Hear how Ottawa’s public school board finally decided to take formal action against antisemitism

school board meeting
The Ottawa-Carleton District School board trustees voted on Tuesday,Jan. 17. 2023, to recommend hiring of a Jewish Equity Coach to help students and staff combat rising antisemitism in the schools. Teacher Lisa Levitan (bottom left) receives 2-3 calls per day with reports of Jew hatred in the schools. David Baker (bottom right) told the trustees they should be ashamed of the board’s handling of his son’s antisemitic classmates.

Lisa Levitan founded the Jewish Educators Group to help Ottawa-Carleton District School Board staffers like herself cope with increasing hatred.

The award-winning elementary school teacher says she receives “two or three calls or emails a day” about antisemitism directed at colleagues or students—which she immediately sends to the appropriate principal and to the school board’s team.

But the responses seemed insufficient until this week, when the trustees passed a motion to hire a Jewish equity coach.

It was partly the result of Levitan’s lobbying, which included collecting over 1,000 signatures on a petition.

The CJN Daily takes you behind the scenes of the school board’s Jan. 17 committee hearing before Lisa Levitan joins to explain why she hopes it marked a turning point for Jews in Ottawa’s school system.

What we talked about:

  • Read more about the Jewish Equity Coach motion in this story in The CJN
  • Hear what life is like for Jewish students in Ottawa’s public schools on The CJN Daily
  • Learn why Jewish students were scared of a pro-Palestinian student rally in Ottawa in this story in The CJN


    The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here.