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Registration Letter from Rabbi Linzer

Dear Beth El Parents,

As this unprecedented academic year comes to a close, we want to share our profound gratitude for our teachers and families who have supported us as we moved our Religious School program online.  We’ve learned so much from this experience, most notably, the resilience of our children and the ability to foster engagement and a sense of community, even when we can’t physically be together.  We also witnessed another year of increased enrollment this year. We were particularly pleased to welcome close to 60 madrichim, teen teachers, and a Kindergarten class of over 40 students.

As we look ahead to next year and face continued uncertainty due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are as committed as ever to creating meaningful, positive, and engaging educational programs for our children and families.  Our Religious School committee, in partnership with our newly formed Religious School COVID Task force, has been planning scenarios for Jewish learning opportunities that can take place in person, virtually, or as a hybrid of the two. We are also working to ensure that our program may oscillate between in-person to virtual learning and back again, if and when the need might arise.  We will likely utilize the online platform, Seesaw, to make this possible.

We are certainly hoping to proceed with in-person learning in the fall.  With that in mind, and in an effort to create the safest learning environment possible, we are considering several shifts to our program, including limiting class size, staggering arrival times or points of entry, and avoiding group singing and large-scale gatherings.  For those families for whom in person learning is not possible, we will be happy to work with you to design an entirely virtual learning plan.  While we are still finalizing details, we want to pass on a few grade specific details to give you a sense of what we have in mind:  

  • Kitanim (preschool), Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade classes will continue to take place on Sunday mornings in-person, utilizing classrooms throughout the building.  
  • Fourth grade students will attend in-person Judaica learning on Tuesday afternoons and Hebrew small group virtual instruction on either Monday or Thursday afternoons.  In addition, fourth grade students will complete weekly Hebrew modules at home.
  • Fifth and sixth grade students will attend in-person Judaica learning on either Monday or Thursday afternoons and Hebrew small group virtual instruction on either Monday or Thursday afternoons.  In addition, fifth and sixth grade students will complete weekly Hebrew modules at home.
  • Seventh grade will continue to take place on Monday nights.
  •  Eighth through twelfth grade will continue to take place on Monday nights as a core class taught by the clergy. 

As parents and educators, we understand the difficulty of planning in the face of uncertainty.  We are intentionally structuring our program to flexibly adjust to whatever the future brings.  In order to bring this program to fruition, we are asking you to register for Religious School, so we may hire our teachers and secure the materials and services necessary for opening our program in September.  

Please know that due to the financial uncertainties facing our families, we are forgoing annual increases in tuition and instead freezing our tuition at last year’s rates. Tuition cost for eighth through tenth grade will be reduced because our current plans do not include electives. Additionally, in the event that our program moves online for a significant amount of time, and should that transition lead to lower overall costs for our program, we vow in good faith to pass on those savings to you in the form of a rebate towards future synagogue costs at the end of the school year. This way, we hope that the risk of the unknown will be less burdensome.  We are already following this model when it comes to security, as we are rebating 25% of last year’s costs to lower this year’s fee, in recognition of our building being closed for the last quarter of the fiscal year.   

Moreover, we are offering discounted early bird registration pricing until July 24th for the 2020-2021 academic year. Registration is available through our online congregation database, ChaverWeb.  Your user name is your email address and you have likely already chosen your password.  If you forgot your password, the website has a link to help.  If you have any trouble logging in or navigating the site, please do not hesitate to reach out to Ann Testone (atestone@bethelnw.org).  A full fee schedule, as well as other information, can be found on our website.

On behalf of the clergy, staff and lay leadership of Temple Beth El, we wish you and your families an enjoyable summer and eagerly look forward to welcoming your children back in the Fall, whether in-person or online. 

Sincerely,

Rabbi Maura Linzer
 

Sun, May 22 2022 21 Iyar 5782