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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

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Bialik opens new branch in Vaughan

Tags: Jewish learning
From left, Irving, Pamela and Mel Himel hang a mezuzah at the new Bialik Hebrew Day School Ben and Edith Himel Education Centre.

TORONTO — The blowing of the shofar heralded the Sept. 11 grand opening of Bialik Hebrew Day School’s Ben and Edith Himel Education Centre at the Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Jewish Community Campus in Vaughan.

Phase 1, which is now complete, is home to one class each of junior kindergarten, senior kindergarten and Grade 1. This space can accommodate the inaugural Grade 1 class until Grade 4.

A $12-million campaign is currently underway for phases 2 and 3 of the building to be erected concurrently.

Phase 2 needs to be ready to accommodate the incoming Grade 1 class through grades 5 to 8 and will include an art room, science lab, lunch room, library and gym. Phase 3 is designed to expand the school to two classes at each grade level.

Shana Harris, Bialik’s head of school, said at the opening that 52 years ago, a group of labour Zionists “made the bold decision to start a school. It is through their foresight that this small group contributed to Jewish continuity.

“For the past 27 years or so, the dream has been to open a second branch. Now, another small group with some vision has made the dream a reality. We are now able to give children in the northern GTA roots [in the Jewish community].”

Ted Sokolsky, president and CEO of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, said the new branch was made possible “because of leaders who had a vision and who believed in the future.”

The opening also included a performance by the Bialik Hebrew Day School choir and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

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