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yeshivat or chaim

ulpanat orot
student life 2014 - 2015 5775

A students experience at Yeshivat Or Chaim and Ulpanat Orot extends well beyond the classroom. The
wide array of co-curricular activities, teams and programs encourage students to get involved in school life.
Students are part of an environment that stresses contributing to the Jewish people while at the same time
channeling their passions and honing their leadership skills. Bnei Akiva Schools emphasize a commitment
to Medinat Yisrael. We expect our students to demonstrate Ahavat Yisrael, Derech Eretz and social
responsibility towards the Jewish Community, Canada, and the world at large.

student life at or chaim and ulpanat orot

As part of their graduation requirement outlined
by the Ontario Ministry of Education, students
at Bnei Akiva Schools must complete 40 hours of
documented community service. The vast majority
of our students, however, complete well more
than the ministrys requirements with a variety of
organizations within the Jewish community and

Relationships with Other


The Bnei Akiva Schools maintain a close

relationship with the Bnei Akiva / Mizrachi
movement. Many of our students lead weekly Bnei
Akiva youth groups and Bnei Akiva Shabbatonim
and attend or staff Bnei Akiva camps. Our students
have also been directly involved in community
Yom Haatzmaut / Yom Hazikaron programs. The
school also maintains close relationships with
organizations advocating inclusion of individuals
with all abilities. At Or Chaim, Yachad members
are invited to play basketball after school some
days, as well as being invited to several mishmars
a year; and Yachad joins the girls at their Simchat
Beit Hashoeva and once a week for an after school
dance program.

community partnerships
Bnei Akiva Schools has partnered with the following community organizations:

Bnei Akiva
CHAI Lifeline
Free the Children

Friendship Circle
Retirement Place
Live Wise

National Council
of Jewish Women
Od Yosef Chai
One Family Fund

yeshivat or chaim / ulpanat orot student life


Tomchei Shabbos
Walk with Israel
Yeshiva University

As an organization, Bnei Akiva inspires and

empowers young Jews with a sense of commitment
to the Jewish people, the Land of Israel and the

Chidon Hatanach
A longstanding annual tradition, Or Chaim and
Ulpana students compete in the final round of the
International Chidon Hatanach Competition held
in Israel on Yom Haatzmaut. This past year, the
international winner was an Or Chaim student.
10 students from both schools participated in the
regional finals with 5 advancing to the national
finals. An Ulpanat Orot student will represent
Canada in the international competition this
coming year.
This year will be the inaugural year of the Bnei
Akiva Schools team participating in the Jerusalem
marathon on behalf of Shalva. Joining a select
cadre of other Yeshiva day schools in North
America, the Bnei Akiva Schools team will be
coached separately by faculty in each school. Each
participant raises a minimum of $3000 towards the
cost of this trip. In addition to participating in this
marathon, our students will have a chance to visit
Shalvas facilities and join together with other high
school students for a Shalva-sponsored shabbaton
following the marathon.
Model UN
Each year, our students participate in two different
Model UN programs. Under the guidance of

yeshivat or chaim

My time in the Model United Nations

program helped instill and cultivate
crucial critical thinking and public
speaking skills, while simultaneously
promoting an air of collegiality and
friendship amongst the members of the
club. I can say with utmost certainty that
the skills that I was taught in Model UN,
have proved essential in both my postsecondary and professional education.

- Shimshi Dukesz (10)

faculty members, students research the politics of

the country they have been selected to represent,
in order to play the roles of real United Nations
delegates at the conference. Participating in
the Model UN programs adds to participants
knowledge of world affairs and their public
speaking skills. Qualifying Grade 11 and 12
students participate in Yeshiva Universitys Model
UN Conference with hundreds of other yeshiva
high school students across North America. All
students are invited to participate in the Jewish
Canadian Youth Model UN held in Montreal.

Art Exhibition
At the culmination of the school year, Bnei Akiva
Schools hosts an Art Exhibition evening. The
work displayed is a representative survey of all the
artwork done throughout the year from all grades
at both schools. The high quality artwork comprises
pieces in painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking,
and multi-media. Invitations go out to all Bnei
Akiva Schools families, as well as to those in the
wider community. Visitors typically come away
with great enthusiasm and inspired by the quality
of art done by our students.

