Imagine a classroom in a Bais Yaakov high school in
Yerushalayim. The teacher is presenting a fascinating lesson
on making our tefillos relevant, but Sara sits,
uncomprehending, missing the opportunity for growth.
Sara is bright and eager to learn, but something is
preventing her from learning in the setting that she's in.
Perhaps she is an olah chadasha and does not
understand Hebrew well enough. Perhaps she finds the Israeli
Bais Yaakov mentality too different from the mentality of
her English-speaking home and spends much of class time
daydreaming. Either way, she is attending a school which is
not appropriate for her. But there seems to be no other
Wait a minute -- there is another option. A very special
group of individuals in Yerushalayim, who have become
acquainted with "Sara" and a few of her counterparts, have
realized that these girls need a different type of school --
a school which can give them Chumash, hashkofo, and
halacha in their native language and prepare them for a
bright future and a higher Jewish education.
A school like this, once a dream, has now become a reality,
with the creation of Ta'amei Torah School. Ta'amei Torah,
located in the quiet, suburban Neve Yaakov neighborhood of
Yerushalayim and blessed with the counsel of HaRav Nachman
Bulman, is a new and welcome alternative educational option
for sincere, English-speaking bnos Yisroel.
The mastermind behind this school, which is now in its
second year, is Mrs. Joanne Kaffe, a Neve Yaakov resident
with great creativity, determination, and drive. She
embarked on the project with the assistance of Mrs. Sima
Gordon, a warm, talented, and dedicated administrator. They
have succeeded in putting together a program which enriches
the lives of impressionable teenage girls in Yerushalayim
and other cities.
Mrs. Kaffe and Mrs. Gordon realized that their new school
would not be an easy undertaking. One of their first moves
was to turn to Rav Nachman Bulman, rav of Congregation
Nachliel, Neve Yaakov, and mashgiach of Yeshivas Ohr
Somayach, for advice and guidance. Rav Bulman has been
involved in Jewish education for over 50 years. He strongly
believes in Ta'amei Torah School's goals and agenda.
Ta'amei Torah's teaching staff is an impressive group of
warm, able men and women from the finest educational
institutions of Yerushalayim. In addition to imparting
wisdom from Tanach, teaching halacha, and explaining basic
hashkofo, the teachers serve as true role models for
the student body. Inspirational and intelligent, they give
of themselves to their students, providing a warm atmosphere
as well as informative classes.
Lest one think that Ta'amei Torah is solely academic, a
glance at the syllabus, carefully prepared by Mrs. Kaffe and
Mrs. Gordon, will change that impression. Students at
Ta'amei Torah have weekly art, cooking, and aerobics
lessons. Special speakers are a regular part of their
schedule, as is a Thursday evening program.
All these programs combine to provide the girls with an
encouraging atmosphere for growth and a multifaceted
education. The students feel that they are appreciated. They
also value the assistance they receive and the increased
knowledge and depth of Yiddishkeit that they gain.
The enrollment at Ta'amei Torah is small, but educational
consultant Rebbetzin Malka Kaganoff, veteran educator both
in the United States and Eretz Yisroel, is not discouraged.
"Our goal is not to draw students away from other
institutions, but to provide opportunities for English
speakers who are not thriving in the existing schools. If we
make the difference in the life of even one girl, we will
consider our school a success."
Students at Ta'amei Torah are thrilled by the warm, friendly
approach. "The teachers are more like friends than like
teachers," says one student.
Parents of the student body are happy that their daughters
now leave to school happily. Some of them expressed concern
at first about sending their daughters to such an
unconventional school, but their daughters' renewed
enthusiasm for learning -- and for the Torah way of life --
validates their choice.
Mrs. Kaffe points out that different girls learn through
varying means, and girls who are not successful in a
standard school can flourish in Ta'amei Torah's program. A
girl from an English-speaking environment can come to
Ta'amei Torah and grow from the warmth and enjoyable
"Our school is committed to helping every student achieve
her maximum potential," says Mrs. Kaffe.
With the aid of its caring staff and its creative programs,
Ta'amei Torah School is determined to provide its students
with that precious taste for Torah.
Those interested in more information about Ta'amei Torah
School can call Ta'amei Torah at 053-834854.