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Welcome from Iris Schwartz

Dear Friends,

Welcome to Temple Ner Tamid’s Religious School! Our school strives to help our students develop an enduring Jewish identity and a life-long love of Jewish learning. The creation of a kehillah kedoshah, a warm, caring, inclusive holy community and programming that enhances the lives and supports the personal Jewish journeys of our students and their families is our ultimate goal.

We teach our students that being Jewish does not begin or end at the temple’s door. Rather our sacred texts offer us guidelines that can inform every decision we make and every action we take in our daily lives.

You can see more about our school’s curriculum, programs, and policies in both our Religious School and Upper School Parent Handbooks which can be accessed from the Downloads section of this page.

Please do not hesitate to call us in the Religious School at (973) 338-1500 ext. 6 or email or if you have any questions or special concerns. We look forward to getting to know you and developing relationships with each of you during the year.

Iris Schwartz
Director of Education

Mission Statement

At Temple Ner Tamid, we strive to unite family, synagogue and school to develop in members of all ages an enduring Jewish Identity and a life-long love of Jewish learning.

By offering opportunities for group learning and innovative experiential education, the Temple seeks to impart the fundamental skills of Jewish living and ritual; an understanding of Jewish history and values; a love of Torah and Israel; a familiarity with the Hebrew language and our liturgy; and a passion for Jewish life that finds fulfillment in the spiritual and belonging to the community.

Our families have arrived from many different backgrounds. Together we strive to foster the development of individuals and families who identify with Israel and the Jewish people, and who pursue social justice and the improvement of our world as individuals and through community action. Our educational programs are designed to help congregants of all generations discover their own personally meaningful path through Jewish life; and find support, strength and identity not only in family, but in the larger communities of synagogue, Israel, and the Jewish people.

Program Values and Goals

Temple Ner Tamid’s Religious School is designed to instill a love and understanding of Judaism in our students by providing a rich and varied Jewish learning and living experience. We believe that Judaism is not something reserved for the temple but rather how it ultimately influences the way we choose to live our lives. We aspire to meet the needs of the 21st century Jewish learner and to connect students and parents with the on-going life of the Jewish people. We seek to provide learning opportunities that address the needs of the whole person and to strengthen the attachment our students have to Judaism intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Our goals are to provide learners with an understanding of the Jewish past, the tools necessary to fully participate in the Jewish present, while being inspired and empowered to participate in the creation of a Jewish future including a life committed to tikkun olam, the repair of the world.

In support of the general educational goals designated by the Union for Reform Judaism we strive to provide the kinds of Jewish living and learning experiences that will enable the members of the Temple Ner Tamid community to be:

  • Jews who affirm their Jewish identity and bind themselves inseparably to their people by word and deed; 
  • Jews who bear witness to the BRIT (the covenant between God and the Jewish people) by embracing Torah through the study and observance of MITZVOT (commandments); 
  • Jews who affirm their historic bond to ERETZ YISRAEL (the land of Israel); 
  • Jews who cherish and study Hebrew, the language of the Jewish people; 
  • Jews who value and practice TEFILA (prayer);
  • Jews who further the cause of justice, freedom and peace by pursuing TZEDEK (righteousness), MISHPAT (justice), and CHESED (loving deeds); 
  • Jews who celebrate Shabbat, festivals and ceremonies marking significant occasions in our lives
  • Jews who esteem their own person and the person of others; their own family and the family of others; their own community and the community of others; 
  • Jews who express their kinship with K’LAL YISRAEL by actively seeking the welfare of Jews throughout the world; 
  • Jews who support and participate in the life of the synagogue 

Such Jews will strengthen the fabric of Jewish life and ensure the future of Judaism and the Jewish people.

Religious School Curriculum

While each grade has its own discrete curriculum there are several themes that spiral throughout our school introducing students to core Jewish beliefs and behaviors and teaching them the skills necessary to fully participate in the life of the Jewish community. Opportunities for encounters with Torah, Avodah (service to God), and Gemilut Chasadim (acts of lovingkindness) are woven into every level of the learning experience.

