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Congregation B’nai Emet provides a program of Jewish education aimed at developing concepts that will strengthen the fabric of Jewish life and ensure the future of Judaism. Our goal is to deepen the Jewish experience and knowledge of students of all ages, fostering a love of Torah, assisting in spiritual development, and encouraging identification with the Jewish people through involvement in the synagogue and participation in Jewish life.

Check out the links below to explore what CBE offers, and find links to additional information.

 CBE Preschool 

Congregation B'nai Emet shares a campus with CBE Preschool, which has its own staff of dedicated teachers and caregivers. Offering infant care from birth to 2 years, and a number of different programs for children 2-5, designed to fit any busy family schedule. For more information, go to, or contact the staff at (805) 522-2214 or

Meet the Director

Lindy Schneider has lived in Simi Valley since she was five years old, and graduated from CSUN in 1985. In 1990, her daughter Jessica started at what was then Bet Shalom Preschool. She had a wonderful experience there, and is still friends with some of her preschool classmates. During this time, Lindy worked as a substitute with the SVUSD while volunteering at the preschool, which led to her hiring in 1992 as a teacher. She enjoyed working in the three-year-old room and the after-school program.


In 1998, Lindy was hand-picked by the outgoing Director to take on the leadership of the preschool. For a period of time, the preschool was under the auspices of the JCC, until that organization left Simi Valley, at which time it became the CBE Preschool, in no small part due to Lindy's efforts. She has now been a member of CBE for over 30 years, and was instrumental in bringing CBE to its current home. She continues to contribute to the CBE community, and is proud to be a part of the Jewish presence in Simi Valley!

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 Lindy Schneider 
CBE Preschool Director

 Religious School 

Religious School classes, for kids K-8, are held on Sunday mornings during the secular academic year. Students study Jewish holidays, thought, prayer, history, and the Bible, as well as Hebrew. Lessons come to life through stories, crafts, songs, plays, field trips, and hands-on experiences.

Each session includes a half-hour morning service, a Judaica segment based on the child’s grade-level and a Hebrew lesson tailored to different levels of competence.

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Prospective students and their adults may attend one class session as a trial, by prior arrangement with the teacher. Any further attendance requires a CBE Membership.

If you would like to discuss financial assistance or other special arrangements, please contact the temple office at to request a confidential meeting with our Financial Secretary.

Please note that an authorized adult MUST sign each child in and out of Religious School each time they attend.

Meet the Teachers

Melissa Cohne received her teaching credential in 1999 from CSUN. Since then, she has taught in Burbank Unified School District, Los Angeles Unified School District, and Simi Unified School District. Over the years, she has also taught Religious School at both Reform and Conservative synagogues. She and her husband moved to Simi Valley in 2020 with their three children.


Melissa believes in making strong, positive connections with students and families.

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 Melissa Cohne 
Religious School Director

Jill Katell has been a member of CBE since 1994, and has a background in social work and education. Both of her children went to CBE's Religious School and had their B'nai Mitzvah here. Jill also had her adult Bat Mitzvah at CBE, and began teaching at the Religious School around the turn of the millennium, working with all grade levels at various times. She really enjoys being a part of the Religious School and has learned a lot from the students.


Jill retired from her full-time position at the end of 2020, and now has more time with her family, including two adorable grandsons.


 Jill Katell 
Religious School Teacher

 B'nai Mitzvah 

Students begin preparing for their B'nai Mitzvah one year in advance, with an additional hour of class on Sundays focusing on the meaning of becoming a Jewish adult, and learning more prayers and melodies. B'nai Mitzvah students also receive one-on-one tutoring once a week, and their progress is monitored as they work toward their big day. In the final weeks, additional tutoring days are available.

To inquire about B'nai Mitzvah prep, please use the Contact page.


New for 2023-2024:
CBE Youth – Teen Leadership Connection

CBEY TLC events are open to all Jewish teens, grades 6-12, in Simi Valley and the surrounding areas. It is a fun and accessible way for our young people to develop into confident Jewish citizens, with a combined program of debate, education, and opportunities to give back.


Suggested dues for the 2023-2024 school year, for those
not enrolled in CBE Confirmation (see below) is $50.

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CBEY – TLC Activities

Pizza & Pilpul

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When: 1st Sun. of the month, 5-7pm

Where: Fun social settings (e.g. bowling alley, arcade)

Led by: Rabbi Michele

What: Eat
pizza and have “pilpul” (spicy Jewish debates).

Judaica High

When: 3rd Sun. of the month, 5-7pm

Where: CBE school building

Led by: Meridith Patera

What: Deep dives on topics of Jewish history and culture.


When: 4x per year

Where: TBD

Led by: David Kritzer

What: Social Action/Tikkun Olam events (e.g. Feed the Needy, beach cleanup)


When: Sundays, 10am-12pm (see Religious School Calendar)

Where: CBE school building

What: Volunteer to assist with Religious School (prior approval and commitment to regular attendance required).

There is also a formal Confirmation course available to post-b'nai mitzvah teens in grades 8-12. This is a two-year commitment, and is a privilege of CBE Membership. To enroll, select "Judaica High" when filling out the CBE Membership form. For full course requirements, please click the button below.

For more information, please contact Religious School Director Melissa Cohne at 818-400-0869 or

Meet the Teacher

 Meridith Shaw Patera 
Director Emerita of Jewish Education

Meridith Shaw Patera has been involved in Jewish education since 1969, following her junior year at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. A native of Long Island, NY, she received a BA in Political Science with a certificate in Middle Eastern Studies, and an MAT in Social Sciences and Hebrew from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She has also done extensive coursework in Jewish education and administration. Meridith has taught all ages, from preschool through adulthood, in public, Jewish day, and congregational schools across the country. She called New York, Florida, and Texas home before settling in California, where she has been with CBE Religious School since 1988. In 1992, she became School Administrator. As of 2022, Meridith will continue to teach Judaica High and tutor students preparing for their B'nai Mitzvah, as well as providing her guidance and wisdom as Director Emerita.

Meridith is the author of two books, Kings and Things: 20 Plays for Jewish Kids, and Skits and Shpiels,14 Plays for Grades 4 to 9, as well as several plays for adults. She has also written the book and lyrics for a number of Hanukkah musicals for both kids and adults, which she produces and directs annually at CBE's Hanukkah party. Hilarity inevitably ensues.


Meridith has three sons, Bennett, Sam, and Max. She finally got two of them out of her house in Moorpark in 2018. The other one is still hanging around, nagging her about watering the plants, and generally driving her nuts. She is, of course, extremely proud of all of them.

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