ACI and its Hebrew School – SKYEP (Synagogue Kids and Youth Education Program) – offer a warm, supportive, and lively Jewish atmosphere for children to gain an exciting awareness of Jewish life and to foster and strengthen their Jewish identity. SKYEP provides an opportunity for fellowship and friendship in an environment that nurtures students and families and encourages active participation. We seek to foster in our students a positive Jewish experience, a lifelong feeling of commitment, pride and affection for Judaism, God, Israel, and the wisdom of the Torah. It is our mission to instill in our children a proud Jewish identity, an appreciation for their heritage, and devotion to Jewish ethical behaviors and values.
In the fall of 2009, when the shul was considering closing its doors, as it had a small and decreasing membership, little activity, and no children or young families (a school had long ago ceased to exist), a new effort to rebuild and energize the shul began in earnest. Ayelet Pearl happily accepted the sacred and challenging task of spearheading the creation of a new Hebrew school, understanding that this would have to be done with fresh thinking and a creative eye and soul. Rather than adopt a formal conventional curriculum, we decided that the aim of this program would be to infuse the children with a desire to come to shul and learn about their heritage, involve their families, become part of a Jewish community, and thus grow Jewishly. The success of the program has been phenomenal. From Ayelet beginning as the volunteer teacher and director of the school with 3 children in Spring 2009, now – as of the year of our ACI’s 90th anniversary (2015) – SKYEP has over 40 children, divided into three levels: Tot Shabbat (ages infant -4) which began in 2010, led currently by teacher Lisa Goldberg; lower school (ages 5-8), which began in 2014, with teacher Hanna Harel; and the upper school (ages 9-13), which Ayelet continues to teach, along with the Bar/Bat Mitzvah track program.