Religious School Curriculum, Programs, and Staff


Early Childhood

Yad B’Yad – Hand in Hand Teachers: Lisa Fisher and Ariella Payne
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. Come join in the fun.

Dates for the 2018-19 school year; all Sundays from 10:45-11:45 a.m.

October 7
November 4
December 2
February 3
April 7
May 5



Kinder Krafts and Kooking
Kinder Krafts and Kooking 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. Led by our Educator, Debbie Chessin, young children (infants to age 5) and their families will explore the Jewish value of Hiddur Mitzvah – Beautifying the mitzvah – as they create objects and foods in celebration of the holidays of the Jewish year.
Dates and locations for Kinder Krafts and Kooking:

November 17 – Over the Moon Ceramic Studio in Westlake
April 13 – Little Chefs Academy in Strongsville
Saturdays from 3-4:30 p.m.


Religious School Curriculum

Kindergarten and Grade 1
The Stories of the Jewish People – Teacher: Carol Ross

Jewish values are the focus for our K-1 youngsters. Through studying Torah stories and the Jewish and Me: Mitzvot Curriculum, the children will shape and reinforce their identity as Jews. Emphasis will be on the discovery of the responsibility of caring for others.

The students will have the opportunity to enjoy Jewish literature through the Parsha Storybook project. With each Parsha the children will learn about the characters, story and themes presented in the Torah text.

The Hebrew vocabulary of Jewish life and holidays will be introduced through Hebrew Through Movement. Students will learn the blessings (brachot) of Shabbat and the holidays. Through the study of and observance of these events, youngsters and their families can develop a stronger connection to the Jewish people.


Grades 2 & 3
I Am Part of the Jewish People 

Teachers: Renee Kolesar and Karen McAleer

Through the study of Torah, students will learn how Jewish stories, celebrations and rituals help them understand and develop their relationship with God and the Jewish community.

The students will explore how they can be involved in making the world a better place by performing acts of loving kindness (g’milut chasadim) in their everyday lives

Students will reinforce their knowledge of the aleph bet and build Hebrew vocabulary about Jewish life and holidays by participating in Hebrew Through Movement.

Our Jewish book club will provide our families the opportunity to explore age appropriate Jewish literature.


Grades 4 & 5
Being Part of a Community
5th graders with collage mapTeachers: Judaics – Ariella Payne
Hebrew – Allison Winokur, Scott Machol, Debbie Chessin

Students will examine what it means to be part of a world Jewish community that bases its identity on connecting to the land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael), to our covenant with God (Brit), and to the Jewish people (Am Yisrael).

The students will examine how the fixed order of worship (Keva) and, and the personal intention they bring to prayer (Kavannah), are complementary aspects of Jewish worship that combine to help make sacred connections.

The students will also learn more advanced ways that as Jews we have the responsibility to perform acts of loving kindness (g’milut chasadim) for the people we encounter in our lives.

In anticipation of the celebration of Bar and Bat Mitzah, the Hebrew curriculum focuses on study of the Shabbat morning prayer service, as well as some material from the Friday night service. The goal is for students to learn over 90 key prayer words and 30 roots, prefixes, and suffixes as they explore the meaning of the prayers and songs.

Grades 6 & 7
Teachers: Judaics – David Neumann
Hebrew – Shosh Ault, Scott Machol, Sarah Bedrossian, Beryl Palnik

What does it mean to say that God is continuously revealed to ourselves and to others? How can one find sacred connections to God, community, and self? The students will study Jewish texts and explore how these texts help develop a relationship with God.

The students will participate in BIC (Beth Israel Chaverim, our temple’s junior youth group) and become actively involved with distant Jewish communities through a partnership program with Jewish students in Kalinograd, Russia.

In Hebrew, the students will work on the prayers within the Machzor (High Holy Day prayer book) and Haggadah.

Teens, Grades 8-12
Jewish Heroes and Middot (Jewish Values)
Teachers: David Rosen, Brian Friedman, Jeff Heller and Rabbi Lader

This year the class will examine the concept of Jewish heroism and examine the Jewish values (middot) that heroes embody. The students will address the following guiding questions:

1. What makes a hero? How does someone behave as a hero?
2. How are Jewish values (middot) expressed in the action of these “heroes”?
3. How does a Jewish hero affect the Jewish community and greater society?
4. How does Judaism affect their behavior?

The students will engage in the study of Jewish texts, including: Torah, midrash and modern Jewish literature with the Rabbi. The Rabbi and the students will analyze the heroes in Jewish literature and the middot that each one demonstrates.

The students will participate in Community service projects which involve working and interviewing the everyday heroes in our community and our congregation led by their teacher.

Heroes in the comic books will be explored by the students and their teachers. The students will examine the role Jewish culture and values play as they helped to shape the development of the modern comic book heroes.



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.



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.