Today is September 28, 2020 -

Temple Israel

Temple Israel, located in Vestal, New York, is a modern, conservative synagogue founded in 1886.

4737 Deerfield Place, Vestal, NY 13850
Phone: 607-723-7461


Services on-site are temporarily suspended as a precaution. On-line links and streaming experiences are being arranged in the interim and will be announced

About Our Hebrew School

 2020-2021 Hebrew School information:
We are pleased to announce we will have school this fall, 2020. Please see below for more information about our fall plans and programs. We are moving to a semester format following changes needed during COVID-19. We will have a hybrid model for all our classes this fall. As the COVID-19 situation dictates, plans may change. Please look under the forms page for registration forms and the full fall plan. We will put a spring plan out later this fall. Thank you for your understanding and patience in this process. If you have any questions, please contact the Educational Coordinator, Blake P. McCabe, at

Hebrew School Fall 2020 plan:

Following the plans of the Vestal Central School District, and after looking at a number of other school districts, we will have a hybrid model. This would be updated and revised monthly and according to the changes in the COVID-19 situation in Broome County. All in-person activities will require Temple Israel Executive Board approval and will include COVID-19 screening forms and temperature checks. Hebrew school will commence with the following program after the end of the High Holidays. There will be no Sukkah hopping event this year. All scheduling is subject to change as needed and will be communicated via email. We follow Vestal Central School District for closures.

Our curriculum theme this year is Israel. While online schooling may be disappointing to many, this actually works very well with our theme this year. Why? You may ask. Well, thanks to the wonder of Virtual Reality. I have been training with new online platforms, including Nearpod. These allow us to incorporate VR tours and other interactive games and activities in our online lessons. We already know the students love Kahoot. These platforms take this to a whole new level.

The start date will be Wednesday 7, 2020 for the older classes. They will be a hybrid format. Hebrew school for the older classes will meet via ZOOM on Sundays and in-person on Wednesdays, max 8 students for in-person. There will also be Shabbat programming via ZOOM that is part of the new regular Hebrew school program (see schedule).

Hebrew school for the pre-k will be in-person with limited capacity (no more than 4 students) and will be ages 3-5years, starting Sunday, October 18, 2020. This will be outside as much as possible and will use the small indoor chapel in the event of inclement weather. We feel this provides enough time to see how public-school openings will affect COVID-19 numbers and for the synagogue to be cleaned after High Holiday use. Students must be able to wear masks and must be toilet trained to attend. The class will be Sundays from 10am-11am. We will meet outdoors as much as possible. For times when indoors is necessary, then the small chapel will be used. All toys, chairs, and other shareable items will be sanitized between each use. The shortened time to an hour also means students will NOT be provided snacks. This will help limit time without masks and other potential exposure situations. We are in process of determining other facility modifications that might be needed, such as with the bathrooms.

Important Change: Parents and students should only enter the building from the main entrance. Do NOT enter from the Hillel Academy side entrance. 

Additional activities:

We (may) also include a weekly parent class (Temple Concord is having the parents sit in with the alef class to learn Hebrew). Parents would join a 30minute Hebrew class or Judaic Instruction at the same time as their children’s class once a week. Please let Rabbi Brown or Blake know if you are interested in this.

If you have a child who would like to move from pre-k to the older classes, or would like to start in Mechina, please let Blake know. Also, if there is a demand for alef or Mechina classes for those between pre-k and the older Hebrew school, we may be able to accommodate that.

Please talk to Rabbi Brown or Elissa if you are interested in additional T.I.E. Pods programming for your children. We are working to possibly add more programming to help families with enrichment given so much of schooling will be online this fall. More information about this can also be accessed under the website T.I.E. Pods tab.

Shabbat programming is a new addition that is part of our now regular Hebrew school programming. For the older classes, these are now part of the class program this year, along with the Wednesday and Sunday days.

New activity for all students! With the expansion of our Jewish Children’s Library, thanks to Moira Shirvan, we are adding a book club. This will encourage students to continue learning on their own and reading. The library is set up by level and topic. There will be a sign out sheet, drop off bin, and a short book report worksheet for students. When they finish an age and level appropriate book, and return it, they should fill out the short book report form. After 10 book reports, students will receive a prize. There is a similar, but age appropriate, book report form for the pre-k students. For pre-k, the requirement is 5 picture books or early reading level books.


Services on-site are temporarily suspended as a precaution. On-line links and streaming experiences are being arranged in the interim and will be announced