The Blue Room children have been learning about the solar system. Annika's grandma, Oma, visited the classroom, taught the children about Venus and did a volcanic eruption experiment with them using baking soda and vinegar. Our grandparents are important and cherished members of our community!
If you're a grandparent, please consider joining our L'Dor V'Dor Society, if you haven't already.

Mistakes That Are Not Mistakes At All

I have had the pleasure of teaching Parsha weekly through hands-on learning to a few groups of 5th/6th and 3rd/4th graders. Each week, students watch a Parsha video, are given more details and a specific material to transform into something about the Parsha. It has been fun, but the exciting part I have been observing is represented in this week's Parsha. 

One of Facebeek's initial mottos was "move fast and break things," the idea being that you will make mistakes, but to keep moving forward and fixing the mistakes along the way. Don't get stuck overthinking everything because of fear of failure. It is inevitable. However, you will create amazing things if you know that and keep learning while you move forward. I wonder if Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, got the idea from this week's Parsha, when  the Jews finally get their freedom. At the same time they are given the Mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh, the celebration of the new Jewish month. Why is it presented at this time? First, it is a marking of time. The Jews are no longer slaves where time was not theirs; now it was. Second, it is a time of renewal, which is the Facebook message.

Rosh Chodesh is the start of a new month. It's a time of rebirth. It's a time to try again. It's a time to start over. It teaches us that with our freedom we should do something good, but that we may stumble along the way. Yet, that should not stop us from moving forward. It isn't that we should strive to make mistakes. It is that mistakes are inevitable and we should learn from them so that we don't make the same mistakes in the future. 

This is what I see in the Parsha class. The students use their immense creativity to illustrate their learning, but the path to the final project is often riddled with things they need to fix to get what they are looking for. In the end, I see are students realizing that these "mistakes" are not mistakes at all, but parts of the process of learning. 
Shabbat Shalom!
Dr. Eliezer Jones
Head of School  
From the Day School 
Big Question: How Do We Raise Compassionate Children in a Scary World?
by Miriam Kass, Principal
Last Shabbat, I had the pleasure of attending the Bar Mitzvah of a family friend, Jared. In his reflections about the week's Torah portion, Jared focused not on the seven plagues, but on Moshe and his brother Aaron. Moshe, he explained, is the only one to mention his speech impediment. Could it be, Jared asked, that Moshe's speech impediment was "all in his head?" If it was real, why didn't God fix it? While we pondered this, Jared moved on to his real hero, Aaron. Aaron's support helps his brother Moshe overcome his fear and self-consciousness. Without Aaron's support, Moshe would not be able to lead the people out of Egypt. "I want to be like Aaron," Jared told us. "I want to be the brother to my three siblings who supports them when they're anxious. I want to help people in need."  

How do we raise compassionate and empathetic children like Jared in a world that is scary to us and to them? This was the Big Question our panel addressed on Monday night. Tracey Kite, social worker and parent educator from JCFS, Rabbi David Wolkenfeld from Anshe Sholom, and I spoke about raising compassionate children in the family, synagogue (or community), and school contexts. It was a meaningful discussion for the Akiba parents and community members in attendance, and I'm happy to share some of the takeaways with you here:
  • Identify and prioritize values to direct family choices and decisions, not fear.
  • Remember that the fifth commandment teaches us to honor your parents. Additionally, that there should be mutual respect between adults and children.
  • Learn Torah and read rich literature with your children. This exposes them in a meaningful way to much of life's frightening and difficult topics. 
  • Focus on being fully present with children and listen carefully to their questions and concerns. That would mean without Smartphone interruptions and the like from work and elsewhere. 
  • Revisit conversations, both easy and challenging, in order to keep open lines of communication and provide a safe space to talk about life's ups and downs. 
Join us on Tuesday, February 25, for a movie showing of No Small Matter, a powerful documentary on the importance of quality early childhood education.   
Shabbat Shalom!
In Parent/Tot the children created snow art.
In the Purple Room, Jaxon takes a good look at the classroom snails. The students have many questions. Do snails have eyes? Where? What is their favorite food? Do they have teeth or mandibles? We are watching and learning the answers.
Bubble fun at J Baby!
Day School      
The biggest writing project in Mr. Salk's 1st/2nd grade class is writing a "published book," which involves writing a lengthy draft, getting feedback from a classmate, conferencing with Mr. Salk, typing it on a computer, cutting, gluing, illustrating the pages, and designing the cover, including an "about the author" page and a summary for the back cover. Here Talia reads her published Book "Pump Attack" to her riveted classmates.
Rabbi M's 3rd/4th Chumash class did projects in the Makerspace. The project is based on the Parsha of the week and its main feature is paper. The students used their creativity and made models of things they remembered from the Parsha Shmot.
Mr. Esse's 3rd/4th grade class has been studying landforms. Each student picked a landform to study, used the internet to research it and made a slideshow to share with classmates. They also used a material similar to paper mache to create a 3-dimensional version of their landform. The students thoroughly enjoyed getting their hands dirty to mold and shape their landform, which they painted the following day. The finished products will be on display in the hallway outside of room 209. In this picture, Nami enjoys molding her landform. Also pictured are Isaac and Tamar.
The Spelling Bee began on Thursday with lots of contestants, grade 3-8.  We are down to 4 finalists and the winner will be determined on Monday.
The 7th/8th graders have been building dollhouses in Science class as part of their electricity and circuitry unit. Each dollhouse had to have at least one simple and one parallel circuit. They also had to have at least two rooms and be fully furnished. Bonus points were given to groups who also soldered in resistors and included the Ohms Law calculations.
One of the 7th/8th grade Holocaust study projects was a series of illustrated Instagram posts contrasting what it must have been like to live as a homosexual in Nazi Germany versus what it is like today.

