Norma’s HaKol Article

Temple Beth El Religious School November 2022 Update

Norma James

Rabbi Schiftan will be at Temple November 3-6 and November 17-20.  Mark your calendars! Both weekends will be filled with great programming.

November begins a season of thankfulness.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who have made this a wonderful fall at Religious School.  We have an amazing staff of dedicated teachers and madrichim: Tara Bain, Gina Feldblum, Leah Faupel, Sebastian Altman, Justen Bain, Jesse Weckstein, Troy Lurie, Lilly Stanley, and Asher Park. We work as a team to provide a loving, spiritual environment that is engaging for our students. I was very moved when our staff was called to bless the Torah on Yom Kippur.  These people are truly treasures, every one of them!

Our parents are beyond amazing.  So far this year they have donated items and prepared the treat bags for the “Grab n Go” oneg after Rosh Hashanah Morning service.  They have hung our sukkah panels and lights that have provided shade and beauty to our patio throughout the holidays.  They have assembled our new benches for our patio.  This year we had High Holy Days services for young children and for older children. We had nearly 30 adults and children in our younger service, led by the amazing Jesse Weckstein. Her large classroom was brimming with people and love of Judaism. It has been a dream of mine to provide meaningful High Holy Day services for older children who are ready to learn more about what these holidays mean.  I was overwhelmed with joy when well over 50 children, parents, and grandparents came to our new service for older children! Our families truly want to worship with their children and grandchildren.

We have been shown so much love by others as well.  Wilma Weinstein-Lomax and Sisterhood have been supportive at every turn by providing donuts for parents on our first day of school, a wonderful breakfast for our parents to share with Sisterhood, donuts for our parents as they prepared the Grab n Go bags, and of course apples and honey for Religious School prior to Rosh Hashanah.  Did you know that every year, Sisterhood makes a monetary contribution to our school?

Rabbi Schiftan lights up the school with every visit.  He not only engages with every student and teacher, but he also has wonderful interactions with our parents as well.  Rabbi Ferency has also visited our school twice this fall. He too engaged with our students, staff, and parents. It is wonderful for our students to see both of our rabbis present in our school.  I cannot forget a shout out to Rabbi Yossi Wilhelm for his amazing Shofar Factory!  TBE and HA are each now the proud owners of a Rabbi Yossi handmade shofar.  Our students loved everything about this presentation. 

However, Religious School is really ALL about the students!  We have the best children in the world.  Our classes are filled with incredible and energetic learners and make coming to school a joy for all of us.  We have so many new families from everywhere, that we are all still getting to know each other.  We are truly building a Kehlila Kadosha, a holy community. Kehlila Kadosha is our theme song for this year!

Sophia Tumpson will be our first Bat Mitzvah of this school year.  Sophia will be called to the Torah on November 5th at 10:30. Sophia is the daughter of Toby and Linnette Tumpson.  She follows her big sister Sydney and precedes her younger sister Sally in becoming Bat Mitzvah.  Sophia is a seventh graders at South Doyle Middle School.  This young athlete plays volleyball and basketball.  She also enjoys art.  Sophia has been a diligent student.  Her Torah and Prayer coach is Norma James.  Rabbi Mark Schiftan will help Sophia write her D’var and do her final preparation for her service, which he will conduct.  We hope that our Temple family will support Sophia with your presence in person or by streaming.

Daylight Savings Ends Sunday morning, November 6th. Don’t forget to set your clocks back to be on time for religious school.

Our families are all invited to a very special Family Shabbat with Rabbi Schiftan on November 18th.  (See Flyer) Rabbi Schiftan and Norma James will lead a Tot Shabbat early in the evening followed by a congregational spaghetti dinner (at no charge).  Our 7:00pm Shabbat will be family oriented with participation from our students.  Babysitting will be provided.  Mark your calendars.

Thanksgiving Break is Wednesday, November 23rd through Sunday, November 27th.

Attention Teams Gimmel, Hay, Nun, and Shin!  Maccabiah is Sunday, December 18th.

It’s not too late! Do you have children ages 4(going to K next fall) through rising 10th grade who would enjoy spending time with wonderful Jewish children and amazing teachers?  Consider our Temple Beth El Religious School.  Norma James would love to talk to you about our program.  Contact her directly at to set up a meeting, FaceTime, Zoom, or phone call.