In the Upstairs Preschool, the children held a Tu B'Shevat dance party, wearing special "tree" crowns they had made themselves.
January 29, 2020
Volume 17, Issue 10
Candle Lighting: 4:42 p.m.
Parasha: BeShallach
What Community Looks Like Now
by Carla Goldberg, Early Childhood Director

We all know that this past year has changed what it looks like to build and be part of a community. We are no longer able to gather in person, have impromptu get togethers, and share a meal. Instead, at Akiba, we have looked for new ways to build and strengthen our community. 

This week the PTO hosted Dr. Ben Garber, a Holocaust survivor, for an International Holocaust Remembrance Day Zoom event. He told his story about being a child in the Wilno (Vilna) ghetto. It was a remarkable evening for so many reasons. Dr. Garber was an incredible speaker, who nevertheless had not shared his story with a group like this before. We were witnessing a first, and it was such a special experience. I watched as the 104 participants on Zoom held their breath, smiled and possibly shed a tear together. I also noticed that many of those 104 people were often members of the extended Akiba family, grandparents and parents from around the world, alumni parents and students, friends and family I didn't even know. Despite not being in the same physical room, we had a collective experience that I will never forget. Thank you, Elli Goodman, for coordinating this event!
Thank you again to Dr. Ben Garber (shown here with his family) for sharing his story - A Child of the Ghetto - with more than 100 participants at our Zoom event in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day this past Wednesday evening, January 27. Click here to watch a recording of the event.
This week the grade school had to switch to remote learning because our principal, Miriam Kass, is home recovering from Covid. I want to thank all of the families and students for adapting so easily and with such positivity. We recognize that school in the Akiba Atmosphere is not the same as in person, and we are grateful that we are able to nimbly switch when needed to keep our community safe and healthy. Our teachers collaborated and made it work in a difficult situation, and for that I am grateful. Thank you to all of the families who inquired about Miriam and let her know that they were thinking about her and that she should remain resting and not work from home! 
Our Kindergarten ZoomRoom also expanded their community this week. In celebration of Tu B'Shevat, they did a virtual field trip to Israel to learn about almond trees from a friend. Did you know almonds start out black? - What a unique and fun experience for our students to have at this time!

In the coming weeks, we will be celebrating the Kindergarten's 100 days of school. Every year this is a monumental day. This year's celebration will look different, but we have even more to celebrate since we have been able to be together in this year of uncertainty. We have lots of plans underway for parents and classrooms to send recorded messages of congratulations and to make cards (Shh - don't tell the children; it will be a surprise!). 

I look forward to continuing to find new ways to be a community, both with our students and as a parent body (PTO cheese tasting event coming soon, see below). I am so proud and grateful that Akiba-Schechter is finding new ways to support one another during these challenging times, and every day I feel lucky to be a part of this community. 

Shabbat Shalom!
School under COVID-19 - For Your Reference
Dvar Torah
Which Brachah to Recite?
by Rabbi David Bauman, Head of Judaic Studies and Community Engagement

To say that we live in interesting times is an understatement. Yet, despite the darkness over the last year we have gone through and which we continue to confront, lessons emerge from which we can learn.

Over the last few weeks, the 7th and 8th grade Rabbinics classes have been studying the topic of "Which Brachah (blessing) should be recited, and when, upon receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?"

For example, when the vaccine was first distributed, many recited the Shechyianu blessing, which marks our joy at the newness of occasions. This week I recited this same blessing upon receiving my first shot of the vaccine. I anticipate reciting the blessing HaTov VeHaMativ, identifying how life is getting better, upon receiving the second shot. Finally, upon hearing the news that we have reached herd immunity, I am preparing to utter the blessing HaGomel, marking our passing through this most dangerous time.

There is no right or wrong as to which blessing is recited and when. Please ask your 7th and 8th graders their opinion and listen to their amazing reasoning.

May we all be safe and thank God for the scientists and frontline workers, who are enabling us to make it through this pandemic.

Shabbat Shalom!
In celebration of Tu B'Shevat, the Teva Means Nature class made birthday cakes for the trees out of snow and decorated them with sticks and wood slices.
This week ZoomRoom, in honor of Tu B’Shevat, the children learned all about trees. After they watched videos of extreme zip-line excursions, filmed on go-pro cameras, they decided to create their own zip-lines. The children enjoyed sharing with one another the course each of their zip-lines traveled. One mentioned that the zip-line went above her sister’s house, a lake, and over another human. Another child made her zip-line travel in a circle. One child mentioned she made her course a little less severe and bumpy for her brother, who does not like moving too fast. Another child wrote in the design of the zip-line, “Dad, I am up here!”
10 Fun and Easy Tu B'Shevat Activities to Do With Young Children

Tu B'Shevat might be officially over but Carla's new article in Kveller offers fun activities you can still easily do at home with your kids (all based on preschool classroom projects), such as:

Create a paper collage tree (see picture above, a work by a Kindergartener):
Give your child different scraps of paper, such as magazines, junk mail, tissues, or construction paper. Rip the paper into different size strips (bonus: it’s a great activity to build fine motor skills). On a sheet of paper, help your child arrange the bits of paper and then glue them to create a tree. Don’t forget to explain to your child that paper comes from trees!

