Sign In Forgot Password

Temple School fosters a love of Jewish Learning in a joyful engaging and supportive community

A Message from Rabbi Shifra:                                             

K-6 Temple School is an outdoor program and will remain outdoors with masks on, except when it is raining or very cold. We are fortunate that we have a great outdoor facility and have discovered that kids tend to be happy to be outside. 

Because Hebrew High meets in the evenings on Wednesdays, we will conduct some of the program indoors for vaccinated students and staff. Any updates on our plans will be communicated to parents via email.

There are more details about our curriculum below. 

We need your help with recruitment. Please help us rebuild our numbers by reaching out to everyone you know, whether new or returning, and encouraging them to register. 

The children in our community have gone through extraordinary emotional challenges. I am proud to say that TBE has served a vital role as a loving and positive presence at a time when a sense of connection was a life-line for so many people.  Whether it is one of our off-campus programs, such as “Judaism Outdoors” in Santa Cruz, or at our TBE home base in Aptos, we are so delighted to bring students together. We also offer online Hebrew as an additional option for 4th through 6th graders.

To register your child for temple school, please renew your membership first.  Already renewed and need the Temple School form?  Click here

Temple School meets:
Sundays:  9:45-11:45am Kindergarten through 6th Grade onsite at Temple Beth El (outside)
Tuesdays: 4-5:15pm Judaism Outdoors on the Westside in various locations (outside)
4-5:30pm KEF Jump Start and Hebrew Grades 4-6 onsite at Temple Beth El (outside)
6:30-8:15pm 7th Grade and Hebrew High 
6:30pm pizza
7:00pm-8:15pm class onsite at Temple Beth El 
(inside with masks; proof of vaccination needed or proof of a weekly negative Covid test)
Please check our website calendar for the exact dates.
Tuition for Temple School is as follows.  Tuition may be spread out into monthly payments. If you are applying for a scholarship you will be prompted to pay $100 per student and then you will receive information about your scholarship.
$        675.00 
1st grade
$        735.00 
2nd grade
$        735.00 
3rd grade
$        735.00 
4th grade
$        990.00 
5th grade
$        990.00 
6th grade
$     1,240.00*
7th grade
$        990.00 
7th grade bm fee
$     1,700.00 
8th grade
$        735.00 
9th grade
$        735.00 
10th grade
$        735.00 
*includes the B'nai Mitzvah Family Retreat

More About Temple School's Amazing Program

We are excited to have you as a part of our vibrant and growing community.  We are proud to offer the strongest and most comprehensive Jewish programming for children and teens in Santa Cruz County, including our deeply meaningful and personalized Bar and Bat Mitzvah program. Your children will make Jewish friends, experience the joy of Jewish tradition and become immersed in their Jewish heritage, culture and community.


