‘Rockin’ Rabbi’ introduces Quebec high school students to Judaism – Montreal

There’s a unique club at Pierrefonds Community High School.

Every Tuesday, during the lunch period, PCHS students are invited to spend their breaks with Rabbi David Lazar — better known as “the rocking rabbi.”

“We want to give a multicultural program for kids who aren’t from the Jewish faith to come down and get a little dose and experience of our culture,” said Rabbi Lazar.

The schmooze club has been around for several years in different high schools across the West Island and serves to educate past the typical curriculum.

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“They ask questions based on moral beliefs and different values ​​and current events,” added Lazar.

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Many topics are discussed with the rabbi but more importantly Jewish students are able to teach their peers about their faith.

“Judaism isn’t really talked about these days unless it’s Kanye West and antisemitic comments,” said Grade 9 student Melissa Emily Levine.

“I feel like it’s very important for me to get in touch with my culture and for me to bring my friends so they can learn about it,” she added.

Students with different backgrounds are encouraged to share their perspectives. For Grade 9 student Presley Cleveland, it’s about learning other cultures.

“Other people’s religions have always been fascinating to me,” she said.

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For Lazar, working with students keeps him young at heart.

“I’ve been doing this on and off for over 20 years and doing outreach with students, young adults also, and we throw holiday events for Purim or Hannukah,” said the rabbi.

The club is part of the community learning center initiative introduced in 2006 by the education ministry to strengthen the connection between schools and communities.

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Different programs are offered in over 90 english-language schools across Quebec.

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