Dvar Torah

Candle Lighting: 4:12pm 12/17
Havdalah: 5:16pm 12/18

Parshat Vayichi

In Parshas Vayechi, Yaakov Avinu elevates his two grandsons, Ephraim and Menashe, to the status of Shevatim (tribes). In the course of the process he bestowed on them a blessing that has become the standard blessing by which we bless our sons to this very day. “So he blessed them that day, saying, “By you shall Israel bless, saying; ‘May G-d make you like Ephraim and like Menashe.” The commentaries ask, why did Yaakov instruct the Jewish people to bless our sons to be like Ephraim and Menashe more than anyone else. This question is strengthened by the fact that we bless our daughters to be like the Imahos (Matriarchs). That being the case, it would seem most logical to bless our sons to be like the Avos (Patriarchs). One of the answers given is that Ephraim and Menashe achieved more than their potential; up to this point, only the sons of Yaakov Avinu merited to be considered among the twelve Tribes. Ephraim and Menashe were not sons of Yaakov, and therefore were not destined to be one of the Tribes. However, because of their greatness , Yaakov elevated them to the status of Shevatim. In this way, they achieved the incredible accomplishment of reaching beyond their potential. Accordingly, we bless our children to emulate Ephraim and Menashe, in that we aspire for them to reach beyond their potential. The Targum Yonasan writes that Yaakov was saying that one should bless their son to be like Ephraim and Menashe, at the brit mila in particular. It seems that this interpretation fits with the idea that we want our son to emulate Ephraim and Menashe in the area of becoming great. We see this in the prayer that we say at the brit; ‘may this kattan become a gadol’. This doesn’t mean that we want this small boy to grow up into a large man. Rather, ‘gadlus’ in this context refers to spiritual greatness. We bless our child to become truly great, as did Ephraim and Menashe. This idea teaches a person that he should aspire to surpass his own potential, but it also educates a parent as to his aspirations for his children. He should not suffice in bringing up his child to be an ‘ordinary’ Jew, rather he should aim to facilitate that his child become ‘great’.

As parents, educators, ones who have been trusted with Hashem’s most holy creations, it is our duty to show not just profound faith and resolve in our children’s abilities, but to also extend that to the steadfast belief that we parent with Hashem and He ultimately will undoubtedly provide for us whatever tools (PROTECTIONS ;)) necessary to make all of HIS child(ren)’s potential come to fruition. Kids need to see that in our eyes and feel it from our hearts, especially in todays unprecedented times.

Shabbat Shalom,
Dr. Chana Uzhansky
Head of School


Kindergarten and First Grade

We baruch Hashem had another great week in Kindergarten and first grade Judaics!
In kriah, the kindergarteners learned a new letter, yud. They had so much fun making a yud yo-yo that goes high up just like a yud. The first graders are getting really good at reading words with kamatz, patach and tzeirei. Our word wall of Hebrew words is getting really full!
In kesiva, Akiva Kesiva showed the first graders how to write the letter reish in script. They can already write real words with script letters and nekudot!
In yahadut, we learned the bracha mezonot which is said on cakes, cookies and pasta. We learned how to differentiate between hamotzi and mezonot. Hopefully, the brachot men we made will always help us remember what to say. We also learned about how special the Beit Hamikdash was and how every mitzvah that we do adds a brick to the Beit Hamikdash! The kindergarten mitzvah note wall is getting really full; we are definitely building the Beit Hamikdash!
In parsha, we learned about all the blessings that Yaakov gave to his sons before he passed away.
Looking forward to another great week!
Morah Chavi

Second Grade

We had a wonderful week in 2nd grade reviewing our Kriya Skills and reviewing the entire Sefer Breishit. This Shabbat we read the last Parsha in Sefer Breishit (The book of Breishit-Genesis) To honor the occasion students came up to the board as they figured out how to spell the answers to random questions from Sefer Breishit. They enjoyed playing the card game where instead of raising their hands when they knew the answer they spread all the cards on their desk, chose the correct answer on the card and then showed Morah the correct card. This game both reinforced their Kriya skills and Parsha review. You may both enjoy playing the card game at home over the weekend.Shabbat Shalom! Morah Spiegel.

