שבת פרשת מקץ  
Shabbat Parshat Miketz/Chanukah
Candle Lighting: 4:10
Havdalah: 5:11

  כ״ח כסלו תשע״ח

28 Kislev 5778
December 16, 2017
Issue 12


Dear Parents,


Thank you to Ailie Schmulowitz and Adina Steinberg for coordinating so many incredible activities for the days of Chanukah at SAR for all ages. The spirit of the chag has been felt in the building all week, and we hope you have been able to join our candlelighting via livestream each day.


Thank you to both the hosts and the presenters of our Six Points of Light program earlier this week in Yonkers, Riverdale, Manhattan, White Plains, and Scarsdale. This was a wonderful opportunity to share the wisdom and passion of some of our educators with the members of the broader community.


Shabbat Shalom and Chanukah Sameach,

Rabbi Binyamin Krauss




Click here for the English version of Daf Yomi: Chanukah Edition
Click here for the Hebrew version of Daf Yomi: Chanukah Edition

מזל טוב



Benji Bader (Gr. 7)

Roni Cohen (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.


SAR Dinner

Celebrate SAR's 49th Anniversary Dinner! Join us Motzaei Shabbat, January 13, at SAR High School for what is always a wonderful and fun-filled evening.

For ads and reservations, please click here. The ad deadline is Friday, December 29.


Chanukah Highlights


STEM Family Challenge Day 

This past Sunday, over fifty families gathered for SAR Academy's second annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Family Challenge Day. Led and created by our Director of Science Curriculum and STEM Initiative, Dr. Chaya Fine, and assisted by various members of our faculty, the program was organized so that every family had an opportunity to choose from twelve available interactive STEM stations. Each Chanukah-themed station presented a different STEM challenge or taught a different STEM concept. Our Family STEM Day is based on a model that was presented at a national NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) conference and schools around the country have found it to be a wonderful way to raise awareness in the community about the importance of STEM education.


It was not so easy for families to select which STEM stations to choose--the ambitious participants would have liked to do even more! Who wouldn't want to code their own Chanukah card, build a straw missile to fight the Yevanim, design, build, and launch a catapult, learn about pH and see which liquid can shine your Chanukah gelt, create your own light-up menorah, program a robotic to find the shemen zayit, explore magnetism, and more! "It was amazing to see how each STEM activity engaged and excited multiple generations simultaneously. I am not sure who had more fun--the children, the parents, or even the grandparents in attendance. The power of curiosity, exploration, and creativity reverberated throughout the school," said Dr. Fine after this very successful day of educational fun and family time. Although the activities were geared for our elementary students, children of all ages became involved, and the program also brought together middle school student volunteers as well as our science, technology, math and engineering teachers from all grades as they volunteered to facilitate the stations.

We look forward to more STEM Family Challenge Day programs in the future! Thank you to everyone who helped make it such a success!


SAR Faculty Enlighten and Engage 

On Monday night, current and prospective SAR families gathered in homes across Riverdale, Manhattan, and Westchester to hear SAR faculty members speak on a number of engaging topics. In intimate settings, parents had the opportunity to learn from Rebecca Ostro Nagata on "Why Adolescence is Hard and Must Be," Dr. Barbara Gochberg on "Anxiety Rules the World: School and Home Partnership During Anxious Times," Sharon Richter on "Chanukah Sparks: The Best Gifts We Can Give Our Children," Dr. Shoshana Dachs on "Understanding and Managing Challenging Behavior in Young Children," and Dr. Irit Offer Stark on "Who is the Ideal Educator? Reflections on Student-Teacher Relations: A Study of Agadot Chazal." We thank all of the presenters for sharing their knowledge and expertise and for facilitating such thoughtful and engaging discussions. It was a truly enriching experience for all those who attended!


Special thanks to the evening's hosts: Hudi and Lawrence Askowitz; Dahlia and Moshe Bellows; Sarah Roer and Etan Bendheim; Maya Bernstein and Noam Silverman; and Lauren and Gavin Westerman.


Chanukah in N8


N8 has been anxiously waiting for Chanukah and it has finally arrived! In our anticipation of the chag we did lots of singing, dancing, learning and, of course, we made handcrafted chanukiyot. We learned the difference between a menorah and a chanukiyah and we spoke of all of the miracles of this wonderful chag. 


We are playing sivivon in the classroom using our new sivivonim which have the letters nun, gimmel, hey, and pay on them. We learned that these are the sivivonim that are used in

ganim in Eretz Yisrael because the miracle actually happened there! We are also making levivot and the smell in the ELC has been out of this world!


