Talmud Torah Times May/June 2024 Newsletter


Your 2024-25 Board of Directors

Gr. 1/2 Celebrations

Gr. 6 Shabbaton

Maccabi Games

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JFE2022 Logo POWERED BY Horizontal REV Talmud Torah Society

A significant portion of the bursaries families receive are funded by the annual UJA campaign. Todah Rabah!


Dear Families, Alumni, Supporters and Friends,

The school year has wrapped up (where has the time gone?) and this edition of TT Times is full of activities that mark the end of the 2023-24 year!

However, the Society office keeps humming throughout the summer, along with our 12-month Early Learning Centre and K-6 summer program. Throughout the summer, the newly elected 2024-25 board will be hard at work preparing for the school year, and we will continue to connect with and welcome new families.

All of us here wish all of you a safe and healthy July and August.


Natalie Soroka, Executive Assistant, TT Society

Email me!

Message from Noga Vaisblat

President, Talmud Torah Society

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Dear families and TT community,

I hope this newsletter finds you well and looking forward to some time off during July and August.

This year has posed significant challenges, and I am immensely proud of the efforts of our board, school and early learning center to maintain normalcy for the children. The dedication of our board members, committee members, and staff continues to inspire me; we are fortunate to have such committed individuals driving our society and school forward.

We held our annual general meeting on June 18, 2024, and our new board will be meeting throughout the summer to prepare for the next school year.

Following the tragic events of October 7th and ongoing conflict in Israel, security was one of our main focuses this year. We took immediate steps to ensure the safety and well-being of the children in our building.  We engaged a dedicated security firm, which continues to maintain a presence outside the school, and are always in close communication with Jewish Federation of Edmonton and the Edmonton Police Service, who have supported us in so many ways. I would like to extend enormous thanks to principal Darin Johnson for his calm, thoughtful and reassuring leadership throughout the school year.

The primary goal of our society is to work collaboratively with the school to provide the children with an excellent Jewish education. Principal Johnson and I met consistently throughout the year, focusing on enhancing the school-society relationship, fostering open communication, and problem solving. Despite the circumstances leading to it, we are pleased to see increased enrollment for the upcoming school year. With more students come extra large classes, and the society will be supporting the regrouping of grade 3 students into two classes. We will also be supporting literacy intervention instruction time, where possible, as well as maintaining the school’s current educational assistant support.

As always, we have been collaborating closely with various community institutions to engage more families in both the school and the broader Jewish community. This year, we partnered with Federation, Shalom Baby, PJ Library and Jewish National Fund on several initiatives. The Society resumed leadership of the Grade 6 Shabbaton, partnering with Calgary Jewish Academy and Camp BB. The students had a meaningful, fun and educational weekend.

With immense gratitude, we thank the Jewish Federation of Edmonton and the community-at-large for donating to its UJA campaign. Dozens of TT families directly benefit from your generosity, who are able to send their children to TT knowing that there are financial subsidies available to them through the Integrated Bursary Program.

The board is here for you, and I encourage you to reach out to us with questions and input. Please feel free to contact Natalie Soroka, TT Society Executive Assistant, at 780-481-3377 or nataliesoroka@talmudtorahsociety.com.

Have a wonderful summer,


Message from Darin Johnson

Principal, Talmud Torah School

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Dear TT community,

Once again you demonstrated your resilience. A tragic event from across the world impacted student learning. Students and staff demonstrated compassion and made adjustments to continue learning and growing. 

Our first book theme of the year was Can Sophie Change the World? by Nancy Elizabeth WallaceThe main character learned she could do small mitzvahs to make others happy. Our students showed this by being prepared for assemblies, taking an item to the lost and found bin, being a classroom leader, or including others at recess.  

Our second theme book was, What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi YamadaAs a group of students you have many ideas. I hope you remember the moral of the story. Be proud of your ideas, treat them well and let them grow into something amazing. 

At the end of the year we have many photos that capture the memories. What we do not have are the many conversations, laughs and interactions that were shared. Skills were built exploring at the light table, completing literacy stations, making a presentation with a group, creating an amusement ride, or making a digital report. Learning happened throughout the school and community.  

Students, remember and acknowledge your community. You have learned so much about the people around you. Your community is near and also far. There are so many people that care about you and want you to succeed. Continue to build on the connections you have made with others. 

Mazal Tov, to our Grade 6 students! You will do amazing things in your new schools. You are spreading out to different schools and each one will be fortunate to have you in their building. As a group you cared for each other, made some great announcements, showed leadership and asked many questions. I am glad you found a way to incorporate your karaoke idea into the curriculum. 

