שבת פרשת חיי שרה  
Shabbat Parshat Chayei Sarah
Candle Lighting: 4:23
Havdalah: 5:23

  כ״ב חשון תשע״ח

22 Cheshvan 5778
November 11, 2017
Issue 8


Dear Parents, 


Yesterday, we gathered on the SAR steps to pay tribute to our veterans in advance of Veterans Day, and to commemorate Kristallnacht, the night that marked the beginning of the darkest period in our history. As our younger students spent time during the day hearing from veterans, and our Middle School students learned from first-hand witnesses and their descendants of the horrors of Kristallnacht, we reinforced the importance of the liberties we benefit from in this country, as well as the heroes who do not stand idly by in the face of oppression. I hope you can find a few minutes at your Shabbat tables to speak with your children about these experiences, and the messages they learned.

Thank you to Beverly Wolfer Nerenberg for organizing our Veterans Day speakers, and to Leon Metzger and Debby Ziering for sharing their Kristallnacht messages with our 7th and 8th graders.

Today, our staff spent the day reflecting on our practice, and thinking about goals for each of our students in advance of parent-teacher conferences next Sunday.


Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Binyamin Krauss




Click here for the English version of Daf Yomi: Parshat Chayei Sarah
Click here for the Hebrew version of Daf Yomi: Parshat Chayei Sarah

מזל טוב



Talia Aranoff (Gr. 6)

Ilan Eisenberger (Gr. 7)

Liam Lewis (Gr. 7) 

Amichai Roseman (Gr. 7)




Gaby and Avi Mermelstein on the birth of twin boys

Mazal tov to big sisters Temma (4N) and Miri (2N)



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


Commemorating Veterans Day at SAR

At SAR Academy, we commemorated Veterans Day on the same day as Kristallnacht, which felt appropriate and meaningful. As Rabbi Krauss explained in our morning ceremony, on Kristallnacht, people stood and watched silently as others were hurt and their homes destroyed. In contrast, he said, "Our veterans chose to serve because wherever people are suffering, it's not okay to do nothing." We honored those who chose to defend our country and the freedom of others. As a community, we sang The Star Spangled Banner, heard different readings from students, and we heard from Petty Officer First Class Sean Kazmark of the U.S. Navy. Not only did Officer Kazmark speak about the role of our Armed Forces in terms of protecting the United States and its freedoms, but he also talked extensively about the fact that we have many Jewish veterans whom we honor. Please click here to view the morning program and Officer Kazmark's address.

Later in the morning, Officer Kazmark also spoke to 1st and 5th grade in a more intimate discussion about his experiences in the U.S. Navy. Caryl Swain from Canine Companions, a program in which specially trained dogs provide assistance and companionship to veterans, met with the 2nd and 3rd graders. The students learned about more ways to support and honor veterans. Rabbi Moshe Grussgott, who was a chaplain in the U.S. Army from 2010 until 2016, joined with our Kindergarten students for their own "boot camp" experience!

We would like to express our hakarat hatov to SAR parent Beverly Wolfer Nerenberg for raising our awareness and appreciation for our Armed Forces and for helping us to honor them on days like Veterans Day.


Leaf Peeping in N1 

N1 has been noticing the change in the weather and the change in the colors of the leaves on the trees. We decided to go on a leaf hunt to explore and see what we could find. What a great day it was! We trekked all over the playground and the field and found many different types of leaves. Some were big and some were small. Some were crunchy and some were soft and smooth. We saw leaves that were red, yellow, orange, and brown. We brought all the beautiful leaves back into our classroom to have a closer look and then made leaf collages with them. N1 loves fall!



4th Grade Visits Museum Village

To enrich the children's appreciation of colonial life, the 4th grade traveled to Monroe, NY to visit Museum Village. This interactive, engaging experience allowed the students to learn about what it was like to live during colonial times. The children toured the village and enjoyed hands-on projects such as dipping candles, using a printing press, and learning how to dye fabrics like wool, linen and cotton. The children sat in a one-room schoolhouse and were taught about colonial school life. They were amazed to learn that students of all grades and ages sat together and learned arithmetic, spelling and writing. The school year lasted only 12 weeks from Thanksgiving to early spring because most of the children from the area worked on family farms. The children visited a one-room, fire lit, log cabin where they learned about daily life. The drugstore exhibit featured authentic herbs, bottles, healthcare apparatuses, eyeglasses, and even a soda fountain was on display. What an eye-opening experience we had!


