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a rhythm of Jewish life in the crucial early years

Shirlee Green Preschool at Congregation Shaare Emeth strives each day to uphold the highest standards of Jewish early childhood education. At SGP, the rhythm of the year is punctuated by the memories and traditions we create with young children to celebrate the spinning of the world, our spirituality, and all of the ways we can feel connected to one another. Rituals and traditions are an essential piece of the Jewish traditions at Shirlee Green Preschool. We believe that Judaism is not just something our children should simply learn about or study. It needs to be lived and experienced every single day for it to be

meaningful. Our students smell the rich aroma of homemade challah baking every Friday morning. They eagerly await their birthday shared with friends as they enter their classroom and spot their birthday chair, specially decorated by their friends based on a contemporary Israeli custom. Classrooms sparkle with twinkle lights for Chanukah, fall fruits and vines hang from the sukkah they construct together with friends in the autumn. And as we wake from nap, we say a blessing to honor the gift of continuing our day.

At Shirlee Green Preschool, we weave the tales of our Jewish traditions through all of our school days. We highlight how our traditions emphasize who we should strive  to be as we continue growing into kind, compassionate

people who care about tikkun olam, repairing the world. We celebrate the joy of our faith and our connections with the children and adults who make our community strong. Our Jewish tradition at SGP is about who we are all of the time, and how together we keep these rituals and traditions alive. When you join the SGP family, you become a part of that rich experience as well. Our parents, guardians, and grandparents have opportunities throughout the year to make memories with their children and experience their awe and wonder as they develop a spiritual life. Our weekly Friday morning Shabbat gatherings are open to all of our families, we dance and clap our way through every Jewish holiday together with singalongs, special projects, and child-centered celebration.

We are proud to make our home as a part of Congregation Shaare Emeth, the largest Reform Jewish congregation in Saint Louis. With our community's rich history and deep St. Louis roots, commitment to social justice, and a mission to create relevant, inclusive, joyful Jewish moments, our preschool reflects many of those core values in the ways we live and work together. Our congregation's Rabbi Educator, Rabbi Lori Levine, also serves as clergy and Jewish life advisor to our preschool, helping develop the Judaic curriculum and partnering with our staff and faculty to integrate Judaism into all aspects of SGP life. Throughout the year, SGP learners also have the chance to participate in Shaare Emeth's Early Childhood Engagement programming for the whole community. As our young children grow and leave the halls of SGP, they can continue their Jewish learning journey in Religious School at Congregation Shaare Emeth in Kindergarten and beyond.

Congregation Shaare Emeth

Congregation Shaare Emeth has a dedicated team who help make our Jewish traditions special for our young students.  From joining us on Friday for Shabbat to serving as resources when the students take on amazing challenges like building their own Sukkot, we are grateful for the many ways each rabbi sees the value of each young child and helps to make every young learner feel that they are an integral part of the community at Congregation Shaare Emeth. 

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Rabbi James M. Bennett

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Cantor Seth Warner

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Rabbi Andrea Goldstein

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Rabbi Educator Lori Levine

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Rabbi Rachel K. Bearman

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Rabbi Emeritus Jeffrey Stiffman

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