The Open Dor Academy

Cultivating engaged, learned Jewish citizens.

When is “Religious School” not “Religious School?”  When it’s at our shul!!  At Shaarey Tikvah we have redesigned Jewish education for the 21st century.  Our religious education is delivered through a flexible, child-and family-centered approach.  The program is anchored on Shabbat and enriched through occasional weekday sessions,  engaging home-school connections, and special programming.  Our children live their Jewish education in an experiential, innovative, fun and engaging manner. 

Our educational philosophy embraces the uniqueness of each child and his/her family.  Educational programming is offered year round to provide flexible attendance opportunities to  meet the needs of today’s busy families.  The core of our program is delivered on Saturday and weekday school commitments are rare.  Our youth, beginning in infancy and continuing through the teen years, gain literacy in Jewish values, the rhythms of Jewish life, and Jewish identity.  They also hone their citizenship skills in Shabbat and holiday prayer and traditions within the joyful embrace of their community.

 Enrollment is open to the public.  Contact our Education Director for all the details.

The Open Dor AcademyTM for Early Elementary Grades: Mini Minyan

Our kindergarten through second grade children learn and pray together on Shabbat mornings and holidays from 10:00 am to noon.They explore parsha, holidays, and relevant Jewish themes in an experiential, interactive format. They participate in tefillah, sing songs, learn Hebrew, and build friendships. The children from Mini Minyan join the main service for the Torah parade when the Torah is returned to the ark.  Assistant teachers are present at every session to provide Hebrew and other enrichment opportunities.

The Open Dor AcademyTM for Later Elementary through 7th grades: Junior Congregation

Our third through seventh grade students participate in Junior Congregation from 10:00 am to noon on Shabbat mornings and holidays. The students have the opportunity to fully develop and practice their Shabbat tefillah skills, including leading parts of the service. They also study Torah and Midrash, discuss Jewish values, and further cultivate their Jewish identities through innovative activities. Junior Congregation joins the main service for Adon Olam.

Children not in enrolled in The Open Dor AcademyTM are always welcome to attend Mini Minyan and Junior Congregation sessions.


A central feature of youth education at Shaarey Tikvah is our new MyArkTM program for grades K through 7. This child-centered, content driven program is delivered through four week units that are grounded in a Shabbat experience and enhanced by weekday evening or Sunday workshops and intergenerational learning opportunities. In MyArkTM units, the children deepen their knowledge of and connection to specific aspects of Judaism such as: Jewish values, identity, history, or sacred texts. Program content is tailored for both younger and older children to provide an engaging, portfolio-based learning experience for all ages, levels, and backgrounds.



Hagigat HaTorah: In this special program for first graders, together as a community we celebrate the beginning of their formal Jewish education. Students and their families learn about the tradition of the wimple, a special cloth that is used to wrap the Torah.  Families create a wimple that honors their child and their own family’s heritage.  In a wonderful Shabbat ceremony, families share the wimples with the community and offer blessings to their first graders.

Chag HaSiddur:  In this special program for third graders, as a community we celebrate the continuation of their formal Jewish education.  The students have developed an ability to read Hebrew.  Students and their families have learned about the tradition of prayer and why it is important to the Jewish people.  For this program, families create a Siddur cover that honors their Jewish roots.  In a wonderful Shabbat ceremony, families share the Siddur covers with the community and offer blessings to their third graders.  The students receive their first Siddur that they will be able to use each week in Junior Congregation.

Kadima: Our fifth through eighth graders are very excited to participate in our local chapter of Kadima - United Synagogue's youth organization for pre-teens.  Kadima activities include: conventions, sports events, holiday celebrations, social action and tzedakah programs, and cultural activities.