The Blue Room children have been learning about Michelangelo.
Mimi was so taken by the idea of drawing on the ceiling that she got to working.
See her resulting drawing below.


Our Guiding Principle

This week was filled with so much love, joy and tears. It was a week of light. What made it so bright? The way we treat each other. The week began with the PTO dropping off treats (see pictures below) for all our staff to show appreciation and care. It certainly started off my week with a huge smile, and I am so grateful. Then we had meaningful Yom Hazikaron ( Israel's Remembrance Day) programming on Tuesday, followed by what I can only describe as my favorite Yom HaAtzma'ut (Israel's Independence Day) programs ever experienced. Over Zoom, we had a musical Hallel and concert by Yonina, where together we created beauty, emotion and community in a way I was not sure was possible online. In an email from Yonina after the concert, they wrote: 

" We were just talking between us how your school seems to be really dedicated to the students...and the children were so sweet." 

These nearly two months of online school and staying at home have been challenging, but one thing has remained truer than ever: We teach children, not subjects. We treat each other like we want to be treated. We love each other as we love ourselves. This is a fundamental, if not the fundamental, Jewish law mentioned in this week's Torah (Bible) portion. It is also at the heart of the Parsha story I created for the Kindergarten and that I shared at our weekly grade school Parsha lunch. It felt appropriate to share it with all of you this week as you are all living it during these days apart. Thank you! I hope we only continue to become closer to each other despite being so far apart and remain guided by this fundamental idea.

Click on picture below to watch the Parsha Story: 

Shabbat Shalom!
Dr. Eliezer Jones
Head of School  
From the Preschool
Preschooler Autumn's flag
Creating Special Moments for Young Children Online
by Carla Goldberg, Early Childhood Director

When I tell people that Akiba's Early Childhood Program has gone online their response is often, "Really, how in the world do you do that?" After I explain, the next question tends to be, "... and why do you do it?"  These are both very valid questions and probably ones we have all asked ourselves. Now, after participating in Akiba Atmosphere for many weeks (or is it years?)' I feel strongly that I have the answer to both questions. 

We created online classes at Akiba by thinking of our children first. We consider the children in each particular classroom, and think about how we can plan programming that will engage them, make them think and help them to connect with other children and adults outside of their own household. This is holding to our core value of teaching children, not subjects. It's amazing to me how this one phrase can actually embody so very much.  

Our "why" in providing online learning for young children is simple: It is because we care about the mental health of our children. We want to create something that they can look forward to, a place where they can see their friends and teachers and have a routine for their day.  With so much unpredictability right now, the online schedule creates a framework that children can count on and lean into each day or whenever they are able to attend. We know that it is not a perfect platform for each child.  Yet we know that we will continue to work tirelessly to create moments for each child that feel important, powerful and remind them that they are a part of a larger community that loves them and cares about them.  

Every day there are moments that are truly incredible and thought provoking. Children are continuing to do "deep dives" into learning and are working on their critical thinking skills. In Afternoon Explorers this week, the children came up with "super powers" that they would like to have and then wrote a comic together in which they were the heroes. There were Spiderman and Batman powers, super speed and strength, and then Annika shared her super power that "Can make the Corona virus go away." Those are powerful words and thoughts from a five year old about what she would like to be able to do in this world. Our online classroom gave her the space to share these ideas and feelings.  

This week we have been celebrating Yom HaAtzma'ut (Israel's birthday). Each classroom has made flags, plane tickets and learned about the country of Israel. Today we "flew" to Israel and celebrated Shabbat together. Our teachers reported from different cities and locations all over Israel and shared what is special about the different parts of Israel.   

Kindergartener Meira and her brother Stuart (2nd) created a Kotel in their living room.
One of our Kindergarten students, Meira and her brother Stuart, are so excited about the "trip" that they created a giant Kotel (Western Wall) in their living room, complete with areas to put notes inside of it, just like the real Wall. This excitement and engagement is even more than we could have hoped for when planning this week! We are providing them with things to look forward to when everything right now is so uncertain in the world. 

It is an honor and privilege to be creating these memories along with your children. Thank you for continuing to engage with us even when we are apart, and for recognizing the important work we are all doing together for our very youngest children. I hope that we can all take a minute and celebrate these special little victories together.   
Summer Program Update: We are closely monitoring the upcoming guidelines and suggestions and will be providing you with updates about Akiba's Summer program as soon as possible.  We appreciate your patience and understanding as we are working with many organizations to provide clear health and safety guidelines for our children and staff. 