/ ulpanat orot student life 2014-2015

Public Speaking Contest

Bnei Akiva Schools runs an Annual Public
Speaking Contest available to all students. Judges
vary from year to year, usually made up of a
panel of teachers, administrators and community
members. In 2010, a peoples choice component
was instituted to the competition, whereby the
audience members themselves act as judges and text
the number of their favourite finalist. The public
speaking competition is a wonderful opportunity
for students to learn to successfully communicate
orally, to hone their public speaking skills and to
give students an opportunity to share their beliefs
in an encouraging atmosphere.
Literary Night
As part of their summer reading curriculum,
Grade 9 and 11 students participate in a book club
evening. Parents are encouraged to read the books
and participate in the program as well. Students

craft the discussion questions and, for grade

11, a faculty member moderates the discussion;
for grade 9, a grade 12 student moderates the
discussion. This evening is a wonderful opportunity
for students to share their thoughts, perfect their
public speaking skills and engage their classmates,
parents and teachers in a sophisticated literary

School E-Newsletter
Under the supervision of Mr. Lazar, a weekly
e-newsletter is published, highlighting the events
of the week in both schools. Student committees
in both schools are involved in the input and
editing of the articles as well as a contributing

yeshivat or chaim / ulpanat orot student life


student life at ulpanat orot

Student Council
Student council consists of a group of four students
from grades 10-12. The girls on student council
are elected by their peers and spend a year focused
on initiating and leading all school wide programs
including trips, shabbaton and colour war.
Every year the student council organizes sister pairs
between grade 9 and grade 12 students and grade 10
and grade 11 students. Those pairs are then grouped
into families. Throughout the year there are a series
of programs geared toward facilitating relationship
building within sister pairs and families. At the
beginning of each year, the grade 9 students and
grade 12 students have a bbq together at a students
home where they enjoy good food, good company,
divrei Torah and fun ice breaker activities. Similarly,
in every September there is a school bonfire where
families join together for some friendly competition
and inspirational singing.
Serving as student council
president at Ulpana was an incredible
experience that provided me with
tremendous opportunities for
leadership and personal growth.
I felt privileged to be able to
coordinate and participate in
school wide programs, and derived
great satisfaction from seeing a
great school spirit come together
resulting from those efforts.

- Racheli Samuel (11)

yeshivat or chaim

Lunch Program
The grade 12 fundraising committee sells lunches
every year as a way to raise funds for their grad
trip. All students and faculty have the opportunity
to order lunches from various Toronto vendors
including Tov-Li, Ba-Li Laffa, Golden Chopsticks
and more.
W.O.W. (Women of the World)
Grade 11 and 12 students participate in W.O.W.,
a program inaugurated in 2010 with the goal
of exposing our grade 11 and 12 students to
outstanding women who have made a difference
in their fields. By inviting guests to Ulpana, we
introduce our students to influential women
whom they otherwise would not have met. These
seminars allow students the chance to discuss
opportunities for women in an intimate setting
with question and answer sessions focused on
what is the near future for our students. Speakers
have included: Senator Linda Frum, Phyllis Yaffe
(Chairman of Cineplex Galaxy) and Hon. Kellie
Leitch MP, Minister of Labour and Minister for
Status of Women.
Youth Philanthropic Initiative
The Youth Philanthropy Initiative is a one-of-a-kind
experience that engages young people in social change
and empowers them to participate in the growth of
compassionate communities. Ulpanat Orot chose
to participate in the Toskan Foundations Youth
Philanthropic Initiative (YPI) as a way to engage
youth in understanding local community needs and
the values of community service and philanthropy.
The culminating activity of the program is a ten-

/ ulpanat orot student life 2014-2015

minute student presentation on their chosen charity.

Four Grade 10 finalist groups present to judges
consisting of previous years winners and faculty
members. The winning registered charitable
organization is awarded a cheque for $5,000.00,
provided by The Toskan Foundation.

