The Toronto Heschel School was the first intentionally interdenominational Jewish day school in Toronto. Our philosophy is based on Jewish pluralism, inclusivity, and mutual respect, championing diversity of Jewish expression and living.
This foundational aspect of our school is inspired by the perspective and leadership of A.J. Heschel, who rejected silos in the Jewish community, instead advocating for pluralism. While he held fast to his own traditional practice, if asked which Jewish denomination he belonged to, Heschel would answer that he was a Jew. Heschel’s thinking echoes with the phrase “We were all at Sinai,” the traditional Jewish notion that each Jew was present to hear the revelation of the Torah and, therefore, each has something authentic to contribute to its understanding and fulfillment. Heschel recognized that each stream of Judaism has something important to offer.
This stance ripples through our school culture as our inclusive pluralistic community invites Jewish families with diverse perspectives and a wide range of Jewish ethnicities, observances, traditions, and family structures to join in a respectful learning community. So along with celebrating our differences, we also cultivate a sense of Klal Israel—unity and togetherness as Jews.
As such, our students, no matter their background, wear a head covering (kisui rosh) at all times, acknowledging the Jewish ethics and values that permeate all they do, whether they are in math class, playing outside, or studying Torah. B’nai Mitzvah-age students choose different head coverings to best align with their gender identity, while respecting the principle of begged ish, preserving our commitment to pluralism and inclusivity. Every day, our core purpose is to provide a curriculum and school belonging for children from the entire Jewish community.