Children’s Activities


Beth Israel is Hiring a

Children’s Programs Facilitator for 5784

Are you our next children’s educator? Do you know someone who might be?! Beth Israel Congregation is looking to hire someone to lead programming for children. The position is for 15 hours per month. 

Recent programming has included weekly Hebrew reading classes for children, a monthly half-day program for families with young children, and a monthly evening youth program.  Applications will be accepted to: until Tuesday, October 31 at noon.  Please see — and circulate — the job description that can be found here.


Past BIC Kid’s Crew Highlights


Dear Beth Israel families,

We are so excited for the full slate of programming we are offering this year for children and youth, including the newly formed Youth Crew and Hebrew lessons! Please take a look at the programs below and be in touch ( if you would like to join but have not yet signed up. Feel free to share this information with others who may be interested. (Anyone who identifies as Jewish is welcome.)

Children and Youth Programs at Beth Israel Congregation, Peterborough

For the Year 5782 (2021-2022)

  1. Kids’ Crew

This popular family program continues in a new, COVID-friendly format that involves outdoor and home delivery options. Led by nature explorer and children’s educator, Marty Cleary, Kids’ Crew welcomes families with children of all ages.

Currently, the program involves:

– Monthly outdoor gatherings on Jewish themes (Already this year, we have practiced tashlich, dipped apples in honey, built a sukkah, and dyed our own Challah covers using wild grapes!) Kids can be dropped off or the whole family can join in!

– Monthly packages, delivered right to your door! Each package includes fun hands-on activities, such as recipes, craft materials, songs and stories about that month’s theme. Sign up for this free gift from BIC to support your family’s Jewish learning at your own pace during the pandemic.

Themes will include: Hanukkah, Tubishvat, Wildcrafting, Purim, Pesach, Shavuot and more.

  1. Youth Crew

We are pleased to welcome Nevia Frank, an experienced Hebrew and b’nei mitzvah teacher from London, Ontario, who is here pursuing teacher education at Trent. Nevia is facilitating a monthly youth crew for children ages 10 and up who are pre-b’nei mitzvah. They are meeting virtually for now, and started with a Chanukah celebration last week. The next event will likely be a film night in December. The youth crew will evolve based on the youth’s own interests. Thus far, this includes online games, Yiddish folk tales, Judaica making, and LGBTQ Jewish literature. Youth will also be invited to create a tikkun olam community project together.

  1. Hebrew lessons

Nevia will also be offering virtual weekly Hebrew lessons for school-aged children beginning in December. We will be using the Alef Bet Quest workbook. This book will start the group off with some decoding of the Hebrew alphabet using modern and biblical word examples. It is a great transition into some basic modern Hebrew phrases and starting to learn Hebrew blessings. 

  1. B’nei Mitzvah preparation

Nevia is also available for one-on-one tutoring to prepare for a bar/bat/b’nei mitzvah. She is open to any style of bar or bat mitzvah, and we can help you to arrange leadership and the event. This program is at the family’s cost. But do let us know if you need financial support.

Nevia writes: “In the past, my students have learned torah blessings, a torah portion (around 6-18 verses depending on Hebrew level), and sometimes around 6-10 verses of Haftarah (depending on time/Hebrew level but this is not as common). We can arrange any combination of the above items or something different, depending on what suits your child/children and what your goals for the event are. Social action projects instead of a b’nei mitzvah, is also a great option. Also, I have seen students replace one aspect (like the haftarah) for a more in-depth speech or social action project. Please feel free to reach out to me if you would like to chat about options for your child at”

     5. Children and youth participation in Beth Israel Congregation events.

Let’s involve the children and youth in all our services, celebrations, and events. The congregation has enjoyed the Purim play, children’s singing at services, and there is often a special surprise in store for Hanukkah . Please get in touch with your ideas as well.

Who are these programs for?

These programs are open to all Jewish-identified children and families (including family members of Jewish-identified adults or children). All participants are invited (but not required) to become members of Beth Israel Congregation and/or to contribute a donation to support these programs.