Grades 1 - 8
As part of their South America study, the 1st/2nd graders explored the trees of the Amazon last week. An apt topic in the time of Tu B'Shevat!
In Mrs. Brackman's 3rd/4th grade Jewish Life class, Shayna shows her Tu B'Shevat platter of fruits to her classmates.
Ms. Lilly's 5th/6th grade Humanities students presented their biography posters about Greek gods & goddesses last week.
As part of his Hebrew lessons, Moreh Maor is always looking for challenging and interesting ways to get students to read. One way he has found is to translate the names of continents, countries and cities into Hebrew. In order to connect the name in English to the name in Hebrew, students need to read and pronounce the letters and syllables correctly. Along the way, they also learn some geography...
The Globe staff has been hard at work putting together their second edition of the 2020-21 Globe. This edition contains multiple stories, a crazy interview with our beloved Mr. Amiel, fun facts, a book review, a crossword puzzle, and much more! It even has a table of contents (see just a glimpse of it above) that will take you directly to the section by simply clicking on it. You can read it all here.
8 Questions for an 8th Grader
In each issue of the Kibitzer, we feature one of our 8th graders. In this edition, it is Lilac Marcus:

  1. Since when have you been at Akiba? I have been at Akiba since 2nd grade, so this is my seventh year.
  2. What neighborhood do you live in? I live in Skokie.
  3. What do you hope to accomplish in 8th grade? How is being an 8th grader different from your previous grades at Akiba? I hope to be more organized this year. Eighth grade is not so different except for having to wear masks. 
  4. What is your favorite subject at Akiba? My favorite subject at Akiba is Humanities because I have so many interesting units.
  5. What do you think is special about Akiba? What do you particularly like and why? Akiba is special because I am able to talk with any teacher when I need help and I have very specialized learning.
  6. If you have had your bar mitzvah or are preparing for it, what did you learn from it? I learned from my bat mitzvah to be able to make a speech with only a few bullet points. 
  7. When you’re not at school or doing homework, what do you like to do (hobbies, special interests)? When I’m at home, I enjoy sleeping, reading and spending time with my family. 
  8. What do you want to be when you grow up? When I grow up, I would like to be either an architect or interior designer.
Save the Date!
PTO Virtual Cheese & Chat

Saturday, February 13
8:00 p.m.

Join us for a virtual tasting of kosher cheese with The Cheese Guy.
Cost is $65 per box, shipping included.
Three gourmet cheeses and crackers will be delivered cold and fresh to your home.

Sign up here by February 10 by 2:00 p.m. to ensure delivery.
Our Friday, January 22 Day of Learning was dedicated in loving memory of (Le"ilui Nishmat) Perla Pflaster, Perel Bat Ha'Rav Shalom Tzvi by Herschel Joseph.

Our Monday, January 25 Day of Learning was dedicated to all the amazing teachers at Akiba, and our children's teachers in particular: Arun, Emily, Mary Beth & Susan. We are so grateful to you for all you have done for our children.THANK YOU! Katherine & Keith Myers-Crum

Our Thursday, January 28 Day of Learning was dedicated to the full and prompt recovery of Miriam bat Rahel by Aliza Dahan Barsky.
Challah Fundraiser
Bring home the sumptuous flavor of a handmade challah and help our 8th graders raise money for a class trip and/or class gift. Orders must be placed by Wednesdays here.

Refuah Shleimah our Principal Miriam Kass. We look forward to seeing you back at school soon! Roberta Evans, alumni parent and former Board member.

Condolences Ezra (8th), Vered (2nd), Ayelet (1st), Avital (preschool) and the entire Bader Family on the passing for their great-grandmother Roselyn Zimmerman z"l. preschool teacher Becky Rubin on the passing of her aunt, Muriel Kasanov z”l.

May their memories be for a blessing.
Dates to Remember
Monday, February 15
Presidents Day
No School

Thursday, February 25
Fast of Esther
Half day: Preschool/Kindergarten in person, Grades 1-8 Online

Friday, February 26
No School
Affiliated with the Associated Talmud Torahs and supported by the Kehillah Jewish Education Fund