The Upstairs Preschool children have been exploring the land of Egypt. Using sandpaper and oil pastels, they created pictures of Egypt. This one is by Avital.
March 19, 2021
Volume 17, Issue 13
Candle Lighting: 6:42 p.m.
Parasha: Vayikra
It's Been a Year
by Miriam Kass, Principal

It’s been a full year since the plague of COVID arrived in our midst.

We have acquired a new vocabulary: asymptomatic, quarantine, social distancing, essential workers, antibodies, bubble (or pod), PPE, Zoom, variants, mascne (mask-acne).

We have suffered from heightened anxiety, loss of control, mental and physical illness, loss of neighbors and loved ones, financial hardship, and widespread atrophy of social skills.

We have discovered a deeper and more powerful sense of gratitude for all of life’s gifts, large and small.

We have learned that while we navigate our own personal struggles, we gain strength and fulfillment from our commitment to one another. Our Social Covenant has lifted us up and allowed our students to learn and laugh in a vibrant environment for this entire school year.

Though we are exhausted and not yet freed from this plague, our liberation is beginning to come into focus. Every day we hear from more people who, thanks to vaccinations, have experienced the unprecedented joy of hugging a grandparent or a parent for the first time in a year. Our households are starting to expand as we thoughtfully include more family and friends for Shabbat, Seder, or visits.

While we soon tell the story of our exodus from Egypt around our Seder tables, we do so with new appreciation for every part of the journey. Thank you for your patience, understanding, appreciation, and trust during this long year. We look forward to dancing with you on the other side.

Shabbat Shalom!
School under COVID-19 - For Your Reference
Dvar Torah
All week, the Kindergarteners have been working hard on their Haggadot.
Studying the Haggadah

by Rabbi David Bauman, Head of Judaic Studies and Community Engagement

The festival of Passover, particularly Seder night, is often geared towards teaching our children. Leading up to Passover, our students are deeply engaged in preparation for the festival. Grades 1-4 made their own Seder plates and will conduct a model Seder in their classrooms.

5th/6th graders will be examining the Haggadah through the lens of Tanakh (the Bible), looking at how the authors of the Haggadah took biblical verses and homiletically used them to derive different lessons. For example, when looking at the four children, the wicked child asks a question that, on the surface, seems to be rude, if not mean. Yet, when one goes back to look at the verse from Exodus, chapter 12, the verse is simply an innocent question from a child to his parents. Students will grapple with the essential question, "Why the change in emphasis by the Haggadah's author?" 5th/6th graders will also study the 10th chapter of tractate Pesachim in Mishnah, which outlines the Haggadah and the Seder meal. They will then compare and contrast the Mishnah's outline with the Haggadah that we use today.

7th/8th graders will focus on learning different commentaries on the Haggadah. These commentaries will focus on both Rabbinic sources, such as the Talmud and Midrashim, as well as commentaries from the Middle Ages such as Rabbi Don Isaac Abarbenel, who famously teaches three lessons on why the opening passage of the Magid section is written in Aramaic while the remaining sections of the Haggadah are written in Hebrew. Please ask you student for the answer on Seder night!

Our goal this year is to enhance our students' Seder experience with grade level appropriate lessons.

On behalf of the Akiba-Schechter faculty and staff, I wish you a Chag Kasher V'Semach!
Our Teva class likes to use the materials they find around them to make art. On a wet and cold day they found lots of mud to use in their paintings. They also found some patches of snow. They collected the snow in cups, mashed it into their water colors and thus widened their mud palette. Using the park building as an easel, the children worked together to create masterpieces.
Frog poses and jumps in the Downstairs Blue Room... the children are getting ready for Passover!
The Purple Room children have been learning the story of Passover. Here Claire is posing as Pharaoh to be traced, Joelle is painting a robe for Moses, and Trystan is painting a locust.
Grades 1 - 8
The Allenders making charoset during quarantine last year.
Easy and Delicious Family Passover Recipes

The 3rd/4th graders in Mrs. Brackman's class put together a beautiful cookbook of Passover recipes. We'll be featuring some of these recipes on our blog in this coming week leading up to Passover (look for new links on our Facebook page). First up: the Allender Family's recipe for Charoset.

