Begun in 1956, CAI’s Esther B. Feldman Preschool/Kindergarten and its teachers are the recipients of numerous education awards. The school has twice received the "Solomon Schechter Award for Excellence" from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and three teachers have been selected as "Educator of the Year" from the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. Lynne Falkow-Strauss, the school’s director, has been with the school for 40 years and, with an extremely low turn-over rate, some of our teachers have been with us for more than 20 years! We’re very proud of the relationships built due to the low student-to-teacher ratio. Our programs are designed to enhance the physical, social, emotional and religious growth of ALL children ages six months through six years. In addition to a rich and meaningful age-appropriate Judaic and secular education, we offer programs in music, art, physical education, science enrichment, Spanish, beginning computers, story time and library. Stressing parent involvement, the school has a thriving Parent Action Committee.
Since 2003, CAI’s Religious School has been designated as a "Framework for Excellence" School by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. In harmony with the Conservative approach of tradition and change, our Religious School seeks to equip its students with the ability to forge a place for themselves as Jews in the modern world. From Kindergarten through 8th Grade, the curriculum is challenging, exciting and motivating, and will form the basis for life-long learning in our Jewish tradition. An integral part of the program is sharing and celebrating Jewish holidays in ways that are meaningful and pleasurable to children. We foster a love of Judaism and pride of being Jewish by providing a setting that is warm, loving, nurturing and safe for children. A computer lab is available for students’ use.
CAI’s chapter of USY has received the "Chapter of Excellence Award" seven times. USY provides religious, spiritual, educational and social activities to Tucson’s Jewish youth presenting them opportunities to meet others like themselves in a safe, casual setting, while instilling in them the importance of Jewish identity. Kadima USY is for grades 4th through 6th; Junior USY is for grades 7th and 8th; and Senior USY is for grades 9th through 12th. Kadima meets twice a month, and Junior and Senior USY meet weekly. All groups participate in mitzvah, tzedakah and social action projects, in addition to fun activities such as holiday-related arts & crafts, social outings and more. All these activities and projects promote bonding and build group trust. The synagogue has a Youth Center with recreational equipment as well as an outdoor basketball court and gaga court.
This innovative program is a monthly celebration of the ancient New Moon holiday for girls in grades 6-9 to build self-esteem, leadership skills, and Jewish identity. An informal setting, small group size, and carefully designed activities create an enjoyable and meaningful experience, which, when repeated monthly throughout girls’ teen years, strengthen their Jewish identity and sense of self. The group meets once a month for two hours, usually on a Sunday afternoon.
A variety of programs are offered throughout the year in which the whole family can participate. Programs may be holiday-related, or geared toward families with young children or toward those with teens. Family Center Programs conducted under the direction of the education department provide an additional support system to parents. Workshops include components of secular and Jewish topics.
Basic Judaism classes in beginning prayerbook Hebrew and a study of the Jewish calendar and holidays are held on Wednesday evenings. Throughout the year, advanced study classes (kollels) and Jewish history seminars are held, and a two-year adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah course is offered. Once a month “Read It & Meet” takes place on a Shabbat afternoon. Books written by Jewish authors and/or with Jewish content are shared and discussed. “Living Judaism” through study of Torah is debated every Saturday afternoon and an informal Torah Study Group meets every Wednesday morning. In August of even numbered years, a two-year Kabbalat Torah program is launched (for CAI members only).