Hebrew Academy paid tribute to the courageous fallen soldiers and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces on Remembrance Day with solemn commemorations.

In a moving High School assembly led by School Rabbi Rabbi Eddie Shostak, Head of School Dr. Laura Segall underscored the contributions of Jewish Canadians who served in the Armed Forces and spoke about the imperative of Tikkun Olam.

“As Jews we understand and live the principle of Tikkun Olam, our duty to improve the world and make it a better place. We are encouraged, each and every one of us, to contribute to the common good, to build homes and families, to create and uphold civil societies based on care, compassion, justice, integrity and peace no matter where we live. The Rambam teaches that every person should see himself and the entire world as a delicate balance where even one small deed can tip himself and the whole world towards the good. Today, we remember those whose personal sacrifice, whose incredible acts of Tikkun Olam made way for the privileged life we enjoy today,” she said.

Highlights of the assembly included video reflections and prayers for the welfare of the Canadian Armed Forces and Government.

In Elementary School each class marked November 11th with dedicated activities in both English and French. Mrs. Renee Pervin’s 4A and 2A English classes learned extensively about Remembrance Day as part of a unit exploring the symbolism of the poppy and the meaning of peace. All students were encouraged to share “ways that [they] can be kinder to [their] family and friends, especially when we disagree or when there is a problem to solve,” on a Remembrance Day Wall on Mrs. Renee’s blog.

2A composed acrostic poems about peace and notes to their friends, while 4A read short stories, wrote letters and participated in an interactive digital activity. Both classes also learned about “The Poppy Lady”, Georgian professor Moina Belle Michael, who conceived the idea of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance.

“I liked remembering the soldiers who died in the wars,” said 4A’s Rachel Adler. “We read poetry about Remembrance Day. I really liked how the words caught the image of what happened.”

For Mrs. Renee, teaching her students’ about Remembrance Day ahead of November 11th makes it all the more significant for them on the actual date.

“Every year, we do a few activities leading up to Remembrance Day. Through discussion, stories, videos and poetry, the children have opportunities to relate to this important day in their own way. My hope in doing these activities is to make the day more meaningful for them. My younger students enjoy thinking of how they can create peace, either at school or in their community. My older students are always inspired when they hear the story about Moina Belle Michael, a humanitarian from Georgia who first proposed the wearing of the poppy to remember the fallen soldiers and war veterans. At the end of this mini-unit, the students have gained a deeper understanding of Remembrance Day and a true appreciation for what it means to fight for what you believe in.”

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–  Aviva Engel, Director of Communications

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