Religious School

Temple Ahavat Shalom’s Religious School combines a progressive and interactive program with a nurturing school environment to provide a foundation in Reform Judaism for Kindergarten through 7th grade students. Our goal is to give students a well-rounded, balanced Jewish education that exposes them to religious and cultural aspects that make Judaism relevant and meaningful to their everyday lives.

Primary school students (grades K-3) attend class once a week and learn a variety of topics including: Synagogue objects and skills, Bible stories, Mitzvot, God and Jewish holidays. In addition to classroom activities, students participate in school-wide holiday celebrations, family education programs and a weekly music and Israeli dance program.

Students in grades 4-7 attend class twice a week as part of the Hebrew School program, which encompasses both Judaic and Hebrew components. The Judaic curriculum includes a variety of topics: Jewish Life Cycles, Torah, Israel and the Holocaust. The Hebrew curriculum focuses on reading Hebrew in the context of prayer. Each class also participates in family education programs, field trips, retreats, and school-wide celebrations.

An additional component to the 7th grade curriculum is B’nai Mitzvah training. Training includes four elements: private tutoring with one of our highly skilled tutors, meeting with the Cantor, one-on-one sessions with a Rabbi and a comprehensive Mitzvah Project where students are encouraged to turn their learning into action.


Contact the TAS Religious School




Temple Ahavat Shalom Religious School
18200 Rinaldi Place
Northridge, CA 91326


TAS Religious School / TAS High Staff

Rabbi Barry Lutz (Rabbi) Since joining TAS in 1984 as Director of Education, Rabbi Barry Lutz has been the architect of our successful and respected educational program. Our nationally recognized Confirmation program, community trips to Israel and 11th grade social justice experience in Washington D.C. are among his proudest accomplishments. Rabbi Lutz served as assistant chair of the 1992 Conference for Alternatives in Jewish Education; as a member of the executive board of the National Association of Temple Educators, and as co-chair of the Bureau of Jewish Education’s Principals’ Council. He is a clinical faculty member for the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at the Hebrew Union College. Rabbi Lutz was ordained  at H.U.C. in 1999. He holds an M.A. in Jewish Education from H.U.C. and a M.S. in Educational Psychology from U.S.C. Rabbi Lutz is joined in his enthusiasm and dedication to this community by his wife Debbie and children Adam, Jeremy and Emily.
Reesa Shaw (School Administrative Assistant) After teaching at Ahavat Shalom for over ten years, Reesa also began working in the temple school office as the Religious School Administrative Assistant in 2008. Her administrative background includes an 18 career in the temporary personnel services industry where she managed numerous temp services over the years. She also has an extensive sales and social work background, as well.


Fanny Arana (10th Grade)
Lisa Bassett (Dalet) has been teaching Dalet at Temple Ahavat Shalom since 2007 after a long absence. While she attended preschool at the temple, much of her jewish experiences were through Temple Ramat Zion. Here she attended USY, hebrew school and taught in both the preschool and Hebrew school. After hebrew school was completed, Lisa stayed involved with the Bureau of Jewish education by attending Dor Hadash, Havorat Noar and Hallutz. These programs had such a tremendous impact on her that she taught Dor Hadash at Temple Ahavat Shalom until the program was cancelled. Besides teaching Dalet, Lisa is an inside account manager for Nexus IS. She is also happy and proud wife to Greg and mother to Josh.
Rabbi Shawna Brynjegard-Bialik (Confirmation)
Efrat Doitch (Resource Tutor) is the supervisor of the Resource Room at T.A.S. and has been either a student or a staff member (on and off) since she was five years old! Her daughter, Maya, is in the Pre-K at the Temple and loves it. She also has a son, Ethan, who just turned one who will soon be attending the mommy and me class. Efrat is a school counselor, but has been a stay-at-home mom since her daughter was born four years ago she is now enjoying her job in the Resource Room. She enjoys reading, going to the beach, hiking, skiing, movies and traveling (but hasen’t done much of that since kids).

