November 9, 2017
20 Cheshvan 5778

Parashah Chayei Sarah

Shabbat Candle Lighting 5:11 p.m.

Miriam Tannenbaum, Middle School Judaic Studies
With the opening of Parashah Chayei Sarah is the closure of Sarah's life. The passing of Sarah is mentioned little and the Torah focuses on the scene of the purchase of her burial. The engagement of Avraham with the Hittites and the continuous dialogue surrounds the famous sale of the cave of Machpelah. However, when taking a closer look at this chapter, the purchase is not merely of the cave of Machpelach but rather of the field that surrounds it.  To be precise, the number that the word 'me'arah' (cave) appears is five times while 'sadeh' (field) is eight.

What is the essence of this chapter about? Certainly, it seems that it is not about the lifetime of Sarah. It is not even about her burial. Rather this dialogue surrounds the first purchase of the Land of Israel, hence the focus on the field. Ephron, the Hittite initially offers Avraham the piece of land at no cost. Avraham, however insists that he buys it. Avraham insists that he utilize his own funds (i.e. experience a financial loss) in order to own this plot of land.

The Talmud in Masechet Berakhot(5a) teaches us that three gifts that Hashem bestowed upon us are acquired through hardship; Torah, the Land of Israel and the World to Come. The path to ownership of these three is through hard work. While it is a gift on one hand, the gift only becomes our gift when we exert the effort and pour our very selves into working for it.

Avraham was unwilling to take the gift of the Land of Israel for free. He understood and modeled for all of us that acquisition and accomplishment come through toil.
In helping our children and ourselves to love learning, we should be cautious not to 'spoonfeed' the material to them. Torah (and might I add, other disciplines as well) is exciting for those who spend the hours toiling over it. The toil is what brings a true sense of accomplishment. Those that learn to take ownership of their learning tend to continue to learn at higher levels, and well beyond the classroom. They come to exemplify a pillar of our school and of Judasim, Torah Lishma, learning for the sake of it. Let us continue to guide our children to a path of success by allowing them to experience true kinyan- ownership of their learning.

Why sell our children short?  
Mazal tov to teacher Vicki Schachar on welcoming her seventh grandchild.

This week in Early Childhood:
  • Morah Malka and Morah Vickie's Chaverim class learned about three parts of the brain (the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and the amygdala) and how knowing information about their brains helps them stay in control of their emotions
  • Morah Marissa and Morah Judy's class wrote about their Shabbat experiences
  • Morah Emily and Morah Shoshi's class did a science experiment with the leaves that found outside on their nature walk
  • Morah Lauren and Morah Rosa's class worked on strengthening their fine motor muscles
  • Morah Rebeca, Morah Amy, and Morah Addison's class explored different pumpkins of different sizes and their properties in the art studio and then painted them and with them - STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) and toddlers at work!

Many thanks to Sandy Prager and Julie Feldman for being our snack helpers this week!  We need snack helpers :) Sign up here


Our b'not sherut Noa and Emuna joined teacher Sarit Sabo to teach Hebrew songs to students in the Early Childhood Program.   



In Dr. Debbie Greene's class, 2nd graders work with STEM coordinator Leidy Luciani to test the effectiveness of the designs of their seed dispersal units. They have been learning about how seeds are dispersed. They each designed and built an original seed dispersal unit. Finally, they tested their designs using a fan to simulate wind. Afterwards some of the students tweaked their designs in an effort to make them more effective. 



Gymnastics routines by these 3rd graders are sure to impress the judges :).



Our first robots arrived to the Innnovation Studio, so please welcome our 12 Spheros. Programming them is going to be really fun!



In Alejandra Guzman's class, 7th grade worked on a hands-on project to create a vertical number line, including positive and negative integers, mixed fractions and decimal numbers.



In Lekisha LeBlanc's class, 8th grade students initiated their long-term STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) project, a Rube Goldberg machine. They've created machines that aim to successfully pour milk and cereal into a bowl in a minimum of 20 steps.



Get your Akiba spirit shirts to wear with uniform bottoms every Friday!
Even if you did not order by the deadline, we have extras while quantities last. Youth XS-L are $8, Adult S-XL are $10. Pick up shirts in the atrium this Friday, Nov. 10, 8:15-8:45 am. Please email  with questions.

Preschool Thanksgiving Feasts are Nov. 20 and 21. Sign up
here to help set up, serve and clean.
Lunch VolunteersSign up  to help serve hot lunch  here .