We communicate primarily through email. Please be sure we have your correct email address and that you are receiving our emails.
If you have any concerns, criticisms, ideas, or special needs, Rabbi Shifra would love to talk with you.  Her phone extension at the Temple is 208, or just stick your head in her office or e-mail her at to set up an appointment.
Rabbi Shifra Weiss-Penzias, Principal
Commitment to Excellence
Our staff puts their all into their work at Temple School because they share a deep and abiding commitment to Jewish Education.  They are a group of exceptionally compassionate individuals who truly care about and strive to know each student.  Students at Temple school enjoy a dynamic learning experience every day.  Class projects reach far beyond the classroom as an extension of learning, reinforcing vocabulary and learning points through interactive games, drama, field trips, cooking and crafts.  From art, music, drama, creative exploration and discussion of traditional texts, cooking, tikkun olam projects, etc., students experience Judaism as a fun and fulfilling path of life-long learning.
Temple School nurtures & motivates growth of young people.
Careful attention is given to making the class a safe space for all students, so that they feel free to explore, experiment, share, grow and bond with each other as they develop their personal relationship to their Jewish heritage and identity. Temple School at Temple Beth El is an exciting and dynamic place for kids, probably quite different from the religious school experience you grew up with.  Our goal is that our students will love attending and will be proud and delighted to be Jewish.
Because we’re the largest Jewish community in the Monterey Bay area, our students strengthen their Jewish identity by connecting with many other Jewish kids their age - from their earliest memories through their Bar and Bat Mitzvah and Confirmation.
Special Needs and Financial Aid
We strive to meet the special needs of our youth who may require extra help.  We love all children for who they are, and work hard to make their Jewish education successful.  We are able to offer scholarships to those who cannot afford full tuition thanks to generosity from the community.   We are fortunate that everyone can attend Temple School regardless of their ability to pay.
Donations to the Temple School Scholarship Fund make it possible for children to attend who otherwise could not afford to. Please consider making a donation if you are able.
Registration and Tuition
To register your child for temple school, please renew your membership first.  In your confirmation email you will receive a link to the temple school registration form.  Already renewed and need the Temple School form?  Click here.
Are We “Jewish Enough” to enroll our child at Temple School at Temple Beth El?
If what you have read so far seems right for your children, they will fit right in with the rest of their Temple School classmates.  Over 50% of our students come from interfaith families.  Many have little or no Jewish education or background experience.  We simply require that our students identify as Jews and are not being raised as an affiliate of another religion, i.e. Christianity.   In the years after Kindergarten, a family must be Temple members to enroll their children in Temple School.  Temple Beth El welcomes your family as members of Temple Beth El if at least one parent is Jewish either through matrilineal or patrilineal descent, or by conversion.  
Students who attend frequently and on time are much more likely to feel oriented and connected to their classmates.  However, we understand that sometimes it is unavoidable to miss a class.  Because classes will be small, it is important to know if your child is not going to attend. If you know of an upcoming absence, please notify us.  
SUNDAY MORNINGS  (K through 6th grade) 9:45 TO 11:45.
3 mid-week options (4th, 5th & 6th grade only, choose as many as you like) Tuesdays 4:00 TO 5:30 on the Westside, Wednesdays 4:00 TO 5:45 at TBE and an online option as scheduled.
WEDNESDAY EVENINGS (7th, 8th,  9th and 10th grade only)  6:30-7:00 shmooze and pizza, class 7:00 TO 8:15
Wednesdays:  In addition to Sundays, 4th through 6th grades also meet mid-week. We offer Tuesdays on the Westside and online options as well as Wednesdays at TBE. We call our mid-week program KEF.  Kef is the Hebrew word for “fun” and is our acronym for Kids Educational Fun.  The KEF program is a student driven electives program. This is what parents have said about KEF “She loved it and it was a very special opportunity for her to be in the band!” “KEF was the BEST thing to happen at Hebrew School this year! Awesome idea and class offerings!” “Loves it better than any other aspect of school It is NEVER hard to get him to go to school on Wednesdays”
KEF Electives have included Jewish Cooking online, Hebrew Online with One on One tutoring, Judaism Outdoors on the Westside followed by Hebrew Reading with Rabbi Shifra and staff, and Jumpstart B’nai Mitzvah at TBE followed by Hebrew Reading with Korrine and Gina.
Students study Hebrew at their own level until they know all of the letters, vowels and reading rules and are able to comfortably decode Hebrew text. Once they have reached this level, we provide  options for further study  according to their own interests.
Health and Safety:  We will be following the Santa Cruz County School System COVID guidelines. We don’t want Temple School to be a place where people get sick.  Out of consideration for others, please do not send your child to Temple School if they are ill or have had a fever in the past 24 hours.  Parents will be contacted if their child becomes ill or is injured at school.  Please make sure that you or someone who can pick up your child in case of an emergency can be contacted the whole time that your child is with us.  Please notify the Temple School Office if your child contracts a contagious disease (i.e. chicken pox, strep throat, head lice, etc.)  
Visiting Friends:   If your child has a Jewish friend who wants to observe Temple School and possibly enroll, please let us know.
Snacks: We limit the distribution of sweets at Temple School to Chanukah and the last day of school.  Otherwise, we prefer not to serve candy, cookies, doughnuts, cake, sugary drinks, or caffeine.  If you are part of a snack rotation, please bring food that you would want your children to fill up on if they were hungry, such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains and cheese.  Please do not bring any sugary foods.  Even most store bought muffins these days are basically cupcakes without the frosting.  Children get more out of school when they are feeling healthy, and not on a sugar high.  It is certainly appreciated when parents are in communication with teachers about food allergies and special dietary restrictions in the class so that when we serve snacks we can do our best to include everyone. Temple Beth El is “kosher style,” which means that we do not serve pork or shellfish or dishes that combine meat and milk such as peperoni pizza.
Transportation Shuttle In the past we have have had a van service on Wednesdays from the North to Temple Beth El for both our 4:00-5:55PM Temple School Program and our 6:30PM 7th grade and Hebrew High program for a fee. We hope to be able to provide this service again in the future.  Students will be required to show proof of vaccination to participate. The van picks up at Java Junction on River Street. Capacity is limited to 14 passengers.
Early Dismissal:  If your child must leave Temple School early, we need to be informed by a parent via phone, e-mail or in person.  For your child’s safety, please let us know that they are leaving.
Tzedakah: The giving of tzedakah is one of the greatest mitzvot (good deeds or commandments) that we as Jews can observe.  Tzedakah teaches us that as individuals we can make a difference in the lives of others. You and your child can decide if you will give your child extra money for this school activity, if your child will use part of his/her allowance or if your child will need to earn money for tzedakah.  Participation in the mitzvah of tzedakah is a valuable part of your child's Jewish education.  Students have an opportunity to give tzedakah money every time they come to class.
Rock Shabbat and Shabbat Services:  All of our services are child-friendly.  We encourage you to check the calendar on our website and come to services with your children.  Seeing you enjoy your prayer experience will support your children in their Jewish studies.  Many Temple School families attend “Rock Shabbat” and we encourage your family to attend. Please check the Temple website for dates and times,
Overview of Temple Beth El Temple School Curriculum

