Children & Youth

Congregation Shaarey Tikvah embraces children and welcomes their personal participation in the life of our community. Here, children and youth celebrate the joys and beauty of Judaism now and prepare to live a Jewish life in the future. Our size and the resources in our community allow us to adapt to the ever-changing needs of each child from early childhood through their teens.

Early Childhood

Children from birth through age 5 are welcome in our Shabbat Clubhouse program, every Saturday morning from 10:00 am to noon. A childcare provider and a teen Junior Educator ensure a safe, warm, caring environment for the children to play and make friends. The program features age-appropriate tefillah, stories, songs, and learning activities, as well as participation in the main service when the Torah is returned to the ark. The children bring a contagious level of energy to the sanctuary when they accompany the Torah, carrying their stuffed mini Torah scrolls.  (For the health of our community, Shabbat Clubhouse is temporarily suspended. Call or check this website for updates.)

Programming for young children and their families continue outside of Shabbat. Past programs have included Pajama Neshama and Chaverim Shabbat on Friday nights, Pajama Havdalah, Families Together, and more. Check back or subscribe to our weekly emails for updates on programs for young families.

Elementary School

Shabbat mornings are joyful for children in Pre-K through 7th grade at Congregation Shaarey Tikvah. Students meet in age-appropriate cohorts during Shabbat services to socialize, play, learn, and pray. Tefilah led by educators or students in our Beit Tefilah (chapel) infuses the morning with spirituality and frequently features students reading from the Torah. Other activities include Shabbat-appropriate crafts, drama, and games, as well as a celebratory kiddush.

Children in this age group are encouraged to join in the main Shabbat service as well, by helping to lead some prayers, and by being part of our Torah parade that returns the Torah to the ark.

Hagigat HaTorah: In this special program the community celebrates our 1st graders beginning their formal Jewish education. The students and their families learn together about the tradition of the wimple, a special cloth that is used to wrap the Torah, and create a wimple that honors the child and his or her family’s heritage. In a meaningful Shabbat ceremony, families share the wimples with the community and offer blessings to their 1st graders before joining in a celebratory kiddush.

Religious education: Shaarey Tikvah’s small size means that we can customize each student’s learning. Our students who attend Jewish Day school benefit from practicing Torah-reading and tefilah skills they have learned during the week. Our educators can work individually with students who seek to further develop their Judaic education through tutoring, online programs, or Shabbat morning classes. Contact Rabbi Roland to discuss an individualized learning plan.

B’nai Mitzvah Program

Shaarey Tikvah helps students prepare to become b’nai mitzvah with individualized and communal programs. We can connect children with experienced tutors who can help them prepare for this milestone. We also offer an occasional cohort program for our b’nai mitzvah students and their parents that explores the meaning and significance of becoming a bar or bat mitzvah, teaches core Jewish concepts, wrestles with compelling current issues, and discusses the next steps in their Jewish education and involvement. For more information about preparing for b’nai mitzvah, we invite you to reach out to our Rabbi, or Executive Director.