שבת פרשת לך לך 
Shabbat Parshat Lech Lecha
Candle Lighting: 5:39
Havdalah: 6:38

ח׳ חשון תשע״ח

8 Cheshvan 5778
October 28, 2017
Issue 6

Due to a glitch in our system, the Chadashot was not sent out before Shabbat. We apologize for the delay. 

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Dear Parents,

This morning, we had a school wide kick-off of our theme of the year, עולם חסד יבנה. Our 7th and 8th grade advisory groups were each paired with a class in grades K-6, and they studied sources related to models of chesed in Tanach, and how we can learn from them. Over the course of the year, the advisory groups will continue to work with their respective paired classes to develop and implement a few chesed projects. Thank you to Ayala Raice and Ailie Schmulowitz for working on the sources and the program, an opportunity for our students to learn with, and from, each other towards a common goal. Click here to enjoy a video that was shown in the classrooms this morning as part of the theme of the year kick-off.


Thank you to Yael Edelstein and Hillary Edelson for leading the Singapore Math workshop for 1st and 2nd grade parents this week, and to Rabbi Steve Moskowitz and Rosh Kehila Dina Najman for leading the first of a series of Bar/Bat Mitzvah learning programs for parents and students. It was great to see the building buzzing with learning after hours.


Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Binyamin Krauss




Click here for the English version of Daf Yomi: Parshat Lech Lecha
Click here for the Hebrew version of Daf Yomi: Parshat Lech Lecha

מזל טוב


Honor Greenberg (Gr. 6)
Akiva Schanzer (Gr. 7)

If you would like a "Mazal tov" listed in the Chadashot for a new baby that is born in your family, please click here.


Theme of the Year Kick-Off: עולם חסד יבנה

As Rabbi Krauss wrote in his letter, the official theme of the year kick-off took place on Friday morning. 7th & 8th grade advisory groups engaged students in Kindergarten through 6th grade as they discussed our theme, עולם חסד יבנה, with the younger students on age-appropriate levels. Using examples from Tanach--Avraham, Rivka, and Rut--students learned about different types of chesed. 

Throughout the year, each advisory group will partner with the same Kindergarten or lower school class, and together, they will complete three chesed projects related to one of the following assigned themes: Supporting senior citizens, comforting the sick, combating hunger, supporting our soldiers, protecting our environment, or caring for the homeless and impoverished. Each of the three projects will be completed over the course of two sessions (a total of six sessions per year). We are excited to have a meaningful year of participating in chesed projects together!



N8 Gets to Know Mat Man!

This week the children in N8 were introduced to Mat Man! Mat Man is a floor person made up of curved and straight wooden pieces that correspond to the same curved and straight lines that the children have been using to learn how to write their letters. Mat Man has the important job of helping children identify and write letters, but he also has several other jobs. By noting the parts that make up Mat Man, and building their own personalized versions of Mat Man (like Mat Mom, Mat Dad, and Mat Me!), the children have been learning about their body parts and body functions while simultaneously practicing counting and sequencing skills. Mat Man has also been a helpful model for the children as they learn to draw accurate representations of people. He has even inspired us to read stories, sing songs, and play games in Hebrew involving the same body parts that we have been learning about. What a fun new addition to N8!


N6 "Marks" Theme of the Year


In connection with this year's theme of Olam Chesed Yibaneh, N6 is excited to launch a school-wide chesed project. Did you ever wonder what you could do with all of your dried up markers? Thanks to N6, you don't need to wonder anymore. We found out that The Crayola Factory has the solution! The Crayola Factory collects any plastic markers (they can be any brand, and highlighters and dry erase markers are included) and the markers are re-purposed so that they don't wind up in landfills.

To get started, the children of N6 located a big box and then cut and glued images of markers to decorate the box. Then they tested the markers in the classroom and sorted the ones that still worked and the ones that were dried up. We started filling the box with used markers, and of course we're very excited to collect even more! Everyone is welcome to participate. If you have dried up markers at home, just bring them to the ELC office or send them to school with your child in a bag labeled "ELC Marker Project" and we will make sure they are added to our collection. We're looking forward to working together to help the environment, one marker at a time!



2nd Grade Learns about the Ocean

Over the past few weeks, second graders worked on a unit all about shells and sea life.  We conducted several read-alouds which provided us with information on various types of shells, animals who live within the shells, and the different purposes they serve.  We learned how different cultures have used shells over time including that they have been used for currency, art, jewelry, musical instruments, and more. 