Together we showed we are resilient and ready to meet challenges we are faced with.

Darin Johnson, M.Ed.

2024-25 Board of Directors

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At our Annual General Meeting on June 18, 2024 a new board was voted in, along with some new faces. We said goodbye to those directors whose terms were completed, with many thanks for their time, commitment and dedication. We now introduce you to Talmud Torah Society’s 2024-2025 Executive and Board of Directors.

Gr. 1 Siddur and Gr. 2 Torah Ora Celebration

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Our traditional Grade 1 Siddur and Grade 2 Torah Ora celebrations were well attended and families beamed with pride as students presented their learning achievements.

Their confidence shone brightly, as did their knowledge of Hebrew prayers and the Judaic curriculum.

Pictured: A grade 2 student proudly showing off her Tanach (Hebrew bible).

Edmonton Talmud Torah’s Gr. 6 Shabbaton at Camp BB-Riback

By: Natalie Soroka

June 7-9, 2024 was a weekend of bonding, learning, camaraderie and fun as Edmonton Talmud Torah (ETT) Grade 6 students participated in a Shabbaton at Camp BB-Riback in Pine Lake, Alberta. Our students were joined by a small but mighty group of Gr. 6 students from Calgary Jewish Academy (CJA). As part of Talmud Torah Society’s Hebrew Judaic program review this year, the Education Committee hoped this year’s Shabbaton would be a wonderful culminating experience for our students, where they would be immersed in the Shabbat experience.

The committee asked Moreh Ari Sniderman, a current and long-time teacher at TT, to lead and organize the weekend programming. Moreh Ari came with many ideas for programming from years at school, camp, and on previous Shabbaton weekends. Rabbi Ilana Krygier Lapides of Calgary’s Beth Tzedec Congregation volunteered her time for Friday night and Saturday morning Shabbat services.   Her passion for Judaism and her love for teaching about our rich traditions was certainly evident at the Shabbaton.

Both ETT and CJA students, along with parent chaperones, drove to Camp BB, arriving around 6 pm. First on the agenda was a traditional BB brisket and potatoes Shabbat dinner. With tummies full and happy, Moreh Ari and Rabbi Krygier provided an orientation along with expectations of the weekend. They explained the intention of having a Shabbaton, and why it is a meaningful experience.

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The theme of the weekend was; “We are All Ruth and Boaz,” which comes from the idea that, at the time of the Omer, Ruth and Boaz met and began their Jewish lives together. As Jews around the world are concluding the Omer and preparing to celebrate Lag B’Omer, this theme was especially fitting, as over the weekend the students were encouraged to reflect and discuss how their years of Jewish education has laid a rich foundation for Jewish knowledge and identity. 

Following a tour of the camp, students celebrated Kabbalat Shabbat with songs and prayers. They then participated in ice breaker games, as well as signed up for the talent show, karaoke and Israeli dance. Afterwards it was off to the cabins for a chilly night’s sleep. Luckily, our amazing ETT parent volunteer drove to Red Deer to buy space heaters! Thanks Rebecca!

Following breakfast Saturday morning, Rabbi Krygier led Shabbat morning service, intertwining it with the theme of Ruth and Boaz. Students and parent chaperones were engaged and interested in the service, and there was lots of participation. After lunch the kids enjoyed some free time, playing the popular Jewish game “gaga”, an Israeli form of dodgeball, as well as some pick-up basketball.

In the evening, after dinner, Moreh Ari led a Havdallah service. The students especially enjoyed singing these prayers as he accompanied them on his guitar.  Afterwards the students participated in an entertaining talent show, as well as some enjoyable karaoke. It was clear from the evening activities that there may be some raw talent in this group.  

After a late night, sleepy students met for breakfast the next morning. They then said their goodbyes, with many excited to see each other again soon at Camp BB’s summer camp. One ETT student who had never been to Camp BB commented to her mom that she definitely wants to go there next year! 

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The Shabbaton committee received much positive feedback about the weekend. Parent chaperones’ input included comments such as the following: great facilitation by Ari; very thoughtful choice of programming and discussion topics; wonderful balance between Jewish identity topics in the context of current events, as well as fun activities; fantastic services from Rabbi Krygier; great support by camp head Stacy [Shaikin] and kitchen staff; strong contribution from parent volunteers in helping with ancillary tasks and direct participation in programs”. ETT students were equally enthusiastic about their experiences and included feedback such as: It was awesome meeting kids from Calgary and playing games; I really enjoyed the Shabbat services and how Moreh Ari got us to think about Judaism and how our Jewish identities are connected to how we celebrate it; “The talent show was so fun!”; The drive up to camp was lots of fun too!; “Sleeping in the cabins was really cold, but like a really big sleepover party!”; “I wish the weather was warmer, but it was still so much fun!” Moreh Ari stated “I loved spending time back at Camp for such a meaningful program. My sincere thank you to Stacy, the camp staff, and the parent volunteers without whom this experience would not have been so impactful for the students.” Stacy Shaikin also commented that “it was a great weekend for the students to celebrate the Alberta Jewish community together. We hope to host this every year and make it a tradition.”

