A word about “bet mitzvah”:
Last spring, following careful study, the Central Conference of American Rabbis issued a recommendation that Reform communities use the term “Bet Mitzvah.” Bet is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet and does not have a gendered connotation. It stands for Bar, Bat, or B’Mitzvah at the same time and provides our children and their families with the flexibility not to share more of their gender identities than they would like to at their Jewish coming-of-age ceremonies. Bet also references the Hebrew word for “home,” so that the term Bet Mitzvah references the “Home of Mitzvah.”   

Bet mitzvah at East End Temple:
At East End Temple, we view bet mitzvah in the greater context of one’s Jewish life and Jewish education. Rather than approaching this as an ending point of learning, it as a significant marker in the education and Jewish life of our students. The emphasis of the experience is put on the learning process, on the weekly accomplishments of the students, on their pride in working diligently and thoughtfully on learning prayers, blessings, Torah and Haftarah portions as well as the d’var Torah.

This process is made richer and more meaningful by family participation and involvement. Studying the portion together helps to emphasize the value of lifelong learning and models to our students the true lessons and values within the Torah. We emphasize the excitement and pride each student feels in themselves as they progress, engaging in significant studies, confidently leading services, and reading from the Torah. In this way, it is the quality and experience of learning that each student undertakes, not only the service itself, that we celebrate on the day of the bet mitzvah.

Requirements

  • Bet mitzvah is only open to members of East End Temple.
  • It is understood that all students who are becoming bet mitzvah at East End Temple are raised solely in the Jewish tradition.
  • Students are required to have three years of participation in the East End Temple religious school or its equivalent prior to becoming bet mitzvah, in addition to two years of bet mitzvah tutoring.
  • Students must fulfill all religious school requirements, including regular attendance, participation, and completion of work.
  • Note that students who join the religious school later than the 4th grade may require additional tutoring in Hebrew beyond that offered by the religious school.

Message from the Rabbi:

“Spending time with our children at Religious School is one of the most inspiring, fun and optimistic things I do at the Temple.  I believe deeply that — as important as it is for our children to learn about Jewish prayers, holidays, culture and history — what’s most essential for them is the overall experience they have when they’re here.  For the kids, Religious School is their Jewish community.  How they feel when they are here in Religious School will shape their attitude about being a part of Jewish community for the rest of their lives.  That is why we must ensure that our kids feel stimulated, engaged, and, most of all, loved when they are at Temple.  Then they will know that there is a reason for them to learn Hebrew and about ways of participating in Jewish life.  They will know that everything they study here will help them feel a part of this wonderful, inspiring, caring community all their lives.”

RELIGIOUS SCHOOL
PROGRAMS BY YEAR
TEENS
SHABBAT AT EET
HOLIDAYS

Religious School Parent Page
If you are a registered parent in the East End Temple Religious School, CLICK HERE for all school links, calendar, and more.

WHO WE ARE

An integral and lively component of East End Temple, the Religious School provides a warm and inclusive community of teachers, students and families.  It is a place for children to expand their minds, their hearts, and their understanding of the world around them within the context of an open, progressive Jewish environment.

Our curriculum places focus on Jewish experience, as opposed to just content. We instill a love of Judaism, build strong Jewish identity, and teach our students the skills and knowledge for a full Jewish life.

We ask: What are Jewish values and how do we live by them? We come together as a community to celebrate holidays and Shabbat, take part in important customs and traditions— but also work for social justice, cultivate an inquisitive mind, and become active members of the Jewish community and responsible, ethical citizens of the world.

WHAT WE DO

EET’s Religious School students attend once a week. We engage students in Jewish curriculum topics ranging from Torah, holidays, mitzvot, Jewish values and Jewish history through varied activities such as drama, arts and crafts, technology, and debate. 

At the beginning of our afternoon together, we gather in the sanctuary for t’filah (prayer), which parents, family and friends are welcome to join. T’filah is led by our clergy or songleader, and students participate throughout the service. T’filah allows our students to gain comfort with the language, order, and command of the prayers while forming a connection to their meaning.

