Dvar Torah

“To try, to fall, to fear, and yet to keep going: that is what it takes to be a leader.” Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

What is it that made Yaakov – not Avraham or Yitzchak, or Moshe– the true father of the Jewish people? We are called “Bnei Yisrael,” “the Children of Israel. And bear Yaakov/Yisrael’s name. Yet Yaakov did not begin the Jewish journey; Avraham did. Yaakov faced no trial like that of Yitzchak at the Akeida. He did not lead the people out of Mitzrayim or bring them the Torah. To be sure, all his children stayed within the faith, unlike Avraham or Yitzchak, so how did he succeed where Avraham and Yitzchak failed?

It seems that the answer lies in parshat Vayetze and parshat Vayishlach. Yaakov was the man whose greatest visions came to him when he was alone at night, far from home, fleeing from one danger to the next. In parshat Vayetze, escaping from Esav, he stops and rests for the night with only stones to lie on, and has an epiphany:

He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of G-d were ascending and descending on it…. When Yaakov awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely that Hashem is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of G-d; this is the gate of heaven.” (Gen. 28:12–17)

In parshat Vayishlach, fleeing from Lavan and terrified at the prospect of meeting Esav again, he wrestles alone at night with an unnamed stranger.

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Yaakov, but Yisrael, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”…So Yaakov called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” (Gen. 32:29–31)

These are the decisive spiritual encounters of Yaakov’s life, yet they happen in liminal space (the space between, neither a starting point nor a destination), at a time when Yaakov is at risk in both directions – where he comes from and where he is going to. Yet it is at these points of maximal vulnerability that he encounters Hashem and finds the courage to continue despite all the hazards of the journey; with his family bearing witness.

That is the strength Yaakov bequeathed to the Jewish people. What is remarkable is not merely that this one tiny people survived tragedies that would have spelled the end of any other people but that after each cataclysm, Judaism renewed itself, scaling new heights of achievement.

We can be defeated by the suffering or tests that trap us or we can endure, experience G-d’s salvation and find its meaning. Our children bear witness to our actions. To them, our struggles must only be recalled as our trophies of achievement. Our battle scars, responses to life should inspire them and to keep moving forward and walk in our ways, path of Torah and good deeds.

Shabbat Shalom

Dr. Chana Uzhansky


Kindergarten and First Grade

We baruch Hashem had another great week in Kindergarten and first grade Judaics!
In kriah, the kindergarteners learned all about how HEY hurt his foot and has to hop, but he’s still always happy! Hat day and a special hat game in honor of the letter hey was lots of fun. They also learned from hey about the mitzvah of hakaras hatov- being appreciative and saying thank you. They even made a special card to thank their wonderful mothers! The first graders are really mastering the nekudah kamatz. They already know how to read real two-letter words!
In kesiva, the first graders learned with their friend Akiva how to write the letter yud in script! It’s really easy and fun!
In yahadut, both classes began learning about the upcoming holiday of Chanuka! They learned how different the Jewish people were from the Greek people and how lucky we are to be part of the Jewish nation! They also heard about the mean Greek king Antiyochus who made five terrible decrees against the Jewish people. They are doing a great job writing the Chanuka story in their special booklets!
In parsha, they couldn’t believe the story of Rochel giving up her marriage partner to save her sister Leah from embarrassment! What self-sacrifice! They also know a fun song that lists all the 12 shevatim (Yaakov’s children).
The yom iyun on Veterans Day was a huge success! It was great learning all about the mitzvah of thanking Hashem and others (especially our parents…) together with the wonderful parents and students! Thank you to all the parents who made the effort to join us.
Looking forward to another great week,
Morah Chavi

Second Grade

We had another busy week in 2nd grade. We began learning about Chanukah and can’t believe Chanukah is only a little over two weeks away. We spent time talking about speaking respectfully to our parents,teachers and each other. We learn from our ancestor Yaakov that even though his father in law tricked him, he remained calm and always spoke in a respectful way. Parent/Child Learning Day worked out beautifully, and the concept of “Hacarat Hatov” gratitude was discussed. The children thought of different ways they can help their parents and filled in the flower with various reasons they appreciate their mommy. A special thanks to Mrs. Rosskamm and Mrs. Ferber for working so hard on for this special day. Shabbat Shalom.