How Can We Use Our Learning About the Holocaust to Better Our World Today?

In honor of  International Holocaust Remembrance Day  we share a Holocaust unit recently completed by our 7th/8th grade Humanities class. Working individually, in pairs, or in a group, students tackled the question:

How can we use our learning about the Holocaust to better our world today? 

This was a challenging question and task, but they produced a diverse group of projects that highlight injustice in our world today as well as ways to work against it.

Art with Dara
In Art class, students have been studying color theory. They have been mixing black and white paint to create gradients of gray, and then coming up with names for their colors after looking at some paint chip examples from the hardware store.
8 Questions for an 8th Grader
Nina with her first place medal after winning the Illinois qualifier for the 17 and under Women's Epee for the Junior Olympics
We continue our series of featuring one of our 8th graders in each issue of the Kibitzer. This time, it is Nina Glick
  1. Since when have you been at Akiba? I have been at Akiba for nine years.
  2. What neighborhood do you live in? I live in Lincoln Park.
  3. What do you hope to accomplish in 8th grade? How is being an 8th grader different from your previous grades at Akiba? 8th grade is different from the other grades because you try to bond more with your friends, because you know it's your last year with a lot of them.
  4. What is your favorite subject at Akiba and why? I love all my classes because all my teachers are absolutely wonderful.
  5. What do you think is special about Akiba? What do you particularly like and why? 
    Akiba has an amazing community, and everyone is completely accepting of everyone else's religious customs, political views, and personal challenges. 
  6. If you have had your bat mitzvah or are preparing for it, what did you learn from it? When preparing for my bat mitzvah, I learned a lot about how consistency is important in order to master something.
  7. When you're not at school or doing homework, what do you like to do? When I'm not at school, I enjoy fencing, researching political issues, and listening to country music.
  8. What do you want to be when you grow up? When I get older, I'd like to pursue a career in politics or embryology.
Grandparents - L'Dor V'Dor Society ldor
A Big Thank You our grandparents who have joined the L'dor V'dor Society! Your support means the world to us and we're grateful that you are involved in your grandchildren's education.

If you're not a member yet, join the below list of grandparents who proudly support Akiba-Schechter and their grandchildren's education by signing up here
Leonard and Phyllis Berlin
Albert and Delores Erlebacher
Paul and Jane Fish
Penny Fisher
Rachel Gersten
Sherry Glick
Gail and Lee Gordon
Gerald and Adrian Grubb 
Lorraine Horwitz
Nelson and Michele Kanter
Emma and Phil Lehtman
Evelyn Lowenthal
Miffie and Sy Nagorsky
Janet and Gary Resnick
Samuel and Irene Shanes
"Oma" Jean Singer
Bryna and Allan Towb 
8th Grade Raffle 

Thanks to all who have bought raffle tickets so far:
Levi Zeffren
Shuie Freimark
Shari Wolfe
Miriam Kass
Amy Castaneda
Linda Siegler
Tricia Berlin
Lisa Rosen
Lawrence White
Larry Freimark
Lev Katz
Gary Rubenstein
Heather Waitzman 
Brian Nagorsky
Elly Latinik
Aliza Dahan
Eric Rothner
Marwa Zohdy
Jennifer Uson
David Copeland
David Lowenthal
Lauren Reeves
Paul Berks
Noemy Skidelsky
Steven Erlbacher
Rhonda Secor  
Marsha Goldberg
Events small

RSVP here.

PTO ice

Parent/Teacher Conferences
Thursday, February 13
Sign up info here.

Thank You
Dear friends,
There are not enough words for me to express my gratitude for all of your support and love you have given me during this challenging time.  I appreciate every text, email, cards, warm wishes and generous gifts. I feel fortunate to be a part of this beautiful and warm community and family. Toda.
With much love,
Iris Putterman
Kindergarten and Kitah Alef

Preschool Summer Program Sign Up is Open!

Early Bird Discount until February 14! 

Celebrating 25 Years of the Kehillah Fund
Motzei Shabbos, February 22
7:30 p.m. in Lincolnwood

Dates to Remember
Friday, January 31
New Student Application Deadline
Sunday, February 9
ASJDS on Ice ( PTO Event)
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Midway Plaisance Ice Rink

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

Tuesday, February 25
No Small Matter (Community Screening)
7:00 p.m.
@ Akiba-Schechter

January 31, 2020  
Volume 16, Issue 11
Candle Lighting: 4:44 p.m.
Parasha: Bo
Affiliated with the Associated Talmud Torahs and supported by the Kehillah Jewish Education Fund