by Marina Segal
(ANNews) – Calgary has a lot of great things going for it, from the beautiful blue skies to the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains. One thing that Calgary also boasts is a wonderful, warm, welcoming Jewish community with many dedicated volunteers and community builders.
Halpern Akiva Academy is very sad to be saying goodbye to one such dedicated community builder, Head of School, Rabbi Chaim Greenwald.
Rabbi Chaim and Yael Greenwald came to Calgary in 2009 with a vision to see the community grow, and were dedicated to building Halpern Akiva Academy into the thriving school it is today. The school is now celebrating its 40th anniversary, and boasts a nursery through grade 9, with such notable programs as a Montessori preschool, Renert BrightMinds Math program, Hebrew immersion, and a dual curriculum which integrates an excellent general and meaningful Torah education.
This school year proved to be challenging, but ultimately very rewarding, with many exciting learning outcomes. A number of students placed very high in the Calgary Youth Science Fair, winning numerous awards and one student advanced to the Canada-Wide Science Fair and won a bronze medal. The school has also worked hard to engage with the community at a time when many people found themselves isolated. Two notable projects included: a partnership with Jewish Family Services of Calgary to deliver Purim gift bags to seniors and vulnerable community members, and a special project in Rabbi Greenwald’s junior high Jewish History class which had students collaborate with grandparents on a personal Jewish History project that encouraged deeper intergenerational relationships.
Rabbi Greenwald has always been community-minded and contributed to many Calgary Jewish causes — from leining the weekly Torah reading at House of Jacob-Mikveh Israel, to actively promoting Life and Legacy in partnership with Calgary Jewish Federation, to playing in the Jewish Hockey League. His contributions to these organizations will be missed.
Most of all, Rabbi Chaim Greenwald is a mensch. During his 12 years in Calgary, he led by example, always working to create enduring relationships across all religious affiliations. He took time to really connect with prospective students, existing school families, community members, and donors alike.
The Greenwald family will be relocating to Cherry Hills, NJ later this summer and a search committee is actively seeking out candidates to fill the vacancy. Rabbi Greenwald leaves big shoes to fill, but the strength of Halpern Akiva Academy and the beauty of the Canadian Rockies will surely be a draw for the next Head of School.
We wish the Greenwalds Hatzlacha Rabbah in their new community and are sure they will have great success wherever they go!