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On Chanukah, religious freedom and public faith
07 Dec 2018

On Chanukah, religious freedom and public faith

Dear friends and families, I was part of a panel discussion at a symposium last week in Ottawa, organized by the Cardus Religious Freedom Institute. Cardus is a Christian think tank, and I had gotten involved in this interfaith effort at the request of CIJA, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, after meeting with the institute’s director, Father Deacon Andrew Bennett, in the fall of...

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The struggle to protect
09 Nov 2018

The struggle to protect

Dear families and friends, This week’s Torah portion, Toldot, opens with Yitzchak and Rivkah struggling for years to conceive. They pray to God for help, and in their 20th year of marriage, Rivkah becomes pregnant with twins. It’s your standard pregnancy with pickles and chips, and sending Yitzchak for late night runs to the depanneur for Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice-cream (“don’t bother coming back without it”...

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19 Oct 2018

Go to yourself

Dear families and friends, We had a school-wide Kabbalat Shabbat today, in which we gathered as a school community to sing and pray, celebrate and bring in Shabbat together. In between the chicken soup and the fish course (just kiddding, just grape juice and challah), I had a chance to speak to the students and I would like to share with you what I shared...

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Post-flood parenting
11 Oct 2018

Post-flood parenting

Dear friends and families, A conversation I had with my five-year-old last night when I was putting him to bed has stayed with me long after he drifted off to sleep. We’re lying on the bed together, going over what happened in each of our days, and after we sang the Shma together, I told him: “You know, Hashem loves you.” He’s quiet for a...

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Why do we fall?
14 Sep 2018

Why do we fall?

Yom Kippur. The Fast Day when my attention turns to… Batman Begins. If you want to distill a key theological understanding of Yom Kippur down to one scene in the movies, this is the one for you. In the scene from the brilliant 2005 movie, a badly injured and despondent Bruce Wayne is rescued by his trusty butler Alfred, who, in his perfect British accent,...

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We are in this together
05 Sep 2018

We are in this together

Dear families and friends,  chères familles et amis, With a few days to go before Rosh Hashanah, my thoughts always turn to the writings of the first Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel, Rav Kook (1865-1935), and his teachings of teshuvah (penitence) in his classic spiritual work Orot HaTeshuvah (‘Lights of Penitence’). Allow me to explain. You see, I have a big problem over the High Holidays....

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2017-18… That’s a wrap!
22 Jun 2018

2017-18… That’s a wrap!

Dear Families and Friends, Mazal tov on what has been a very busy and very productive year at HFS; I cannot believe the year is almost over! With summer plans, camps and a relaxing break just around the corner, I wanted to offer some observations on the year that was and some thoughts about what lies ahead.  The end of the school year provides a...

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A-Ha Moment
16 Sep 2016

A-Ha Moment

“One morning, I stood at the fence watching all the children line up after the school bell had rung. The lines were straight and teachers had begun to lead students into the school.  It was then that I noticed a heartwarming moment at HFS…  A teacher stepped out of line with a student who had just had a moment of sickness, got another teacher to...

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