Schechter Shavua: May 2, 2022 :: Solomon Schechter Day School

Schechter Shavua: May 2, 2022

Creating New Traditions to Honor Timeless Values

8th ceremony- smaller.JPEG We’re starting a new tradition at Schechter: a school-wide Nesiyah Tovah assembly to wish our 8th graders safe travels in Israel. Each classroom prepared two gifts for our travelers: small, folded-up prayers that the 8th graders will place in the cracks of the Kotel , and tzedakahmoney that the 8th graders can distribute in Israel to a cause or site they want to support. We wrapped up with a slideshow of photos from the last Schechter class trip to Israel (pre-pandemic). 

Incorporating Other Cultures into Favorite Rituals

mah nishtanah photo from video- smaller.png During their Passover unit, the Gesher students (grades 4-5) discussed how family customs can change based on one’s situation or geographic location. To illustrate that point, they focused on Mah Nishtanah : some students led it for the first time when they were very young; some have been the youngest for a long time and are in charge of leading it each year; and some have never led it. Everyone sings the same tune, and students noted that sometimes it is comforting to have a familiar tune, while other times it gets boring. Sarah Montag , Schechter’s Director of Teaching and Learning, taught Gesher and Rimonim students a new Sephardic tune for Mah Nishtanah that is most likely from Argentina. Students loved singing and “drumming” to this new tune as they incorporated it into their joint seder!

Do you want to learn this Argentinian version of Mah Nishtanah ? Click HERE to see our students sing or HERE for a voice recording from B’nai Jeshrun in New York. The main tune begins about one minute in on the B’nai Jeshrun version.

Testing Plants as a Source of Energy

science shira nava- smaller.JPEG The Life Sciences unit offers Habonimstudents (grades 6-7) the opportunity to make concrete connections between the needs of the individual organism and the needs of a population of organisms. Earlier in the unit, students kept a food log over the course of one day, then traced where the energy in those foods came from. In the case of every single food item they had eaten during that day, the source of energy ultimately traced back to plants.

To test the idea that animals get their energy and building materials from plants, students tested two parts of plants, potatoes and beans, for the presence of starch using an iodine indicator solution. Students observed a color change in both the potato and the bean, proving that they have starch. Since plants contain food, this means that animals get their energy from other animals and plants. 

The question students will be investigating next is: Where do plants get their energy and building materials?

HEREis a closer look at our scientists in action!

Snapshots of Israel: Part 1

kineret sea of galilee- smaller.JPEG We are thrilled that our Bogrim 8th graders are able to resume the Schechter tradition of culminating their Schechter experience with a visit to Israel! They are joined with students from other smaller day schools and are already forging lasting friendships. Some highlights of the first week of touring and exploring with Solomon Schechter Day School of Manhattan, Gerard Berman Day School (Northern New Jersey), Kellman Brown Academy (Southern New Jersey), Gross Schechter Day School (Cleveland), and Hillel Academy of Tampa include:

  • saying shehechiyanuas a group to celebrate the beginning of the trip 
  • scenic overlook of the Kineret/Sea of Galilee 
  • connecting with students from the other schools
  • 9 kilometer bike ride through a bird migration refuge in the Hula Valley
  • white water rafting down the Jordan river
  • making chocolates at De Karina chocolatier in the Golan Heights
  • visiting the top of Mt. BenTal overlooking the Syrian border, then learning about how the border has changed over time
  • visiting the old city of Tzfat as the sirens rang out for Yom Hashoah
  • glass-blowing class 
  • hike down Mt. Arbel (starting at 700ft above sea level)
  • “choose your own” dinner in Tiberius: the kids explored in groups and bought dinner with their new friends (falafel was the favorite) 
  • fun evening programs that enable students to use the new Hebrew slang they’ve learned while integrating it with important times in Israeli and Jewish history

To see some photos from their time in Israel, check out THIS ALBUM.

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