Member Testimonials


I joined Temple Beth Rishon in May, 2015, after having belonged to another synagogue for more than 50 years.  I knew it was time for a change. I thought it would be hard to make the change; but as soon as I walked into TBR, I felt as if I were home, as if I really was meant to be there. I felt so comfortable; and the congregants I met were so caring. I went through a difficult time in my life about 1 year after I joined TBR.  The spiritual leaders, the lay leadership and so many members in our Community were so supportive of me and helped me so much through this difficult time. They all shared my joy when I felt better. I say “Community” because that is what TBR is.  It is more than a synagogue that offers a myriad of wonderful activities and programs for all ages of members; it is truly a Community. I can never thank TBR enough for all that it has given me in the 4 years that I have had the blessing of being a member of the TBR Community.  I am eternally grateful. 

Janet Shapiro, member since 2015


My husband and I live in Ridgewood with our fourth grade daughter and our first grade son. After considering other synagogues in the area, we joined Temple Beth Rishon almost two years ago and absolutely know we made the right decision. TBR is truly a special place. The religious school is thriving and full of energy; my kids always want to attend! It combines the best of Hebrew and religious instruction, with cultural programming and just plain fun. And there is so much for adults to get involved with as well, from social activities to learning opportunities to community service.

Temple Beth Rishon is a warm and welcoming Jewish community that embraces diversity and is looking towards the future. We are so happy to be a part of it. 

Inna Rozenberg, member since 2017


My family has been honored to be part of the Beth Rishon Community for many years. Families have many choices when it comes to picking a Temple to call home. We tried a couple of synagogues over the years before committing fully to TBR.  I found that no other Temple gave us the experience we have had, especially when it comes to the Hebrew School activities. Both my boys have flourished with the atmosphere you have created. TBR has made learning Hebrew fun. I would bet if you asked most of the adults in the congregation about their memory of Hebrew School, it would not be a fond one. If anyone is looking for a warm, fun and safe environment to call home, Temple Beth Rishon deserves to be at the top of their list!

Jeff Kahn, member since 2015


We found our home at The Andrew Friedland Early Childhood Learning Center.  From the moment you walk through the doors, you can feel the warmth and support, not just from the director and staff, but also from the families who join you.  We could not wait to start bringing our youngest son to Mommy and Me and now, Mini Two's.  He runs into class every day happy, excited and ready to play and learn with his buddies and Morah Caroline.

Rebecca Pearlstein, member since 2015


The Meditative Shabbat service is very warm and welcoming. Its hamish tone makes one feel comforted in a very supportive community. Rabbi Ziona Zelazo’s ability to draw us into her spirituality and teach us about the meaning of Shabbat and its prayers, encourages mindfulness. The intimate setting alone provides the connection to our Jewish traditions. I would recommend the Meditative Shabbat service to all who seek a tranquil environment to explore their spirituality. 

Michael Goldberg, member since 1997


I’m a new member at Temple Beth Rishon, and I’m proud to be part of the community.  I found the temple as I was searching for a quality religious school to send my 4 1/2 and 6 year old sons. The warmth and welcome of the rabbi, religious school director, teachers, cantor, board and members was genuine and inviting. Each individual wanted to get to know my family, and ensure that we were comfortable. 

My sons love attending religious school on Sunday. They meet up with their peers and teachers during breakfast and then learn about the holidays and Sabbath through song, projects and stories. In addition, they learn the Hebrew alphabet, and Torah stories in an age appropriate way. When I pick them up, they can’t wait to tell me about what they learned, and they express that they can’t wait until next week.  Special events like Chanukah Fun Day and family services are offered as well, and my sons love to participate and see their peers at these gatherings. 

I looked at many religious schools in the area, and Temple Beth Rishon is by far the right fit for my family.  The warm welcome, and the acceptance of people of varying religious observance is evident. My sons and I plan to grow with the community.

