Torah Academy of Greater Philadelphia
This is the story of our future.
This is a path for us all.
From The Menahel Torah Academy of Greater Philadelphia is a truly special and unique Makkom Torah (Place of Torah). As we continue to build on nearly half a century of service to the entire community, we prepare all of our students for success in their future educational endeavors and for a successful life filled with love of learning and commitment to Judaism and the community. Our school’s strength can be summed up with three Hebrew words: Mesorah (Sacred Tradition), Chochma (Wisdom), Kehilla (Community).
As it has been for the nearly half century of our school’s existence, the Torah is truly the center of everything we do at T.A. Its wisdom permeates all that we do. Not only do our students develop their skills and understanding of the Torah, but they also integrate Torah into all areas of their life---in how they see the world around them, how they write and speak, and how they play sports. Our students study the Torah in-depth; this not only gives them knowledge and textual fluency, it makes them feel that they are vital links in the chain of our tradition.
At T.A. our students benefit from an academically enriched program that promotes excellence in every field of study. Our world class faculty promotes achievement in Judaic, Hebrew and General Studies. Our students are comfortable learning in a Beit Midrash, science lab, library, or in front of a computer. Our commitment to academic excellence extends to every student. This means that we have a consistent focus on meeting the needs of all of our students, even those who might require something more or different than what is presented in our standard curriculum.
T.A. is not just a school. It’s a Kehilla. Our inclusive approach, where all members of the community can feel at home, gives our students a broad experience. It also gives them the preparation not only for one path, but for many paths that they may embark on after graduation. Our focus on middot tovot (good character) and community service teaches them to look beyond themselves and to focus on the needs of others. I invite you to deepen your connection with this very special Makkom Torah. It would be my pleasure to take you on a personal tour of our school. I guarantee that you will be impressed that Torah Academy is worthy of your children, grandchildren and of your support. We will be excited and honored to have you as part of our Kehilla. With blessings for all good things,
Rabbi Shmuel Jablon Menahel (Principal)
M Milestones & Memories 1964
Jewish parents in Western Philadelphia begin the Wynnefield Hebrew Day School with a kindergarten class of nine children.
Morah Miriam Perman joins the faculty. She has been instrumental in instilling the love of Hashem and His Torah in two generations of children. Her enthusiasm and devotion
The school is renamed Torah Academy of Greater Philadelphia to more adequately reflect its position in the Philadelphia Jewish community.
are endless. Her annual siddur play still brings tears to parentsâ€™ eyes.
T.A. moves to its present facility on Wynnewood and Argyle Roads in Wynnewood.
T.A. welcomes Rabbi Naftoli Eisemann. He has taught students in Grades 3-8 at
Mesorah Mission Statement
The Torah Academy of Greater Philadelphia educates boys and girls from nursery through high school. With a curriculum rooted in Torah and General Studies characterized by academic excellence and providing skill proficiency in all areas, T.A. provides a dynamic Jewish education that fosters intellectual as well as spiritual understanding and love of Torah through a commitment to its mitzvot and values. An emphasis on middot tovot infuses all aspects of school life. T.A. will make every reasonable effort to provide tuition assistance to those families who demonstrate financial hardship.
By creating a climate of active intellectual inquiry in both Judaic and general studies, T.A.:
d Encourages exploration and understanding of the world. d Emphasizes the responsibility of each Jew toward G-d and all people. d Instills in its students Ahavat Yisrael--love of Israel and the Jewish people--as embracing the Land and State of Israel, and fellow Jews. d Inculcates in its students the ideals of the American democratic heritage of freedom, justice and human dignity. d Views each child as an individual and provides a stimulating education for students with different levels of academic ability and learning styles. d Partners with parents to nurture each student to develop as an entire person. d Enables and encourages students, through critical thinking, skill proficiency and substantive knowledge, to discover and excel in fields in which they can lead meaningful lives. d Prepares its students with the skills to pursue their Judaic and General Studies at the next level of learning and throughout life. In sum, T.A. provides the foundation for its students to mature as Torah-observant Jews and role models who are contributing members in Jewish and general society.
paved in tradition and wisdom. our school. An internationally renowned educator, he is now our Sgan Menahel (Assistant Principal for Judaic Studies).
T.A. becomes one of the host schools for the OROT program, which enables children with special needs to be able to attend Jewish Day School.
Today The Kohelet Founda-
tion grant allows T.A. to provide
significant improvements to our current facilities, including a new gym floor and new playground. Our Kehilla includes almost 300 students. We have students from Lower Merion, Elkins Park, Center City, Northeast Philadelphia and Cherry Hill.
