Nissan 12, 5780
April 6, 2020
Dear GBDS Community,

As we face a very challenging time filled with unanswered questions and changing certainties (including how to log into Zoom!), there are many places where we have seen light and miracles. Just like the most famous song of Haggadah , Dayenu , that begins with the words Kamah Ma'alot Tovot - how many good favors has God bestowed upon us, our blessings are many even if we are alone together. 

We are blessed to have a community filled with health care workers that are bravely showing up to hospitals and clinics to support sick people and their families. They work through physical and mental exhaustion and fear and still find it in themselves to give to others. Even in their busy schedules and lives they have taken the time to consult with the Leadership Team and Board of Trustees to give us science-based, practical advice. 

We are blessed to have teachers and support professionals who login online every day and deliver learning that is engaging and meaningful even if it is remote. 

We are blessed to have students who rise to the challenge of online learning and have shown grit, resilience, independence and patience. 

We are blessed to have parents that support their children's learning, communicate their needs to the teachers, ask for and give support when needed, and share their positive feedback. 

We are blessed to have a dedicated, supportive, and philanthropic Board of Trustees who are always there to support our Leadership Team, teachers, and parents.  

We are blessed to be the Academies @ GBDS community. Dayenu!
Please remember, that no matter how elaborate or simple your Seders will be this year, you are doing an amazing job and that is perfectly enough. Your children love and appreciate you for everything that you do and everything that you are! Be kind to yourselves and each other and just enjoy the small moments. 
To all of the families that are directly affected by having loved ones sick with COVID-19, we offer you a prayer for full Refuah Sheleima . Please know that you and your family are in our hearts and prayers and we are here to support you. 

Our Virtual Pesach Seder took place today and we invite you to view the slideshow below highlighting our students and the work they have done preparing to this year's Pesach. 

Thank you for sharing your funny moments of home life during the COVID-19 quarantine with us. We have compiled the winning videos into a fun slideshow and we invite you to view it at the bottom of this newsletter.
We wish you all a Chag Kasher V'Sameach and a healthy one for your loved ones and all of humankind ,
Lina Shuster, Sheila Barbach, and Sarit Ginzburg.

Virtual Pesach Seder 1080p
Virtual Pesach Seder with Academies @ GBDS
Dear  Families, Teachers, Staff and Friends, 

This Passover is unlike any other. Although we may not be together sharing the matzo, finding the afikomen or singing prayers and songs, we will be together in our hearts. This holiday will be one for our immediate families, but the GBDS family is a strong one, and  there will be many wonderful holidays and simchas that we will share together in the future. 

There are many in our community that have been impacted by this horrible sickness. We are keeping them in our prayers and wishing them a Refua Sheleima

We would like to extend our deepest appreciation to the teachers and staff who have been working tirelessly to create new lesson plans, ensure all children are connected to their teachers and friends while balancing their home life. There have been many challenges put in their path over the past month, but our teachers and staff have exceed expectations in every way. We are also tremendously proud of our families that have stepped up in this time of crisis. From the bottom of our hearts we are grateful to you for your dedication to tikkun olam (helping to repair the world) one family at a time. 

On behalf of the Academies @ GBDS Board of Trustees, I would like to wish you all a healthy, healthy, healthy Passover and may next year's seder be in Jerusalem. 

Chag Sameach,
Elissa Kaplan

The Winners of our First Pesach Song Parody Contest are Seth Posniack for his parody of Paul McCartney's Birthday AND Isaac Tarnow-Fine and Aiden Pinsker for their parody of Israeli hit Yo-Ya! Kol HaKavod!

1st Grade and Fairytale STEAM challenge at home:
As part of the fairy tale unit, the first grade read "The Three Little Pigs" and then the children were challenged with building a house that could stand up to the big, bad blow dryer. Students first spoke about the houses that the pigs built out of straw, sticks and bricks. They discussed which was the strongest house and why. The first graders were then challenged to build the houses out of materials they had at home. The children followed the scientific method. They made a plan, and tried to execute their vision. As engineers, the children had to work with their parents to make decisions and to build a strong structure while evaluating the materials given - the students got a chance to be really creative, some used cardboard boxes, some used food, and others got a chance to use the... yes, you guessed, the toilet paper rolls!  They were asked to use rulers to measure and write down their results. They made predictions as to whether their structure would stand up to the big, bad blow dryer. This STEAM challenge perfectly integrated science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.

8th Graders partnering with fellow students in Israel:
The 8th graders of Academies @ GBDS and a school in Nahariya, Israel have launched a partnership. This project is a result of our school working in cooperation with the Jewish Agency and the Partnership Project between the Municipality of Nahariya and the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey.  We believe that especially during these challenging days  Kol Israel Arevim Zeh Bazeh matters the most . Mutual care and responsibility for each other is important for the children on both sides of the ocean. It is precisely during this period that faith is stronger than ever and the children face very similar challenges in both communities. The Seder will be different this year due to the challenges of social isolation, distance learning and more. That is why we have come together and decided to lead a partnership project, during which the students from the two schools will get to know each other and take part in a shared value program. 
First Zoom meeting between the 2 schools
This year's Passover is unlike any we have experienced in our lifetimes. This year we are encouraging parents to continue providing a structure to your child's/ren's days that includes learning and fun activities. Structure and consistency are important strategies for showing our children what to expect and to help them feel safe during this stressful time. The teachers in elementary and middle school have created Passover break assignments for the students. In addition the leadership team has created a suggested daily schedule full of activities, weblinks and even recipes to help guide Passover learning.

Transitions can be difficult for some students. If you find that your child is having difficulty transitioning, offer choices for activities and a timer to help them know what to expect and what to do next. If children are resistant to school work or changes in routine an incentive such as special time with parents, free time, a family game night or a special treat might help inspire them.  Try to be mindful of your language and do your best to keep everything positive.  Empathetic boundaries go a long way to reassure children that their structures and routines are there to help them feel safe and supported.

GBDS Virtual Pesach Seder

Dear Families,

I hope you are all doing well and staying safe. Please let me know if you or your child is experiencing a need for more support. I am including resources and activities that you may find helpful: 

Common Sense Media has partnered with a group of more than  25 organizations to create Wide Open School a free collection of online learning experiences for kids and families. In addition to regular core subjects, they offer access and advice for mental health, field trips, special education, scheduling, and more. 
Exploring the world from home with Architecture Sets from Legos.  
Caring for Each Other: Sesame Street has many ideas to help your family find ways to breathe, laugh, and play together.



Wishing you continued good health,
Mara Yacobi

GBDSs Funniest Home Videos Week 3

GBDSs Funniest Home Videos 
Week 3
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