First grade teacher Tova came home | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

First grade teacher Tova came home 

Meet Tova (Noll) Tornek, a first-grade Judaic Studies teacher at Bader Hillel Academy and a Hebrew school teacher for 4- and 5-year-olds at Milwaukee Community Hebrew School. Tornek grew up in Glendale, traveled for a few years and recently returned  to the Milwaukee area in June 2023. 

Teaching has always been Tornek’s passion, she said. She started helping in classrooms as soon as she could and began teaching as a teen. Tornek attended Bader Hillel Academy, Torah Academy of Milwaukee and Bader Hillel High. After high school, Tornek spent time in Israel, Illinois and New York, where she met her husband. Once the couple came back to Milwaukee, they fell in love with the area and decided to settle down.  

While Tornek spent most of her career teaching adults and high school students, she said she loves teaching the younger students in her current roles. “They just want to learn and know everything,” she said. “Beyond the subjects I teach, most importantly, I love connecting to the kids and building relationships with them.” 

When asked who inspired her to teach, she said she owes her love for teaching to being surrounded by amazing Chabad rabbis and their wives right here in Milwaukee.  

“Even as a young child, they had such a huge impact on me,” she said. “They taught Judaism in a way that was meaningful and relevant, and I remember thinking, if I could make such an impact on someone’s life when I grow up, that would be amazing.” 

She said that she has always loved teaching Judaic subjects to people of all ages. “I love helping people discover their own personal connection to Torah and Judaism – how it speaks to them and is there to make their life more meaningful,” she said. 

Tornek said she loves being back in Milwaukee; she enjoys spending time outdoors, and she really doesn’t mind the winters! In her spare time, she loves to learn, read and spend time with her family. Tornek resides in Bayside with her husband and two young children (ages 1 and 3). Tornek would like people to know that she’s excited to be back home, and she’s cherished the opportunity to see old friends and meet new people.  

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Writer Nicole Boico is the associate director of the Coalition for Jewish Learning of Milwaukee Jewish Federation. This regular feature, from the Coalition for Jewish Learning, is to celebrate local educators. To suggest someone for coverage, contact Boico at