opportunity!

New York, New York   More than 40 students who are enroled in business courses or who are on the TanenbaumCHAT business council participated in a field trip to New York City. Among the activities: a tour of Wall Street, and visits to Bloomberg and NASDAQ. Michael Ptasznik, CFO of NASDAQ and a former TanenbaumCHAT parent, spoke with the group and helped make their visit to the stock exchange particularly memorable with a TanenbaumCHAT-specific welcome sign towering over Times Square!

Our Annual Awards of Excellence for the 2018-19 school year honoured recipients of the Sefton Award for academic excellence, and the Tikun Olam Award for community service. Students, L to R from centre of back row: Ilan Benjamin, Tali Sacke, Ori Epstein. Front row, L to R: Jacob Mausberg, Jared Fischbach, Gabriella Treitel, Shira Reznick. 8 | CHATTER Magazine SPRING 2020

TanenbaumCHAT Performs In recent months, students have had many opportunities to wow audiences with their performing skills! TanenbaumCHAT’s spectacular production of “Matilda” was staged at the City Playhouse in January. The talents of our students were abundantly evident on and off the stage, performing, directing, designing props, costumes and makeup, and managing front-of-house operations.

Once again, our students performed an entire musical in Hebrew! A fantastic production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” was this year’s Ivrit play.

“CHAT’s Got Talent: Walk of Fame” at City Playhouse featured more than 150 student performers. There were dancers, musicians, vocalists, magicians – and even an aerial silk artist.

Music and Community In a wonderful community partnership, the TanenbaumCHAT Singers, led by music teacher Jaclyn Klimitz ‘03, sang alongside the York Regional Police Community Chorus in “One Voice”. The concert, in support of Out of the Cold, was held at Beth Sholom Synagogue on December 3, 2019. A few weeks later, on December 19, TanenbaumCHAT musicians participated in the B’nai Brith Chanukah party for a group of seniors which was held at Beth Radom Congregation. | 9

Highlights from around the school JUST CAUSE The Jesin-Neuberger Community Service program TanenbaumCHAT requires students to contribute many more volunteer hours beyond the provincial minimum, and our students seize opportunities to step up and give back. To get the ball rolling this year, we invited local organizations to a community service fair so that they could meet students and share volunteer opportunities directly with them. Representatives from the following organizations all set up tables in our Hennick Family Atrium: Friendship Circle Toronto, JNF Toronto, Ve’ahavta, Reena, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, Toronto Yachad, Bernard Betel Centre, Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am, Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue, Baycrest, Chai Lifeline Canada, and Associated Hebrew Schools. Students also rallied at a number of school-wide events to support several worthwhile organizations and causes. These included the Terry Fox run in September and Think Pink in October, which saw students and staff coming out in force in support of breast cancer research. During Israel Week, students also raised money to sponsor a bench in an outdoor relaxation area of an army base in Israel.

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At our annual Rock Your Cause, students selected, advocated and raised money for a variety of organizations. We are also proud of Grade 11 student Noah Goldschmied who was recently recognized with a JCC Volunteer Award for his work with the Inclusion Services Multisport Program over the last two years.


Power  i ng TanenbaumCHAT Now & Always

Powering up our Annual Appeal to support reduced tuition and educational excellence

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Power ing TanenbaumCHAT Just a few years ago, with rising tuition and declining enrolment, the future of TanenbaumCHAT was unsure. Then, in 2017, two remarkable donations, facilitated by UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, helped change the story. With the intention of increasing enrolment by lowering tuition, alumni Edie Neuberger ’75 and Norm Jesin ’74 made a visionary gift of $10 million, and the Granovsky family generously contributed an additional $4 million.

There’s a less well-known, yet vitally important, aspect of this remarkable initiative: motivating community philanthropy through TanenbaumCHAT’s Annual Appeal was crucial to the plan’s viability. TanenbaumCHAT rose to the challenge! With robust fundraising targets and the implementation of operating efficiencies, we were able to reduce tuition by $9,000, per student, for five years. This initiative has been extraordinarily successful. Enrolment is strong and the school is thriving. Parents have welcomed subsidized tuition, and many more families are able to consider TanenbaumCHAT for their children.

