Religious School 2018-2019

Welcome to Temple Shaaray Tefila's Religious School

Our school strives to nourish a love of Judaism in each of our students. Throughout their time here, our students and teachers build a community steeped in compassion with programming dedicated to the enrichment of their lives as Jewish learners. To reap the benefits of our multifaceted program, we encourage parents to enroll children in Kindergarten and continue through 12th Grade, but we welcome students at any point in their Jewish journeys. Please do not hesitate to call us in the Religious School at (212) 535-0912 or email [email protected] if you have any questions. We look forward to getting to know you, and developing relationships with each of you during the year.

Registration is open for the 2018-19 school year!

Register now »

Learn more about...

Our Staff
Calendars & Parent Resources
Pre-K - 5th Grade (Sunday/Tuesday OR MASA)
6th-Fall Semester 8th Grade (j*star)
Spring Semester 8th-12th Grade (Pathways)
Pricing for All Grades

PreK-5th Grade


Our classroom based Pre-K - Grade 5 program is infused with a love and passion for Judaism, inspiring our students to become lifelong Jewish learners. Over the course of their time here, students explore sacred stories, experience Jewish rituals, sing and worship together. Learning to read Hebrew and exploring the meaning of the prayers are also cornerstones of our Grades 3 - 5 classes. 

Pre-K: An Introduction to our Religious School

Monthly on Sunday from 9:00-11:00am
Our youngest participants will get a taste of the fun and engaging activities our Religious School has to offer. Students will join in this monthly program to sing, pray and learn about Judaism together.

Kindergarten: The Holiday Cycle

Sunday 9:00-11:00am
Students learn about the Jewish holidays, Shabbat, and Torah stories through crafts, song, stories, and prayer.

Grade 1: Mitzvot

Sunday 9:00-11:00am
Students explore the many mitzvot, God’s commandments to do good deeds, that guide our lives. A mitzvah tree collects leaves representing their acts of love and kindness and participation in Jewish tradition.

Grade 2: The Synagogue

Sunday 9:00-11:00am
Students discover the important role that the synagogue plays in celebrating Jewish life and building a Jewish community. Students are exposed to ritual objects common in all synagogues as well as what is unique about Temple Shaaray Tefila.

Grade 3: Torah

Sunday 9:00-11:00am AND Tuesday 4:00-6:00pm
Students delve into the world of Torah as they explore the Jewish values embedded in our history and tradition. Students are introduced to Hebrew reading skills that lay a foundation for prayer

Grade 4: Israel

Sunday 9:00-11:00am AND Tuesday 4:00-6:00pm
Students build a connection with the land and people of Israel. They partner with a school in Haifa, Israel to build personal and meaningful relationships and deepen their understanding of our Jewish homeland. Students continue to develop their Hebrew abilities and explore their connection to prayer.

Grade 5: Jewish Life Cycles

Sunday 9:00-11:00am AND Tuesday 4:00-6:00pm
From birth to death, students explore the Jewish traditions that help us celebrate or mark major events in our Jewish lives. Students gain the skills to confidently participate in life cycle moments and continue to develop Hebrew and prayer skills.


MASA (Hebrew for "journey") is a program that brings parents and children together to learn and experience Jewish life. Each year delves into a different area of Jewish knowledge providing participants with a well-rounded Jewish education. This year, our brand new MASA curriculum will be an exploration of Jewish Heroes. We will dive into the stories of our audacious Jewish ancestors in biblical, rabbinic, and contemporary eras. MASA gives families a unique opportunity to develop friendships and a special connection to our sacred community. The program includes joyful singing, time to share a snack, and a wonderful worship experience at Sunday sessions.

MASA Schedule

Pre-K for Younger Siblings of MASA K-5: 18 Sunday afternoons from 3:00-5:30pm AND select Shabbatot and Holidays (Set schedule forthcoming)
Grades K-2: 18 Sunday afternoons from 3:00-5:30pm and select Shabbatot and Holidays (Set schedule forthcoming)
Grades 3-5: 18 Sunday afternoons from 3:00-5:30pm and select Shabbatot and Holidays (Set schedule forthcoming) AND additional weekly one-on-one 30-minute Hebrew tutoring

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6th-Fall Semester 8th Grade


j*star (Jewish Students Taking Action and Responsibility) is a five-semester program designed to empower and inspire students during and following the B'nei Mitzvah process. In Grades 6 and 7, students will take a deeper dive into Jewish values, Jewish heritage, and prayer leadership. In the Fall semester of Grade 8, they'll get a taste of our choice-based Pathways program.