A brief synopsis of the curriculum topics for grades k – 10:


-Introduction to Jewish Holidays with a special focus on Shabbat
-Judaism as part of the student’s personal identity
-Introduction to Tefillah (prayer)
-Shabbat Blessings and blessings for food
-Hebrew as a holy language and the language of Israel
-Hebrew Literacy Words
-Introduction to the Hebrew Alef- Bet
-Introduction to Tzedakah
-Introduction to various Torah Stories, including Creation Story and Noah’s Ark
-Parent Participation Session with a focus on Shabbat
-Hebrew Through Movement
First Grade
-Review of Kindergarten Curriculum
-The Jewish Holiday Cycle with a special focus on Hanukkah
-Introduction to Tefillah (prayer)
-Mitzvot, Jewish Values, the Synagogue, Jewish symbols, Israel, Torah, Jewish Life Cycle
-Sh'ma and Holiday blessings
-Hebrew Literacy Words, with emphasis on parts of the body, colors and directions
-The Hebrew Alef- Bet
-Hebrew Through Movement
Second Grade
-Jewish values, compassionate behavior, Tikkun Olam (working towards positive change in our world)
-Sh’hehiyanu expressing gratitude in our lives
-Focus on Bible stories with emphasis on the mishkan
-Hebrew Literacy words
-Hebrew reading readiness
-Introduction to Tefillah
-Hebrew Through Movement
Third Grade
-Hebrew Reading: -Sarah & David Text
-Israel- cities, places, and geography
-Holiday customs and symbols, with a special focus on Passover
-Expansion of Holiday blessings and the 4 Questions of Passover
-Hebrew Through Movement
-Jewish music
Fourth Grade
Our two-day a week program begins in this grade.
-In-depth study of Jewish Holiday traditions with a special focus on Simchat Torah and Purim
-Hebrew Curriculum (See below)
-Attendance at weekly T’fillah
-Jewish holiday arts and crafts, foods and music
-Hebrew Through Movement
Fifth Grade
- Jewish Life Cycle
-Wednesday KEF and Hebrew Curriculum (See below)
-Torah: Genesis and Exodus
-Attendance at weekly T’fillah
Sixth Grade
-The Shabbat Morning Prayer Service (See Leadership and Jewish Practice below)
-Hebrew Prayers: Barchu, Sh’ma, V’ahavta, Mi Chamocha, Short Blessings, Kiddush, Avot, Givurot, Torah and Haftarah Blessings
-Study of the prophets and sections that comprise the Haftarah selections and their relevance today (See Prophets and Midrash below)
- Wednesday KEF and Hebrew Curriculum (See below)
-B’nai Mitzvah Family Retreat
Prophets and Midrash with Micah Posner.  (Sundays) -Students will have the opportunity to interact with the Tanach and Midrash with their hands, minds, hearts and bodies. Our class will build, climb, draw, and play-act quotes, stories and concepts from the Haftarah, Prophets and Midrash. We will explore Jewish values in a personal way including playing strategy games and going rock climbing as a way to relate to biblical presentations of courage and determination.
Leadership and Jewish Practice with Korrine Fitz -6th grade develops a class culture of singing together, which will help the class next year as they lead and participate in b’nai mitzvah services.  Through our “Bracha Ball” game, our class scores points while learning the prayers and blessings which they will lead for their bar/bat mitzvah service.  Students explore the meaning of the prayers that they will lead and develop and share their personal interpretations. 
B’nai Mitzvah Family Retreat -At the end of 6th grade, the wonderful B’nai Mitzvah Family retreat is held at Happy Valley Retreat Center. At the retreat we explore the meaning of bar/bat mitzvah and the logistics of the B’nai mitzvah year. Great meals, pool time, hiking opportunities, childcare for younger siblings is all included. Kids and families bond and become a cohesive group. Many parents and students looking back at this retreat have referred to it as one of the best weekends of their lives. 
KEF Electives curriculum (5th and 6th grade, Wednesdays 4:00-5:00PM)  Our innovative and fun Wednesday KEF program begins with a brief Kinoos at 4:00 p.m. where we all gather in a circle to share announcements, sing our cheer, and learn the Hebrew word of the day before proceeding to elective activities. During this hour, students have the opportunity to choose which part of their Jewish heritage and identity they wish to explore and develop and with whom. Students pick which class to take from among a mix of experiential classes such as Jewish cooking, and academic topics such as Jewish History. This is similar to our Hebrew High program, and has arisen out of the realization that not all kids in each grade like the same things and that we can better engage them if we let them follow their interests.
Examples of Electives:
  1. Cooking to provide food for people experiencing homelessness through the Mazon project
  2. Rock Shabbat Jr. Band
  3. Jump Start B’nai Mitzvah
  4. Other (student suggested topic)
-4th through 6th grade Hebrew Curriculum Wednesdays 5:20-5:55PM. Students learn how to decode Hebrew in small groups at their reading level.  Students who know how to read choose Hebrew Electives including Conversational Hebrew - Biblical Hebrew - Hebrew through Games - Jump Start Bar/Bat Mitzvah – Hebrew Ulpan for Native Hebrew Speakers
Home Study and Hebrew Hints Video -
You may want to purchase Teach Yourself to Read Hebrew and Sounds of Hebrew Flash Cards from EKS Publishing Co, This, along with Rabbi Shifra’s “Hebrew Hints” video on youtube can supply you with everything you need to expedite your child’s progress while you learn with them.  There are also many new interactive programs for home study.  Behrman house is one company worth checking out.
Camp Kayetz - Temple Beth El has its own Jewish summer camp for four weeks, beginning at the end of June.  Camp Kayetz is Summer fun in a framework of Jewish culture, customs, and ethics.  TBE’s summer camp offers a warm, nurturing, safe and creative atmosphere for campers 6 to 12 years old and CITs 13 to 15.  With visits to parks and beaches, camping trips, Raging Waters, music and theater, special Shabbat celebrations, arts and crafts and sports, campers make new friends and strengthen old friendships. Scholarships are available for all members attending Jewish camps. Please fill out the campership form in the Temple Office.
The Temple School is a place where Jewish values are both taught and practiced