With grade 5 students hearing all the chatter amongst grade 6 students upon their return from the Shabbaton weekend, the fives are already pumped for their turn! The Talmud Torah Education committee is also hoping that this Shabbaton weekend will indeed become a new long-lasting tradition between the ETT and CJA.

Grade 6 Farewell

Mazel Tov to the Grade 6 Class of ’24!

The Jewish values and knowledge instilled in you at TT have served you well. Continue building your character, learning who you are, and becoming your best selves. We are very proud of you!

Come back and visit us soon!

Mazel Tov Grade 6 Students 7 Talmud Torah Society

TT Community Support the Edmonton Oilers

Here at TT, support was in abundance as the Oilers fought hard to reach the Stanley Cup finals. Our Out of School Care program lined the school walls with hand drawn art and decorations. Students and families alike could be seen sporting their jerseys, hats and other paraphernalia every game day. One of our parents even rented the TT gym for game 7, gathering friends and their kids for an Oilers watch party! In spite of their loss, the TT community is so proud of their ability to rise up from adversity, never give up, be proud of their efforts, and embrace defeat with grace. What a great teachable moment. Our Jewish hockey hero, Zach Hyman, embodies all the character traits we want our students to learn – perseverance, strong work ethic, positivity, and teamwork. Way to go Zach! We will be here supporting you and the Oilers again for next year’s Stanley Cup run.

2024 TT Maccabi Games

The Maccabiah Games, a prominent international sports competition, often referred to as the “Jewish Olympics” is organized by Maccabi World Union every four years and have become the largest regularly held international event in Israel.

The Maccabiah Games are committed to the values of fair play, mutual respect and the pursuit of excellence. (MaccabiCanada.com).

Talmud Torah School has been participating in its own version of the Maccabi Games (sports day) for decades.

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It was a dull, overcast day on June 25, as the Maccabi games got underway, but our students and staff were feeling anything but that. On the tarmac you could feel the anticipation and excitement as kindergarten to grade 6 students were grouped in various age groups, making up six different coloured Israeli city teams – Team Masada (white), Team Haifa (red), Team Eilat (green), Team Be’er Sheva (orange), Team Tel Aviv (blue), and Team Jerusalem (black).

Teams rotated every 20 minutes at seven activity stations – long jump, running races, jump rope, yoga, Israeli dance, obstacle course, and the most anticipated station by far, the teacher dunk tank! First up at the dunk tank was the green team, and the students couldn’t wait to hit the bullseye and dunk Ms. Soroka. After quite a few close calls and strong attempts, into the dunk tank she went! Those 20 minutes went by very slowly for Ms. Soroka as she shivered with anticipation at each throw.

The other brave staff members who had the pleasure of getting dunked were Ms. Or, Ms. Shira and Moreh Ben, who received the most dunks of all (12!).

The obstacle course was challenging for the students, and they met the challenge head on! You could see the perseverance and determination all over their faces, and smiles of pride as they accomplished one skill after another, in their own time and their own way. At TT learning opportunities to build character are always evident!

Any TT program or event wouldn’t be the same without TT’s own Ari the lion mascot showing up! Ari was pumped up to throw a ball at the dunk tank target, but couldn’t quite get Ms. Shira into the water. The students cheered Ari on nonetheless. Students of all ages ran up to Ari for a hug and a high-five, and waved good-bye as they ran to their next activity.

A full two hours was enjoyed by students and staff alike, and just a wonderful way to wind up a successful school year!

Shabbat at TT – Todah Rabah!

TT families and the community supported our Shabbat program in different ways this year, such as sponsoring weekly challah, or volunteering to pick up our weekly challah order from Bliss Baked Goods and delivering to the school. Thank you to the many parents who took turns dropping the challah order off each week.

We would like to thank the following individuals and supporters who sponsored challah during the 2023-24 school year so our K-6 classes could celebrate Shabbat together:

Former TT teacher Sandra Corenblum (and Bernard) (in honour of Michael Schacter’s 70th birthday); Nomi Steen and Greg Rairdan; Mike Schayer; Natalie and Ken Soroka; Shoshi and Eitan Aziza; Camp BB (Stacy Shaikin); JNF Edmonton (Jay Cairns); Coppens/Muscat family; Kiel-Caine family; Marni and Doug Kondor; Susan Baram; Azulai/Shteinberg family; Friedman family; Saegert family.