 Susan Wineburgh, member since 2018


Warmth and open arms.  This is how any given day at Hebrew School commences with your child at TBR. You approach the doors on Sunday morning, Boker Tov (Good morning), and a warm genuine hug greets you from the Hebrew School director, Gonen, with his positive energy that is purely contagious. You enjoy a community breakfast and after a few moments with friends you are whisked into the sanctuary as live Hebrew songs pull you in to have a seat.  While sitting with your child just for a few minutes and before you say goodbye for the morning, Gonen reports on the latest and greatest about Hebrew School and entertains everyone with a few funny videos that even makes the sleepy ones giggle. You and your child are home and that is how your children will feel every day they attend TBR. There is a sense of relief knowing that your child will be educated in a safe and caring environment so that learning can take place.

Now what can you expect in terms of what your children will learn? Of course they will learn about the Jewish holidays, about our traditions, how to read Hebrew, what it is to be a Jew in this world today, and how to be a kind and caring person to the world and in a community. They will visit a matzo factory, a Jewish museum and the Holocaust museum in New York. They will learn how to give and be charitable. They will learn to be mensches.

As a bonus your children will make life long friends that they feel a comfort with possibly because of the road that they travel together as they become a bar or bat mitzvah.  The goal at TBR is not just to have your child memorize a few prayers and learn a Torah and Haftarah portion, but to learn about Shabbat and the Friday and Saturday morning services so that they can feel comfortable and confident in any sanctuary that they may enter during life. The bar and bat mitzvah process will force them to work hard, learn something about themselves, and bond with their friends during their year of study. They will connect with the Rabbi and Cantor and be pushed to accomplish a personal achievement that they will be proud of and remember for the rest of their lives. 

TBR is a special place, It is more than a school.  It is a 2nd home.

Shari Wolk, member since 2008


This is our third year at TBR. Our son is in the sixth grade Hebrew School class and he is also receiving training for his bar mitzvah. We have had the experience of our sons attending Hebrew School at other temples. TBR provides a well-rounded Hebrew School experience in that not only is our son learning prayers in Hebrew, he can also choose electives such as art, film and Jewish cooking which give him exposure to aspects of Israeli culture besides just learning to read Hebrew.

Andrew Bosin, member since 2017


I believe a special attribute of the Temple Beth Rishon Religious School is its outstanding community.  The parents and children, both, are enthusiastic and genuine about creating a welcoming, positive and fun Jewish learning environment.  My kids are excited about their friendships, and I truly believe the connections we have made in this community are lifelong.  We feel so grateful to be part of a community where we feel loved and comfortable, and we hope we are doing our part to create those feelings in our community as well.

 Sivan Frank, member since 2015


This is our fourth year at Temple Beth Rishon.  My son got a late start to Hebrew school.  He chose Beth Rishon because of the format; the combination of academic and electives.  Both of my children have loved taking Jewish-centered electives over the years, including art, film and cooking.  They both especially love the cooking class.  While they have learned quite a bit of Hebrew and prayers, they come home excited about the different foods they prepared and tried.  We’ve even made some of them at home.  That time that they have in the kitchen - talking about ingredients, preparing food with classmates and sharing thoughts with your loving teacher - make for a special time that is not always directly related to Hebrew learning, but is absolutely related to Jewish culture and community.  

 Andrea Bellantone, member since 2015


Both of my kids have had a great experience at TBR Religious School. It’s a fun and educational atmosphere – a nice mix of academic, social and recreation that serves to reinforce their Jewish identity. They’ve made good friends and have learned good life lessons. The teachers and staff are dedicated and caring. I highly recommend the school.

 Beth Fisher, member since 2007


Our son has been in the Religious School program for the last two years -- since the beginning of third grade.  He really enjoys the electives that are offered, shows pride as he works through the Hebrew reading/writing books and has fun hanging out with the other kids and the 8th grade helpers in the classroom.  As a parent who had a very traditional Hebrew school experience, I really value that Gonen and the rest of the staff makes an effort to teach the kids in a fun way not only about prayers, etc., but also about what it means to be Jewish.  I also really appreciate how Sunday school, with its breakfast time and morning assembly, is a family event.  We are grateful for TBR's very special program!

Jaimie Davis, member since 2017