  • Holidays – Judaism sanctifies time. Knowledge of the meaning, traditions and symbols of our holidays, and the knowledge of how to observe them, helps us connect to the Jewish community past, present and future. From sharing apples and honey to learning how to chant the Four Questions, our students are reminded of how special and sacred it is to live in Jewish time.
  • Torah – Torah is the foundation of Jewish tradition and learning. Students discover the relevance of Torah in their lives by exploring the ethical and moral lessons it teaches. The Torah provides us with a path for making good decisions and for living a life of meaning.
  • Hebrew –From our sacred texts to conversations on the streets of Jerusalem, Hebrew is the language of our people. Students are exposed to the alef bet and some Modern Hebrew vocabulary in the early grades and move on to become competent Hebrew readers and chanters of tefillah. Learners gain an understanding of the service and strive to find a personal connection to prayer.
  • Israel – A strong Jewish identity includes developing an understanding an appreciation of our connection to Israel. Students learn about the story of the Jewish people and our homeland and we encourage students to explore different ways in which they can appreciate and connect to Israel.
  • Jewish Values – Judaism offers us ethical and moral guidelines for daily life. Through learning about and doing mitzvot (commandments) we are able to put our learning into action. We hope to inspire our students to walk in this world as Jews and act as God’s partners in tikkun olam, the repair of the world.
  • God – Yisrael means “one who struggles with God.” We hope to inspire our students to continually ask questions and find their own path to the sacred.

These themes help to build Jewish identity, instill a sense of pride, and make Judaism meaningful and relevant to all of our learners. A fuller description of our curriculum and school policies can be found in either the Parent Handbook for grades K-6 or the Upper School Handbook for grades 7-12 in the Links and Downloads section below.

Jewish Family Journeys

Jewish Family Journeys is program that provides an alternative to Jewish education for families with children in Kindergarten. The program was started in September 2010 in response to the needs of many of our younger Temple families. Jewish Family Journeys takes us beyond the typical synagogue based family education programming and provides a unique learning and social experience for those involved.

JFJ families create a small community within the larger temple community that studies, celebrates holidays and socializes together. Participating families help design the curriculum and any supplementary programming that is done. Last, Jewish Family Journeys takes place during regular religious school hours which enables families to participate while their other children are in also in class.


A family-based alternative to religious education for families with children in Kindergarten.


  • To provide young families with an opportunity to experience Jewish living and learning together on a regular basis
  • To encourage and motivate families to add to their Jewish knowledge
  • To better prepare families to more fully celebrate Judaism at home
  • To help families create Jewish memories 


  • Parallel learning for adults and children
  • Family based experiential learning trips
  • Shabbat dinners holiday celebrations
  • Family-centered projects


“A Trip through the Jewish Year” focusing on the history, meaning, traditions, customs, communal and home observances of the Jewish holidays and holy days.


When does the program meet? Sunday mornings from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. which includes Family Tefillah with the school community followed by specially designed classes, projects and programs from September through May.

How often do classes meet? There will be 2 sessions per month for parents and children with optional classes for children on other Sundays.

Who are the teachers? Cantor Meredith Greenberg, Rabbi Marc Katz, Rabbi Ari Perten, Morah Debbie Winter and other skilled educators. Experiential learning programs will be supervised by Iris Schwartz, Director of Education.

Is there a cost to participate? Regular religious school tuition will be charged for each child. There is no tuition for adults. Fees for trips or other special programs are additional.

What if I have an older or younger child? Siblings can participate in trips, holiday and Shabbat programs. Older siblings must be registered and regularly attend religious school classes.

What commitment must a family make to participate? Each child and at least one parent must attend the twice per month sessions. Families are asked to make a commitment to be involved for the entire school year.

Who can participate? Temple members with children in Kindergarten.

How will Jewish Family Journeys benefit my family? Participation will strengthen Jewish knowledge for both parents and children and better prepare families to more fully celebrate Judaism at home. Through learning and doing as part of a small community of learners Jewish Family Journeys families will develop relationships that go beyond the classroom.

Important Contact Information

Religious School Director
Iris Schwartz
(973) 338-1500 ext. 6
Religious School Administrator
Maribel Leon
(973) 338-1500 ext. 6
VP Education
Erin Ackerman

Religious School Staff

Iris Schwartz
Religious School Director
ISchwartz {at}
ext. 118


Maribel Leon
Religious School Administrator
MLeon {at}
ext. 112
Nami Ratki
Hebrew Coordinator and Teacher
Michele Lainof
Youth Group Advisor and Teacher
Tova Felder
Madrachim Coordinator and Teacher

Religious School Faculty

Sharon Acierno
Gefen Ben David
Pearl Bernstein
Felicia Festa
Sarah Franklin
Amy Karas Plaut
Debra Kira
Chaya Koretski
Noah Lawrence
Ilyse Link
Anat Niv
Rabbi Ari Perten
Lincoln Richman
Ariel Rubin
Marge Saide
Ariel Schwarzer
Ruth Sherman
Avi Slivko
Debbie Winter
Rabbi Anne Laurent
Noah Westreich

Upcoming Religious School Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.


Sat, August 15 2020 25 Av 5780