Jewish Life

Overview

A Reform Jewish Education

Leo Baeck models progressive, inclusive Jewish values, a love of Israel and a genuine, spiritually rich environment. Our students build a strong Jewish  foundation by deepening their understanding of tradition while embracing innovative change and diversity within Jewish practice.

Our approach to prayer and ritual is joyful, vibrant, musical and accessible. Students lead weekly Kabbalat Shabbat services, as well as regular Shacharit and Rosh Chodesh services. They celebrate and learn about customs and traditions through a wide array of experiences and ceremonies. All students and staff wear a kippah during tefillah and have equal opportunities in all religious rituals. The option to read from the Torah upon reaching B’nei Mitzvah age is available to everyone.

A large circle of Leo Baeck students gathered closely together holding several Israeli flags.

"Anyone who has attended a holiday assembly, choir performance or Shabbat service with us can attest: the idea of celebrating with joyful song is deeply embedded in our school culture."
- Rabbi Katz

History of our school

The Leo Baeck Day School was established in 1974, when Reform leaders of Toronto convened and dreamed of creating a local day school for Jewish students to immerse themselves in progressive Jewish values and experiences. They chose to name it after Rabbi Leo Baeck (1873-1956), one of the most prolific German-Jewish scholars and historians of the 20th century. He served as a leader of Reform Judaism and is credited with helping concentration camp inmates in Theresienstadt to survive the Holocaust.

The Reform movement has spread globally since the establishment of the first Reform congregation in Hamburg in 1810, championing social justice, innovation in prayer and Jewish music, community outreach and making Jewish decisions and commitments based on informed choice. We are proud to embrace the values and traditions instilled by Reform Jewish leadership.

A headshot of Leo Baeck, the 20th-century German rabbi, scholar, and theologian.

Jewish Living & Learning

Rabbi Noam Katz, our Dean of Jewish Living, works with all staff to integrate Judaism across the curriculum in meaningful and relevant ways. He was ordained by Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 2010, with a background in religious education, and has served Leo Baeck ever since. 

From engaging students in deep conversations about the role of God in our lives, to leading spirited Jewish holiday celebrations to coordinating Interfaith encounters for our Grade 8 students. Rabbi Katz is committed to building a strong sense of community and pride in every family’s Jewish identity. 

Shinshinim Program

Leo Baeck participates in a UJA Federation program in which two students from Israel join us for a year after they graduate from high school and before they serve in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). 

The Shinshinim lead activities that foster love for and connection to Israel, bringing a personal perspective and energy to school-wide programming. Hosted by Leo Baeck families during their time here, they also contribute to our partner Reform communities at Holy Blossom Temple and Temple Sinai. We are delighted to welcome Noa and Tal for the 2023-24 school year.

Our 2023-24 Shinshinim, Tal and Noa

The Czech Torah Project

Leo Baeck is honoured to be a part of The Memorials Scrolls Trust project. This organization allocates Torah scrolls recovered after the Holocaust to schools and synagogues throughout the world. Since 1981, we have been proud stewards of a rescued Czech Torah scroll which is used regularly during Rosh Chodesh services and on Simchat Torah. Learn more about our Torah scroll and the work of this organization here.

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