23 Aug 2016
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Morah Judith Blumenkrans

Did you know that Morah Judith speaks four languages (Spanish, English, Hebrew & Italian)? Or that she was once a fashion designer of high-end women’s wear? Or that she has been involved in Jewish education, either informally or formally, since she was 13 years old and has been teacher for over 30 years? How about the fact that she’s a talented hobby oil painter? Or that she has three children who were each born on a different continent? There are many other facts about Morah Judith that merit revelation as well.

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Morah Judith attended Jewish day school from preschool through university studies. When she graduated from college, she was one of 104 teachers earning a credential in primary Jewish education. At the time, Argentina boasted a Jewish population of close to half a million! Today, about 200,000 Jews remain, with many having immigrated to Israel.

Before settling in Vancouver, Morah Judith and her husband spent five years working in Genoa, Italy, where she taught Judaic studies at a small Jewish school. After returning to Argentina, she and her husband sought greener pastures abroad. Although they were selected to be one of the first 10 families to settle in Winnipeg, a job opportunity brought them to Vancouver instead in 1997. In 2003, Morah Judith began teaching Judaics at Talmud Torah, a passion that still sustains and motivates her to this day. In 2010, Morah Judith earned a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership.

Morah Judith is a proud mother to Dan, Ezequiel and Magalee and devoted wife of Alejandro.

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23 Aug 2016
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Hayley Bongard

After a trip to BC, from Toronto, Ontario, in 2008, Hayley Bongard instantly fell in love with the salty air and mountainous coast.  Later in 2012, upon the completion of her undergrad degree and Bachelor of Education at Western University, Hayley decided it was time to fuse her two interests, and spent a summer in Vancouver teaching at Saint Georges Summer Camp. Before officially making the move back west this year, Hayley’s teaching experience ranged from substitute teaching K to 6 classes, coaching a track and field team, and working as a kindergarten teaching assistant.  Most recently, Hayley worked at Bialik Hebrew Day School as a teaching assistant in a Grade One class.

Outside of school you can find Hayley skiing in Whistler, cruising around local coffee shops, reading, or scouring the Internet looking to book her next vacation adventure.

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22 Aug 2016
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Morah Lily Bouskila

Morah Lily was born and raised in Israel. In 2000, she and her family moved to Vancouver where she began her teaching career at VTT. Over the years, she has taught Hebrew and Judaics to Grade 4 and Grade 5. This year, she will teach Grade 3.

Prior to joining our team, Morah Lily taught the sciences for 10 years at Or Yehuda in Israel, a severely low-income community bordering Savyon, one of the most affluent neighbourhoods in the entire country.

Morah Lily returns to VTT after a year-long sabbatical. When not creating a warm and safe environment for all who come to her classroom, Lily likes to read, listen to music and enjoy nature. She is a devoted mother to four children.

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10 Oct 2013
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Linda Elliott

Linda was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her teaching career started in an inner city school, until, with her husband, Scott, she left for an adventure to Vancouver with only two suitcases in hand!

Working at York House School on a maternity leave for 18 months and then at West Point Grey Academy for the last 16 years, Linda has taught many grades and many different subjects.  Her middle names are adaptable and flexible! She is very excited to be embarking on a new educational journey where she can learn and be inspired by all those around her. Linda has three children, Tatiana, Cameron and Harry–all at different schools–so multitasking and organization are daily goals. Her passion for singing, music, dance and interior decoration are evident, as well as her love of schools and all those in them!

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8 Oct 2013
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Marni Fadida

Marni Fadida has spent her life intimately connected to Jewish education. As a Jewish day school graduate (both elementary and secondary) from Winnipeg, Marni has devoted her career to educating the young hearts and minds of the Jewish community. To achieve that end, Marni earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Manitoba, where she majored in psychology and Judaic studies, and then received her Bachelor of Education degree from UBC with a concentration in Special Education.

Upon graduating from UBC, Marni was hired by VTT’s preschool. At the time, getting one’s own classroom was a challenge. After persevering for several years, Marni achieved her goal and became a Kindergarten teacher. She has held that position for the last twenty years—despite giving birth and raising four children (all VTT educated, by the way)—and treasures working in a place she considers her second home. Her gratitude is compounded by the fact that she met her future husband in the very same classroom in which she works today!

When not devoting herself to nurturing the intellectual, social and emotional growth of our school’s five year olds, Marni loves spending quality time with her family in their rustic cabin on Valdez Island. She is also a former dancer who was a member of the renown Chai Folk Ensemble performing in many Canadian cities and in Israel.

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4 Oct 2013
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Morah Orly Gal

Morah Orly Gal was born and raised in Jerusalem. She spent the early part of her career working in a typical Israeli elementary school. Four years later, she was hired to work at a boarding school for at-risk youth where she taught and “mothered” children whose families were unable to care for them. Though the job was a 24/7 commitment, Morah Orly loved the children and remained at the school for eight years.

