In the Blue Room, Annika draws a picture of trees in Chicago and trees in Israel in order to compare them.


"Anything that's human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone." - Fred Rogers

This Wednesday, Akiba-Schechter, in partnership with JCFS and hosted by Anshe Emet Synagogue, will present a screening of the documentary "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" about Fred Rogers and the show Mister Rogers Neighborhood. The screening will be followed by a discussion on how to talk to children in 2019. I am excited to be part of that discussion with my colleagues Miriam Kass and Carla Goldberg and share the ways we speak to children at Akiba-Schechter. While I don't want to provide any spoiler alerts, I do want to share one recent story on this topic:

The other week I got a call from a parent thanking me for something their child had told them. The child wanted to advocate for themselves and their classmates regarding an elective. When they discussed it with their parents, the students mentioned they would be setting up a time to speak to the administration. The parent was overwhelmed that their usually quiet child was comfortable speaking to the administration and felt confident that they would be heard, respected and supported for their efforts. And that is precisely how it happened.

Our students are treated with respect, are valued by us, and we do everything we can to reach them where they are at. We also work with them on building the skills to communicate confidentially, maturely and respectfully with us and the world around them.

Their young age does not make them little. They have big ideas! They have big hearts! They have big feelings! They can handle so much more than the world seems to suggest they can. The worst thing we can do is shield them from their feelings. First of all, because it is not possible. Secondly, because if we try, they learn that they are on their own. In reality, they need to know that when things are scary, as Mister Rogers suggests, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." I am proud to work with an amazing staff whom our kids know are "helpers," and who will always listen, value and treat them with the respect and care they deserve.

Also, enjoy this weeks Parsha Pedagogy Podcast on Beshalach "Sage on the Stage, G-d on the Side! Click here to listen.

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

A Soldier's Siddur
A Soldier's Siddur

From the Day School                
Live Conversation Cannot Be Replaced
by Miriam Kass, Principal
Emails and texts are convenient ways to stay in touch and impart information. That said, I am continually reminded that they often provide the illusion of a full exchange that falls short of being fulfilling or sufficient. 
The full texture of understanding that comes from honest dialogue, from meeting face to face and having a live conversation, cannot be replaced. Parent-teacher conferences, for example, are not just a ritual, they are an essential part of the connection between family and school that is central to our mission. 
In an effort to improve our connections and understandings, I invite and encourage all parents to schedule time for an in-person conversation with either Dr. Jones, Rabbi Cohen or me. When you sign up for conferences (look for sign up information in this week's bulletin) with your children's teachers, please look for a time to meet with one of us. If our conference day schedule fills up, we will open other times. 
We are looking forward to our conversations!

In celebration of Tu B'Shvat, the New Year of the Trees, the Kindergarten went on a field trip to explore the trees and green world at the Garfield Park Conservatory this Wednesday.

The Purple Room 
children have been learning about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. They have been coming up with their own ideas for making their classroom and the world a better place.

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, the Blue Room read the book Color of Us and had a discussion about how we have different color but we work as an amazing team.

From Our Blog for Tu B'Shvat                  
How to Identify Trees in Winter
by Preschool Teacher Susan Carton

One of the best things about studying to be a Master Naturalist is that  the more I learn, the more I see. 

I have always loved the trees in our neighborhood of Hyde Park. Now that I've learned a few things about their history, such as why certain trees flourish here, how they grow and survive, and their diversity, I am noticing even more about them. 
Quite fitting for the upcoming holiday of Tu B'Shvat (the New Year of the Trees in Israel), I recently participated in a winter tree ID workshop at the  Sand Ridge Nature Center Well, the take-away is that it's pretty hard, but it is something that you can learn and study your whole life. Nature is like that!

Bark seemed the obvious place to start. 

Grades 1-8                  

Mr. Salk's 1st/2nd grade is now in Africa. After a slideshow tour of the major natural features of Africa by Mr. Salk, with fascinating input by Mrs. Crook of her native South Africa, the students worked on their own physical map, highlighting the deserts, rainforest, and savannah regions. Each student will be choosing a country to focus on and learn about.

The month of Shvat is here, and Mrs. Schinasi's Kitah Bet is busy reviewing material they learned in Kitah Alef about nature and the holiday Tu B'Shvat. They began exploring all kinds of trees and are learning about the importance of trees, particularly to the land of Israel. In Hebrew, the students are learning new vocabulary about the parts of the tree. They have also been leaning Tu B'Shvat songs and are preparing for their play about an almond tree. On Thursday, they celebrated a beautiful Tu B'Shvat Seder with Kitah Alef, tasting the seven different fruits of Israel that are mentioned in the Bible.

In Mr. Esse's 3rd/4th grade, students have been working on active listening and self-monitoring their behavior. Here Benny helps lead a graded discussion. The conversation is completely student led. Students work on responding to each other and inviting everyone into the conversation. Meanwhile, Mr. Esse silently takes notes and shares the results at the end. The class has done this activity three times and has improved each time.