The basketball team is open to all qualifying Ulpana
students. The Ulpana Knights basketball team
recently joined the SSAF (Small Schools Athletic
Federation) where they play games against other
private schools with similar enrollment sizes. The
season typically lasts from October-December. Each
February, the team travels to various basketball
tournaments including the annual Hyman P. Galbut
Girls Basketball Shabbaton in Miami.
Cross Country
The Cross Country team is open to all students
who qualify. Practices are held in the fall and
spring. The team competes in the Hanukkah
Hustle in Hamilton, a fundraiser for a seniors
fitness centre in the Hamilton community and run
every Friday.


Ms. Miriam Bessin

Athletics Director

Ulpanas volleyball team consists of a group of
athletic young women dedicated to the sport. The
team tryouts are held in the fall and they play a
number of games against Tanenbaum CHAT as
well as other SSAF teams.
This year is the inaugural year of the Ulpanat Orot
tennis program. Students will have the opportunity
to compete in a one day tournament with students
from the Small Schools Association in February
held at Mayfair Tennis Club.

Chessed Committee
The Chessed Committee is organized by grade 12

yeshivat or chaim / ulpanat orot student life


students and creates opportunities for students to

get involved in various activities with partnered
community organizations. Additionally, the
committee organizes various chessed inspired trips
throughout the year as well as an annual MotherDaughter Evening for students and their mothers,
grandmothers and sisters, the proceeds of which are
donated to tzedakah.

Every Tuesday, Yachad runs a dance class in Ulpana.
Many Ulpana students dance together with
Yachad members for fitness and fun. Additionally,
Ulpana students look forward to the several Yachad
shabbatons throughout the year, with some serving
on Yachads leadership board.

Ulpana is well known for its outstanding choir.
Students have the opportunity to be involved with
our school choir which performs several times
throughout the year at various events including our

yeshivat or chaim

school shabbaton and annual Mother-Daughter

evening. The choir is run by several Grade 12
choir heads who select the songs and coordinate
the arrangements. Students also record a CD in
a professional recording studio which is sold as a
fundraiser for charity.

Rabbanit Purim
Rabbanit Purim is one of the longstanding Ulpana
traditions. In the spirit of Purim, Grade 11 students
write, direct and choreograph a play. They are
responsible for ticket sales and for organizing a raffle
which takes place during the intermission. At the
end of the play, the Rabbanit Purim is announced.
She is the student elected by her peers to lead the
In grade 12 I was fortunate to be one
of the co-directors of the Ulpana
Choir. Looking back, I now realize that I
gained vital skills not only in
harmony composition, but in
leadership and team work as well, that
have allowed me to contribute as a
member of the peer leading team for
science majors at York University.

- Michal Sheinis (11)

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school the week preceding Purim. Proceeds from

ticket and raffle sales are donated to tzedakah.

Drama club
The Ulpanat Orots first ever musical production is
a much anticipated event, taking place in April. All
interested actresses, singers, dancers, stagehands,
artists, and musicians will meet after school to
hone in on their theatrical talents and produce a
noteworthy production.
From the early planning stages to
the night of the play, taking part in the
Grade 11 Rabbanit Purim
production was an unforgettable
experience. Each of us in our own
way learned a great deal about teamwork, leadership and meeting tight
deadlines. The experience also gave
us the opportunity to hone our creative skills - whether in writing, acting,
singing, dancing, technology,
costumes, fundraising, set design...
or all of the above!

- Stephanie Bergman (12)

Each grade is assigned a teacher as their Grade
Advisor. That teacher is responsible for the
physical, emotional, social, and spiritual wellbeing of each student in her grade. Mechanchot
run programming, organize grade shabbatonim
and trips, meet with each student several times
throughout the year and are available to students
often throughout each day.
A new initiative at Ulpana, the matmidot program
gives interested students the background and tools to
become leaders in the community both in the areas
of halacha and hashkafa. Students participating
in matmidot meet 3 times a week, twice during
lunch and once after school. The halacha is learned
from the mekorot, trying to see the development of
halacha through the generations from the gemara

yeshivat or chaim / ulpanat orot student life


rishonim to modern day application. This years

topic is centered on hilchot shabbat. The hashkafa
component looks at a variety of topics throughout
the year and is led by various members of the staff.

