IsRAPelites: Schechter Students Create a Rap for Israel!

Lower School students are writing lyrics and recording their voices to create a rap about Israel for Yom Ha’atzmaut! Through this unique opportunity with Lower School music teacher Eugenia Gerstein, students are using 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.

Thirty-five students have written lyrics and will participate in this project. Stay tuned for more verses!

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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.



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.



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!
Morris Family - Generations Profile

Expressing Our Gratitude and Appreciation to Schechter

Our family embarked on our Schechter journey almost nine years ago. Barbara and I had three very important considerations in making our decision about our daughter Ashley’s primary school education. We were looking for a school with a focus on substantive Jewish content, a secular curriculum that would provide a framework for educational excellence and a nurturing, comfortable environment, with teachers who would support, encourage and shape her learning process. With each passing year, we are more convinced that Schechter was the right choice for our family.

Both Barbara and I have become increasingly more involved in Schechter over the years – Barbara as a room parent, regular volunteer for pizza lunch and book fairs and this year as a costume designer for the Grade 8 play, while I took on a leadership role in the Annual Campaign and am now VP of Development on the Board of Trustees.

Inspired by our family’s Schechter experience, we recently made a meaningful gift to the Generations Campaign as our way to express our appreciation for the education Ashley has received from Kindergarten through eighth grade and our desire to ensure the future strength and success of the school.

In our final year as Schechter parents, we are eager to express our gratitude and appreciation with words of praise for the Schechter education Ashley has received and with strong financial support for both the Annual Campaign and the Generations Campaign. The Generations Campaign, when successfully completed, will double the size of Schechter’s endowment and provide financial stability and viability to Schechter for years to come. It will ensure that Schechter will continue to provide educational excellence for future generations of students and will provide tuition support as these costs continue to rise. Schechter enjoys a legacy of more than 55 years as a Jewish day school for the Greater Boston Jewish community; but the number of years is not the only important measure. Schechter’s graduates have gone on to be successful in a modern and complicated world and to possess and practice a Jewish value system in their daily lives.

For Schechter to continue its legacy, we must all understand the importance and value of a Schechter education and the foundation that it creates for our children to become great Jewish citizens of the world. My hope is that every Schechter graduate will harken back to their early educational roots and support Schechter so the next generation of young American Jews can reap the same benefits. And I hope every Schechter parent and grandparent will reflect on what Schechter has meant to their children and grandchildren – visualize how much better prepared they will be for the future with the foundation during formative years of a Schechter education. There is no better way to demonstrate the value of this education than by supporting Jewish day schools. Today, as Jews, we must continue our leadership roles in the world. We cannot do so without a strong educational focus, the kind of focus that Schechter provides for our children who will be the future leaders of the American Jewish community.

Pictured: Ellis, Ashley and Barbara Morris place a leaf on the Generations Vine signifying that the Campaign has crossed the $10.5 million milestone. As of March 2017, Schechter’s Generations Endowment Campaign has raised $10,775,273 toward our $12.5 million goal.


Fifth Graders Celebrate the Transition to Their Study of Neviim.

Fifth grade students and parents enjoyed an interactive Shiur B’Neviim, which celebrated the transition from the formal study of Humash (The Five Books of Moses) to studying Neviim (The Prophets).  Together they analyzed text from Chapter 1 of Joshua, discussed the challenges that Joshua faced replacing Moses as leader of a new nation, wrote journal entries from his perspective, and created maps showing how the land was to be divided amongst the twelve tribes.  To conclude the program, the children each received their own tikkun, a book used to prepare for Torah reading, as a gift from the school in memory of Deborah Kaplan Phillips (z”l), whose three children are Schechter alumni and whose grandchildren currently attend the school.  What makes this gift even more meaningful is that Schechter fifth graders learn how to chant from the Torah as part of their tefillah study.