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TanenbaumCHAT has clear sightlines to the future: sustaining reduced tuition and maintaining educational excellence are paramount. So, we’ve launched Powering TanenbaumCHAT – Now & Always, a campaign to power up our Annual Appeal and support these important goals: l Maintaining tuition reduction so that the school continues to be a viable option for as many families as possible l Academic and extra-curricular excellence providing the very best educational experience for our students l Area of greatest need to ensure we can support emerging interests and initiatives

“  Our gift is in appreciation for all

TanenbaumCHAT does for our children. We are particularly grateful for the tuition subsidy. We hope to continue to support the school and gradually repay the subsidy in years to come.  ” Dr. Russell Goldman, current parent

TanenbaumCHAT is powered by the generosity of the entire community. There are lots of ways to show your support – and every gift makes a difference.

Imagine the ongoing and limitless potential of a strong and sustainable TanenbaumCHAT!

Please make your gift today ! Scan to donate 1. Hold your phone camera over this QR code 2. W hen a notification appears, tap to go to our giving page Or visit: /giving

It’s already begun! In the following pages, you’ll get a sense of how our community is coming together to support this important campaign. To find out more, go to  | 13

L to R: Head of School, Dr. Jonathan Levy; Norm Jesin ‘74; Edie Neuberger ‘75; Toddy Granovsky; Irving Granovsky. Insets L to R: David Matlow ‘79, Corey Himell ‘20



of Celebration


n September 23, 2019, we were thrilled to honour the vision and generosity of our major donors and thank them for their ongoing support. We took the opportunity to unveil two beautiful new donor walls. One recognizes the philanthropy and commitment of major supporters to our Annual Appeal in the 2018/19 year – and we are excited to add additional names as the Powering TanenbaumCHAT campaign progresses. The second wall honours those who have contributed to permanent endowment funds, which now total more than half-a-million dollars and are held on our behalf at the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto. TanenbaumCHAT’s professional and lay leaders were in attendance, our student ambassadors were on hand to welcome our visitors, and the TanenbaumCHAT Singers, led by music teacher Jaclyn Klimitz ’03 performed. Guests included Edie Neuberger ’75 and Norm Jesin ’74, and the Granovsky family, whose combined gifts helped to launch our landmark reduced tuition initiative. “The impact of your gifts has been transformational,” acknowledged Head of School, Dr. Jonathan Levy in his remarks. Other speakers were Board President Jonathan Zepp, past parent David Matlow ’79, then-Chair of the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto, and Corey Himell ’20, President of Student Council.

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of Community


n late-January, current parents Lesli Marcus and Michael Kraft graciously hosted a gathering to launch Powering TanenbaumCHAT. Dedicated lay leaders, committee members, volunteers and parent ambassadors came together to celebrate this milestone. As Frances Bigman, Director of Advancement, noted: “We’ve made a commitment to the community to sustain and strengthen the school.” This was an important first step in educating our entire community of parents, alumni, grandparents, friends, staff and students, and considering ways in which everyone can have an opportunity to participate in this campaign.

Top R: Frances Bigman (Director of Advancement). Above left: Lesli Marcus (current parent and host) and Gillian Sinclair (Senior Advancement Officer). Above right, L to R: Melanie Kraft (Chair, Development Committee), Jonathan Zepp (President of the Board), David Mansell (Chair, Major Gifts Committee), Ray Rubin (Immediate Past President of the Board).

To find out more, go to  | 15



of Generations


nother wonderfully successful Generations Day was held at TanenbaumCHAT on November 8, 2019. At an opening assembly, our guests were entertained by a rousing throwback medley of fifties and sixties tunes played by the school band. Head of School, Dr. Jonathan Levy welcomed everyone, and Principal Renee Cohen ’95 reminisced – partly in Yiddish! – about her time as a student, and her recent transition to current parent as she carries on, “the TanenbaumCHAT tradition in my family from generation to generation, mi dor l’dor”. “This is a school like no other,” she said, “and a community that continues to thrive and that remains stronger than ever.” Other speakers were President of the Board Jonathan Zepp, and Corey Himell ’20, President of Student Council. Guests then dispersed to classrooms to join their grandchildren for some shared learning. We are immensely grateful for our visitors’ philanthropic support of TanenbaumCHAT, and their appreciation of the day. Grandparent Linda Ruskin summed up the proceedings perfectly:

“  I felt compelled to write to you after such a wonderful Generations Day celebration. The gym was filled with those of us who are blessed to share the lives of our grandchildren. What a special tribute to love, nachas and joy.  ”

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of Giving

This annual community-wide online campaign to raise funds for Toronto’s Jewish day schools took place on March 4. Support for Toronto’s only community Jewish high school was robust! The Hennick Family Atrium was transformed into a busy Call Centre staffed by parent and grandparent volunteers, and more than 60 TanenbaumCHAT students! With parent-teacher interviews happening the same day, the school was abuzz with activity. In a final tally, we doubled our goal and saw a more-than 25% increase in the number of gifts to the school over last year’s event! Sincere thanks to the hundreds of donors and volunteers who helped make the day such a success, and for supporting our efforts to keep tuition low and maintain educational excellence – Now and Always.

TanenbaumCHAT To find out more, go to  | 17

Today and



e thought it might be interesting to capture everyday life at TanenbaumCHAT.

With that mandate in mind, over a couple of afternoons in lateJanuary, Marketing Officer Daniel Malen took a stroll through the school, camera in hand. However, invoking the word “everyday” – which can be construed as “commonplace” – in reference to TanenbaumCHAT misses the mark. Walk past classrooms and down hallways, peer around every corner and through windows, and you’ll find students studying, practicing, playing, rehearsing, or conversing… always conversing! You’ll catch English and Hebrew, discussions about Talmud, instructions for Photoshop filters, snippets of engineering problems, a few bars of band practice, the blare of a timer in the gym. It’s true: this happens day in and day out. But when you stop to consider the unique synthesis of opportunities available to our students, the conclusion is clear. The power of the TanenbaumCHAT experience is undeniable. And it’s about as far from “everyday” as you could imagine. ◆ Photos: Daniel Malen

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Every Day | 19

Playing for the Tigers, and quiet moments one-on-one...

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Contemplation, collaboration, and connection... | 21

The time and space to engage in all kinds of learning... There are many ways to find yourself at TanenbaumCHAT.

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Engaging with Israel, Connecting with Peers Instilling a strong and vibrant connection to the State of Israel has always been a key component of the programming at TanenbaumCHAT. Finding peer-topeer connections makes this aspect of school life even livelier. | 23


ne of the central pillars of TanenbaumCHAT is helping to foster a strong community, locally, nationally and internationally. Building strong bonds with the State of Israel is a particular focus – and finding opportunities for our students to interact with their Israeli peers is vital. The school’s Judaic studies program provides an outstanding curricular foundation. In addition, a number of our staff are either native Israelis or have spent meaningful time living there, further enhancing the learning experience in school. However, it is often beyond the classroom that Israel is most brought to life for our students – and where there are the most opportunities for our students to connect with young Israelis. As Grade 11 student Leah Powell, a member of the Israel Engagement Council, observes, “It’s one thing to learn about Israel, but it is of incomparable value to actually interact with people from Israel.”

Our hope is that students will come to see Israel as fundamental to their Jewish identity

A great deal of exciting programming is already in place! Our shlichim (Israel emissaries), Lee Kestecher Solomon and Ariel Solomon, bring a unique energy and passion for Israel. Schlichim are uniquely placed to forge authentic connections with students. “They go out of their way to get to know the entire student body on a personal level,” says Abbi Buslovich, a Grade 12 student and also member of the Israel Engagement Council. A highlight of the year is Shavua Israel (Israel Week), organized by the Council and the shlichim. This year, the offerings included a shuk (market) in the Hennick Family Atrium, and sharing information about Israeli high-tech innovations and key figures in Israeli leadership. Seth Freiberg ’08 also spoke to students about his experiences serving in the IDF (see P. 34).

The TanenbaumCHAT welcoming committee waiting for the HaPoel Tom Eilat team to arrive for the Becker basketball tournament.