Lunch and Learn

Lunch and Learns occur once a month in honour
of Rosh Chodesh. It is an opportunity for students
to learn about the new month with various faculty
members across both disciplines who have given
shiurim on a wide range of topics. Although Lunch
and Learns are optional they are well attended and
much enjoyed.
Parent Learning Institute
Once a month, mothers are invited to Ulpanat Orot
to learn Torah from their daughters teachers on
topics that their daughters are learning about. This
provides parents with greater insight into the Ulpana
learning environment as well as allowing them the
opportunity to further their Torah knowledge.
Mother Daughter Learning and
Father Daughter Learning
Each year parents are invited to come learn,
bchavruta, with their daughters. These events take

yeshivat or chaim

place after school with delicious dinner, a great

guest speaker, and great fun for both parents and
their daughters.

Yimei Iyun
Throughout the year, speakers from the Ulpana
faculty and from the community come to Ulpana to
focus on various halachic and hashkafic topics. Yimei
Iyun allow students the opportunity of Torah learning
lishma and provides them with the opportunity to
explore Torah subjects not covered in class.
Emunah and Machshava Club
Once a week, students are invited to come learn
about Emunah, belief in G-d, belief in Torah, the
chosen status of the Jewish people, and related topics
that they ask about in class but now have a forum for
in a more intimate and less pressured setting.
Shoot Club (Questions and Answers)
Once a week, students can opt to sit with a Rabbi
and ask him any questions they would like. Much
growth and learning takes place over coffee and
questions while students simultaneously develop
relationships with a Rav and become more
comfortable with asking shailot.

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Beit Midrash Learning

The YU Kollel provides the Ulpana students with
Beit Midrash learning skills on a 1-on-1 basis and
in groups. Students are sent on a scavenger hunt
to discover first hand what a Rishon is, what a
halachic source is, how to read an unseen Hebrew
text. This opportunity is made available to students
both on a need basis and as a mandatory class
trip as students begin papers and need to develop
independent research skills.
Davening Insights with the YU
Interested students meet weekly with a member of
the YU Torah MiTzion Kollel to explore tefillah in
depth, gaining appreciation for the words, themes
and messages of tefillot. Students walk away with a
deeper connection and understanding of tefilah.

At Ulpanat Orot, students have the opportunity to
participate in clubs and / or committees including
chess, photography, book, environmental, and
even cholent clubs. Clubs vary year-to-year based
on interest and student leadership. Students are
encouraged to speak to club heads if they are
interested in initiating a new club or committee at the
Bnei Akiva Schools. Clubs must have a staff liason
supervising the activities in order to be an official
school club. Recent clubs have included:

Intergenerational Book Club

Mrs. Fixler and a group of students meet monthly
with a group of senior citizens to discuss a new and

Bnei Akiva Schools offered a variety

of cocurricular activities that
enhanced my academic and social
experiences in school. I look back on
these programs with very fond memories, and recognize that through my
involvement, I gained leadership skills,
learned teamwork and formed friendships that continue to guide me today.

- Nediva Koschitzky (11)

different book. This club is an exciting opportunity

for students to read different books than what
theyre reading in class, as well as an opportunity
to further develop sensitivity to others within our

Arts and Theatre Club

The club offers opportunities for Ulpana students
to explore various, multifaceted artistic experiences
in Toronto, including theatre, opera, art galleries
and symphonies.

Mrs. Yael Gelernter
Assistant Principal
416-638-5434 ext 34
Mrs. Gelernter oversees the co-curricular programme
at Ulpanat Orot. She works with student council,
ensuring the smooth-running of programs, nurturing
school spirit and developing programs that encourage
religious and spiritual growth. Additionally, many
other teachers are involved directly with specific
programs, clubs and events.

yeshivat or chaim / ulpanat orot student life


Tehillim Group
A group of students meet every day at the
conclusion of Tefillah to recite a Perek of Tehillim
together, inspiring reflective thought on the words
and ideas behind the passages of this ancient book.
By the end of each school year, they plan to finish
all five of the books of Tehillim and participate in
multiple Siyums.
Chess Club
Mr. Graham, a ranked chess player, challenges our
students to match his strategies in the game of
chess. This club meets weekly and any student can
join at any time during the year.
Current Events
A group of motivated students interested in politics
and current events established the Ulpanat Orot
Current Events Committee, which has expanded to
include a popular Facebook page and eye-catching
bulletin board. The board is updated weekly,
headlining current events.
Once a week there are pickup games in the school
gym during lunch. Each week the intramural coaches

yeshivat or chaim

change the sport. It is a great way to foster healthy

competition amongst peers while also promoting
physical well being during the school day.

