Dear Eitz Chaim Family,


These are exciting times for our school, and as Eitz Chaim continues to strategically move forward towards consolidation and the focused improvement of our academic programming and operational efficiencies, we know that many of you have questions.

Change is never easy, and it is important for us to maintain an open channel of communication. Beginning this past summer and extending into the fall, we held “Kitchen Table Meetings” at the homes of Eitz Chaim Parent Ambassadors. Dozens of parents attended the respective meetings, held across our constituent neighbourhoods, and it was important to us that parents and friends of our school had the opportunity to voice their concerns, questions and ideas. This communication comes to let you know that we heard you, and we continue to hear you.

There were several themes that repeated over the various meetings, and we took them very seriously. The following are some of the top issues that were raised, and how we, as a school, have already taken concrete measures to resolve and improve them.

We hope that these first steps will reassure you that your voices are being heard, that your concerns are our concerns, and that we believe that the journey to an even better, more vibrant and successful future will be reached by collaborating and working together.

While dozens of topics were tabled during the parent meetings, there were three themes that were recurrent and resonant: “Who is Eitz Chaim?”, girls’ consolidation questions, and the issue of home-school communication.

Who Is Eitz Chaim?

The questions of who we are as a school and who are the families that we serve, are ones that we hear frequently.  While we have evolved over the past one hundred years, many of our essential core values and trademark characteristics are the same as they have always been. The combination thereof is what makes us uniquely and proudly Eitz Chaim.
We Hear You!

We heard your questions, and in response, we recently released a detailed video message to outline the four fundamental pillars upon which our school stands:


Whole-family growth as עובדי השם;

Communal אחדות, accepting any family that wishes to adhere to our standards of הלכה, צניעות, and דרך החיים-- irrespective of background, neighbourhood, or social class

Raising children who will proudly and confidently wave the banner of אהבת תורה ויראת שמים at the forefront of their life journeys, encountering the world on our hashkafic terms, and filtering decisions through the prism of Torah

Pursuit of excellence in both לימודי קדש and General Studies, by both celebrating our strengths and honestly embracing our weaknesses as areas for constant improvement and growth. We are proud of each and every one of our students and it is our goal to inspire and empower them to strive toward their highest potential in all areas of their lives.

Girls’ Consolidation Questions

In the near-term, families eagerly seek information regarding busing and transportation, daily schedules, the precise timeline of the consolidation, and what initiatives are in place to help girls and their parents mesh together socially and academically.

We Hear You!
We heard your concerns, and this is what we have done thus far.  We have:
01. Developed

a modest parent committee to assist in determining the viability of maintaining a Grades 2 and 3 girls’ presence in Thornhill

02. Established

a committee of mothers to help determine and vet various transportation considerations

03. Engaged

bus companies to ascertain the most efficient, comfortable, safe, and timely manner of transportation for our girls

04. Facilitated

the consultation and collaboration between principals to determine optimal scheduling that makes logical, logistical and suitable sense for the school and our families

05. Tasked

the principals and senior faculty with conducting a thorough review of academics and operations to ensure optimal and equivalent curricula for all our students 

06. Launched

a committee of mothers to help determine and vet various transportation considerations

07. Encouraged

class by class home-hosted gatherings of mothers to familiarize families from both ends of the city

Home-School Communication

As a direct result of calls from our parents for the enhanced transparency and the sharing of information, we have been working to enhance our home-school communication.
We Hear You!

We have been responding with the: 

Personal faculty outreach to parents as the school year commenced

Enhanced monthly and weekly faculty updates to parents

Expansion and enhancement of Eitz Chaim’s weekly publication Happenings to reflect the exciting and innovative achievements, programs and developments within the school

Launch of myECS, our new user-friendly database platform to provide broader information, oversight and engagement for parents

Development of a publication about Eitz Chaim’s lay leadership, to provide data, facts, figures, and general information on the make-up of our Board of Directors and other volunteer committees and opportunities (still in process)

As you have read, we are making a very conscious effort to not just “hear” you but really “listen” to your thoughts and concerns.  We have taken concrete steps toward meeting the requests for improvements and enhancements, and we are soliciting parental feedback and input on practically every level.  For over one hundred years, Eitz Chaim has been known as the “community school” within Toronto’s Orthodox community.  We remain steadfast in our mandate to welcome any family that represents the ideals we reflect in our mission with open arms.
Change is never easy and a certain level of apprehension is to be expected.  We know though, that with change comes opportunity, and that the very reason for these changes is to capitalize upon the various opportunities that we have identified as we move forward into the next vibrant chapter of Eitz Chaim’s history.

While the initial reactions to our consolidation, merger and relocation announcements over the past few months have been mixed, we are gratified that at this point in time, many families have come to recognize the merits in the moves that we are undertaking. The surge of positivity, goodwill and interest in school volunteerism point to a mood that is productive, encouraging, and yes, even joyful and proud.

We are on the cusp of the type of academic and cultural paradigm shift that will reinforce Eitz Chaim’s position at the helm of Orthodox schools here in the GTA.  You, our families, are our greatest strengths and assets, and we know that together, we can achieve untold success.  Please, keep the collaborative conversation going, and always remember that We Hear You!  

We Hear You!


Rabbi Shlomo Schwartz

Head of School

Mrs. Adina Abramov

Chief Operations Officer

כ”ח כסלו תשע״ט
December 6, 2018