ISRAELL'CHAIMSeptember 2022

Beth Israel: Where Learning and Innovation Meets Community


Beth Israel’s Lee and Frank Goldberg Family Religious School is a warm, welcoming community that combines current best practice in education with the rich history and traditions of the Jewish people. Through experiential programming that accounts for varied learning styles, weekends at camp to celebrate shabbat and build community, diverse youth programs, and immersive travel experiences, CBI’s religious school learners are offered many different avenues to formulate personal Jewish identities and relationships with Israel and the greater Jewish world.

Educators, specialists, and teen madrichim (teacher’s assistants) act as facilitators of experiential programming and inquiry-based learning, in order to honor learners’ questions and help them to develop meaningful connections to Jewish traditions, values, prayer, and community.

Judaica specialists design their activities to engage learners with varying interests and learning styles. Together, they cook and taste traditional food, as they learn about Jewish people around the world and the holidays that connect us. Science and technology are used to learn about the past and the innovations that Jewish people have contributed to the global community. Hands-on art activities reflect rituals and core values, while deepening each learner’s understanding of Jewish artists and artisans. Theater and music are used to investigate the shared history of the Jewish people in active, engaging ways.

A proficiency-based Hebrew program focuses on the prayers that connect Jewish people across space and time. This program allows learners to make their way through prayers at their own pace, starting with mastery of the Hebrew letters and then moving through prayers needed to participate in a shabbat service. Working through learning prayers in this multi-grade program allows for concrete milestones to help learners feel a sense of accomplishment and develop community throughout older elementary school grades.

Throughout each year, learners engage with one another, community organizations, and various departments and auxiliary groups at Beth Israel to develop a greater understanding of what it means to participate in Jewish community. Through these experiences, learners will be able to determine ways that they can comfortably participate in their Beth Israel community and find Jewish communities as they venture to college, gap-year programs, and into the workforce both inside and outside the San Diego area.

Service learning is an ever-present component of CBI’s religious school educational programs, as we offer various opportunities for hands-on participation in projects that allow learners to try different ways that they can help others. Learning about why, as Jewish people, participating in acts of service is an important value is foundational element of each of these programs.

An immersive travel programs include a weekend away at sleepaway camp for fourth through seventh grade students to celebrate Shabbat with one another, and introduce learners to an experience away from home together. The tenth grade curriculum includes the L’Taken Social Justice Seminar in Washington D.C. with the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism to learn how to lobby for causes that teens are passionate about with other Jewish teens from all around the country. In eleventh grade, learners spend a semester preparing for their Linda and Shearn Platt Youth to Israel Trip with Beth Israel staff and clergy to explore historical landmarks and modern Israeli culture. As a capstone, the twelfth-grade learners attend an Israel advocacy conference to learn how they can apply their years of learning, lobbying, and traveling to Israel together in a meaningful way as adults.

In addition to these educational offerings, Beth Israel prides itself on a strong youth group community, with programming for participants in third through twelfth grades. Younger youth group event attendees come together for activities that focus on creating memories together and bonding as a group, while older teen groups, affiliated with both BBYO and NFTY combine leadership skill acquisition, social action, and fun to develop teen-led events.

Beth Israel’s Lee and Frank Goldberg Religious School offers tours and information year-round. To learn more about our programs, contact Director of Education, Rose Orlovich, at


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