Third Grade

Third grade is growing higher every day with the beautiful work they show.
Their Davening is beautiful! We even started saying Baruch Sheamar. They can even say it in English as well.
We continued learning Hebrew Prefix words. Like -Hey before a word means “the”.
In Chayainu we now are practicing numbers 11-19 in Hebrew, And in Pitgam we learned the beautiful lesson of when Shabbat comes, peace comes to the world. Daniella Usobuv displayed it very well.
Third grade truly enjoyed a special visit from our parents on Thursday. We were all so amazed by the way they understood the concept of how we should be appreciative for what we have in this world.
This week’s Parshah the boys and girls remembered beautifully! The story was brought to life in the classroom by the amazing excitement and creative drawing.
They amaze me!
Keep it up!

Shabbat Shalom!
Morah Ferber

Fourth Grade

Dear Parents,
What a fun filled week it was. There is a lot to talk about.
In class we discussed how important it is to look inside a Siddur when we Daven, even though we may know the Davening by heart. Zohar and Tanya really Davened well.
We retold a great story how a person went the hospital on Rosh Hashanah because he wanted to blow Shofar for the people that needed it. He gave up Davening at his own Shul in order to help the people out. We asked in class, why is it important to care for others? The students had great answers.
In writing the numbers in Ivrit, we did from 11 – 20. It was terrific.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Berelowitz

5th and 6th Girls
Dear parents,
Thank G-d, we had a wonderful week!
Thank you to all the parents who joined us this week. (I appreciate those of you who finally took my advice to quit their jobs and join us in our classroom!)
We learned many wonderful things this week. We learned Chumash Parshat Shemot about the Jewish people going down to Egypt. We were wondering why Hashem counted the Jewish people again, if He just counted them. But we’ve learned that it’s because He loves us so much. Just as a person would constantly count a treasured collection (i.e coins, stamps, antiques, cards, etc.), we’re G-d’s treasured collection.
We learned the 2nd Ani Maamin about Hashem’s Oneness. We learned how important it is to say the Shema, as well as how powerful that prayer is. There was once a Jewish man, an atheist, who was hunting with a friend in the African jungles, when a venomous python (snake) approached and coiled around him. As he was being squeezed to death, he suddenly screamed “Shema Yisroel Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad!” (“Listen Israel, Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is One.”) The python uncoiled from upon him and walked away.
Like they say, there are no atheists in a foxholes.
(He ended up learning more about Torah and Mitzvot and becoming religious.)
We continued on in Shemoneh Esrei, learning the 3rd Beracha of Kedusha, the holiness of Hashem.
Looking forward to another wonderful week!
Shabbat Shalom! Enjoy your weekend.

Best Regards,
Miss Dershowitz

5th and 6th Boys

This week we began and delved into the subject of Beur T’fila The explanation of prayers. The boys are learning, in groups with eachother, the meaning of the morning B’rachot-Blessings.
The boys did well and actually enjoyed exploring the meanings of the blessings.
Rabbi Kuritsky was away for one day to go to a best friend’s son’s wedding in Chicago. Miss Etty taught the boys about the Parasha and special Y’diot Klaliot that Rabbi Kuritsky provided, and davened with the boys. Thank Miss Etty!
The boys greeted Rabbi Kuritsky very warmly upon his return.
Rabbi Berelowitz gave a fantastic presentation about Thanking Hashem on Thursday, Yom Iyun day.
We are excited about the school’s Menorah contest. Let’s see who can be really creative with their project

7th and 8th Girls
We are really davening nicely and more maturely, daily.
We delved into Beur T’fila this week.
We moved forward in Navi Yehoshua with the Jewish people coming into Eretz Yisrael and the miracles happening all throughout.
I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago for a best friend’s son’s wedding. Upon my return the next day, the girls, especially Noga, greeted me very warmly. This friend, Rabbi Cohen and I go back more than thirty years to when he was becoming a Ba’al T’shuva aka Chozer Bitshuva.
Now, not only does he, his wife, ten children, children in law and grandchildren, follow the Torah, so too do his siblings, their spouses and children ,his mom and step dad.
We have moved forward in Be’ur T’filah-explanation of prayers. On Friday, the girls were quizzed on it and scored well, as usual.
On Thursday we had a Yom Iyun,where I, Rabbi Kuritsky, explained that respecting our parents is a form of respecting G-d.
I also told an amazing story that I personally witnessed over 40 years ago which concretizes the Mitzvah of respecting our parents.
Let’s see what our creative girls can come up with for the school wide Menorah project?.
Shabbat Shalom

