What is it like to learn from Rabbi Yosi Gordon? “I have had many teachers over the years. Many were good, some were great, but none were better than Yosi,” says former student, David Glaser.
On Sunday, May 23, the Talmud Torah of St. Paul (TTSP) recognized Rabbi Yosi Gordon for his 40 years of service at their Midrasha Graduation and Teacher Recognition.
During his tenure at TTSP, Rabbi Gordon has served in many roles including Executive Director, Principal, and as a teacher in all TTSP programs. His leadership and vision helped to create the Day School and Afternoon School as it exists today.
Presently, Yosi teaches Hebrew, Torah, and Jewish elective classes in the Afternoon School and Midrasha programs, and teaches classes for Hineni throughout the year.
Rabbi Gordon’s larger-than-life presence, charisma, and enthusiastic teaching style draw students in and keeps them returning for more. His students admire his unique point of view and enjoy the way he connects personal anecdotes and humor to learning. “There aren’t many people who will ask a 5th grader to present a detailed analytical argument, carefully and actively listen to it, seriously consider it, then offer a respectful response. But that is exactly what Yosi does,” says David Glaser, who is now a practicing lawyer in Minneapolis.
With all his classes, Rabbi Gordon says, he wants to give his students the resources they need to build their lives and who they are with Judaism at the core. His teaching gives individualized attention to each student and meets them where they are to help them grow. This central focus hasn’t changed since moving to online teaching. “For the first part of class, I can ask him any question about Jewish history or world events. He always has a fascinating answer,” says graduating senior, David Skadron.
“Yosi inspires his students and awakens their curiosity. “His teachings strengthen his students’ critical thinking skills and their appreciation of Torah and Jewish identity,” said Heidi Tarshish, Director of Education.
Through TTSP, and at organizations across the Twin Cities, Rabbi Yosi Gordon has dedicated his life to Jewish educational excellence. He says, if you want to promote Jewish education for our youth, there is one thing you must do: learn. “If you continue to learn and study, our students will realize that learning is a normal part of Jewish life.”
Rabbi Gordon will be teaching a class for adults this summer for TTSP’s Hineni program titled Reading our Biblical Narratives. He will also be returning to teach in the Afternoon School and Midrasha programs this fall – continuing his legacy at TTSP.
About Talmud Torah of St. Paul:
Talmud Torah of St. Paul (TTSP) has been the central address for Jewish education in Saint Paul since 1956. TTSP consists of three major programs that provide challenging and innovative curricula for all. The Newman School is the Day School program of TTSP. The Afternoon School and Midrasha programs offer supplementary education for students in grades 2-12 to learn Hebrew, Torah, and Jewish culture. Hineni is the Adult Education program, offers an array of adult Jewish learning opportunities and contemplative practice experiences, many in collaboration with Twin Cities area synagogues and agencies.