Hannah Lesser: 

Grade: 8th Grade
Elective: Better Together

Sarah Romov: 

Grade: 9th Grade
Elective: Improv

Brandon Varona: 

Grade: 9th Grade
Elective: Cooking

Josh Neuman: 

Grade: 10th Grade
Elective: Storytelling

Jason Pollack: 

Grade: 10th Grade
Elective: Jewish Music

Ricci Cande: 

Grade: 11th Grade
Elective: Red Tent

Tamar Zaken: 

Grade: 12th Grade
Elective: Hamsa Fund

Julie Rubinstein: 

Grade: Substitute
Elective: Social Media


Contra Costa Midrasha's programming consists of three key components:

  1. Weekly Wednesday night sessions include:
    Core classes with students in the same grade level
    Electives with students of varying grade levels, taught on a variety of topics

  2. Retreat Weekends at Walker Creek Ranch with teens from all over the East Bay.

  3. Special Events and Programs, including once a month Sunday workshops, trips out of the country, social events on weekends and leadership and social action opportunities. CCM also hosts two vital community Jewish teen programs:

- Hamsa Fund: the East Bay’s Jewish Teen Philanthropy Board

Better Together: Documentary Film-Making & Intergenerational Connections

For more information about CCM's programs click on the links above, or contact the CCM office with questions at 925/9244-4701 or via e-mail at

Core/1st Hour:

First Hour at Contra Costa Midrasha is CORE class for Midrasha students. These classes, taught at all Midrasha campuses, contain rich, substantive materials designed to engage your brain and your heart into connecting with who you are as a jew and as a person.  Students are assigned to these classes, according to their grade.

"As a Jewish teen, it's important to have Midrasha.  I want to feel Jewish, be a part of that community and learn more about being Jewish.  That is what Midrasha has given me." - Melania Winslow, Class of 2014

8th Grade: Gesharim or "Building Bridges" - Ethics in Action

Start your Midrasha experience with an exciting chance to meet Jewish teens from around the Bay Area as you grapple with modern ethical issues and take action to address homelessness, discrimination and injustice.  The year also focuses on building a tightly-knit community of 8th graders including ropes course style activities, art programming and small group discussions. Doing good never felt this right.


9th Grade:  Etgar or "Challenge" - Challenging Who We Are

Who am I?  What do I believe?  Why are other Jews different than I am?  How are they the same?  Explore issues of Jewish identity and come up with surprising answers.  The class includes participation in three amazing retreat weekends.


10th Grade:  Kesher Alef or "Connection" - Israel, A Present that Opens the Past

Come to understand Israel through its own lens.  Kesher Alef uncovers Israel's history, culture and politics by looking at its movies, poetry, historical documents, maps and websites.  Explore the Jewish homeland on its own terms.


11th Grade:  Kesher Bet or "Connection" - Sanctuary: Creating Sacred Time & Space

11th Grade is the most challenging year in high school for most of today's teenagers.  Homework, sports and other activities all collide with the mounting pressure of SAT and ACT tests and answering the "where will I go to college?" question.  In order to address the stress that goes with this year, Contra Costa Midrasha has re-written the junior year curriculum, focusing on making Wednesday nights a tranquil place for CCM teens to hang out.  The courses focus on Jewish ideas around creating sacred spaces for ourselves - both inside and outside our bodies - as well as making sacred time.  


12th Grade: Ma'avar or "Transition" - Moving from High School to College

Seniors in high school have to do homework, take major exams and apply for college.  Often there isn't the space to think about moving from high school to college.  Contra Costa Midrasha's new senior seminar (encompassing both hours of Midrasha) aims to be both a spiritual and practical journey through our teens' senior year.  Three units make up the year - self-care, creating Jewish family and building a Jewish adult identity.  And every third week of the month the seniors have an off-site field trip!  Join in this adventure with other 12th graders.

Electives/2nd Hour:

Better Together with Hannah Lesser
Who tells the story? Become a film-maker and make a difference all at the same time! Join with other teens to create mini films of elders’ (living at Reutlinger in Danville) momentous stories. The year will end in a film festival, showcasing your masterpiece! This project includes a retreat weekend, monthly Sunday workshops & making your own film.

Improv-a-Ganza! with Sarah Romov
Play improv and drama games, role play out real-life scenarios or just “shmooze with Sarah!”  Either way it’s bound to be an extravaganza of an elective!

Midrasha Unplugged with Josh Neuman
Study Jewish traditional story-tellers like Rebbe Nachman of Bratzlav or your best Midrasha friend! A little tradition, a little personal story and a lot of time hearing each other’s stories. Maybe the year will end with a “Moth” style performance!

The Red Tent with Ricci Cande
Dive into Anita Diamant’s classic story of women of the Torah, reading “The Red Tent” as a community. If you love to imagine how the women of the Torah thought or just want more time with Ricci, this elective is for you!

Senior Shmooze/Workshop with Tamar Zaken (for SENIORS only)
Gives seniors a chance to ask questions, think about college choices and get a chance to blow off some steam during this challenging year.  Come ready with questions you want answered.

Shir and Tell with Jason Pollack

Make music and focus on favorite Jewish music makers! Share your favorite songs and music artists – uncovering their identities and Jewish values too. We’ll also make some music together.  So if you love listening and/or making music, want to find and explore great new (and old) music, then this is for you!

Soy Vey! with Brandon Varona

Make delicious food that celebrates Jewish life and is good for you!  If you want to eat better, cook and eat each week, learn how to read labels, and find better ways to shmirat haguf – protect our bodies, then this elective is for you! 

© 2017 Contra Costa Midrasha  |  25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek 94597   |   |   (925) 944-4701
CCM is generously supported by its community partners and donors including: 

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