Ronit (7th) goes through plays with the team before the game against Hillel Torah two weeks ago.
Join us for watching the Wolves last games against U of C Lab School next Wednesday, January 22 and the PTO's pizza party afterwards! More info here.

Making a Kiddush Hashem

Recently, the Siyum HaShas took place around the world. This is a celebration of the completion of the seven-year, two-pages-a-day, cycle of learning the entire Talmud. One of the celebrations was held in London's Wembley Arena with nearly 7000 Jews in attendance. While the accomplishment of finishing the Talmud is amazing, a letter from the operations manager for Wembley highlights something equally beautiful. 

You can read the letter in its entirety , but I want to quote three points highlighted in the letter (verbatim):
  1. We have a security cupboard in which we allow guests to deposit anything deemed dangerous or inappropriate. At an event this size we would have normally expected anything between 700-1000 items. Tonight we held nothing. 
  2. There was not a single incidence of drunkenness, boisterous or rowdy behavior. Not a single one. I have been at the Arena for 28 months and accommodated over 300 events in that time. Never have we had no incidence. 
  3. All the team were blown away by the amount of thank you's that we received at the end of the evening. I actually thought everyone had been instructed to do this! 
Often being Jewish means to stand out. We can choose to stand out in a positive or, G-d forbid, a negative way. There is a concept in Judaism that when we stand out we make a Kiddush Hashem, a sanctification of G-d's name, because of our behavior. Truly those who attended this event did just that. 

I share this with you, not only because it is inspiring, but also because this coming Monday we as an Akiba community have a chance to make a Kiddush Hashem. School will be closed in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but this year we organized opportunities throughout Chicago to give back to others. Many members of our community, students, parents and staff, have chosen to spend time on this day to make a Kiddush Hashem by helping others. While it may not be the Wembley Arena with 7000 people, it is just as inspiring to me. One of those opportunities is Warm Up Hyde Park, featured in today's blog post.

Thank you to all who signed up to make a difference in the lives of others!

Shabbat Shalom!
Dr. Eliezer Jones
Head of School  
Kindergarten and Parent-Tot mom Tina Miklas shows students how to use the knitting machine

Warm Up Hyde Park - A Community Knitting Project to Help those in Need
warmWe have gotten into knitting at Akiba-Schechter! One of our community service projects for  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day  is  Warm Up Hyde Park:  Our students and families have been knitting hats and scarves, which we will distribute to those in need around our every own neighborhood of Hyde Park.

From the Preschool 
See the video of this cute ceremony down below!
Deep Learning for Preschoolers and their Teachers
by Carla Goldberg, Early Childhood Director
I am excited to share that Jamee Rubin (Yellow Room and Afternoon Kindergarten teacher) and I were selected to participate in the Jewish Early Childhood Leadership Institute (JECLI). This is a 14-month-long commitment to learning, growth and stepping outside our comfort zone to explore Jewish Early Childhood through different lenses. 

Jamee and I attended the first conference this week in Itasca, Illinois and look forward to sharing all of the information we gained with our colleagues and with the Akiba community.   Some of the course topics were "What Values Do We Want our Schools to Express?", Leadership... What do We Want it to Be?" and "Learning about Ourselves through Stories." We heard incredible guest speakers present on "Pedagogical Documentation in the Jewish Early Childhood Classroom", "Using Healthy Communications to Build Community" and "How Can We Initiate Constructive Change in our Institutional Communities in Consonance with the Goals of our Institutions." It was an intense three-and-a-half days! We uncovered and dissected lots of information, asked many questions and participated in self-reflective activities. We began building new relationships with other professionals in the field that will hopefully be helpful to the Akiba community. Jamee and I were proud to represent Akiba and look forward to building upon these relationships and continuing this deep learning.

On Thursday I was able to attend the Afternoon Explorers Medal Ceremony. It was a powerful and moving ceremony where the children all wore the medals they designed for each other and held flowers like they were on an Olympic podium. This project began with weekly relay races in the park and then grew into each child designing a medal for a friend. It was a lengthy process and every child was very proud of the work they had done for each other. It was so special to watch the project unfold and then be able to witness the culminating event (see the video of the ceremony down below). The depth of the learning that is happening at Akiba on a daily basis is so unique and remarkable, and I am so proud of the children's work!

I hope you can join us in giving back by participating in one of the community-service activities we organized for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. DayThis is a new initiative for us and we're excited to do service as the Akiba Family! It's not too late to sign up! See our article on one of our service opportunities: Warm Up Hyde Park - a fun knitting project!

Shabbat Shalom!
Be sure to stop by the Blue Room's board in honor of Martin Luther King Day in the upstairs hallway of the preschool. Some of the kids ideas on "How to Make this World a Better Place:"
- Not fighting and using kind words. (Cassius)
- Playing nice will work. (Archer)
- Holding hands with friends. (Talia)
Afternoon Explorers: Medal Ceremony
Afternoon Explorers: Medal Ceremonyceremony
The Afternoon Explorers Design Medals and Hold a Ceremony
The Afternoon Explorers have been running relay races in the park. Their teacher Molly  brought  in some the  medals  she received when she ran marathons. After seeing Molly's running medals, the children were inspired to design medals of their own. Working with a partner, the children came up with an image they wanted on their medal, and their partner designed the medal for them. Then they took the designs to Emily in the Makerspace, who used the laser cutter to create the designs on draft board. The medals turned out beautifully, and everyone was happy with their partner's work. The class then decided to have a medal ceremony. The children made  bouquets to carry at the ceremony. Yesterday, on a cold January afternoon, the Explorers stood on the preschool playground stage, proudly wearing their medals and holding their flowers, singing the National Anthem and cheering for each other.
The Green Room kids made sock puppets and love playing and singing with them.
Day School      
Bartering simulation in Mrs. Leonard's class