T.A. is certified by the State Board of Private Academic Schools of the Department of Public Instruction, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is a candidate for accreditation by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. T.A. is an affiliate of Torah Umesorah (the National Society of Hebrew Day Schools), a partner of the Insitute for University-
School Partnership of Yeshiva University, and a partner of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.
...In which we discover a greater kind of life
A Foundation for Life. T.A. Lower School forms the building blocks of every childâ€™s learning experience. Fundamental values and core learning are formed at an early age. T.A. is a place where we strive for academic excellence, spiritual and emotional growth and self development in an atmosphere of mutual respect. We offer a rigorous and comprehensive educational program in Judaic, Hebrew and General Studies. Students also participate in physical education, art and music. Students develop their skills in all areas so that they will be able to learn as independent young adults. Stimulating and creative curricula, child-centered activities and dynamic programs are developed by our Rabbis and teachers, fostering a love of learning. Our dedicated educators commit themselves to developing each child to his/her full potential in a warm, caring and stimulating school environment. Our educational staff constantly helps to build our studentsâ€™ strengths and nurture positive self-esteem from within themselves. From fourth grade on, male and female students learn in separate classes. Elementary School (Grades 1 to 5) Our Elementary School program is designed to assist your child to grow into a caring, responsible and active young member of the Jewish people. We recognize, respect and value individual differences. Derech Eretz, Ahavat Yisrael and Achdut are core values taught at T.A. As students advance through Elementary School they progress, in both Hebrew and English, from learning to read to reading to learn. They learn to solve problems in halacha, math and the world around them. Our program is both child-centered and academically challenging, which assists every child to grow spiritually, intellectually and emotionally.
and through the lens of Torah, a more brilliant view of the world.
Middle School (Grades 6 to 8) As young adolescents, Middle School students have boundless potential. T. A.â€™s Middle School recognizes the many changes and challenges students face at this stage of their lives. Our program assists the students in making the significant transition from childhood to adolescence and teaches the responsibilities that come with it. Our program therefore centers itself around the religious, intellectual, social, emotional, moral and physical developmental needs of its maturing students. Students are taught to: make educated decisions; respect others; strive for their full potential; act with responsibility; develop their leadership qualities and become involved in the world around them as responsible community members; be individuals while being part of a Kehilla; and pursue truth---all within the framework of Torah.
“My years at T.A. provided me with a very strong educational foundation that prepared me well in my pursuit of my hig h school, graduate and postgraduate degrees. The Rabbeim, teachers and administration at T.A. are second to none. I am very pro ud and grateful that both my children and I have had the privilege of benefiting from the complete life and educational experiences that T.A. provides its students.” Jonathan Stieglitz T.A. Class of ‘84 & Current T.A . Parent Talmudical Academy of Philad elphia Class of ‘88 Yeshiva University and Colum bia University, Class of ‘93 Washington University in St Louis MBA, ‘01
Avot, “Aseh Lecha “As stated in Pirkei Chaver”- Make Rav U’Kneh Lecha er and acquire for for yourself a teach have attended T.A. yourself a friend. I mentary, middle throughout my ele hool years. I will school, and High sc e guidance which always appreciate th achers and Rabbeso many of my Te My teachers have im have given me. tellectually and been there for me in partners creating as scholarly study of friendship. My an everlasting bond e T.A. faculty will connections with th They have always last with me forever. to provide me with and still continue growth, love and guidance, spiritual eternal friendship.”
Mesorah Rebecca Frankel T.A. Class of ‘04 ass of 2008 TAGH Graduate Cl Touro College, New r, ajo Psychology m York
“My years spent in TA were am azing and unforgettable, and we re filled with lessons and guidance that I am able to use in my presen t and, G-d Willing, future encoun ters.”
T.A. Class of ‘07 & Stern Hebre
w High School Class of ‘11
Judaic Studies T.A. has a demanding Jewish studies program that develops both textual skills and a desire to use those skills to learn even more. Our Rabbis and teachers assist the children in building themselves into true B’nei /B’not Torah imbued with an understanding of the purpose and goals of Judaism. Students learn how to internalize Jewish values and ideas and how to integrate these into their daily lives. They become textually fluent so that they will have access to the core texts of our Mesorah. They are also encouraged to develop their Jewish identity and leadership qualities and to participate in other Jewish community roles and programs (e.g. chesed projects, youth groups). They are nurtured to become committed Jews. You can find our formal curriculum documents on our web site:
Where tradition nourishes and connects.