For more information on any of these programs, please contact:

Nevia Frank

Children and Youth Coordinator, Beth Israel Congregation


Highlights from 2022

End of year report from the Kids and Youth Programs of Beth Israel Congregation:

The programs this year were a great success. We added 2 new programs – weekly Hebrew classes and a monthly youth group – with the help of a new staff member – Nevia Frank. We also continued our monthly kids crew for families with Marty Cleary, which included exciting outdoor gatherings and/or monthly packages. We recently had our first indoor event at the shul to celebrate Shavuot, which included storytelling, snacks, floral crafts, and a game of Minecraft based at Mount Sinai!
Other projects this year included the wonderful kid-designed holiday cards, another incredible Purim play, and a collaborative Chanukah music video.

We want to congratulate Zoe Dunaway on her recent and wonderfully inspiring b mitzvah ceremony. We are now preparing for four more b mitzvahs to take place in the next year!
This year included:
9 Kids’ Crew events
6 Youth Crew events
24 Hebrew lessons
22 children participating

Here is some recent feedback we received:

“It was truly nourishing for me to finally be in community and to have my daughter be a part of a Jewish community – to be with other Jewish kids!”

See below for some pictures of this year’s events, which included building a sukkah and boiling grapes into dye to make challah covers.
Many thanks to all the children, youth, families, and leaders, and to the broader Beth Israel membership for supporting these programs! New participants are always welcome. Please reach us at

Ziysah von Bieberstein
Children and Youth Programs Coordinator
Beth Israel Congregation


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Kids and Youth Crew further highlights!

Kids’ Crew:

Our March packages helped us learn about Purim and prepare our costumes. Here are some pics of the masks we made!

Kids wearing Purim masks
Kids wearing Kids’ Crew Purim masks
Mom and kid wearing Purim mask.
Mom and kid wearing Kids’ Crew Purim mask.
This month, the package will be all about… you guessed, it Pesach!

Hebrew classes:

We are halfway through learning the Hebrew aleph bet! And preparing to ask the 4 questions in Hebrew at the upcoming seder.

Youth Crew:

In March, the Youth Crew made paper mache masks and learned about coincidence vs miracle in the Purim story! In April, we will be having a Jewish Minecraft adventure!


Our second annual virtual Purim spiel was another big success with 14 kids, youth and young adults playing the majority of the parts with excellent stage presence and humour!

Interested in joining or learning more about our programs? Please contact


Highlights from 2021

Kids’ Crew Performance of ‘A Hamilton Hannukah’ 

Below is the full recording of this memorable Kids’ Crew event!

Here are the lyrics:

A Hamilton Hannukah

Lyrics by Six13

I tell the tale of those before me

And of their victory in the fight

And now our children tell the story

They tell the story of the lights

We’ll add another one each night

Light a light to freedom, (dum)

They tell the story of…

Dum da da da dum dum dum

ah aaaah

How does a humble ragtag

band full of boys from yeshiva

rise up to triumph

against unbelievable odds

in a battle our people still remember

and celebrate with dreidels

every year around December?

The five pious and loyal sons

of Mattathias stood against bias

Said, you can’t deny us.

You disagree? Try us!

Our God will supply us

with strength to win

and then potato latkes

we will fry us.

For every day

while praying was being

barred and made harder

our ways they tried to change

Antiochus sent his guard out

Inside, our boys knew

not to forget what they were part of

Five brothers and their dad

ready to win or die as martyrs

Then the Greeks came

and Hellenization reigned.

Our people saw our future

drip, dripping down the drain

They entered into the Temple

and the altar they profaned

left a blood stain

our heroes got sick of the pain.

Well, the word spread around

we said, this is insane, man.

We Jews cannot survive

under Antiochus’ reign, man.

Let’s fight back

and send the Greeks right back

from whence they came

And our bravery will win us fame.

Say your name, man!

Judah, Judah Maccabee.

They call me Judah, Judah Maccabee.

And Antiochus says he’s number one.

