Dear CBI Parents and Families,

The High Holidays are approaching and we are excited to share important information about childcare and youth programming at the shul. As in every year, we hope our children will have a positive, fun, and educational experience during their time in groups. We are continually grateful for our beautiful Gan Shalom Youth Center, which will house most of our youth programming. Lili Kuchar along with Gan Shalom staff, our bnot sherut Meitav and Moriyah, and community child educators, under the guidance of Maharat Sutton, will run the HHD youth programming. Please note that this year Natan Kuchar will be at his family’s community in Australia for the HHD. We look forward to welcoming Natan back for Sukkot and Shabbat youth programming throughout the year.


At this time we are deeply appreciative of your engagement as parents and look forward to working together with you and your family. Below, please find information about parent volunteer shifts, a crucial part of making our programming work, as well as other pertinent information about group assignments, locations and schedule. Signs and schedules will be posted with clear designations of the various age groups and their assigned locations. Each room and space will be set up with age appropriate games and programming. When you register your child(ren), they will be assigned to the space appropriate for their age. The groups will be led by experienced educators, as well as parent and teen volunteers. The programs are structured around children’s prayers, storytelling/singing, and activities relevant to the High Holidays. A full schedule, including volunteer shifts, will be sent in advance of Rosh Hashanah, and will be posted in key locations at CBI and Gan Shalom. As always, due to safety concerns, all children 10 and under must be in their assigned space or with a parent/adult at all times. We encourage you to discuss this with your children in a manner you deem appropriate.

Congregation Beth Israel expects that members and visitors to our shul, Shabbat youth groups, or any other program are current with all routine vaccines and comply with all state regulations concerning routine childhood vaccinations. Those whose children have valid medical exemptions from mandatory vaccinations are encouraged to alert the shul staff so that we can work together to keep your children safe. The shul does not recognize any basis within Judaism to claim a religious exemption from state-mandated vaccinations.

In past years, a number of families have found hiring their own childcare for High Holidays to be a positive experience for the entire family. In that spirit we continue to encourage parents to make the decision that works best for their children and their family’s needs over the High Holidays. Maharat Victoria Sutton has put together some FAQ about how to hire childcare within halacha. Please feel free to contact Maharat Sutton ( with specific questions or concerns.

Shana Tova!
Maharat Victoria Sutton, Director of Education and Community Engagement
Natan and Lili Kuchar, Shabbat Youth Educators

Rosh Hashanah Day 1: Monday, September 30th, 9-1:30 (pickup at Gan between 1:15-1:30)

Rosh Hashanah Day 2: Tuesday, October 1st, 9-1:30 (pickup at Gan between 1:15-1:30)

Yom Kippur Evening/Kol Nidrei: Tuesday, October 8th, 6:30-8:45 pm – Puppet Show

Yom Kippur Day: Wednesday, October 9th, 9-2 pm

Yom Kippur Evening/Neilah: Wednesday, October 9th, 5-7:30 pm – Puppet Show

*Rosh Hashanah Seder

*Shofar Blowing

*Rosh Hashana Activities and Games

*Puppet Shows and movement with Risa Lenore of Jelly Jam Time

*Special programming with community educators

Groups and Locations (full schedule to follow):

*0-3 years old: Upstairs at CBI and Baby Lounge at Gan Shalom Youth Center 
We will have two locations for the 0-3 set.
The Upstairs Attic Treehouse at CBI will be designated as a quiet area in the synagogue for parents to be with their young children (0-3), either for nursing, quiet play or rest. Children from 0-18 months must be with their parent or designated adult at all times. From 18 months – 3 years, a childcare professional will be available to lend support. There will be access to outdoor play in the Gan Yard at set periods each day.

*Preschool (3-5 years old): Downstairs Room in Gan Shalom Youth Center 
*K-2nd grade:
Upstairs classroom in Gan Shalom Youth Center 
*3rd-5th grade:
Upstairs “Youth Lounge” in Gan Shalom Youth Center

Lunch & Snacks: 
Snacks will be provided periodically throughout the day. A sandwich lunch (protein, veggies and fruit) is provided each day, as well as a light dinner during neilah. Food served will be nut-free and sesame free. Please indicate any severe allergies or food restrictions when you register. Although we cannot accommodate all food restrictions, it is important to be informed. PLEASE DO NOT SEND ANY OUTSIDE FOOD WITH YOUR CHILD TO YOUTH PROGRAMMING AT GAN.

Parent Supervision Duties:
CBI Youth programming is highly subsidized by the shul, and we call on parent volunteers to help out with a volunteer shift on the High Holidays, as on Shabbat mornings. Shifts are generally one hour, within which you will assist the educator or group leader. We aim to be flexible with scheduling so that members can balance child care and joining the service in the main shul. Sign up for childcare and volunteer shift preferences here.