Last weekend's snow was put to good use during recess on Monday, when the 5th and 6th graders took the opportunity to build a model of the Temple in the Walled City of Jerusalem. 

Mrs. Brackman and Mrs. Gold's Jewish Thought classes began a new unit on Pirkei Avot (Ethics of Our Fathers). They were divided into groups of two and three students. Each group received a Mishnah from Pirkei Avot and will work on creating their own thematic units based on the Mishnah they were assigned. Students will get the chance to research these themes and then teach the rest of the class in a variety of ways, including leading discussions, sharing Jewish sources and running different games and assessments.

In Morah Dorit's high-level Hebrew class, each student had to read a newspaper article and present it to the class in any way they chose. Here, Merav is doing a mock job interview to pick the best candidate for a job in the high tech industry, demonstrating interactively what her article was about.

The 7th/8th graders went to the Museum of Science and Industry last week to participate in a learning lab. They did lab tests, echo cardiograms, and other tests on a robotic patient simulator to diagnose it with heart disease.

And don't forget to buy Shabbat Flowers on Friday after school to help raise money for the 8th grade trip to Israel! 

8 Questions for an 8th Grader: Gabi Rosenzweig           
Gabi Rosenzweig
We continue our series of featuring an 8th grader in each Kibitzer; today it's Gabi Rosenzweig
  1. Since when have you been at Akiba? 
    I have been at Akiba since Kindergarten.
  2. What neighborhood are you from? I live in Skokie.
  3. Is being an 8th grader different from your previous grades at Akiba? I hope to be the best person I can be in 8th grade! 8th grade is different from all my previous years at Akiba, because it gives me the opportunity to be a positive role model for the younger grades. 
  4. What is your favorite subject at Akiba and why? 
    My favorite subject at Akiba is Chumash, because it teaches great lessons through the history of our people. 
  5. What do you think is special about Akiba? 
    I think the close-knit family atmosphere of Akiba is very special. I love the fact that everyone is kind and supportive to each other.
  6. What did you learn from recently having your Bat Mitzvah? 
    Through my Bat Mitzvah experience, I learned the importance of being a strong young Jewish woman. 
  7. When you're not at school or doing homework, what do you like to do? 
    When I'm not in school or doing homework, I like to bike, swim, and learn about fashion. 
  8. Do you have any idea yet of what you want to be when you grow up? 
    I hope to be an interior designer. 
Art with Dara                  

Middle School artists have been carving detailed images into linoleum blocks for future printing. 

PE Update                  

Kindergarten and Kitah Bet used parachutes to learn about teamwork.

Upcoming #akibacommUNITY Events neighbor
RSVP to Jetaun Breaux.  playday
It's Time to Register for our Summer Program!

January 15, 2019
was generously sponsored by  Herschel & Jessica Joseph in loving memory of Perla Pflaster, Perel bat Shalom Tzvi A"H, on the occasion of her first yahrzeit, may her neshama have an aliyah.
January 11, 2019
was generously sponsored by  Julia Saccente-Levine wishing Happy New Year to her Akiba friends.

Mazal Tov Maya Grange (Yellow Room) and her family on the birth of her baby brother.
Save the Date!
...for our Annual Brunch Fundraising Event on Sunday, March 31. Details to come soon.
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. 
Read to Succeed

Six Flags
Grades K - 6: Read to Succeed is a free program sponsored by Six Flags Theme Parks. Every student who completes six hours of recreational reading before February 20, 2019, is eligible for a free admission ticket valid at participating Six Flags Theme Parks. For more information please contact Miriam Friedman ParksForms should be returned to the front desk by February 20, 2019. 

Dates to Remember
Monday, January 21
Martin Luther King Day
Tu B'Shvat
No School

Wednesday, January 23
Won't You Be My Neighbor?
6:30 - 9:00 PM
Movie Presentation and Panel Discussion on "How to talk to children in 2019," led by Dr. Jones, Miriam Kass, Carla Goldberg and Ann Luban, Social Worker from JCFS
@ Congregation Anshe Emet in Lakeview

Saturday, January 26
Arctic Kumzitz
7:30 - 8:30 PM
At Promontory Point by Millie's Tree
RSVP to Rabbi Cohen

Friday, February 1
New Student (incl. Siblings!) Applications Due

Sunday, February 10
3:30 - 5:00 PM
in preschool classrooms

Thursday, February 28
Grades K - 8

January 18, 2019  
Volume 15, Issue 9
Candle Lighting: 4:28 PM
Parasha: B'Shalach
Kehillah Fund logo
The Kehillah Fund (Community Fund) was created to unite the Chicagoland Jewish community in funding its day schools to raise the bar in Jewish day school education. Since 2004, the Kehillah Fund has distributed more than $11 million to Jewish day schools.

In that time, Akiba-Schechter has graciously received $647,788, an average over $45,000/ year. This month Akiba received $2,276. 

Thank you to the Akiba parents who contributed a total of $3,650 in the calendar year of 2018. If you're not already a contribute, please consider making a contribution of any amount at
Affiliated with the Associated Talmud Torahs and supported by the Kehillah Jewish Education Fund