By Talmud Torah Board Members
(AJNews) – Last August Myrna and Don Silverberg, of Netanya, Israel, reached out to Talmud Torah in Edmonton expressing their wish to make a gift to this school that still holds a very special place in their memories and hearts. How does it happen that a family living in Israel since 1976 reaches out to Talmud Torah to make such a transformational gift? Here lies a story not to be missed.
Myrna and Don moved to Edmonton in 1968 and stayed until 1976 when Don had an opportunity to take a Sabbatical year in Israel at the Tel HaShomer Hospital’s Kidney Department. They loved that year so much that they extended their stay for another few years until they reached the realization that Israel, indeed, was their new home.
The years in Edmonton were filled with activity for their three children, Monte born in 1964, Danny in 1966 and Tzvia (born Harriet) in 1969. Both Myrna and Don became very involved with Talmud Torah; Don was on the Board of Directors, serving as President the year the school joined EPSB. Myrna was an active member of Mothers Auxiliary, even serving as the Editor of the Edmonton Jewish Phone Book project.
“The lunchroom was a particular highlight for all of us,” explained Myrna. ‘The kids went to Junior Congregation there regularly while Don and I were active in the parent’s Jewish Music Group that practiced and put on their annual show in this venue. So much of our time was spent driving back and forth from our house on 81 Avenue to the old Talmud Torah on 133 St! Carpooling with the Starkmans, Pekarskys, and Weisz families plus all the extracurricular activities… that was our life!”
By the time the family left for Israel Monte had finished Grade 6, Danny Grade 4 and Tzvia Grade 1. Upon arriving in Israel, they were extremely proud of their kids’ TT education. All the kids adapted to their new life, easily mastering the Hebrew language, and already having an appreciation of the country through their knowledge of Israel taught at TT. In Myrna’s words, “…because they had been taught by wonderful Israeli teachers (and of course very good English ones as well).”
So why a donation to Talmud Torah now? The Silverberg’s shared with the Board that when Myrna’s younger brother, Dr. Larry Wine, passed away he left her some money. Wanting to make a gift back in Canada, Talmud Torah felt like the perfect place to make a gift that would mean the most to their family.
When the idea of creating a lunchroom/communal space for today’s students to gather to share lunch, prayers and create a stronger community, it was apparent that the perfect match for their donation had been found. After decades of students being isolated during lunch time, the addition of a lunchroom/communal space will greatly enhance the pride and feeling of ruach in the school and bring back a venue that has left indelible memories for TT children for decades.
The Talmud Torah Society is currently gathering tenders for the construction of the lunchroom. Two rooms in the southwest corner of the building (the Slawsky multi-purpose room and Hardin music room) will be combined, allowing our students to eat, pray and gather together. Truly a game-changer for our students!
Kol haKavod to Myrna, Don and the entire Silverberg family for making this transformational gift to Talmud Torah. The impact of this gift will last a lifetime.