Alumni Mentoring
An initiative started by an alumni teacher, Mrs.
Fixler (99), students create partnerships with alumni
who have similar professional interests. Alumni guide
and mentor our current students, continuing their
relationship with the Ulpanat Orot community. Our
current students appreciate hearing from someone
who has had similar experiences and appreciate the
wisdom the alumni share with them.
Chinuch Committee
Bnei Akiva Schools takes a student-driven approach
to co-curriculars. To encourage positive religious
growth during Tfillah, as well as an understanding
and appreciation for the centrality of Tzniut,
student-led committees have been formed.
Motivated students use a relatable approach to
inspire and motivate their classmates. Other
successful Ulpana student initiatives have included
Acts of Kindness Daily, as well as Stop Lashon

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student life at or chaim


I gained a tremendous amount from the

sukkah-building experience. I learned
how to plan and schedule things in the
Student Council
most cost and time effective manner
Student council consists of grade 11 and 12 students. and I also learned how to communicate
with my friends and customers in ways I
Working closely with the administration, they

oversee and facilitate programming in the school.

Annual activities coordinated by student council
include sukkah building, pre-Pesach car wash, school
lunch programs, Schoolwide Shabbaton, Sports Day,
Winter Activity Day and basketball intramurals. A
portion of funds raised by student council is donated
to various local and Jewish charities.

Grade Representatives
Grade Representatives consists of students in grades
9 - 11. Their role is to work with student council
on supporting and running programming. Grade
reps gain valuable leadership experience in student
governance and affairs. They make decisions involving
school-wide programming and enjoy taking the lead
on shaping special activity days.
Sukkah building
Every year the students advertise their sukkah
building skills to the community. The students
book appointments, create a schedule and go around
the community in groups to build upwards of 50
sukkahs. The experience is one of bonding while
learning both physical and entrepreneurial skills.

have never done before

- Uri Frischman (14)

program. A portion of the proceeds benefit Chai
Lifeline. The car wash takes place at Or Chaim and
students wash upwards of 40 cars in a day. Students
enjoy the opportunity to bond outside the classroom
and provide a community service.

Lunch program
Our student council and lunch committee offer
daily lunch options for students to order. Students
sample the best Toronto kosher restaurants have
to offer with different establishments patronized
each day; choices include BBQ, salads, pizza, sushi,
laffas, among other delicious choices. Grade 12
students take the initiative in selling lunches to
raise money for their Grade 12 trip and in the
process gain valuable planning and organization
skills. Each year the rising grade looks forward to
the time where they will choose what to offer to
their peers and take charge of the BBQ.

nei akiva schools faculty

Car wash
Yearly, our grade 12 students organize a car wash
before Pesach. Prior to the car wash, students learn
about Halachot of cleaning for Pesach and gain
valuable teamwork experience during the day of the


Sports Day
Immediately after a new student council is elected
in May, they begin working on the Sports Day
which usually takes place on Yom Yerushalayim.
There are many activities scheduled for the day
(not just sports!) including volleyball, basketball,

yeshivat or chaim / ulpanat orot student life


soccer, torah trivia, an art activity, a science activity,

musical performance and chess. Grade 11 students
are offered an invaluable leadership experience,
organizing and scoring the activities. Students
appreciate having the opportunity to bond with the
school as a whole and see their teachers involved in
fun activities beyond the classroom.

