As with most other synagogues, Temple Sinai of Summit closed to the public in mid-March. Yet at Temple Sinai we remained “open” and continue to thrive under the theme of continuity, connection, and community, by offering virtual programs for members of all ages. We’re writing to express gratitude to Temple Sinai’s education team.
Under the leadership of Dr. Amy Damast, director of Early Childhood & Education Program (ECEP), the ECEP maintained its mission of bringing high-quality Jewish education to young children during these unprecedented times. For example, the ECEP virtually engaged young children through daily, and age-appropriate, interactions such as scavenger hunts, show-and-tells, weekly Shabbat and Havdalah celebrations, and Parent Night Check-Ins. Because of Damast’s, and her staff’s, tremendous efforts our ECEP is over-subscribed for the 2020-21 year.
Similarly, religious school classes continued uninterrupted because of the leadership of Patti Kahn, director of education. Teachers successfully utilized Zoom sessions to continue Hebrew instruction and holiday celebrations, and facilitate four virtual b’nei mitzvah ceremonies. None of this would be possible without the support of Sinai’s dedicated teachers.
At Sinai’s Rabbi Gershon Hebrew High School, Amanda Weiss, director of youth engagement, engaged teens with a comedy night and teen-led trivia night and Havdalah service. We virtually celebrated our 10th- and 12th-grade confirmations. Weiss is now leading a Jewish Leadership Summer Series enjoyed by 22 teens who are learning life-long leadership skills through a Jewish lens.
We all wish the doors to “our house” were open. Yet because of Temple Sinai’s best-in-class educational staff and programming, we are confident that we will continue to thrive as we plan to reopen — live, virtual, or both — for the new school year.
Ian Singer, president
Jennifer Sinoway, VP of education
Temple Sinai Board of Trustees