Prep Track at Rabin Allows All Students Access to High School Program
By Rabbi Howard Finkelstein, Director of Jewish Studies
As the Community High School of the Jewish community of Ottawa, it is our mandate to provide Judaic programming for all Jewish students regardless of Jewish educational background. Our students come from all parts of the Jewish community, from the reform to the orthodox, from the unaffiliated to the very observant. We have a large number of students who are graduates of the afternoon school system, and the day school system, and there are students who have come to us without having had the benefits of the day or afternoon school systems.
In order to accommodate students of non-day school background, Yitzhak Rabin High School instituted a Prep Track program headed by Shirley Schildkraut. This program gives these students an intensified program of Jewish studies so that by the third year of their high school education they can join our day school graduates in the regular Judaic program. In addition, students from day school backgrounds who can benefit from Prep Track are admitted into the program.
This program, funded by the Avi Chai Foundation of New York, encompasses Hebrew language preparatory classes as well as courses dealing with topics of contemporary Jewish interest such as reflected in the legal, ethical and moral spheres of our faith. In addition, the goal of the Prep Track program is to enable our students to become literate in the texts of our heritage such as Tanach and Talmud. Translations of the Hebrew are made available to students in order to facilitate successful study. Through Prep Track, the siddur becomes a living document, and the practices of Judaism become relevant and meaningful.
Our Prep Track program is also designed to train our students to take an active role in the community scene, be it assisting in Hillel Lodge, Tamir Foundation, participation in community events and the like. Support for the state of Israel and for its people is a key component of the Prep Track program, as our school combines the study and appreciation of our heritage with a strong attachment to Israel.