Students and staff in Israel during the 2019 Shalva trip.

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The re-established “Israel Becker International Invitational” basketball tournament leverages the love of sports to bring youth from Eilat, Israel – as well as from various cities in North America – to TanenbaumCHAT. It’s an exciting week of shared meals, learning experiences and recreational events, coupled with enormous ruach (spirit) on the court and off. Taking our students to Israel is also a priority. In March 2019, 36 students accompanied by three teachers, headed to Israel for a multi-faceted trip. They began with a visit to a Tel Aviv high school where, as teacher Jordan Hoffman notes, “it was very special to see our students quickly develop bonds with the Israeli students.” Our students literally pounded the pavement in the Jerusalem marathon in support of the Shalva Children’s Centre, an organization that helps people with special needs. During a beautiful Shabbat experience our cohort mingled with hundreds of students from the U.S. and the U.K. The kotel, the Ben Yeduda midrachov (pedestrian walkway) and the shuk were also on the itinerary. We will be continuing to find ways to enhance opportunities for our students to connect with their Israeli peers. For example, looking forward, ShinShinim – young Israeli leaders who have just finished high school – will be at TanenbaunCHAT next year to participate in a seminar with our students and help to organize various activities. “Overall, our hope is that students will come to see Israel as fundamental to their Jewish identity,” says Dr. Levy and that they “will have a personal connection to the people of Israel”. ◆

TanenbaumCHAT alumni: Do you live in Israel, or have you made Aliyah or served in the IDF? Let us know! Contact Laurence (Lola) Barchichat, Alumni Relations Officer, at

We will continue to find ways to enhance opportunities for our students to connect with their peers in Israel Students at the shuk (market) in the Hennick Family Atrium during Israel Week, with shlichim Ariel (foreground, right) and Lee (behind, third from right). | 25

& Dr. Leon Litvack ’79, Reader at the School of Arts, English and Languages at Queen’s University Belfast, has been appointed to the Advisory Council on National Records and Archives (ACNRA), an independent body in the UK that deals with Freedom of Information requests. Dr. Litvack has held a range of public appointments in the areas of peace and reconciliation, and arts and culture. His primary academic research area is the life and works of Charles Dickens. He has written and lectured widely, and he is an expert analyst of Dickens’s letters, manuscripts, and handwriting. Of his new position, he observed that, “it will allow me to employ my expertise at a whole new level, by ensuring that the decisions I make best serve the public interest.”

We were saddened by the passing of Mel Finkelstein z”l, devoted champion of Jewish education, TanenbaumCHAT Board President from 1982 to 1988, and parent of alumni Kim ’80, Richard ’81 and Ari ’89. Mel’s leadership, financial acumen, and unwavering vision were critical in making this a true community school in the early years following the move from Neptune Drive (where the school originated as part of Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto) to Wilmington Avenue. May his memory be a blessing.

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Mitchell Marcus ’00 was selected as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 for 2019. Mitchell is the founder and Artistic & Managing Director of the Musical Stage Company, a not-for-profit organization. The company’s work has been recognized with numerous theatre awards and its attendance surpasses 30,000 people per year. Mitchell’s other endeavours include six years as Associate Producer at Luminato, Creative Producer for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize, producer of the Dora Awards, and academic positions in the arts management departments at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University. He is the recipient of the 2017 Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award for Outstanding Leadership in Administration, and was a finalist for the 2018 Roy Thomson Hall Award from the Toronto Arts Foundation recognizing contribution to Toronto’s musical life.

It was while he was working as a summer camp counsellor at the Hebrew Academy for Special Children in New York that Lior Ohayon ’10 first encountered weighted blankets. Originally designed to help children who are on the autism spectrum or who have anxiety disorders, the deep pressure they provide has been shown to dramatically reduce stress and anxiety in the wider population too. In October 2019, Lior and his business partner Aaron Spivak appeared on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. Their pitch for Hush Blankets, their answer to weighted covers, was so convincing that the Dragons’ entered into an aggressive bidding war. Hush Blankets have proven to be so popular, they’ve been sold out for months. Lior considers his time at TanenbaumCHAT as the best years of his life and says that his high school friends are still his family.