After immigrating to Canada, Morah Orly began her Canadian teaching career at Richmond Jewish Day School and subsequently joined our faculty, first teaching Grade 4 and then Grade 1.

Morah Orly is very familiar with the Tal Am Hebrew language immersion methodology and has completed eight full years of training for various grades. She has also mentored many teachers in the curriculum. In her estimation, Tal Am “is a wonderful program, particularly for its skill-building aspect.” As a trained drama teacher, Morah Orly loves incorporating the arts into her  teaching.

A confirmed chocoholic, Morah Orly’s other hobbies are cooking and reading. She’s also known for her uncanny ability to sleep through even the most cacophonous environments (discos and construction zones are no exception)!

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3 Oct 2013
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Raquel Freiwirth

Raquel was born and raised in Mexico City. She attended Jewish day school from preschool through high school.

In early 1993, Raquel moved to Vancouver and was a stay-at-home mom until she was offered to lead the two-year-old program at Beth Tikvah Synagogue in Richmond, an opportunity she could not resist because of her innate love for children. She ran that program from 2007 to 2012.

In 2012 Raquel started working as a teacher-on-call at VTT, and was then offered a permanent position with the school. She has been on faculty ever since.

Raquel has a Bachelor’s degree in graphic design. In 2014, she earned her Early Childhood Educator Assistant license.

When not contributing her enormous creativity to VTT, Raquel loves spending time with her three children. She also likes a good book, good music, taking pictures and enjoying the company of her friends.

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3 Oct 2013
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Hila Granot

Morah Hila was born and raised in Israel, a country for which she maintains strong roots and a strong love. She immigrated to Vancouver in 2009 with her husband where they are raising their two daughters, the eldest of whom is starting Kindergarten at VTT this September.

Passionate about working with children, Morah Hila joined VTT as a Kindergarten Aide before beginning her Bachelor of Education studies at the University of British Columbia. Morah Hila completed her degree with a focus and passion for primary (K to Grade 3) students. After graduating with an outstanding practicum award, she is excited and ready to pursue her dream of becoming an elementary school teacher. She recently completed the Tal Am training program and is very excited to return back to her family at VTT.

Morah Hila’s teaching philosophy and her passion includes creating a safe and loving classroom for her students. She believes such an environment will allow her students to learn and to flourish while working collaboratively and treating each other with respect.

In her free time, Morah Hila loves baking and eating everything that is sweet! She also enjoys hiking and travelling on the weekends with her family and Buffy, their beloved dog.

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2 Oct 2013
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Shannon Leonard

It is always exciting to welcome a VTT alum to our faculty. Kindergarten 2 teacher Shannon Leonard is a Talmud Torah graduate who recalls being taught by math and science teacher, Eric Lee z”l, and intermediate Judaics teacher, Tiki Goldenberg. After graduating from Hamber Secondary, Ms. Leonard completed a teaching degree at UBC and started her career in primary education in England. She then spent 10 years in public education in North Vancouver, six of which were in full-day kindergarten. A career opportunity in Taipei, Taiwan, for her French chef husband, led Shannon and her family to an exciting life in Asia for six years, three of them as a teacher of 3 & 4 year olds at the American School in Taipei. Wishing for her son Tristan to settle into life in Canada, her family returned to Vancouver in 2010.

Ms. Leonard is thrilled to be back at her alma mater. As a kindergarten teacher, she begins each academic year with two distinct goals: support children to build independence and foster an excitement for learning that will stay with them their entire lives.

Aside from a deep love of travel, Ms. Shannon enjoys hiking and the outdoors.

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2 Oct 2013
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Abbie Loomer

A graduate of Edmonton Talmud Torah and a long-time Camp Miriam camper and counsellor, Abbie Loomer feels very much at home in a community Jewish day school. Born in Vancouver but raised in Edmonton, Ms. Loomer has a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta and a diploma in inclusive education from McGill University.

Upon graduation, Ms. Loomer’s first teaching job was in Birmingham, England, where she taught Kindergarten. After travelling around Europe, she moved to Vancouver in 2007 and began substitute teaching at VTT and the Richmond Jewish Day School. After one year at RJDS, she joined our school full-time in 2008 and has taught Grade 1, Kindergarten and physical education.

Ms. Loomer strongly believes that all children are capable of achieving and makes it her responsibility to facilitate the building blocks to success and improved self-esteem. She is a huge Bobs & Lolo fan and she and her students can be heard in the background of their latest CD. Having lived on a kibbutz after high school, Ms. Loomer can speak some Hebrew but asks that no one test her skills. Ms. Loomer will soon complete graduate level studies at UBC in early childhood education.

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