Super Bowl Science Scores Big at the Lower School

Lower Division Science Specialist Steve Lechner kicked off the week with a lesson in Super Bowl Science. Steve set up five different stations: Reaction Time, Field Goal, Momentum, Rolling Football and Google Earth, where students investigated various aspects of football. Students started with testing Reaction Time. To test this, one student held a strip of paper in his or her hand, while another student tried to catch the paper as the first student dropped it. Next was the Field Goal station, where students were able to measure the angle at which it is easiest to kick a field goal-close to the goal, far away, or somewhere in between. At the Momentum station, a metal ball was rolled down a ramp with a wooden block at the end. The students used different ramp angles to measure which one moved the wooden block farther. Students in the higher grades did some math, determining how many third graders it would take to equal the weight of the heaviest Patriots player along with other football-related math questions. At the Football Rolling station, students measured which way a football rolled farther, laying flat or on its end. Finally, students used Google Earth to find Gillette Stadium. Starting with the whole earth, they zoomed right into the stadium, as if they were standing in the middle of the stadium.


Airport Code SSDS K-1: How the Lower School Got Its Own Airport

by Sondra Kaminsky (Kindergarten Teacher)

It began when were walking from the music room to the science room, up the back staircase.  There was nothing on the walls and I said it seemed very plain in there. One child said it was empty.  Another said it was boring. I said it reminded me of getting on an airplane from the terminal….and that was it. One of the children suggested we make an airport.

We began by making a mural of airplanes up in the sky. Then someone said that we needed a terminal. We began to work on the terminal, the check in, the security, the restaurants and shops, the baggage claim. Next we needed planes taking off from the runway… We were clearly not finished!

We had to have people watching the planes take off from the terminal. I emailed parents to send any photos of the children over vacation time if they were going on an airplane or in a terminal (we have a photo section). Then we needed a control tower and one of the children said we needed some maps to show where the airplanes go… So we made a map. The children even made things from different places to put on the map like oranges in Florida, the Eiffel tower in France, tea in Seattle because one of our Grandmas lives in Seattle and she likes to drink tea… One child said “Wherever we go, we have to keep Schechter in our hearts.” and that became the caption on the map.  We wrote books and poems and signs for important things to remember at the airport (no liquids, gate numbers, fasten your seat belt, etc.). The project had a life of its own over a two month period. The children chose to spend time during their free choice/play time. I was beginning to wonder what they were imagining and whether it would meet their expectations…

We had an opening ribbon cutting ceremony (also suggested from the children) and we invited the other kindergarten class. The K-1 children were the tour guides. We even served refreshments in the form of airplane cookies. We also had tours with the first grade classes and the children brought their parents through the airport. I thought we were finished but I heard from parents on Friday that their child said “we are not finished, we can always add more!”

What I especially love about the whole project is that it was child initiated, every step of the way. The children were so excited and worked so well together as a community to produce this airport. We used all our curricular areas to have this developmental based unit come alive. I am sure they will remember this for a long time and every trip to the airport will bring a reminder of this happy learning time with their kindergarten friends.

Snowy Science Storms Kindergarten

by Steve Lechner (Lower Division Science Specialist)
I started my “Snowy Science” unit with the kindergarteners last week by reading The Snowy Day, followed by showing the students my snow collection, which they had to sort and classify to find the reason why NONE of my samples were actually real snow. I then discussed the concept that snowflakes have six sides or points, and we looked at different shapes to compare and contrast them. I finished up by showing them my snowman that I made last year and kept in my closet all year (he was just water with a hat, scarf, eyes and a carrot nose in it). The students helped me figure out the best place to keep a snowman.
This week we followed up by talking about ice, and demonstrating how warm air will melt ice cubes slowly but their warm hands with melt it really quickly! I then told the students about how I used to be a cowboy, and learned how to ride around in the desert lassoing ice cubes. I made a very tiny lasso and attempted to lasso a very large ice cube (which didn’t work). Eventually I remembered my secret ingredient (salt), which when sprinkled on the ice lowers the freezing point of the ice, allowing the lasso freeze onto the ice cube! Check out a video of this experiment!