Hebrew is taught with the primary objective of reading fluency. We teach the students the skills they need to prepare for their bet mitzvah. Hebrew learning is individualized and self-paced in 3rd through 6th grade.

DAYS & TIMES

Each grade meets once a week. For days and times, please contact Director of Education Mindy Sherry (educator@eastendtemple.org).

MEMBERSHIP & TUITION

East End Temple’s Religious School is open to synagogue members. For more information about membership, please see our Welcome page. For tuition information, click here.

ADDITIONAL PROGRAMMING

Students and their families are encouraged to engage in Jewish learning and living throughout the year.  Gatherings such as Shabbat B’Yachad: Intergenerational Shabbat, Simchat Shabbat, holiday celebrations, and tzedakah (charity/justice) programs provide fun and enriching occasions to come together in answering the question: What does it mean to live a Jewish life?

LEARN MORE

Please see our EET Religious School Curriculum for more detailed information by grade. If you would like someone to be in touch, please fill out our Interest Form.

REGISTRATION

We love to welcome new families and new students to our Religious School!  If you would like to discuss further details of the program with our Director of Education Mindy Sherry, you can reach her at educator@eastendtemple.org.

Teen Life at East End Temple

East End Temple’s teen program (Youth Group) offers teens the opportunity to take a break from the intensity of life through social programs, community service, and trips. In both our Youth Group (for students grades 9-12) and Junior Youth Group (for students grades 7-8), teens meet weekly and work their way through a curriculum they design. Past topics have included Jewish Holidays, Jewish History, Life’s Big Questions, and current events through a Jewish lens. In addition to learning, in both Youth Group and Junior Youth Group, teens build a strong social community though holiday celebrations, trips, and bonding opportunities. 

Please email youth@eastendtemple.org to learn more about our upcoming programs or to connect with our youth director.

If you would like to sign up for the Teen Program, please contact the office at school@eastendtemple.org or 212-477-6444.

The rabbi and cantor are proud to work with many individuals toward conversion to Judaism.

The Jewish community in the United States grows ever more diverse, and one way people without a Jewish background join the community is through conversion. The cantor and rabbi meet with students for conversion individually to guide them through Jewish learning, living, and spiritual reflection. Students also participate in an appropriate Introduction to Judaism class.

At the end of their process, usually lasting about a year, students meet with a bet din (a rabbinical court), are immersed in the mikvah, and are given a blessing in front of our community celebrating their new status as Jews. The EET community is proud to have so many Jews-by-Choice in our midst.

You choose us, and we choose you!

Please contact us for more information.

Introduction to Judaism (2023-2024)

This class, taught by Rabbi Josh Stanton, welcomes all who are interested in learning more about Jewish tradition and wisdom. In approx. 30 sessions, it will provide the basis for further learning or a Jewish life. Sessions will take place online from 12:00-1:00pm on Tuesdays: Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; Nov. 7, 14, 28; Dec. 5, 12; Jan. 9, 16, 23, 30; Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27; Mar. 5, 12, 19, 26; Apr. 2, 9, 16, 30; May 7, 14, 21. Interfaith couples, people of all faiths exploring Judaism or conversion to Judaism, and those seeking a deeper connection to Judaism are all welcome. ALL SESSIONS OF THIS CLASS WILL BE HELD ONLINE, VIA ZOOM.

Discover what could be meaningful to you in liberal Judaism. Explore a modern take on Jewish life. Engage with Jewish values, celebrations, spirituality, and community in an Introduction to Judaism class.

Everyone is welcome. The class is perfect for interfaith couples, those raising Jewish children, spiritual seekers, individuals considering conversion, and Jews who want a meaningful adult Jewish learning experience. Ask your questions, engage with multiple perspectives, and explore Jewish life through a Reform lens.

East End Temple Intro to Judaism Registration Form

The cost is $360 per person ($720 per couple) for non-members. Please email info@eastendtemple.org with any questions.
The class is free for members of East End Temple — please email info@eastendtemple.org for the member registration link.

