30 Aug 2016
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Rabbi David Bluman

Rabbi David Bluman is a native of Vancouver, BC. As a youth he attended Kerrisdale Elementary and Point Grey Secondary, was active in USY and regularly attended Shabbat services at Congregation Beth Israel. He graduated with a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of British Columbia.

During his undergraduate studies he traveled to Israel to study at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem where he met his wife, Olga. After university, Rabbi Bluman studied at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem and in May 2009 he received Rabbinic Ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, CA. He began his rabbinate at Kadima Day School in West Hills, CA, where he served as the School Rabbi and taught Grades 5 – 8.

Rabbi Bluman has experience working in a variety of educational settings including Los Angeles Hebrew High School, Adat Ari El Religious School and Camp Solomon Schechter in Olympia, WA. Rabbi Bluman is currently the Director of Youth Engagement at Congregation Beth Israel. He is in charge of the Hebrew School, USY, Chai School, T’nT and the young adults program. In his leisure time he enjoys spending time with his friends and family, playing with his daughter, Shoshana, watching movies and playing Monopoly.

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23 Aug 2016
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Shoshana “Shoshi” Burton

Shoshana (“Shoshi”) Burton has been teaching in Vancouver’s Jewish day school community since 1992 having instructed Hebrew and Judaic studies at VTT, RJDS and King David High School. This year she will join the Grade 5-7 teams and instruct Hebrew language, Grade 5 “Tikkun Halev” and Grade 7 “Tikkun Olam.”

Born in Israel and educated at Haifa University (where she met her future Canadian husband), Shoshi is not only passionate about teaching Hebrew language, but also about collaborating with students to implement bold educational projects tied to the Jewish values of chesed (kindness), tzedekah (charity) and gemilut chasadim (benevolence). She draws inspiration in her quietest moments and then presents them to her students where their ideas and enthusiasm consistently surprise and delight her.

Shoshi recently completed a Master’s degree in Jewish Education at Hebrew College’s Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education. She believes that Jewish learning should be “life-centered” where students’ needs and aspirations are central. To motivate her students, Shoshi believes in providing them with ongoing social experiences and in giving them a voice to fashion their learning experiences. She values the centrality of her relationships with her students and continuously working on building a sense of contentedness in and out of the classroom.

A proud mother of three Vancouver Talmud Torah graduates, Shoshi loves to garden, having many people over for Shabbat dinners and taking long walks on the beach with friends.

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22 Jul 2016
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Meghan Davey

Born and raised in Vancouver and a graduate of Southlands Elementary and Crofton House School, Meghan Davey holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees (in physical & health education and science) from Queen’s University. In 2009, she moved to Queensland, Australia, to earn a graduate diploma in education. Ms. Davey opted to teach in Australia due to its progressive ideas on 21st century learning. She then spent the following year putting theory into practice at an Australian public school.

As VTT’s Humanities/Tikkun Olam specialist for the intermediate grades, Ms. Davey loves to create a dynamic learning environment focused on student-directed learning.

A competitive field hockey player, Ms. Davey played for Queen’s varsity team and continues to play in a community league. She also skis, snowboards, swims, bikes, bakes, coaches and makes jewellery.

Ms. Davey recently completed a Master’s degree in Education at UBC. Her focus has been on curriculum and leadership in an effort to continually improve her practice. Over the summer, she also got married–much to the delight and excitement of her adoring students!

Ms. Davey is the Department Head for the intermediate grades.

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2 Jun 2016
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Kim Fisher

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Kim Fisher moved to Canada with her family while she was in elementary school. Raised in North Vancouver, Mrs. Fisher loves being outdoors and has spent many hours running and biking the North Shore trails. A former triathlete (she completed the Ironman triathlon more than once), Mrs. Fisher enjoys running marathons, doing the Grouse Grind, biking with her family, camping, and pursuing most other outdoor activities. When she does pause for a break, Mrs. Fisher voraciously reads from the stack of books piled next to her bed — all while enjoying a nice cup of tea.

Mrs. Fisher holds a Bachelor of Human Kinetics (Exercise Science), a Bachelor of Education, and a Master of Education, all from UBC. Mrs. Fisher has taught in the North Vancouver, West Vancouver, and Coquitlam School districts and actually loves teaching the middle school years (Grades 6-8).The wife of a former VTT grad and mother of two active kids (who are both VTT students), Mrs. Fisher is excited to share her passion for teaching and learning at Talmud Torah.

