TORONTO — Now that Netivot HaTorah Day School is celebrating its 25th anniversary, people understand that “it’s not an experiment.
“We’re part of the landscape,” school president Dov Rosenblum told The CJN. Since he became involved as a parent some 14 years ago, he has seen Netivot become “a mature school.”
The coeducational modern Orthodox, Zionist day school runs from nursery to Grade 8, and has 550 students, most of them located in Netivot’s building in Thornhill, where it moved in 1993.
Last fall, the school opened a small southern preschool branch housed at Shaarei Shomayim Congregation.
As a modern Orthodox school, one of its main precepts is “having a relationship with all Jews, and with the greater world,” said Rosenblum.
But, he noted, educational excellence is “at the top of the agenda.”
On May 25, a 25th anniversary dinner will be held at the Paramount Banquet Hall honouring the memory of Avrom Silver, a school founder. It will be the culmination of a series of events honouring the anniversary.
Proceeds will go to an endowment fund in Silver’s memory.
Earlier this year Netivot reunions were held in Toronto and Israel, where about 16 per cent of the school’s almost 900 graduates have moved, according to statistics provided by the school’s director of development, Alan Steinfeld.
At least 15 alumni serve in the IDF, he added. Alumni can also be found in the fields of medicine, business, science, law and accounting, Steinfeld said.
Steinfeld, who describes himself as Netivot’s resident historian, said that he and his wife felt “it was worth taking the chance” of sending their oldest son to Netivot’s first junior kindergarten class, held at Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am Synagogue. He was among 42 JK, SK and Grade 1 students that year, and the first of the four Steinfeld children to attend Netivot.
“We really liked the hashgafah [religious philosophy] of the school. It suited our personal hashgafah,” said Steinfeld, who has been on staff since 1987.
At Beth David, Steinfeld recalls, the gym did double duty as a lunch room, and students sat at tables on wheels that had to be moved out of the way for gym class.
He added that, now that the school has its own building, it is able to have a basketball team and can offer other extracurricular activities that weren’t previously available.
In the late 1980s, Steinfeld said, the school needed more classroom space, and the higher grades were housed at Temple Sinai.
Four years later, there was a third campus, located for a year at Thornhill’s Beth Avraham Yoseph of Toronto Congregation.
“Certainly the growth of the school has been a phenomenal change,” said Steinfeld.
For further information about the dinner, call Shaindy at 905-771-1234, ext. 25 or go to www.netivot.com/dinner.