Welcome to Congregation Beth Israel’s Religious School!  Our religious school strives to provide a fun and engaging way for kids from preschool through 12th grade to participate in Jewish life and learning.   

2016-2017 Youth Education Calendar

At CBI, we believe that a caring community and a positive classroom culture are essential to our youth programming. Teachers and students work throughout the year on creating strong relationships with one another, so that students develop a lasting and positive connection to the synagogue and to Jewish tradition. We also strive to enable our students to develop themselves according to Jewish values.  To that end, this year we are implementing the MENSCH program.  MENSCHes Make a Difference in Our Community, have Empathy for Others, use Nice Words and Actions, Share and Collaborate, have the Courage to do the Right Thing, and Help Others in Need.  


This year, we proudly welcome Melanie Kaplan as our Special Needs Coordinator.  Melanie has vast experience and advanced training in Special Education. In a role made possible by CBI’s Zach Avner Fund, Melanie will work with our families and teachers to support all of our learners on their Jewish journey.  We look forward to building on our strong tradition of meeting the needs of all who wish to learn and live Jewishly. 

Melanie Kaplan is excited to join the religious school staff at CBI as the Special Needs Coordinator. Melanie is originally from Houston, where she attended Jewish day school until 8th grade. She has live in Austin for the past 20 years. She has worked in education for the past 25 years, teaching all grades from preschool to college. She holds a Master's in Special Education and has held many positions including: teacher at Austin Jewish Academy when it was first founded, Assistant Director at the Early Childhood Program at the Jewish Community Center and Testing Center Director at the Odyssey School. Currently, Melanie works at an Interventionist and Dyslexia Teacher at a local elementary school. She and her husband, Jeff, are long time members of CBI and have a 4th grade son, Jeremy, and a 9th grade daughter, Shawna, that attend religious school.


We are excited to offer our newly designed 6th-12th grade program, featuring dynamic, camp-style learning experiences and compelling electives featuring a wide range of content – from cooking to Talmud and more!  The fruit of focus groups conducted with our teens and parents last year, this year’s teen education program – in combination with our youth group opportunities – provide a relevant and fun path for teens to strengthen their Jewish identities. 

Hebrew instruction from Kindergarten through 4th grade is conducted via the innovative Hebrew Through Movement program, in which fluent Hebrew speakers lead students in responding physically to verbs and nouns – think non-competitive Simon Says with words that relate to holidays and prayers.  Students develop a sense of the spoken language first, prior to learning to read. Then, in 5th grade, using Let’s Learn Hebrew Side-by-Side, students learn to read the letters and vowels in a one-on-one setting – no more waiting and struggling in a group class!  In 6th grade, during our Wednesday afternoon Midrasha program, they practice their Hebrew skills in an elective of their choice – Modern Hebrew, Israeli Pop Songs, or Torah Cantillation.  By the time students reach their Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation process, Hebrew has become a living language and not just a set of abstract symbols.

Please contact Rabbi Rebecca Epstein, Director of Education, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or 512 454-6806 to set up a time to talk on the phone or in person.  You can also visit our website, www.bethisrael.org.  We look forward to getting to know you and your kids!

You do not have to become a member of Congregation Beth Israel to attend our youth education program, although membership is encouraged and welcomed. Please feel free to make an appointment with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Director of Education, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Director of Membership Services to discuss enrollment and membership.

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