1.  Talmud Torah – The school is a place for the pursuit of learning with the goal of personal growth.
2.  V’Ahavta L’re’echa Kamocha – Respect for the rights and feelings of others.
3.  Al Tifrosh min Hatzibur – Respect and responsibility for the community.
4.  Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh la Zeh – Responsibility for the safety of self and others.
5.  Bal Tash-chit – Respect and responsibility for the environment and property.
6.   Im Ein Ani Li Mi Li – Responsibility for one’s own actions.
Mazel Tots for Parents & Tots Our wonderful monthly Sunday morning program invites youngsters ages 0 to pre-K and their parent(s) to sing, create, meet, have fun, and learn about Judaism. Mazel Tots is free and open to Temple members and non-members alike.
Young Families Project: Ongoing programs for families with children (birth- 11 years old) meeting out and about Santa Cruz County. Please view the Temple Beth El website for event days and times
Simcha Preschool, Ages 2-5 If you are looking for a preschool, Temple Beth El’s joyful preschool incorporates Jewish values and culture, with emphasis on family involvement and community in a stimulating learning environment designed to foster curiosity, self-esteem, and love of learning. Simcha continues to set the standard for quality childcare in our region as one of only a few nationally accredited (NAEYC) early childhood programs. We offer full and half-day options.  Call (831) 479-3349 or visit our website for information about our quality program.
Teens and Pre-Teens
Seventh Grade students meet concurrently with Hebrew High.  We have a fantastic 7th grade program specifically designed for seventh graders.  7th grade is characteristically a challenging age group to teach, because the students of this age are often preoccupied with social interactions.  They are likely to be very discerning, and demand that they be challenged by and interested in what they are learning.  It is crucial that they are given the tools to connect what they have learned about Judaism and the Torah to their lives and how Judaism is practiced today.  7th grade teachers have developed a unique 7th grade curriculum to meet these needs which includes;
-Jewish Values
-Jewish History and History of Zionism and the State of Israel
-Holocaust & Tolerance
-Sacred Choices
Holocaust and Tolerance
An exploration of the Holocaust and, more generally, issues that impact all of our lives: tolerance, stereotyping, and propaganda.  These matters are grappled with through personal reflections, group activities, storytelling, skits, and film.  This class looks at how issues of scapegoating and the “fear of other” surface in our lives and in the lives of those around us.  A section of the class focuses on peer pressure and bullying that takes place on our school campuses.  The class looks at what it means to bully or oppress another, motivations for bullying others, what we should do when we see someone being bullied, and what we should do if we become a target of bullying.
Sacred Choices
This is a contemporary, Jewish ethical exploration of teen issues.  Peer pressure, respectful dialogue, meaningful relationships, knowing one’s own boundaries, self-respect (physical and mental) social and media images, and natural impulses are just some of the topics covered.
Bar/Bat Mitzvah:  Bar/Bat Mitzvah is customarily celebrated on the Shabbat closest to the student's 13th birthday. Ours is a very meaningful and fulfilling celebration.  Our students accomplish a tremendous amount and as a result experience a level of growth and pride that many describe as one of the best experiences of their lives.  Our clergy will assign a bar/bat mitzvah date for each child at the beginning of the 6th grade year.  The date chosen is the one that works best for your child in relation to his/her birthday, the birthdays that come before it and the Temple calendar. If your assigned date does not meet the needs of your family, you can request one of the remaining available dates.          
A bar/bat mitzvah planning guide has been prepared for prospective bar/bat mitzvah families.  A parent/student orientation to review the many details that relate to this celebration will take place in March of their 6th grade year and the class and their families join for a wonderful family retreat on a weekend just before 7th grade begins.  This enables the families to learn and bond together and to address all questions and logistics. Please note that we require a minimum enrollment in Temple School of two years prior to bar or bat mitzvah.
Hebrew High School and Youth Lounge:  8th -10th grade, Wednesday evenings: Students build life-long friendships and choose their own classes as they progress toward Confirmation.  Classes are taught by outstanding teachers and rabbis.  Please see the Hebrew High School link on the Temple website, to view teacher bios and current course listings. Students registered for Hebrew High and or SRFY receive the door-code to enter our new youth lounge and may do so whenever the building is open, provided that they follow the posted guidelines.
JEIT Programs:  Our Temple’s young adults are encouraged to train and serve as Jewish Educational Interns in our Temple School. This is a great way to develop leadership and classroom management skill.
Youth Groups: SRFY: Our Senior Youth Group for Jewish High Schoolers has long been one of the strongest youth groups in the Union for Reform Judaism’s Central West Region.  Your teens will experience the close friendships that are pivotal to their Jewish identity by participating in our dynamic assortment of programs, including ski trips, sleepovers, beach bonfires, social action projects, creative services and more. SRFY members have gone on to become leaders in the larger community, including national president of NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth), and Santa Cruz mayor!  
Temple School Refund Policy:  If you are considering withdrawal from Temple School, we request that you discuss your decision with Rabbi Shifra. We are able to refund tuition only after receiving notification of withdrawal in writing. 100% of tuition and fees less $50 processing fee will be refunded if written intent to withdraw is received by the end of October.