During Chol Hamoed Sukkot, we had a visit from the Maritime Aquarium Traveling Teachers Program. These marine life experts brought a variety of crabs, shellfish, and seashells for the students to observe and touch carefully. They also played a game in which they placed a picture of each sea creature in its natural habitat, either the ocean floor, the ocean surface, or the sandy shore.

The culmination of our unit was when we conducted an ocean acidification project. The students were divided by tables, and were told to choose a shell that they would conduct their experiment on as a group. Each group placed their shell in a cup of vinegar and continued to observe it over the next week in order to see the effect the vinegar would have on the shell, replicating the effects of ocean water. The students were fascinated to see that in such a short time their shells completely changed color, shape, and size!


Chumash Thrives in 3rd Grade

Bringing this year's school wide theme of Olam Chesed Yibaneh into the classroom, the third grade has been focusing on the actions and middot of Avraham Avinu. Each of the Avot is known for a certain attribute; Avraham Avinu is known for chesed.

Parshat Vayera begins with Avraham greeting three guests that suddenly appear walking towards him. Hastily, Avraham welcomes the guests into his tent and offers them bread and water. Delving further into the psukim, the students discovered that Avraham only mentioned bread and water, but subsequently, he prepares much more for his guests including bread, milk, butter, and meats.

Together as a class, we learned this story of Avraham in order to emphasize the importance of אמר מעט ועשה הרבה, "Say a little and do a lot." After learning the psukim in depth, we divided the psukim in categories: What Avrahram said versus what Avraham actually did for his guests. Taking this to the next level, every student received a segment of a pasuk and illustrated it on a word bubble to represent Avraham's speech, or a foot to represent his actions. Displaying the student's work in the classroom allowed the students to visualize the immense difference between what Avraham said in contrast to his actions. The connection of Avraham's story to אמר מעט ועשה הרבה, highlighted to the third graders the importance of doing positive actions for others, whether at home, in the classroom, and for all people. Learning about and performing acts of kindness will hopefully cause a chain reaction that brings more chesed into this world.


3rd Grade "Visits" Antarctica


Have you ever considered a trip to Antarctica? The third graders were taken on a virtual tour of this icy continent and were wowed by the beauty and wildlife. Our tour guides were Aliya Ryman's grandparents, veteran travelers who have set foot on all seven continents. Their slideshow highlighted the spectacular beauty from atop glaciers, in rafts in the Southern Ocean and from aboard a cruise ship. We were particularly delighted by close-up encounters with gentoo and chinstrap penguins as they waddled about, jumped into water and slid down icy hills on "penguin highways." In addition, we loved seeing glimpses of the majestic fins of humpback whales. It was especially heartening to learn how many different countries join together to preserve the environment in Antarctica. This was a unique presentation that truly made our study of the continents come to life!


Creating 3-D Models of Mobile Devices

The new Library Integrated Tech Voice & Choice class is a non-fiction research and design library rotation for Grades 2-4. Each multi-week theme concludes with a museum/exhibit that showcases the research, findings, art/design, and presentations of our students.

Our inaugural project is "Discovering Mobile Devices". Students were introduced to Alexander Graham Bell (credited with patenting the first practical telephone) Martin Cooper (father of the mobile phone), and lastly, Steve Jobs (founder of Apple, Inc.).

Students discussed characteristics, features, and benefits of different devices, created imaginative illustrations and are now finalizing their very own 3-D model of mobile devices. They are accomplishing all of this by utilizing iPads, specifically the painting and drawing apps and Foldify, a 3-D modeling app that generates printed plans to be manually cut and folded.

It's so exciting to see what mobile devices the students will design!


Mazal Tov to Chani Jaskoll!

Congratulations to Mrs. Jaskoll on winning First Place in the Bergen County Senior Art Show for her painting "Pears and Apples". Mrs. Jaskoll went on to win First Place in the 51st Annual New Jersey Senior Art Show, sponsored by the New Jersey Council of the Arts.

We are so proud of Mrs. Jaskoll and honored to have her as our Art teacher!