Doron Eliyahu Saying the Havdala

7th and 8th Boys

Dear Parents,
What a fun filled week it was. There is a lot to talk about.
In Tefilla we spoke about that the fourth Beracha of Shmone Esreh. We discussed the greatness, that Hashem gave us that we have knowledge.
In our Gemara class, it is amazing at see that the children are mastering the words of the Gemara.
In our Halacha class we learnt about the great Mitzvah of Mezuza. We discussed many different scenarios.

Keep it up,
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Berelowitz

Thoughts from Mrs. Hazen

Happy Veteran’s Day!
SIHA hosted a special parent-child learning day this week in honor of our veterans. In addition to that, many classes had a special assignment that explained or celebrated this special day in some way. The 5th grade class created a special board with poppies – and they learned about history of Veteran’s Day as Armistice Day, and why poppies are still used for remembrance in some places.

Of course, our veterans deserve our support every day of the week, and there is no better way to show that than to be the best citizens we can be. There is no small amount of poetry written about patriotism and veterans, but my favorite is A Nation’s Strength. The final two stanzas read:

Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly…
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.

The strength of a nation is in its people; similarly, the strength of a school is in its students. Our students come here every day and strive, achieve, and build themselves up to be the amazing leaders and makers that I know they will be.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Elementary School

This week kindergarten finished learning all of the letters of the alphabet! To celebrate all their hard work they had an alphabet party. They had a super fun and busy day full of alphabet activities. They popped balloons to find lowercase letters and matched them to the capital letters, they made alphabet hats and bracelets, went on an alphabet scavenger hunt, played alphabet bingo, found the letters in their names and colored them in to decorate the classroom, and they watched an alphabet movie. They also learned this week how to write a sentence. They did an amazing job writing their first sentences independently. In math they continued to learn about patterns. They finished making their pattern book and they made many interesting patterns using blocks. They played one of their favorite games to learn how to count by tens to help them practice counting to 100. In science they continued to learn about the water cycle. The learned a water cycle song and cut and glued the water cycle in sequential order. In social studies they learned about Veterans Day and why we celebrate Veterans Day.

First Grade
First grade learned that veterans protect our country and help other countries when needed. We discussed family members who served in the United States armed forces, and wrote letters to thank them for their service. The first graders enjoyed reading “Kitten’s First Full Moon” wherein we learned about cause and effect. We created addition stories in Math. In Science, we discussed ways to combat water pollution. Finally, for Social Studies the first graders made Thankful projects in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Second Grade
This week 2nd grade finished up our personal narratives, and presented them to the class! We are also finishing up our first book, “The Chocolate Touch.” In math we are continuing to master the skill of borrowing in subtraction. We also started a new unit in social studies. We are learning what state, country, and continent we live on.

In science, students learned and understand that reproduction is essential to the continued existence of every kind of organism. Animals have unique and diverse life cycles. Students learned the stages of the butterfly life cycle and compared that with a bear life cycle; reviewed chapter concepts.

Third Grade
This week Grade 3 students completed their review of the grammar concepts that they had learned this year (so far). They were able to display their awesome skills through their very first grammar test. During our Math lessons, students developed their understanding and abilities to round numbers to the nearest ten and hundred. They also continued to work on solving word problems using comprehension skills learned during their reading classes along with C.U.B.E.S. During our Reading lessons, students continued to read our class novel – Love That Dog. This week Jack was able to introduce the class to another one of Robert Frost’s poems called The Pasture. Through Jack’s journey, students were able to explore literary devices such as imagery and alliteration. During our Social Studies lessons, students continued their exploration of urban and suburban communities. They were also able to learn the history and importance of Veterans Day and complete their gratitude projects.
Miss Sasha

In science, students learned the needs of an animal; explain why an animal needs food, water and shelter. Quick Lab: Food is a Fuel
Students created a table and will record the food that they eat every day. 3rd graders were so excited to take home their experimental “green onion” growing from cutting.

