Since 1st/2nd and 7th/8th grade buddies can't get together in person, they are writing good old-fashioned letters to each other.

September 18, 2020
Volume 17, Issue 2
Candle Lighting: 6:34 p.m.
Parasha: Rosh Hashanah
Gratefully Taking in Special Moments
by Carla Goldberg, Early Childhood Director

After all of the months of planning, meetings, research and learning it finally happened: The children came to school! The entire early childhood and grade school staff spent the summer preparing for your children to re-enter Akiba this fall. (We also had a very successful summer program where we deepened our knowledge of how young children can learn virtually.) It felt like I didn't sleep for days before the first day of school.  I was so excited to have students physically in our building again, playing and interacting and learning together. I wondered how our plans would work and how the children and teachers would adapt to the changes we needed to make this year to keep everyone safe and healthy. I wondered how we would all be able to connect and build relationships while wearing masks and not being able to have parents in the building. Now we are two weeks into the fall and the children are building and exploring in their classrooms. Their laughter can be heard in the hallways. We are together building a community that cares about each other.   

This week I had the opportunity to take a nature walk with the Kindergarten class. I felt such joy walking with these children, seeing the patches of grass and trees all around our school and discovering and collecting sticks and pine cones. The children were so excited to share what they found with a friend or eager to point out the ladybug they had spotted on a plant. We followed the children's leads and extended our walk because they were so engaged with what they were seeing. We discovered a vegetable garden in front of a high rise building, and the cultivator of this garden came out and shared what he was growing. We are planning to return weekly and watch the progress of the fruits and vegetables growing on the vines. We slowed down and enjoyed being together, making learning work in a time of uncertainty, and celebrating childhood together at Akiba-Schechter.  

The Kindergarteners discovered a neighbor's vegetable garden on a walk around our area this week.

I am so proud and grateful to all of my teachers, who are making this magic happen every day, both inside the classroom and for those children learning virtually. Thank you for coming together as a community and following our social covenant so that our children can remain in school as much as possible this year. It will definitely be a different year, but I am hopeful that it will be a year of recognizing those special moments. I wish you all a Shana Tova (a happy and healthy New Year)!  
Shanah tovah - the Sounds of the Shofar and three Fun Rosh Hashanah Songs
Shanah tovah - Rabbi Bauman demonstrates the Sounds of the Shofar and Carla and Rebecca sing three fun Rosh Hashanah songs for you to sing along with
School under COVID-19 - For Your Reference
Dvar Torah    
Be Strong and Resolute and...
by Rabbi David Bauman, Head of Judaic Studies and Community Engagement

With the state of the world in the condition that it is, the saying, "Don't worry; be strong - everything will be fine" is a hard message to truly absorb these days. As the school year begins, the High Holy Days approach, and we have so much on our minds and hearts.

So I was struck by my study of Sefer D'varim, the Book of Deuteronomy, in which we see Moshe's charge of
"chazak ve'ematz" (be strong and resolute), a phrase that appears at the end of Psalm 27, which we recite in this season. However, upon a close read of the text of Psalm 27, we notice that the Psalm leaves out the words that accompany the phrase "chazak ve'emtaz" -- "al tira v'al techat", don't be afraid. Instead, it says, "kaveh el Hashem", hope to God.

In the current state of local, national, and international affairs, the lesson "don't be afraid" simply does not resonate. Rather, the message of
"hold on to hope" really just might be a phrase that we need to be reminded of as we engage the Machzor (high holiday prayer book) this High Holy Day season.

Shanah Tovah U'Metukah!
May this upcoming year not only be a good one but also a sweet one for us, for all of Israel, and for all of humanity.

In Memoriam: Sharon Vadeboncoeur
Sharon in the Purple Room, 2018

Many A Parent's and Child's Extraordinary First Teacher
by Carla Goldberg, Early Childhood Director

As many of you already know, we lost a very special colleague, friend and teacher this past Sunday, September 15: Sharon Vadeboncoeur. 

