Since 1988, Temple Shalom’s Ozrim program has been the model used by synagogues across the country for creating teen teacher assistant programs. “Ozrim” (helpers) is a program created at Temple Shalom for select tenth through twelfth grade students, who assist in the Religious School on Sunday mornings. The goal of the program is to train future Sunday School teachers by giving them experience and maintaining their interest and involvement at Temple.
The program has been featured as a model program nationally by the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE), and has assisted and advised others in starting similar programs from Texas to Hawaii. The Ozrim study teaches methodology, appropriate student discipline, and experience in leading and assisting in classes. The Ozrim apply and are trained to be involved in all aspects of the religious school experience. Whether as song leaders, teachers, arts and crafts, photographers, Hebrew tutors, and even Trope teachers, the Ozrim are an invaluable source that helps Temple Shalom Religious School thrive, adding a vibrant youth element to the classroom. The students see active teens participating in the classroom; they are the role models for our youth, who want to grow up to be in Ozrim. Many Ozrim have continued in Jewish education and become religious school teachers in college; and some have served on our Religious school staff or substitute list or have joined our congregation as adults with their own families.