Community High School for Judaic Studies

Learn About Merkaz

Jewish Education

For Our Community Teens


The mission of Merkaz is to provide a meaningful and relevant Jewish education to our community teens that builds character, positive values, leadership, a strong Jewish identity, and creates a sense of unity with the Jewish people.

Merkaz Community High School for Judaic Studies is a Program of the Federation for the Jewish Federation of Greater Fairfield County.

Typical Course

At Merkaz…

  • We create a bridge between the history of our people and the world today.
  • We explore our Jewish values and connect them to our daily lives.
  • We use the arts, STEM, and Judaic texts as a springboard to understanding our Judaism.
  • We partner with the community to do Tikkun Olam (repair the world.)
  • We grow to become confident Jewish adults that our bubbes/savtas would be proud to know.
  • We encourage, cultivate, and set forth future Jewish leaders.

Join Merkaz Today!

Step 1:

Stay tuned for our 2024-2025 Program Guide and pick your track and courses!

Stay tuned for our 2024-2025 Program Guide

Step 2:

Register by filling out your information, selecting course and program preferences, and submitting a deposit.

Register soon for Merkaz 2024-2025

** Started your registration, but having trouble completing it?

  • Click here to submit course requests.
  • Click here to make a tuition payment.

What Parents & Students Are Saying

Mekaz Quotes

“Merkaz is an incredible experience where you learn about your religion and culture while connecting with other Jewish teens from around the area.”

“Merkaz helped me get into college.”

“I liked finding the connection to Jewish life in everyday things.”

“I’ve made a lot of friends at Merkaz.”

“You must be crazy not to take advantage of graduating high school with a second diploma – it looks so good to college admissions!”

Fun & Rewarding

Merkaz is the Hebrew word for “center,” and for over forty years, Merkaz has truly been the place to be for Jewish teens throughout Fairfield County. Each week, students from numerous high schools and local congregations join together as one community to learn, socialize, explore and together strengthen their Jewish identity.

Merkaz offers exciting courses with something for everyone. Meet our amazing teachers, who are dedicated to providing classes that are fun and rewarding. Renew old friendships and make new ones. Explore our rich heritage and culture in the warm and inviting environment you’ll experience at Merkaz.

We aim to provide quality and meaningful Jewish education that is accessible to all community teens grades 8 through 12.


Meet Our Professionals


Lisa Becker

Director of Youth Programs
Head of School


As Director of Youth Programs, Lisa serves as Head of Merkaz Community High School for Judaic Studies and provides leadership for PJ Library and Federation Young Families programs.

Lisa has been a valued faculty member for over 12 years at Merkaz, where she has taught classes including the Palestinian and Israeli Conflict; Fiddler on the Roof: Then and Now: the Mitzvah Madness Program, and the ever-popular Cooking Class. Prior to Federation, she spent four years at Mozaic Senior Life (formerly Jewish Senior Services) as Development Associate.

She offers a unique perspective on Jewish life, from having an observant background before returning to her Conservative roots at Congregation B’nai Torah in Trumbull, now Or Hadash.

Lisa is committed to fighting food insecurity locally through her involvement with the Connecticut Food Bank, and has been a public advocate and speaker raising awareness about Male and Metastatic Breast Cancer. She is the Chair of Adult Education on the Board of Congregation Or Hadash in Fairfield.

Now a resident of Trumbull, Lisa lived with her late husband and their six children in the Brooklawn section of Bridgeport for nearly 30 years. She grew up in Westport and was raised at Congregation Beth El in Norwalk under Rabbi Jonas Goldberg (of blessed memory). She attended Southern New Hampshire University, and multiple programs at Bank Street College of Education in New York.

A group of people sitting at a table looking at a tablet.

Coming Soon

Programs Manager


Sophie has a background in education. She was a Lead Instructor for the Literature, Philosophy, and Culture program of Yale Young Global Scholars, a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the Yale School of Drama, and a Research Assistant at the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library. Prior to graduate school, she worked as an Early Childhood Educator and Drama Specialist at the JCC Early Learning Center of Brookline/Brighton. Sophie has also worked as a freelance opera and theater dramaturg. She holds a BA from Brandeis University and an MFA from Yale University.

Sophie was raised enmeshed in Jewish life and traditions. Her father was a sofer stam, a Hebrew calligrapher, and she attended Jewish day schools from pre-K through high school. She looks forward to supporting Merkaz as Program Manager and believes strongly in the Jewish values the program imparts: open-mindedness, intellectual curiosity, and community.


