Our Meet the Community blog column gives Heschel families the opportunity to get to know some of the people who make a difference at The Toronto Heschel School. This month’s edition features an interview with Heschel Music Teacher, Moreh Josh Winestock, led by a group of Grade 8 students.
With the recording of the Chanukkah Festival of the Arts complete, a group of Grade 8 students interviewed Moreh Josh to learn about what it is like to organize such an event. We also spoke with him about his life before Heschel.
First, we were curious about the order of Chanukkah songs in the Chanukkah Festival of the Arts. We asked Moreh Josh about why it is always the same. “First, because of the order of the grades. But also, the songs are not the same every year because students put their own spin on the songs, coming up with unique versions.”
We then asked Moreh Josh about his passion for music—what inspired it? “My love of music began with playing piano in childhood. Then, in Grade 8, I learned guitar with a wonderful teacher, who got me excited to continue my music career.”
Moreh Josh began his teaching career in Winnipeg, where he taught Grades 1 to 6. While in Winnipeg, he heard about Heschel and all of the people who loved it. He said that teaching at our school has improved his skills in delivering Judaic content as well as his teaching overall.
His favourite project is the Grade 7 Identity Project—he gets to learn about his students’ favourite music and collaborate with them, using digital audio.
When asked how the pandemic has affected his work, Moreh Josh noted its impact on music teaching and recording, also explaining that he has been able to adapt and come up with new ways to do both.
When we asked him what he is most looking forward to, he said: “I am looking forward to a time when we are back on stage with the element of unknowingness and surprise, unlike working with video, which is not live.”
He hopes that we all look back at our accomplishments and feel proud of the music we have created.
—Thanks to Ava, Lev, Naor, Eden and Shylee for your contributions!