7TH GRADE TEACHER
My name is Avi Taranto and this is my first year teaching at STRS. After studying history and Arabic at McGill University in Montreal, I made Aliyah over ten years ago and spent the last six years as a tour guide in the Holy Land. I moved to Los Angeles only a few weeks ago and am thrilled to be engaging with Jewish youth and imparting on them some of my vast knowledge about Israel and Judaism. I learned that my own birthday holds serious significance in the history of the State of Israel (9 December). While I was born on the 7th of Kislev, 9 December 1917 was the 24th of Kislev (one day before Hanukkah). On that day, General Allenby defeated the Ottomans and conquered Jerusalem. Only two years prior, in the form of the Balfour Declaration, the British promised to establish a national home for the Jews in the Holy Land. Allenby’s entry to Jerusalem was the beginning of the legal process by which Israel would become a sovereign state of the Jews once again. Hanukkah, too, is the story of Jews reestablishing a kingdom in Israel. I intend to share with our students the tremendous moment in history we inhabit, when we Jews are strong, alive, thriving and sovereign once more in our ancestral home.