The 8th graders had a fabulous adventure last week on their camping trip to Bull Frog Lake.
May 28, 2021
Volume 17, Issue 17
Candle Lighting: 7:56 p.m.
Parasha: Beha'alotecha
Looking Back at This Year, Grateful and Proud
by Carla Goldberg, Early Childhood Director

Today I am feeling tremendously grateful. Grateful for this year that we have had together. Grateful for the time spent with your children every day exploring, creating, and laughing. Grateful for our dedicated and brave teachers, who are the heroes this year, enabling all of us to be together and learn together. Grateful for all of our families, who cared for each other every day and kept our community safe and healthy. Grateful for the Akiba leadership team, who gave more of themselves every day than we knew we had in us. Grateful for this vaccine, that is literally the cure running through our veins.

I am also feeling proud today. Proud of what we have accomplished together at Akiba this year. Proud of how we held each other as a community and made this year happen together for our children. I am also proud that we were able to have school this year that felt relatively normal, albeit wearing masks, and stay true to what we believe is best for children. I am very proud of our Akiba graduates and how they have grown and blossomed. Please watch the graduate videos - it will give you wonderful insight into the work we are doing at Akiba with our students. My daughter, also an Akiba graduate, celebrated her graduation from high school last night. I am so proud of who she has become and I am grateful for the foundation that Akiba gave her to go forth and be successful after Akiba.

We have a little bit more time together this year and then many of you will be joining us for summer, and many of you are off to different destinations. It has been a year like no other, and we will always be grateful and proud and cherish what we have created here together at Akiba-Schechter this year.

Shabbat Shalom!
Mazel Tov, Class of 2021!
The second group of our graduate videos will appear in the next Kibitzer, in addition to the daily email releases.
Dvar Torah
Rabbi Bauman's 3rd/4th grade Chumash class practices their listening skills, watching Dragons: Race to the Edge, in Hebrew.
Kindling Jewish Souls
by Rabbi David Bauman, Head of Judaic Studies & Community Engagement

This week's Torah Reading Parsha Beha'alotecha opens in the following manner:

וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying:

דַּבֵּר֙ אֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֔ן וְאָמַרְתָּ֖ אֵלָ֑יו בְּהַעֲלֹֽתְךָ֙ אֶת־הַנֵּרֹ֔ת אֶל־מוּל֙ פְּנֵ֣י הַמְּנוֹרָ֔ה יָאִ֖ירוּ שִׁבְעַ֥ת הַנֵּרֽוֹת׃

Speak to Aaron and say to him, “When you mount the lamps, let the seven lamps give light at the front of the lampstand.”

Rashi, the famous commentator, teaches, "Because the flame rises upwards (עולה), an expression denoting 'ascending' is used to describe the kindling of the lights, implying that one must kindle them until the light ascends by itself (Shabbat 21a). — Furthermore, from the expression בהעלתך our Rabbis derived that there was a step in front of the candelabrum upon which the priest stood while preparing the lights."

Since the beginning of this school year, our students have engaged in kindling their Jewish souls through Judaic Studies. One such example is Room 201's 3rd/4th grade Chumash class; the students not only spent the year learning the adventures of Jacob, by studying the narrative and its grammar, but also by learning Ta'ame HaMikra (troupe). This method of learning how to read/chant the verses of the Torah enables us to better understand how the Rabbis wished for us to derive meaning from the text.

As the school year quickly comes to a close, the opening verses of this week's Torah portion, combined with Rashi's comments, raise an important question for us to consider: How will we keep the flame of Judaism and Judaic Learning burning inside us throughout the summer holiday? One suggestion is to find a 3rd/4th grade student, who learned Ta'ame HaMikra this year, and ask them to teach you.

