Tommy and Susan Jutcovich

On Yom Kippur, during the Musaf service, we chant a line that, in our opinion, best summarizes our duty and purpose as Jewish people committed to our family heritage and community: T’shuvah, Tefillah & Tzedakah.  These three paths, if followed, will lead to a year of fulfillment of our values.

Susan and I subscribe to this adage each and every year and have seen its positive outcomes. We were steered in the right direction by our parents who survived the Holocaust. My Jewish observance has changed over the course of my life.  I was born in Lethbridge, Alberta and grew up in Calgary where the Jewish community was very small.   I came to Toronto to study at the University of Toronto and was able to enjoy the benefits of being part of a large Jewish community.

I had no intention of pursuing a teaching degree.  It was completely on a whim.  I saw a poster promoting the faculty so I simply said, “Why not?” I could have just as easily become an RCMP officer if they had an advertisement on that same board. But it seems it was my fate to pursue education.  I started my career teaching science at Associated Hebrew Schools, then CHAT and Ner Israel Yeshiva.  Later, I switched to the Toronto District School Board, and eventually became the Principal of R.H.King Academy.  My career spanned more than four decades and I was greatly fulfilled.  When I retired, it was my former students from the Jewish schools who elected to set up a fund in my honour. I developed a progressive neurological disease that relegated me to a wheelchair.  My condition made me aware of the extensive medical costs so many must incur.  Susan and I wish to see our fund ease that burden for others who are in a situation like us.

I am thankful for my incredible wife of almost 43 years and for our four children – Adalia, Leora, Daniel and Penina, their spouses and 16 grandchildren.  I am grateful to my past students, some of whom stay in constant contact, others who make a point to say hello when they see me out.  I am grateful for our community that rallies together when necessary and the infrastructure that enables support for Jewish causes.  And I am so pleased to know that this fund, established in Susan’s and my name –and which came about from the very same values we live by—will provide some support to others.  It is a humbling honour.


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