Business Ethics Lunch and Learn (BELL)

Join us for a lunch time conversation with Rabbi Josh about ethical dilemmas in business and life and the ways in which Jewish tradition and ethics guide our choices. Please RSVP to Rabbi Josh (jstanton@eastendtemple.org) for in-person meeting location.

Join us for holidays when you can, and in the event you cannot, here are some resources for you to celebrate the holiday at home or wherever you are.  

SHABBAT – When most people think of holidays, they think of annual celebrations, but in Judaism there is one holiday that occurs every week – the Sabbath. Known in Hebrew as Shabbat and in Yiddish as Shabbos, this holiday is central to Jewish Life.  As the great Jewish writer Adad Ha-Am has observed: “More than the Jewish people has kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jewish people.” The Sabbath truly has been a unifying force for Jews the world over. Click here for more.

ROSH HASHANAH – (literally, “Head of the Year”) is the Jewish New Year, which marks the beginning of a 10-day period of prayer, self-examination and repentance. This period, known as the Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe or High Holy Days), is widely observed by Jews throughout the world, many with prayer and reflection in a synagogue.  There also are several holiday rituals observed at home.  Click here to learn more about Rosh Hashanah.

YOM KIPPUR – Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement” and refers to the annual Jewish observance of fasting, prayer and repentance.  Part of the High Holidays, which also includes Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur is considered the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.  Click here to learn more about Yom Kippur.

SUKKOT – a Hebrew word meaning “booths” or “huts,” refers to the Jewish festival of giving thanks for the fall harvest.  It also commemorates the 40 years of Jewish wandering in the desert after the giving of the Torah atop Mt. Sinai. Sukkot is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur on the 15th of the month of Tishrei, and is marked by several distinct traditions.  One, which takes the commandment to dwell in booths literally, is to erect a sukkah, a small, temporary booth or hut.  Sukkot (in this case, the plural of sukkah) are commonly used during the seven-day festival for eating, entertaining and even for sleeping.  Click here to learn more about Sukkot.

SIMCHAT TORAH AND SH’MINI ATZERET – Immediately following Sukkot, we celebrate Sh’mini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, a fun-filled day during which we celebrate the completion of the annual reading of the Torah and affirm Torah as one of the pillars on which we build our lives.  As part of the celebration, the Torah scrolls are taken from the ark and carried or danced around the synagogue seven times.  During the Torah service, the concluding section of the fifth book of the Torah, D’Varim (Deuteronomy), is read, and immediately following, the opening section of Genesis, or B’reishit as it is called in Hebrew, is read. This practice represents the cyclical nature of the relationship between the Jewish people and the reading of the Torah.  Click here to learn more

CHANUKAH – Meaning “dedication” in Hebrew, refers to the joyous eight-day celebration during which Jews commemorate the victory of the Maccabees over the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. and the subsequent liberation and “rededication” of the Temple in Jerusalem.  The modern home celebration of Chanukah centers around the lighting of the chanukiyah, a special menorah for Chanukah; foods prepared in oil including latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts); and special songs and games.  Click here to learn more.

TU BISHVAT – The “New Year of the Trees,” is observed on the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Sh’vat, Tuesday and Wednesday, February 6 and 7, 2015.  Even the trees get a new year of their own!  

Click here to learn more about  Tu B’Shvat: Customs and Rituals.

PURIM – Is celebrated with a public reading — usually in the synagogue — of the Book of Esther (Megillat Esther), which tells the story of the holiday.  Under the rule of King Ahashverosh, Haman, the king’s prime minister, plots to exterminate all of the Jews of Persia.  His plan is foiled by Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai, who ultimately save the Jews of Persia from destruction.  The reading of the megillah typically is a rowdy affair, punctuated by booing and noise-making when Haman’s name is read aloud.  Click here to learn more about Purim.

YOM HASHOAH Also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, occurs on the 27th of Nisan. Shoah, which means catastrophe or utter destruction in Hebrew, refers to the atrocities that were committed against the Jewish people during World War II. This is a memorial day for those who died in the Shoah. The Shoah is also known as the Holocaust, from a Greek word meaning “sacrifice by fire.” Click here to learn more about Yom Hashoah.