Shabbat Shalom!
For Shavuot, the children in the Upstairs Preschool came up with these thoughts to help them make the best choices.
On Tuesday, the Upstairs Preschoolers found a dragon fly and got chance to explore the different body parts of an insect. They were fascinated by its blue and green color. In the end, they helped the injured dragonfly fly off to find a safe place.
Warm weather means beach time in the Purple Room: Trays of sand, sea creatures, shells and gems offered mini beaches for the children to explore. Patterns in the sand, animal stories and songs are some of the inspiration from this "provocation."
Tuesday was National Tap Dancing Day and the Teva class caught a dance performance in the park. The children loved watching the dancers taking turns tapping on their own wooden platforms. They heard the taps for their whole time at the park.
The Kindergarten has been working hard on becoming young authors, writing and illustrating their own books. This has been such a fun end of the year project and the students are so proud of their work!
Grades 1 - 8
1st/2nd graders have been playing a daily relay race game this week as they have been learning about Australia; notice that in the top photo the students are hopping like kangaroos.
The 3rd/4th grade students celebrated the beautiful weather with a problem-solving activity outside on our playground. Working in groups of three, they had several challenges involving moving objects without touching them. They were provided a single rubber band and three long pieces of string. First they had to lift a plastic cup. The second challenge was to pick up a cup with legos inside and place it into a basket. All of this had to be done inside a circle and no body part could cross the border of the circle. Finally, they were tasked with building a pyramid of cups, again without touching them. Pictured here are Stuart, Nataniella and Maddie working to lift the cup full of legos into a plastic basket.
Mrs. Brackman's 3rd/4th grade Jewish Life class took advantage of the great weather and enjoyed studying outside on Tuesday this week.
In the 7th/8th grade Israel Education class, Moreh Maor and Morah Dorit discussed the current situation in the State of Israel. They discussed the military operation and the social unrest. The students were very active in the conversation and expressed their opinions on the subject in a mature and responsible manner, asked questions, and respected the opinions of others. It was powerful for the students to hear Moreh Maor share some of his personal experience from his many years in the IDF, and to better appreciate how much more complicated the situation is than the media portrays.
In 5th and 6th grade Art class, students used pens to draw zentangles — a method of drawing structured patterns. Then they went back over the drawings with watercolor paint. This zentangle is by Yis; one of his patterns even uses his name.
The 7th graders had a great day trip to the Indiana Dunes last Thursday.
7th and 8th graders developed lessons for each other on their specific areas of learning in their Access to Water unit: medicine, law, governance, and social justice. While the teachers stepped back, the students independently developed slideshows, guided notes, and organized interactive activities to facilitate their peers' learning.
8 Questions for an 8th Grader
In each issue of the Kibitzer, we feature one of our 8th graders. In this edition, it is Romy Steinitz-Miller:

  1. For how long have you been at Akiba? I have been at Akiba since 4th grade.
  2. What neighborhood do you live in? I live in Evanston.
  3. What do you hope to accomplish in 8th grade? How is being an 8th grader different from your previous grades at Akiba? I hope to polish some type of leadership in 8th grade to just make a difference in this school. 8th grade has been different because this year I got to be a leader.
  4. What is your favorite subject at Akiba? I don’t really have a favorite subject, but I really like Science because I can learn new things, and Ms. Rotfeld taught in a way that we can learn through activities. 
  5. What do you think is special about Akiba? What do you particularly like and why? I think it's special that at Akiba that they individualize learning. They make it so that each student can learn in the way they need to and the teachers adapt.
  6. When you’re not at school or doing homework, what do you like to do? I love to draw and paint, act, and sing. I do basically all forms of art. I also have played the violin for nine years now. I also like to read and watch anime.
  7. What do you want to be when you grow up? When I grow up, I want to be either a comic book artist, a fashion designer, or an animator for an animated movie.
Mazal tov Rabbi M on his daughter Dafna's wedding!
For those ready to plan for next school year, here's an overview of the 2021-2022 Akiba Calendar.
Vaccination Pop-up Event
Sponsored by K.A.M. Isaiah Israel and St. Paul the Redeemer
June 9 & June 30 | 2pm-6pm
4945 S Dorchester Ave
Chicago, IL 60615
Dates to Remember
Monday, May 31
Memorial Day
No School

Thursday, June 3
How Accessible is Safe Water in Chicago?
Panel discussion of experts moderated by 7th/8th graders (Zoom)
5:00 p.m.

Friday, June 4
Last Day of Preschool

Thursday, June 10
Last Day of School for K-8
8th Grade Graduation
4:15 p.m.
In-person attendance is by invitation only, but everyone is welcome to watch on Zoom.
Affiliated with the Associated Talmud Torahs and supported by the Kehillah Jewish Education Fund