Last Friday and Sunday's fabulous performance of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory 
(more photos on Facebook!)

As nearly all middle schoolers and 3rd/4th graders took the stage for our production of Willy Wonka this past Sunday, I could think of only one thing. We celebrate our children!

It is not an easy task to truly celebrate students. What I mean is that it is one thing to say "good job" to each student and another for them to know that we mean it.

Yesterday, the Israeli spacecraft Bereishit almost reached their goal of making Israel the 4th country to land on the moon. Unfortunately, due to engine trouble and communications issues, it crashed to the surface during the final descent.

Morris Kahn, president of SpaceIL, the non-profit responsible for this fantastic journey, said, "Well, we didn't make it, but we definitely tried. And I think the achievement of getting to where we got is really tremendous. I think we can be proud." Yes, we can be proud! Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "If at first you don't succeed, you try again." Both non-defeatist attitudes and ones that speak to the innovative "start-up nation" that Israel is. Israel did not crash land on the moon. Israel became the 7th country to orbit the moon and was still the 4th to reach the moon, just not as they had planned.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine congratulated SpaceIL "on the incredible accomplishment of sending the first privately funded mission into lunar orbit." "Every attempt to reach new milestones holds opportunities for us to learn, adjust and progress," he said. "I have no doubt that Israel and SpaceIL will continue to explore and I look forward to celebrating their future achievements."

Thank you Israel for being a model of innovation, grit, and growth. All things we take seriously at Akiba-Schechter and ensure we inspire when we celebrate our children.

In a recent article in Psychology Today, ten reasons were given for the rise in anxiety among teens today. One of those reasons was unrealistic praise. The article presented that "Saying things like, 'You're the fastest runner on the team,' or 'You're the smartest kid in your grade,' doesn't build self-esteem. Instead, it puts pressure on kids to live up to those labels. That can lead to crippling fear of failure or rejection."

It is our job to support our children in focusing on their achievements even when the outcome is not what was expected. It is also our job to assist them in learning from an unsuccessful result, instilling in them that failure is part of the learning process. So, when our students work hard on a play production, are challenged throughout the process, struggle at times to get it right, learn from their mistakes and on opening day create what I can only describe as a delightful, fun and wonderful experience we say "good job". They know we mean because they earned it.  

Shabbat Shalom! 
Dr. Eliezer Jones
Head of School  
Words of Inspiration              

Pre-Passover Message from Rabbi Cohen
Pre-Passover Message from Rabbi Cohen

From the Preschool                
Arun gives her acceptance speech.

Each Classroom is a Small World Where the Power of Unity Begins
Arun Srimani's acceptance speech for the 2019 Sue Pinsky Award for Excellence in Jewish Education
I would like to convey my gratitude to Mrs. Pinsky, a former teacher herself, in believing, as a teacher, that we all have this wonderful opportunity to make a difference in our community by empowering our children, by instilling kindness in their hearts, and nurturing their curious minds to never-ending possibilities. Everyday we get chances to revisit these Jewish values with our children, hold them close to our hearts, knowing that they will shape our future society.

Teaching is not a solitary journey. It's a partnership between children, parents, and other educators. This  is expressed beautifully in the Tanach: "How good it is, how pleasant it is, for people to live together in unity." (Psalms 133). Without this unity we can't progress. Each classroom is a small world where the power of unity begins and continues.

This honor goes to Akiba, a nurturing and stimulating academic environment, where teachers are not walking ahead of the children but walk with them, where colleagues ask meaningful questions and collaborate with each other to be progressive partners in education. Without Akiba's support, I would not have been able to find myself and my passion.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Barbara Simon, the founder of the Akiba-Schechter preschool, our leader Carla Goldberg, our principal Miriam Kass, and our head of school, Dr. Eliezer Jones.  I am thankful to my friends and colleagues at Akiba, and my families for their trust and support. Above all I would like to dedicate this honor to my children at Akiba. Everyday, they hold my hands in this journey and help me to become a better person, a teacher who gets excited to discover something new and never give up.

As Nobel laureate and educator Rabindranath Tagore said, "Faith is the bird that feels the light, when dawn is still dark."  Knowledge and education help to hold on to that faith. I am grateful to be apart of this wonderful journey! Thank you all!  
'Twas a Great Benefit Brunch!                
Our honorees at the Benefit Brunch, left to right: Jason Loeb, Sharon Vadeboncoeur, Sara and Peter Price

A big thanks to all who participated in our Benefit Brunch on Sunday, March 31. 
It was a great event!

