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Welcome to the Powell Religious School

Rabbi Sharon Forman-Toll, MARE, LSW Director of Lifelong Jewish Learning

Shalom chaveirim!  Hello friends!  Thank you for visiting our website and inquiring about the Powell Religious School.  On the pages that follow, there are a lot of descriptions about our programs, our philosophy, our goals and information about the nuts and bolts of our Temple and Religious School.  However, in order to get to know us, I invite you to come into our home and experience for yourself the high energy and enthusiasm of our students and faculty actively engaged in the learning process.

When you visit, you will see projects completed by our students, colorful bulletin boards and classrooms decorated to enhance the learning experience.  You will see collections of items to be donated to those less fortunate than we are.  You will see the smiles on our students’ faces as Judaism comes alive for them and they express their pride in being Jewish.

You will hear the buzz of lively discussions and students and teachers interacting as they discover the meaning of the teachings of Torah.  You will hear the laughter of students enjoying the exploration of their heritage and tradition and you will hear their voices singing songs of praise, prayer, celebration and fun.

You will feel the warmth of the community we have created.  You will be aware of the nurturing environment created by our teachers and the bonds of friendship existing among our students.  We hope that you will feel welcomed into our community and made to feel at once like you belong.  

Of course, thanks to the generosity of the Women of Reform Judaism, we regularly enjoy tasty treats to enhance our learning.  Apples and honey, latkes, soufganiot, hamantaschen, challah, dried fruit, falafel and an ample supply of Hershey’s kisses are always on hand as we strive to keep Torah on our lips and the sweetness of Judaism on our tongues.  

I look forward to meeting you.  Please call to schedule a visit or with any questions you may have.  I hope to see you soon. 

Contact Sharon Forman-Toll


 

Director's Bio

Sharon Forman-Toll has been the Director of Lifelong Jewish Learning at Temple Brith Achim for the past 21 years. She joined our faculty in 1984 teaching our combined kindergarten/first grade class when they met in the hallway outside of the Sanctuary and has enjoyed being a part of the Powell Religious School ever since as it has grown and flourished.  Sharon has a B.S. degree in Special Education with a minor in Jewish Studies from the University of Maryland and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh.   In 2013 she earned an Executive Masters of Arts in Religious Education from HUC-JIR.  In 2015 she was ordained as a Rabbi by the Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute.

Sharon worked for many years as a teacher and social worker in Philadelphia. At the Irving Schwartz Institute for Children and Youth, she taught socially and emotionally disturbed children in the partial hospitalization program and provided individual and group psychotherapy to children and families. She developed a program linking the agency to the Philadelphia Public Schools providing social services and treatment to Special Education students and their families and eventually became the Director of Social Work for the agency.

Sharon continued serving at-risk children and families as the Director of Social Work at the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center. In addition, she maintained a private psychotherapy practice focused on working with children and families. 

Throughout her education and social work career, Sharon continued to teach Religious School as an avocation. She was (and still is) passionate about sharing the joy and beauty of our Jewish heritage with children and providing opportunities for them to build connections to G-d, Torah and the Jewish community. She was fulfilled by seeing the light in the children’s eyes as they learned about the holidays, mitzvot (commandments), and traditions and as they embraced the values and teachings of Torah and she was gratified as the students made connections to their past and became the next link in the chain of Jewish tradition ensuring Jewish continuity into the future. 

Sharon gradually assumed administrative tasks for the school to help the Rabbi who at the time was running the school in conjunction with his other Rabbinic duties. She became involved with the School Board as the teacher representative and as they say, the rest is history. When a new full-time Education Director was needed, Sharon was approached. She enthusiastically embraced the challenge recognizing the opportunity to open doors and encourage a broad range of students and their families to enrich their lives with Jewish tradition and learning.

Her philosophy is that a positive Jewish identity is formed on the basis of sound, meaningful and positive Jewish experiences and memories. She strives to provide programming for children and adults that is interactive, engaging, meaningful and memorable. She is committed to making all Jewish learning sweet. 

Thu, May 23 2024 15 Iyar 5784