Jewish Life in Hungary and Serbia

On Monday morning, a group of Middle School students welcomed Sonja Vilcic of Serbia and Peter Neuman of Hungary. Both visitors are from Haver, a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Hungary ( and Serbia ( Haver works to educate young students about Judaism and to bridge the gap where there is a lack of basic understanding about Jews and Jewish life. Sonja and Peter were brought to SAR by Rabbi Seth Braunstein (Academy alumnus), who directs the Szarvas Fellowships in Hungary, to talk about Jewish life in their respective country and the specific work they do with their organization.


Students learned that in Hungary, many Jews do not even know they are Jewish, and some learn of their


religion and ancestry when they are young adults. They also learned that in the Serbia, the Jewish population is very small--there is no Jewish education available. The Jewish people living in Hungary and Serbia have very different experiences than we have here in our SAR community!


Many thanks to Peter, Sonja, and Rabbi Braunstein for coming to speak to some of our Middle School students.


3rd Grade Enrichment Clusters Have Begun!


Our third grade Enrichment Clusters, which started this week, are off to a great start! Our nine-week program affords each student an opportunity to participate in a STEAM based curricular unit in his/her area of interest. This broad enrichment initiative is founded on the belief that every student has the potential to demonstrate gifted behavior and reflects our deep commitment to foster the growth of each individual child. Our ultimate goal is to help children develop their unique talents and passion and to understand how they can share their gifts with the world.

Course offering are quite varied this semester and are incorporating different aspects of science, technology, engineering, art-design and math. Whether they are learning the science of color as they create masterpieces with Chani Jaskoll, creating a waterwheel to study energy,

forces and motion with Ayelet Feinberg, building circuits with Renata Cohen, exploring the physics behind common toys with Jen Sokol or becoming Makers with Rivka Heisler, our facilitators aim to further develop the students' critical thinking skills, perseverance, collaboration and creativity.

As we walked through the building during the Enrichment Cluster session this week, the excitement and student engagement was palpable. The students were busy exploring, participating, discovering, creating and observing, each in their own way. In the words of Joseph S. Renzulli, "Every child should have the chance to be exceptional without exception."

For a complete list of course offerings, please click here.


Thinking Like Engineers

Since the beginning of the school year, the 8th graders have studied the tenants of the engineering design process, a series of steps used by engineers to uncover a solution to a problem. As a culmination to this introduction to the engineering design process, students were assigned a final project in which they were to act like engineers hired by a candy store owner to create a functional, durable and aesthetically pleasing shopping bag that could hold a minimum weight of candy. Students began by performing a tensile strength test using various string-like materials to select the strongest fabric for the handle of their shopping bags. Once they determined the materials that withstood the greatest


force, they worked together with a partner to define the goal of the assignment to ensure they were working toward a common goal, researched and brainstormed ideas on how to reach their goal, and selected the best possible idea, weighing the importance of various design criteria. Once the students designed and sketched their ideal product, they began constructing their own shopping bags with limited materials. Once the students completed their designs, they tested them to determine whether they held the minimum weight requirement. Depending on how well their design worked, they then determined whether improvements were necessary, and if so, what those improvements would look like in order to create a better shopping bag. Finally, it was time to for the students to orally present their designs to the candy store owner, or the teacher, and plead their case to buy more time and resources for improvements or to release their product onto the market.

The final products were not only a source of pride to the students and teacher, but they now decorate our classroom walls and serve as a constant reminder to our students that they can accomplish any goal they set their minds to.


Parshat Lech Lecha
By Yael Weiner, 4W


In Parshat Lech Lecha, Avram and Lot are living in Eretz Canaan with all of their belongings. The pasuk says that the shepherds of Avram and Lot start fighting. Rashi comments and says that Lot's shepherds are bad people, and they let their sheep eat grass in the fields that belong to other people. Avram's shepherds try to tell Lot's shepherds that they are stealing from other people, but Lot's shepherds explain why they think they really are not stealing. Hashem gave the land to Avram, who has no children, so when Avram dies, the land will be inherited by his nephew Lot. The land really belongs to Lot, so they are not stealing! But the pasuk ends by saying that the Canaani and Perizzi nations live in the land now in order to tell us that right now, the land still belongs to those nations, and not to Avram yet. 


Jewish Basketball League (JBL)

Learn basketball, compete, make new friends, and have fun!

Begins Sunday, November 12 at Solomon Schechter Upper School in Hartsdale

 Click here for more info. To register, please visit:

!שבת שלום


SAR Academy

Riverdale, NY 10471
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