The 3/4th grade class presented Ms. Kass with a signed thank you card and their Passover cookbook in gratitude for all her hard work.
Maddie and Ari playing for the 201 class championship, explained below.
Mr. Esse’s 3rd/4th grade classes have been focusing on mastering their times tables. Using a variety of activities, students are steadily working their way through all their multiplication facts. One of the more fun ways is by playing The Product Game, which is similar to Connect Four but involves working knowledge of products and factors. In honor of March Madness, both classes had a randomly assigned bracket in which they faced off with a classmate. The winner of a best-of-three moved onto the next round until each class had a champion. All the students had a fun time competing and showed great sportsmanship and support for each other.
Rabbi Bauman's 3rd/4th grade Chumash class played games they invented to learn vocabulary.
In Science, 5th graders were particularly happy about this Rube Goldberg machine trial.
Graph of a student's family collection of sports equipment
Graphing Collections and Learning about Proportions
The 5th/6th graders in Ms. Friesen and Polly's Math class sorted collections of things they had at home (stuffed animals, books, games) and counted items in categories. Then they created spreadsheets, bar and circle graphs, as well as pie charts for Pi Day. Students learned to look at the graphs and ask proportional questions. The class hung the graphs up around the room and had a scavenger hunt. In whose collection are dogs and cats about a fourth of the whole? How many in the fish category would fit into the feline category? What is the difference between one graph's percent of fiction books and another's? Which actually had the most books? What is the ratio of card games to board games in someone's collection?
Students looked for fractions they were familiar with visually and realized they had a good sense for what portion of a pie would take up three fourths and to verify that by adding the actual percentages. They had to decide how to approximate and learned to ask mathematical questions in many different ways. Now students are editing their questions and hanging those up on the board for other classes to answer.
Moreh Maor with Morah Dorit’s 3rd/4th grade class playing a color Hebrew quiz using the big screen and the computer. 
8 Questions for an 8th Grader
In each issue of the Kibitzer, we feature one of our 8th graders. In this edition, it is Ronit Radutny:

  1. Since when have you been at Akiba? I have been here since Ready, Set, Go when I was two years old. This is my 12th year at Akiba. 
  2. What neighborhood do you live in? I live in Streeterville.
  3. What do you hope to accomplish in 8th grade? How is being an 8th grader different from your previous grades at Akiba? In 8th grade I hope to succeed in all my classes and gain new academic skills. Being in 8th grade is different from my other years at Akiba because my classmates and I have a responsibility to set a good example for the students in the other grades. 
  4. What is your favorite subject at Akiba? My favorite subject in school Science because I find learning about the world and how it works fascinating. Science is also my favorite because I get to do a variety of fun and interesting projects that help expand my knowledge on the subject. 
  5. What do you think is special about Akiba? What do you particularly like and why? I think Akiba is special due to the small number of students and faculty. I like how everyone knows everyone. I don't think this is true for most schools, which makes Akiba special. 
  6. What did you learn from your Bat Mitzvah? From my Bat Mitzvah I learned the importance of helping people in need. 
  7. When you’re not at school or doing homework, what do you like to do (hobbies, special interests)? In my free time I enjoy reading, watching my favorite TV shows, playing basketball, and hanging out with my friends.
  8. What do you want to be when you grow up? When I grow up, I either want to be a cardiac surgeon or a cardiologist.  
PTO Mandolin Event
A big thank you to Eric Stein for sharing and demonstrating "The Mandolin in Jewish Life" on Sunday, March 7, and to our PTO for organizing this fun Zoom event!
Spring Teva Program
Summer Program
Our Friday, March 5 Day of Learning was dedicated in loving memory of Paul Basa z"l, by the Akiba-Schechter Community.

Our Tuesday, March 16 Day of Learning was dedicated to the Faculty and Staff of Akiba-Schechter in memory of Paul Basa z"l. Thank you for all your hard work and commitment! The Basa Family

Our Thursday, March 18 Day of Learning was in honor of Julia Friedman-Parks on the occasion of her Bat Mitzvah. Mazel Tov! With love from her extended family

Our Friday, March 19 Day of Learning was dedicated in loving memory of
Maurice Elkabetz Ben Mazal z"l by his daughter, Iris.
Bar Mitzvah
Mazal tov
pp Moshe Aranoff and his family on his Bar Mitzvah last Sunday, and Julia Friedman-Parks and her family on her Bat Mitzvah this Sunday. Rabbi M on the engagement of his daughter Dafna to Yehoshua Sack.

Condolences Emma (1st) and Leo (PS) Cohen and their family on the passing of their grandfather, Michael Cohen. May his memory be for a blessing. Sam Nagorsky (8th) and his family on the passing of his grand uncle Sander Levin. May his memory be for a blessing.

Regarding Financial Aid Applications:
Unless you notify our Accounting Department by the end of March, your FACTS account will be finalized for the 2021-2022 school year. The deadline for financial aid applications was 3/15/21. Our funds are limited and may run out, so please apply ASAP.
Dates to Remember
Thursday, March 25 - Friday, April 2
Passover Break
No School

Save the Date!

...for our Spring Benefit on May 2, 2021 @ 4:00 p.m. when we will Celebrate Lifelong Educators: Scott Salk and Carla Goldberg! Stay tuned for details of the special event that will include a live Zoom concert by four-time Grammy nominated Justin Roberts!
Our Community Remembers the Holocaust
Wednesday, April 7
7:00 p.m.
Virtual Event hosted by K.A.M. Isaiah
Affiliated with the Associated Talmud Torahs and supported by the Kehillah Jewish Education Fund