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      Registration for Community Hebrew School of Bergen County in Fair Lawn

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      July 21, 2020 - August 21, 2020


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      Registration for Community Hebrew School of Bergen County

      Local Synagogues Create a Regional Hebrew School

      The Fair Lawn Jewish Center/Congregation B’nai Israel (FLJC/CBI) and The Jewish Community Center of Paramus/Congregation Beth Tikvah (JCCP/CBT) have joined forces to create a new regional Hebrew school called Community Hebrew School of Bergen County.

      Operations at Community Hebrew School of Bergen County will begin in the fall, under the guidance of Educational Director Marcia Kagedan. "Having a fresh canvas to create a new school is exciting. I will be bringing together two wonderful groups to form a new vibrant learning community,” said Kagedan. “Our curriculum and educational experiences will create an optimal learning environment for all."

      Kagedan brings her vast experience in Jewish education to Community Hebrew School of Bergen County after nearly 25 years as the Educational Director at the JCCP/CBT. She has studied Jewish Education at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, and Hebrew College in Boston. Kagedan is familiar with bringing together students from multiple congregations in her role as Kehillah Director for sixth and seventh grade students for ten area congregational schools.

      The creation of the Community Hebrew School of Bergen County is the most recent result of a continuing effort by both synagogues to seek out ways to cooperate. They have held joint religious services, educational programming, social activities, and youth events, which were very well received by congregants, and helped solidify the plans for this new school.

      Rabbi Arthur Weiner of the JCCP/CBT said, “I am excited and thrilled by the creation of the regional Hebrew school.” Weiner went on to say that, “Our congregations share similar goals, and face similar challenges. This new entity will provide better programming, greater educational content, reduce redundancy, foster cooperation within our community, and most importantly, provide a better Jewish learning experience for our children.”

      The FLJC/CBI team was led by Steven Schwimmer, a member of FLJC/CBI’s presidium and a past president. “As our groups talked, it quickly became apparent that we shared common goals and challenges. We agreed to explore ways to create more of a community feel within our geographical region,” said Schwimmer. He echoed Rabbi Weiner’s comments, “Students will have more opportunity to engage in meaningful classroom discussions and to grow their local network of Jewish friends. We also saw that there was an opportunity for some cost savings.”

      Neil Garfinkle is the outgoing principal of the FLJC/CBI religious school, as well as vice president and secretary of the FLJC/CBI. Garfinkle commented, “I have genuinely enjoyed working with Paramus on this venture and forging new friendships. I feel confident that the combined religious school will provide students with a challenging, dynamic curriculum, but also the warm, family environment students need in order to be successful.”

      “Our plan,” states Wayne Zeiler, President of the JCCP/CBT, “is to hold more joint events for families of both synagogues, creating a home for all students and families in the two locations. The opportunity to combine our communities in this way will allow for more social, educational and cultural exchanges.”

      Ultimately, Community Hebrew School of Bergen County’s goal is to create more of a regional approach, welcoming youth from throughout the region. Conservative synagogues in our area are all faced with similar challenges, and this group felt the need to take advantage of their proximity to each other as well as their common goals.

      Kagedan said, “It is our hope that Community Hebrew School of Bergen County will be a model for other synagogues in our region. It is only through creative and thoughtful planning that our community will remain strong and vibrant for generations to come.”

      Clearly, the energy generated by this new combination will be exciting to watch as the school year begins.

      Enrollment for Community Hebrew School has begun and further announcements will be forthcoming. For more information about Community Hebrew School of Bergen County, call Marcia Kagedan, Educational Director, at 201-815-8136. For information about the two synagogues, please go to and

      Categories: Education | Kids & Family | Religion & Spirituality

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