Jewish Learning Program: Beit Sefer Phyllis Mintzer

Sha’ar Zahav offers families an innovative education program that emphasizes the positive power of diversity and affirms the special worth of every person and every family.

Our first teacher, Phyllis Mintzer (z’’l), saw and celebrated the sparks of holiness within every person. Our Beit Sefer (school) is named after her and guided by her spirit.


For Children and Their Families

Beit Sefer Phyllis Mintzer is for children in kindergarten through 7th grade whose families are seeking to come as they are and create their own pathway to Judaism with their children.

Rooted in our history as San Francisco’s LGBTQ synagogue, we welcome and celebrate a diversity of families including interfaith, single-parent, same-sex parents and multicultural families.

Our Programs

Beit Sefer

The program is designed to create rich educational opportunities to support children discovering what it means to engage with Judaism personally with authenticity, and collectively with respect and joy. We believe children learn this best:

  • in small, mixed-aged groups
  • through arts-infused, project-based learning
  • and by providing individual accommodations

We meet on Saturday mornings and our time includes Opening Circle, mixed aged-level Group Time, Recess, Maker Space and Reflection & Closing. Students work in groups of 6-12. You can learn more about the 2023-2024 school year and registration here.

Hebrew Program

Our Hebrew program also provides beginning level Hebrew instruction in small groups beginning in 5th grade and in preparation of our B’Mitzvah program. Beginning level Hebrew meets for an hour on Saturdays from noon-1pm. Year two Hebrew class sessions meet in a small group on zoom for an hour/week and arranged on weekday afternoons or evenings.

Our Faculty

Our project-based, intimate learning program is led by a mix of experienced teachers and congregant volunteers working together with our Director of Education, Liz Jaroslow.

Our Community

Sha’ar Zahav’s open and supportive community fosters our youth with a deep sense of shared responsibility. We also partner intentionally with parents to develop their children’s identities within our diverse Jewish community, grounded in unconditional love and social justice.

Learn More

If you have questions about the program, want to meet about your child, or would love to “test drive” Beit Sefer before committing, please be in contact with Director of Education, Liz Jaroslow today.

You can learn more about the 2023-2024 school year and registration here.

Director of Education

Liz Jaroslow

Liz Jaroslow discovered Sha’ar Zahav and its’ innovative education programming back in 2005, when her oldest child was yearning for a religious school experience that was engaging and truly put the learner at the center of the curriculum. It was not long after enrolling in Beit Sefer Phyllis Mintzer, that she became the school’s Project Based Learning consultant and one of the architects of the current progressive curriculum model. She was thrilled to come back as interim Maker Space teacher at Beit Sefer in 2021 and even more happy to stay on as Director of Education.

Before moving to San Francisco, Liz taught in the NYC public school system, piloting the very first inclusion kindergarten there. While in NYC, Liz earned a Child and Family Development as well as an Ed.M is Special Education and Intervention at Bank Street College. Once in San Francisco, Liz was selected to be among the first cohorts of Jewish Learning Works Family Education Fellowship, a three year program designed to increase knowledgeable and experienced Jewish Family Educators in Congregational settings. Liz has worked as the educational leader in a variety of Jewish and secular settings including at Beth Sholom, Temple Emanu-El and the Osman Family JCC. In addition, she has served as Head of School at Creative Arts Charter School and Brightworks School here in San Francisco.

Liz holds the indefatigable belief that when learners have control of their education through exploring their interests and asking their own questions, especially in a Jewish setting, they can achieve anything. 

Want to learn more about Beit Sefer Phyllis Mintzer? Please contact Liz at [email protected]

Youth Learning Program Registration

Weekly, we provide children K-7th grade with a Jewish education that includes Torah, ethics, ritual, Hebrew, history and Israel with an emphasis on Jewish diversity and social justice in an LGBT/queer-positive community.

Register your Child Today

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