|CULTURAL EXCHANGE PLANNED BETWEEN JEWISH AND PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO DISCUSS TSUNAMI|
MONTREAL, JANUARY 28, 2005– The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) will launch its own formal exchange with the Jewish day school system on Monday, January 31 at 1 p.m. when a Grade 2 class from the Jewish People’s and Peretz Schools (JPPS) visits a Grade 6 class at nearby Coronation Elementary School (4810 Van Horne Ave.) to learn about the recent tsunami in South Asia.
Coronation students and their families were directly affected by the tsunami. This week one of the students in the Grade 6 class returned from Sri Lanka. He has written an emotional essay on this experience which he will share with the JPPS students.
The EMSB has been engaging in cultural exchanges with the Jewish community for a number of years now. But in light of the negative publicity attached to the recent "associate status" agreement the provincial government announced and then cancelled between the Jewish day school system and two other public boards, EMSB Chairman Dominic Spiridigliozzi felt it was important for someone to step forward.
"When the United Talmud Torahs library was firebombed last April our board was first out of the block to donate books and send letters of support," he remarked. "Last year we embarked upon a program whereby our high school students from non-Jewish areas began visiting the Holocaust Memorial Centre. All of this was financed through our own budget or small private grants we were able to obtain. We believe these type of exchanges are necessary and despite the fact budget cuts forced us to abolish our last remaining multicultural liaison officer, we will find creative ways to continue and enhance these exchanges. Coronation and JPPS are only a block apart. I applaud the administration of both schools for taking this initiative, especially at this time when we must come out loud and clear against intolerance."
Teachers Sheila Perry and Katherine Simons of JPPS and Coronation respectively feel their students will learn a lot from this experience.
Michael J. Cohen