Lese Center for Living Judaism

At Central Synagogue

2020-2021 LCLJ Reopening Update: July, 2020

After a great deal of consideration, we have decided that LCLJ will begin virtually this fall, at least initially. This includes LCLJ Weekday, LCLJ Shabbat, and LCLJ Downtown. This will support what we see as a phased reopening of our physical facilities, and will give our families time to adjust to what will undoubtedly be new secular school schedules and procedures before we ask for in-person attendance at LCLJ programming. Based on the current situation, we are hopeful that we will be able to open in person later in the year, and look forward to welcoming all of our children into the buildings. However, we plan to continue offering virtual options for all students in PreK-7th grade until we are fully reopened.

Check out the Full House-themed music video introducing this year’s staff.

If you have any questions, please contact Maria Marzullo at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Kazue Thomas at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Formerly called the Sahra & William Lese Religious School, the Lese Center for Living Judaism offers a new and improved approach to Jewish education. From Pre-K through twelfth grade, our students will be engaged in relevant, meaningful, and fun learning with the direction of the team of full-time educators. The educators at LCLJ are dedicated to creating Jewish learning opportunities that stimulate, challenge, and engage every learner, encouraging them to truly understand and embrace what it means to live as a modern Reform Jew.

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The Lese Center for Living Judaism will…

  • Focus on an integrated approach to curriculum, with a heavy emphasis on building relationships.  We believe that relationships will emerge in new ways between congregants, learners, families, and children, thereby strengthening their bonds to each other and weaving a networked congregation of learners.  These relationships will be essential to our lives as Jews and will express the values we hold. Connection will become vital as we further weave networks of learners and families to build community.

  • Transform educators from frontal instructors who possess knowledge into facilitators of ongoing learning in partnership with learners.
  • Blur the line between “formal” education that happens every week and “informal” education that happens on the weekends, providing opportunities for rich programming both in and out of the classrooms.
  • Provide our students with the opportunities to use the relationships that are formed in order to maintain meaningful involvement.
  • Family Programming

    At LCLJ, we strive to provide meaningful learning opportunities not just for our individual students, but for their families as well. In addition to Family Education programs that will take place during the week here at Central, we are also excited to be offering a multitude of optional family education opportunities that will take place outside of the walls of Central, taking us into the community to learn about the vibrant, real, and living Judaism that exists in New York City. Keep an eye out for the schedule of family events—you won’t want to miss out.

LCLJ 2020 Important Dates

Our People

Rabbi Rosenthal

Rabbi Rebecca Rosenthal

Director of Youth and Family Education

Merissa Hochberg

Merissa Hochberg

Director of the Lese Center for Living Judaism

Mirit Sands

Mirit Sands

Assistant Director, Grades 3rd-7th

Mirit Sands

Becca Greenspan

Assistant Director, Grades Pre-K-2nd

Meet Our Team