Kindergarteners Moshe and Maya share the cute Rosh Hashana cards they made in Art class.
See our special section on What the Arts Teach Children.

Blessings for the New Year
This morning I gave the middle school a blessing for the Jewish New Year. I spoke about how impressed I have been with how maturely, enthusiastically and dedicated they have approached this new school year. I wished them continued success and that any obstacles that they face be overcome as we enter into 5780. I would like to take a moment and give all of you a blessing for the New Year as well. 

Rosh Hashanah is a reflection point. It is a time to look back on last year with a focus on the future. What I have seen in the hallways and classrooms this past month is nothing but inspiring. There are so many smiles, a passion for learning and the usual kindness and support for each other among the children and our staff. All the hard work we put in last year and this summer is propelling us forward in most beautiful ways. My blessing for us all is that we continue to grow together, propel forward in beautiful ways and may this new year bring all of us joy, success and many smiles from our children and those we care about.
Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova!
Dr. Eliezer Jones
Head of School  
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From the Day School      
I Am Grateful For...
by Miriam Kass, Principal

Earlier this week, I joined the 5th/6th graders in their Flex Class. Marnie Spiegel and Sarah Casper, experienced mental health professionals and former Response Center educators, came to talk with our students about Mental Health and Stress Management. Unfortunately, our community is not immune to the growing rate of anxiety in society, and it is critical for us to talk openly about ways to care for ourselves and deal with stress

I was moved to hear our students freely share recent bouts of anxiety and the things they do to manage their stress: take deep breaths, spend time in nature, listen to music, bake, read, draw, exercise, meditate, snuggle, talk with friends or parents, play with pets. All of these strategies seem worth a try, and none came as a surprise to most of us. But there was one recommendation that was new to most of our students: reflect on and express gratitude

We all know the importance of getting adequate sleep, eating healthfully, moving our bodies, and socializing with friends. Current research suggests that thinking about what we're grateful for and taking the time to express our gratitude may be just as important as those four accepted remedies. I am convinced that being more conscious of gratitude helps us experience more positive feelings and deal more resiliently with adversity, and it can improve our physical health. So, here goes...

I am tremendously grateful to my administrative colleagues (and to my husband!) for being my terrific team and making it possible for me to return to the classroom this school year. 

I am grateful for the integrity, passion, kindness, creativity, and inspiration of my fellow teachers.

I am grateful to spend time reading, writing, and listening in the company of ten- and eleven-year-olds who make me laugh out loud and make me wonder. Time Iwith our students brings me joy and challenge; it feeds me and makes me feel alive.

I am grateful for the willingness of my students to take risks in their thinking, to be honest, to accept responsibility, and to ask for help when needed.

I am grateful for the trusting partnerships I get to forge with parents as we support one another on this journey.

And I am always grateful when a former student visits! Here I am with Avi Keysar, who is now a junior at Lab School.
On a more personal note, I am grateful to be able to make my family's traditional Rosh Hashanah recipes with my father again this year. I am grateful that my husband and I still thoroughly enjoy each other's company now that our nest is empty. I am grateful to live beside Lake Michigan and its ever-changing beauty. I am grateful that the people of Chicago tend to smile and make eye contact while passing one another on the sidewalk. I am grateful for my good health, strong and confident adult daughters, friendships, and meaningful work. 

Shanah tovah u'metukah! Happy and Sweet New Year!
First grader Miri, who is an engaging reader, shared a book with the Blue Room. Everyone at Akiba is getting ready for the New Year. What better way than to have the Blue Room's new first grade buddies visit and read to them. The experience is delightful, not only for the first grader, but for the Blue Room Community as well, and so the Blue Room children look forward to many more visitors over the course of this year.
The Blue Room children have been learning about bees and their bodies. They traced the picture of a bee body on transparency to learn about the different parts of the bee.

Montage of the Blue Room kids' study of bee bodies outside their classroom.

Director of Development Levi Zeffren spoke to the Kindergarten about the Shofar.
Day School      
In Mr. Salk's 1st/2nd grade class, Lazer was chosen by Miri, who served as Assistant Meeting Leader, to point to the words while the class reads the daily poem together.
Mrs. Schinasi's Kitah Bet is very busy preparing and learning all about Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. They are learning about the Mitzvot and customs of the High Holy Days. The children have been singing Hebrew songs and reading Hebrew books about Rosh Hashana. But, most of all, they love the fun activities we do in class, especially writing and decorating Rosh Hashana cards and wishing each other a Happy and Sweet New Year!
In Language Arts, the students in Mr. Esse's 3rd/4th grade class have been working on perspective. They are creating a personal narrative and wrote a chapter for a book they are reading as a class. As a change of pace, they utilized a recent Language Arts period to enjoy a good book. The students were given the freedom to choose a book and then pick a different location to read, which is also a form of gaining perspective.

In Science class, 6th grader Ari does a scratch test to identify minerals.

