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Beth Jacob Congregation (Oakland, CA)

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Religious & Spiritual > Beth Jacob Congregation



See also: Gan Mah Tov Preschool
October 2006

We're thinking of enrolling our kids in the 2-year-old class at Gan Mah Tov preschool next fall, and are also thinking of joining Beth Jacob. Any other families with young (under 4) kids out there who can tell me what the synagogue is like? Friendly? People active and involved? Easy to meet other moms and dads? Thanks!


In response to your questions about Beth Jacob and Gan Mah Tov Preschool - we love it! I have had kids at the preschool for the past 4 years (one recently graduated, the other is 3) and my husband and I couldn't be happier with the preschool experience. The Gan is a wonderful, warm, nurturing place - a home away from home for all the kids. The 2's program is exceptional, with an unheard-of teacher-child ratio of 1 to 3. The Pre-K (4-5yr) program is fantastic, and most of the kids were writing and some reading by the summer. There is a great balance of secular/Jewish content, and the parent community is very warm and active. The teachers are fabulous - they are like 2nd parents to the children. Beth Jacob is also a wonderful community, very welcoming, lots of young families with dozens of preschool-age kids (as well as every other age). Feel free to email me directly for more information on both the preschool and synagogue! Hope to see you there next year Nicki Hi -- when we first came to Beth Jacob about five years ago we were very impressed with the sincerity and energy of the people. Everyone was really friendly and we continue to feel that way today. One element that we especially liked was that most of the members were NOT Orthodox, but for a variety of reasons were most comfortable in a traditional synagogue. We felt that this said alot about the inclusiveness and comfort of the culture. As far as meeting other young families and parents, it is really helpful to be a part of the Gan community, since then you see the other families on a daily basis, make impromptu playdates, etc. Cheryl Schwartz has done a magnificent job with the Gan and they have a really wonderful, warm and rich environment for the kids. My third child will be starting the 2 year old program next fall and we have had great experiences there. Good Luck with your decision, Naomi
Beth Jacob Congregation is an extremely friendly congregation. It is a place where people of all ages truly form a community. If you have a baby or are sick there are people brining you meals and helping in other ways. If you have a joyous occasion there are people to celebrate with. Please come on an a Saturday morning to see what the congregation is like.

Gan Mah Tov Preschool is a warm, nurturing place where your child will learn about his or her Jewish identity, be loved, and be prepared to kindergarten Brian Kaye brkaye


I'm so pleased to see that you are considering Beth Jacob for your family and Gan Mah Tov Preschool for your child! As a member of Beth Jacob and chair of the parent committee at Gan Mah Tov, I can speak to the special qualities of both.

Beth Jacob is a welcoming, growing and diverse Modern Orthodox congregation in Glenview, and we provide a range of spiritual, social and educational opportunities from that perspective. Our synagogue has members from all walks of Jewish life and levels of observance -- and we believe that's what makes us special! Our diversity is reflected in our membership, but also in our programming. Our adult education program provides us with everything from intense text study to classes deconstructing the Jewish themes in popular films. We cover toddlers and teens -- and all ages in between -- with family Shabbat services, youth programming and learning and socializing opportunities for kids in high school. Beth Jacob is really a phenomenal place to be, and we feel truly blessed to be a part of this community.

The same can be said for our preschool. Gan Mah Tov offers three classrooms (2 y/o; 3 y/o and Pre-K) with a focus on encouraging children to love and appreciate their Jewishness and helping them become socially ready for kindergarten. We have a fantastic and caring staff, including three native Hebrew speakers, and a wonderful director with many years of early childhood experience. Just like Beth Jacob, Gan Mah Tov's families and teachers also come from all walks of Jewish life.

We celebrate all Jewish holidays (the two-year olds held their very own tashlich ''service'' this year!) and Shabbat each week. Our three-year-old has been preparing his dvar Torah on Noah and the ark all week .. it is really heart-warming to watch him learn and love at the same time. Gan Mah Tov is a really special place.

If you would like to tour Gan Mah Tov, or would like more information on our eligibility requirements, please call our director, Cheryl Schwarz, at 510-530-2146. You can also drop me an e-mail if you have any other questions or would like to get in touch with someone at Beth Jacob about joining our synagogue.

I hope this was helpful! Ginna


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