Want to the know the basics about Sulam?


Who are the students?
The students are American and Israeli, observant and non-observant.  Sulam reinforces each child’s sense of Jewish identity based on his/her family’s beliefs, affiliations, commitments and practices.  They’re all different, and that’s OK.  We are a pluralistic school: we appreciate and affirm differences in approaches to Jewish life.

How old are the students?
The current program has students K-3.  The 2017-18 program will enroll students K-4.

Is Sulam only for Brookline residents?
Everyone is welcome.  Scheduling is based on the Brookline Public School calendar.  If families coming from outside Brookline can commit to this schedule, they are welcome to apply.

Who are the teachers, and what are their backgrounds?
We have two teachers: Jasmine Bar-On and Rina Wagman.  Jasmine is a native Israeli, and Rina is American.  Both are experienced classroom teachers.  For more info on Jasmine and Rina, please click here.


What does Sulam mean?
“Sulam” means “ladder” in Hebrew. The word appears only once in the bible (Genesis 28:12) in reference to Jacob’s dream of angels ascending a stairway to heaven. “Sulam” comes from the root “solel,” meaning to lift up or lead.

What’s behind our logo?
In February 2017, our board members took on the task to revamp Sulam’s logo that better represents our mission. Once we got as far as we could with a concept, we handed it over to assistant director, Hadassah’s dear friend, Jayna Zweiman, an architect, artist, and co-creator of the international Pussyhat Project. She generously donated her time and skills to create the amazing design you see here. It is modern and striking, and invokes both the literal “ladder” of our program’s name, as well as the interplay between English and Hebrew, American and Israeli, secular and Judaic, that makes the Brookline Jewish experience.

What’s the curriculum?
Glad you asked!  We have a detailed curriculum outline, including major educational objectives by grade.  In a nutshell, we teach Hebrew language and Jewish life and calendar.  We strive to meet all skill levels in the classroom and accommodate the needs of each student.

What does a typical day look like?
2:30-3:00: Pick-Up and Playground
3:00-3:15: Snack – healthful, kosher, and dairy
3:15-4:50: Class Time – Writing, Reading, Comprehension, Games, Art
4:50-5:00: Clean Up and Wind Down
5:00-6:00: Aftercare – individualized Hebrew review of classwork and play
Other activities have included yoga in the park, baking pizza, designing puppets for a puppet show, and going on a Hebrew scavenger hunt in Coolidge Corner.  For more information, please contact Lila at sulambrookline@gmail.com.

What do you mean by Hebrew immersion?
From the moment the students begin Sulam to the moment they are picked up, the teacher speaks to them in Hebrew. She uses the model of saying something in Hebrew, translating it into English, and then saying it again in Hebrew.  The children are not expected to answer in Hebrew, but it’s amazing how much they understand in only a few months.

How do you measure progress in Sulam?  Are there grades and homework?
In early grades, the teacher assesses students’ progress through written comments.  The teacher measures classroom progress based on behavior, participation, skill acquisition, and interpersonal relations.  There is minimal homework, which is for review and to encourage family involvement.

Will my child be able to speak Hebrew if s/he goes to Sulam?
Yes.  Young children pick up languages incredibly quickly.  The American families have seen such leaps in their children’s ability to understand, speak, and write in the language.


When does Sulam take place?
We offer individualized learning two to four afternoons per week Monday through Thursday from 2:30pm to 5:00pm, with an aftercare option to 6pm.  The Sulam calendar is based on the Brookline Public Schools calendar, with the exception of the major Jewish holidays.  When Brookline schools are canceled due to snow, Sulam is canceled as well.

How can my child take Sulam and piano/chess/math/rug hooking?
Sulam’s schedule is flexible, so your child can take courses on days when he/she is not at Sulam.  It is important to note that students learn Hebrew at Sulam as they play, cook, paint, dance, eat, build, sing…  Most of our students take the program for four days and love being there.

Isn’t this a long day for little kids?
It does take some adjustment for the students. Luckily, Sulam is fun and engaging; kids learn as they play.