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Talmud Torah Early Learning Centre

Spring is in the air. 

If you walked our hallway you would see the three year olds spending time admiring the display they created and hear conversations with friends about “flying in the air” with their umbrella.

If you walked these hallways you would hear our Kinderarts talking with each other about all the worms they found on their walk in the rain.

Last but not least, Oilers fever had come over our little center. Decorations lined our hallway and the children were busy pretending to be their favorite player and recreate the games. We did not win the Stanley Cup, but our commitment and pride for the Oilers remains. Looking forward to cheering them on again soon!

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We had an outstanding month to end the school year. The grade 3 class finished learning about Peru by cooking some delicious Peruvian dishes, while the grade 4s were busy planting.

The Maccabiah Games were a success as usual and the kids enjoyed the dunk tank, rented by our school council.

Pizza lunch is done and a gigantic thank you to everyone who volunteered to make it a success!

Thank you to everyone on the school council executive, grade reps and those who took the time to attend our council meetings. Looking forward to seeing you in the fall for another year at TT. Actually, at the end of August we will be back so not too long until we meet again!

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Sampling a Peruvian potato and cheese sauce dish
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Seedling flowers organized by SC parent volunteer Gabriella
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Morah Shira waits anxiously for the ball to hit the target!

Cara Greenspan & Ken Lister, Co-Chairs


Ancillary Judaic Program at Talmud Torah

It’s hard to believe another year has come to an end. We had our annual end of the year AJP celebration at the mall. We went bowling, glow in the dark mini golfing, and got lost in the mirror maze! We ended with a pizza & ice cream party. It was a lot of fun, and well deserved!! 

A note from Morah Daniella:

As the school year ends, we reflect on our kids’ progress. They’ve learned and grown in different areas, from Hebrew reading to familiarizing with the Alef-Bet. We also explored Jewish holidays, traditions, and Jewish laws, and most importantly developing good character traits, and love for Hashem. Thank you for your support. Enjoy the summer and see you next year!

A note from Moreh Yizchak:

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out”. –Robert Collier

Throughout the school year, we have engaged in a diverse range of Jewish learning experiences. We have explored Rashi script, verses from the Torah , studied the Mishnah, delved into the weekly Parasha, learned about kosher eating, and even engaged in creative activities related to Jewish holidays. It has been an enriching journey of discovery and connection to our Jewish identity. I am so proud of each of you for your persistence, curiousity and hard work. I wish you all a refreshing and fun summer! 

A note from Rabbi Tal: 

Another wonderful year at AJP is coming to an end. Throughout the year, we mainly focused on the Book of Exodus, but also learned about the holidays, blessings, prayers, and other topics on Mondays with additional students. The children have greatly improved their ability to translate verses from Hebrew to English, learned some brachot by heart, are much more familiar with the Exodus stories, and have gained new knowledge about the holidays.

Kol HaKavod to each and every one of you! To Zoey, Ezra, Kobi, Chen, Emma, Aviva, and Adina! It’s not always easy to stay after school for an extra hour and a half. Sometimes it’s challenging to read things in Hebrew and try to understand, answer questions, and write about what we’ve learned. But you’ve all done it wonderfully, and I hope you’re also pleased with your progress and achievements.

There’s also a lot of fun at AJP. Games, drawings, parsha completion parties, and more. Together, we and the children have created a special and valuable framework, and I hope this program will continue with us for many more years BH. So enjoy your vacations, and I look forward to seeing you again next year, along with new students.

spotlight on current tt society offers and fundraisers

Talmud Torah Society invites families, friends and supporters to GIVE THE GIFT OF READING – provide new books for students to read and borrow from the Talmud Torah School library, while honouring/celebrating loved ones.

Email Natalie today!

Donate a book in honour of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah child, someone’s wedding, in memory of a loved one, a graduation, or just because.

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Your gift will ensure Talmud Torah students stay safe and protected.

Our families are very important to us!

We know looking for a space to
hold your child’s birthday party or other special event can be challenging.

We are here for you!

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“Having a pluralistic non-denominational school that ensures immersion in Jewish education and Judaic values is fundamental to the future of our community. Talmud Torah has been a pillar of our community for over 100 years. The Society ensures that the foundations of a strong Jewish identity and involvement in the greater Jewish community are in place."
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