December 8, 2016
Kislev 8, 5777
Good Things Happen Every Day 
at  The Silver Academy
Rachel Zilbering, Principal

The closest classroom to my office is the science room.  Since our doors are open almost all of the time, I have the pleasure of hearing many of the science lessons.  This morning when I walked past, I saw our students completely engrossed in their laboratory experiment.  In fact, they didn't even see me taking this picture!

We have many highlights at The Silver Academy, but going to the science lab is truly one of the special ones.  Students engage in critical thinking beginning in Kindergarten.  Having science in an actual "lab" brings the experience to life.  And of course, having a teacher who cares so deeply brings it all together.  

I invite anyone interested in visiting a science class, or any other classes for that matter, to contact our school. We will be happy to schedule a first-hand classroom experience for you.

Shabbat shalom. 


Inside the Classroom

Kindergarten Judaics
Mrs. Sally Jo Bronner (Morah Sarah)

Kita Gan has some BIG news...Students are learning to write Hebrew letters! Our class has undertaken many fun activities to reinforce the newly-learned letters. First we used an kinesthetic approach by creating letters with beads and Wikistix, then we moved on to writing with dry erase boards, and finally, writing with pencil in our class workbooks!  In addition, students are learning to associate Hebrew words with each new letter as it is introduced.
Kita Gan has also been learning about the stories in B'resheit. In the picture below, you can see the class in front of the ark they made for Noah and the animals. Of course, students enjoyed learning to say many of the animal names in Hebrew.  Our classroom friend (puppet), Bentzi, has also been reading us a story that includes many Hebrew animal names!
Morah Sarah has decided that students now know enough Hebrew to safely take Bentzi home for Shabbat. Each week a student takes him home, and then reports on Bentzi's activities by writing in his special book. This is truly an exciting experience, and the students can hardly wait for their turn to spend Shabbat with this special "friend"!

As you can tell, Kita Gan is an exciting classroom! If you would like to see them in action, you should attend the Celebration of Light and Learning next Thursday, (Dec 15, 6:45 pm)! The students have been practicing, and it will surely be a heart-warming performance!


3rd Grade General Studies
Mrs. Jessica Wenzelberger

Students in third grade are practicing surveying and creating graphs. The students chose a subject for their survey, such as favorite color, favorite holiday, or favorite food. They created tally tables and frequency tables to collect their information. After the students surveyed one another, they converted their data into graphs. If you visit our bulletin board you will see bar graphs, pictographs, and pie charts.

D'var Torah for  Parshat Vayetzei
by Manya Tsimmerman, 8th grade

Everyone likes to succeed.  But some people are afraid of any failure, because they worry that it will harm them in the future.  An incident in this week's parsha, Vayetzei, could help us be more tolerant of failure.

The Torah tells how our forefather Jacob married both Leah and Rachel. The Torah says that G-d saw that Leah felt unloved by Jacob so He blessed her with having the family's first child. The Torah says.

וַתַּהַר לֵאָה וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן וַתִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ רְאוּבֵן כִּי אָמְרָה כִּי רָאָה יְהֹוָה בְּעָנְיִי כִּי עַתָּה יֶאֱהָבַנִי אִישִׁי:
And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she named him Reuben, for she said, "Because the Lord has seen my affliction, for now my husband will love me".

The Torah says that Leah named her son "Reuben" based on the hebrew words for "He (G-d)  saw my suffering", " Ra'ah b'anyee". Leah felt that being the mother of the son who would be the father of the first tribe of the Jewish people would prove to Jacob that  she is worthy of his love.

Rashi has a difficulty.  He notices that when the Torah reports  the names of all the other sons and the reasons for the names, the reason for the name is stated first, followed by the name.  Except for Reuben, where the reason is stated after the name.  Why? Rashi paraphrases the Talmud   (Berachot 7b) for a solution:

"Our Sages explained: She said, "Look at the difference between my son and the son of my father-in-law, (Esau) who sold the birthright to Jacob (above 25:33). This one (Reuben) did not sell it to Joseph, but he nevertheless did not contend against him but sought to take him out of the pit."

Rashi answers that the reason for Reuben's name that the Torah writes after it states the name, is a secondary reason for the name.  The primary reason is a direct translation of the word "Reuben", "See the son". (Since it is a direct translation, it did not have to be stated in the Torah.)   Leah prophesied about the future and said, " See how amazing this son will be when he will save the life of the brother to whom he lost the birthright; unlike Esau who tried to kill the brother to whom he willingly sold the birthright."

When I first thought about this, I was puzzled.  Reuben will lose his birthright to Joseph because of a serious sin.  In next week's parsha, Vayishlach, the Torah only hints to this sin in order to spare the reputation of Reuben.  It's true that despite losing the birthright to Joseph, Reuben still tried to save him by telling the rest of his brothers to not kill him but place him into a pit from which he planned to save him. This was a selfless and loving act. But wasn't Leah calling attention to her own son's failure by naming him after that incident.  Why would she do such a thing?

Apparently, not holding a grudge against Joseph was a bigger success than the failure of losing the birthright.  Furthermore, this success wouldn't have happened without the failure. Leah realized this and was so happy and proud of how Reuben responded to his failure that she named him after that episode.