Our youth programming is highly subsidized by CBI. For High Holidays there is a suggested fee of $50 per child, with a maximum of $110 per family, which covers the three days of Yom Tov as well as Kol Nidre and Neilah. Early bird discount of $36 per child and $72 per family if you register by September 6. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

How do I register?
Sign up for childcare and volunteer shift preferences here.
To pay online, please scroll to the bottom of this page, or click here: and pick the General Fund and indicate this is for High Holiday childcare. Alternatively, please send your check to Congregation Beth Israel, 1630 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94703.

Please contact Maharat Victoria Sutton with any questions. 

Arranging for Childcare on Shabbat or Yom tov
Earning and paying wages for work done on Shabbat/Yom Tov, for both Jewish and non-Jewish employees and employers, are part of the prohibition of doing business on Shabbat. This prohibition applies whether the salary is paid before, during, or after Shabbat. There are halakhic ways to employ someone to do things that are permitted on Shabbat/Yom Tov. Below are some FAQ for arranging childcare on Shabbat/Yom Tov. Please feel free to follow up with any questions or specific situations.

1. What is the proper way to pay my babysitter if they will be working on Shabbat/Yom Tov?
Generally, when one hires an employee with an hourly wage, the employee may not be paid specifically for the hours worked on Shabbat or Yom Tov ( sechar Shabbat ). This applies whether they are paid in advance or afterwards. The way to halakhically hire and pay an hourly employee who will be working on Shabbat/Yom Tov is to use the principle of havla’ah : to pay the employee one lump sum for the time worked on Shabbat/Yom Tov and the time worked on a regular day. (There is an idea of giving the employee a little extra salary as a gift, when paying the salary for time worked on Shabbat/Yom tov, which renders the money given not strictly payment for work done on Shabbat/Yom Tov).

Regular Babysitter:
If you have a regular employee who usually works during the week, and they babysit for you on Shabbat/Yom Tov, then the payment should be in one lump sum for that entire week or month.

Childcare Hired only for Shabbat/Yom Tov:
If it is someone who you are hiring specifically for Shabbat/Yom Tov, then its appropriate to ask the employee to work some time that is not Shabbat/Yom Tov, for example, another day that week, or coming before candle-lighting, or staying after havdalah. Another possibility is to ask the person to do some prep during the week (bringing a book, some diapers, etc…) so that they are employed you at a time that is not Shabbat/Yom Tov.

Daycare Centers:
If you send your child to a daycare facility on a regular basis, and pay on a weekly or monthly basis (rather than hourly) and it is within walking distance, you can drop your child off to daycare on Yom Tov. Even if the rate is hourly, as long as the payment is in one lump sum, that is considered havla’ah . Remember that carrying is permitted on Yom Tov, so there are no eruv issues involved on Rosh Hashana that falls out during the week.Yom Kippur has the same restrictions on carrying as Shabbat.

Paying employees on time:
The Torah instructs us to pay employees on time, especially for workers that are hired on a set basis (daily/weekly/monthly). If one will not be able pay a babysitter who was only hired for a day or two on that same day, the arrangement should be stipulated in advance with the babysitter.

2. What is the proper way to ask a babysitter to work on Shabbat/Yom Tov?
Setting a time and a fee: One should not set a fee with an employee on Shabbat, Jewish or non-Jewish. You can ask if they are available, and leave the discussion of fee for a time that is not Shabbat/Yom Tov. When you discuss the fee, please use the principle of havla’ah described in question 1, arranging the salary as a lump sum for the week or for the month, rather than for the specific hours being worked on Shabbat/Yom Tov.

3. Can my non-Jewish nanny do things that I cannot do on Shabbat/Yom Tov?
The general rule is that one cannot ask a non-Jew to do anything that a Jew cannot do on Shabbat/Yom Tov (exceptions would apply for a sick person or for a communal or mitzvah need, please ask about specific situations). Hinting or gesticulating still count as asking, except in specific situations. You may ask an employee to do something that is permissible for a Jew to do on Shabbat/Yom tov (washing dishes, for example), and then the employee can do it in whichever way is easiest for them (hot water or soft sponges on Shabbat, for example), even if it is a Shabbat violation. The same goes for turning on/off lights and other appliances – a non-Jew can turn things on and off as they need for their own use, but should not be directly asked to do so for you or your family’s needs. A non-Jewish babysitter can do things that violate Shabbat/Yom Tov that are important for a young child’s safety and well-being if they are necessary (such as turning on a light for a child who is scared).

Further reading:
*Rambam Hilkhot Shabbat Chapter 6:25
* Mishnah Brurah 306:4(15-18)
* Yalkut Yosef Shabbat Vol II 306:4(1-3)
* 39 Melachos Vol IV, pp 971-974

Childcare - High Holidays 2019

  • Price: $50.00 Quantity:
    Price per child under age 10
  • Price: $110.00 Quantity:
    Family maximum
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