Tyler Rochwerg ’10 was recently named a Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient in the Marketing & Advertising category. The annual list recognizes the movers and shakers who shape their industries. Rochwerg began at healthcare company Johnson & Johnson as an intern working in their Markham office, and today he serves as Digital Marketing and Innovation Manager for the company’s Neutrogena brand, based out of Los Angeles. He led the design and marketing campaign for Neutrogena Skin360, an at-home skin analysis app.

While still in Grade 11 at TanenbaumCHAT, musician Erez Zobary ’14 developed vocal nodules and lost her upper register. Rising to the challenge, she switched musical direction turning to a distinctive blend of R&B, neo-soul and electronica. In July 2019, she released her debut album, July Clouds, to critical acclaim. The album was written and recorded with Class of 2014 friends, musician Adam Eisen, producer David Lipson, and Josh Nash, who was responsible for trumpet and saxophone arrangements. The album’s first single, Before I Knew You, made it onto Spotify’s “Fresh Finds” playlists. Erez was also the Song of the Week artist on CBC Radio’s Here and Now Toronto. Amanda Silcoff ’14 is a vocal coach, music director, performer and entrepreneur. After graduating with an Honours Bachelor degree in Music Theatre Performance from Sheridan College, she launched Spotlight Academy, along with co-founder Michelle Newman. Their “Triple Threat Training Program” allows students of all skill levels to explore their creativity, develop performance technique, and build confidence. As a TanenbaumCHAT alum, the idea of community had always been important to Amanda, and she says she is, “thrilled to be giving young people a space where they can celebrate their strengths and feel like they belong.”

Noam Gilboord ’03 is the COO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC). In January 2020, in response to growing tensions in New York State and New Jersey, he organized a march against antisemitism. The 25,000-strong crowd walked from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Noam credits his time at TanenbaumCHAT, and the extracurricular activities and shabbatonim (weekend retreats) he attended as a student here, for his passion for Jewish leadership. He says that he is “grateful to the Toronto Jewish community for giving me the opportunity to develop” into a leader.

University of Toronto student, Sofia Freudenstein ’16, was dismayed to find her participation in Frosh week limited due to the lack of availability of kosher food, so she embarked on a campaign to bring items with a hechsher (kosher certification) to the university. Some Student Union officials, claiming that Hillel is a Zionist organization, refused to help. However, the university was receptive, and an outpouring of support meant that within two months, kosher options were available in U of T shops. The Student Union reps in question were required to undergo racial sensitivity training. Sofia credits her time at TanenbaumCHAT with her comfort in advocating, and in practicing her Judaism on her terms. | 27

Aaron Schimmer with, L to R, Pamela ’17, wife Ettie, and Howard ’20.

Profiling Alumni We are extraordinarily proud of our alumni and the contributions they make – professionally, personally, and in the community. We are prouder still of the fact that our grads remember the school with fondness, and that for so many, the TanenbaumCHAT experience was deeply influential. They note the benefits of a dual curriculum, the skills that were fostered, connections to Judaism and Israel that were nurtured, and friendships that still endure. Our “Profiling Alumni” feature gives us the opportunity to hear firsthand from our grads and find out what they’re up to. This issue, we catch up with current parent, Dr. Aaron Schimmer ’87.

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Dr. Aaron D. Schimmer ’87, MD, PhD, FRCPC is the Director of Research, Senior Scientist and Staff Physician at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network in Toronto. He is also a Professor in the departments of Medicine, Medical Biophysics, and Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Toronto, and a past president of the Canadian Hematology Society. After medical school at the University of Toronto, and specialty and subspecialty training in internal medicine and hematology, he received his PhD in Molecular Biology in 2001 followed by post-doctoral training at the Burnham Institute in San Diego, CA. Dr. Schimmer’s clinical practice is focused on treating patients with acute leukemia and related disorders, while his laboratory research centres on developing new therapeutic strategies for leukemia. He has authored some 235 publications and is an inventor on more than 20 patent applications. He has received over 35 awards and honours for academic achievement. These include election to the American Society of Clinical Investigation, Scholar in Clinical Research by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and Top 40 Under 40 in Canada. What skills did you develop at TanenbaumCHAT that have been instrumental to your success? My experiences at CHAT provided the framework and preparation for my future career in medicine and science. Through its rigorous academic program and double curriculum,