The Spirit of Israel The halls of T.A. are alive with the spirit of Israel. Our Judaic and Hebrew Studies program reflects the centrality of Eretz Yisrael in our lives. With the help of our shlichim (emissary teachers from Israel) and their families, our students develop deep connections to Israel and engage in many programs to deepen this bond: d Our students have adopted a battalion of Israeli soldiers. In addition to davening and learning on their behalf, they have sent letters of support and care packages to these brave soldiers. d Middle School students participate in the “Israel Connect” program where they correspond and participate in joint learning experiences with peers in Israel. d Our Hebrew language program is enhanced by “Hebrew Book Week” where students are exposed to Israeli authors and even write their own Hebrew books. d Hebrew songs are the core of our Music Program in the Early Childhood Program through Grade 3 and can be heard schoolwide through our weekly Shira V’Zimra program. d Many of the plays our students perform are partially or entirely in Hebrew. d Our Yom Ha’Atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim programs are highlights of the year that allow us to show our gratitude to Hashem, learn about Israel in enjoyable ways and express our deep love for Israel and the entire Jewish People.
“One of the great things about workin g at Torah Academy is seeing the tremendo us growth in a studen t as I teach them in 6th, 7th and then 8th grade. It is so rewarding to see a st udent who struggle d in 6th grade or 7th be come the top stud ent in the class as he/s he reaches 8th grad e.” Mr. David Tatum Mddle School Soc ial Studies Teache r
being art about p t s e b e h ,t emy is “For me orah Acad kite with T t a r e h c dish a tea tion of Yid the integra eneral Studies. By hilc teaching G is another way for fe li it doing so, that everything in e dren to se em and Torah..” ash H reflects al ia Rosenth ies Teacher Mrs. Marc tud General S 1st Grade
General Studies T.A.â€™s rigorous General Studies program promotes educational excellence under the guidance of our highly qualified and dedicated staff. The program offers a stimulating and nurturing environment in which children are encouraged to be independent thinkers and knowledge seekers when studying language arts, math, social studies and science. Our teachers ensure that students are ready to learn in the most competitive educational environments. From the high school on to the college of their choice, we prepare our students for all future scholarly expectations. Intensive experiences with classic and award winning modern literature, real world math problem solving, writing in multiple genres, science lab reports and social studies research projects are all critical elements of our college preparatory General Studies program. Graphic arts as well as educational technology are integrated throughout the program. Students also benefit from field trips to sites such as Independence Hall, Ellis Island and the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Many students elect additional learning experiences such as the Math Olympiad, Reading Olympics or Stock Market Club. Our renovated gym is home to our comprehsive physical education program.
You can find our formal curriculum documents on our web site:
Commitment to Individual Needs Every effort is made to accommodate individual learning styles and needs in child-centered classrooms and throughout our school. Our full time Director of Student Services and full time Gifted and Talented Education Specialist help make this vision a reality. Our student-centered program is developmentally appropriate at each grade level.
Where wisdom inspires.
a lot for me. It “T.A. has reallyltdoI ne d was at home an was a place I fenot on a e m n ve safe. T.A. has lid educlyatgiion, but has proper and so e how to act like a “Ben also taught m h great role models. Torah” througe education that was Because of th e I had an opportuprovided for mfrom a variety of high nity to choose ve me a grounding to schools. T.A. gauld be, wherever I go.” be the best I co Ryan Libesman T.A. Class of ‘0rs8ity High School for Yeshiva Unive ass of ‘12 Boys (MTA) ClFellowship Program Makor Chaim Recipient
Although I only ha years at T.A., my d the benefit of 3 ra ers had strong in bbeim and teachflue encouraged me to nces on me and Limudei Kodesh pursue excellence in an ies. The skills that d General Studallowed me to su I developed in T.A. cc education. I have eed in my subsequent fo time I spent at T nd memories of the A. Dr. Ari Weintraub
T.A. Class of ’87 & Current T.A. Pa rent Yeshivas Ner Yis roel High Schoo l Class of ‘91, Johns Hopkins U niversity Class of ‘95 University of Mar yland Medical S chool, ‘00
Where community supports the individual. Torah Academy is not just a school; it’s a Kehilla. Everyone is focused on the same goals; observance and love of Torah, middot tovot, academic excellence, Ahavat Yisrael and the strengthening of our Kehilla. In our Kehilla, everyone cares for each and every individual. We are focused on the spiritual, academic, physical and social-emotional needs of each and every child. In our Kehilla we are child-centered. What is best for the children---both as a group and as individuals---always comes first. Everyone is proud that they are part of something bigger than themselves. We are all connected---wherever we may be and especially in Eretz Yisrael. We are blessed to have assistance from many partners. We benefit from the wisdom of HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky shlit”a, Rosh haYeshiva of the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia, who has helped our school and Kehilla for many decades. We are fortunate that the rabbis of our local Orthodox synagogues, all of whom are part of our advisory “Menahel’s Council,” are our active partners in strengthening our Kehilla. We, and the entire Philadelphia Jewish Community, are fortunate to partner with the Jewish Federation and the Kohelet Foundation in strengthening our wonderful community. Their involvement, as well as that of our many other friends in the community, help make our Kehilla truly special.