Aside from all of our hands-on experiences, we also learned that Chanukah is about bringing light into the world and that is why we put our chanukiyot in our
windows. On the same theme the children LOVE to sing the song

באנו חושך לגרש. We have taken upon ourselves to help to get rid of the darkness by being "bucket fillers." We read the book Have You Filled A Bucket Today by Carol McCloud. This heartwarming book encourages positive behavior by using the concept of an invisible bucket to show children how easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation, and love by "filling buckets." It shows the children "bucket dipping" is a negative behavior, not a permanent label. It also explains that it's possible to fill or dip into our own buckets. We hope that this will be a year full of bucket filling for all and we wish you a chag sameach!

Nursery Rhymes Meet Chanukah in K2 

The children of Gan Bet have been loving our ongoing nursery rhyme unit. Throughout this unit we have explored features of literacy including sounds, rhymes, vocabulary, high frequency words, and so much more. The children read, act out, illustrate, sing, and this week--create a chanukiyah centered around the rhymes! How thrilled the children were to create their very own Humpty


Dumpty themed chanukiyah. Each child imagined Humpty Dumpty in a different way, adding details such as bows, earrings, ties, styled hair. and so much more out of fimo, a polymer clay. As the children light their chanukiyah in years to come, they will have a special memento of their year in kindergarten!


Up Close With Rainforest Reptiles


The 3rd graders thoroughly enjoyed a special rainforest reptile show! We were wowed by the knowledgeable Michael Ralbovsky, an herpetologist who worked as the operations manager of the St. Augustine Alligator Farm in Florida. He specializes in large snakes, lizards, and turtles, and became one of just a few people in the world who worked with all 23 species of crocodiles in captivity. From the minute Mr. Ralbovsky began his presentation, our students were at the edge of their seats, eager to learn about the reptiles he brought. Some of the reptiles we met included Toady, a marine toad, Tulla, a common boa constrictor from South America, Sophira, a black and white tegu lizard from Argentina, and Fluffy, an alligator that had been recently rescued.

We were privileged to learn many interesting facts when each reptile was introduced. For example, we learned how toads have poison in their parotid gland and how they can inflate themselves as a defense mechanism when threatened. We also discovered that tegu lizards are the only animals in South America that can kill rattlesnakes and use their tails to scare away predators. In addition, we were fascinated to learn how boa constrictors have 70-80 teeth at a time and shed over 6,000 teeth in their lifetime! Finally, Mr. Ralbovsky impressed upon us the importance of snakes and even told us that rattlesnake venom is used in certain heart medicines!

This was the first time this exciting program came to SAR and you can be sure that we will invite them back next year to enhance our 3rd grade rainforest studies!

The Joy of Chanukah in Kita Aleph

In Kita Aleph, we are enjoying celebrating Chanukah using all our senses. We have been singing Israeli Chanukah songs, dancing like dreidels, and eating sufganiyot and latkes! We love playing Chanukah games and learning the history and the mitzvot of this fun-filled holiday. The highlight of our day is the communal hadlakat nerot on the steps with the entire school. It is so much fun to celebrate together as a community!

We are looking ahead with excitement to celebrating the rest of the chag and we wish everyone a Chanukah sameach! 



New Adult Ed Arts Institute


Enjoy some of the incredible creative offerings your children get to experience each day at school! We are excited to introduce the Adult Ed Arts Institute at SAR. Join us for 4-week sessions on Monday evenings, January 8, 15, 22, and 29, from 7:30 - 9:00 PM (except where noted). The registration fee is $125; $25 materials fee where noted.

Choose from Mixed Media Studio, Guitar Workshop, Digital iPad Art, Watercolor Workshop, Memory Keepers - Writing Memoir, Come Out and Clay, and Animation Studio.

In addition, stop in for a pop-up session (one session each class, no registration fee), on various Monday evenings in January. Choose Printmaking Workshop ($20 materials fee); Intro to Computer Added 3D Design; The 2-Hour Art Major;
Blues, Rock, Pop Retrospective; and The Glory of the Story.


Click here to learn more about our various offerings and to register. Registration deadline is January 1. Join us!

Library Hosts Author Trudy Ludwig

Award winning author Trudy Ludwig visited with SAR students in 1st and 8th grades. Ms. Ludwig  specializes in writing children's books that aim to help children develop empathy by connecting and engaging with their peers in kind, caring ways. The 1st grade presentation focused on her book The Invisible Boy which the students had studied during library. Through role playing, catchy phrases, and props Ms. Ludwig gave the students the tools to make friends and connect with others.