I learned time management, organizational skills, efficiency, and the proper work ethic – all of which remain essential for my current roles in research and clinical practice. The Jewish education I received at CHAT helped me develop my ethical framework and moral compass that I use regularly when making decisions in the research institute and patient care. Walk us through a day in the life as the Director of Research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.  The day as the Director of Research is long and busy, but also very exciting. I am privileged to lead the research activities of over 1500 faculty, staff and trainees at Canada’s largest cancer centre and one of the top five cancer research institutes in the world. I also run my own cancer research laboratory focused on developing new treatments for patients with acute leukemia. Finally, in my role as a staff physician at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, I care for patients with leukemia and related disorders. Outside the research lab and hospital, I enjoy spending time with my family participating in fitness activities including hiking and kickboxing. Why do you think Jewish day school education is important? My wife Ettie and I were privileged to attend Jewish day schools and we are proud parents of Pamela ’17 and Howard ’20. Jewish education, and TanenbaumCHAT in particular, instills a love for Israel, a connection to a rich culture and heritage, and the toolkit to address the myriad ethical and social issues that one will encounter in the years ahead. In addition, TanenbaumCHAT provides the robust general studies curriculum that will prepare its graduates for all career options in the future. ◆

Greetings from our new Alumni Relations Officer, Laurence (Lola) Barchichat I am delighted to be the new Alumni Relations Officer for TanenbaumCHAT. Coming from a background in Jewish community organizing and event planning, I am thrilled to be associated with such an esteemed institution that fulfills an integral need in our community. As an alumna of Montreal’s Jewish day schools, I know firsthand how the Jewish day school experience instills Jewish values, creates cohesive communities, and forges young leaders. Since moving to Toronto from Montreal 18 months ago, I’ve felt embraced by this community. The chance to be able to give back is incredibly exciting. I’ve gotten to know alumni at the school and there is a passion that is palpable when listening to them speak about their time as a student here. I am eager to multiply points of engagement and continue to connect (or reconnect!) with our more than 8,000 alumni. Future projects include a reboot of our mentorship program, a millennial alumni fundraising initiative (see P. 33), and publishing a bi-monthly digital newsletter. Please reach out to get involved, share your nachas news, or just to say hi! I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you. I can be reached at: or 416-636-5984 Ext. 377

Sonya Ben Ishai ’15 returned to TanenbaumCHAT in September 2019 as Coordinator of Student Jewish Activities. She says that her TanenbaumCHAT teachers were her inspiration for enrolling in the concurrent education program at Queens’ University. That inspiration has now come full circle and for Sonya it has “been a dream come true, not only to return to a place that feels like home, but to be an educator in the Student Jewish Activities Program that shaped my Jewish identity.” Sonya loves the opportunity to work with students and says she continues to, “learn from them daily.” Ultimately, her hope is to “ignite a spark so that they develop their own TanenbaumCHAT connection through Jewish programming.” | 29

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Samantha Landy ’10 & Adam Litwin ’11

Julian Smith ’09 & Calli Waisglass ’10

Allie Gottlieb ’12 & Matthew Cole

Brandon Adler ’08 & Devyn Bauman

Zane Brickman ’09 & Laura Elman ’09

Michael Kohl ’97 (Current Staff) & Allison Todrin

Ally Krystal ’08 & Harley Meirovich

Simone Orlan ’11 & Zak Schwartz

Lori Ossip ’11 & Jacob Silverman

Nathaniel Belmont ’12 & Meira Snitman

Jordan Elmalem ’12 & Eden Peters ’12

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WEDDINGS Hayley Lipworth ’11 & David Cohen

