Wrapping Hanukkah Rap

Students in Grades 1-3 are invited to participate in creating a song about Hanukkah in the form of a rap. Students will write the lyrics, come to the music room for a recording and have the song featured here on our blog. Lyrics either in Hebrew or English are welcome! Click below to listen to the beat and first verse.

 

“So they fought the Greeks heroically

And they boogied to the Temple in jubilee

They cleaned the dirt took the idols out

And when they were done the all began to shout”

This project allows students to:

  • Develop creativity in a new form
  • Learn about Jewish holidays through music and composition
  • Use technology during recording sessions
  • Build school community as we make one song with many verses, showing  the students’ thoughts about Hanukkah miracles and freedom

Deadline: Sign up your child for the project before November 1 by emailing eugenia.gerstein@ssdsboston.org.

Students will then need to bring the lyrics to Gene by November 13.

Recording sessions with Gene will take place at the Lower School on November 28, 29, 30.

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Meet Rachel Chiel Katz!

Rachel is excited to return to Schechter for her 12th year as a Middle School teacher. She will teach 8th grade Language Arts this year, while having also taught 7th grade Language Arts and 7th grade Social Studies in the past. She holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. Every year, Rachel looks forward to getting to know a new group of students and observing their insightful and creative discussions of literature.

In her free time, Rachel loves reading mysteries and historical fiction. She also enjoys making paper cuts and creating other types of art.

Rachel feels #SchechterPride because she is not only a teacher, but an alumna and a Schechter parent. She knows her children are in excellent hands and feels lucky to work with such talented and committed educators.

Rahel Berkovits ’83 and Jackie Schon ’99 as recipients of the school’s Outstanding Alumni Award

Schechter has named Rahel Berkovits ’83  and Jackie Schon ’99 as recipients of the school’s Arnold Zar-Kessler Outstanding Alumni Award. Created in 2014, the alumni award is given in honor of former head of school, Arnold Zar-Kessler, and his 21 years of dedication to and leadership of Solomon Schechter Day School.

rahel-berkovitsRahel Berkovits ’83 was selected for being a trailblazer in bridging the worlds of feminism and halacha in the 21st century.  She is on the Faculty of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, where for the past twenty years she has been teaching Mishnah, Talmud, and Halacha.  In 2015, Rahel completed her studies at Beit Midrash Har’el and received rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Herzl Hefter and Rabbi Daniel Sperber, making her one of the first women ever to be ordained as an Orthodox Rav.  She is a founding member of Congregation Shirah Hadasha, a progressive halakhic minyan, which is enriched by both male and female participation in synagogue ritual and has published the book  A Daughter’s Recitation of Mourner’s Kaddish. Many of Rahel’s Talmud students at Pardes have gone on to become Jewish Studies teachers at SSDS Boston. Schechter classmate Glen Schwaber writes, “As an outstanding educator, an outspoken and effective community leader, a Zionist, a devoted spouse and parent, and a committed and proud Jew, Rahel’s life exemplifies Schechter’s vision and mission to the fullest.”

JackieJackie Schon ’99  was selected for her innovative business model, community service work and vision-driven leadership. In 2010, Jackie’s artistic background and “no option to fail” attitude positioned her to co-found The Paint Bar, Boston’s first “paint and sip” business (and the first business of its kind in the Northeast) with her mother, Jill Schon. Since its opening, Jackie has led and guided The Paint Bar’s creative team, to inspire more than 50,000 customers with little or no artistic background to discover their inner artist. In addition, The Paint Bar has hosted fundraisers for hundreds of non-profit organizations, contributing thousands of dollars on behalf of their supporters. Jackie’s sister and fellow alumna writes, “My sister, Jackie, applies sensitivity and originality to every task she approaches, whether it is volunteering with Jewish Big Brother Big Sister, painting a still life, or organizing Schechter’s 50th Anniversary event. She is an intuitive and gifted artist and businesswoman; this has served her well as she has the unique ability to channel her inspiration and energy. She sees the world through a colorful lens and inspires those around her to do the same.”

The awards will be presented at the school’s eighth grade graduation on June 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Temple Beth Avodah in Newton, MA. The Arnold Zar-Kessler Outstanding Alumni Award is presented annually to an alumna/us whose life embodies Schechter’s vision and mission. Nominations to the Director of Alumni Relations are due each year by March 15.

