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The Nefesh After School Religious Studies Program 2020-2021

The Nefesh program will be continuing for the 2020-2021 academic year! Nefesh is a program geared towards students in grades K-5. It is designed to provide students with an opportunity for supplemental education in Jewish holidays and practice, spirituality, Torah study that is textually-based, an encouraging learning environment, and a positive student-mentor relationship.

Nefesh is organized and run by Congregation Beth Tefillah in Scottsdale. Due to the Covid pandemic, Nefesh will be taught virtually this semester to start, with the possibility for some in-person instruction as the semester progresses.  In-person Nefesh will depend on the progression of Covid within the state of Arizona, continuous assessment of our students' progress with our online program, and feasibility of potential classroom locations (both indoors and outdoors).  

Nefesh is open to all families at Pardes and other schools. We have two fantastic instructors this semester, Mrs. Aliza Goldenberg and Rabbi Michael Merrill.  Morah Aliza will be teaching both sessions for K-1 and one session for grades 2-4.  Rabbi Merrill will be teaching Chumash for grades 2-5.

Morah Aliza is a seasoned teacher, with over 12 years experience teaching general and Judaic studies.  She has a bachelors of science in general education and a masters in special education.  Aliza will be starting her sixth semester teaching Nefesh.

Rabbi Michael Merrill has been in Jewish education for 20 years and has been an Assistant Principal at HANC Lower School in NY for the past three years.  Prior to this most current role, he was a 3rd and 4th grade teacher.  Rabbi Merrill's classes will be taught virtually.

Both of our teachers are known for their love of teaching, love for students, their skilled approaches and their expertise.

The second semester of the Nefesh program will run from January 11th through May 27th. Please note that new for this year, the Chumash session is broken up into two smaller 30-minute sessions over two days (rather than one hour-long session over one day).  This will allow for better skill acquisition and focus.  This semester of Chumash is only open to those who enrolled in Chumash in the fall semester, unless given special permission.

This group is divided into three groups, a younger group (Kindergarten and 1st grade), an older group (2nd through 4th grade), and a 5th grade Chumash-only group. This division allows for grade-appropriate instruction. The program is organized as follows:

Younger Group (K-1st)

Monday, 4-5 PM (Taught by Aliza Goldenberg)
Halacha: Jewish law
Middot: Jewish character

Wednesday, 4-5 PM (Taught by Aliza Goldenberg)
Jewish Holidays: Includes major and minor Jewish holidays
Parsha: Review of the weekly Torah portion.
Please note that during busier holiday months, Parsha may be omitted.

Older group (2nd through 4th grade)

Monday and Wednesday, 30 minute sessions, sign up is for both days. 
2nd/3rd grade: 5-5:30 PM
3rd/4th grade 5:30-6 PM*

Chumash (taught by Rabbi Merrill): Will include Chumash skill-building to start and will advance to Parshat Lech Lecha (2nd grade) and potentially Vayeira (3rd and 4th grade) as the semester progresses.

Thursday, 4-5:15 PM (Taught by Aliza Goldenberg).
Jewish Holidays: Includes major and minor Jewish holidays.
Halacha: Jewish law. Will often coincide with laws pertaining to Jewish holidays.
Parsha: Review of the weekly Torah portion.
Please note that during busier holiday months, Parsha may be omitted.

5th grade

Mondays and Wednesdays 6-6:30 PM or Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:30-5 PM*, 
30 minute sessions, sign up is for both days

Chumash (taught by Rabbi Merrill)- continuation of skill building and study

*All Chumash session times have been prearranged by email and may likely be adjusted following daylight savings time. Times may be adjusted slightly if we are to move to in person learning.  Any potential adjustments would be communicated in advance to confirm acceptability for families. If sessions move in person, Morah Aliza's session would likely be extended to an hour and a half.

 ***For all students new to Chumash, please contact Ariella Friedman prior to signing up for appropriate group placement.

Class Schedule:

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
K-1 4-5 PM - Halacha, Middot   4-5 PM - Jewish Holidays, Parsha  
2nd-3rd 5-5:30 - Chumash   5-5:30 - Chumash  
        4-5:15 PM - Holidays, Halacha, Parsha
3rd-4th 5:30-6 - Chumash   5:30-6 - Chumash  
5th 6-6:30 - Chumash Group A   6-6:30 - Chumash Group A  
    4:30-5 - Chumash Group B   4:30-5 - Chumash Group B


Program Dates:

Program Fees


Fees for the Nefesh program cover the cost of professional fees, books, and supplies and are listed below

One day a week or Chumash only:

$300 (CBT Member), $350 (CBT Non-Member)

Sign up for two days (K-1) or three days (2-4) (discounted rate):

$575 (CBT Member), $625 (CBT Non-Member)


For those families wishing to enroll in Nefesh but for whom cost may be an issue, please reach out to us via the contact information below.

No family will be turned away for financial reasons.

This opportunity aims to serve as an engaging and positive experience for our children, one that will provide an enriching exposure to religious studies and a positive Jewish learning environment. If you are interested in this program, please contact Ariella Friedman at or (516) 316-1248 for more information. Thank you!


*For parents of students in other grades interested in supplemental Jewish learning, please contact us to learn about additional opportunities.







Emergency Contact Information  

In case of emergency and we are unable to contact either parent/guardian; we may contact: 



In case of medical or surgical emergency, I hereby give permission to the physician selected by a representative of the Nefesh Program to hospitalize, secure treatment for, and to order injection, anesthesia or surgery for the applicant named.  All attempts will be made to contact parent beforehand.

I certify that my child listed above is physically able to participate in all activities that are in conjunction with the Nefesh Program for the period commencing August 2020 through December 2021.

I hereby release Congregation Beth Tefillah, Goldenberg Learning, Hebrew Academy of Nassau County, the Nefesh program, Ariella Friedman, and allied organizations, their agents and employees from any and all liabilities of any nature whatsoever that may arise from his/her participation in any related activity, including illness or medical consequences related to the covid pandemic.

Please fill in your full name and date to electronically accept the above authorization and to complete the enrollment process. 


Enrollment Options (please select more than one if enrolling for more than one session)


Select and submit your corresponding payment.




Mon, July 26 2021 17 Av 5781