What the Arts Teach Children art
3rd & 4th graders made creatures from found and reused materials
The Things the Arts Teach Children
  1. The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. 
  2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution. 
  3. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. 
  4. The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving, purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. 
  5. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. 
  6. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. 
  7. The arts teach students to think through and within a material. 
  8. The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. 
  9. The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source. 
  10. The arts' position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important. 
Source: Eisner, E. (2002) The Arts and the Creation of Mind, Yale University Press, (pp. 70-92). Available from NAEA Publications.
Music class has been off to a fast start this year. The middle school has been working on their sight singing. We have done various solfege singing exercises and have broken down short pieces of sheet music and sung them together as a class. The lower school has done some singing as well and is also working on their rhythm. They have been reading rhythm notation and have been able to sound and clap out those proper rhythms.
8 Questions for an 8th Grader
Alexis is super excited to be competing in her first figure skating Regionals in October.
We continue our series, begun last year, of featuring one of our 8th graders in each issue of the Kibitzer. This time, it is 
Alexis Buckley :
  1. Since when have you been at Akiba? I've been going to Akiba since 2009 when I was three. I've been at Akiba the longest out off all the 8th graders too! 
  2. What neighborhood do you live in? I live in West Lawn in the southwest area of Chicago. 
  3. What do you hope to accomplish in 8th grade? How is being an 8th grader different from your previous grades at Akiba? I remember even when I was in 5th grade, everyone knew the 8th graders, even if they didn't know you. So it's pretty crazy that I'm that 8th grader now. 
  4. What is your favorite subject at Akiba and why? Definitely Humanities because I really like to write now. I also really enjoy doing current events. I'm super excited for the Shakespeare unit too. Last year we did Macbeth and well, I loved it. The Hamilton unit last year caused me to become a theater junkie. I have Mrs. Chipman to thank for that one. I used to hate musicals and plays. 
  5. What do you think is special about Akiba? What do you particularly like and why? I really like Akiba because everyone in your grade knows everyone. In a lot of schools they have huge classes. So to know everyone, even if you don't talk to them, is nice. 
  6. If you have had your bar mitzvah or are preparing for it, what did you learn from it? I learned what a creature is according to the Torah. Let's just say Hashem would prefer a proper sacrifice than a squirrel barbecue
  7. When you're not at school or doing homework, what do you like to do? Figure skating! I skate six days a week, and I skate competitively. As of right now I'm preparing for Regionals in October in Minnesota! It's gonna be the first ever Regionals I'm going to! Although I'm practicing super hard on the ice, I'm super stoked for it!
  8. Do you have any idea yet of what you want to be when you grow up? I'd love to be a police officer. After college I'd love to join the Police Academy. All the jobs I've ever wanted have always been about helping others. Just a few examples: lawyer (then I realized how much schooling that is. Then I was like, "Nah, I'm good"), doctor ("Nah man, too much school again). But being a cop sounds pretty cool.
Two New Recordings in our Audio Library
News from Development 
You may have noticed that we opened our lot to SpotHero parking! It will be open for SpotHero parkers when school is not in session. Please share with friends and neighbors!
PTO Corner    

We had a great time at our first Moms' Night Out! We are looking forward to more events in the future. Please reach out to if you'd like to help plan something!

We are still looking for a few volunteers to help with Picture Day Wednesday and Thursday mornings next week (Oct 2-3). Volunteers get a $25 voucher to use towards their own picture order! Sign up link is:

Order Your Lulav & Etrog!
Sukkot is coming!  Buy your Lulav and Etrog from Akiba-Schechter and a portion of the proceeds will go to school. Please order by next Friday, October 4!

Picture Day is Coming
Picture Day Wednesday (October 2) for Preschool & Kindergarten, and next Thursday (October 3) for Grades 1-8. Please remember to sign up for Sibling Pictures before Picture Day!  

What Parents Are Saying about Marla's Lunch
"Like all parents, I have to prioritize my time and what I'm able to do and having a lunch program available helps me do that. The kids have really liked the food and there are choices that they all like, even with dietary restrictions." - Parent of three  happy children  

Don't forget to order lunch for your children! Lunch orders are due on Mondays at noon for the following week of lunches.  
Dates to Remember
Monday, September 29 & Tuesday, October 1
Rosh Hashana
No School

Wednesday, October 2
Preschool & Kindergarten Picture Day

Thursday, October 3
Grades 1-8 & Siblings Picture Day

Tuesday, October 8
Erev Yom Kippur
12:00 p.m. Grades 1-8 Dismissal
3:30 p.m. Preschool Dismissal

Wednesday, October 9
Yom Kippur
No School

Monday & Tuesday, October 14 & 15
No School

Wednesday - Friday, October 16 - 18
Chol HaMoed Sukkot
School in Session
No late bus, no after-school programs except for Kids' Club, Extended Kids' Club and late pick-up.  

Monday & Tuesday, October 21 & 22
Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah
No School

September 27, 2019  
Volume 16, Issue 3
Candle Lighting: 6:20 p.m.
Parasha: Nitzavim
Affiliated with the Associated Talmud Torahs and supported by the Kehillah Jewish Education Fund