שבת פרשת ויחי

Shabbat Parshat Vayechi
Candle Lighting: 4:12
Havdalah: 5:13

י״ד טבת תשע״ט
 14 Tevet 5779
December 22, 2018
Issue 14


Dear Friends,


Mazal Tov to our 4th graders on their mesibat Navi this past week. It was inspiring to see their creativity in action, and to experience the entire play in Ivrit. Thank you to the 4th grade team for helping them reach this milestone with grace.

Thank you to Michelle and Robert Zellner for hosting Rebecca Ostro Nagata's talk on adolescence earlier this week in New Rochelle. We look forward to continuing our speaker series in January.

We focused on school safety this week, with a lockdown drill for the whole school. In addition, we held a Heimlich maneuver training for our Middle School students. Thank you to Michele Saks for teaching our students this important skill. 

Please encourage your children to daven each day over vacation and to set aside a few minutes a day for Torah learning.

Wishing all of our students a restful and relaxing vacation.


Shabbat Shalom, 



!מזל טוב

MAZAL TOV to the following students on the occasion of their bar/bat mitzvah:


Nadiv Edelman (Gr. 7)

Eytan Slasky (Gr. 7)


MAZAL TOV to the following faculty and staff members: 


Reva (AC Faculty) & Aaron Tokayer on the birth of a granddaughter. Mazal Tov to parents Dani & Rafi Rubin, to big brothers Ilan Tair and Nadiv, and to uncle Yaron Tokayer (HS Faculty).

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 Day of Learning on 2 Tevet (December 10) was sponsored:


by grandparents Naomi and Ben Zion Hochstein of Jerusalem in honor of their five grandchildren, Haggai (10), Benayahu (8), Tekhelet (6), Kanna (3), and Miriam (4N) Tropper, here at SAR for the year




by Joy Perla in honor of her grandchildren Gabriel (8) and Yonatan (12) Perla


Click here to sponsor a Day of Learning at SAR to commemorate a yahrzeit; learn in the merit of a loved one's refuah shlemah; honor a parent, teacher, leader, or friend; or celebrate a simcha. It is a wonderful way to model by example the value we place in learning and give meaning to our acts of tzedakah. If you have any questions, please contact Sara Hasson at  or at x1300.  





הֹדוּ לַה' כִּי-טוֹב


Join us for SAR's 50th Anniversary Dinner

A Celebration of
Our Spectacular Journey
Our Devoted Community
and All Things SAR


Special Founders' Tribute

Blu & Rabbi Yitz Greenberg 
Erica & Ludwig Jesselson z"l 
Lucy & Edmond z"l Lang



Click here to RSVP





In case you missed it, join us in reminiscing through the latest edition of our 50 Spectacular Stories newsletter. Anecdotes, reflections and incredible photos shared by students, parents, and faculty, both past and present, will not only take you back in time but also help us all celebrate what's in store ahead. Click here to read!



Our #Flashback@50 project involves spending a few minutes each week with our students sharing an artifact, an interview, or some historical background about SAR, giving them a sense of the things that shaped this institution and the philosophy behind some of the things that we do. This week the topic was The Evolution of the SAR Logo. Click here to read about it. Thank you to Sharon Marson and to the committee of teachers (many of them alumni!) who are working on this meaningful project.



On Sunday, December 16, families gathered at SAR Academy for the school's third annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Challenge Day. Led and created by SAR Academy's Director of Science Curriculum and STEM Initiative, Dr. Chaya Fine, the program was organized so that every family had an opportunity to engage in five of the eleven available interactive STEM stations. This concept is based on a model that was presented at a national NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) conference that Dr. Fine and a several of her colleagues attended. Schools around the country have found it to be a wonderful way to raise awareness in the community about the importance of STEM education. Having implemented numerous STEM learning opportunities for our SAR students with the help of Rivka Heisler, Lower School STEM coordinator, and Sharon Marson, Director of ARTS & Enrichment, this event allowed the parents and grandparents to engage in similar learning with their children.


It was not so easy for participating families to select only five winter-themed STEM stations from the options--the ambitious participants would have liked to do even more! Who wouldn't want to create an animated snowman using Scratch Jr or Scratch through coding, build a thermometer that could detect temperature changes, design, build, and launch a snowball launcher, design a bobsled that would reach the finish line first, learn about non-Newtonian liquids by making snowflake slime, or program a robot to play ice hockey against another team?! "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. It was wonderful to see the students use the various STEM skills that they have learned in school to help solve the challenges. 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 are already looking forward to next year's STEM Challenge Day at SAR Academy!



We are excited to have recently launched Divine Sparks, SAR Academy's new blog, a space where faculty and administrators will share their thoughts and ideas about Modern Orthodox education, Jewish living, and every day life in the 21st century.


Please join us on this exciting journey--we would love to hear your comments and thoughts. 

Click here to read our latest blog post by Dr. Barbara Gochberg: So What? Thoughts on the Road to Resilience.


On Monday night, several current and prospective SAR families gathered in a private home to enjoy the third installment in the SAR Speakers and Thought Leaders series, Why Adolescence is Hard and Must Be, presented by Middle School General Studies Principal Rebecca Ostro Nagata. It was an enlightening and enriching conversation for all.


One more conversation is coming up: Role Models in the Educational Setting, by Middle 


School Judaic Studies Principal Rabbi Jonathan Skolnick on January 15 in Riverdale. Please join us, and spread the word! To RSVP, click here.



Although every week that we are together here at SAR is special, this week was particularly special! Beginning on Monday, from the time we took out the sefer Torah during tefillah, the children were thrilled about finishing Sefer Bereishit and knowing that soon they would be beginning Sefer Shemot. This week we read the last parsha in sefer Bereishit (Vayechi) and we celebrated with all the other nursery classes. We talked about how amazing it is that Jews all over the world will be finishing Bereishit on the same day!

