Brian Avner
Director of Youth Education


We teach each student not only the skills to fully participate in the Jewish community, but also to instill an emotional sense of love for Judaism. Students learn hands-on skills such as lighting Shabbat candles, the Hanukkah blessings, the order of a Passover Seder, the prayers in the Shabbat service, and more. Additionally, students come away with an emotional connection to Jewish tradition, Jewish community and God.

We understand that our students bring with them a variety of learning styles. Therefore, each of the teachers at Congregation Sinai uses all of the senses in order to teach each subject, incorporating art, movement and library visits. Each class also spends time each month with our Shin-Shinim, Israeli teens doing a year of service in our community, in order to learn more about Israel and modern Hebrew. This variety of learning experiences accommodates a range of interest and learning styles.


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Shabbat Shelanu Family Education
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K4-2nd Grade Religious School

Sunday mornings 9:30am-12:00pm

Our Sunday mornings begin with Family Tefillah with our clergy in the sanctuary before the students head to the classrooms with their teachers. In addition to classroom based learning, Sinai students have opportunities for experiential learning with our specialists in music, movement, art and cooking.

The curriculum in the Gan class (K4 and K5) centers around the Jewish holidays, Bible stories, Jewish symbols, exposure to blessings, basic Hebrew vocabulary and the recognition and identification of the Alef-Bet (Hebrew alphabet). Youth engage with the material through interactive Jewish learning centers targeting multiple learning styles. Hebrew language is taught orally and through movement.

Our First and Second graders are introduced to the CHAI Curriculum, which is a flexible educational system for Reform congregations based on the values of Torah, Avodah (prayer), and Gemilut Hasadim (acts of kindness). The First grade theme is "Discovering Myself in the Jewish Story" and the Second grade theme is "I am part of the Jewish people".

3rd-6th Grade Mitkadem

Sunday mornings 9:30am-12:00pm

PLUS - YOU CHOOSE: Tuesday or Thursday afternoons, 4:15-5:30pm or 5:00-6:15pm

Flexible Hebrew School schedules and small group instruction are the cornerstone of our Mitkadem Hebrew Curriculum. Mitkadem is a self-paced program that teaches youth a general understanding of the Shabbat and holiday prayers and blessings and how to read them fluently. By the end of Sixth grade, youth will have completed between 12 and 18 ramot (levels). In addition, students in our smaller study groups gather together during each session for mid-week tefillah with the larger group in order to put their classroom lessons into the context of prayer.

On Sunday mornings, Third through Seventh Graders continue their work in the CHAI Curriculum, each grade with its own theme:
3rd - "K'dushah (Holiness)"
4th - "Being Part of the Community"
5th - "Reform Judaism"
6th - "Revelation"

7th Grade/B'nei Mitzvah Preparation

Sunday mornings 9:30am-12:00pm

PLUS - Individualized study schedule

Our B'nei mitzvah students spend this year engaged in individual studies with our clergy and a Hebrew tutor which are scheduled throughout the week. Sunday morning classes give them a chance to come together as a community for group learning and to support each other during this busy and important year. This year's CHAI Curriculum theme is "Hineini (Here I Am)".

Prior to the start of their B'nei Mitzvah preparations, students complete a minimum of three consecutive years in the Youth Education Program, unless they attend an area Jewish day school.  For most youth, this means they should be enrolled in the Youth Education program no later than the 3rd grade. Special arrangements can be made for students with special needs to create a meaningful Jewish educational and B'nei mitzvah experience.

The Bar/Bat Mitzvah year is one of anticipation, anxiousness and excitement. We view it as a family experience in which both the youth and family members devote a considerable amount of time and energy in preparation for this ceremony. In the Sixth grade year, we offer three Family B'nei Mitzvah Program learning sessions which are designed to help families deepen their understanding of the B'nei Mitzvah experience.

8th-12th Grade Program

Sunday afternoons

Teens gather for educational and social experiences that are engaging and provide a Jewish response to the social and ethical dilemmas that come up for teenagers in today’s society. Each grade also meets in core classes for intensive study focusing on topics related to God, Torah, Israel, Social Action and the Transition to College, all with an emphasis on ethics based on Jewish teachings. 10th grade students also participate in Affirmation and lead a special service in the spring to mark this milestone achievement.

Madrichim Program

8th-12th Grade students may also earn volunteer service hours working as teaching assistants in our Religious School on Sunday mornings. Participants are able to make a positive impact on Jewish children. The experience also makes them stronger candidates for summer jobs and helps them stand out on college applications.

For more information about our Youth Education Program, contact our School Administrator or complete the Information Request Form below...


Youth Education Information Request