Religious School

Our Philosophy

The Anna and Louis Shereff Religious School seeks to inspire our children with a sense of wonder and appreciation of Judaism’s rich heritage and culture. Our weekday-only program (Monday and Wednesday) provides a strong foundation in Hebrew language and prayer, incorporating music and the arts in unique activities that make learning fun. Through questioning, creating, active participation and special family programs, children experience and learn about mitzvot, Torah, Shabbat, holidays, Israel and Jewish history.

Our educational director, Sara Birnbaum, gets to know each child individually, and works with our devoted teachers to ensure that each student thrives in a warm and nurturing environment. Children are welcomed at all of our Shabbat and holiday services, whether in our main sanctuary, junior congregation or our special monthly Family Services. Attendance at services serves as a “living” complement to classroom learning.




Tikvah Tots (Pre-K: ages 2-4) is a fun, engaging early childhood experience for young children and their caregivers. The program is a hands-on introduction to holidays, Shabbat, Jewish values and mitzvot. Tikvah Tots is devoted to creating a warm setting with the active involvement of parents. Participants will spend class time creating art projects, playing games, engaging in interactive activities, hearing stories, singing songs with the school’s music teacher and much more!


Shorashim (K-1st grade) provides a basic introduction to Hebrew, Tefillah and Torah stories, as well as Mitzvot, traditions and holidays in a two year curriculum. Students will be able to recognize Hebrew letters by shape and sound and recite specified Brachot related to food and Shabbat. Classes will focus on learning the importance of performing mitzvot for the community and family and begin to perform mitzvot as a regular part of their lives.  Shorashim will begin to build a foundational knowledge of Jewish holidays and customs through stories, songs and rituals. Through hands-on experiences, students will familiarize themselves with the synagogue, and develop their Jewish identity.


Bet (2nd grade) builds on the Hebrew foundation of Shorashim while introducing students to Bible events and the Jewish state of Israel. Students will begin reading Hebrew letters, vowels and syllables and practice writing.  Moving from early childhood holiday programs, students will demonstrate age-appropriate knowledge about holidays and customs. Special units will enable participants to comprehend Bible stories through creative play and drama. An outline of the weekly sidrah is included in lessons.  As an introduction to Israel , students will begin to understand the meaning of the homeland to the Jewish people through experiential activities.


Gimmel (3rd grade) continues to develop students’ Hebrew reading and decoding. Learning methods will include storytelling and conversation using vocabulary of the text in order to improve Hebrew language skills. Hebrew vocabulary related to classroom, family and home will be incorporated.   Students begin to explore deeper reasons behind holiday celebrations as well as practice blessings and holiday mitzvot. The Gimmel class continues Torah study by enhancing students’ understanding of the bond between the Bible and the Jewish people. Establishing a connection to the Jewish state, participants explore the places, people and culture of Israel through interactive games and dynamic group lessons.


Dalet (4th grade) students focus on improving Hebrew reading through phonetic drills. Oral skills needed for simple conversation are developed through meaningful texts that serve as a vehicle to expose students to Modern Hebrew.  Students will learn prayers from the Shabbat morning service.  Religious School will provide opportunities for the practice of mitzvot and customs through activities such as a model seder, visiting Sukkah, Megillah reading, and tree planting.  Emphasis is placed on awareness and understanding of major biblical events relevant to Jewish life today. Dalet class continues exploration of the Jewish state and Israeli life with hands-on lessons related to history, geography, food and culture.


Hay (5th grade) advances understanding of the Hebrew siddur and tefillot by practiced reading fluency. Students will explore Modern Hebrew through stories, songs and conversation. They will trace the development of basic Jewish texts; students delve into biblical history and details of important events that shaped the Jewish people.   In tefillah, increasing emphasis is placed on student exploration of the nature and meaning of prayer and the role of prayer between people and God.  Students will study Haftorah Trope with the Cantor and read Haftarah during the all school Shabbat service.


Vav (6th grade) enriches students’ understanding of the Hebrew language through stories, age-appropriate vocabulary and intermediate sentence construction.  Kitah Vav continues study in the background and meaning of prayers and focuses on the Torah Service.  They will study Torah with the Cantor and read Torah during the all school Shabbat.  Students will begin to explore Prophets and how their messages shaped Judaism.  They will study their Haftarah portions in translation, learning the relationships between Torah and Haftarah.  Modern Israeli history is introduced in chronological order, beginning with the Balfour Declaration, leading up to establishment of the State of Israel. Students will also explore Jewish values as they related to their own lives.


For details about our teen programs, please click here.


For more information, contact Sara Birnbaum, Educational Director at or (914)472-2013, Ext 305.