Bubbes, Zaydies, and Grandparents celebrated the 100th Day of School in Miss Friedman's 1st/2nd grade.

As I watched the SpaceX rocket Falcon 9 take off last night from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (thank you Sarah Rodin for sending us the links), I was inspired. Not just because we live in a world of unmanned space flight created by the private sector with recycled rocket boosters significantly lowering costs and making spaceflight and exploration more accessible, but because one of the three spacecrafts hauled on this rocket was the Israeli non-profit SpaceIL's spacecraft "Beresheet" (means "in the beginning" in Hebrew and is the first word of the Torah). Israel would be the 4th (the U.S., Russia, and China were the others) country to land a spacecraft on the moon and will be the first to land a private one. Exciting as this all is, I was inspired not only by this specific mission but by the larger purpose it represents for us and our children.

As stated on their website, "SpaceIL is actively working to create an Israeli "Apollo Effect." SpaceIL is committed to inspiring the next generation in Israel and around the world to choose to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)." While their primary mission last night was to land on the moon, they realized their broader purpose.  It is a mission to inspire the future and make a difference in the world.

I believe strongly that not only must a Jewish Day School provide an excellent education, be a nurturing and welcoming environment and instill and reinforce values for its children, but, as a Jewish school, it must also make a difference in the field of Jewish education and education in general. Our responsibility expands outside the four walls of the school. It should never be at the expense of those in the four walls, but certainly, we should think about our community and the world around us. As the Talmud in Shevuot (39a) says, Kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh , meaning all of Israel are responsible for each other.

This does not only apply to how individuals support one another, but how groups and organizations support the community. So, as a Jewish Day school whose primary mission is to educate their children, we are also responsible for taking what we know and support other educational institutions.

This Monday, like SpaceIL, our staff fulfilled a broader mission. The Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago held its annual teachers educational conference where many professional development sessions and workshops are held. As part of this day, various educators from Jewish Day Schools around Chicago shared their work with others, and I was pleased to see Mr. Joe Esse and Rabbi Meyerowitz presenting on the wonderful work they do with their students. They not only represented their, and their students, great work in the classroom, but they represented our great work at the school. They are both excellent teachers who fulfill our mission of educating children, not subjects and at the same time, they fulfilled a broader purpose of impacting other educators to do the same. Thank you to them both, good luck to Beresheet on reaching the moon, and thank you Israel for being a shining light of innovation and inspiration to the world!