Intramurals take place several days a week during
lunch. They are an opportunity for students in
different grades to play together on the same team.
On occasion, a staff member may be on a team
as well. A grade 12 student is elected into the
convener position, organizing the teams, games
and playoffs for the Intramurals teams. Intramurals
provide a fun way to unwind during the day and
students look forward to seeing who will compete in
and ultimately win the playoffs.
Activity day
Student Council generally runs two Activity Days
a year. In addition to Sports Day, Or Chaim hosts
a winter activity day. Students choose to ski or
participate in an indoor activity such as Skyzone.
An opportunity to interact outside of the classroom
and within different grades, the Winter Activity
Day provides for school bonding and highlighting a
different aspect than is seen in the classroom.
Orientation Programs
Before the school year begins, the grade 9 orientation
introduces the students to who they need to know,
how their schedules work and what the essential
tools required for high school are. Following the
academic orientation, the grade 12s welcome the
grade 9s with a welcome bbq. The students meet
and get to know one another and are arranged into

big brother / little brother pairings. Grade 12s

share their advice and ideas with the grade 9s and the
family feel of Or Chaim is palpable for grade 9s
even before their first class!
At the beginning of the current school year, our
grade 9s traveled to Moshava Ennismore for a
shabbaton to start the year. They had shiurim
in small groups with several rabbis, as well as a
schmooze session with the student leaders who
attended the shabbaton. They enjoyed meals
together, singing and davening together and getting
a feel for what the school-wide shabbaton will look
like in a few months. It was a great opportunity for
all students no matter what elementary school
they came from to get to know one another and
become a united group of Or Chaim students.

The school has two basketball teams: Junior Varsity
for grade 9 and 10 students and Varsity for grade
11 and 12 students. The teams compete in the
TDCAA. The varsity team has the opportunity
to play in various tournaments, including Yeshiva
Universitys Sarachek Tournament in New York.
Tryouts for the basketball teams are held at the
beginning of the school year and the season
typically lasts from September to March.

yeshivat or chaim / ulpanat orot student life


Mr. gord skarott

Athletics Director



Playing on the basketball, soccer,

and cross-country teams gave me the
opportunity to represent our community
to all types of schools, and show
them how we can be a top team, while
remaining menschlike. Overall, it helped
me grow in a way that is not possible in
the classroom, and I was able to forge
relationships and have an enjoyable time.

- Akiva Maresky (10)

Cross Country
The Cross Country Running team, open to all
students, also competes in the TDCAA. Tryouts
and practices start at the beginning of the year and
the season typically lasts until the winter.
Intramural Basketball
In addition to formal teams, Student Council runs
a year-long intramural basketball program during
the lunch hour. It has been a YOC tradition for
years with all student invited to participate and
some staff members occasionally joining in as well.
The Soccer team is open to all students who qualify.
While the soccer season is typically in the spring


and summer, tryouts and practices usually begin

in January. The soccer team also competes in the

Chessed Committee:
The Chessed Committee has become one of the
most popular committees in the school, as usually
more than 1/3 of the grade is interested in being part
of the committee. Ultimately, around 5 or 6 students
are selected to plan chessed events and fundraisers
and encourage activism and volunteerism amongst
the student population. It spearheads projects
throughout the year, a selection of which are detailed
below. In addition, many of the students on the
Chessed Committee choose to volunteer their time
to these organizations beyond the school setting.
Charity Cholent Contest
A yearly highlight, our own homemade Chopped,
the Charity Cholent Contest raises funds for Od
Yosef Chai. Students learn how Od Yosef Chai helps

yeshivat or chaim / ulpanat orot student life


needy families in Israel. They create teams, generally

two per grade, and compete to make the tastiest
cholent. A panel of esteemed judges, led by Rabbi
Spitz and Mrs. Ripsman, taste the cholents and rank
them based on taste, texture and visual appeal. The
winning team takes home the Cholent Trophy and
has bragging rights for the year.

Nursing home visits:

Under the guiding principle of developing active
chessed among our students, Or Chaim facilitates at
least one nursing home visit a year. In preparation,
students in leadership positions plan a program to
present at the Home and gain important pointers as
to how to communicate with the residents they meet.
Often, different groups will meet residents at different
cognitive stages and hear wisdom and life stories
gained by the residents. Once there, students sing,
play musical instruments, schmooze with the residents
and assist in the regular programming of the Home.
Pesach Food Drive
Yearly, our grade 10 students assist with Passover
Packaging at the National Council for Jewish
Women. They learn about those in our community
in need and hear about more opportunities to help.
It is important as a team-building experience as well,
as they work together to package the food.

