Temple Israel’s Chavaya program, Religious School, is proud to be under the capable leadership of Rebecca Elkus-Ferst who began her work here in July 2012. Rebecca has developed the Chavaya program since its inception and worked alongside our clergy and team of Chavaya educators to ensure its relevance and accessibility in children’s lives.
She is committed to working with staff, parents, and children to find unique and innovative ways to ignite passion for Jewish life and learning. Her experiences being a madricha (educator’s assistant), working alongside her synagogue’s B’nai Mitzvah tutor, participating in youth group and summers spent growing up at Tamarack Camp, lead to her desire to pursue a Master’s degree in Jewish Education at The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York.
While in graduate school Rebecca interned at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and assisted in the creation of the Coming of Age During the Holocaust, Coming of Age Now pilot program. She served as the Assistant Director of Education/Youth & Family Programming at Congregation Habonim in Manhattan following her graduation from JTS from 2009-2012. During this time she piloted the congregation’s teen learning, social and social action program and developed curricular guides for the religious school. Rebecca is a past fellow of the Leadership Institute: Shaping Congregational Leaders and Learners and Matan Institute for Education Directors, working on a communal approach to helping children with special needs.
Rebecca’s educational approach is rooted in her time spent as a participant in religious school and years in youth group and camp. Her goal is to provide a space where Jewish children connect with one another, their religion and the greater Jewish community. Rebecca attended college at Michigan State University and holds a BA in Journalism and a specialization in Jewish Studies. In between college and graduate school she spent a year studying in Israel. Rebecca has made her home in New Rochelle with her family.
Please contact Rebecca to learn more about our Chavaya program.