WEST HARTFORD – Beth El Temple of West Hartford has announced the launch SULAM Beth El, a new educational program that represents a “re-invisioning” of the synagogue’s religious school.
The program, which was crafted by synagogue leadership over a period of several years and included input from parents and students, will be led by two newly-hired educators, Caryl Goldberg and Limor Shefer, under the supervision of Rabbi Ilana Garber.
“The Hebrew word ‘sulam’ – which means ‘ladder’ – represents the program perfectly,” says Garber, Beth El’s rabbinic director of Lifelong Learning and Community Development.
“In the Book of Genesis, Jacob has a dream in which angels are ascending and descending a ladder. He wakes from the dream, realizes that God was in that place, and names the place Beth El, the home of God. A ladder has always been a symbol of Beth El Temple, as the sanctuary’s ark depicts. In name and vision, SULAM Beth El represents the ladder of learning on which Beth El Temple hopes all will ascend in the pace and manner that works for them as individual learners on a communal journey,” she explains.
According to Garber, Goldberg and Shefer bring to the program “the kinds of teaching expertise and interpersonal skills that are essential in a successful learning environment. They will transition the synagogue into a fresh way of teaching and learning that will rejuvenate the curriculum with a focus on Hebrew language and experiential learning.”
Caryl Goldberg will serve as the program’s education director. A long-time Beth El member and former co-chair of Beth El’s Education Committee, Goldberg spent 34 years in the field of special education, which included establishing and teaching in Avon’s district inclusive preschool program.
As Beth El’s new Hebrew learning coordinator, Limor Shefer will focus on Hebrew as both a language of the past and the present. A teacher at Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford, as well as at other synagogue schools, Shefer is in the process of designing a Hebrew curriculum that will integrate Jewish values, holidays, and prayers. She will regularly assess the children’s progress and supervise teachers in the implementation of this curriculum.
“We are so excited to bring aboard a creative team of educators dedicated to providing our children with a chance to participate in activities and programs that nurture their development into compassionate and committed members within a modern Jewish community,” says Beth El’s president, Jonathan Alter.
Beth El’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Jim Rosen, agrees.
“It’s wonderful to see what happens when passion and vision meet. Our educational team are making Beth El an exciting place to learn and grow Jewishly. For kids and families alike.”
Caption: Beth El Temple’s Education team: (l to r) Limor Shefer, Caryl Goldberg and Rabbi Ilana Garber.