January 4, 2018
17 Tevet 5778

Parashah Shemot

   Shabbat Candle Lighting 5:17 p.m.

Jordana Bernstein
Early Childhood Director

For the past couple of years, early childhood educators at Akiba have been studying Conscious Discipline, an evidence-based and research-backed program developed by Dr. Becky Bailey, designed to teach social and emotional learning. Beginning this month, Morah Dorit and I will be leading a parenting series inspired by this program. Our first session will take place on Monday, Jan. 15, from 7:30-9:30 p.m.

We have been learning many valuable ideas and tools from this program. Among them is the idea that as the caregivers of children, when we help our children feel safe and approach them with compassion, they are more likely to be able to regulate their emotions and more successfully handle whatever challenge or task that lies ahead.

In this week's Parashah Shemot, Hashem instructs Moses to lead the Israelites out of the land of Egypt. Hashem says to Moses:

וְעַתָּ֣ה לְכָ֔ה וְאֶֽשְׁלָחֲךָ֖ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה וְהוֹצֵ֛א אֶת־עַמִּ֥י בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מִמִּצְרָֽיִם׃ 
" . . . Come, therefore, I will send you to Pharaoh, and you shall free My people, the Israelites, from Egypt."

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר מֹשֶׁה֙ אֶל־הָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים מִ֣י אָנֹ֔כִי כִּ֥י אֵלֵ֖ךְ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה וְכִ֥י אוֹצִ֛יא אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מִמִּצְרָֽיִם׃
But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and free the Israelites from Egypt?"

From the sound of it, Moses seems to be a bit unsure and perhaps quite nervous about Hashem's request. In response, Hashem could have chosen to use a "tough love" approach with Moses by saying, "You will do it because I say so and if not you will be punished."  But instead He chose to approach Moses with understanding and compassion, reassuring Moses:

כִּֽי־אֶֽהְיֶ֣ה עִמָּ֔ךְ
I will be with you.

By ensuring Moses that he was safe and Hashem would be there to support him throughout, Hashem utilizes a form of "Conscious Discipline,"
and we all know how the story ends. We hope to see you all at our first Conscious Discipline parenting session on Jan. 15 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. in the Board Room. 

Please RSVP by Jan. 10.  

Mazal tov to the Beck family on the arrival of a baby boy. Congrats to Shiva, Jarrod and big brother Joshua. 

Mazal tov to the Davis family on the birth of a baby girl, especially big brother Ariel.

We bid farewell to the Garren family as they start a new adventure in Costa Rica.

Welcome to Akiba, the Klirs and Glass families!

Mazal tov to Abbie Morenoff on her upcoming bat mitzvah. 

Mazal tov to student Asher Rose, who is now a big brother to a baby boy. Mazel tov to Elyse and Murray Rose.

Read about a talented Akiba alumna who attends Yale University and interns at The Washington Post:  here .



Students are so happy to be back at school!


Faculty spent Tuesday's in-service learning how to integrate more project-based learning (PBL)  into their classes. PBL allows students to explore real-world problems and challenges, and acquire a deeper knowledge.



Students visited The Reserve senior community recently, showcasing their abilities to not only sing beautifully in Hebrew, but to bring smiles to the residents.


P.E. was the perfect time for a serious team strategy session before the Israeli game  "machanayim."



Most 5th graders gave up their lunch time to participate in an optional lunch bunch gathering with school counselor Heather Behr, who facilitates opportunities for social emotional learning. 



6th graders review last semester's learning (shmuel alef) by sequencing events into chronological order.



In the spirit of 7th grade's study of natural selection, evolution, and adaptations, students designed and created animals with obvious adaptations in order to thrive/survive in a particular biome of the planet. The project consisted of a 3D-model, an essay, and a presentation. In their writings, they detailed specifics like natural predators and prey, reproductive habits/mating rituals, habitats, etc.