Established in November 1978 as the Orah School for Jewish Children from the Soviet Union, the school was intended for children who recently arrived from the Soviet Union with no previous Jewish education. Funding for the school came from special grants from the Toronto Jewish Congress (TJC; now, the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto), from community fundraising for the school, and from tuition fees. The school was managed by a board of directors, with a staff consisting of a school principal and vice-principal, and as many as eight teachers and junior teachers. The number of teaching staff varied over the years with fluctuations in enrolment and funding. The bulk of the administrative work for the school was carried out by BJE staff, and the school was considered a special project of the BJE and its parent body, the TJC. The executive and associate directors of the BJE were ex-officio members of the Orah board.
The school operated as a Sunday school, with six hours of classes every week. The curriculum was designed to suit families with little familiarity with Judaism, many of whom found the greater time requirements of the day schools and other supplementary schools too onerous. The school also provided children with bar and bat mitzvah training. The school's location varied over the years, moving between branches of the Eitz Chaim schools and the Hurwich Branch of Associated Hebrew Schools.
In recent years, the Orah school's affiliation with the BJE came to an end. Now called the Orah School for Children, the school is currently located in Thornhill at the Spring Farm branch of Eitz Chaim Day School, with Rabbi Yosef Michalowicz serving as principal.
Scope and Content
The series documents the BJE's involvement in founding the Orah school and assisting in its operations. The series also documents studies of the school conducted by the TJC and BJE in the early 1980s and again in the early 1990s. The series contains meeting minutes of the board of directors and study committees, memoranda and correspondence relating to the school's operations, and records relating to the school's budget, fundraising activities, and enrolment. Files in the series are organized alphabetically by subject.
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA director prior to accessing some of the records.