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Youth Education


Our Youth Education Program, Sh’arim, keeps with the name of our congregation, which means Gates. (Shaarai is a slightly different grammatical form, but means the same thing!)

We have reframed the traditional grade level model of school to offer different gates into different aspects of Jewish life at developmentally appropriate points. Instead of speaking about “religious school” and Hebrew school,” we invite everyone to join us at Sh’arim. It is a place for children to learn, but it is also a place for children AND their families to LIVE Jewishly.

Sh'arim includes Family Education on every grade level, as well as school-wide family programming. It includes Shabbat dinners, Sukkah building and decorating, and student created and led commemorations of Yom Ha-Shoah and Yom Ha-Atzmaut. It has students promoting our tzedakah collection, and then doing the research to determine how it will be distributed. (Tzedakah is collected every Sunday morning. Please send your child with an amount that it meaningful to your family.)

It is a place that partners with Reform movement summer camps, youth programs, and Israel travel experiences to give our kids the broadest experiences possible inside and out of the walls of our building. It is a place where our students begin with us as toddlers, and end their experience only when they reach Confirmation as their high school years come to a close. It is a place where parents can gather socially while waiting for their children, and a time for parents to join with their kids in a meaningful worship experience.

With the idea of not just learning but living Judaism in mind, it is no wonder that we have selected CHAI (Life) as the core of our curriculum. It is built around the three pillars on which, according to Pirkei Avot, the world stands — Learning, Worship, and Acts of Loving Kindness.

The curriculum will be implemented by a group of passionate and dedicated teachers. Because of the emphasis we put on our educational programming, Rabbi Paskoff will be personally overseeing Sh’arim. He will be joined by school administrator, Nikki Wilson, and teacher coach, Holli Viau in guiding and supporting our teachers. As we get used to the new designations of Sh’arim, we will use the name of the Sha’ar along with the older grade designations for purposes of clarity.

Unless otherwise noted, Wednesday sessions begin at 4:30 p.m. and end at 6 p.m., with Sunday sessions begin at 9:15 a.m. and ending at noon. We stress the importance of consistent attendance and punctuality as a way to ensure that our program can flow smoothly, providing the maximum experience for each child.

  • Shaarai Mishpachah (Gates of the Family/Parent and Me) is for infants & toddlers up to Age 2 and their parents. This class meets roughly two Sundays a month from 9:15 a.m. until 10:15 a.m..
  • Shaarai Y’ladim (Gates of the Children/Early Childhood) is for children Ages 2-3 and meets on Sunday mornings from 9:15 a.m. until noon.
  • Shaarai Shabbat (PreK) through Shaarai Ivrit (2nd grade) and Shaarai T'filah (8th grade) through Shaarai Atid (10th grade) meet on Sunday mornings from 9:15 a.m. until noon.
  • Shaarai Tarbut (3rd grade) through Shaarai Mitzvot (7th grade) meet on Sundays from 9:15 a.m. until noon and Wednesdays from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m..
  • Shaarai Atid (Gates of the Future/11th and 12th grade) meets roughly once a month.

If you have any questions about the Sh’arim program, please contact Rabbi Paskoff at 717-397-5575, or


Fri, 29 July 2016 23 Tammuz 5776