“I had wonderful experiences as a student at T. A. Even back then, with only 4-10 kids in my class in any given year, I received a very solid education in both Judaic and General Studies, and I believe the school has grown and improved tremendously since that time. My children have been in T.A. for a little over a year, and it’s exciting for me to see all the growth in the school since my time there. There is something wonderful about my children walking the same halls I walked as a child.. We have even shared the experience of learning from some of the same teachers, and have enjoyed sharing songs and other classroom experiences that I still remember from those years, and that they are now experiencing for themselves. I know, too, that they will have many new experiences and opportunities that I did not have. I look forward to watching them as they experience all the new and wonderful things T.A. has to offer, and as they form their very own memories of being students at “my” school. While the school has changed in many ways, the core values have been maintained across the generations. I send my children to T.A. knowing that that they will be given an excellent foundation, of both values and knowledge, which they will continue to build upon for many years to come.
Kehilla Dr. Yedida Goldman Schwartz
T.A. Class of ‘92 T.A.G.H.S. Class of ‘95 Stern College for Women (of Yeshiva University) Class of ‘99 Albert Einstein College of Medicine Class of ‘03
The Early Childhood Program
(3 Year Old Nursery, 4 Year Old Nursery, Kindergarten) T.A.’s Early Childhood Program (ECP) is a unique, innovative and creative program. Here the seeds of curiosity are planted and nurtured by our highly qualified, loving, dedicated and experienced staff. Through their unique and individual teaching styles, our caring teachers provide a child-centered, hands-on learning program that focuses on building each child in a stimulating, warm and loving Jewish environment. Our program encourages independence, cooperation, positive self-esteem and middot tovot. We help the children learn in a developmentally appropriate early childhood setting. Our program exposes children to a wide variety of experiences that foster spiritual, social, emotional and academic growth. We instill a love of literacy, in both English and Ivrit, through our reading readiness program which includes early literacy concepts, phonetic awareness, letter knowledge, letter sound relationship and high frequency words. Our hands-on math program includes numbers, counting, shapes and sorting . The children learn by exploring, reflecting, discussing, observing, investigating and reasoning. This is an opportune time in a child’s life for learning and growing. Our ECP program aims to nurture the seeds of Jewish values and instill a love of Torah. The program emphasizes Shabbat, Chaggim, Parshat haShavua, Tefillah and Ivrit. Core Jewish values of middot tovot, chesed and Ahavat Yisrael are infused throughout the program on a daily basis. Our weekly specialty programs feature: Shira Vezimrah (our Erev Shabbat singing and story with one of our school’s Rabbis), library, art, music, Chalav U’Dvash (an innovative early childhood Hebrew language program developed by the Jewish Agency) and physical education, all enhancing your child’s learning experience. Through a variety of hands-on experiences, and in an atmosphere of warmth, T.A. students flourish as they explore the world around them.
It is never too early to instill love, wonder and hope.
The teachers and faculty at T.A. gave me an appreciation for our rich Jewish heritage and a love for learning Torah. This is part of what gives me the fire and passion for sharing and teaching Judaism with other people! T.A. provided me with a strong background in both Hebrew and English subjects and the basic skills I needed to succeed in my later years of schooling and learning in general. My studies in high school and seminary are based on what I learned at Torah Academy, whether it be the skills to understand a Rashi, experimenting in the science lab, or the basic timeline and stories of the Navi! More than just sitting in class and doing homework, T.A. offered the opportunity to bolster group dynamics. I learned how to work productively with other classmates by participating in Reading Olympics, after school sewing and choir groups, and working together on class projects. I have fond memories of putting together perfomances and organizing parties together as a class, and learning how to work with people is just as important as learning subject related material! At T.A., I felt that the teachers cared for my success. They not only wanted me to have a strong education, but they wanted us students to know what it means to be a mentch. I will always remember the three “R”s with which we began our day each morning: Respect, Responsibility, and Resourcefulness. It is these lessons for life that make the difference. Walking through the halls of T.A. today, brings back many fond memories of my elementry education, and I love seeing my teachers faces light up at seeing me again, more than five years later! T.A. grounded my life stongly, and for that I am forever greatful!