Anita Dolgin (Third Grade) started working at Temple Ahavat Shalom in 1990, first as a substitute teacher, and later as an assistant. She went to college to get her units as a pre-school teacher and was offered a job to teach the 3 year old children. She has been working at TAS since. In 2008, Anita was offered the job to teach third graders and happily accepted. “It has been a wonderful experience.” Anita is also the proud grandman of a one-year-old grand daughter. In her spare time,she enjoys reading and enjoying her family. Anita also enjoys travelling and has been on a few tours of Europe and Israel.

Irit Drori (Resource Tutor) earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and her Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from California State University at Northridge. For the past two years at Temple Ahavat Shalom, she has assisted students of various grades with their Hebrew skills, pronunciation, and grammar, as well as teaching a class on Holocaust studies. She has also helped work with students on prayers and the Jewish Life Cycle.

Marilyn Kessler (First Grade) has been happily teaching first grade at TAS since 2000. She focuses on Bible stories and how to make learning fun by doing various art projects, engaging in discussions, and acting out the stories in order to reinforce the lesson of the day. She has also been teaching for LAUSD since 1990 where she taught first grade for nine years and now is currently teaching a language development program at the pre-kindergarten level. Marilyn truly loves children and working at TAS!

Jacqueline (Jackie) Kovar (Aleph, Dalet) was born in Santiago, Chile. After spending a study year in Israel, she returned and began a 12 year term at Temple Solael in West Hills, where she taught a variety of age group from Kindergarten through 8th grades. She was also the curriculum coordinator. Jackie has been teaching at TAS since 1992. She teaches both 4th grade (Aleph) and 7th grade (Dalet) Holocaust studies. She is the coordinator of the Holocaust program. In her time off, Jackie enjoys reading, swimming, going to the beach and traveling.

Fanny Koyman (Bet)

Sonia Liberman (Aleph) has been a guiding light at TAS since 1964, most recently teaching Alef class and tutoring. Soon after high school graduation she came to the U.S. and studied at the University of Judaism, receiving her B.A. and Masters in Jewish studies. She is highly regarded among her peers and has left countless memorable impressions upon her students.

Michael Loewenstein (Gimmel) was born and raised in Israel, where he graduated from the agricultural school Ayanot. He served in the Israeli Defense forces from 1965 to 1968 and in 1967 took part in The Six Day war. He came to the United States in 1968 where he studied economics and marketing at UCLA. He began teaching Religious School at Temple Beth Hillel where he taught until 2002. In1973 he led the LA Ulpan program to Israel with Rabbi Julian White. He married in 1975 and has two daughters who both attended Kadima Hebrew Academy. Michael was also on the Executive Board of Kadima Hebrew Academy for 5 years and was the Vice President of Education for 4 years. Michael was honored by the Bureau of Jewish Education with the “Lainer Distinguished Educator Award” in 2001. He lives with his wife Sherry in Chatsworth.

Rick Lupert (Music, 9th Grade) has worked at Temple Ahavat Shalom for twenty-two years. He is the music specialist at the school serving the Kindergarten through Dalet classes, as well as the monthly Saturday morning Guiar minyan with Rabbi Eric Morgenstern. He also teaches the Jewish Identity unit in the ninth grade curriculum. Rick served for six years as the Assistant Director for Hillel at Pierce and Valley Colleges for which he was awarded the Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence Award at Hillel’s International Professional Staff Conference. He has been involved with LA’s poetry community since 1994 and runs a major poetry and writing related website. Rick is also serves as Marketing Coordinator for TAS, creating print and electronic marketing materials for the Temple’s community. He also works from home as a freelance graphic and web designer who has created web-sites for luminaries such as Craig Taubman, Jeff Klepper and Danny Maseng (among others). He is married to Addie and they live together in Van Nuys with their son Jude who was born in 2008.

Rabbi Eric Morgenstern (Gimmel)

Reesa Shaw (Administrator) has been a teacher at Temple Ahavat Shalom since 1997. She and her family have been members of the congregation since 1995. Her two children, Brandon and Stephanie, both attended pre-school and Hebrew School at TAS. Stephanie is currently enrolled in the Confirmation program and Brandon completed the Confirmation program in 2009. Reesa has her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Cal State Northridge, where she met her husband David. She attended Los Angeles Hebrew High and graduated from Union Hebrew High School.


TAS Religious School Calendar


Religious School Forms

Click below to download School Registration Forms:

2011-2012 Registration Forms (pdf)