Sharon taught in our preschool for over 20 years. She wasn't just a teacher - she was many children's first teacher. With her straightforward and honest advice, and a wicked sense of humor, Sharon helped new parents. Many of us are the parents we are today thanks to Sharon. We are all so grateful for all the gifts that she gave us and our children.   
I will never forget my first piece of advice from Sharon. Read on...
Welcome Back, Preschool!
The Upstairs Preschool has been studying bee anatomy.

The Purple Room prepared for Rosh Hashanah by discussing how honeybees collect pollen and drink nectar from flowers. The kids practiced packing pollen into their imaginary pollen pouches and made fingerprint honeybees. Here Angela makes prints with Evan and Benji.
The Downstairs Blue Room enjoyed library on the playground this week.
Grades 1 - 8
1st/2nd graders baked challah for Rosh Hashanah.
3rd grader Yitsi was home with an eye infection and joined Rabbi Bauman's 3rd/4th Chumash class from home. Here he shows his completed learning the Parshiyot of the Book of Genesis (Sefer Bereshit) with embellishing and laminating a Parsha wall decoration.

Mrs. Brackman's 3rd/4th grade students preparing Rosh Hashanah gifts their parents.
6th grader Megill shows off his drawing of an apple.
Morah Dorit's Hebrew class worked on synonyms and made a memory game. Here Nataniella works on hers.
The 5th/6th grade IDL unit studying Motion made good use of their outdoor classroom this week.
As part of their study of what makes a community, 7th/8th graders in the IDL Israel unit created maps of their own neighborhoods.
In this IDL A Pandemic cohort, the Illinois delegation (Congressman Tomer, Chicago Mayor Romy, Governor Ronit, and epidemiologist Jacob) collaborate on their press briefing. The cohort is engaged in a simulation in which they must work together as scientists, public officials, and mathematicians to address the outbreak of a new virus (Novel Virus B), which leads to irrational and impulsive decision-making. Students receive regular updates and must apply what they are learning in each subject area to resolve the crisis. If you would like to receive their press briefings, contact
8 Questions for an 8th Grader   
Ezra Bader
In each issue of the Kibitzer, we feature one of our 8th graders. In this edition, it is Ezra Bader:
  1. Since when have you been at Akiba (grade or year)? I came to Akiba in 3rd grade.
  2. What neighborhood do you live in? I live in Wrigleyville.
  3. What do you hope to accomplish in 8th grade? How is being an 8th grader different from your previous grades at Akiba? I don't have a set goal for this year, but what is different is that a lot of the grades look up to us now.
  4. What is your favorite subject at Akiba and why? My favorite subject was History in 5th/ 6th grade. But now it is Math and Science.
  5. What do you think is special about Akiba? What do you particularly like and why? What I think is special is that even in middle school we have a dedicated time for recess.  
  6. If you have had your bar mitzvah or are preparing for it, what did you learn from it? I already had my bar mitzvah in 7th grade and I learned from it that chicken is not a meat. It is actually a poultry and should not be known as a meat.
  7. When you're not at school or doing homework, what do you like to do (hobbies, special interests)?play video games and play with my four sisters and dog.
  8. What do you want to be when you grow upI do not know exactly what I want to be when I grow up. 

On Thursday the PTO distributed gifts of honey to teachers and staff for a sweet New Year.
Shuffle logo
Save the Date for the Virtual Akiba-Schechter Shuffle on October 18. 

If you're interested in joining the PTO committee, please email
Mazal tov Tamma Bar-Lavi (Downstairs Blue Room) and her family on the birth of her baby brother Daniel Aaron.

Dates to Remember
Friday, September 18
Erev Rosh Hashana
No School
Tuesday, September 22
Flu Shot Clinic
8:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Playground, prior sign up was necessary
Monday, September 28
Yom Kippur
No School
Friday, October 2
Erev Sukkot
8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 
REMOTE Half Day for K-8
Preschool in session with 2:30 p.m. Dismissal

Friday, October 9
Erev Shmini Atzeret
8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 
REMOTE Half Day for K-8
Preschool in session with 2:30 p.m. Dismissal

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