New this year: Jewish Educational Interns in Training (JEIT)

        For: Teens  8th-12th grades
Teen Involvement - This program gives our teens an opportunity to be involved in our Temple school and Jewish Community while developing their own leadership skills. Our Jewish Educational Interns in Training (JEIT) assist Temple School teachers in the classroom on a Sunday morning and/or Wednesday afternoon and/or Wednesday evening class. Some JEI/JEIT will work with the current 7th graders on their prayers and blessings and assist on Wednesday evenings online, in person, and/or a hybrid classroom.
Mentoring Seminar – In addition to optional meetings with their lead teacher in the classroom to develop a lesson plan, JEIT will meet outside of class once a month for one hour on a Sunday afternoon on a monthly basis to develop their skills as teachers and leaders. In these sessions, JEIT will explore effective communication, problem-solving, behavior management, self-advocacy, inclusion, using interactive games in the classroom, text study, and more. There will be time for reflection on their classroom experiences as well as time to bond with the other teen assistants. Students will help develop their seminar curriculum as we move forward each month.
Who can be a JEIT? Teens who have completed their b’nai mitzvah can apply to become JEIT. We will take as many Jewish educational Interns in Training as we have room for in our classrooms. We are looking for teens who are able to take on the responsibility of being an awesome role model, fulfilling the roles of assisting teachers, and interacting positively with students. JEIT will receive a JEIT calendar and must commit to assisting 20 Temple School classes per year and attending 9 monthly Sunday afternoon one hour seminar sessions per year. JEIT are expected to communicate if illness or an important conflict arises.
JEIT will accrue community service hours.
To  register your child for JEI/JEIT, ple
Tue, June 28 2022 29 Sivan 5782