Faculty

Our Afternoon School and Midrasha faculty are experts in their subjects, with teaching experience ranging from 5 years to 60 years. They are committed to TTSP, our mission, and most of all to our students.

Read more about our incredible faculty and the subjects they teach.

Heidi Tashish

Director of Education

Heidi joined the Talmud Torah of St. Paul in 2015, as Director of Education for The Newman School, Afternoon School, and Midrasha program.

Her 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, and youth group at B’nai Emet Synagogue, and graduated from the Talmud Torah of Minneapolis’s Midrasha program.  Interested in theater, education, and Jewish studies, Heidi attended the University of Minnesota where she graduated with honors, with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in both theater arts and Jewish Studies. Heidi taught in both the public and private sectors 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, as Director of Education for the “Na’aseh V’nishma” teen program, where she spent several years developing and implementing an education program for teens and their families prior to coming to the Talmud Torah of St. Paul.  Heidi is also the proud parent of 7 children, (including a son-in-law and 2 daughters-in-law),  and 5 grandchildren.

Nathelie Benjamin

Afternoon School Hebrew and Torah Teacher

Nathelie earned her bachelor’s in English Language Arts, Linguistics, and ESL at Oranim, and her M.A. in Hebrew as a Second Language and Education from Middlebury College.

In the past, she has taught CIS classes, adult classes, and aleph Hebrew and Torah classes for Talmud Torah, so she is no stranger to the Talmud Torah family.

She currently teaches ESL full-time at Prodeo Academy.

Nathelie is fluent in Hebrew and has lived in Israel for 20 years, where she taught English as a Second Language. She is passionate about Israel and Hebrew and continues her education in Torah studies. She has three daughters and enjoys traveling, music, and spending time with family.

Sharon De Koning

Afternoon School Hebrew Teacher

Sharon de Koning was born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel, and currently lives in Austin, Texas.

Sharon has been teaching Hebrew for over ten years and enjoys every moment of it! “When my students start a dialogue, tell a joke, or mumble “Hatikvah”, I shed a tear,” She says.

Through fascinating stories, songs, and games she hopes to reach the hearts of her students and impart to them a knowledge and love of the language. Sharon is also a believer in technology for educational purposes and thinks that each kid should benefit from the endless possibilities that the web has to offer for language learning.

Outside of teaching her hobbies include languages, reading, traveling, and meeting new people.

Toby Saide Meirovitz

Afternoon School Hebrew and Torah Teacher

Toby Saide Meirovitz is a Midrasha graduate of Talmud Torah of St. Paul. As a child of Holocaust survivors, she grew up in a home filled with yiddishkeit, one of memorable Jewish sights, sounds, smells, and tastes.

Toby has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology as well as several graduate credits in industrial relations from the University of Minnesota. She started her career in HR management. Subsequently, her passion shifted to education, first working as a substitute teacher, then as a special education paraprofessional in ISD 197 where she continues to work in the high school. She took courses in teaching methods at St. Catherine’s University and participated in various professional development opportunities.

Toby was recruited by TTSP to provide differentiated instruction, both one-on-one and in small groups. She now teaches Hebrew and Jewish studies, continuing to support each student’s individual needs. She strives to design engaging and meaningful classes while fostering each child’s success in a nurturing, yet spirited environment. Outside of work, Toby especially enjoys time with her family, surrounded by much love and laughter.

Rabbi Yosi Gordon

Afternoon School Torah Teacher; Midrasha Hebrew, Torah, and Elective Instructor

Rabbi Yosi Gordon has been teaching since 1957 and working at Talmud Torah of St. Paul since 1978. He attended Camp Ramah for fourteen summers and earned degrees at the University of Wisconsin Madison, and the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was ordained as a Rabbi in 1972. He 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 and came to Talmud Torah to serve as Executive Director for 12 years. During those years the Talmud Torah opened the day school, moved to its current location, and expanded in many educational areas. In 1990, Yosi returned to full-time teaching.

Over the many years, Yosi has 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 and was a winner of the 1990 Covenant Award in Jewish education. 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, contemporary Jewish issues, and Jewish thought. He is also a frequent teacher for Hineni, TTSP’s adult education program. In addition to teaching, Yosi founded and participates in a Jewish-Christian-Muslim text study group, and is a regular participant in the Rabbinic Torah Study program of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem

Nina Samuels

Midrasha Elective Instructor

Nina Samuels was a family life educator at the Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis before serving as the adult learning director at Adath Jeshurun Congregation in Minnetonka until 2016. She is an active community volunteer and enjoys her work at a local bakery.

Earl Schwartz

Midrasha Elective Instructor

Earl Schwartz is retired from the Hamline University religion department. He is the author of numerous books and articles on Jewish life and education, including The Arc of the Covenant: Jewish Educational Success on the Upper Mississippi, a study of Jewish communal education in St. Paul.

Dr. Arie Zmora

Midrasha Hebrew Instructor

Dr. Arie Zmora is a native of Israel and holds a BA and M.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 Ph.D. 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. From 2001 – 2013, he 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 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 Hebrew in the Midrasha program at Talmud Torah.