The 8th graders did a pre-Shabbat visit to the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem today. More pictures and accounts of their trip on our Facebook page.

Akiba-Schechter has been called a "hidden gem" or "the best-kept secret." While these are wonderful accolades, we must make the gem known and the secret told. The past couple of weeks, we had the chance to do just that, and it was glorious.

Last week, I got into an Uber at 5 am energized (and I am not a morning person) to fly to Baltimore for the invitation-only 7th annual JEIC innovators retreat. I spent the next 36 hours with an inspiring group of innovative and creative teachers, educational leaders, and funders. The theme of the retreat was "Values Illuminating Actions." I had the pleasure of presenting to three different groups about the values that drive our innovation, as well as the Research and Development department at Akiba-Schechter. The response was electric. One attendee told me "it is so unique that you are developing a system to support and sustain educational innovation, rather than just bringing in different new program or the 'flavor of the month' as it were." Indeed we are, and so some of how we do things at Akiba-Schechter was not a secret anymore!

This past Monday, Miriam Kass and I, along with Rebecca Milder of the Jewish Enrichment Center, spoke to the Rodfei Sisterhood about trends in education. This was a highlight of my week as we were talking to a group of individuals dedicated to Jewish education, Hyde Park, and the future of both. Miriam and I spoke about trends like project-based learning, growth mindsets, maker learning, increasing empathy among young people and the many ways these trends represent a shift to a more personalized and real world approach that we have proudly been using for decades. While we were speaking about how we are driven by teaching children not subjects, there were literal "oohs" and "ahhs" coming from the audience. More of our secrets told!

Finally, on Wednesday, we had the pleasure of hosting a delegation of JUF professionals at Akiba, who are focused on Jewish education. They were given a school tour, had lunch with us, heard about Akiba, and asked many thoughtful questions. Many of the delegates have known about our school for many years, and through our conversations, it was clear there were some misconceptions and some truths that no longer applied. As we spoke about who we are today, based on our rich history and bright focus on the future, there were so many heads going up and down in agreement and appreciation. They seemed impressed and a few delegates said after the tour, "it is amazing that what you say about the school is true when you see it."

We plan on continuing to broadcast what makes us the great school we are, and I certainly hope you will do the same.

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

The Touch of a Heart
The Touch of a Heart

From the Day School         
What to Do So Children Don't Regress Over the Summer
by Miriam Kass, Principal
At this time of year parents often ask what their kids should do over the summer to prevent academic regression and to reinforce progress. My advice is quite simple:
make time to be
outdoors, and to read, write and play games
together and independently. I know there are all sorts of Apps and video game options out there that can simulate learning of one kind or another, and yet I still believe nothing replaces the brain and character development gained by being outdoors, and by reading, writing, and playing games with other people. Here are some ideas:

  • Take an evening walk in June and find the fireflies
  • Sit outside in different locations in and out of the city and listen to the sounds you hear
  • Learn to ride a bike, scooter or skateboard
  • Play kadima or catch with a frisbee in a park or by the lake
  • Check out one of the many outdoor films, concerts or festivals around the city
  • Get your child a Chicago Public Library or Skokie Library card and make visits to the cool, air-conditioned library part of your weekly routine. Sign up your child for the Summer Learning Challenge at your local CPL or Friends & Neighbors Summer Reading in Skokie.
  • Taking a road trip? Bring along some audiobooks or read a book aloud
  • Read the same book as your child, make time to talk and form your own book club
  • Want some specific reading suggestions? Reach out to me or your child's teacher for a list geared for your child/family.
  • Keep a family journal and take turns writing summaries of your family fun
  • Pick an out-of-town relative to be your child's pen pal this summer
  • Write kid reviews of the beaches, museums and places you visit
  • Print out some of the better photos from your phone and ask your child to write photo captions
  • Make a family cookbook
  • Build some family memories by playing games that also build vocabulary, spelling skills, strategic thinking skills, creativity and more.
    • Revisit the classics: Backgammon, Boggle, Chess, Connect Four, Hopscotch, Mastermind, Othello, Pictionary, Rummikub, Scrabble, Sorry
    • Try out some newer ones: Azul, Balderdash, Bananagrams, Blokus, Codenames, Double Shutter, Pandemic, Quoridor, Scattegories, Set, Settlers of Catan  
Every day the children in the Blue Room have been looking at their caterpillars and made entries into their observational journals.
Cuteness overload as preschoolers Annika and Owen were captured riding the West Rogers Park bus.

Afternoon Explorer Boutique
After a year-long study of mushrooms and visiting our neighborhood park often to explore nature, the Afternoon Explorers held their boutique this week. They wrapped up their exploration with an important learning about doing a Mitzvah for others. The children made different kinds of things to sell for their boutique, such as necklaces, bracelets, candies and journals. All the proceeds will go to an organization working for children.

