23 Aug 2017

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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10 Oct 2015

Linda Elliott

Linda was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her teaching career started in an inner city school, until, with her husband, 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–all at different schools–so multitasking and organization are daily goals. Her passion for singing, music, dance and interior decor are evident, as well as her love of schools and all those in them!

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8 Oct 2014

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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3 Oct 2013

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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4 Oct 2012

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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2 Oct 2010

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 2009

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 and recently acquired a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from UBC.

Upon graduation, Abbie’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.

Abbie 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. Abbie LOVES working with kindergarten-age students and really enjoys collaborating with parents for their children’s optimal growth and development. Having lived on a kibbutz after high school, Abbie can speak some Hebrew but asks that no one test her skills.

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22 Aug 2008

Morah Lily Mallin

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.

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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17 Aug 2007

Caleigh Mingay

Caleigh Mingay is excited to be joining the VTT community after teaching for four years at Mulgrave School in West Vancouver. Caleigh received her B.Ed from the University of British Columbia. She is also a graduate of the IB Diploma Programme from the York School in Toronto and has additional qualifications in special education from Queen’s University.Her various teaching roles, including Grade 3 and Kindergarten, have allowed her to develop a strongly collaborative approach when working with colleagues to create a shared vision of excellence in teaching and learning. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, having most recently explored South Africa and New Zealand. She enjoys being outdoors, practising yoga, reading, and cheering on the ever disappointing Toronto Maple Leafs.

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28 Aug 2006

Yael Levy Morantz

You may have seen Yael roaming the VTT halls in the past few years on her way to teach an Israeli dance class. And you may have seen her spontaneously break into dance. In fact, Yael becomes sublimely happy after dancing a good hora. One of Yael’s special talents is her ability to come up with a song for (almost) every Hebrew word someone says (you should try it next time you speak to her). She would usually be able to tell you who wrote the lyrics and/or composed the music.

Born and raised in Israel, Yael received a B.A. in Art History and Behavioral Science from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She continued her education in New York, receiving an M.A. in Art History and Criticism, with a focus in Jewish Art.

Yael is dedicated to spreading her love of Jewish and Israeli culture wherever she goes, including B.C., to which she moved in 2010. During the past 3 years, Yael has taught several Israeli dance groups at VTT as well as at the JCC, and served as the Coordinator and Artistic Director of the JCC’s Festival Ha’Rikud. Yael believes that Hebrew should be experienced through all senses, and is excited to bring her passion for Hebrew and Israeli art and culture to VTT, especially to Grade 2 students.​ Yael recently participated in an intensive TalAm training and is prepared and excited to begin the year.

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