Picture this: The year is 1895. Twelve young Jewish men meet in an abandoned butcher shop on the North Side. They have a simple idea: build a school for young Jews to learn. These twelve men would go on to create what we now call Talmud Torah of Minneapolis. At that time, students studied Yiddish in an unstructured and ungraded classroom. The school would soon grow to teach Hebrew and Torah and find its first permanent location connected to Keneseth Israel in North Minneapolis.
“To arouse… a love for the Hebrew literatures and songs, and, above all, for their people: that is the object of Talmud Torah”. You may be surprised to learn that quote was not said yesterday, but instead in1907 by the Principal at the time, Rabbi Solomon Roubin.
“125 years since our founding, our objective has remained the same,” said current Head of School, Hazzan Jeremy Lipton. “Talmud Torah enables young Jews to find their own identities and a love for their community. Our teaching of Jewish values has the potential to be transformed into living and breathing experiences.”
From the day those twelve ambitious Jews established the school, until today, Talmud Torah has created just that – living, breathing, Jewish experiences. Countless young students have walked through our doors and walked out emboldened to live intentionally Jewish lives.
Those who attend Talmud Torah, and those who join the community later as parents or volunteers, develop a strong relationship to more than just a school. Talmud Torah connects families to something deeper: a history, a community.
Students understand that their education will impact their identities and subsequently, their entire lives. After only his first year as a student, Zach Berman, a second-grader, remarkably reflected on Talmud Torah, saying “it’s helping me develop something that I don’t know that’s inside me, so that I can find a better me.”
This year, Talmud Torah celebrates 125 years of helping students find that indescribable something inside themselves. In June, Talmud Torah began the celebration with a 125-Year Anniversary Kick-Off.
“The energy in the room and the enthusiasm for Talmud Torah was palpable at the anniversary event. Everyone from the current students and parents to the grandparents had positive things to say,” reflected Amy Weiss, mother of two currents students (grades 5th and 7th).
Torah Board Co-Presidents Sandy Sondell and Steve Gilfix, felt similarly. "The feedback we received from our 125th-anniversary kick-off event was fantastic. People reached out to us for weeks telling us how 'feel good' the event was, how clearly engaged our students are, and how Talmud Torah is well-positioned for the future,” said Sondell.
Gilfix added, "We are excited by the energy level at the school today – enrollment is up, donations are up, and family engagement is up. Our curriculum has been adapted to engage today's students, thanks to our amazingly dedicated staff and community."
This energy and enthusiasm is something Talmud Torah is excited to share throughout the year as they continue to celebrate. “Our ongoing 125th-anniversary celebration is an opportunity for every member of the community to reflect upon the school’s remarkable reputation and contribute to fulfilling Talmud Torah’s ongoing vision and legacy for the future!” said Hazzan Lipton.
On September 8th at 12:00pm, Talmud Torah will hold a community-wide picnic at the Sabes JCC. Come learn, grow, and celebrate with us! RSVP!
If you are interested in enrolling a student at Talmud Torah, you can still do so! Click here!