Faced with more school shutdowns in Ontario, Jewish parents are fighting back

Protesters, including many observant Jews, gathered outside the Nordstrom department store at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto to speak out against school closures in Ontario. (Photo courtesy Aubrey Freedman)

Last week, about 100 parents showed up at Yorkdale Mall to protest against the latest round of school closures imposed by the Ontario government. It might be the first time since in Ontario, the pandemic began, that many organized protesters are visibly observant Jews, including parents of students at Jewish day schools.

Ontario is unique in North America for keeping schools closed for so long—since the pandemic began, students have lost 27 weeks of in-person learning. Yet as virtual school continues, shopping malls such as Yorkdale have been allowed to continue operating, albeit with reduced capacity.

For some parents, this most recent shutdown was the last straw. Among those aggrieved parents is Aubrey Freedman, the organizer of the Yorkdale protests, who has young sons enrolled in Netivot HaTorah Day School. Freedman and her children join to discuss their motivations for protesting, their frustration with the province and what daily life is like in a house with four kids stuck at home.

What we talked about:


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