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What is CHALLAH?

CHALLAH is an ongoing series of weekly classes hosted by CBI and open to anyone in grades 8th - 12th. The program is designed to:

  • Deepen knowledge through focused skill-building
  • Prepare teens to enter the world as well-rounded young adults
  • Help develop lifelong learners
  • Foster Jewish joy!

CHALLAH will return in Fall 2024 - stay tuned for enrollment!
Wondering what CHALLAH stands for?  Community Having A Lotta Learning And Happiness smiley

If you are requesting financial aid and/or wish to pay by check, please log in to Shulcloud before filling out the registration form!
If you do not have a ShulCloud account, please contact Elijah Burger  for assistance.


CHALLAH follows a trimester schedule and meets from 5:30pm - 7:30pm on Thursday nights, with the exception of school breaks and Jewish holidays.  Each CHALLAH session includes a community gathering led by Rabbi Ariella Rosen, a one-hour class, and social time

CHALLAH 2023 - 2024 Schedule:

סְתָו / Stahv / Fall trimesterOctober 12th - December 7th

חורף / Choref / Winter trimester: January 11th - March 7th

אֲבִיבֵ / Aviv / Spring trimester: March 28th - May 30th

Past CHALLAH offerings include: Beyond Fiddler on The Roof: Past, Present and Future of Jewish Theater; Jewish Food Studies: Fermentation and Baking; Garage Band, Literally: Jewish music!; and B'Midbar: Into the Wilderness.

Questions? Contact CBI teen engagement coordinator Aaron Kagan.

Course Offerings






















Students are encouraged to sign up now for the entire year in order to secure their spot, though we will re-share the registration prior to each trimester.

סְתָו  / Stahv / Fall Courses: 

Befriending Our Jewish Demons
In this class we will learn about the history, customs, and ritual surrounding Jewish demons.  We will learn about ancient Jewish demons, as a way to understand our current lives and our modern demons.  We will spend part of each class creating a sacred, protective container- through craft, fire, song, and more- in which to share about our own lives, so please come to this class ready to both listen and share with each other.  

Instructor: Rose Cherneff (all pronouns) is a farmer and educator living in Western Massachusetts. For the past six years, Rose was the Farm Manager at Abundance Farm. One of their favorite parts of the job was working and learning with the Shefa teens.  


Open to all levels of Hebrew language learners, with no previous experience required. Beginning Hebrew speakers will learn foundational skills such as grammar, vocabulary and composition, while more experienced learners will deepen their knowledge and understanding of the language as they progress towards fluency. The goal is to be in community in learning Hebrew while understanding the different ways that language relates to the intersection of Jewish identities. 

Instructor: Lev Fein (they/them) comes to this role with an associate of arts degree from Rockland Community College and a bachelor of arts degree from Smith College and is currently an MSW candidate at Smith College School for Social Work.  Lev identifies as Non-Binary and BIPOC, has taught Hebrew for the Jewish Community of Amherst and the synagogue Beit Ahavah in Florence, and is fluent in English, Spanish, Hebrew, and Yiddish.


חורף / Choref / Winter courses:

Jewish Garage Band
Come and Rock out with Aram in the garage of the new building! We will learn music from shabbat services that will help you lead songs not only in our own community, but also at camp, college, and in countless other settings. You do not need to be an accomplished musician to join the band: if you took this class before, Aram will help you take your skills to the next level, and if you are brand new then we would love to have you join! If your thing is singing, we want to hear your voice! If you dance, then come and show off your moves. If you’re into banging on a drum, by all means, be our guest. By the end of the trimester, our little Jewish Tefillah Rock Orchestra will help to lead a service at CBI. We look forward to making music together!

Instructor: Aram Rubenstein-Gillis (he/him) is a song leader and music teacher who has led joyful music with schools, camps, and religious communities for over 25 years. Aram is the Director of Musical Programs for CBI Northampton and the Music Teacher at the Lander Grinspoon Academy.  

Crafting Ritual Objects
Interested in making something with your hands while spending time with peers? Need a relaxing, artistic activity in your life? Want to bring more of your personality into your practice of Judaism? In this class, we're going to learn about ritual items such as tallit (fringed prayer shawls) and havdalah candles (cool, twisty things lit at the close of shabbat) while creating our own versions of them for use in services, at home, in the woods, or wherever you make meaning. All levels of crafting and artistic experience welcome!

Instructor: Rabbi Ariella Rosen (she/her) is  CBI’s Director of Youth and Family Education and Engagement, and she previously served as director and Jewish educator at Hillel at the University of Toronto, assistant rabbi at Adath Israel in Merion, PA, and rabbinical and cantorial admissions director at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York City. 

See full class description under Fall courses!

אֲבִיבֵ / Aviv / Spring courses: 

Jewish Cooking and Food Studies 
Explore the world of the Jewish diaspora with your mouth! Learn Jewish history, culture and tradition through cooking and, of course, eating. Working with both a geographical and a historical framework, this course seeks to interrogate the very idea of Jewish food, engaging with questions such as: What makes a food Jewish? How is Jewish food from a particular region different from non-Jewish food from the same place? Are certain ingredients Jewish? This trimester we will focus on global, Jewish cuisine for the three main spring holidays: Purim, Pesach, and Shavuot. Co-taught by Ozzy Gold-Shapiro and Aaron Kagan. 


Aaron Kagan (he/him) is CBI's Teen Engagement Coordinator as well a freelance food writer with professional cooking experience. Aaron's food writing has appeared in publications such as The Forward, The Boston Globe, Eater, and Smithsonian, and his current food obsession is replacing egg whites with "aquafaba" (aka chickpea cooking liquid). 

Ozzy Gold-Shapiro (they/them) teaches with CBI's Alma program and is a Yiddishis historian, and performer among many other things! This is Ozzy's second time teaching a cooking and food studies class with CHALLAH. Ozzy loves forging connections, building community on and off the stage, and creating joyous and raucous occasions for local mutual aid work. And their cooking is not be missed! 

See full class description under Fall courses!

Mon, June 17 2024 11 Sivan 5784