Zoom doesn't get any better than this! The look on these faces is priceless.  We are so thankful that our teachers are still able to make these invaluable connections with their students over Zoom. Featured are Green Room teachers Mary Beth and Susan with Claire.


(Re)Discovering Torah

I don't know about other people but lately I have been finding myself watching more YouTube videos than is probably healthy. One channel in particular has caught my attention:  Man + River . I don't suggest you click on it as you might become addicted. The show is about Dallas Rowley, a self proclaimed treasure hunter, who dives in rivers and lakes to find what others have dropped on their journeys. While it is enjoyable to see what he discovers, I have been most taken by the times he returns lost objects. He meets up with the owners, returns the lost iPhone or GoPro and brings joy to them. It is also clear what joy he appears to have in fulfilling the Mitzvah of Hashavat Aveida , the Jewish commandment of returning lost objects. He is always smiling from ear to ear when he does this. So much joy from just one Mitzvah! And tonight we are gifted 612 more!
Tonight is Shavuot, the celebration of the giving of the Torah (Bible) to the Jewish people. These days and months that have preceded Shavuot have been difficult and at the same time so many have discovered new ways to connect with friends, family and G-d. These discoveries are treasures that for many had been lost for a while and have helped bring focus to that which is most important. 
For Dallas Rowley, despite all the treasures he finds, it appears the most important aspect of what he does is bringing joy to others. It is my hope that we reflect on the new discoveries we have unearthed these past few months, and what priorities have become clear in the murkiness of life. Tonight is not a commemoration of the giving of the Torah, it is a celebration of us receiving it now. It is celebrating the clarity that the Torah is the treasure among treasures. May we all find this treasure tonight and the many treasures it affords us moving forward.

Chag Sameach v'Shabbat Shalom!
Dr. Eliezer Jones
Head of School  
From the Preschool
Making pictures of trees in winter in Parent/Tot as part of our celebration of Tu B'Shvat (the Jewish New Year of the Trees), which this year fell on February 10.
A Year of High Notes and Challenges
by Carla Goldberg, Early Childhood Director

What a year it has been! It's hard to believe that our preschool and Kindergarten programs will be ending on Wednesday. This has been a challenging year for everyone, but we also need to pause and celebrate all of our high notes. 

Green Room  children act out the Passover story.

As we are ending our year together on Zoom, we have been reflecting in our classes and remembering some of these tremendous times we experienced together this year. In the Green Room there were all of the stories the children acted out together - from Owl Baby to Harry the Dirty Dog and so many more. Each child delighted in playing a role in this communal storytelling experience.  Then in Parent/Tot we became a family and got to know each other, learned how to talk and some even learned to walk, and to have a positive first time at school. 

The Purple Room kids and the firetruck they built out of recyclables.

Loose part self-portraits by the Yellow Room

The Purple Room did a firefighter study with the children creating a giant fire truck and firefighter equipment out of recyclables. Who can forget the Yellow Room 's self-portraits - from buddy portraits to loose part and Purim portraits? The Blue Room students did a deep dive into Space and learned about the planets and built their own Land Rover. 

Working on plans for a rover in the Blue Room

The Kindergarten children loved to build and from that moved into a study of Chicago. They built the skyline out of boxes, complete with a Costco, Akiba and a hospital. The Afternoon Explorers  began this year by running in the park, then doing relay races and then became a team of children working together to support each other. A highlight was the Medal Ceremony, when each child was given a medal designed by a friend in the Maker Space. 

The Kindergarten's stunning Chicago building project

The Afternoon Explorers' medal ceremony

Throughout this whole year, we have watched our students develop friendships, and grow and blossom at Akiba. This didn't end when we had to stay safe and healthy at home but continued online in the Akiba Atmosphere. It has certainly been a challenge to engage children online, and I am deeply grateful to our teachers and parents for continuing to believe in Akiba and to support each other during these unprecedented times.  

I hope that we will be able to stay together and stay connected over the summer with the Akiba virtual summer program. We recognize that this cannot replace being together in person, and yet we hope that these times and experiences will help us continue to grow and flourish as a community of learners and friends. This Friday we will not be able to have Shabbat online because we will be celebrating Shavuot (when Moses received the 10 Commandments at Mount Sinai) but we will be celebrating Shabbat together next Friday, June 5 at 10 am in my Zoom room - I hope to see you all there!  Chag Sameach & Shabbat Shalom! 
Preschool End-of-the-Year Good-Bye Pick-Up Car Line pickup
We have come up with a plan for the children and teachers to get to "see" each other in person and ensure safety for all. We will have an End-of-Year Good-Bye Pick Up Car Line where children can see their teachers, pick up their art work and all of their belongings from Akiba-Schechter.  