Eighth graders had an eye-opening and informative session with Ms. Ludwig. The middle school social studies department received a grant from Facing History and Ourselves, a nonprofit educational and professional development organization, to embark on a project aimed at teaching social justice. In connection with that, students will be writing and illustrating picture books that teach inclusion, tolerance, and kindness. Ms. Ludwig offered the students valuable information about the criteria for creating a quality picture book. What an incredible opportunity it was for students to hear from an accomplished author!

Physical Education Happenings and Fitness Raffle!

In 1st through 3rd grades, students have begun learning how to make healthy choices. These students are having a blast learning about the different food groups and using that knowledge to build a balanced diet. Ask your child about the interactive digestive system obstacle course! We are also focusing on different healthy choices such as personal hygiene, safety, and different ways to be physically active. 

In 4th through 8th grade, students are continuing to work on some crossfit challenges as they come into class and then focus on their soccer unit. We are working on controlling the soccer ball and proper passing techniques to increase the fluidity of the game. The students will start a basketball unit after winter break.

Winter break is coming, and it's important to stay physically active so when we return we will not lose any ground.  The SAR Fitness Raffle can help!


What you have to do:

1. Exercise during vacation. For example, sit-ups, push-ups, jogging, power walking, jumping rope, bike riding, stretching, sport practices, shoveling snow, roller skating, roller blading, tag games, sledding, etc. Cardiovascular exercises should last for 20 minutes or longer to be beneficial!

2. Record the activities you performed by filling out this form. Each form submission constitutes an entry into the raffle.
3. Have fun!


What you can win:

1. Sports equipment
2. Bags
3. Random fun prizes





On Thursday, the whole Middle School gathered in the gym for a "Glow" Chanukah concert with Shim Craimer. Black lights, glow in the dark face paint and fluorescent decorations enhanced the festive dancing and celebration. Then came the ultimate moment the students had been waiting for….the break-out of Maccabiah 5778!

While 6th grade began their own color war activities as a grade in their area, the 7th & 8th graders remained in the gym and were split into 4 teams, each comprising of both grades. The captains were announced for each team: Rachel Merczynski-Hait and Raphael Jasper-Brody for the red (חסד לקהילה) team, Benny Neuwirth and Anina Jasper-Brody for the green (חסד לאדמה) team, Jedidiah Konovitch and Hailey Tokayer for the blue (חסד לארץ ישראל) team, and Anna Weisberger and Lev Blumenfeld for the yellow (חסד לעולם) team!


The teams got right to work with friendly competition. The Middle School lunchroom had never been so quiet as during the d'var Torah at the silent lunch. The "yarn hunt" was exciting as the students searched around the building, and of course, "Minute to Win It" was fun for the students who participated as well as for those who were cheering on the sidelines. The competition heated up with the relay races while at the same time, some students creatively composed the song and cheer for their respective teams.

On Friday, everyone came to school with great spirit. Student arrived dressed in their team color and enthusiastically davened with their own grade. Later in the morning, the Apache Candle Relay began---lots of tasks had to be completed with expertise, such as flying paper airplanes from the mezzanine, wrapping ACE bandages quickly and carefully around ankles, finding buried chocolate gelt while being blindfolded, and the final task: placing and lighting a candle in the Chanukiah on Ms. Ostro Nagata's desk!

After Chidon, each team presented their Hebrew song, iMovie skit, dreidel spin, creative song, stomp, and banner.

Kol hakavod to all of the students on their positive competitive spirit and incredible teamwork! Mazal tov to the green team on their victory!



SAR's FIRST LEGO League Team Competes

SAR's FIRST LEGO League team, which was comprised of eleven 6th and 7th grade students and two faculty advisors, Ayelet Feinberg and Chaya Fine, competed in the New York City Qualifying Competition this past Sunday. The FIRST LEGO League challenges are designed to inspire imaginative thinking and teamwork amongst students around the world. This year's challenge, "Hydrodynamics," required students to research a real-world problem related to the collection, transport, and disposal of water and to develop a solution to a real world problem related to this topic. Our team is in the midst of developing a way to reuse clean water from the home by testing it for cleanliness and rerouting this water back into the home's plumbing system in order to reduce the amount of water wasted. The students also designed, built, and programmed a robot to accomplish specific tasks related to this year's theme on a playing field. In addition to the research project and robot game, the team was also judged on how well they incorporated the core values, which emphasize friendly competition, cooperation, and the value of the learning process, while they complete the other elements.