Shabbat Shalom! 
Dr. Eliezer Jones
Head of School  
From the Day School                
Sparking Joy 
by Miriam Kass, Principal
Perhaps you have been caught up in the KonMari wave of Marie Kondo's books, her hit Netflix show and website . Perhaps you have been inspired by KonMari to declutter your home and life by asking yourself to consider whether an object or a choice sparks joy. I'm not sure how I feel about the whole movement, but I find the question an interesting one. I don't know how long we will keep our drawers and bookshelves organized just so, but I am confident that taking time and space to pause and reflect on joyful moments is both necessary and sustaining. Before lighting my Shabbat candles tonight, these are among the joyful moments from the past week or so that I will remember.
  • On Monday, I attended the annual Associated Talmud Torah Teacher Conference and watched Mr. Esse give an animated and passionate presentation about the Roman simulation activity he facilitates in his 5th/6th grade History class.
  • I had the following exchange with a 2nd grader at lunch yesterday:
Student: "Ms. Kass, do you think I'm honest?"
Me: "Yes."
Student: "Do you think I'm kind?"
Me: "Yes."
Student: "Do you think I'm generous?"
Me: "Yes."
Student: "Do you think I'm funny?"
Me: "Yes."
Student: "Do you think I'm magical?"
Me: "Um, I'm not sure. What do you mean?"
Student: "Well, it's important that I am all of these things because that's what it takes to be a good friend. And I want to be a really good friend."
Me: "I think you are a good friend."
Student: "Oh, good! I'm really trying to be!"
  • A 6th grader explained to me that he chose Mary Oliver's poem, "The Storm (Bear)" to write about for an assignment because "it is such a pure description of joyfulness that (he) just can't resist spending more time with it."
  • A parent took the time to send me a note because she has noticed how much growth one of her daughter's classmates has had this year, and she wanted to celebrate that and thank me and our staff for all the hard work she believes must be behind it.
  • A 4th grader ran into my office with a big smile to deliver a personal written invitation to come to Chumash class next Monday to watch him and his classmates perform a skit.
  • Our Kindergarteners celebrated their 100th day of school with much fanfare and fun, and they received a round of applause from the 7th and 8th graders when they arrived in the lunchroom. Some of the 8th graders shared memories of their 100th day of Kindergarten including the delicious muffins.
  • A middle schooler was warmly welcomed back to school after a long absence and reported that he felt like he was back home.
Each school day brings with it new and interesting challenges. But it is these unique moments of friendship, learning, laughter, poetry, collaboration, and celebration that spark joy for me and that propel me from one day to the next, one Shabbat to the next, one Rosh Chodesh to the next, one school year to the next. I am grateful for the opportunity to experience the joys of Akiba-Schechter and to share them with you.
Words of Inspiration by Rabbi Cohen
Words of Inspiration from Rabbi Cohen: A Chaplain's Compassion
A Chaplain's Compassion
The Lunch & Learn with Rabbi Cohen has been rescheduled for  
Thursday, March 7, 12-1 PM.   
The Kindergarten had a fun 100th Day of School celebration on Thursday, playing the "plop" game (counting to 100 in tens), crafting with 100 items, noshing on 100 delicious things, and just enjoying having family and friends visiting.

Talking about their feelings, the children in the Blue Room made feelings portraits. Oli made "worried" portrait.
Exploring Emotions through Portraits
Identifying emotions is an important development for children. They begin to recognize their own anger, excitement and sadness while also observing them in their peers. In the Blue Room, the children have been working on identifying and exploring emotions through self portraits.  They began by choosing an emotion they wanted to portray. They watched themselves in mirrors, acting out this emotion, then drawing their portrait reflecting the emotion they had chosen. They also answered three questions that give a glimpse into this particular emotion for each child: 
  1. How are you feeling in this picture?
  2. What makes you feel this way?
  3. What do you do when you feel this way?
  4. What makes you feel better?

After examining the seeds they planted and that now have sprouted, the Purple Room children did drawings and mono prints of avocado seeds, apple seeds, and runner beans.

Our Preschool Family Fun Day was indeed a great get-together on Sunday, February 10.

Learning how to code on our Preschool's Family Fun Day
One of the activities on our Family Fun Day was learning how to code using ozbots in the Makerspace!

Grades 1-8                  
In Mr. Salk's 1st/2nd grade class, the 100th day of school was celebrated with a SET tournament, a Rat-a-Tat-Cat Tournament, and creating an 100-piece piece (a piece of art using 100 forms). Ron Lev and Annette's creations were very interesting!

Mr. Esse's 3rd/4th grade class works hard all week. Depending on how focused they have been, the class can earn Choice Time. Every Thursday, they get the opportunity to work on whatever they want. A group of children have been using this time creatively to salvage an old bookshelf and repurpose it using glue, popsicle sticks, construction paper and a ton of creativity.

The Spelling Bee contest took place in the Makerspace Library last week.

Mazal tov to winner Netanel Barsky (7th grade)!

Also, Mazal Tov to Shammai Winitzer (8th grade), this year's Geography Bee Champion!  
7th/8th graders have been developing and teaching their own units based on Pirkei Avot 

7th/8th Graders Teach Units on Pirkei Avot
Mrs. Gold and Mrs. Brackman's 7th/8th Jewish Thought classes have been hard at work creating units based on different Mishnayot in Pirkei Avot (Ethics of Our Fathers). Each group received a Mishnah and then worked together to plan a unit based on a value or idea found in the Mishnah. The students created the units, source packets and class activities, and have been teaching all of us over the past few weeks. We are so proud of what each group has created, and we have all been learning many new ideas. The units include: Peace, Stepping Back, Time Management, Overconfidence vs. No Confidence, The Butterfly Effect, Don't Judge a Book by its Cover, Roots of Wisdom and Patience.

