History & Founder

The only independent TK-12 Jewish community day school in Orange County and one of the largest in the nation, TVT was established in 1991 by Irving Gelman, a Holocaust survivor, in loving memory of Naomi Gelman Weiss. TVT is a tribute to the TARBUT schools that flourished in Eastern Europe before the Holocaust.

Irving “Papa” Gelman, Founder

Irving “Papa” Gelman was born in Hosht, Poland, and survived the Holocaust by hiding under a barn for 16 months.  In April 1947, Gelman immigrated to New York City with a contribution of $5.60 after sending his soon-to-be wife, Rochelle, a telegram confirming he was waiting for her.  Gelman began working in a textile business for $35 a week.  Seven years later, Gelman established his own textile company named Domka Inc., after the Ukrainian woman who saved his life by hiding him and his family on her farm.  

“The key to Jewish culture is teaching”, Gelman said.

Gelman’s rich history in Jewish education began with his father who was involved in starting a school in Poland to allow the Jewish culture to survive and thrive.  The school was called Tarbut which means “culture”.  Gelman’s passion for Jewish education led him to help manage and secure funding for two Jewish schools in New Jersey, Yavneh Academy and The Frisch School, before relocating to Orange County in 1984.  In 1991, Gelman founded Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School, in loving memory of his daughter, Naomi Gelman Weiss. Since opening, TVT has grown from a 36-student school to a flourishing TK-12 college preparatory school with over 800 students, making it one of the largest Jewish Day Schools in the nation.  

The hundreds of students who have attended TVT looked forward to being greeted by “Papa” Gelman whose big hugs, warm heart, keen mind, and boundless energy had guided the school to remarkable success.  In the process of building a school for our children, “Papa” Gelman had built a community committed to Jewish education. 
TVT Community Day School is a TK-12 Independent Community Day School in Irvine, CA
Founded in Loving Memory of Naomi Gelman Weiss