One of the topics covered in this week's parsha was the bracha that Yaakov gave to his grandchildren Ephraim and Menashe. In this bracha were the beautiful words of "Hamalach Hagoel Oti." The children each made a wall hanging with the words of this bracha. They will try to find a special place near their beds to hang it. Typically it is said at night together with the Shema. The children know how to sing it and it was SO beautiful to hear the entire nursery singing it together!

We had a meaningful and tasty celebration today at our 4s Friday get together. Morah Alana delighted the children by giving them each a tasty honey stick in celebration of finishing sefer Bereishit. Last week we talked about the "cheder" of old and how the Rebbe would give the children their first taste of honey when they began to read the aleph bet. Former SAR principal Rabbi Chwat continued this tradition fifty years ago with the first students of SAR. Later Rabbi Fuld, Rabbi Cohn, and now Rabbi Krauss still practice this meaningful tradition with our SAR first graders. Last week we told the children that even though they had another year and a half until they reach first grade they wouldn't have to wait that long! Today they got to enjoy their sweet honey from Morah Alana. We danced together and sang "Hamalach" and "Chazak, Chazak." We spoke about the fact that just as the five food groups and exercise strengthen our bodies, learning Torah strengthens our soul. The fact that we finished the book of Bereishit is not sad, because we will start a whole new sefer next week! What a great lesson for the children to learn--although one thing comes to an end, it means something new is beginning.



Kitah Daled performed a wonderful Navi play this week! Parents, grandparents, extended family, and teachers joined together in the gym to enjoy the original performance. Each class staged "highlights" from the Chumash from the time that Yaakov went down to Mitzrayim until Yehoshua was appointed leader of B'nei Yisrael. The students presented original skits and sang songs using popular tunes to tell the story of B'nai Yisrael's journey.


After their performance, Rabbi Krauss told the students that they had really made the play "their own" and that they should be very proud of themselves. He gave them a bracha that the passion they feel towards starting to learn Navi should last a lifetime. Their excitement to start learning Navi was obvious as they proudly accepted their Sefer Yehoshua. We all wish them success in their journey through Nach.



Ask any 3rd grader what they are reading these days and you will hear a dazzling array of nonfiction topics ranging from planets to animals to countries around the world. As part of our reading unit entitled "Reading to Learn," our students have been exploring expository texts. Before starting a new book, we practiced how to "rev up our engines" and preview the book by reading the table of contents, headings, and captions on pages. While reading, our students are keeping track of main ideas and the supporting details. As a result of their close reading and note taking, they are becoming experts on a topic and teaching their classmates. Our classrooms are abuzz with discovery and even those readers who prefer fiction will admit that they are enjoying this different genre!



The first semester of Voice and Choice concluded this week with students having developed skills in diverse arts workshops, both in art and in music. It was an opportunity to discover which arts they want to further pursue, or perhaps students heard about other learning opportunities that they want to explore next semester.


After winter break, students will perform and showcase their work for their classmates. January will also be the time when Learning 


To Look is built into 4th and 5th graders' Voice & Choice slots. Sixth graders will work on special projects during that month. We're looking forward to an enriching second semester of Voice and Choice!



During this week's Asara B'Tevet fast, our 7th and 8th graders passed their lunchtime with some fast day learning.




By Matan Mahler, 1Y


In Parshat Vayechi, Yaakov is getting older and wants to give brachot to his grandsons Ephraim and Menashe. Usually, the right hand goes on the older son's head, but Yaakov put his right hand on Ephraim, who was the younger brother, and his left hand on Menashe, who was the older brother. Ephraim didn't brag or tease Menashe that Yaakov's right hand was on his head, and Menashe didn't complain or get jealous. They treated each other respectfully and kindly. We can learn from Ephraim and Menashe to treat our siblings and friends better and try our hardest to be respectful to others.





Click here to view the English version of Daf Yomi: Parshat Vayechi.

Click here to view the Hebrew version of Daf Yomi: Parshat Vayechi.


Congratulations to the following teams on their victories this week:


8th grade boys basketball vs. Yavneh 55-44

7th grade boys basketball vs. YNJ: 56-43


Boys hockey vs. Ashar: 17-0





Stanley Lane Winter Leagues at the Riverdale Y
There is still time to register for the Stanley Lane basketball leagues at the Riverdale Y for 1st-12th grades. Preseason workouts on December 23 and 30 by age group. Click here for more information and to register.


Family Fun Day 2018
Come to the Y for Family Fun Day! Movies, food, bouncy castle, and other fun activities for the whole family next Tuesday, December 25, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. For more details, click here.


A Sense of Riverdale
The Riverdale Jewish Community Partnership proudly invites you to A Sense of Riverdale, honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy. We will come together for prayer, dinner, learning, and dessert, Friday, January 18 at 5:30 PM at Riverdale Temple. Generously funded by UJA Federation of New York and coordinated by the Riverdale Y. To view the flyer, click here. Register by clicking here. Contact Rabbi Joseph Robinson at for more information.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

Join the Riverdale community on Monday, January 21 for a day of service supported by UJA Federation's "Time For Good," and coordinated by the Riverdale Y. Volunteers will give back in meaningful ways: serving meals, addressing environmental concerns, grappling with racism, compiling vital items for countless individuals in need, and more. To view the flyer, click here. Registration can be found by clicking here. Contact Rabbi Joseph Robinson at for more information.

!שבת שלום

SAR ACADEMY  Open for 50 years.

655 West 254th Street • Riverdale, NY 10471 

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