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27 May 2016
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Ryan Gluckman

He may be a humanities teacher, but Ryan Gluckman is anything but one-dimensional. Nature lover, outdoors enthusiast, world traveler, sports and news junky, recreational tennis player and avid cyclist are just some of the terms ascribed to him. Upon graduating from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Arts, Moreh Rafa spent many years nurturing all these passions, most notable of which was developing a long-term relationship with Kibbutz Lotan in Israel where he engaged in a myriad of creative ecology pursuits (e.g., organic gardening, alternative energy, mud domes, etc.).

In 2013, he went back to school to earn his teaching credential at SFU.

Moreh Rafa, a graduate of Edmonton Talmud Torah, fondly recalls his Jewish day school experience, and the lifelong friends he made there. He also spent many years involved in Jewish youth groups and summer camps.

Moreh Rafa is an unabashed Oilers fan despite their decade-long playoff drought.

He is also a proud father to a two-year old son, Elijah. His goal for last year was to bike regularly up either Granville or Oak Streets in time for class and without breaking too much of a sweat! Ask him how he did.

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25 Apr 2016
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Danny Laufer

Born and raised in Vancouver, Danny Laufer has a lot of passions. He grew up speaking Hebrew at home and being immersed in Jewish/Israeli culture. Thus, his love of the language and his eagerness to speak Hebrew with whomever is willing—even if it’s just to say Shalom! Danny also has a passion for technology and loves to explore how it can be used effectively in schools.

Armed with degrees in history and education, Danny considers himself a lifelong learner who likes learning new things through podcasts, radio programs and from talking to people around him. In his spare time, Danny enjoys playing soccer, walking, biking, skiing and paddling– anything outdoors makes him happy!

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29 Mar 2016
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Shannon McDonald

Shannon McDonald is thrilled to be joining the VTT team this year, teaching Grade 7 Math and Science. Her most rewarding moments occur when students who are reluctant in math respond positively to challenges and experience success!  One of her greatest heroes is Chris Hadfield, “Canada’s Space Man”.  Ms. McDonald was truly inspired by the manner in which Commander Hadfield made Science and the universe accessible to everyone through music and social media.

Ms. McDonald completed her B.A. and B.Ed. concurrently at the University of Calgary.  She taught for five years in the Calgary public system before moving to Vancouver, where she taught at Collingwood for seven years, followed by Vancouver Hebrew Academy for another seven. Her experience at VHA, where she taught Grades 6 and 7 General Studies for several years, introduced her to the kind and vibrant Jewish community in Vancouver. She has a deep respect for the beliefs and traditions of her students’ community.

Ms. McDonald and her husband Steve have a blended family.  She is a proud mum whose daughter is entering Grade 8 at Eric Hamber Secondary.  Ms. McDonald has many interests, but she especially enjoys traveling; her wanderlust has its origins in her youth, in which her family migrated between Canada and New Zealand three times in twelve years. She leaps at the opportunity to experience new places and cultures, and finds people watching especially intriguing. Ms. McDonald does many things to keep herself busy, but she is happiest in the company of her family, friends, and pets.

 

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28 Feb 2016
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Tatiana Semotiuk

Mrs. Semotiuk is originally from British Columbia, but has had the good fortune to travel and live abroad to experience different cultures and education systems. She recently returned to Vancouver from California to build a foundation for her family and seek opportunities to work in the BC education system.

Mrs. Semotiuk completed her undergraduate degree from the University of Victoria, majoring in the history of art.  She then pursued graduate studies at the Academy of Art University in California, mastering in art education. The program enabled her to research and practice her teaching philosophy which focuses on the fact that each classroom is different because each classroom contains students with different styles of learning. This requires creativity, having an open mind, and taking chances. The classroom is a naturally creative environment and it is the job of educators to facilitate this.

Within her teaching experience, Mrs. Semotiuk has had the privilege of working in diverse student environments. She worked with the school program at the Palm Springs Art Museum, Riverside Art Museum, and Loma Linda Elementary school. More recently, she worked with the Vancouver Art Gallery, assisting their school programs and running some workshops. Being newly back in the Vancouver area, she is looking forward to becoming part of the VTT community.

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