Only at SAR are school assemblies held “on the steps.” Joyous and solemn occasions alike start off with the entire school gathered together not in an auditorium or gym, but “on the steps.” That’s where, for example, we sing hallel and light the Chanukah candles. And it’s where everyone gathers on the last day of school to join Rabbi Krauss in a rousing “count down” to summer.
Of course, some special events take place away from school. To make learning come alive, students often take field trips. While third graders are learning about the rainforest, for example, they visit the Bronx Zoo. Likewise the 4th grade goes to Museum Village and Phillipsburg Manor as part of their study of colonial America.
Sometimes, we even spend the night!
Fifth graders take an overnight trip to Greenkill Outdoor Education Center, where they learn first-hand about nature and the environment.
Our sixth graders travel to Camp Monroe for two days of nature, tefillah, and character building.
Seventh graders go to Boston and Rhode Island, where they visit the Touro Synagogue and historical sights like the Freedom Trail and Faneuil Hall.
On a four-day shabbaton to Ottawa, Ontario, eighth graders enjoy sightseeing, winter sports and a ruach-filled Shabbat. On a second trip, they visit Washington, D.C. for a tour of the Capitol, museums and monuments.
And then there are other special programs like Chesed Week. For Parsha Va’yeira, SAR students are welcomed into a life-size tent by teachers dressed as Sarah and Abraham. Inside the tent each grade completes its own chesed project.
On Veterans Day, we honor veterans from the SAR community with a school-wide tribute and a “Wall of Honor.” Veterans speak to different grades, and kindergartners present veterans with hand-made gifts at a special reception.
For Yom Ha’Shoah, we gather on the steps to honor those who lost their lives in the Holocaust. Speakers visit individual grades to tell their stories. And throughout the day, we all stand in silence as the names of SAR family members who perished in the Holocaust are read over the loud speaker.
Yom Ha’Zikaron begins with hallel on the steps. Middle school students create a special program to honor those who lost their lives defending the state of Israel. And when a “siren” blares, students stand in silence.
On Yom Ha’Atzmaut, students start off on the steps for a communal hallel, and then run out to the field for music, dancing and ruach. Students enjoy a Color War or other fun activities. In the evening, Academy and High School students gather together with their families for a communal barbecue and more singing and dancing.