Talmud Torah of St. Paul

Where critical thinking
and Jewish values intersect

Our Midrasha Teachers

AT TTSP we are blessed with a strong faculty.  Our teachers are committed to TTSP, to our mission, to their own professional growth, to their subject matter and most of all to our students.  Below is a list of our faculty and their classes.  For more information about an individual teacher, click on his or her name.

Director of Education

 

Heidi Tarshish 

Heidi’s journey into Jewish education was fostered by her close relationship with her grandparents and parents who lived Jewish values and practiced Jewish ethics. A native of Minnesota, Heidi grew up in St. Louis Park, participated in Jewish life, attended Jewish camps, B’nai Emet Synagogue, and youth group. Interested in theater, education and Jewish studies, Heidi attended the University of Minnesota where she graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in both theater arts and Jewish Studies. Heidi taught in both the public and private sector before going back to the U of MN to receive a certificate in early childhood and kindergarten education. Heidi traveled extensively as a recipient of the Mann Teacher of the Year Award and the National Grinspoon-Steinhardt Educator Award.  Her travels took her to Lithuania, Russia, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Turkey, Greece, and Israel to learn about Jewish diversity, culture, and history. Heidi’s interest and passion for social justice, inclusion, and diversity brought her to Temple Israel where she spent several years developing and implementing an education program for teens and their families. Heidi is married to Sully Tarshish and they are the proud parents of 4 adult children; Ethan (Julie), Benjie (Eugenia), Karinne (Dan), and Esther. Heidi is a very proud Baubie of wonderful twin grandsons, Oscar Sidney and Charlie Martin.

 

 

Faculty

Rabbi Yosi Gordon has been teaching since 1957 and has been teaching at Talmud Torah of St. Paul since 1978. Before joining Talmud Torah of St. Paul, he attended Camp Ramah for fourteen summers, as a camper and staff member, earned degrees at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he graduated as a Rabbi in 1972. Yosi also studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem for three years. Rabbi Gordon worked as Associate and Acting Principal of the Los Angeles Hebrew High School. In 1978 he came to St. Paul, where he directed Talmud Torah of St. Paul for twelve years and helped found Talmud Torah of St. Paul Day School. He taught courses in Jewish studies and literature at the University of Minnesota, St. Olaf College and Hamline University. He has also published textbooks and articles in Hebrew language and Jewish studies. In 2000, Yosi won a Covenant Award in Jewish education in 1990. Yosi served for 20 years as rabbi at Temple Sholom in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where he was known as the Chief Rabbi of the Chippewa Valley. He is now teaching at the Talmud Torah of St. Paul Afternoon School and Midrasha. At Talmud Torah Yosi teaches Torah, Rabbinic literature, Hebrew language and Jewish thought to grades 5-12. In addition to teaching, Yosi is editing a series of nine books by Noam Zion on Talmudic stories about women and participating in a Jewish-Christian-Muslim study group. His Shabbat afternoon Rashi group for Talmud Torah students has been meeting since 1979. 

 

Arie Zmora is a native of Israel and holds a BA and Phil in History and International Relations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an M.Phil. in Early French History from Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD in Early Modern European History from the University of Maryland College Park. Arie has taught in leading Israeli high schools: Tichon Hadash, Ohel Shem, and Tichon Herzeliyaa. Since 1994, he has taught as a visiting professor in Minnesota area colleges and universities: The University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Saint Cloud State University, Macalester College, and Hamline University. For the past ten years he has served as a program director of successive Middle East cultural exchange international programs at Hamline University. These programs have been funded by the US Department of State. Over the past two years Arie Has developed a comprehensive curricula on Jewish History  which he has been teaching to  growing numbers of individuals in the community; adults and high school students.  Arie teaches CIS Hebrew in the Midrasha program at Talmud Torah.

 

Sara Lynn Newberger (BS, University of Illinois; MA, Brandeis University, Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service and Education; Jerusalem Fellow) moved to St. Paul in 1989 to work at the Talmud Torah’s Day School because the mission and vision resonated with her soul. At TTSP, Sara Lynn has had many jobs. Her favorite is what she is doing now, exploring Jewish texts, customs, values and ideas with students. Sara Lynn is the director of TTSP’s Hineni: Adult Jewish Leraning and Contemplative Practices. She believes passionately in the importance of Jewish learning and the impact it can have on people’s lives. When not working, Sara Lynn enjoys cooking, visiting with friends, singing, and being outdoors.

 

Sofya Barth enjoys teaching and developing exciting and engaging curriculum. Being both Jewish and Israeli, she loves to educate and enlighten anyone interested in Hebrew and Israeli culture. The past three years she has been working at Lakes International Language Academy teaching Chinese and Spanish. This year will be her third year working at Talmud Torah of St. Paul and her second year teaching a CIS course. In addition to her work as a Hebrew teacher, Sofya is currently working on a Master's of Elementary Education degree. She is also a professional photographer. Prior to moving to Minnesota in 2012, Sofya lived in China for four years studying Mandarin and earning a Master’s Degree in International Chinese Education from Yunnan Normal University in Kunming, China. She taught English to native Chinese students. Sofya is fluent in Mandarin, English, Hebrew, Russian, and advanced Spanish. She has traveled extensively to many countries around the world experiencing a variety of educational systems and cultures. Throughout all of her experiences, Sofya has always loved teaching children foreign languages.

 

Talia Young brings a new and exciting dimension to our Electives option this year, Slam Poetry! Talia graduated from Macalester College in May 2017 with a degree in Creative Writing. She has won many awards and recognitions for her original work in Slam Poetry, including a 5th place finish in a national competition with the Macalester College team.  Talia continues her passion in exploring Jewish identity though poetry this fall with her work with Talmud Torah.