Merkaz Community High School for Judaic Studies
4200 Park Avenue, Suite 300
Bridgeport, CT 06604

Tuition, Discounts & Assistance

Merkaz Tuition Information

Fees and Discounts:

  • First student per family:$900
  • Additional students per family: $815 per student
  • If you are registering a graduating senior (12th Grade), there is an additionalSenior Fee: $100

Subsidy Information

Participating synagogues contributea tuition subsidy for each of their students.
  • Participating synagogues include:
    • Chabad of Fairfield
    • Congregation Beth El – Norwalk
    • Congregation B’nai Israel
    • Congregation Or Hadash
    • Congregation Rodeph Sholom
    • Temple Shalom
    • TCS
  • Synagogue Subsidy: $100 per student || Enter discount code SYN 100
  • B’nai Israel 8th Graders:Please use code BI5784
  • Merkaz Faculty:25%discount per student.
  • Jewish Agency Employees:Employees of local Jewish Agencies working 15 hours or more per week receive a $100 discount per student.

    Please emailmerkaz@shalomct.orgfor a custom discount code if you qualify for more than one discount.

    Payment Options

    1. Pay tuition in full.
    2. Set up a payment plan.
      • Merkaz offers two payment plan options to be billed monthly:
        1. $150 Deposit with 2 Installments
        2. $150 Deposit with 4 Installments
    3. Pay by check. Please to pay by check.

    Tuition Assistance

    Please do not let cost be a barrier to participation. Tuition assistance is available.
    Contactmerkaz@shalomct.orgwith questions or to request a tuition assistance application.

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    School Policies

    Attendance Policies

    • Regular and punctual attendance is essential for a successful experience at Merkaz. A student must accrue 48 credits over the course 2023-2024 school year to receive credit. If a student is unable to attain those credits do to unforeseen circumstances, students will be offered an Independent Study make-up assignment. If a student is unable to complete the assignment, they will not receive credit for that school year.

    • Students or parents MUST email if they are going to be unable to attend a session with as much advanced notice. In that email, it is best practice if the student or parent indicates which make-up Flex Track program the student will attend to earn missed credits. This applies to both Classic and Flex Track students.



    • Lateness disturbs your fellow students and faculty and should be avoided at all cost. That being said, we understand that sometimes it is unavoidable. Whenever possible, please email if you know you will be arriving late. Any students arriving more than 15 minutes late to a class or program may be required to attend a make-up program.

    • Habitual lateness will be addressed at the discretion Head of School.


    Early Dismissal

    • For the safety and security of our students, students may not leave the premises while Merkaz is in session.

    • Students leaving early must have permission from a parent or guardian. If a student must leave early, parents must email with the time of dismissal and the name of the person picking them up, if applicable. Students will not be dismissed unless we receive explicit permission from a guardian.

    • Occasionally, students may be dismissed early. If parents are unable to pick-up their child, a Merkaz staff member will stay with them until retrieved.

    Student Conduct & Expectations

    At Merkaz, we strive to create a learning community that encourages mutual respect and collective safety. Students are expected to behave appropriately, in a manner that is respectful of administrators, teachers, guests, other students, and property. In addition, students participating in any Flex programming or Merkaz Trips will abide by the rules/policies particular to the premises.

    The following behaviors are prohibited at Merkaz:

    • Food or drinks in the classroom without prior permission from the Head of School. (All food brought to Merkaz must be Kosher and nut-free.)
    • (Students and/or parents will be held financially liable for the cost of repair or replacement of any property damaged or defaced.)
    • Use of drugs or alcohol by any student on school property.
    • Smoking or vaping on school premises.
    • Use of cell phones and all electronic devices, unless approved by the course instructor. All must be turned off while in class. Unapproved use of electronic equipment will result in the removal of the equipment for the evening.
    • Inappropriate attire, including dress and grooming that are offensive, distracting, or disruptive to the educational process.
    • Leaving the building without permission.

    Violation of the above policies will be addressed by the Head of School, and parents will be notified when necessary.

    Serious violations may constitute grounds for dismissal at the discretion of the Head of School.

    Student Driving & Traffic Guidelines

    • Students must operate vehicles in a safe and appropriate manner, and must abide by the established parking lot traffic flow.

    • The Head of School has the authority to prohibit a student who violates safe driving practices from using the school parking facility.

    • Student drivers and parents must observe designated Entrances and Exits to and from the parking lot.


    Safety & Security

    • Security will be present at each of our Classic Track campuses.

    • Where possible, we will have security present at Flex Track programs and events.

    • To inquire about the security of a specific program or event, please email



    Graduating Seniors

    Senior Merkaz Transcripts

    Be sure your college application stands out from the rest!

    Your application says a lot about you. College Applications officers have shared that they are most impressed with students who are willing to make a long term commitment to an extra-curricular activity. Merkaz participation indicates commitment to learning, an inquisitive mind, the importance of connecting with your community, and represents a broad spectrum of learning experiences. Be sure to include your Merkaz experience in each college application! Time and again, it has proven to give students an advantage in the competitive application process.

    As a Senior, your Merkaz Transcript along with a cover letter will be provided for you to include with your college applications. The letter explains the Merkaz program, your involvement and commitment at Merkaz, and the graduation requirements. To request a Merkaz Transcript, please email