Ariel ’02 & Zachary Tobe ’02

Daniella Ekstein ’15 & Ilan Farber ’12

Esther Mochon Senado ’13 & Ben Buckler

Eve Hurowitz ’10 & Adam Jerusalim

Jacob Gallinger ’06 & Lauren Krasin

Jaime Marco ’10 & James Calverley

Marlee Friedlich ’10 & Justin Friedlich ’11

Noah Stern ’10 & Jenna Stern ’11

Zoey Katz ’12 & Eyal Kraut

Dani Palter ’11 & Luc Rubinger

Tovi Ander ’11 & Yonathan Pellow

Adam Handler ’10 & Arielle Zahavi ’09 | 31

BIRTHS Jax Spencer & Cooper James Laurel Sas Cohen ’07 & Matthew Cohen ’05

Liam Finn Aaron Koplowitz ’06 & Marlee Koplowitz

Yoni Asher

Ann Shirley

Talia Gabrielle

(and sister Sienna)

Simcha David

Allan Socken ’00 & Michelle Socken

Rebecca Cherniak ’06 & Noah Kochman

Steven Glowinsky ’00 & Danielle Glowinsky

Shai Spetgang ’94 & Sarah Collis Spetgang


Ezra Max

Shira Unterman ’08 & Ari Unterman ’08

Yael Bogler ’02 & Daniel Bernholtz

Jonah Eli

Riley Miles

Ethan Nathan


Seth Stern ’05 & Beckie Saslove

Melissa Lass ’01 & Ross Linker

Aaron Silver ’04 & Alexandria Fanjoy Silver (Current Staff)

Ariella English Orner ’04 & Daniel Orner

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Billy Asher Jesse Tepperman ’09 & Alexa Tepperman

Adin Joseph

(and brother Charlie) Batya Nadler ’01 & Matt Albert

Henry Lev

Noah Levi

Bryan Flatt ’08 & Sophie Gottesman ’07

Tamara Elituv ’08 & Justin Goldrich ’06

Jamie Lou

Cole Judah (with siblings Olivia & Brody)

Maya Jaclyn Cayla Solomon ’03 & Jay Solomon

Power From Zack Belzberg ’05 Chair, The Power of Alumni

I am excited to share with you an important new initiative: The Power of Alumni Class Challenge. My TanenbaumCHAT story starts in the year 2000. I was an eighth grader at an all-boys independent school – a happy and involved middle schooler. I had every intention of graduating from the school I had attended the prior six years. Things changed when I went on a tour of TanenbaumCHAT. There was an indescribable energy about the place. Now, as a CHAT alum, I fondly remember my time on Student Council, sports teams, Model United Nations and in school plays. A few years ago, I visited the school and noticed that the halls felt empty. Tuition had skyrocketed to $27,500. Our beloved school had effectively priced out many Jewish families. I firmly believe that Jewish education should be available to everyone, regardless of financial capabilities. To think that hundreds of students in our Jewish community were not getting the opportunity to experience a TanenbaumCHAT education was devastating.

Sheryl (Korenzvit) Jesin ’97 & Jacob Jesin ’97

Hayley Baranek ’08 & Uriel Elituv ’06

In 2017, through remarkable donations from alumni Edie Neuberger ’75 and Norm Jesin ’74, and from the Granovsky family, tuition was significantly lowered and enrollment immediately began to increase. TanenbaumCHAT is now back on top! We – TanenbaumCHAT alumni – must step up and help ensure that the school’s success continues. There are more than 8,000 of us, all with our own unique story and affinity for our high school. Over the coming weeks, you will be receiving an email or call from one of your classmates. Please consider making an annual donation to help assure the future of our school. We have already secured a $100,000 matching gift for this initiative! We are focusing on grads from 2000 to 2015 – but alumni from any year are invited to be in touch to help mobilize their cohort! Together we can transform the future of TanenbaumCHAT and strengthen all of Toronto’s Jewish community. Join us! If you’d like to get more involved, please contact Laurence Barchichat, Alumni Relations Officer at Find out more at | 33

Alumni Back at TanenbaumCHAT Whether they were attending special alumni events, or visiting the school to support our students, we were thrilled to welcome many alumni back to TanenbaumCHAT.

