Religious School Update 2020-21 School Year (UPDATED)

Shalom Mishpachot/Dear Families:

There is an old Yiddish adage: Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht: Man plans and God laughs. I know a lot of folks are not laughing these days, but there are plenty that are as we’re all adjusting to the new normal. At Temple and Religious School, we’re trying to create interesting and engaging programs for everyone*.

Over the summer we had wonderful guest speakers, singers, and performers. The most recent, Evan Traylor, was an amazing young man who had much to say about racism, Black Lives Matter, Judaism, and where we are today. We heard the beautiful music of Dan Nichols and Ellie Flier. The Rabbi’s weekly Havdalah services are meaningful and soulful. We also had a concert and Brunch & Learn with Joe Buchanan and his “Americana with a Jewish Soul.”

I’ve been busy learning a lot of new technology this summer. With our new curriculum through ShalomLearning, we will be using the Schoology learning platform. All of your children will be getting login information which is why I need you to register your child. The sooner we get your registration, the sooner I can send the info to ShalomLearning for your login credentials.

We are also setting up Google Classroom, which I know many of you already use through your child’s school. If you’d like to check out the sample classroom I set up, contact me for the class code. We are hoping to use Google Meet for the classes, but there’s also a possibility we may use ZOOM. Please have patience as I try to iron out all the tech kinks.

Here is a quick update of some new developments in our school.

We are staying online. At least for the fall semester. As things progress, we can reevaluate. So I want to give you information on what will happen this fall.

First Day of School is Thursday, September 17th

We will begin our fall classes on Thursday, September 17th. This will be a virtual gathering for everyone, a time to come back together, check in, meet the teachers, and do a little High Holiday stuff (after all, Rosh Hashanah begins the following day).

Here is what a typical school day will look like:

3:30 – Assembly for grades K-3 (Saragail Benjamin is leading this Assembly)

3:45-4:30 – Grades K-3 have their virtual classes, 3rd Grade Hebrew and 4th Grade Judaic Studies*

4:30 – 4:50 – Assembly for grades 4-7 (Rabbi Edleson is leading this Assembly)

4:50-5:35-ish (depending on the class) – Grades 4-7 have their virtual classes; 4th Grade Hebrew and 3rd Grade Judaic Studies*

5:35-ish – Torah Chanting (October 15-April 1 for students in grades 6 & 7)

*Hebrew Instruction

We are using JLearnHub, part of the ShalomLearning program, for our Hebrew instruction. Hebrew will begin in earnest in Grade 3. I have hired a wonderful master teacher in Florida, Terri Friedman, who has much online teaching experience. She will teach both 3rd & 4th grade Hebrew, on Thursdays, a change from our previous schedule.

Students in grade 5-6 will have more individualized Hebrew instruction which will be set up according to your schedules. Originally it was going to be on Wednesday, but there is greater flexibility here.


We’ve been very fortunate at Temple Sinai to have committed, caring teachers over the years. Unfortunately we have lost several teachers this past year due to other commitments. Fortunately, we have some new (and some returning) teachers. Let me introduce you to them.

Saragail Benjamin – K/1

Sara has been leading our family programs the past two years and also has taught in our Religious School. She is back teaching our K/1 class and leading the lower school assembly.

Holly IssenbergKitah Bet/2nd Grade

Holly taught in our school several years ago while still a student in high school. She spent a year in Israel and is currently a student at UMass-Amherst. Holly had her Bat Mitzvah and was Confirmed at Temple Sinai. We are thrilled to have her back.

Danielle LevineKitah Gimmel and Kitah Dalet/ 3rd and 4th Grade; these are two separate classes except for Hebrew**

Many of you know Danielle from her years of teaching at Temple, first in our Chai School and this past year in 3rd grade. When not at Sinai, she is a teacher at The Schoolhouse.

Terri Friedman – Hebrew for Kitah Gimmel and Kitah Dalet/ 3rd and 4th Grade

I am so excited to have Terri join us. She has many years of teaching in Hebrew schools and recently she was the recipient of the 2018-2019 Gerald Legow Outstanding Achievement in Jewish Education award from South Palm Beach County Jewish Federation that recognizes and honors skilled and innovative educators in Congregational Schools.

Jessie FinklesteinKitah Hey-Vav/5th-6th Grade (combined class)

Some of you may have met Jessie this past year. She was a volunteer in our school as she was completing her senior year at UVM. She completed her studies and is now a nurse working at the UVM Medical Center. She impressed me with her great skills in working with children and we’re very fortunate to have her with us this year.

Genay CohenKitah Hey-Vav/5th-6th Grade Hebrew

Genay has been with us for many years and really gets those kids reading, especially important for the years leading up to Bnai Mitzvah. She will be working one-on-one or with small groups of students in grade 5-6.

Rabbi EdlesonKitah Zayin/7th Grade

A man who needs no introduction. Our 7th grade this year will concentrate their studies on the topics of Zionism, the Holocaust, and the creation of the modern State of Israel.

Judy Alexander – One-on-one Hebrew with 5-6th graders** and Torah Chanting (Torah Chanting begins October 15 for students in grades 6 & 7)

In addition to me, Genay & Holly, some of our post-Bnai Mitzvah students will be working one-on-one with students in order to supplement instruction.

I hope this makes sense. And if it doesn’t, let me know. Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call or email me; 802-598-7975.

Shanah Tovah/Happy New Year,

Morah Judy

*Subject to change/flip-flop

**Hebrew will not begin right away for 5-6 grade. I will need to do some assessment for grouping and check your availability