Third Grade

We all enjoyed a week of exciting lessons.
We continued with the prefix letters. We now know how to say
In dikduk the class is doing beautifully and they proved it on the test we had.
Keep it up!
In Kriah we learned a reading skill to break up our words by syllable .
This will help us with reading longer words.
Chayainu we’ve completed the number unit! I’m so proud!
Pitgam was fun thanks to Avraham Grego.
This week we’ve completed The first book of Parshiot. We will be having a test on Tuesday on the important questions for each parsha.
For that we say Chazak!
Stay warm and healthy!

Shabbat Shalom!
Morah Ferber

Fourth Grade

Dear Parents,
Yes, it was another terrific week in school.

We started our day with our beautiful Davening. We had our world famous “Super Daveners.” The children participated really nicely.
In explaining the Davening, we explained the topic of Elokei Neshama. We discussed that Hashem gave our soul to us. A soul is very precious. We spoke about how we must keep the soul pure without doing sins.
In Kriah we did a super exciting topic. It was knowing the days of the week and the items in the room in Hebrew. The children really got a good grasp on it.
Much time this week was devoted on Shoroshim. The children colored the Shoresh sheets, and we hung them on the wall to beautify our room.
We had our Lashon tov [speaking good] contest. Children said beautiful things about their friends. We spoke about how important it is to see the good in people.
On Friday we spoke about how Yaakov blessed his children Efraim and Menashe. It is very important to bless out children to be like Efraim and Menashe, on Friday night.
Welcome to our class Ms. Shani. It is a pleasure that you joined us.
We practiced for the upcoming performance which we are very excited about. Stay tuned for details.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Berelowitz

5th and 6th Boys

5th and 6th grade boys had another wonderful and educational week here at SIHA.
We began a new Mishna in Baba M’tzia. We learned and acted out the case of where one was riding on an animal who saw a M’tzia found/lost object, but didn’t want to get off the animal to retrieve it, so he asked a passerby to retrieve it and merit in it for him. Alas, the passerby did retrieve it, but for himself. We learned what the Halacha would be in that case and in a similar but different case. We, of course, learned about Parashat Vayeche and were quizzed on Parashat Vayegash.
We enjoyed some time outdoors with Rabbi Kuritsky, our quarterback , playing football, with This Team against That Team.

Clean Speech Illinois has reached SIHA !
Thousands of students in the state of Illinois have been part of the above program, and now we are getting involved in tuning up our speech. rabbi Kuritsky has shown a few short videos to help motivate the program.
We were treated to an educational video in commemoration of the fast day, Asara B’tevet.
It taught us that the Jewish children are the guarantors that Torah would continue through the generations. it was also inspirational, as it highlighted children in the Holocaust.

7th and 8th Boys

Dear Parents,
A very accomplishing week it was for us. We discussed the Beracha of Shemone Esreh that Hashem should Bless the years and Bless our livelihood. We said that during Corona many people lost their jobs, and we have to Daven for all of Bnei Yisroel that Hashem should give them good livelihood.
In Gemara we spoke about how we learn something from one word of a Pasuk. It was fascinating. We put on our bulletin board common Gemara words that the Students should read and become fluent with them. We discussed how special each word of Torah is. It was a joy to see the boys learn with such eagerness.
The Students in our class are becoming super Shakla V’ taria people. They are understanding how the step-by-step process of the Gemara works.
In Halacha class we spoke about that there are four people that need to say the Blessing of Gomel. We say it after we read the Torah. It means that we have to thank Hashem for all he has done for us.

Topics from the Parsha:
יעקב lived in מצרים for 17 years. He was now 147.
יעקב sent a message that יוסף should come. He asked יוסף to promise him that he would be buried in the מערת המכפלה. Why did he ask only יוסף?
The reason that יעקב didn’t want to be buried in מצרים was because he knew that מכת כּנים would come to מצרים’s land. Why did he want to be buried in ארץ ישראל? So that when משיח comes, his body will already be there.
יעקב davened that he should get sick before he dies, as a warning to prepare himself.
A little while later, יוסף heard that his father was sick and brought his 2 sons, מנשה and אפרים, to get a ברכה.
יעקב switched his hands, and put his right hand on אפרים, the younger son, because יהושע בן נון would come from his family. Why did יעקב switch his hands, and not switch the boys?
The ברכה that some boys get from their father ( or Zaidy ) on Friday night.
יעקב told יוסף that his sons would be like the שבטים.
יעקב gave a special ברכה to each of his sons.
יעקב was נפטר at the age of 147. The שבטים, together with officers from מצרים, brought יעקב to be buried in the מערת המכפלה.
יוסף was נפטר at the age of 110.
Keep it up,
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Berelowitz

7th and 8th Girls

This week we learned about the 7th Ani Ma’amin which is that we believe that Moshe Rabeinu was the ultimate prophet . There never was or will be another prophet as great as him ,and that all his words are true!