The Afternoon Explorers were given a box of modeling clay. As there was a limited amount of each color, the children had to first make a plan of the statue they wanted to make and which colors they would need, before they actually created their cute figurines, now on display on the window sill the preschool's upstairs hallway.

Family Game Night!
It was wonderful to have so many of our K-2 families attend the first ever Akiba game night! Everyone had a great time playing their favorite games, enjoying pizza, playing a game of plop, and of course closing out the evening with cookies and milk. Thank you to the parent reps for organizing and planning a wonderful event and to all the teachers and administrators who helped facilitate and play! #akibacommUNITY More pictures on Facebook

Kindergarten Model Seder today!
Grades 1-8                  
Lilly, Josh and Chana and their wildlife fundraiser flyer

Wildlife Fundraiser
3rd/4th graders Lilly and Josh from Mr. Esse's class founded a company because they just really wanted to do that. Their first project has been to run a raffle to raise funds to help save wildlife because they, especially Lilly, love animals and want to help save those threatened by extinction. Chana joined their efforts as co-manager and helped coordinate raffle prizes, which included playing cards, coloring books, pens, pencils and slime. By selling raffle tickets ($0.10 for one, $0.40 for five) around the school community and among their neighbors, they have so far raised $32. They plan to donate the funds to the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Shedd Aquarium. They've been working on this fundraiser during their free time, recess and lunch.
The 3rd/4th graders in Mrs. Leonard's class wrote beautiful Chicago poems. The kids have been immersed in learning about Chicago history, and they have just begun learning about Chicago architecture.

Detail of Ezra's exhibit on Modernizing Architecture in Chicago

10 Akiba Students Advance to State History Fair
We are incredibly proud of the following students, whose projects have qualified to advance to the State History Fair, taking place on May 2:
Toibeh Sarah's exhibit on how Marshall Field's Redefined Women's Roles Outside the Home

Mayrav B: Coming to Chicago 
Ezra E: Modernizing Architecture in Chicago
Toibeh Sarah G: Redefining Women's Roles Outside the Home

Websites (view here):
Ayalah B: Plight of the Peregrine: An Environmental Triumph
Izzy B and Merav P: Carol Moseley-Braun: The First Black Female Senator
Nina G: The Union League Club's Struggle with Jews
Rafi N: The Tragedy of the Iroquois Theater and the Fire Codes

Anna C:  The Dilemma of Emma: How the government viewed Emma Goldman's anarchistic triumphs as tragedies
Shammai W:  Resettling the Projects  
Mrs. Brackman and Mrs. Gold's classes researched questions from the Haggadah and compiled their own Haggadot to share at their families' Passover Seders.

Yasher Koach to our middle schoolers (12-year-olds and up), who helped pack Maot Chitim for Passover last Sunday.

Annual Musical: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory  

Kol Hakavod to the entire cast, crew and directors of the fabulous production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It was a great show last Friday and Sunday!
8 Questions for an 8th Grader: Mayrav Bader        
Mayrav as Mrs. Gloop in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
We continue our series of featuring an 8th grader in each Kibitzer; today it's Mayrav Bader:  
  1. Since when have you been at Akiba? 
    I have been at Akiba since 6th grade, so this is my third year here.  
  2. What neighborhood are you from? I live in Lakeview, very close to Wrigley Field.
  3. Is being an 8th grader different from your previous grades at Akiba? In my 8th grade year, I hope to accomplish the feat of helping everybody else realize how awesome they are and how everyone is different. And to be the best friend I can be to everyone who needs it. Being an 8th grader is a lot more different than being in any other grade, mostly because there is a weight that is now resting on our shoulders. We are the oldest (children) in the school, and that means that we have to be role models for the entire school. Also, you get a lot more responsibilities and trust than a lot of other grades, so you have to live up to those expectations. 
  4. What is your favorite subject at Akiba and why? 
    My favorite subject would probably be Science, because I love learning how different things in our world work and discovering why. Plus it is chock full of interesting and fun information you don't learn in other subjects. 
  5. What do you think is special about Akiba? 
    Being in this year's musical was an amazing experience. We had new people to work with and a new musical. It was a lot of fun, but at the same time, you had to work pretty hard to accomplish all these little details in a short amount of time.  
  6. Why did you want to be part of the musical?
    I wanted to be in the musical for two main reasons, 1) I love to act and perform, and 2) I wanted to be part of something bigger for my school. I know it sounds cheesy, but I think it is a really nice way for people to get together and work together to produce a great final project.  
  7. When you're not at school or doing homework, what do you like to do? 
    I love to dance and read. It is mainly my entire life! All kinds of dance are fun for me, but modern, ballet and hip-hop are my preferred styles. And the cool thing about dancing is you don't have to be fantastic/good at it. You take classes to become better at it! It resonates with me more than a lot of other activities, so I almost always and dancing around.  
  8. Do you have any idea yet of what you want to be when you grow up? 
    When I am older I want to be an early-childhood education teacher - so for preschool-aged children - and a professional dancer. As I said before, dancing connects with me really well, and being able to do what I love, and getting paid to do it, is really neat. It's the same with being a teacher. I love little children.
Library Update                  
A Discussion About Slavery 
by Thea Crook, Librarian