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Poet Visits Fourth Grade Students

Thanks to the Parent Association’s Creative Arts and Sciences Program, Andrew Green returned to our fourth grade again this year as our poet-in-residence. Fourth Grade General Studies Teacher Evie Weinstein-Park shared,”Following an interactive poetry reading of his own poems and those of some other published poets, Mr. Green taught each of the fourth grade classes for a one hour writing workshop, where he focused on word choice and how to create vivid imagery and use our imaginations. He also gave us some revising strategies. Everyone reconvened at the end of the day, when our students proudly shared the poems they had written (and which were quite impressive).”
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IsRAPelites: Schechter Students Create a Rap for Israel!

Lower School students wrote lyrics and recorded their voices to create a rap about Israel for Yom Ha’atzmaut! Through this unique opportunity with Lower School music teacher Eugenia Gerstein, students used their creativity to connect to Israel through music and composition, learning about new technologies to record their voices and coming together as a community of many voices to make one song showing our love for Israel!

Click below to listen to Recording #1.

Click below to listen to Recording #2.

Click below to listen to Recording #3.

Click below to listen to Recording #4.

Click below to listen to recording #5.

Kol HaKavod to the 49 students who participated in this project!

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Schechter Students Continue to Excel in State and Nationwide Contests

Recently we received some very good news about two of the contests in which Schechter students participate: the National WordMaster Analogy Test and the Statewide Will McDonough
Sports Writing Contest.

In the second Session of the National WordMaster Analogy Test, our seventh graders placed third in the nation and our sixth graders placed sixth in the nation. Five Middle Division students received a perfect scores of 20 out of 20!

In the Statewide Will McDonough Sports Writing Contest, a Schechter sixth grader who
wrote about the beginning and the vital importance of the Special Olympics won first place for the sixth grade level contest. Out of the top 10 winners in the state for the sixth grade level, four were Schechter students! Out of the top 10 winners in the state for the seventh grade level, two were Schechter students! One student, who placed second in the state, wrote about penalties for “excessive celebrations” in the NFL.

 

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Grade 5, Curators of the Egypt Museum

Where can one learn about the Great Pyramid of Giza, Abu Simbel, Egyptian gods and goddesses, King Tut, and more?  Students from the fourth grade and from Gan Shelanu found out when they visited Grade 5’s Egypt Museum today. As a culmination of their study of ancient Egyptian civilization, fifth graders gathered and organized important facts and details about specific topics, wrote research reports, and prepared fabulous displays to present at their museum exhibits.

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Schechter Welcomes New Director of Jewish Life and Learning

As part of our work to foster an inspiring and authentic Jewish experience for our students, a committee of parents, faculty and staff initiated a search for a Director of Jewish Life and Learning. After meeting with the committee, candidates were invited to Schechter for meetings with faculty, staff and students. After completing a competitive and comprehensive process, we are thrilled to share that Rabbi Ravid Tilles will join the Schechter community as our Director of Jewish Life and Learning!

Rabbi Ravid Tilles was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2013 where he also received a degree in Pastoral Counseling. Originally from Silver Spring, MD Ravid is a product of Jewish day schools having attended Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School from Kindergarten through Grade 12. Rabbi Tilles received his BA in Arts and Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. Since ordination, he has been the Associate Rabbi at the Merrick Jewish Centre in Merrick, Long Island where in addition to his pulpit responsibilities, he oversees the synagogue’s education program. Rabbi Tilles has a strong passion for Jewish education and engagement, particularly with young people, and is thrilled to be joining such a remarkable school. He looks forward to building meaningful relationships with Schechter students and staff to help deepen the culture of love for and embrace of Jewish life. Please join us in welcoming Rabbi Tilles, his wife Yaffa and their two boys, Avishai and Micah, to the Schechter community.

 

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Adar Joy Felt at Schechter

Everyone’s favorite week of the school year just passed! Last week, Schechter students celebrated the week leading up to Purim with “Adar Daze.” The week started with Sports Shirts Day on Monday, Crazy Hat and Hair Day on Tuesday, Pajama Day on Wednesday, Schechter Spirit Day on Thursday and Costumes on Friday. Students at the Upper School had a pre-Purim celebration on Friday with a Ruach Minyan in the morning followed by a costume parade, while Lower School students enjoyed their annual Purim Carnival. This year, in addition to parent volunteers, eighth graders came to the Lower School to help staff the carnival.  What a fun day for all!