Kehilla Sarah Sherman T.A. Class of ‘04 Bais Chana High School, Class of ‘08 in Worcestor, MA Now at Bais Chana Teachers’ Seminary in Tzefat, Israel
A World Outside of the Classroom. When you keep the minds and hands of children busy, both inside and outside of the classroom, discovery and growth is inevitable. T.A.â€™s rich learning environment includes a diverse collection of extracurricular activities and events for all our children:
Sports: Middle School students may choose from several team and individual
sports clubs, including our basketball teams (both boys and girls), soccer team (girls), krav maga, and baseball. Elementary school students may choose intermural basketball, tennis and krav maga.
Extended Learning: Our extracurricular line-up of advanced learning
opportunities includes our Reading Olympics (Grades 4-8), Math Olympiad, Mishna club, chess, violin, choir, drama, art, the school newspaper and the Stock Market Club.
Chesed: Our many chesed opportunities include projects that help to connect
our students to the world around them. Programs include writing letters and sending packages to Israeli soldiers and Sunday family trips to assist the Jewish Relief Agency in packing and distributing food packages to needy Jewish families. Some of our older students do chesed in school by tutoring younger students. We participate in Chai Lifelineâ€™s Toy Drive. Our boys and girls choirs sing for the elderly and infirm. Often students have class-wide chesed projects. For example, past classes have raised money for children with cancer or had food drives. All 8th graders complete a chesed service project prior to graduation. We are constantly adding new activities and experiences as we promote an atmosphere of warmth within which our children are free to grow.
To uncover a hidden talent or dream.
“So, what’s the the greatest thing about teaching at T.A.?” “The cohesive working environment, where you feel like an s active member of an education team, is one of the best thing about T.A. The administrative support and guidance is a wonderful asset to this Academy” Morah Shoshana Fischman Middle School Girls Judaic Studies
“Definitely the harmony. So many worlds meet in the same place!” Rabbi Elad Asulin Program Director & Shaliach Judaic Studies Teacher “One of the best things is working with the other teachers. I learn so much professionally by watching and talking with my fellow teachers. I am always finding out better ways to improve my skills and styles.” Rabbi Aryeh Silver Judiac Studies Teacher & Former T.A. Student
To walk beside one another, along the path to our future. “Seeing the sparkle in a child’s eyes when he or she sees the depth, truth, and beauty of Torah.” Rabbi Naftoli Eisemann Sgan Menahel (Assistant Principal, Judaic Studies) Teacher at T.A. for 25 years is teaching such vora rt pa st be e th r he teac ve to “As a language arts ach students who lo te to re su ea pl a is book.” cious readers. It to devour their next it wa n’t ca o wh ts read- studen n Mrs. Rebecca Sasso Arts e 7-8 grade Languag buildme early the o c u o y If . g minutes “The mornin t after a few u B t. ie u q ry ergetic ing is ve happy and en h it w ll fu is saying the buliding d students are n a s er h c ea T h othstudents! r Tov) to eac ke o B r o ( ’ g in onderful ‘Good Morn nd this is a w a . .. e. il sm be ig er with a b that you can er ft A ! y a d r u o t!” way to start y ing to be grea o g is y a d r u sure that yo Asulin Israel Morah Yifat teacher) from ry sa is em ( a h Shlic s Teacher Judaic Studie
“Wrestling with M orah Avigayil (dem onstrating Yaakov and the Malach) as the kids look on in quiet awe; gently extricating flubber from someone’s ha ir as we sing “Y’may Ha Chanukah” toge ther...marching down the hall singing “These are a Fe w of My Favorite T hings” just loud enough but not too loud; leading my flo ck of sheep- children through the fie lds of Eretz Kanaa n; seeing a huge mess piled high with no help in sight, an d calling out, “Who wants to Chohp a Mitzvah?!” - in 5 se conds the place is packed with indefa tigable helpers.” Morah Marnie Nar boni Early Childhood Te acher
Faculty and Staff T.A.’s faculty and staff consists of some of the region’s most accomplished educators. Each member brings their unique history and background into the halls and classrooms of T.A., ensuring that our students are exposed to diverse approaches to learning and a variety of wonderful role models for living. Our faculty includes members of the Rabbinical Council of America, Wexner Graduate Fellows, community youth directors, doctoral candidates, and members of several university faculties. Two-thirds of our staff hold advanced degrees and our faculty includes many individuals with over 25 years of teaching experience. They are graduates of such prestigous institutions as Yeshiva University, Hebrew Theological College, Beth Medrash Govoha, Talpiot College, Yale University, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, George Washington University, and many others (both in the U.S. and Israel).
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