There are times when teachers burst with pride about what their students have learned. I had such a moment a few weeks ago. The 1st/2nd graders were reading about the life of Abraham Lincoln and came to the part about slaves being bought and sold.  The students were absolutely outraged! We had a marvelous discussion about people being treated like objects. They used such interesting vocabulary - inhumane, a sad day for America; thank goodness Abe Lincoln was able to stop slavery because he was so respected.  And finally, the Passover connection: We were slaves too.
Art with Debbie                  

1st and 2nd grade artists made a working model of Moses in a basket. The "basket" is lined with foil, so that it is waterproof and can really float on water. They dressed and personalized a clothespin Moses, added a snuggly-soft blanket, and made a fancy jeweled basket cover. These models were so nicely done and so beautiful.

Monday, April 8
was generously sponsored 
in commemoration of Rosh Chodesh Nisan by  Baubie Lorraine Horwitz     
in honor of Ezra Erlebacher's upcoming birthday

Upcoming #akibacommUNITY Events neighbor
Introducing Shabbat Around Akiba

Who: All Akiba families are invited to host another Akiba family for Shabbat. If you need some guidance on which family to host or general Shabbat questions, please contact  Rabbi Cohen. We hope our families will take the opportunity to invite a child's classmate, a community member or friend.  
What: Invite an Akiba family (or Prospective Akiba Family) for Shabbat Dinner or Lunch.  
Where: We hope all our different communities will participate.  
When: Friday, May 10 or Saturday, May 11
Why: We hope to pilot Shabbat Around Akiba this year in an effort to make this a successful community-wide event, kicking off the 2019-2020 school year in the fall.   

Please reference the Parent Directory for contact information. If you have any questions regarding food, blessings or other Shabbat rituals, please contact Rabbi Cohen. We would love to hear your feedback about this initiative and how you participated. If you are interested in hosting a prospective family, please contact Yelena Spector.   
Register for our Summer Program!

Mazal tov Zeke (Parent/Tot) and his family on the birth of his baby sister.

Kol HaKavod Jo-Jo Vadnai (7th), who raised $410 for the Chicago Mitzvah Campaign and would like to thank all the Akiba Schechter participants in his fundraising raffle! The funds will go toward providing kosher meals for Chicago hospital patients.

Condolences Kindergarten Teacher Iris Putterman whose father passed away on Wednesday.
May his memory be for a blessing.  Aryeh Kaufman (Kindergarten) and her family on the passing of her grandfather. May his memory be for a blessing.

Dates to Remember
Wednesday, April 17 - Sunday, April 28
Passover Break
No School

Thursday, May 23
Lag B'Omer
Grade School Color War

Monday, May 27
Memorial Day
No School

Wednesday, May 29
Kitah Alef Siddur Presentation
2:00 PM

ATT Summer Program
Registration is open for the Nathan & Shirley Rothner ATT Summer Program. Have your child experience an awesome summer. Make new friends, learn new skills with sewing, sports, art, science, rocketry, dance, cooking, magic, robotics, self-defense, daily trips and more. First session 7/1-7/19; second session 7/22-8/9. For more information call Susan Feuer/Shelley Stopek at 773-973-2828, to view brochure and apply online.
April 12, 2019  
Volume 15, Issue 14
Candle Lighting: 7:08 PM
Parasha: Metzora

Affiliated with the Associated Talmud Torahs and supported by the Kehillah Jewish Education Fund