This Wednesday the 7th and 8th grade Humanities classes took a break from their work on History Fair projects to see an uplifting production of Macbeth at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

8 Questions for an 8th Grader: Avi Wilens           
Avi is a proud member of the Boys Basketball Team!
We continue our series of featuring an 8th grader in each Kibitzer; today it's Avi Wilens:  
  1. Since when have you been at Akiba? 
    I came to Akiba in 2nd grade.
  2. What neighborhood are you from? I live in West Rodgers Park.
  3. Is being an 8th grader different from your previous grades at Akiba? I hope to win the basketball tournament with my friends and classmates. Being in 8th grader is different from previous grades because you have no one to look up to, because you are the oldest. 
  4. What is your favorite subject at Akiba and why? 
    My favorite subject is Humanities because we get to learn about social injustice and get to read interesting books. We also got to do a mock Supreme Court trial. 
  5. What do you think is special about Akiba? 
    Something special about Akiba is the combined grades. I also really enjoy the basketball program, and feel special to be able to be on the first team Akiba has ever seen. 
  6. What did you learn from recently having your Bar Mitzvah? 
    Something I learned from my Bar Mitzvah was that if you put enough time into something, you can get really good at it. 
  7. When you're not at school or doing homework, what do you like to do? 
    When I'm not at school or doing homework I like to play basketball, video games, and read books.  
  8. Do you have any idea yet of what you want to be when you grow up? 
    I'm not sure what I really want to be when I grow up, but something that interests me is being in the front office of a football or basketball organization.
Art with Dara                  

Middle School students have been studying color theory. Here Leah and Meira are working on carefully mixing white and black to create a gradual, evenly spaced gray scale. Next they used two colors instead of black and white.

P.E. Update                  

5th/6th graders played scooter board Quidditch in P.E. class.

Upcoming #akibacommUNITY Events neighbor

It's Time to Register for our Summer Program!

Refuah Shleima
...to former preschool teacher and this year's annual fundraiser honoree  Sharon Vadeboncoeur, who is recovering from surgery.

History Fair Judges Needed!
  Calling all history lovers! The annual Akiba- Schechter Middle School History Fair will be on the morning of March 12, and we are looking for judges. This is a great opportunity to see the amazing thinking and work of our middle school students. If you are interested or know of someone else who would be interested, please contact Alicia Chipman.  
ATT Summer Program
Registration is open for the Nathan & Shirley Rothner ATT Summer Program. Register before March 15 for the Early Bird Bonus Discount. 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, www.att.org to view brochure and apply online.

Save the Date
Annual All-School Musical
Friday, April 5 
Sunday, April 7

Dates to Remember
Friday, February 22
#akibacommUNITY Oneg
7:00 - 8:30 PM
Lakeview: Nagorsky Home
Hyde Park: Friedman-Parks Home

Thursday, February 28
Grades K - 8

Friday, March 1
#akibacommUNITY Oneg
7:30 - 9:00 PM
Skokie: Cantz Home

Friday, March 1
Early Bus Dismissal Ends

Wednesday, March 6
Why Akiba-Schechter is the Right Choice for your Family
7:30 - 9:00 PM
Home of the Appleson Family in Skokie
RSVP to Yelena Spector, Director of Admissions

Wednesday, March 20
Erev Purim (Taanit Esther)
No late bus, no after-school programs, no kids club. Only late pick-up is in session.

Thursday, March 21
12:00 noon Dismissal for Grades 1-8
No late bus, no after-school programs, no kids club.

Friday, March 22
Shushan Purim
Grades 1-8 Rollerskating Field Trip

Shabbat, March 22 & 23
All Middle School Shabbaton
@ Akiba-Schechter
February 22, 2019  
Volume 15, Issue 11
Candle Lighting: 5:12 PM
Parasha: Ki Tisa

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