When people "mess up" or fail, they often respond by losing their confidence and self worth. We should realize that everybody experiences failure. Failure often sets up new situations that make possible even greater success.  And the way we respond to failure can be the most significant success of all!


Catching up with Classmates

Arielle Frankston-Morris
When did you attend The Silver Academy?
I started in Ganeinu and graduated from 8th grade in 2001.
Where did you grow up in Harrisburg?
I grew up on 2nd street in Harrisburg, just about 7 blocks away from the JCC.  We would walk home from school sometimes, but it felt like 25 blocks back then!  (Maybe because we were always lugging around heavy textbooks!) 
Where did you go to school after The Silver Academy?
After graduating from the Silver Academy, I went to Beth Tfiloh in Baltimore. Following that I studied in Jerusalem at Midreshet Lindenbaum, then attended Yeshiva University's Stern College, and finally, the Hunter College School of Social Work in NYC. 
Where do you live now? 
I live in Manhattan on the Upper West Side, BUT never fail to mention that I am from Harrisburg!
What do you do?
I work in the Advocacy Center at the Orthodox Union (Teach NYS) as the Director of Field Operations for Teach NYS. I get to work with day schools throughout New York State and help them improve their programs and services, as well as advocate for them in Albany.
What was your favorite class at The Silver Academy?
I think my favorite class was probably Science...Thanks, Mrs. Gaughan!  The room was always decorated in cool ways, we loved Mrs. Gaughan's handwriting, and we did lots of hands-on activities.
Who was your best friend at The Silver Academy?
We were all such good friends!  The kids in my class were great and we had a lot of good times over the years!  Shout out to my 8th grade class, Yael, Brittany, Jackie, Eliana, Diana, Rebecca, Ayelet, Fedor, and Michael! Also, there were other good friends outside of my class!
What personal technology did you use back then? 
Dina Burcat's N64!!!
Do you have a favorite memory from your time at The Silver Academy?
Recess outside at the JCC was quite exciting! We played very intense 4-square games that would go on for days, maybe even weeks!   
What was your favorite activity at the JCC? 
During the summers, I went to sleep away camp, but before and after, I would be at home in Harrisburg.  I loved being home in the summer because Shira Burcat, Yael (Gewirtz) Chait and I used to have incredible fun!  We would spend HOURS riding our bikes around Harrisburg, and the JCC was always a destination.  Usually, we would ride from our houses to City Island, then to 81, then to the JCC where we would buy lunch (classic bagel and cream cheese or wrapped potato knish from the vending machine downstairs).  We would always see friends there, and would DEFINITELY play some basketball in the gym!  Sometimes, we'd even go swimming before we got back on our bikes.  Best summers!
Who were your biggest role models in Harrisburg?
My parents are definitely my role models.  I so admire their leadership, wisdom, activism, and hospitality and appreciate the Torah values that inspire so much that they do.

8th Grade Class of 2001

Front Row: Rebecca Lewin, Arielle Frankston-Morris, Fedor Arkhipov, Eliana Kurlantzick, Ayelet Adina;  Top Row: Rabbi Gewirtz, Michael Loloyan, Yael Gewirtz, Brittany Voystock, Jackie Rubin, Diana Monusov, Mrs. Nussbaum

Do you love hearing what's going on with friends and classmates from your past years here at The Silver Academy?
If you are interested in sharing "your story", recent engagement, wedding, baby, graduation, new jobs, or other news, please email Shari Dym at

School Notes and Reminders

Middle School Israel Trip Fundraiser

A catalog of gifts and t-shirts that
promote environmental awareness!
  • Ask a Middle School student to see a Nature's Vision catalog
  • Orders and payments will be due on December 8
  • Purchases will arrive before Channukah
Help Suport Our Middle School Students!

Challah With a Twist 
Offers Weekly Order and Delivery To Students and Teachers
  • Order your challah by Thursday at this website: It will be delivered to school on Friday.
  • Send check to school, payable to Challah with a Twist , or use  .
"Challah With a Twist", (a.k.a. Varda Challah), has been providing home baked challah for the Harrisburg community for over 20 years.
Varda Gewirtz, 717-919-1358

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Dec 8, 9:30-11:30 am
Winter Open House

Dec 13
Picture Retakes

Dec 15, 6:45 pm
Mary Sachs Auditorium
Celebration of Light & Learning

Dec 12, 11:40
Early Dismissal

Dec 26-30,  No School
Winter Break

Jan 2
School Resumes
Life and Legacy


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Clip  BoxTops 4 Education symbols on General Mills, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Nestle Juicy Juice, Progresso soups and others. Each is worth 10¢ and can be redeemed by The Silver Academy for cash! Please visit the  Box Tops 4 Education  website for more details.

Giant Gift Cards
Purchase these dollar for dollar in the school's office, and then spend them the same as cash. The Silver Academy earns 5% - that's $50 earned for every $1,000 sold!  You may also purchase by calling Susan at 717-608-0190.

This is how it works...Download the free Shoparoo App on your phone and use the code VuG13074. You will then complete a profile and pick The Rabbi David L. Silver Yeshiva Academy. Then after you complete a shopping trip, take a picture of the receipt using the camera on your phone with the app open. It is that easy! Once a year, Shoparoo sends the school a check from the percentages!