At Beth Jacob's Kesher, we aspire for our students to emerge as lifelong learners with the connectedness, knowledge and skills necessary to participate actively and meaningfully in a Jewish life.
Identify as a member of k'lal Yisrael (the world Jewish community)
Live ethical Jewish lives
Perform acts of Tikkun Olam ("repairing the world")
Participate actively and with understanding in prayer services
Be familiar with both written and spoken Hebrew
Demonstrate a connection to and love for the State of Israel
Understand Jewish history
The Kesher program provides a rejuvenated and highly experiential approach to Jewish education. In class, our dynamic staff works with a progressive curriculum to give your children an interactive, stimulating, relevant and FUN Jewish education. Our teachers have the flexibility to scale the program to the needs of their students, and our small class sizes promote a sense of closeness and enable our staff to give the students considerable one-on-one attention.
Beth Jacob Synagogue is a joyful and caring home where young families can embrace their Jewish identity and explore the importance of Jewish values, learning, and community. Our Kesher children's education program is thoroughly integrated with the life of the entire congregation, and adult community members are partners in learning with our children.
Our Kesher@Beth Jacob Team
Co-Directors of Education
Milena Romalis is a certified teacher with a wealth of experience in Jewish education, including supplementary programs, youth movements, day and residential camps. Her professional career has included a decade as a teacher for the Toronto District School Board, freelance writing and editing, and for the past 8 years, working in vocational rehabilitation.
Jason Leizer is a certified teacher with a Masters of Education in curriculum development. He has had a lifelong interest in Jewish educational reforms. He has served as a teacher, principal and curriculum consultant at a number of supplementary Jewish schools. In his professional life, he is a training and development specialist working in both corporate and not-for-profit settings.
Milena and Jason live in Ancaster with their three young sons, who are active participants in the Kesher program.
Fay Schmerling is a fixture at Beth Jacob. She has taught Hebrew to generations of children, using a disciplined, gentle and highly individualized approach. She is always delighted to teach the siblings as well as the children of her former students. Fay's own children are graduates of the Beth Jacob Hebrew School.
Rabbi Dan Selsberg is a warm and consistent presence in our Kesher program. He is always available to ask and answer questions, tell a story or a joke, or participate in our activities. He and his wife, Karen, also have three young sons in the program.
Cantor Eyal Bitton plays a fundamental role in the Kesher program at Beth Jacob. He is a talented musician, composer and Hazan. The children have the opportunity to work with him in small group settings to learn prayer, songs, and original compositions.
The Kesher staff is well-supported by a committee of thoughtful, conscientious members who assist us in ensuring that our program remains fluid, relevant, and fully integrated into Beth Jacob Synagogue life.
KESHER PROGRAM COMPONENTS
Our program is made up of several components—each compliments and builds on the others to creative a holistic Jewish learning experience
Gan Kesher, Kindergarten to Grade 2 Wednesdays 4:30-6:00pm
In this arts-based introductory program students will explore the Jewish holidays, Shabbat and Judaica, with a focus on rituals, the cycle of the year, and an introduction to the 10 Commandments. They will also participate in a music and prayer program with the Cantor.
Hebrew language Classes, Grades 3-6 Wednesdays 4:30-6:00pm
This highly individualized Hebrew instruction program is complimented by small group work with the Cantor, where students have the opportunity to learn prayers and traditional music. This year, children will also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of arts and multimedia activities, including cooking, crafts, dance and photography.
Shabbat Programming Saturdays 10:00-12:00pm
Our Shabbat morning program takes place in a 'family grouping,' which brings together children of different ages to mentor and learn from one another. In a warm, intimate environment, students have the opportunity to explore themes of the weekly parsha, Jewish history and values through stimulating games and discussion. The students join and participate in the main service for the final half hour. The Shabbat programming concludes with a beautiful Kiddush lunch for the whole congregation.
Family Programs One Sunday monthly
In our monthly family programs, children have the opportunity to take Judaism off the page and into a broader context with community field trips, art and writing workshops and innovative holiday celebrations.
Beth Jacob Member: $425
This fee is inclusive of all Wednesday and Saturday Classes
Photos and slideshows from Beth Jacob Hebrew School programs can be found here.