PESACH – Also known as Passover in English, is a major Jewish spring festival, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt over 3,000 years ago.  The ritual observance of this holiday centers around a special home service called the seder (meaning “order”) and a festive meal; the prohibition of chametz (leaven); and the eating of matzah (an unleavened bread).  On the fifteenth day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, Jews gather with family and friends in the evening to read from a book called the hagaddah, meaning “telling,” which contains the order of prayers, rituals, readings and songs for the Passover seder. Today, the holiday is a celebration of freedom and family.  Click here to learn more about Pesach.

  • For information about our Virtual Seder, which is free and open to all, click here.

YOM HASHOAH – also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, occurs on the 27th of Nisan.  Shoah, which means catastrophe or utter destruction in Hebrew, refers to the atrocities that were committed against the Jewish people during World War II.  This is a memorial day for those who died in theShoah.  The Shoah is also known as the Holocaust, from a Greek word meaning “sacrifice by fire.”  Click here to learn more about Yom HaShoah.

YOM HAZIKARON and YOM HAATZMAUT – Israeli Memorial Day and Independence Day.  Since the establishment of the State of Israel, four new holidays have been added to the Jewish calendar – Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day), Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day), and Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day).  In Israel, these holidays are observed as national holidays.

  • The Israeli Knesset established the day before Yom HaAtzmaut as Yom HaZikaron, a Memorial Day for soldiers who lost their lives fighting in the War of Independence and in other subsequent battles.
  • Yom HaAtzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, marks the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948.  It is observed on or near the 5th of Iyar in the Hebrew calendar, which usually falls in April.

Click here to learn more about Yom HaZikaron and Yom Haatzmaut.

LAG BAOMER – Lag BaOmer is a festive minor holiday that falls during the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot (usually in May or June on the Gregorian calendar).  This period of time is known as the Omer.  An omer is an ancient Hebrew measure of grain, amounting to about 3.6 liters.  Biblical law forbade any use of the new barley crop until after an omer was brought as an offering to the Temple in Jerusalem.  The Book of Leviticus (23:15-16) also commanded: “And from the day on which you bring the offering… you shall count off seven weeks.  They must be complete.”  This commandment led to the practice of the Sefirat Ha’omer, or the 49 days of the “Counting of the Omer,” which begins on the second day of Passover and ends on Shavuot.  Lag BaOmer is a shorthand way of saying “the 33rd day of the Omer.”

Click here to learn more about Lag BaOmer.

SHAVUOT – Shavuot is the Hebrew word for “weeks” and refers to the Jewish festival marking the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, which occurs seven weeks after Passover.  Shavuot, like many other Jewish holidays, began as an ancient agricultural festival that marked the end of the spring barley harvest and the beginning of the summer wheat harvest.  In ancient times, Shavuot was a pilgrimage festival during which Israelites brought crop offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem. Today, it is a celebration of Torah, education, and actively choosing to participate in Jewish life.  Click here to learn more about Shavuot.

TISHA B’AV – Observed on the 9th (tisha) of the Hebrew month of Av, is a day of mourning the destruction of both ancient Temples in Jerusalem.  In contrast to traditional streams of Judaism, liberal Judaism never has assigned a central religious role to the ancient Temple.  Therefore, mourning the destruction of the Temple may not be particularly meaningful to liberal Jews.  In modern times, Jews understand Tisha B’Av as a day to remember many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people throughout history.  Click here to learn more.

A jewel of the temple, our library houses an extensive collection from which temple members may browse and borrow. The breadth of the collection includes Jewish history, politics, liturgy, Holocaust, fiction, nonfiction, biography, Jewish feminism, life cycle events, holidays, and Jewish cookbooks. Use our Library Thing database to search for specific titles. Click here to check it out today.

10th Annual “Help Our Library Grow” Initiative

Our 10th annual Help Our Library Grow Initiative is underway. We have ordered a variety of recently published books that are on display in our Helene Spring Library. We hope members will continue their tradition of donating book/s of their choice. All books will have member’s name and in honor of/memory of inscribed on the bookplate. To see the list of books available and how to sponsor them, please visit the Help Our Library Grow page.