5th Grade Dives into History

Fifth graders are currently reading Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry. This is a book of historical fiction taking place in Denmark during World War II. It tells the story of how the Danish resistance movement helped secure safe passage to Sweden for the vast majority of Danish Jews. In an age appropriate way, it details the courage and heroism of both the Jews and the resistance fighters.


We are also beginning to study Westward Expansion, and will soon study the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition. In conjunction with this, students are learning fun songs and playing interactive games in order to help them memorize the location of each of the 50 states and their capitals. 


1st Grade Stav Studies 

We have been busy learning about stav in Kitah Aleph! We learned how to say the colors of the leaves in Hebrew, along with other fall vocabulary, and went outside to gather leaves. The children were excited to collect the leaves and talk about stav, including the weather and all the different colors that stav brings with it. We can't wait to make Hebrew letters out of the leaves, which we will glue onto construction paper and display in our classroom.



How Our Garden Grows

At Gan Ilan, students have been helping with the final harvests of our summer crops, transitioning some of the garden beds towards fall and winter crops, and exploring all of Hashem's beautiful creatures that call Gan Ilan their home. Our tomatoes, eggplants, and squash are all still flowering and producing fruit, and we picked several. We picked some baby turnip greens and enjoyed how yummy these nutrient-packed leaves taste! We planted peas and oats as a cover crop in some of our beds, as well as the beginning of our garlic planting. Many students also got to feel and smell our lovely bed of thyme. We've also been picking off the dry flowers from the marigold plants to encourage new growth, and it's working! We saw ladybugs, bumblebees, honey bees, and a praying mantis all foraging in Gan Ilan! 

Author and Illustrator Don Brown Visits

This week, award-winning author and illustrator, Don Brown, captivated students in grades two through five, sharing his expertise and passion for writing and illustrating children's books. Most of his 28 publications are biographies about people who were ardent about pursuing their interests and dreams.  His subjects have included Ruth Law, Mary Anning, Neil Armstrong, Albert Einstein, and Alexander Hamilton, to name just a few.

Students learned about how Mr. Brown develops a book from start to finish, from his research on each topic to the step-by-step development of his amazing illustrations. They asked many thoughtful questions and expressed enthusiasm throughout the presentation! Mr. Brown culminated by encouraging the children to recognize their own passions and to pursue them.

To learn more about Don Brown and his outstanding publications, please visit his website.


Afterschools in Action 


Afterschools are in full swing! In Gymnastics, students begin with basic floor exercises and then move on to acrobatic skills, improving their coordination, agility, and confidence. In Krav Maga, students are learning techniques such as judo, boxing, and jujitsu, which improve coordination, critical thinking ability, and confidence.


Meanwhile, in Build Your Own Computer, our student computer builders figured out how to connect the display, mouse, and speakers to a Raspberry Pi computer. Using screwdrivers, screws, and wood pieces​,​ they​ began assembling the box for their computer using a blueprint that specified the steps and pieces involved in the construction. They sometimes had to rebuild parts that were oriented in the wrong way, implementing peer consultation and​ a growth mindset. We can't wait to see the finished product! In Kodu Play: 3D Video Game Design, students are learning how to program Kodu to play hide and seek, go apple picking, and help him find his way out of a maze. Students will soon learn how to use their own ideas to personalize the games.


Remembering Kristallnacht

Last week, in anticipation of Kristallnacht and to prepare for our guest speakers, 7th and 8th grade advisory groups learned about the events that occurred in Germany and Austria on November 9-10, 1938. The students read several eyewitness accounts written by various people who shared their experiences of that night.

On Thursday, November 9, the anniversary of Kristallnacht, 7th and 8th graders had the privilege of hearing from speakers who told personal stories about Kristallnacht and the time that followed.

Seventh graders welcomed Debby Ziering, who shared her father's powerful story with the students. Mr. Herman Ziering, z"l, was a survivor of the Riga Ghetto and the Kaiserwald Concentration Camp. Ms. Ziering spoke of her father's life before, during, and after the Holocaust. She spoke about how her father asked a lot of questions that applied to all Holocaust survivors after liberation: "How will you trust other people? How will you go back to making every day decisions?  Do you believe in G-d? Will you love another person again?" Mr. Ziering's informal education was all about survival, and these experiences taught him to be resilient. He taught his children so many important lessons: to always adhere to their beliefs, even when life was at risk, to never stand silently as a bystander when something bad is going on, and to trust their instincts. The lessons that Mr. Ziering taught his children are pearls of wisdom from which we could all benefit, and we greatly appreciate Ms. Ziering sharing her father's story with us. In addition, we are grateful to Ms. Ziering for facilitating and running our Names, Not Numbers program for some of our 8th grade students.

