Principal: Suzanne Hersh
Let’s start with the most important thing: I am the mother of Levi, 19, and Bessie, 16. Many times through the years I have said to my kids that there are three things which I hope will always be part of their lives: Judaism… and fruits and vegetables. I wish to impress this idea on the students of Habonim as well!
Since graduating some decades ago from Queen’s Artist in the Community Education Programme, I have taught children and adults in various settings, from federal prisons to public and parochial schools. For the last thirteen years I have been teaching elementary French at Bialik Hebrew Day School. At Holy Blossom Temple’s Shabbat Family Service, I will begin my eighth year leading a break-out group for older children in which we consider the weekly Torah portion and the holidays in creative ways. I also enjoy chanting Torah a few times a year at HBT. In 2012 I began teaching at the Jewish Heritage School and at the Downtown Jewish Community School. Aside from teaching, my husband and I direct a small, independent theatre company (www.thresholdtheatre.ca). In 2012 we staged a reading of The Bird of the Ghetto by the Yiddish writer Chava Rosenfarb, as part of Holocaust Education Week. It was the first time this play was presented in English.
B’nai Mitzvah Program Director: Adi Barel
Adi moved to Toronto from Shoham, Israel in 2005. She studied Psychology, Education and Jewish Studies at York University, and is currently a Jewish Studies homeroom teacher at Bialik Viewmount. She enjoys exploring new places and hopes to visit a fair bit of the world before retirement.
Adi joined Habonim in 2014, and was highly immersed in other formal and informal Jewish settings for as long as she can remember. She is keen in helping youth strengthen their Jewish identities and is a true believer in student-led, inquiry-based and project-based learning. Adi received the Lieutenant Governor’s Community Volunteer Award during her high school years, and has since committed to enhance her students’ experiences through community involvement as well.
The main focus of the Bnai Mitzvah Program is Tikkun Olam, a value that asks us to act to achieve an ideal society via acts of social justice and Tzedakah. Through research, collaboration, art projects and volunteer work, the Bnai Mitzvahs will embark on a journey that will challenge them to explore and enhance their connectedness with Judaism, while pondering about the new responsibilities they will assume when they undergo the Gil Mitzvah rite of passage.