Michelle Penson, Director of Religious School

Michelle Penson and her family moved to Jacksonville in 2010 and immediately became active and engaged members of the Temple family. She is a captivating teacher, who effectively transmits her love of Judaism to her students. She holds both a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Master of Education Degree. Michelle has served as Temple’s Education Chair, and more recently as the Vice President of Education and Youth.

As a parent and teacher, Michelle can appreciate the challenges of engaging Temple families in the traditions, history and liturgy of our Jewish heritage. She knows firsthand that Jewish learning is a lifelong endeavor, the seed for which we plant in our young students. As Michelle transitions from faculty to Director of the Religious School, she brings a deep respect for the faculty to her new role. Together, they will use all their combined skills and experience to share a love for Judaism and learning with the students and their families.

Each student at Congregation Ahavath Chesed’s Temple Institute or Religion (TIR) is offered the opportunity to grow as a Jew. Studies have revealed that the more quality Jewish education one receives, the better able the individual is to make critical Jewish life decisions and the better chance there is that the person will remain an active member of the Jewish community. Involvement helps foster a feeling of pride in being Jewish. We hope to establish a pattern of LEARNING and DOING that will continue throughout the life of the student.

Congregation Ahavath Chesed’s TIR is a supplementary religious school for students in Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12, including a complete B’nai Mitzvah program. “Supplementary” means that we intend to support and expand upon Jewish education our students receive in their homes and with their families. Our purpose is to help each student in LEARNING and DOING as a Jew.

  • LEARNING includes the study of prayer, Torah, theology, Hebrew, holidays, Jewish thought, history, Jewish values and contemporary issues facing the Jewish community and our community at large.
  • DOING includes participation in field trips, social justice projects, holiday celebrations, worship, hands-on classroom activities to mention just a few. We emphasize the significance of life cycle moments within our tradition.