But just you wait, just you wait…

I am not throwing gelt in the

I am not throwing gelt in the


Yo, I’m straight gimmel-spinnin’

while y’all are nun and shinnin’

And I’m not throwin’ gelt in the pot.

Make the menorah hot.

See, it isn’t all about presents.

‘cause gratitude for miracles

is Chanukah’s essence.

The Maccabees revolted

thwarted Greek plans.

Now a horah we dance

and we fry latkes in pans.

We’re gonna make it hot!

Yeah, we give thanks for being free
Because of the revolt

led by Judah Maccabee.
They defied, do or die.

You and I feel great.
And celebrate, as the lights

we illuminate.

And I am not throwing gelt in the

I am not throwing gelt in the


Yo, I’m straight gimmel-spinnin’

while y’all are nun and shinnin’

And I’m not throwin’ gelt in the


I am not throwing gelt in the

I am not throwing gelt in the


Yo, I’m straight gimmel-spinnin’

while y’all are nun and shinnin’

And I’m not throwin’ gelt in the


Everybody say

Nes gadol
Haya po

(if you’re in Israel)
Haya sham

(if you’re anywhere)


Nes gadol / Light up

candles in the Chanukiah,

Haya po / we remember

Maccabees when we  

Haya sham / Light up

candles in the Chanukiah

Light up, light up

Light up, light up


And I am not throwing gelt in the
Light up, make the menorah

Pot / hot

I am not throwing gelt in the

We gonna light up, make the menorah

pot/ hot

we gonna light up, light up

make the menorah hot

light up, light up

make the menorah hot

light up

make the menorah hot

light up

Make it hot hot hot


Make manorahs hot

Make manorahs hot

And I am not throwing gelt in the—

Dum da da da dum dum


Ma’oz Tzur Yeshu’ati

Ma’oz Tzur Yeshu’ati

Ma’oz Tzur Yeshu’ati[ZvB1] 

Lekha na’eh

Lekha na’eh


Happy, happy Chanukah

Happy, happy Chanukah

Judah Maccabee

we sing of you (hanukkah)
and the odds you overcame
when we’re playing our dreidel game

Each night

we light those candles’ flames


For the victories and miracles

we celebrate

dum da da da dum dum dum

What ya say, boys?
Happy, happy Chanukah!



Beautiful Artistry:  Hannukah Cards

As a special Chanukah treat, we would like to take this opportunity to show you the artwork that the children of Beth Israel’s “Jew Crew Kids’ Club” submitted for the production of gorgeous Chanukah holiday cards, under the direction of Marty Clearly who coordinates the club’s activities. We are sending the cards to our interfaith friends, and to local dignitaries such as City Council. We have also been selling the cards on a pay-what-you-like basis, with all the proceeds going to children’s programming at Beth Israel. Thank-you to the children, and to Marty too! You bring such joy to the congregation! 

Below are some pictures of what the cards look like all together, and also some close-up views of the individual pieces of art. We are sure that this wondrous Chanukah artwork will warm your heart.

Jemma: A beautiful dreidel and a wonderful menorah

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Highlights from 2020

January 25 – Tu B’shevat

Kids Crew is meeting Saturday, January 25th 2-4 pm, to learn about and celebrate the “New Year of the Trees”, Tu b’Shevat.


February 29 – Purim

CANCELLED:  March 28 – Pesach

Kids Crew Saturday is March 28, 2020, 2-4 pm at the synagogue, when the kids will be learning about Pesach.

Please RSVP if possible to Ziysah at




April 25 – Shabbat

Our Pesach edition went quite well. Several families joined the call. The children each made their own seder plate as we learned about the story and symbolism of Pesach. We also learned to sing Dayenu, and the 4 questions. Some kids even suggested new items to add to the seder plate!  And we were able to play some modified versions of the physically active games we are used to at the JCC.
This week, there will again be basic craft kids can do at their own pace during the call, there will be some attempt at singing, there will be storytelling, there may be a little video to watch together, and there will be some innovative physical activity to get us moving and practice some Hebrew words.
If you’re interested, please contact Ziysah or Corinne at

May 30 – Shavuot

Details to follow.


