Papyrus-logo oval gold edited-2

Curriculum - Programs - Staff

Yad B’Yad – Teacher: Rivienne Levin
For newborns through age 5 and their families!  Yad B’Yad meets monthly and focuses on Jewish holidays and Jewish living through stories, songs, crafts, food and fun. Participants may join our school community from 10:15 am - 11:15 am.

Yad byad


Oy Yoy Yoga and Tumbling – Debbie Chessin and Ariella Payne
This is a community outreach program for families on the West Side, whether or not affiliated with Beth Israel-The West Temple. This program is being co-sponsored by Shoresh, an early childhood grant through the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland. It is designed to engage young children and their parents as they learn about the Jewish value of Shmirat haGuf (taking care of one’s body) and participate in a program that includes yoga, tumbling and music.


Sophie studies aleph betKINDERGARTEN 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 Aleph-Bet of Jewish Values, the children will shape and reinforce their identity as Jews. Emphasis will be on the discovery of the responsibility of caring for others.
  • The Hebrew vocabulary of Jewish life and holidays will be introduced through Hebrew Through Movement. Students will learn the 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.
  • The whole family will have the opportunity to enjoy Jewish literature through a Jewish book club.


GRADES 2 & 3

I Am Part of the Jewish People Teachers: Lisa Fisher & Gloria Cutrona

  • 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.

Itamar with 1st graders

GRADES 4 & 5

Being Part of a Community Teachers:  Judaics - Ariella Payne
      Hebrew - Allison Winokur, Scott Machol, Debbie Chessin

Tel Aviv model

  • 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.
  • Students will learn how each individual act of g’milut chasadim they perform makes the world more kadosh (holy).
  • 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

Revelation Teachers:  Judaics - David Neumann
        Hebrew - Shosh Ault, Scott Machol, Sarah Bedrossian

  • What does is 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 and Haggadah.

Shosh and older girls at table


Making Choices: An Examination of Ethical Decision-Making through a Philosophical and Historical Lense Teachers: David Rosen, Barbara Schwartz, Harry Lader

HS kids cutting bread

  • Students will examine the Holocaust as a significant historical event in history that continues to have universal implications. They will discuss the complexity of the individual choices and dilemmas during the Holocaust and explore how prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory practices that were prevalent during that time can escalate to violence.
  • Students will work to define their role and responsibility as individuals to uphold democracy and stand up for the rights of others. They will learn about ethical decision-making through exploring Jewish texts and commentaries. In addition, the students will participate in social action programs with teens of other faiths within our local community and explore modern social justice issues and their responsibilities to themselves and others in our community.
  • The teens will have the opportunity to take part in the URJ’s L’Taken Social Justice seminar in Washington, D.C. (L’Taken means “to repair” and is the root of the expression “tikkun olam” – “repairing the world”.)


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 10:15-11:15am

Monday night Hebrew:

Crafts in the Classroom – Dee Lazarus
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, Alan Finkelstein, Tina Keller, Josh Levy, Ariella Payne, Rhoda Rosen.