Where does Sulam take place?
Sulam is based at Kehillath Israel (KI) in Coolidge Corner.  Sulam is an independent organization separate from KI, but we are delighted by the opportunity to partner with the synagogue.

How will students get from Brookline public schools to Sulam?
This year, one of the teachers picks up most students at Devotion School and walks back to KI, which is a half-block away.  Families of students at a different Brookline school have made private arrangements for their children to be walked over to the Sulam location.  If there’s enough interest, joint transportation arrangements can be made.

What is the mailing address?
Our mailing address is Sulam c/o Kehillath Israel, 384 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA 02446.


What are the goals of Sulam? 
Sulam is committed to providing children with an exemplary Jewish elementary education on par with that of any day school.  The objectives for each child are to:
• develop Hebrew fluency
• learn about and experience the Jewish calendar
• feel a deep connection with Israel, its people, culture, and history
• develop a love and appreciation for the Torah
• form a rich Jewish social community


What’s the cost of Sulam?
By April 15, the cost of the program in 2017-8 is as follows:

  • 2 days/week (2:30-5:00) = $3,800 / aftercare (5:00-6:00): $1,500 extra
  • 3 days/week (2:30-5:00) = $5,200 / aftercare (5:00-6:00): $2,100 extra
  • 4 days/week (2:30-5:00) = $6,250 / aftercare (5:00-6:00): $2,500 extra

After April 15, the cost of the program in 2017-8 is as follows:

  • 2 days/week (2:30-5:00) = $3,970 / aftercare (5:00-6:00): $1,575 extra
  • 3 days/week (2:30-5:00) = $5,450 / aftercare (5:00-6:00): $2,200 extra
  • 4 days/week (2:30-5:00) = $6,550 / aftercare (5:00-6:00): $2,600 extra

Note: At least four students need to be enrolled on a given day for the aftercare hour to be available.

Note: At this time, we are not able to offer Friday programming.

Sulam’s payment schedule is as follows:

  • 10% non-refundable deposit, due upon registration
  • Aug 1, 2017: 40% tuition installment
  • Nov 1, 2017: 50% tuition installment due

Payments received after stated deadlines are assessed a $25 late fee. Families are responsible for any fees associated with checks returned for insufficient funds plus a $25 handling/processing fee.

Tuition adjustments or refunds will not be made for absences if a child misses Sulam because of illness, vacation, weather, governmental orders relating to public safety, or other circumstances.

Sulam requires set days for each child to attend as part of the enrollment process. If you need to make changes to your child’s Sulam schedule, please contact the director with a formal request.

For Sulam tuition, the following refund schedule applies:

  • 10% deposit is non-refundable.
  • Withdraw before August 15 (2 weeks before the start of Sulam): 80% of first tuition installment is refundable.
  • Withdraw August 15 or later: 0% of first tuition installment is refundable.
  • Refunds are not given for reduced enrollment.

Do you offer any discounts?
We do!  There is a 5% sibling discount off the total bill up to $400 when you enroll two or more children into the program.  Also, we offer a referral discount of $50 for every student from a new family who enrolls in Sulam.

How does Sulam’s tuition compare to day school tuition with a scholarship?
There are many factors that impact scholarship awards at day schools.  While the award will be different for each family, we expect that for many families Sulam will be much less expensive than day school.

What should I do with all the extra money I save by signing up for Sulam instead of day school?
Use the extra money on a trip to Israel or summer camp, or save the money for day school tuition in middle or high school.  Or buy a pony.

Sulam Siddur Party 03.27


How does a family apply to enroll a child in Sulam in 2017?
Please use our online application.  We have a rolling admissions process.  Once a family completes the application, the director performs a learning assessment of the student.  If it’s a good match, the student is accepted.

Sounds great!  How can I help?
We’d love to work side by side with you on this effort.  We are looking for parents, educators, and philanthropists who enjoy innovation, Jewish life, and making cookies in the shape of Hebrew letters.  Please contact Lila, founding director of Sulam, at sulambrookline@gmail.com for a visit to the site.