Why I Will Send My Child to KTA?

By Naomi Cassiro

Hello fellow parents and community members,

My name is Naomi Casiro. I am a Neuro Physiotherapist and the mother of three young children ages 1, 4, and 6.

I am here to talk to you tonight not to convince you of anything but because we all want the best for our children and grandchildren. I want to make sure that everyone here understands the opportunity this school presents so you, as the parent, can choose what is best for your family and your child.

I sat across from premier Eby a few weeks ago and through tears described the horrible state of rising antisemitism in our communities and schools. Did it change anything? unlikely. I can’t control politics but thankfully, because of the founding of this school, I can control the environment in which my children spend their many learning hours.

When I started on the Tamim committee I was full of questions and honestly, fairly unconvinced despite a crumbling public system that I was ready to make the switch to private school. I’m a bit of a skeptic and those who know me, know that I tend to over-research decisions, probably to great fault. In this case, though I think the hours and research were well justified. I had so many questions, as I know you all do. So let me tell you what I have learned through my research as Tamim Academy has come to fruition.

I learned through Bryna, the Tamim curriculum designer, that the secular studies at this school will be impeccable. Not antiquated systems were used because they were put in place millennia ago but researched, proven systems. Systems like Singapore math, British reading and Montessori-based implementation tools. I can tell you personally that in the countless meetings with Rabbi Kaplan and the others involved, the point of unbeatable secular academics was reiterated endlessly and unanimously agreed upon by everyone at the table.

I have learned through open and honest discussions with the Rabbi, Tamim staff, the teachers, and the board that this is a community school, not an orthodox school. Tamim is built for the US, OUR community, and the Jewish families of Victoria. Though I strongly believe we are all united in our Judaism despite individual practices I would describe my family as casually conservative. I wanted to know what the religious views of this school were going to be and what that meant in practice. I learned that kids can wear whatever they choose and that the only uniform is a Kineret Tamim polo t-shirt. I learned that kids will sing fun Jewish songs and prayers to start the morning and that they will get to learn Hebrew and French through immersive education. I learned that all Jewish children will be made to feel welcome, loved, and accepted for exactly the way they practice and experience their Jewish identity. Jewish values like kindness, tzedakah, tikkun olam. connection to family and the Jewish holidays and history is where the focus lies, and these are exactly the beautiful things I want my child to learn, love, and embrace.

I learned that the commitment to education and child-centred learning is unmatched. You all met Kristen and Viviana and can see how dedicated and passionate they are about what they do and they have a whole equally dedicated team at Tamim working alongside them. This school is being run by the most dedicated, absurdly qualified, and incredibly invested staff.

I learned that my child has an opportunity through Kineret Tamim Academy to do some amazing things in fantastic spaces; from gardening and growing food in the adventure park to field trips and hikes around the city. I learned that in this school my child will have lots of time outdoors and a chance to self-direct her learning. I learned that regardless of income this school will be for all Jewish children. Most importantly, I learned that my child will have a chance to grow and develop in an enriching environment where she can be proud of her heritage and experience the joy of being Jewish.

So, next year, instead of having me come into her classroom for half an hour to spin some dreidels and talk about Chanukah my daughter will get daily immersion into Jewish culture and history and be surrounded by a community that uplifts and celebrates her. This school is an opportunity and it is one I am incredibly excited and grateful to be able to take.

Next year my husband and I will be sending our daughter to Kineret Tamim Academy because for our children we have no doubt that it is the absolute best choice. I hope that all of you see the beauty that lies in what this school has to offer and I hope to see some of you and your kids, there next year.

Lastly, I would like to say thank you. Thank you to those who have dedicated their time, money, love, and tireless efforts to the creation of this incredible school. You have changed the future of Jewish life in Victoria for our children and I am so grateful.

“Our goal is to create a school in which every Jewish child, regardless of background and affiliation, will feel that is their home and community.”
Rabbi Meir Kaplan – Chabad of Vancouver Island