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Children in K - 3rd grade

This monthly Jewish camp style program began in 2017 for younger siblings of our Makom Shabbaton (4th - 6th grade) families but due to demand has expanded to all of our K - 3rd graders. 

Youth Groups is  an opportunity for children to experience deeper social connections and a raucous good Jewish camp experience in their home/familiar space at SAJ.

When do Youth Groups at Makom Shabbaton meet? Click here for the calendar.

Timing: 12:30 pm Kiddush, 1:15 Youth Groups, 3:30 Havdallah closing

What do parents do?: 4th - 6th grade parents join their children in Makom Shabbaton (see below) programming. K - 3rd grade parents can get to know each other better, join a mishpacha (family/mixed ages) class, or get some fresh air and return at 2:15 pm for Rabbi Lauren's learning for adults.


for 4-6 th Grade Families

Our journey was long and humbling. We worked with consultants, listened to the community, parents, students, clergy, director, professional staff, and board members as a collaborative team. We have come to a place we never would have been without experiencing JJP and analyzing our experiences. And so, with great excitement, we embarked upon year three (2019-20) of our Makom program. [Drum roll, please...]




As our community decided to move on from the Jewish Journey Project, we looked to the dreams of our Makom families, our needs and expectations as a unified congregational community, and what makes SAJ so darn unique and homey. So was born Makom Shabbaton.

We learned that top priorities for our community are:

  • Spending more time together at SAJ 
  • Getting to know each other as children, parents, and leaders
  • Creating a program that recognizes our overbooked schedules 
  • Deep learning experiences that pertain to our lives
  • Facilitating a high quality education


Makom Shabbaton will take place 9x a year for two hours after Kiddush, and two Friday evenings, for both children and parents.

We will open in October and close in May with Friday night dinners celebrating our learning. For seven Saturdays in 2018 - 2019.

Check the calendar for Makom Shabbaton updates!

Kick off (and children choose specialists): Sun, Sept. 30 4 - 6pm

7 Saturdays: 12:30 - 3:30 pm (with lunch): 10/20, 11/10, 12/15, 1/12,  2/9, 3/9, 4/6

Closing, Friday: May  31, 6 - 9pm

During these gatherings we will: 

  • Join together for Friday night dinners/Saturday extra robust Kiddush lunches.
  • 1 hour "Mishpacha (Family) Groups." Each Mishpacha Group will have 4 - 5 families (parents and children) learning together all year, facilitated by a master teacher.  
  • 1 hour "Specialty Groups." Each child will choose a modality for learning over the course of the year. Each modality will enable our students to advance through our curricular goals via different lenses.


  • 1 hour Parent Learning with Rabbi Lauren and Tehilah, concurrent with the 1 hour student "Specialty Groups." The topics for this will be generated with input from parents.

At the end of each Makom Shabbaton afternoon, we will gather together for Havdalah, at the start of Makom Shabbaton evenings we will gather for candle lighting and song/tefilla (prayer).

Makom 4th - 6th grade children will also continue Tuesday or Saturday Makom, "Hebrew Home Page," and they will have the option of attending a (free) weekly Thursday afternoon Beit Midrash class. 

  • Weekly Tuesday or Saturday Makom sessions for students at SAJ will continue. 
  • Hebrew Homepage will continue as you know and love it, with individualized one-on-one online Hebrew learning. 

    Monthly "Leg-Up" Emails to Get Your Family Ready

You will receive a monthly e-mail giving you a "leg up" on your upcoming mishpacha group and student and parenting learning, so that you can walk in the door already feeling like a "Maven."

Looking forward to this next step in the journey,

Tehilah Eisenstadt, Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann, Lynn Cohen, Laura Gottlieb Feldman, Aaron Fineman, Emil Freund, Emily Hirshbein, Ginny Pepe, & Brent Stockwell

Makom Visioning Team (bios below)

Makom Shabbton Teaser

Meet the Makom Visioning Team!

Tehilah Eisenstadt
Tehilah is the Director of Education and Family Engagement for the Society for the Advancement of Judaism.

For Tehilah's full SAJ bio, click here.


Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann
Rabbi Lauren is the Rabbi of SAJ.

For Rabbi Lauren's bio, click here.


Lynn Cohen
Lynn Cohen, along with her husband Sam, joined the SAJ in 2001, and together they have raised their kids Rose, age 13, and Wolf, age 10, in our community. They live in Hell’s Kitchen. Rose and Wolf attend public schools, and go to Camp JRF. Also an active PTA/PA member, Lynn has a passion for volunteering in the area of education. She is honored to be a part of the Visioning Committee and to have the opportunity to contribute to forming a dynamic, relevant program that she hopes will inspire our kids to become lifelong Jewish learners, strengthen their Jewish identities, and set them on a road to tikkun olam (repairing our world.)


Laura Gottlieb Feldman

Laura Gottlieb Feldman, along with her husband Kenny, and their children Max (8th grade) and Zaz (4th grade) have been members of SAJ for over 6 years. They live in Hell's Kitchen and find the commute to SAJ well worth it. Laura enjoyed being part of the Visioning Committee and looks forward to seeing the new education program grow and bring together different parts of our community.


Aaron Fineman                                                                

Aaron and Nicole Fineman have two children, Miko (2nd grade) and Lior (Pre-K grade), live in the Lower East Side. This is the 2nd year that Aaron and his family have been SAJ members.


Emil Freund

Emil Freund has been a member of the SAJ community since 2006. Emil started his involvement with the community as a member of the Cantor Search Committee. He has been involved in the life of the community as a member of the Board of Trustees and has actively participated in the development of educational policy and programs at SAJ as a member of the Parent’s Association, and the Lomed and Education Committees. Emil recently served as a member of the Education Director Search Committee and the Rabbinic Search Committee. He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees Executive Committee, the Synagogue Visioning Committee and Education Visioning Committee.

Emil is an information technology professional who develops digital video content experiences. He is married to Anne Grossman and they have two wonderful children Max and Julia who attended Makom and JJP at the SAJ. Julia and Max recently celebrated their Bat and Bar Mitzvahs with the SAJ community.




Emily Hirshbein       




Ginny Pepe                                                                 

Ginny is a long time member of the SAJ community whose children attended the SAJ Hebrew school. She is a retired NYC public school principal. 





Brent Stockwell has been a member of SAJ for 5 years, along with his wife Melissa Stockwell.  They live on the Upper West Side. Brent joined the Vision Committee to be a part of shaping the Jewish education program at SAJ so that the children will feel the same love and connection to Judaism, Israel and the Jewish community that he has. 

Makom Shabbaton Specialists

Friday/Saturday Specialists


Picture Picture Ella & Stav are teaching artists from Dreamcoat Experience, an award-winning organization for creative Jewish education. We are collaborating with SAJ on a drama elective specifically written with you in mind.

In Mishpacha, Elle will help us explore each person's life in relation to Jewish values and community, using various theater and improv games. We will discuss how those person's struggles relate to our lives as UWS Jews, and the family group will write equivalent modern-day sketches for the kids group to act out.

As a specialist, she will help us focus on a singular character in Jewish History from biblical days until contemporary times, as well as a dilemma they faced. We will look at the challenges of said characters through teh lens of Jewish values with the aid of Jewish texts, to peel off a layer and discover what underpinned their actions.

Thu, May 28 2020 5 Sivan 5780