Schechter Shavua: November 18, 2022 :: Solomon Schechter Day School

Schechter Shavua: November 18, 2022

Shorashim (EC3-4) Infuses Each Day with Kindness 

arista kindness- smaller.JPEG World Kindness Day is celebrated annually on November 13th around the world. Shorashim Bet (EC3-4), celebrated Schechter’s Core Value of Lev Tov (Good Heart) by cutting out and decorating hearts that described an example of one of their own acts of kindness (mitzvah/mitzvot) and by painting kindness rocks. Each student held their hearts in the “I” position in front of the "BE THE 'I' IN KINDNESS" banner that they created as a group.
Since mindfulness and movement are important parts of our Early Childhood program, students ended their sweet morning with some heart-opening yoga poses. They discussed the importance of kindness and mitzvotevery day.

Honoring our Veterans 

veteran's project collage- smaller.pngTo honor our loved ones who have served in the US Armed Forces, students in grades K-8 wrote cards of gratitude and appreciation last week to veterans known by Schechter staff or families. Armed with lots of names, each class received pre-printed cards; every student was given the name of a veteran to whom they wrote a personal note. At the end of the week, the cards were mailed to each veteran. We hope our notes will bring a smile to their faces.

Flying High in a Cross-Curricular Lesson

kites alim- smaller.jpg Alimclass (grades 3-4) did a cross-curricular activity involving Judaic studies, Israel, and science. First, the students were introduced to the words "mashiv haruach hamorid hageshem " (return the wind and bring the rain). We add these words to our Amidah prayer during tefillah between Shemini Atzeret and Pesach. In Israel it doesn't rain year-round and the rainy season starts in October all the way through April. We pray for the wind to come, to bring the clouds, which bring the rain, water the ground, and help the plants grow. 
To connect this to science, the students learned about the physics and history of kites as a way of showing appreciation for wind. They then learned how to build their own kites and had the chance to go outside in the wind to test them. The students also made the connection between their plant unit and the need for rain. 

Parents Connect Over Coffee

parent coffee collage- smaller.png Have you heard about our Parent Coffee and Conversation meet-ups this year? In response to parent feedback looking for more opportunities to connect with each other and also hear from members of the administration and faculty, we have been holding monthly informal gatherings. Each session, parents are invited to have coffee and light snacks while they schmooze and then discuss a particular topic. This week, parents learned from Early Childhood director Robin Werner and Anafim (grades 1-2) teacher Yeshiva Cohen about fun ways to bring shabbat home. The group discussed favorite rituals and ways to make shabbat special and then had the fun opportunity to braid their own challah using a variety of 3-, 4-, and 5- strand techniques!

In October, Hebrew Language Department Head Anat Climor joined Rabbi Berger to discuss Israel education at Schechter. Parents reflected upon why Israel education is so important to them, which led to a really personal and emotional conversation. Anat also shared details about our collaboration with iCenter as well as a new addition to Schechter’s Israel education curriculum involving the Lookstein Center's online curriculum for grades 3-8.

We hope you’ll be able to join us for a future conversation. We understand that not everyone is able to come after drop off, so we are exploring a variety of times to hold future gatherings. Stay tuned for the next dates and topics of Parent Coffee and Conversations!

Start Your Friday with a Helping of ReLiSh

RELISH - smaller.JPEGLooking for a “feel good” way to kick off your Friday morning? Join us on Fridays at 8:40am for Shabbat ReLiSh, a fantastic combination of songs, dancing, and Schechter ruach. 

Click HERE for photos from some recent Shabbat ReLiSh gatherings. 


Click HERE to register for our upcoming Latkes and ReLiSh, a free Chanukah program that is open to the community.

Parashat Hayei Sarah—Acting Kindly Isn’t Enough

yoni headshot less vertical.jpgSometimes, real kindness and fake kindness look almost identical. It takes close observation to see the difference.

In this week’s parashah, Avraham’s servant travels back to Aram to find a bride for Avraham’s son Yitzhak. How would he know which young woman was a good match? Would he seek beauty, intelligence or wealth? None of those. He knew that Avraham valued hesed, kindness, most of all, so he prays that God send a kind woman to meet them at the well, someone who would not only offer him water, but would offer water to his camels too. Rivkah appears on cue—and she offers water to him and to his camels. It’s clear: this is the right woman for Isaac.

We think we have learned that kindness to animals is the mark of a good person. But we soon learn that proper action, on its own, isn’t enough. 

When Rivkah comes home, her brother Lavan greets her. The Torah says that “When he saw the ring and bracelet on his sister’s hand, and heard her story… he said, ‘Welcome, blessed one of God; why should you wait outside, when I have cleared a space in the house [for you], and a place for the camels?’” At first, Lavan seems just like his sister! But as Rabbi David Kimhi (a 12th century Provençal commentator) points out, Lavan’s kindness only emerges after he sees the gold. Unlike Rivkah, his hospitality is driven by greed, not hesed

Motives matter. If we are kind for selfish reasons, it will eventually show. Lavan convinced others of his virtue for a little while—but his daughters came to hate him for his greed, and they and their families deserted him. On the other hand, Rivkah, whose hesed was true, became one of the matriarchs of our people; her success and happiness were hard-won, but enduring. May we always follow in her footsteps—in thought and in deed.

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Jonathan Berger
Head of School 

Questions for the Shabbat table:
1. There are many ways to demonstrate kindness. Why do you think Abraham’s servant prayed specifically for someone who was kind to animals?
2. Can you think of times in your life when you’ve been kind for selfish reasons? How does that feel different from being kind for caring reasons?

Endow Hartford