yeshivat or chaim

Matzah Bricks
Our Chessed Committee raises funds for the food
drive as well, selling Matza Bricks. Each year, our
committee manages to improve upon the previous
years amount, exceeding their goals. Bulletin boards
are designated for the Matza Bricks and students
try to maximize the board space. The students are
always proud of their accomplishment, particularly
when they see multiple boards were needed!
The Zareinu Learnathon has become a popular
program in its short existence in our school. Students


Mr. Gerald Lazar

Director of Student Life
416-630-6772 ext 37
Mr. Lazar oversees the co-curricular programme
at Yeshivat Or Chaim. Working with student
council directly, he ensures the smooth-running
of programs, the creation of clubs and initiatives
and the grade 12 committees. He coordinates
the organization of programs run by the schools
religious leadership. Additionally, many other
teachers are involved directly with specific
programs, clubs and events.

/ ulpanat orot student life 2014-2015


set up their own personal fundraising sites in benefit

of Zareinu and then spend time in the Beit Midrash
focused on relevant learning. Last year, they met
two Zareinu staff members who spoke about how
important the funds raised through this program
are. Generally, the learning is guided by members of
the Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash,
allowing students from all grades to experience a
different style of learning lishma.

Many of our students participate in Yachad
programming, an organization dedicated to
integrating individuals with special needs into the
community. Our students attend shabbatonim and
programs. Some of them have also been asked to
sit on the Yachad Board. Yachad members have
attended occasional mishmars, enjoying the Jam
and Torah session in particular.
Free the Children
Free the Children is an organization focused on
creating and funding sustainable solutions for
African youth in need. Through their Me to We
Day event, they hope to inspire activism and
involvement from teenagers. At YOC, students
have run assemblies to spread awareness on the
needs in Africa, as well as facilitate fundraising
initiatives. Involvement in this organization
has encouraged students to join our Chessed
Committee and do what they can to make a
difference in the world.


Now in its eighth consecutive year, Yeshivat Or
Chaims choir has performed at Closing Night
of Holocaust Education Week, the schools
shabbaton, the community Yom HaShoah
commemoration, as well as Mizrachis Yom
Hazikaron / Yom Haatzmaut Tekes. The choir
is trained by a professional Chazan and creates
leadership opportunities for students in various
grades. Students have appreciated the opportunity
to perform at community events. All students with
vocal talents are encouraged to join the choir.
A Cappella Group
After this past years success, the choir has expanded
to include an a capella group, which will begin
by focusing on Kabbalat Shabbat tunes. Students
may join the a capella group, whether they are also
in the choir or not. The group trains with a YOC
alum who spent a few years in an a cappella group
while in university. Choir members were excited to
be able to begin their own initiative and expand an
already-popular group.
A staple for more than a decade, the Yeshivat Or
Chaim band offers an opportunity for students
with musical talents to perform for the school
and, often, other groups as well. Their speciality
is infusing current rock songs into classic Jewish
tunes. The band performs yearly at the scholwide
Shabbaton and has also performed at the Simchat
Beit Hashoeva, Netivots Yom Haatzmaut program
and our Shushan Purim program. Students select the
songs to perform and rehearse throughout the year.

yeshivat or chaim / ulpanat orot student life


Most Thursdays from 5:30-7:00 PM, students
participate in a school wide mishmar program.
Mishmar is an opportunity for students to spend
extra time learning about a wide array of topics
including upcoming Jewish holidays, current events
and ethics. On occasion, guest speakers from the
community are often invited to address the students
as well as well as visiting scholars from Israel and
abroad. As well, members of our Judaic studies
faculty will run informal classes related to Torah,
Jewish music and relevant current Jewish issues.
YOC Shabbaton
The Or Chaim Shabbaton is a yearly opportunity
for the school to spend a Shabbat together.
The grade 12s generally go up early, organizing
programming for the rest of the school, including
Friday night learning groups. Shabbat includes
davening, divrei torah, singing and shmoozing.
Programming in the afternoon has included a
yeshivat or chaim

shiur with a member of the Yeshiva University

Beit Midrash, a nature walk and a Shmooze with
members of the English department. The Shabbat
is a spiritual, community-building experience,
allowing our students to interact with each other
and some of their teachers in an out-of-classroom,
Shabbat atmosphere. Following Havdalah, the boys
participate in several activities off-site, including
hockey, volleyball or bowling. They then return to
dancing led by the Or Chaim band and conclude
When I joined the Matmidim program,
it really made a spiritual impact on my
life. The program gives me the excellent
opportunity to grow in my Gemara
learning, as well as the chance to
learn Torah lishma. With a pizza lunch
and learn every week, I feel that I have
developed a stronger relationship
with the amazing rebbeim that devote
themselves to our shiurim. The
Matmidim program has truly helped me
to grow spiritually and its benefits are