Fourth Grade

This week in ELA students identified plural and proper nouns. Changed singular nouns to plural nouns and capitalized proper nouns. In math this week kids multiplied 4-digit number by 1-digit number, solved multistep word problems, and started to work on long division. In Social Studies we took a test on chapter 2 understanding regions.
In Reading we finished our first chapter book Flora and Ulysses and kids wrote amazing book reports/reviews.

In science, students were able to describe the skeletal and muscular System; explain how the skeletal and Muscular systems interact. Chapter concepts were reviewed.

Fifth Grade

Fifth graders had a good week!
In ELA, both 5A and 5B learned about nouns. They practiced identifying types of nouns. They continued reading their class novels and discussing them.
Students also had a special project for Veteran’s day. They learned about the history of Veteran’s day as Armistice Day, and created a display with poppies.
In Social Studies, students learned about different Native American cultures and the roles of men, women and children in those cultures.

In science, students learned and understood; Inheritance of Traits; variation of traits Individuals of the same kind of plant or animal are recognizable as similar but can also vary in many ways. Students reviewed chapter concepts.

Middle School

Middle School ELA and Social Studies

6th grade

Sixth graders had a great week! We learned about poetry analysis, and analyzed poems for Structure, Language, Mood and Meaning. We also wrapped up our novel study of Fish in a Tree, and will start on our essay next week!
In Social Studies, we finished our unit on Ancient Egypt. Students took a quiz, and everyone did a great job!

7th Grade
Seventh graders had a busy week! In ELA, we continued our novel study of Feve, 1793 by examining character motivation. We also wrapped up our first vocabulary unit, and are preparing for a test next week.
In Social Studies, students completed their expository essay on the world before 1493. Everyone did a great job! Mrs. Hazen is particularly impressed with the amount of work Oren Bilik put into his essay. Keep it up!
8th Grade
Eight graders had a great week! They created maps of the island from Lord of the Flies, and continued our novel study of that book. We discussed character development and plot.
In Social Studies, students completed their essay on the changes to American culture during the 1920s. Everyone did a great job!

Middle School Math

This week has been a busy one for the fifth graders. In math, they been working on converting mixed numbers into improper fractions and vice versa. They also have been finding the least common denominator to add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators. 5A has creatively called the strategy of multiplying two unlike denominators together when you can’t find the least common denominator the “emergency button.” Ms. Bronstein would like to commend them for being so engaged and having fun in math!

The 6th graders have been hard at work with adding and subtracting decimals. They also have been doing a great job at multiplying decimals which can be tricky since it is so different from adding and subtracting!

The 7th grade class has been finishing up their unit on inequalities by applying their skills to word problems. The 7th grade honors class has been working on finding the circumference and area of circles.

The 8th graders finished their unit on equations and inequalities. They took their first test and did great!

Middle School Science
6th grade

Students were able to understand that Earth’s interior is composed of layers that differ in composition and states of matter.Students described the steps and the action of convection currents and placed them in the correct order of the corresponding diagram. The “Convection Currents” experiment was performed during science class.

7th Grade

Welcome Back to SIHA’s finest form of communication regarding the progress of all SIHA students. 7th grade is discovering the ways in which we identify the characteristics of physical properties, the difference between a physical and chemical change and how we determine the various characteristics of matter. Students will watch various videos and conduct hands-on investigations to determine the density of an object.

8th Grade

Students are discovering what it means to be alive! Students will be completing a Scientific Explanation answering the essential question “What does an organism need to be deemed alive?” They are investigating various articles and will watch a few videos to begin their investigation, so they can determine a position and make a claim. Once their investigation is complete, students will make their claim and support it with evidence from the sources they used to complete their investigation.

Jewish History

7th grade took a test on what we covered in the first term and did a fantastic job. They also continued learning about Adam, his job, and his place in the world.

8th grade is beginning to explore the Babylonian exile and its impact on the Jewish people.