Religious School


Yad B’Yad – Teacher: Rivienne Levin

For newborns through age 5 and their families! Yad B’Yad meets monthly for an hour and focuses on Jewish holidays and Jewish living through stories, songs, crafts, food and fun.

Yad byad


Oy Yoy Yoga and Tumbling – Debbie Chessin

Oy Yoy Yoga and Tumbling is an outreach program to families on the West Side, whether affiliated with Beth Israel-The West Temple, or not. It is funded through a Shoresh grant through the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland. Young children and their families with children who are infants to age 5 will explore the Jewish value of Shmirat Ha Guf (caring for our bodies), by participating in interactive activities that focus on exercise, yoga, and healthy eatting.


Sophie studies aleph betPre Kindergarten/Kindergarten – Teacher: Carol Ross

Jewish & Me: Mitzvot and Jewish Holidays

Learning will focus on the Mitzvot, Values and the celebration of Jewish holidays. The children will:

  • connect to Jewish values through hands on experiences, which include Shalom Bayit (Peace in the Home), Hachnasat Orchim (Welcoming Guests), and G’milut Chasadim (Acts of Loving Kindness)
  • build their Jewish identity by learning about the rituals and traditions of Shabbat and the fall holidays including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, and Chanukah
  • participate in interactive activities including music, dance, crafts and cooking. These help build Jewish identity, and are used to help youngsters learn about the holidays of Tu B’Shevat, Purim and Passover
  • learn that Israel is the Jewish homeland, and learn about the food, language and customs of the Israeli people
  • become familiar with the sound of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet by learning the letter of the week
  • be exposed to Modern Hebrew vocabulary of Jewish life which will be reinforced through Hebrew Through Movement


Grades 1-2 – Teachers: Judaics – Gloria Cutrona / Hebrew – Kari Basiewicz

Discovering Myself in My Jewish Story

Learning will focus on Jewish stories, rituals and values. The children will:

  • explore how they are part of Torah and the Jewish people
  • begin to understand and express their relationship with God through celebrations and rituals
  • examine how Jewish acts help them discover the beauty and order of sacred time and their place in Jewish history
  • learn that they can become connected to the ongoing story of the Jewish people by performing acts of g’milut chasadim-(acts of loving kindness) in their everyday lives.
  • using the Israel Scavenger Hunt, discover the important cities, the culture, and way of life of people living in the modern state of Israel
  • continue building on Hebrew vocabulary of Jewish life through Hebrew Through Movement
  • learn the Hebrew blessings for Shabbat, and the fall and spring festival holidays


Itamar with 1st graders


Grades 3 & 4 – Teachers: Judaics – Ariella Payne / Hebrew – Debbie Chessin, Scott Machol, Allison Winokur

K’dushah- Holiness

Tel Aviv model

Learning will focus on texts from the Torah and elements of the worship service. The children will:

  • explore how the laws and rules in the Torah can help them live a life filled with holy moments
  • discover through Avodah (worship) that they can make their lives and the world more ‘kadosh’ (holy)
  • participate in our Caring Community project and learn how g’milut chasadim (acts of loving kindness), can impact the lives of members of our own congregational family
  • build Hebrew decoding and reading skills to help students gain confidence participating in and leading worship; learn the blessings of the morning prayer service including the Barchu, Shema and V-ahavta
  • begin to learn and use conversational Hebrew as they learn about the people and multiculturalism of modern Israel


Grades 5 & 6 – Teachers: Judaics – David Neumann / Hebrew – Shosh Ault, Scott Machol

Reform Judaism

Learning will focus on the study of a variety of Jewish texts and writings, prayer and mitzvot. The children will:

  • study Jewish texts, including the prophets, to discover their personal and communal role in the practice of Judaism
  • discover that the practice of prayer can allow them to grow through personal reflection and a renewed connection to God and the Jewish people
  • learn that they are part of K’lal Yisrael and have a responsibility to support and sustain the Jewish community by engaging in acts of g’milut chasadim (acts of loving kindness)
  • continue to master the Hebrew prayers of the Tefillah, Shabbat and festival holidays
  • build Hebrew decoding and reading skills to help youngsters gain confidence in participating in, and leading worship, special focus on the liturgy of the High Holy Days and the Haggadah

Shosh and older girls at table


Grades 7 & 8 – Teachers: Judaics – Barbara Schwartz, Harry Lader / Beryl Palnik-Beth Israel Chaverim (BIC)

Hineini-Here I Am

Learning will focus on the students’ individual and collective responsibility to their community. The students will:

  • explore how their lives connect to the stories in the Torah
  • learn how the messages and power of Jewish prayer can help them understand and define themselves as authentic members of the Jewish community
  • as members of the adult Jewish community, examine the connection between their ethical behavior (middot) and the performance of acts of g’milut chasadim (acts of loving kindness)
  • discover how the stories of our Jewish heroes of the 20th Century have had an impact on the American Jewish community
  • learn about the creation of the State of Israel from the rise of Zionism to the formation of the state
  • become connected to international Jewry by participating in a partnership program with teens in the Jewish community in Kalinograd Russia


High School & NFTY – Coordinator: David Rosen

“Jew or Jew-ish – Exploring Our Jewish Identity”

HS kids cutting bread

Learning will focus on the exploration of one’s individual definition of Jewish identity. The students will:

  • examine the factors that help shape their Jewish identity which include: Jewish culture, learning, rituals and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world)
  • study both prayers and texts as they begin to explore how both shape their individual Jewish identity
  • participate in monthly service projects through organizations including The St. Herman House – FOCUS Cleveland and Us Together, and will discover that as Jews they have an individual and collective responsibility to our help both our own people and others in our community
  • gain a deeper connection to Israel as they explore questions presented in the 4 Hatikvah curriculum and examine the security, freedom and peoplehood of the state of Israel


Camp Kee Tov is a one-week summer day camp for children, Pre-K through grade four, held in an area park. Each year has a theme, focusing on a different aspect of that theme each day of camp. Activities include music, arts and crafts, cooking, hikes, sports, and field trips. Older children and teens often volunteer as assistants to the Religious School teachers who lead the camp.

Kee Tov kids and Jr. counselors froghat


In preparation for Bar/Bat Mitzvah, the child and parents meet with Rabbi Lader to read through his/her Torah portion and then choose a section to prepare. The child will then meet with our Bar/Bat Mitzvah coach/tutor and a mentor from the congregation, to work on a d’var Torah. Together, the family chooses a mitzvah project that is part of the overall coming-of-age celebration.

Debbie Chessen closeupDirector of Education* – Debbie Chessin
Ms. Chessin brings over a decade of secular and religious school teaching experience to Beth Israel-The West Temple.  In addition to her work in Jewish and Hebrew Studies at Tel Aviv University, she has degrees in Law and Sociology. She oversees the religious school program of Beth Israel-The West Temple, and teaches some classes, while also planning and implementing education programming for the entire congregation.

*This position/work is funded through the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Fund for the Jewish Future and is supported through the educational resources of the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland and the Laura and Alvin Siegal College of Judaic Studies.

Sunday morning hours:
9:45am to 12:15pm
Monthly Yad B’Yad 10:00-11:00am

Monday night Hebrew:

Hebrew Lab – Scott Machol
Librarians – Lee Haas, Eileen Kollins

Rabbi Enid Lader
Debbie Chessin, Director of Education
Robin Kauffman, Treasurer 
Carola Bamberger, Administrator
Shosh Ault, Natalie Barratt, Tina Keller, Josh Levy, Ariella Payne, Rhoda Rosen.