This year's qualifying competition came quite early in our elective season. Although we did not qualify to advance to the regional competitions, we will continue to work on our robot challenges and water project so that we can compete in a scrimmage competition later on this semester. We would like to thank Stephanie Pastor and Henry Lebowitz for chaperoning the students to this event in Brooklyn and congratulate Gal Butler, David Farkas, Tzruyah Freidenberg-Sharbat, Moshe Lebowitz, Abie Perelis, Moshe Sarna, and Jamie Sinowitz for representing SAR so beautifully at the competition, bringing home an award for gracious professionalism. They presented the Core Values poster, our hydrodynamics project, and our robot design and coding program to three separate groups of judges and then ended the day with the robotics competition.
Our other team members who were unable to make the competition include Natan Geller, Yisrael-Dovid Rosenberg, Ezra Schwab, and Sammy Vidomlanski. We look forward to sharing our future successes with you!


Parshat Miketz
By Noa Nagata and Faye Mirsky, 2Y


In this week's parsha, Miketz, Yosef explains Pharoah's dreams and tells him what will happen in Mitzrayim. Yosef tells Pharoah that there will be seven years of plenty of food, followed by seven years where nothing would grow and there would be no food.

Yosef had the idea to save food from the seven good years for the years when there would be no food. This way, they could eat what they had 

saved from a few years during the years of famine, and they would have food then.

It was probably hard for the Egyptians to save food. Maybe they wanted to eat everything right away, or maybe something they were saving was their favorite and they really wanted to eat it. Still, even though it was hard, it was important to save it so that they would have enough to eat later on.


We can learn from Yosef that even if it's hard for you to do something, if you really need to do it, you should. Sometimes it might be hard for you to wait for something or to give up something you really want, like a present, a seat in class that you really like, or a special activity. When that happens, you can remind yourself that you're doing this because it's important. Even if it's hard, you're doing the right thing.




Chanukah with IDF Heroes

Celebrate Chanukah with IDF soldiers at a Chanukah party and benefit concert featuring the Maccabeats on Tuesday evening, December 19. Click here for details.


Happening at the Riverdale Y

The Drowsy Chaperone

The Riverdale Rising Stars' final performances of this "show within a show" are on Saturday, December 16 at 8:00 PM and Sunday, December 17 at 3:00 PM. Several SAR middle school students are part of the cast. For tickets, click here.

Last Chance to Register for Stanley Lane Co-Ed Basketball League

For 1st-9th grades. Includes Sunday practices and games as well as weekday clinics. Coached by Y professional staff. All skill levels welcome. Final assessment date this Sunday, December 17. For more information, schedules, and to register, click here

A Sense of Riverdale: Shabbat Dinner & Learning

Gather with the entire Riverdale Jewish community on Friday night, January 12 at CSAIR. Shabbat dinner and learning around the theme, "Coming Together as a Community in a Fractured World: Building on the Lessons of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." Sponsored by the Riverdale Jewish Community Partnership with support from UJA Federation New York. For more information and to register, click here.


Sh'at Sippur (Hebrew Story Time)

Join on Sunday, December 17 from 10:30 AM--12:00 PM for a funny, tasty and bright Israeli-style Chanukah celebration. For 2-6 year olds. For more information and to register, click here.


Family Fun Day

On Monday, December 25, come watch Moana, Lego Batman, and The Princess Bride in our theater, jump in our bounce-house, work out in the gym, or go for a swim (don't forget your swim cap). The Y will be open from 8:00 AM-4:00 PM, with activities from 10:00 AM-2:00 PM. A suggested donation of $20 per family helps provide scholarships to families in need.

Buy Israel Bonds for Chanukah

For one night of Chanukah, celebrate Israel and buy an Israel bond. With bonds starting at $36, and easily purchased online, this is a perfect gift for the holidays. For more information, contact Cynthia Blustein, Development Corporation for Israel, at (914) 713-9003 or make a purchase and review rates and prospectuses here.


Register for JBL (Jewish Basketball League)

It's not too late to register for the 2017-18 season of JBL. For Kindergarten through 4th grade. All sessions are held on Sundays. For more information and to register, click here.


14th Annual Charles Sidlow Memorial Lecture Series at Fleetwood Synagogue

On Motzaei Shabbat, January 6, 2018 at 7:30 PM, Rabbi Jeremy Wieder and Ms. Shuli Taubes will speak on issues in contemporary society through a Jewish lens. A dairy dinner will be served. Click here for more information.




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 

!שבת שלום


SAR Academy

Riverdale, NY 10471
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