Monday, October 20, 2014

Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah ... Fall Holidays From Temple Israel

We are about to begin the Hebrew month of Chesvan.  There is a little joke in the Jewish world, that Chesvan is jealous of all the other months because they have holidays and Chesvan does not.  The past two (2) months have been filled with prayer, reflection, fun, learning, and a multitude of other fun and exciting things at the Temple Israel Religious School. 

September was filled with each new student receiving their own authentic shofar from Israel.  They were given an opportunity to learn how to blow the shofar with our resident shofar player Marty List. 
1st and 2nd grade learning to blow the shofar.

The children were then invited onto the bima to accompany Marty in blowing the shofar during Rosh Hashanah services. 

Traditional Service at Temple Israel with the shofar orchestra.

Waiting to blow the shofar again.

Innovative Service shofar orchestra.
Temple Israel seeks to involve our children in all aspects of community life.  We provide programming that is specific to the needs of our community.  For the past 3 years, we have provided a High Holy Day Service, for both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for the smallest and youngest members of our community.  The Family High Holy Day Experience is tailored to the needs of this growing community.  Below are some pictures for our program this year. 
Family Rosh Hashanah Expereince

Family Rosh Hashanah Expereince.
Video of our Family Rosh Hashanah service singing "Shofar Blast" 

During Sukkot we celebrated in the Sukkah for our Annual Pizza in the Hut.  This was a fun celebration for the entire family, from baby to Bubbe.  Don't worry if you missed it because we will certainly have it again next year.  

It was a gorgeous night out on the Waterview Courtyard.
Rabbi Olshein hanging up some fall foliage in our Sukkah.

Karen and Lori helping to create the paper chains and Ushpizin (guests) for our Sukkah.

All of the ushpizin (guests) who were invited to our Sukkah.  Among them were Robin Williams, Joan Rivers, as well as family members of those who attended Pizza in the Hut.

The final holiday that Temple Israel celebrated as a community was this past week.  We celebrated the holiday of Simchat TorahSimchat Torah is perhaps one of my favorite holidays, if not my favorite.  During this time, it is customary to unroll the ENTIRE Torah, then re-roll the Torah, so that we can begin to read again from the beginning.  Below is some clips of the evening.  It was capped off with a bonfire and s'mores making, while singing around the fire.  This was a fun evening.  Don't worry, if you were not able to come, we will be planning another sing-a-long and s'more making for the winter.

Dancing with the Torah!!

More Dancing with the Torah!!

Follwoing Services was had s'mores and singing in the courtyard.  Below are the pictures of the evening, and some of the s'more creations that those in attendance made.

Our 2 months of fun and holiday celebration ended this past Sunday at Religious School.  We had a fantastic time, filled with singing, learning, and laughing.  We began the morning in the Sanctuary singing some of the songs that we learning in music class the past few Sundays.  These songs included Am Yisrael Chai, the Sh'ma, and Children of the Lord (a song about Noah and the Flood).  Not only did the children have the opportunity to sing together and learn music with the Rabbi in the Sanctuary, but then the Rabbi went to each class and spent between 20 and 30 minutes signing and teaching the classes prayers that are recited each week during Shabbat services.  It is our goal that these children be able to follow along during services as well as participate each time they attend.

The prayers that we are teaching our children are Barchu, Sh'ma, and V'shamru.  We are inviting ALL of our students and families to attend and participate in The Night of 100 Menorahs during Chanukah.  During this service we call all of our new and old students up to the bimah to help lead the congregation in prayer.  We are building their prayer basis so that in December, they will be able to lead the congregation in quite a few prayers.  Night of 100 Menorahs is on December 19.  It is a fabulous time to come together as a Temple Family and celebrate the holidays together.  More information will be provided as the date gets closer.

Temple Israel Religious School: Largest Enrollment in 5 Years

3 years ago when I was hired there were 9 students enrolled in the Temple Israel Religious School.  This year, as of today we have 41 enrolled students in grades Pre Kindergarten through 8th grade.  Our religious school teaches the foundations of Judaism in an innovative and engaging way.  Our classes use IPads and technology in all facets of learning. 

Temple Israel offers both formal and informal learning opportunities for all children and teens in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade.  For more information contact me at (561) 833-8421 or

Check back here throughout the year for updates and information on our religious school and youth and family programming.

L'Shalom (to peace),
Stefanie Raifman, MSW

Thanksgivikah, What happens when Chanukah and Thanksgiving Occur at the Same Time

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Temple Israel's Religious School...Where kids can be kids and explore

Welcome to Temple Israel of West Palm Beach's Religous School blog.  Here you will find the most up-to-date information regarding the happenings at the Religous School, information about our classes and programs for youth, as well as links to our website, Facebook page, and other useful websites.