Stay safe and healthy at home and Shabbat Shalom!
Akiba Atmosphere    
The Blue Room celebrated Yom HaAtzmaut together on Wednesday.
The winning 5th/6th grade group from the Yom HaAtzmaut Escape Room!

Mimi's "ceiling" drawing ceiling

I n honor of Yom Hazikaron, Mrs. Brackman invited two University of Chicago students to her Jewish Thought class who were former IDF soldiers. Ben Ross of Champaign, IL and Alex Lando of NY shared their experiences of their army service with the students. It was very informative and the students asked great questions.

Virtual Tour of Israel
For Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Mr. Amiel took his different classes on a virtual tour of Israel. They soared over the booming metropoli of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, flew over the verdant valleys of the Galilee, meandered through archaeological sites like Meggido, took a refreshing (virtual) dip in the Dead Sea and the Kinneret, and finished by taking in the glory of the fortress Masada.  
In addition they toured the Tower of David museum to get a sense of the history of the land of Israel, who ruled it and when. They discussed the Babylonians and Byzantines, Mamluks and Mongols, from the first temple period to the expiry of the British mandate. The students asked such wonderful questions! It was an absolute joy for all involved.
1st - 5th graders made artful thank you notes for essential workers.

Thank You Notes for Essential Workers
 by Dara Henning

This week in Art, 1st through 5th graders discussed what it means to be an essential worker and what kinds of jobs essential workers have. Many children have parents who have to go to work! We talked about how so many people have to go to work so that we can stay home and have enough food, and stay safe and healthy. Elli Goodman (Stuart and Meira's mom) approached me and said that if we made artful signs and cards for essential workers in hospitals, she could arrange to get them to people who would greatly appreciate them. Another Akiba parent told me how to upload photos of our artwork so that University of Chicago hospital workers will see it, too. And as always, examples of the artwork are in the Atmosphere Gallery
A big thank you to the PTO for their cookie delivery this Sunday to teachers and staff. Look at all those smiling faces despite the masks! cookie
8 Question for an 8th Grader
We continue our series of featuring an 8th grader in each issue of the Kibitzer. This time it is
Verdit Szmulewitz:

1. Since when have you been at Akiba? I have been at Akiba since pre K.
2.  What neighborhood do you live in? I live in Hyde Park.
3.  What do you hope to accomplish in 8th grade? How is being an 8th grader different from your previous grades at Akiba? By the end of 8th grade, I hope to improve my writing skills in Hebrew and English. For me, the only difference between 8th grade and other years has been the online classes.
4.  What is your favorite subject at Akiba and why?
I enjoy Science and Math a lot because they challenge me .
5.  What do you think is special about Akiba? What do you particularly like and why?
My bat mitzvah helped me improve my public speaking. I would like to say my bat mitzvah heightened my Jewish experience but that's not how it was for me. 
6.  If you have had your bat mitzvah or are preparing for it, what did you learn from it?I learned from my Bar Mitzvah how to organize my time well.
7.  When you're not at school or doing homework, what do you like to do? I enjoy making art and playing basketball in my spare time.
8.  What do you want to be when you grow up? My dream job would be a forensic scientist.
Our  Monday, April 20, Day of Learning was dedicated by Lorraine Horwitz in honor of Ezra Erlebacher's birthday.

Our Friday, May 1, Day of Learning w as dedicated by the Friedman-Parks Family i n memory of Rosann (Rosie) Parks (Z"L)  on the  occasion  of her 19th Yartzheit 7 Iyar 5780.
Mazal tov
Bar Mitzvah Jacob Rapaport (7th) and his family on his Bar Mitzvah celebrated in Akiba Atmosphere last week!
Preschool Summer Program
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2020-21 School Calendar is Available!
View  here .

Dates to Remember

Monday, May 25
Memorial Day
No School
Friday, May 29
No School
Wednesday, June 3
Last Day of Preschool
Thursday, June 11
Friday, June 12
Last Day of Day School

Please Send Picture of your Children Learning Online!
Parents: Please email us more pictures of your kids doing online school at home to We want to use them in the yearbook!

May 1, 2020  
Volume 16, Issue 16
Candle Lighting: 7:30 p.m.
Parasha: Acharei-Kedoshim
Affiliated with the Associated Talmud Torahs and supported by the Kehillah Jewish Education Fund