20 Sivan 5780 | June 12, 2020
Bais Yaakov e-Newsletter
Parshas Beha'aloscha
In an effort to express our collective appreciation for the hard work of our dedicated teachers and staff especially over these past few months, Bais Yaakov worked closely with very generous sponsors and were able to provide meaningful gifts to our faculty on two different occasions since we were last in school. 

Over 20 volunteer drivers, recent alumnae and current parents, were very happy and eager to assist Bais Yaakov in this project by hand delivering (using social distancing protocols, of course) these gifts to the homes of over 400 school faculty members.

First, an elegantly wrapped book and box of chocolates were delivered along with a beautiful poem thanking the staff members for their devotion to the students and Bais Yaakov.  This gift was generously sponsored anonymously .
Click on the image above to enlarge.
Then, during the week leading up to Shavuos, Mr. and Mrs. Moishe and Tsippy Boehm of Seven Mile Market generously sponsored delicious cheesecakes which our volunteers once again brought to our teachers and staff members just in time for Yom Tov.

Bais Yaakov faculty members were very thankful for the recognition of the extra work and curriculum changes that teaching from home required of them.
We all thank our very generous sponsors for making these special gifts possible.
Our Kindergarten teachers have been working hard to maintain interaction with their students. Morah Tayna Goldstein’s Kindergarten class has been watching their caterpillars and are waiting anxiously for them to transform into beautiful butterflies! We hope that everyone will continue to blossom and grow over the summer. 
We were so excited to "Welcome all our First Grade Talmidos " to a dynamic 30 minute activity with their moros at the High School parking lot.
This event marked the gifting of a beautiful Chumash to each girl with a uniquely designed cookie in honor of this special occasion. We were able to do this event outside, with social distancing protocols in place and have everyone's participation! Each girl was photographed receiving her Chumash under a beautiful balloon arch while her classmates looked on from their cars. 
While shifting to the Zoom process has been a challenge both pedagogically and technologically, the most special element of this is the ability to see our students and reconnect to them. One element of our school which we value so deeply is our relationship and partnership with JEWELS . The students they send to Bais Yaakov are truly part of the fabric of our school and especially to Morah Barr’s Third Grade class! It was so great to see our Bais Yaakov girls enjoying the tablets and connecting with their friends using this video medium.
"...The end of the year, spent in quarantine is certainly part of my memories. Every day we zoomed or telephoned instead of going to real class. I was able to bring my baby sister to school. I would never be able to do that in the real school. The Loom videos were good because you could pause them and come back to them later. Or if the teacher was going too quickly, you could play her lesson again..."

"...At 2:30, everyone is logging off the Zoom, feeling accomplished after a long and hard day. As I climb into bed, I still find it hard to believe that this is my new normal. Nevertheless, I feel very satisfied with my work and doze off into a deep sleep, dreaming that I will wake up to a normal morning start. Hopefully, with Hashem’s help, everyone will be better and everything will be back to normal soon..."

"...This was the longest snow day I could ever dream of. Even though I really missed my friends and teachers, it was really nice to be home with my family. For two months I was able to spend time with them and have fun..."

"...Did you ever have a teacher that was able to teach over the phone? I did- Miss Schwartz, Mrs. Kinzer, and Miss Yair. They were all able to teach me over the phone and I still learnt a lot. ... I really appreciate all the hard work that my teachers put into teaching during the Covid 19 Pandemic. I will always be grateful. Thank you, Bais Yaakov!!!..."

"...being stuck at home isn’t easy, but the teachers are making it easier..."

"...Even with Zoom, I missed Bais Yaakov Elementary. Being with a teacher in a class is the best way to attend school. Corona taught me to appreciate my years in Bais Yaakov Elementary..." 

Chag HaShavuos came upon us with a bustle of excitement. The Middle School teachers worked tirelessly to make sure that the girls felt the specialness of the Yom Tov in many ways. The Fifth Graders received elegant hanging rose globes to assemble. The Sixth Graders received beautiful bags filled with a special cookie, a beaded heart necklace project and a one-of-a-kind bookmark of tefillah tips that tied into Project Yud Beis and into the Chumash that they learned this year. The Seventh Graders received special cupcake decorating kits which they worked on together on a special Zoom program. The Eighth Graders were treated to a scrumptious ice cream snack from beloved principal Rabbi Naftoli Hexter , who eagerly greeted them outside his home before Yom Tov . Each grade outdid themselves as the chashivus and love of the chag became palpable. A special thank you to the PTA for sponsoring these treats.
“When we are one - we’ve won!” is a favorite aphorism of our principal, Rabbi Hexter . As we reflect on this past school year, we remember the Erev Shabbos Shira Kumzits (that took place a mere month preceding the Covid-19 breakout ) where the Middle School truly felt as one! The entire student body of over 500 students and teachers, joined together in shira , utilizing this powerful medium to praise and thank Hashem . The achdus felt by each of the students and teachers surely remained in their hearts during the many weeks we were all together (yet apart) during the past three months.
With hearts full of pride (and nostalgia) we send off our Eighth Grade girls to embark on their new journey in high school. This year’s Eighth Grade instilled a special ruach as they worked hard on special programming for the entire middle school with G.O. and Gemach . The girls showcased their talents in many ways including decorating the halls, transforming the multi-purpose room into a palace for Chanuka and then a circus for Purim , and creating different programs and activities for all the students. In addition, they were all stars in “Me, Myself and I” at the Eighth Grade Production. The Science Fair would forge ahead (despite the distance learning challenges) with every group happily sending in their information to be displayed in the Virtual Science Fair. The final hoorah, which will be attended virtually, is the upcoming special soiree arranged to show the girls just how much they will be missed. We wish all of the Eighth Graders bracha vehatzlocha as they continue their journey from middle school to high school, where we know they will shine!
We appreciate and pay close attention to all the feedback we receive and engage in constant evaluation and improvement of our programming. We especially delight in the compliments that are directed our way. Below is a very small sample of the many beautiful emails we received since learning shifted from school to home:

