Our Religious School Program

Our Approach

At TE Religious School you’ll find experiential, hands-on learning, joyful Jewish moments, and quality instruction as you would expect at any religious school.  TE has a few unique aspects that set our program apart: 

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  • Our small size means that students build strong connections with their peers and have a close relationship with our Rabbi, Elizabeth Hersh, and the rest of the staff. Our community fills a key niche for families looking for an intimate feel.  Rabbi Hersh knows each child by name, interacts with them frequently on Sunday mornings, and finds true joy in watching them grow and in sharing special milestones with each family.  

  • Leadership Opportunities: Another benefit of our size is ample opportunity for students to take on leadership roles within the religious school and the congregation.  From ritual roles like reading Torah or bowing shofar, to social opportunities like planning a special program for peers and younger students, to community roles like launching a social justice project, TE students can share their passions with the community in a way that is meaningful for them.  

  • Family Involvement: TE is proud that we do not have a “drop-off” culture!  TE families are a core part of their child’s Jewish education, so we encourage families to find a way to get involved in the congregation and the school that speaks to them (but don't worry, you'll still have time for those Sunday morning errands or workouts or whatever you like to do while your kids are being taken care of!).  Our whole community, including parents and siblings, begins each religious school day with a bagel breakfast together, and many parents stick around for adult learning or just to hang out with other parents.  A highlight of the Religious School experience is the monthly Family Service, where families join together in prayer and song with Rabbi Hersh to begin their day.  

  • Youth Engagement: Youth group and camp-style activities are integrated into the religious school experience.  Examples of past activities include a Maccabiah “Color War” day, a Bubble Bus party, and a Chanukah Donut Crawl complete with a party bus.  This allows all TE youth and teens to build those important social connections and create the fun Jewish memories you would expect to find in a separate youth group, all within the program they already attend.  Older students gain leadership experience by planning and leading these activities for peers or younger students.

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Schedule

Religious School meets on Sundays, beginning with breakfast for all families 9-9:30 then classes 9:30-11:30 for PreK-8th graders.  Once per month, our entire religious school community begins the day together in prayer and song with a Family Service from 9:30 to 10.

 

Confirmation class (9th and 10th grade) meets from 11:30-12:30.  Confirmation students have the option to serve as madrichim (teen teaching assistants) for the younger classes from 9:30 to 11:30. 

3rd-6th graders can learn Hebrew through 1-on-1 sessions on Zoom with a TE teacher.  These are 30 minutes per week and can be scheduled at any time agreed upon by the family and teacher.  

 

Our TE Tots program (parent-child class for 0-4 year olds) meets 2 Sunday mornings per month 9:30-10:30.

Teachers

Most TE teachers are degreed teachers or pursuing degrees in education.  Classroom teachers facilitate creative, interactive lessons each week that help students discover and explore Judaism in ways that are meaningful and fun, as well as build community among the class.  

Students also spend time with specialists in art and music, as well as TE's Shinshin, an Israeli teen who spends a gap year between high school and military service teaching in US synagogues and schools.  Students build their connection with Israel in a special and personal way by getting to know the Shinshin throughout the year. 

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Questions about TE Religious School or any youth and teen programs?  Contact

Emily Cohen, Director of Education & Community Engagement, emily@testl.org or 314-432-5877.