The mission of the Temple Israel Religious School (TIRS) is to inspire and nurture students in forming their Jewish identity and love of Jewish life, while providing a strong understanding of Reform Judaism,  through the teaching of Jewish history, culture and values, along with Hebrew, prayer, spirituality, Jewish life cycles, while deepening our connection to the land of Israel and its people.  The Religious School provides an opportunity for friendship and community building in an environment that welcomes and nurtures students and families and encourages active participation. Our focus is to make learning attainable to all through hands on Project Based Learning.  Classes are small with individualized Hebrew instruction provided to all.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me, Stefanie Raifman, Religous School and Family Life Educator and Interim Youth Advisor.  My phone number is (561) 833-8421 and my email address is

Monday, September 24, 2012

September 23, 2012 - Kindergarten- Second grade

The early grades, kindergarten through second grade, of Temple Israel Religious School began their session on Sunday, September 23, with a bagel and juice snack-----the perfect way to join together to recite, in Hebrew the traditional blessings over bread and wine, or in our case, over bread and apple juice. We began our study of Torah by actually looking at a real Torah.

We went into the Sanctuary, and up onto the Bimah and opened the doors to the Aron Kodesh, the Holy Ark, and there they were--the Torahs dressed in their finest High Holy Day white mantles. Temple Israel is fortunate to also have six small Torahs, and the children learned how to hold the Torah, remove the coverings, and learned the parts that make up the Torah. Rabbi Olshein joined us with the B'nai Mitzvah Club.  We were able to open one of the larger Torahs so that everyone could get a good look at the Hebrew words inscribed on the parchment.  As we rolled up the Torah, we said a Shehecheyanu, a prayer for firsts.

Back in our classroom, we listened to a Rosh Hashanah story, and talked about the importance of saying "I'm sorry".  Just as God created the world, we can create a new beginning with acts of goodness and loving kindness.  We identified some of the customs and symbols of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. 

We listened to music as we made Rosh Hashanah cards with colors and paste, and stencils and cut outs.We colored a set of game cards with symbols of the Holy Days, and we will take them home to cut out and play a matching game. 

Rabbi Olshein showed us how six little hands could make a Jewish Star. 

Our morning concluded with a special tashlich service at the Intercoastal, where we sang songs and recited prayers.  We are fortunate to be able to just walk across the street from the Temple, and have this beautiful waterway to cast our bread, or symbolic sins into.   L'Shana Tovah!! 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

First Day 5773

Today was an incredible day!

First day of Religious School...we had 8 Kindergarten-2nd grade students and two of the five 5th-7th.  Temple Israel is GROWING!

The morning began with...

Then we had a fantastic pancake breakfast prepared by 3 wonderful members of the Temple Israel Board, who woke up early with us to be there...A BIG thank you to Gee Gee and Michael our Co-Presidents and Lori our Secretary...Also a shout out to the Brotherhood for sponsoring the tasty breakfast!

Then we learned to play the Shofar like this...

And like this...

Then we studied some text with our families and new friends...

The day ended with making our Family Plates for the new year!  They came out fantastic!!  Here are a few...

For more information about Temple Israel it's programs go to or like up on facebook:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Religious School 5773

This Sunday is Temple Israel's Opening Program!! (if you would like more information about our me (561) 833-8421)  It will be a family program, pictures to be posted after the is a sample of what we will be doing, I made this one with my family, it was so much fun! 

This year our we will have two groups for religious school our Kindergarten- second grade taught by Maggie Kauffman, who has been a Religious School Educator at Temple Israel for many years...and a fifth-seventh grade taught by Stefanie Raifman, the Religious School and Family Life Educator and Interim Youth Advisor.  While the K-2nd will be focusing on creating the basis of their Jewish Identity, the 5th-7th will be using the Project Based approach to continue creating their identity and discovering who they are as Jewish pre-teens in America. 

On September 23rd our B'nai Mitzvah Club 5773/5774 will be meeting for the first time.  This is a parent/child program and WILL take the place of Religious School on this day. 

Septmeber 30th will be Temple Israel's Annual Pizza in the Hut decorating and lunch in the SukkahPlease RSVP to Stefanie at (561)833-8421.

I look forward to seeing everyone real soon!!

Temple Israel also has a Come Grow With Me- Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa and Me that meets weekly on Fridays at 11:00am...please call to let us know your coming!!

OH AND ALSO, this Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Temple Israel will be having Family friendly services at 2:45 on both September 17th and the 26th geared towards 0-7 year olds...these services are free and open to the community, and NO TICKET IS REQUIRED...just come!

If I forgot anything, you have any questions about ANYTHING please do not hesitate to call us at (561) 833-8421, check out our website, or like us on facebook-

...and check back here often for more information!