“...The Friday messages from Rabbi Hexter and Rabbi Engelsberg were very nice. The administrative update today was clear and very helpful…”

“...Today's pick up went very smoothly and proper protections, from what I understand, were done very well. My daughter got everything she needed and I appreciate all the work that must have gone on behind the scenes to make sure that it went smoothly...”

“... Just wanted to let BY know that BH ______’s teachers are unbelievable. Wow. What a job it is to be a teacher (and a student) in the situation and they have really been so awesome! And her tutor!!! Everyone has really been so amazing. The classes are great and the communication is superb. Thanks so much for everything! We really appreciate it!...”

“...Please let everyone know that we are pleased with things. It’s a good balance and my daughter is managing well. It took some adjusting but BH the Moros are not overdoing it…”

“...We just wanted to say a huge thank you to the entire staff of the middle school for the beautiful distance learning program you have set up. We can only imagine the hours and hours the principals, teachers and office staff must spend to maintain this wonderful program…”
Graduation Dinner took the virtual route, as families participated with faculty from their own Zoom and phone conference venues. Despite this disadvantage, the “Dinner” will certainly be remembered as one of the most memorable ever. The celebration began with seniors picking up dessert and Dinner materials at school during the afternoon – thank you to the committee headed by Mrs. Shoshana Krupp and Mrs. Aliza Samet for the creativity and ruach that went into this effort. Numerous teachers came out to school to distribute the goodies to the cars in the senior caravan. Speeches at the Dinner were exceptional, keeping everyone spellbound. We thank parent speaker Mrs. Miriam Trout , the principals, and student speakers Sima Goldman and Devorah Schapiro , for their powerful and poignant messages. Mrs. Shifra Rabenstein represented the faculty and expressed genuine angst at having had the class torn from us before having a chance to complete and bring natural closure to their Bais Yaakov experience…yet she emphasized that events did not “happen” to the class, but represent Hashem ’s choosing them (and all of us) to rise to the challenge of this test. Mrs. Rabenstein’s message was packed with emotion that stirred all who participated. We are so fortunate to have such an amazing faculty – and such wonderful students and parents!
Notwithstanding Covid 19, school ended with spirit and energy coming from all directions. G.O., G’mach, Discovery, and other school organizations have been working non-stop in creating activities to keep everyone “Together While Apart.” From Discovery’s technology program, to an inspiring, G.O. virtual Student Shabbos, to a G’mach-a-thon Bikur Cholim Fundraiser, to Gedolei Yisroel to Taryag Mitzvos to Yearbook – and so much more, the engines have been running in high gear, at the same time that serious learning has proceeded apace. The inevitable glitches in switching to Zoom were taken in stride, and it’s hard to believe how much has been accomplished! For all these successes, credit goes to supportive parents, resilient students, and our wonderful teachers, mechanchos and grade counselors, who kept coming up with new ideas to make this all succeed and to reach the students. We are proud of everyone’s efforts and forbearance in these challenging circumstances.
The high school expresses deepest thanks to the Bais Yaakov PTA for its substantial sponsorship of the Discovery technology reward sweatshirts. Thank you for these, for your Rosh Chodesh treats for the faculty and for so much more!
The high school is indebted to Social Studies teacher Mrs. Liba Steen for introducing the student Journal idea that will serve as a lifetime keepsake for each student, as her weekly entries will spark memories of these daunting times. The high school is hoping to publish some of these individual entries in some form in the near future. Attached are several entries from the journals of senior students, presented with their permission. Along similar lines, two tenth grade classes engaged in the L.I.L.A.C. (Lessons I Learned Amid Corona) program created by Mrs. Chani Hendler , as students have documented for themselves how they may have grown through the Covid 19 experience. 
June 18  Last Day of Preschool
June 19 Last Day of School
To sponsor a day of Davening & Learning, or contact Rabbi Gross at 443-548-7700 ext. 511 or ragross@baisyaakov.net   for more information.