Ottawa Jewish Community School

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Ottawa Jewish Community School
Ottawa, Ontario
School type Independent offering secular and Hebrew & religious education Day
Religious affiliation(s) Jewish
Head of school Marlene Wolinsky, 2014-present
Grades Kindergarten through to grade 8
Enrollment 200 (approximate value)
Campus 21 Nadolny Sachs Private Ottawa, Ontario
Colour(s) Blue and white

The Ottawa Jewish Community School is a pluralistic Jewish Community Day School, trilingual, all-day, private elementary school SK – Gr. 8.[1] The school was formerly made of two separate schools, Hillel Academy of Ottawa, and Yitzhak Rabin High School, which amalgamated in 2006. It teaches Hebrew, English and French as part of its curriculum. The school Judaics program focuses on Jewish religion, culture and values.[2]


Hillel Academy, was a community Hebrew day schools, offering study from junior kindergarten to grade eight from 1949-2006. With the growth and westward shift of the Jewish community, a Jewish community campus was developed in the city's west end in 1983. The 7.8 acre site and high school building, which were purchased, originally housed the Hillel Academy, Talmud Torah Afternoon School, Ottawa Modern Jewish School, and Akiva Evening High School.[3]

The Ottawa Jewish Community School was formerly made of two separate schools which amalgamated in 2006. Hillel Academy of Ottawa, which was founded in 1949, was a community day school. Yitzhak Rabin High School or Midreshet Ner Yitzhak, which was founded in 1995, was a community high school. Both schools were facing problems of declining enrolment and financial viability and merged in order to encourage more families choose to have their children remain at the school for their high school years.[4]

In 2013 the Board of the OJCS and the Jewish Federation of Ottawa set out on a $3M five year campaign to return the school to financial sustainability. The core element of the plan was to introduce a new tuition model that provides stability and allows the OJCS to operate with OJCS revenue being equal to the cost of running the school. A strong emphasis has been put on recruitment and retention efforts.[5] In 2014-15, only seven of the 51 students who graduated from elementary school went on to high school there. In 2015, there were just 24 high school students at OJCS and only 20 were projected for the 2015-‘16 school year. Of the estimated 900 high school-aged Jewish students in Ottawa, only about two per cent of Jewish families in the city are choosing Jewish day high school for their children.[6] From 1995-June 2015, 149 students have graduated from the community high school. In addition, there are numerous students who attended the community high school at some point in their secondary school years.[7] On February 10, 2015, it was announced by the Board of Directors of the school that the high school program was no longer financially viable and would be phased out by 2017.[8] The current principal is Marlene Wolinsky, who was chosen to replace Sheldon Friedman, who served from 2011-2014.[9] Aaron Smith is the OJCS board president. The school has a student body of about 200.[10]

Extracurricular Activities[edit]

Throughout the year OJCS elementary school students are able to take part in varied clubs and activities including: Spelling Bee, Science Fair, Public Speaking, Spirit Week, Sudoku, Lego Club, Chess, Dance, Mad Science, Environmental Club, Floor Hockey, Origami, Yoga and Mega Sports, overnight trips at the MacSkimming Leadership Centre and, trips to Parliament Hill.[11]

Ottawa Jewish Community School Mission[edit]

The OJCS community themes are: Respect, Responsibility and Reaching for Excellence. OJCS is dedicated to enriching the lives of its students as well as strengthening their character and their love for Israel. Inspired by Jewish values and heritage, a love of learning and teaching excellence, students reach for their potential to become the leaders of tomorrow and responsible citizens of the world. OJCS is dedicated to enriching the lives of its students as well as strengthening their character and their love for Israel.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ottawa Jewish Community School". Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  2. ^ "About the Ottawa Jewish Community School". The Ottawa Jewish Community School. Retrieved December 19, 2013. 
  3. ^ Jewish Virtual Library
  4. ^ Regenstreif, Michael (2015-02-15). "OJCS high school -- A difficult decision that had to be made". Ottawa Jewish Bulletin. Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  5. ^ OJCS Strategy and Sustainability Plan
  6. ^ From the Editor: OJCS high school — A difficult decision that had to be made
  7. ^ Yitzhak Rabin High School
  8. ^ Shefa, Sheri. "Ottawa's Jewish High School to Close." The Canadian Jewish News. CJNEWS.COM, 13 Feb. 2015. Web. 13 Feb. 2015.
  9. ^ Sachs, David. "Ottawa Jewish Community School announces new head of school."Ottawa Jewish Bulletin. Ottawa Jewish Bulletin Publishing Co. Ltd., May 9, 2014. Web. 18 Aug. 2014.
  10. ^ Ottawa's-Jewish High School close
  11. ^ OJCS elementary school programming
  12. ^ Ottawa Jewish Community School

External links[edit]