Grades 1-8                  
The 1st/2nd graders in Mr. Salk's class did activities with their preschool buddies today. Here Annette read the "Me" book she wrote to her buddy Raia, who was quite taken with it.

Mr. Esse's 3rd/4th grade class is in the midst of an architecture unit. To better understand construction techniques, the students built buildings, first using plastic blocks, and then using marshmallows and tooth picks. They had a blast and used this experience to learn about load bearing structures (the blocks) and skeleton frame structures (the marshmallows).

In Morah Dorit's 7th/8th grade Hebrew class, Anna, Jed and Nina were busy composing a dialogue.

The 7th graders trip to Springfield happened this week. Here they are with Senator Robert Peters and teachers Alicia Chipman and Benjamin Seigle on the Illinois Senate floor.
8 Questions for an 8th Grader: Naomi Silverman        
Naomi at her Bat Mitzvah during Chol Hamoed Passover at Rodfei Zedek
We continue our series of featuring an 8th grader in each Kibitzer; today it's Naomi Silverman:  
  1. Since when have you been at Akiba? 
    I came to Akiba when I was in preschool and then I came back in second grade.  
  2. What neighborhood are you from? I live on Kenwood.
  3. Is being an 8th grader different from your previous grades at Akiba? In 8th grade I hoped to be a leader to younger students and a good friend. Being an 8th grader was different from other years because not only are you the oldest but you get more responsibility.
  4. What is your favorite subject at Akiba and why? 
    My favorite subject is Humanities. It is a mix of English and History and I find that interesting because I had never heard of that being a thing before. 
  5. What do you think is special about Akiba? I think Akiba is special because it creates a small community that everyone is part of and everyone knows everyone.
  6. What did you learn from recently having your Bat Mitzvah? From my Bat Mitzvah, I found deeper meaning in an old tradition that I hadn't thought too much about before.
  7. When you're not at school or doing homework, what do you like to do? When I am not at home, I enjoy swimming, watching Netflix, and hanging out with friends along with listening to music.
  8. Do you have any idea yet of what you want to be when you grow up? 
    I don't know yet what I want to be when I am older.
Art with Dara                  

Kindergarten students mixed primary colors and created beautiful Spring paintings.

P.E. Update                
Mrs. Price in P.E. class

Thank You For Nine Amazing Years
by Sara Price, P.E. Teacher

Shakespeare nailed it: "Parting is such sweet sorrow."  I want to take this opportunity to say thank you and goodbye to my Akiba family. For nine years you have given me the chance to share my passion for fitness and sport with our wonderful students. I have delighted in watching them struggle through the basics and grow year after year in confidence and skills. I have loved celebrating the holidays and our school unity with Color Wars and special days. I was thrilled to introduce the students to interesting sports like fencing, badminton, ultimate frisbee, and inline skating. Most of all, I have loved getting to know each one of my students over these past nine years. I wish you all success, joy, mazal, and many opportunities to stay fit and active!

Akiba has been home to me and my family, and for the friends we have made here, I am immeasurable grateful. Thank you all for your love and support over the past decade.
It is with a mix of sorrow and excitement that I say goodbye to the people and place I so dearly love and look forward to pursuing a new career in physical therapy. I can't wait to visit and see how you all continue to grow from strength to strength.

All my love,
Mrs. Price
Upcoming #akibacommUNITY Events
Mazal tov

Bar Mitzvah Naomi Silverman (8th) and her family on her Bat Mitzvah over Passover break.

Summer Drama Camps
Dream Big Performing Arts Workshop  is offering an exclusive discount to families at Akiba-Schechter for summer drama camps in June! Go to and enter the code SCHOOLSOUT19 at checkout for $15 OFF our June 10-15 and June 17-21 weekly camps.

ATT Summer Program
Registration is open for the Nathan & Shirley Rothner ATT Summer Program. Have your child experience an awesome summer. Make new friends, learn new skills with sewing, sports, art, science, rocketry, dance, cooking, magic, robotics, self-defense, daily trips and more. First session 7/1-7/19; second session 7/22-8/9. For more information call Susan Feuer/Shelley Stopek at 773-973-2828, to view brochure and apply online.

Dates to Remember
Monday, May 27
Memorial Day
No School

Wednesday, May 29
Kitah Alef Siddur Presentation
2:00 PM

Thursday, May 30
Kitah Bet Tefillah Siyum
8:30 - 9:20 AM

Wednesday, June 5
Last Day of Preschool/Kindergarten
12:00 PM Dismissal for Preschool/KDG

Thursday, June 6
4:00 PM
Congregation Rodfei Zedek

Friday, June 7
Last Day of Grade School
12:00 PM Dismissal

Sunday, Monday, June 9 & 10
No School

Tuesday, June 11
Preschool Summer Program Begins

May 24, 2019  
Volume 15, Issue 16
Candle Lighting: 7:52 PM
Parasha: Behar

Affiliated with the Associated Talmud Torahs and supported by the Kehillah Jewish Education Fund