Among the Rabbis at our Yom Iyun study morning in October 2019 (see P. 5), was Rabbi Adam Cutler ’00 who serves as Senior Rabbi at Adath Israel Congregation. Of his career choice he notes that, “everything about CHAT propelled me on this journey,” adding that, “the school fosters an environment with personal Jewish connection rooted in Jewish texts.” As far as Rabbi Cutler is concerned, being back at TanenbaumCHAT, “is always a delight and brings back a lot of wonderful memories.” We were thrilled to discover that a team that visited TanenbaumCHAT in December 2019 to update the school’s AV infrastructure included design engineer, Justin Blau ’01! When asked about his impressions of TanenbaumCHAT today, he said: “it’s wonderful to see how CHAT has managed to modernize its curriculum whilst keeping its roots in the core values of Judaism.”

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In preparation for an upcoming volunteer trip to Kenya, our students were excited to hear from Adam Hummel ’03, who was in school in January 2019 to talk with students about his own volunteer experience and life-changing mission to Kenya in 2008. Adam founded the Kenya Peace Project, a grassroots organization charged with building relationships within and between Kenyan communities. Through fundraising, he has assisted the villages he worked with in organizing soccer tournaments, workshops, and the building of a community centre. His book Amani Haki Yetu: Peace Is Our Right (Iuniverse Inc, 2012) details his experiences in Kenya.

During Shavua Israel (Israel Week) in February 2020, Seth Frieberg ’08 spoke to students about his experiences as a Lone Soldier in the Israel Defense Forces. Bringing into focus his personal connection to Israel, he noted that “this was basically 14 months where every day I was doing something that, for me, was a meaningful and substantial way to give back to Israel.”

Jamie Marco ’10 was in school in September 2019 for TanenbaumCHAT’s community service fair. (See Quick Study, P. 10) She was representing the Reena Foundation as Coordinator of Outreach & Respite Services. Reena is a nonprofit organization that supports people with developmental disabilities and provides opportunities for clients to socialize, develop independence and access their community.

Class Reunions: Reconnecting and Reminiscing On September 16, 2019, Gary Mansfield ‘66 hosted a Class of 1966 reunion with some of his graduating class, in honour of classmate Mark Okrent who was visiting from Israel. On May 29, 2019, the graduating classes of 1989 and 1999 joined forces and celebrated their 30th and 20th reunions, respectively, with a casual night of kosher sushi, live jazz and catching up! We were so excited to have the TCK Class of 2009 back at TanenbaumCHAT on October 2, 2019 to celebrate their 10-year reunion with a great night of reconnecting and schmoozing. To organize a class reunion, contact Laurence Barchichat, Alumni Relations Officer, at / 416-636-5984 Ext. 377


e will soon be welcoming the newest cohort of TanenbaumCHAT alumni: the Class of 2020. Even as they head out to embark on whatever adventures come next, we look forward to seeing them back at TanenbaumCHAT as visitors, supporters, advocates – and perhaps eventually as parents! Graduation is a wonderful time to honour the high school journey of a child or grandchild by making a gift to TanenbaumCHAT. The graduating class giving program: The Power of Grads, Class of 2020 supports the Powering

TanenbaumCHAT campaign, dedicated to sustaining reduced tuition and maintaining educational excellence. To honour a graduating student with a gift to TanenbaumCHAT, please visit: gradgiving “Together we can ensure that the school that provided an exceptional education for our children will be able to provide that same opportunity for generations to come.�

The Power of Grads, Class of 2020 committee. Standing, from left: Charlene Orelowitz, Lesley Raubvogel, Elisa Garay, Tammy Lindover, Bonnie Pollack, Paula Zivot, Vered Feldman, Ettie Schimmer, Suzy Kauffman ‘90, Jodi Tanentzap Sitting, from left: Lisa Keshen, Michelle Langburt, Melanie Kraft Not pictured: Melissa Snider Adler, Hayley Braverman, Lorraine Fairbloom-Levinson, Talya Himell, Tamara Kerbel, Carole Langer, Elyse Levinsky, Elissa Weinberg ‘90

Melissa Snider-Adler, parent of 2020 graduate

“As they prepare to take their next step, it is appropriate to look back, say thank you and pay it forward to the next group of kids that can benefit from a TanenbaumCHAT education.� Jodi Tanentzap, parent of 2020 graduate | 35

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