Grade 6: Jewish Values & Prayer Leadership

Tuesday 4:00-6:00pm OR Sundays from 3:00-5:30pm AND Participation in Chavurot Family Learning Groups
Becoming a B'nei Mitzvah is an affirmation of the commitment to living Jewishly as adults. Students will explore what it means to take responsibility for their Jewish identity and practice. Students will gain confidence in their prayer leadership skills by leading t'filah.

Grade 7: Jewish Values & Jewish Heritage Electives

Monday 6:00-7:30pm OR Sundays from 3:00-5:30pm
Students will spend the first half of the year immersed in a Jewish Values curriculum. In the second semester, they will choose from three Jewish Heritage electives: American Jewish History, Israeli History, and Holocaust Studies.

Grade 8 Fall Semester: Mini-Electives

Monday 6-7:30pm
Learn from our clergy and faculty in areas of interest. This program will conclude their j*star experience and ends with induction into Pathways, our comprehensive High School program.

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8th Grade (Spring) - 12th Grade


Monday 6:00-8:30pm
Pathways is our comprehensive, choice-based program for High School students. Beginning in the Spring Grade 8 through the end of Grade 12, teens carve out their own Jewish path by participating in over 20 different programs. Once enrolled in Pathways, teens can join TaSTY, our high school youth group, serve as a Teaching Assistant (TA) in our Religious School, learning with our clergy and faculty in Electives, travel to Israel and on service learning trips, and intern with Shaaray Tefila staff. While many of our Pathways programs take place on Monday evenings, see the Shaaray Tefila website calendar for specific dates and times for our Pathways programs. Pathways program fall into one of these five categories. Teens can also create their own opportunity, or "path," in consultation with our staff. Contact us to set up a Pathways consultation.

1. TaSTY

The senior youth group of Pathways is TaSTY - Temple Shaaray Tefila Youth. Led by the teen-elected TaSTY Board, TaSTY offers social programs and holiday celebrations open to all Pathways teens. TaSTY meets every Monday night from 7:30-8:30pm in the Youth Lounge, plus for special events throughout the year.

2. TA (Teaching Assistant)

Mentor the next generation of Shaaray Tefila students as a Teaching Assistant (TA). Offered on a variety of days, TAs will work as a team with guidance from a teacher to work one-on-one in Hebrew, help students with learning, and assist with classroom management. TAs are expected to attend periodic TA meetings and can earn a small stipend or community service. Teens interested in participating for the first time should enroll in the TA-in-Training elective.

3. Electives

Learn from Shaaray Tefila clergy and outside guest faculty in areas of interest for you! Sign up with friends for these interactive learning programs with our rabbis, cantors, and other expert teachers. Electives take place approximately every other week on Monday nights from 6:00-7:10pm, followed by dinner 7:10-7:30pm and TaSTY 7:30-8:30pm. Teens can also create their own elective in consultation with our Religious School Staff. For Fall 2018, Electives will meet for six sessions and include: Senior Seminar, Shir Leadership, Jewish TV and Movies, and Current Events Club.

Senior Seminar with Rabbi Joel Mosbacher
Open to Grade 12 Only
Six Sessions: October 15, October 29, November 12, November 26, December 3, December 17. 
This elective will continue in the Spring Semester.
Join with Rabbi Mosbacher for this special opportunity just for Seniors as you look ahead to life after high school. Explore high-level topics of theology, social justice, Israel, and Comparative Religions. All students will participate in our Shavuot Graduation Service at the end of the year.

Jewish TV and Movies with Cantorial Intern Leah Shafritz
Open to Grades 9-11
Six Sessions: October 15, October 29, November 12, November 26, December 3, December 17.
Fall Semester only.

Keeping the Faith, Seinfeld, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Goldbergs, Keeping Up with the Steins, This is Where I Leave You - and more! We will watch and dissect clips from popular TV and movies featuring Jewish themes and stories. Popcorn included!

Shir Leadership with Cantor Todd Kipnis
Open to Grades 9-12
Six Sessions: October 15, October 22, November 5, November 12, December 10, December 17, plus occasional performances.
This elective will continue in the Spring Semester.

