By Jenna Soroka
(AJNews) – “It is lovely to be gathered today for our first ever in-person celebration with families in over two years.” These were opening remarks from Principal Sandra Marianicz on June 10 at the Edmonton Talmud Torah’s grade two Torah Ora ceremony. “I cannot think of a more worthy milestone to bring us together.”
The afternoon event showcased the students’ skills, accomplishments and successes in music, art, English language arts (ELA), Hebrew language arts (HLA), and Judaic studies. Bianna Kuksin is the grade two class HLA, Judaic studies, and art teacher. She helped prepare the students for their Torah Ora celebration, in addition to decorating and organizing the event.
MLA Lorne Dach was in attendance, alongside family and friends, showing his support for these students’ Jewish education and hard work. Grade six students also took part in the celebration to support the grade twos throughout the event.
The Torah Ora is a milestone in Jewish life and education where each student receives the Torah, the first division of the Hebrew Bible. “The Torah is the history of our nation, and the basis of our existence,” Bianna expressed. The Torah Ora is also a celebration that marks a continued learning and understanding of Jewish culture, language and traditions.
Homeroom teacher Marlee Soroka and social studies teacher Jessica Holtzman both shared kind words with the students’ families and friends who came to watch. Ms. Soroka expressed her gratitude and pride towards her students during her first full year teaching as well as appreciation for the parents, family members, and friends for supporting the kids’ learning and education. Ms. Jessica shared how “over the school year, I have watched you grade twos blossom into curious learners and compassionate friends with unique personalities.”
Throughout the celebration, the students excitedly performed songs in Hebrew and English, skits, a fun dance to the song Adama v’ Shamayim choreographed by Marlee Soroka, and completed the ceremony with a Kabbalat Shabbat which was sponsored by Ken and Natalie Soroka. Family members and friends beamed with pride as they took pictures and videos during the event and while the students received their Torah.
A notable moment was music teacher Ben Ragosin’s performance on guitar with all the grade two students and teachers. It was heartwarming to witness as the singing filled the school gym with joy and community.
As the event neared its ending, Bianna thanked the following people who contributed to a successful school year and special Torah Ora ceremony, including Principal Sandra Marianicz, School Administrator Jo Barta, Executive Assistant of the Talmud Torah Society Natalie Soroka, MLA Lorne Dach, Division Two Education Assistant Elena, teachers Marlee Soroka, Ben Ragosin, and Jessica Holtzman, and the Talmud Torah Society. Bianna also gave a special thanks to Noah, a grade nine student at another local school who used his art skills to draw caricatures of the grade two students as a gift. “That is amazing!” One parent exclaimed after looking at the creative drawing of their child.
Finally, Bianna thanked the parents for their support and the grade two students. “Continue the hard work, it pays off. Mazel tov!”
Congratulations to the grade two students at Talmud Torah school for this milestone in their Jewish education.
Jenna Soroka is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter.