TanenbaumCHAT Teaches


In this series, over the course of five evenings, we will offer sessions taught by our school’s stellar roster of educators and staff, and covering a range of Jewish and General studies topics. 

New this year is our TanenbaumCHAT Teaches: Hall of Fame edition, one very special not-to-be-missed evening, brought to you by our Parent Alumni Committee. 

Each class is $18 and we welcome a donation to the Powering TanenbaumCHAT Annual Fund in support of tuition assistance.

Scroll down for the 2023-2024 schedule and courses offered.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023, at 7:00PM: Hall-of-Fame edition!


Teacher: Rabbi Dr. David Aronson
Topic: Hanukkah: historical context and inspiration through the ages

Course Outline:

As the holiday approaches, we will explore what Hanukkah commemorates and why it has been a source of inspiration throughout the ages. Key to this will be a discussion of the historical background of the holiday. We will focus on Jewish opposition to the policies of the Syrian-Greek king  from 175 to 142 BCE in Judah, as well as on the internal divisions within Jewish society at the time. 


Teacher: Alex Gropper
Topic: My life in ruins: 55 years in archaeology 

Course Outline:

As Jews, we are called the "People of the Book.” Archaeology has illuminated that book – the Bible. By the late 1970s, Alex had participated in excavations at Ai, Caesarea and the City of David. As president of the Canadian Institute for Mediterranean Studies (CIMS), he was instrumental in bringing the Dead Sea Scrolls to Canada. Most recently, CIMS co-sponsored excavations at the Huqoq synagogue, (one of National Geographic’s 100 most important archaeological discoveries of the past century). Join Alex as he shares highlights of his remarkable career.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024, at 7:00PM


Teacher: Sara Black
Topic: Fake news, disinformation & our kids

Course Ouline:

With today’s all-consuming media, it can seem impossible to wade through the fake news, disinformation and advertising to find reliable and accurate sources. Let’s discuss how to navigate this complicated landscape and encourage our kids to care about the truth.


Teacher: Leah Sutton
Topic: Shakespeare's sonnets and women today

Course Outline:

What relevance could Shakespeare’s sonnets possibly have to women today and the unrealistic expectations society places on them? In this lesson, using various forms of media, we will make connections between texts from the 1600s and the present day to demonstrate the continued pertinence and importance of Shakespeare's words.


Teacher: Aaron Greenberg
Topic: Resolving ethical challenges in contemporary society through a Jewish lens

Course Outline:

This interactive lesson will grapple with some of the essential Jewish ethical dilemmas that are at the heart of Jewish values.  


Teacher: Dr. Anna Urowitz-Freudenstein '86
Topic: Biblical heroines they didn't teach you in school

Course Outline:

Learn about the surprising biblical women who were most likely left out of your childhood education. Understand, through a traditional but feminist lens, their stories – to critique them and be inspired by them. Texts will be studied in English translation.


Teacher: Shira Meirman
Topic: Wise women in the Bible

Course Outline:

"The wisest of women builds her house" (Proverbs 14:1). Who are these wise women and what did they do to deserve such a title? 

Tuesday, March 19, 2024, at 7:00PM: Purim Special!


Teacher: Dr. Jonathan Levy

Course Outline:


Tuesday, April 9, 2024, at 7:00PM


Teacher: Melissa Dubin
Topic: Blending bliss

Course Outline:

Did you know that blending is an art superpower? Did you know that getting into the flow while colouring is a great way to reduce stress? Join me for a fun and relaxing hands on session in the art room where you will learn how to layer, blend and burnish coloured pencils to create a beautiful design. No experience is required!


Teacher: Rob Fishbaum
Topic: The art of magic

Course Outline:

Magic is the artful performance of impossible things – which creates energy, joy and astonishment. If you would like to learn how to astound your friends and family with your magic prowess, this is the class for you!


Teacher: Jody Berkel
Topic: Passover: the holiday of Jewish identity

Course Outline:

How do we transmit our values to the next generation? Rabbi Sacks z"l says: "The most powerful link between the generations is the story of those who came before us. Their story becomes ours and we hand it down to the next generation so that it becomes theirs." Through Torah and practical examples, we'll explore how to give our children the greatest gift ever. 


Teacher: Sheer Barkai
Topic: A twist on Bamidbar – positive psychology

Course Outline:

Understanding the 40-year journey of the Israelites in the desert through a culinary and psychological lens. How can we encourage our own kids to avoid making the same mistakes our ancestors did?

Tuesday, May 21, 2024, at 7:00PM


Teacher: Rabbi Shaanan Scherer (jewishtorontotours.com) 
Topic: Exploring Toronto's Jewish history

Course Outline:

This class will review the highlights of Toronto's 170-year Jewish history, including the first congregations, day schools, some of the great rabbis, cantors, politicians, trends and fascinating statistics, and even stories about a few of Toronto's historic Jewish personalities.


Teacher: Richard Stoll
Topic: The mystery behind the musical markers of the Torah

Course Outline:

The Torah is read in traditional melodies around the world according to its trope (cantillation marks). What’s the history behind these musical markings and, more significantly, what is their function?


Teacher: Christina Harripaul
Topic: Classical literature in the modern world

Course Outline:

This session will look at how the classics (The Iliad, Odyssey, etc.) are still relevant to our world today. We will take a look at some excerpts from the texts and make  different modern connections to today's media and to our understanding of ourselves. 


Teacher: Jaclyn Klimitz '03 and Orly Lewis '16
Subject: Music and mental health

Course Outline:

In this talk we will explore the impacts of community music-making on mental health and learn to sing a song together to experience these impacts.

Past Event: Tuesday, November 7, 2023, at 7:00PM


Teacher: Ryan Peters '09
Topic: Judaism and musical theatre

Course Outline:

As one song in Monty Python’s Spamalot goes, “You won’t succeed on Broadway if you don’t have any Jews!" Jews and Judaism have both made an indelible impact on musical theatre since the genre’s inception, and they have continued to shape its evolution over the past century into modern musical theatre today. Come learn about the history of Judaism in musical theatre and some Jewish show-tunes, composers, playwrights, characters and themes!


Teacher: Dr. Matt Reingold '03
Topic: Cartooning current events: Israel's vibrant political cartoonist community

Course Outline:

For a country as small as Israel, there is a  very large community of professional and semi-professional political cartoonists. This session will introduce learners to these artists by exploring recent cartoons about contemporary issues in Israeli society.


Teacher: Rabbi Shlomo Gemara
Topic: Jews in Rome at the time of the Second Temple's destruction: a fascinating and little-known piece of Jewish History

Course Outline:

Join us for a captivating exploration of the Roman Empire’s Jewish community during one of Jewish history's most tumultuous periods. Spanning from 60 to 100 CE, this lecture delves into the lives, challenges and resilience of Roman Jews as they navigated the devastating destruction of the Second Temple. Uncover the intricate dynamics of this community as they sought to maintain their identity and traditions amidst the larger Roman culture, all while bearing witness to profound historical shifts. Offering rare insights and fresh perspectives, this lecture promises to shed light on a pivotal chapter of Jewish history in Rome, revealing its enduring relevance to our times.