The Complexity of Bartering
The 3rd/4th graders in Mrs. Leonard's class love learning about economics. So far the kids have learned about wants/needs, goods/services, producers/consumers, resources (human, natural and capital), opportunity cost, trade, barter and scarcity. There has been a great deal of hands-on learning. In order for the children to understand the complexity of bartering, the kids participated in two barter activities. In the first activity, each child had three items (for example three bushels of wheat) and three other items they needed. In the second simulation, the children had real objects and a list of six items they needed to procure, which was not always fair. They learned to work together to get what they needed. The class had a rich discussion afterwards and made connections to real life situations.
In order to create an interactive learning environment, Moreh Maor's Hebrew classes (3rd -7th grade) recently collaborated with the Walder Institute of Education and created educational games for learning Hebrew. So far, the kids seem to be excited about the games and even created their own rules, questions and tasks.
The crew of Seussical, this year's play, has been hard at work creating props. Performances will be on Friday, March 27 and Sunday, March 29. Save the Date!
8th graders Netanel and Ezra visited the 2nd grade davening group to teach them about the Mitzvah of Tefillin and the Shema prayer. Both of them received their Tefillin from grandparents so it was also a wonderful example of l'dor va dor (from generation to generation). They did a great job explaining.

Our 8th graders hope you will support their upcoming trip to Israel by purchasing raffle tickets, click here to learn more!
The Afternoon Makerspace class began with the idea of making donuts, and, as promised, by way of learning bookmaking, it ended with making donuts this week. Here Isaac and Shoshana are getting the batter ready.
Some samples of the beautiful artwork and essays that Mrs. Brackman's Jewish Thought class submitted for the ATT's Asher Essay and Art Contest. The photos are of Purim and Tu B'Shvat.
8 Questions for an 8th Grader
We continue our series of featuring one of our 8th graders in each issue of the Kibitzer. This time, it is Sari Freimark
  1. Since when have you been at Akiba? I have been at Akiba since 2nd grade.
  2. What neighborhood do you live in? I live in West Rogers Park.
  3. What do you hope to accomplish in 8th grade? How is being an 8th grader different from your previous grades at Akiba? I'm not sure what I want to accomplish in 8th grade. I know that I do want to make the most of my last year at Akiba and make many memories with my friends before leaving for high school. I feel that 8th grade is different for me in that a chapter of my life is coming to an end and a new chapter will start to unfold soon. But the next chapter is scary, and I don't want to turn to the next page. Change is hard and frightening, but it's something everyone goes through.
  4. What is your favorite subject at Akiba and why? My favorite subject. I honestly like all of them, some more than others, but I do like them all. There all different and enjoyable in their own way.
  5. What do you think is special about Akiba? What do you particularly like and why? 
    I think the people at Akiba is what makes the school special. 
  6. If you have had your bat mitzvah or are preparing for it, what did you learn from it? I relearned that I don't like having the spotlight on me. I didn't do any form of speech or dvar torah, though I did have a bunch of people come up to shake my hand and tell me mazal tov. 
  7. When you're not at school or doing homework, what do you like to do? I enjoy writing, drawing and reading in my free time. 
  8. What do you want to be when you grow up? I'm not sure what I want to be when I am older. There are many options, but I would rather not think too far ahead into the future.
Prizes include: Lakehouse Getaway, Sports tickets, Night on The Town and more!   
Help us celebrate the end of the Akiba-Schechter Wolves' regular season!
playThe final game is Wednesday January 22 @ U Chicago Lab.
Location: University of Chicago Lab School, 5835 S. Kimbark Ave, Chicago
Game Time: Boys 4:30 PM, Girls 5:30 PM 
Join us for the games and meet us at Akiba at 6:30ish for pizza.
Cost for pizza: $10 per family, cash or check. Game attendance is free.
RSVP via evite.



Condolences Kindergarten and Kitah Alef teacher Iris Putterman on the passing of her mother  Rachel Elkabetz. Rabbi David Minkus, preschool parent and rabbi at Rodfei Zedek, on the passing of his grandfather Leonard Lappe. the Molasky Family on the passing of Stephen Molasky, former longtime Akiba board member and alumni parent.

May their memories be for a blessing.

Refuah Shleima
.... to Netanel Barsky (8th grade) who is recovering from foot surgery. 

Enrollment Deadline
.... for all new students, including siblings, is January 31, 2020

Donations Welcome
... for the various service projects that our community will partake in on our MLK Community Service Day. Collection boxes are in the atrium for the following items (for children 12 and under):  
  • New or gently used clothing, nursery items, coats, shoes, toys and books. 
  • Only new socks, pajamas, underwear, baby hygiene items, art supplies and school supplies. 
Preschool Summer Program Sign Up is Open!

Early Bird Discount until February 14! 

Dates to Remember
Monday, January 20
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
No School
Monday, January 27
@ Anshe Emet Synagogue
7:00 p.m.
Friday, January 31
New Student Application Deadline
Monday, February 10
Tu B'Shvat (New Year of the Trees)
School in Session
Thursday, February 13
Parent/Teacher Conferences
No Grade School. No Buses. Preschool and Kindergarten in session until 12:00 p.m.
Friday, February 14
Professional Development Day
No School
Monday, February 17
Presidents Day
No School

January 17, 2020  
Volume 16, Issue 10
Candle Lighting: 4:27 p.m.
Parasha: Shemot
Affiliated with the Associated Talmud Torahs and supported by the Kehillah Jewish Education Fund