Sunday and Monday, May 31st and June 1st you will be able to pick up your child's belongings from Akiba-Schechter. We will have every child's belongings (from cubbies) and artwork put together in a bag and labeled for pick up. Here is the schedule for each class:

Sunday, May 31:
10:00 a.m. -11:30 a.m.  Parent/Tot and Green Room
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.  Upstairs Blue Room
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.  Upstairs Yellow Room

Monday, June 1:
4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.  Purple Room and Kindergarten 
Akiba Atmosphere    

Red was the final color in the Purple Room's study of the rainbow, so the Purple Room friends found red in their world to share on screen. William shows off a red pot with plants, Sarah her guitar, Taylor her Elmo, and Felix his red firetruck.

The Blue Room Releases Its Butterflies!
The Blue Room released its butterflies!

Preschool Teachers' Notes on this School Year

Susan Carton (Green Room): I missed the first day of school because I had jury duty. When the judge asked what kind of work I did, I told him, "I am a teacher and today is the first day of school, I mean for our students it is the very first day of school ever." I explained how important it was for me to be at school because the children, their parents and the teachers needed to start building trusting relationships before we did anything else.
I was back at school the next day, meeting the Green Room children, building our relationships and starting a journey together. Then some months later we are not physically at Akiba, but we are still the Green Room. We are still talking and listening, singing, sharing our favorite things, and acting out stories, all on Akiba Atmosphere. We started with our relationships, and we continue to grow because of the relationships.

Jamee Rubin & Emily Bradley Schoenberg (Yellow Room): To our wonderful Yellow Room, we had such an amazing year together, from the amazing hair salons that we all created to the huge structures on the big brown rug! And who could forget our fun dance parties?  Although this year may not have ended the way we wanted it to, we are so fortunate that we were able to continue seeing your bright and smiling faces through our screen. Have a fantastic summer and no matter where you go, you will always be a part of the Yellow Room at Akiba Schechter!

Iris Putterman & Amanda Hinkle (Kindergarten): We want to take this opportunity to thank all the Kindergarten students and their families for a beautiful and memorable year together. We appreciate all the support and partnership. We will miss everyone and wish you all a safe and wonderful summer!

Mimi holds up her drawing of the tablets

The Blue Room Kids' Rules to Live By
In learning about Chag Shavuot and the Ten Commandments, the Blue Room children came up with some of their own rules to live by:
  • follow directions
  • make the world beautiful
  • listen to your teachers
  • don't pick your nose
  • don't climb on furniture
  • listen to your babysitter and your parents too
  • be kind to other people
  • don't do stuff without permission
  • don't forget to go to the potty before going on a trip
  • don't plug plugs in
  • be careful
  • don't push the window, you may fall out.
  • don't leave the house without permission. Stay with Mama
  • follow directions
Wednesday was an exciting and memorable day for the students in Kitah Alef and their families. The children received their first Siddur and did an amazing job performing their favorite songs and poem. It was heartwarming and a moment of true Nachat coming from every little square on the Zoom screen of the supportive and proud families watching. Congratulations Kitah Alef on this big day!

Yom Yerushalayim Presentation by 3rd/4th graders
4th grader Zoe presents on the site Ein Yael in honor of Yom Yerushalayim

3rd/4th Graders Celebrate Yom Yerushalayim
Leading up to Yom Yerushalayim last week, Hebrew lessons were about Jerusalem, using different words in Hebrew such as Old City, religious site, historic site, etc. As part of the study, grades 3 and 4 prepared a presentation of various sites throughout the city and presented them using several Hebrew words from the unit's vocabulary. 
The students in Moreh Maor's Hebrew speaking class prepared a cookbook for Shavuot. With this project they learned Hebrew writing of dimensions and volumes, as well as practiced verbs, wording and spelling. And in the end, they and their families also enjoyed delicious dishes and sweet cakes!
What Our Graduates Have to Say    
Avi Goldberg
Avi Goldberg
Anna Copeland
Anna Copeland
Sari Freimark
Sari Freimark
Jed Marcus
Jed Marcus
Ezra Frankel
Ezra Frankel
Chana Cantz
Chana Cantz

Yonathan Ezra
Yonathan Ezra
Watch your inbox for our next round of graduate videos next week!

Click on image for direct link
Today's Day of Learning is sponsored by the Law Offices of Helen Bloch P.C. in memory of Rabbi Bernard Zeller, who taught briefly at Akiba-Schechter during the 1980s. He was a kind and sensitive man, whose untimely passing due to COVID-19 occurred on May 15, 2020. May his memory be for a blessing. 

2020-21 School Calendar is Available!
View  here .

Dates to Remember
Friday, May 29
No School

Sunday, May 31 & Monday, June 1
Preschool Belongings Pick Up
Wednesday, June 3
Last Day of Preschool
Thursday, June 11
Graduation at 7PM on Zoom
Friday, June 12
Last Day of Day School

May 28, 2020  
Volume 16, Issue 18
Candle Lighting: 7:57 p.m.
Torah Readings for Shavuot
Affiliated with the Associated Talmud Torahs and supported by the Kehillah Jewish Education Fund