Highlights from 2019

October 26 – Simchat Torah

Kids Krew had a very meaningful first gathering with 6 children from 4 families coming together to celebrate Simchat Torah. We learned about this important holiday, learned a lot about Torah, such as how a Torah is scribed and put together, learned a new song (Moshe Emet), and practiced old ones. Thanks to Alvin Gallay’s help, we were able to open the ark, and look at a Torah.  The children brought their own tiny Torahs and took turns reading the text from the very last chapter of the Torah, and then re-rolling their Torah, and reading from the very first chapter. We danced the Torahs around the sanctuary 7 times.

November 30 – learning about Hanukkah

December 21 – Hanukkah prep…bake cookies for the Hanukkah Party at Beth Israel

In 2020


Contact:  email Ziysah or Corinne at

Mini Cheder at Beth Israelpurim graphic

Our first Jewcrew Kidsclub (offical name TBD) was great fun. We read books, played games, learned some Hebrew words, and celebrated Tubishvat by each planting our own parsley seeds, which will hopefully grow just in time for the Pesach seder!

Watch out for upcoming meeting dates for the Jewcrew Kidsclub (offical name TBD) Get together with other young Jewish families who have kids for a little learning, a little singing and a lot of fun. Future gatherings will take place one Saturday a month from 2-4 pm at the synagogue. Dates will be confirmed asap.


Monthly Children’s Program:  Previous Highlights

All Jewish families/kids are welcome to our next gathering Saturday, March 9 from 2-4pm at the synagogue. This time we will be celebrating PURIM. Please come in costume as a character from the Purim story (or as anything at all and we’ll find a way to fit you into the story. 🙂 ) Future gatherings will take place one Saturday a month from 2-4 pm at the Synagogue. Dates will be confirmed asap. If you have any questions, ideas, or would like to help out, please be in touch with Ziysah or Corinne at

All Jewish families/kids are welcome to our next gathering Saturday, March 9 from 2-4pm at the synagogue. This time we will be celebrating PURIM. Please come in costume as a character from the Purim story (or as anything at all and we’ll find a way to fit you into the story. 🙂 ) Future gatherings will take place one Saturday a month from 2-4 pm at the Synagogue. Dates will be confirmed asap. If you have any questions, ideas, or would like to help out, please be in touch with Ziysah or Corinne at


Starts:  Saturday,  January 19th, 2019 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Where:  Beth Israel Synagogue

The first meeting of the BIS kids program will take place Saturday, January 19 from 10 am-noon, and will feature learning about the holiday of Tubishvat.

This monthly get-together will be a chance for children and families to share space, learn about Jewish culture and holidays, sing songs, and also learn a bit of Hebrew. All are welcome to contribute ideas and teaching at future gatherings.

All Jewish children and their caregivers are welcome. The program is geared to all children under bar/t mitzvah age. 

Please contact Ziysah or Corinne at if you have questions or ideas or would like to help out in some way.

The success of this initiative depends on you.  We saw clearly at the Chanukah celebrations that once again (and for the first time in many years), we have in the Peterborough area a good number of young Jewish children or children with Jewish family connections.  What a great way to get together with families like yours, for adults to meet and for kids to get to know each other and participate together in fun learning activities.  Mark you calendar and be there with your kids – grandparents welcome.  Support this very worthwhile initiative.

Our community includes several families with young children. We do our best to make shul events relevant for children, by including crafts, play space, and age-appropriate activities.

We also organize our own informal get-togethers, especially during Jewish holidays.

Saturday June 11 – Children’s Song Fest At Beth Israel

Begins:  10:00 a.m.

Come one, come all this Saturday June 11 at 10 am to Beth Israel Synagogue for a morning of Hebrew Song. Dr. Dan will be teaching songs new and old; this event is directed towards families with children, but all are welcome. Coffee/tea and juice and munchies will be provided.  Song sheets will be also be provided.