Mr. Leon Metzger addressed the 8th graders. He shared a video of his father, Mr. Erich Metzger, z"l, that was created when his father was 94 years old. In this video, the elder Mr. Metzger recounts his experiences of the night of Kristallnacht. He speaks about his neighbors' apartments being damaged that night, but since there was no record that his particular apartment was occupied by Jews, it remained untouched. It was not clear to his family until the next day what had truly happened, when the smell of smoke and burning was very evident and when Erich's father walked past all of the other buildings and synagogues that were destroyed. When Erich's father went to shul that morning, he was relieved to see that their small shul was not damaged, but he feared that the Nazis would soon come to destroy theirs.  Therefore, he went back and forth between the shul and their home to save five sifrei Torah,  which he successfully hid in their home. These sifrei Torah eventually came to the United States and they were donated to several shuls in the New York area.

Many thanks to Ms. Ziering and Mr. Metzger for sharing their fathers' stories.




Parshat Chayei Sarah
By Nessa Buchweitz and Gabi Hershman, 2X

In this week's parsha, Chayei Sarah, Avraham sends his servant to find the right wife for his son Yitzchak. The servant traveled with many camels and reached a well. Because they were traveling so far, they were probably feeling hot and thirsty and maybe even feeling sick. At the well, the servant met Rivka and asked her to give him some water. Rivka gave him water not just for him, but offered water for all his camels too, which was a lot of water!


We see that in this story Rivka did the mitzvah of chesed. She was kind to the servant and to all the animals, and took care of them. From Rivka we learn that we should treat people and animals with kindness and offer to help when we see others need it.




For Parents New to SAR

Click here to read about this special opportunity.


New Sefer Torah Dedication at The Riverdale Minyan

Saturday night, Rosh Chodesh Kislev, November 18, at 6:30 PM at The Riverdale Minyan, 4545 Independence Avenue. The community is invited for a Melave Malka, when the writing of the Torah will be finished and the Torah will be danced to the Aron Kodesh. Special activities for children and live music. Click here to help with the writing and participate in this mitzvah.


Yaldaynu Annual Children's Concert Featuring ShirLaLa

Sunday, November 12 at Yaldaynu Preschool, 251 West 100th Street. Doors open at 10:45 AM; concert  at 11:00 AM. Tickets: $15 in advance, $20 per person at the door; children under 2: free; $100 Family Sponsor (includes tickets for your family). For tickets, contact the office at (212) 866-4993.


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 information. To register, please click here.

Happening at the Riverdale Y

Sarah Lily Adoption Fund
The Sarah Lily Fund provides two $5,000 grants annually to help Jewish families in Metropolitan New York being formed by adoption. Applications are considered in May and November. Click here for more information.


Jazz Meets Broadway
Thursday, November 16, 7:30-9:30 PM. Cabaret-style evening with hors d'oeuvres and cocktails to the tunes of Gershwin, Porter, Kern, Berlin and other Broadway greats. Click here for more information.

A Sense of Riverdale: Shabbat Dinner & Learning
Join the entire Riverdale Jewish community for A Sense of Riverdale Shabbat Dinner and Learning, Friday, January 12. Sponsored by the Riverdale Jewish Community Partnership. More information to follow.


Mordechai Shapiro Concert at Young Israel Scarsdale

Motzaei Shabbat, November 11. Havdalah at 5:50 PM; concert at 6:00 PM. Click here for more information.



Bronx Jewish Community Council Project HOPE Chanukah Package Delivery

Sunday, December 3, 9:00-11:30 AM. Deliver Chanukah packages to lonely, home-bound, or needy Jewish elderly, or sponsor a package for only $25. For questions, contact Niti Minkove, Director of Volunteers, at


Riverdale Skywriters Project

Make cards for patients at the MJHS/Zicklin Hospice Residence in Riverdale. Bring or mail cards to The Zicklin Hospice Residence (Atria Building), 3718 Henry Hudson Parkway, 12th floor. Questions: or


Pies for Prevention

Support the ninth annual "Pies For Prevention" Thanksgiving Bake Sale to support Sharsheret's ovarian cancer program. Place your orders and make any additional donations by clicking here by November 16. All ingredients are certified kosher and pareve. Baked goods are prepared in volunteer bakers' kosher home kitchens. For more information, please contact Ilana Ressler or Lauryn Weiser at

!שבת שלום


SAR Academy

Riverdale, NY 10471
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