Eli Weltman, Grade 10

/ ulpanat orot student life 2014-2015


the evening with a bonfire and kumsitz. An annual

highlight for students and staff alike - an experience
not to be missed!

The Matmidim program aims at giving our
talmidim a greater breadth and depth of gemara
understanding Our Matmidim program meets
for 4 additional times of learning each week. The
learning consists of guided chavruta learning
focused on independent learning, chaburah or
small groups led by one of our Rabbeim focused
on the conceptual analysis of the gemara. A weekly
lunch and learn with a different rebbe each week
allows for the strengthening of their relationships
while covering a wide range of contemporary topics
in Jewish thought.
Rebbe Shabbatonim
Throughout the year, various Judaic Studies staff
open their homes and host shabbatonim for groups
of students. Generally, each student will be invited
to two home shabbatonim with their Gemara


Rebbe during the year. These shabbatons have

become an important part of the experience of the
Yeshiva. The students enjoy singing together and
informally schmoozing about Torah and Judaism.

Parent-Student Learning
Father-son Sunday morning learning and Motherson mishmar are two popular programs that have
been running for a few years. Learning is generally in
chavruta, with a summary at the end by a presenter.
Presenters have included members of our staff, as
well as community members. Students whose parent
cannot attend learn with one of our teachers. These
programs are great ways for our students to showcase
their learning skills for their parents and take on a
different social quality before / after the learning.
Yimei Iyun
Prior to several Jewish holidays, including Rosh
Hashana, Yom Kippur and Pesach, the students
spend some time learning about those dates lishma,
outside of normal curricular topics. They learn and

yeshivat or chaim / ulpanat orot student life


discuss Halacha and hashkafa. These Yimei Iyun

also provide an opportunity for different styles of
learning not always possible in a normal classroom

Learning with the YU Beit

Our students have the opportunity to learn with
members of the Yeshiva University Torah Mitzion
Beit Midrash Zichron Dov, permanently housed in
Or Chaims Beit Midrash. In addition to individual
opportunities to learn, students at Or Chaim
participate in Divreh Torah and Donuts Friday
breakfasts, Bikiut optional lunch program, or lunch
n learn programs.
Optional Bikiut
Once a week Rabbi Torczyner guides students
through Mesechet Megillah following Yeshiva
Universitys established Bikiut program. An amud is
covered each week.

At Yeshivat Or Chaim, students have the
opportunity to participate in clubs and / or
committees. Clubs vary year-to-year based on
interest and student leadership. Students are
encouraged to speak to members of student
council or student activity coordinators if they are
interested in initiating a new club or committee.
Clubs must have a staff liason supervising the
activities in order to be an official school club.
Some recent clubs have included:

yeshivat or chaim

Chess Club
Mr. Graham, a ranked chess player, challenges our
students to match his strategics in the game of
chess. This club meets weekly and any student can
join at any time during the year.
Investment Club
Overseen by Mr. Solomon, this club teaches
students valuable business skills through interactive
means. The club went to a TD Seminar last
year, and competed in a simulated stock market
exchange program.
Environment Committee
A grass-roots, student-based movement, staff have
been thrilled to see students take up this cause
within the school. The students in this committee
work on brainstorming initiatives related to how
the school can improve its environment. They have
been working hard to encourage recycling so that
papers and cardboards do not end up in garbages.
Business Club
A new initiative this year, students hear from
various guest speakers who have been successful
in business. Students gain from the wisdom and
experience from speakers. They appreciate the
opportunity to ask questions and gain valuable
post-secondary and work tips.

/ ulpanat orot student life 2014-2015