Play an instrument? Love to sing? Want to lead Shabbat services? Explore Jewish music, learn prayer melodies, and help our clergy lead some Friday night Shabbat services and other worship experiences. This elective will also include occasional individual rehearsals to be scheduled individually in accordance with your schedule prior to performances.

Current Events Club
Open to Grades 9-12
Six Sessions: October 15, October 22, November 5, November 12, December 10, December 17.
Fall Semester only.

If you love talking politics, news, and what's going on in the world - this is the elective for you! Join the Current Events Club for this roundtable discussion-based elective all with a Jewish lens.

4. Trips

A cornerstone of the Temple Shaaray Tefila teen experience are Jewish immersive teen trips. Each year, there is a Pathways trip available for your grade to visit somewhere meaningful and unique, often with other NYC teens. All trips include elements of Jewish learning, community service, sightseeing, and free time. For many trips, there are pre-trip and post-trip learning sessions to deepen the trip experiences. Space is limited for all trips. Additional fees and registration are required to participate. You may be required to complete additional permission forms and releases for trips.

Grade 8 - Social Action Journey to New Orleans
Thursday, January 17 - Monday, January 21, 2019
Join with teens from Temple Israel and Temple Emanu-El for a social justice weekend to learn about the culture of this historic and ever-changing Southern landmark city, plus plenty of sightseeing and jazz music.

Grade 9 - Civil Rights Journey to Atlanta, Montgomery, Selma, and Birmingham
Thursday, February 28 - Sunday, March 3, 2019
Join with teens from Temple Israel and Temple Emanu-El for a powerful weekend of visiting Civil Rights sights and learning about Jewish participation in the Civil Rights movement.

Grade 10 - L’Taken Social Justice Seminar in Washington, DC
Friday, January 25 - Monday, January 28, 2019
Join with your Shaaray Tefila friends and hundreds of Jewish teens for a weekend of social justice learning, sightseeing, and lobbying on Capitol Hill on issues you care about.

Grade 10 and 11 - Israel Teen Exchange
Hosting in New York April 8-7, 2019, traveling to Haifa, Israel December 19-29, 2019.
Our capstone teen travel experience is the Israel Teen Exchange - a one-to-one peer exchange with a teen from Haifa, Israel. The application for the next cohort of the Israel Teen Exchange is now open and due Sunday, September 23. Click here to learn more and start the application. 

5. Internships

Intern at Temple Shaaray Tefila and earn school credit or community service. Work with our staff and gain real-world experience in the fields of communication, programming, events, and engagement. The application for the first cohort of TST Interns is now open and due Friday, September 14. Click here to learn more and apply.

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Our Staff

Rabbi Jessica Lenza
Director of Religious School Engagement
(212) 535-0912
email Rabbi Lenza
Andrew Paull
Director of Teen Engagement
(212) 535-0912
email Andrew
Casey Talmas
Religious School Operations Coordinator
(212) 328-9411
email Casey
Rachel Kaplan
B'nei Mitzvah Coordinator/Assistant to Cantor Kipnis
email Rachel

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Completed registration forms and payments received in full are eligible for the following tuition rates:
  Pre-K K-Grade 2 Grades 3-6 Grade 7 Grades 8-12

Registered and paid in full by June 29

$250 $1400 $2200 $1900 $600

Registered and paid in full between June 30-Aug 15

$300 $1550 $2350 $2050 $650

Registered and paid in full after Aug 16

$360 $1650 $2450 $2150 $700

All fees must be paid in full by September 15, 2018.

If you are not current in any of your Temple financial obligations, we cannot process your registration and we will not hold a spot for your child until you are in good standing. It is our policy that all fees need to be paid prior to the first day of school. Students will not be allowed to start Religious School until full payment is received. If you have any questions about this, please contact Amy Schwach, our Executive Director, by email at [email protected] or by phone at 212-535-8225.

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2018-19 Calendars & Parent Resources

Religious School Policies and Procedures »
Grades K-8 2018-19 Calendar »
MASA 2018-19 Calendar »
j*star Sunday (Grades 6-7) 2018-19 Calendar »
Pre-K 2018-19 Calendar »
Pathways (Grades 8-12) 2018-19 Calendar »

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