Religious School

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Welcome to Vassar Temple’s Seth A. Erlebacher Religious School page!
Vassar Temple provides a program of Jewish education within the Reform Movement’s guidelines which deepens the students’ Jewish experience and knowledge in a stimulating learning environment. Our philosophy of Jewish learning is based on the quotation from Pirke Avot: “The world depends on three things: on Torah, on worship, and on deeds of loving-kindness.”

על שׁלשׁה דברים העולם עומד
על התורה ועל העבודה
ועל גמילות חסדים 

Rabbi Shoshana Hantman serves as the Director of the Seth A. Erlebacher Religious School and can be reached via phone at the temple, or via email at

Religious School – Sundays, 9 am – 12 pm

Hebrew School – Wednesdays, 4:30 pm – 5:45 pm


Areas of Religious School Study:
Holidays and Life Cycle
Students learn the sources, traditions and rituals associated with the special moments of Jewish life.  These observances and celebrations bind our people to each other and to our history and future.  Preparing to shape the Judaism of tomorrow, students are encouraged to think creatively about meaningful additions to holidays and life cycle.

As the historical and spiritual home of the Jewish people, Israel is a central theme in our education program.  Students are encouraged to learn about the land and its people, and to cultivate personal connections.

Torahhamentaschen 2015
Students in kindergarten through 12th-grade study Torah and the observance of Mitzvot (Commandments) within the context of their historic development and in contemporary thought. They also study our historic bond to the land of Israel and the value of Tefilah (Prayer).

Shabbat and holidays are celebrated, Tefilah and Avodah are experienced, and Jewish ceremonies marking significant occasions are observed in ways appropriate to each age level.

Deeds of Loving Kindness
Students are encouraged to put principles of Tzedakah (justice, philanthropy) and Gemilut Chasadim (deeds of loving-kindness) into action through weekly contributions to worthy Jewish causes, as well as through kindness and consideration for each other. As they grow older, they are guided toward community service such as The CROP Walk for hunger, assisting at the local soup kitchen, and other community projects.

Hebrew education begins in kindergarten where children start learning the Hebrew alphabet. Their understanding of vocabulary, blessings, and prayers grows each year as they study the Hebrew used in our prayerbook on Sunday mornings with our Hebrew teacher.  Hebrew School is held on Wednesday afternoons is available for 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th-grade students.
sukkot 2015
Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Vassar Temple requires that a child participate actively in our Religious School for the four years preceding Bar or Bat Mitzvah and meet Hebrew requirements. (Children new to the area may have met these requirements at their previous congregation.) In addition, the family must have been a continuous member of our congregation or of a congregation in their previous place of residence for four years immediately preceding Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Celebration of Bar/Bat Mitzvah is understood to be a milestone, not the endpoint, on the path of a child’s Jewish education.

Confirmation is celebrated at the end of 10th grade. Three years of post-Bar/Bat Mitzvah study increase the level of religious sensitivity and maturity achieved by our students. The moving special service culminating the Confirmation year of study with the Rabbi helps crystallize individual commitment and a greater sense of identification with the Jewish community.

Our Curriculum
Vassar Temple utilizes the well-known ShalomLearning religious school classroom program.  To learn more, see their overview:

Please click here to get the Religious School Registration form.  Please fill it out and submit it to the Temple Office.