We, of course, learned about Parashat Vayeche and were quizzed on Parashat Vayegash.

We enjoyed some time outdoors with Rabbi Kuritsky. we raced up the hill and visited Ella’s home. Her mom was kind enough to treat us all to black and white cookies! Yum! 😀 Thank you, Mrs. Shalem!

We began a new section in Hilcot Hashkamat Haboker.
We are now studying the laws oh how to pray Sh’mone Esre.

Clean Speech Illinois has reached SIHA !
Thousands of students in the state of Illinois have been part of the above program, and now we are getting involved in tuning up our speech. rabbi Kuritsky has shown a few short videos to help motivate the program.

We were treated to an educational video, on Tuesday in commemoration of the fast day, Asara B’tevet.
It taught us that the Jewish children are the guarantors that Torah would continue through the generations. it was also inspirational, as it highlighted children in the Holocaust.
After watching the video, we all answered detailed questions, in full sentence form to be marked and graded by our ELA specialist, Mrs. Hazen.

Elementary School


This week kindergarten finished writing their second predictable books. They did an amazing job checking the writing rubric to edit and revise their own work independently! They continued to listen to many read alouds and can now make predictions before, during, and after reading a story. The students also learned their first digraph sound. After only one day of learning the new sound they were able to read and spell words with the digraph TH! In math they continued to practice comparing numbers and filling in missing numbers to review for their math test next week. They popped balloons to practice subtraction and learned their first 2 math facts. The students had a lot of fun measuring each other using a nonstandard tool. One very clever student noticed that using nonstandard tools does not give us an accurate measurement leading to a discussion about why we need to use standard tools. In science they learned facts about the sun and why it is so important. They worked in groups to create a structure that could protect their doll or animal from the sun. In social studies they learned about what a family is, how all families are different, and about different types of extended family members. The class made a family glyph house to show the different people in their family.

First Grade

The fabulous first graders had an amazing week of learning. This week we learned about the water cycle in Science class. Students enoyed making observations about evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. In ELA, we read and wrote poetry about the seasons. Students gave great descriptions using sensory language to express how seasons look, feel, sound, taste, and smell. In Social Studies, we learned about education long ago. Students were surprised to see tools like quill pens, inkwells, and slate boards. Students also made a model of a hornbook, which was a tool used to teach writing the alphabet to students. First graders are so appreciative of the textbooks, notebooks, and smartboards we have in our SIHA classroom today.

Second Grade

This week 2nd grade is learning about measurement! We learned about different units of measurement, and had lots of fun walking around the classroom and measuring everything we could! In ELA we are journeying through the writing process! We brainstormed, drafted, and are now revising our burger paragraphs. In social studies we are learning about different cultures and traditions in the United States.

2nd Grade Science
Students learned and discussed the causes of pollution in the air and land and how to prevent them. Students had a chapter review on “Land and Water Habitats”. 2nd graders made beautiful dioramas on Land habitats.

Third Grade
Third graders had a great week!
They continued reading their class novel: Tales of a fourth grade nothing. They practiced answering reading comprehension questions and writing beautiful paragraphs. In math, students worked on challenging word problems with bar model representations
In Science, 3rd graders finished Chapter 2 “Animals” . Students learned and explored ways to classify animals; Contrast vertebrates and invertebrates.

Fourth Grade
This week in ELA kids identified and used main verb and helping verbs in sentences. Correctly used the past and present tense form of the verb HAVE. Identified and used commas correctly in given sentences. Kids also completed persuasive writing activities.
In math students added and subtracted fractions with like denominators. Identified mixed number on the number line, changed improper fractions to mixed numbers, and changed improper fractions to mixed numbers.
In Social Studies we read and discussed about Mid Atlantic states and where people live and work. Read about state government and what they do. Identified three public services the state provide and why people pay taxes.

4th Grade Science
Students learned and observed the response of a plant to a stimulus; understand how organisms detect and respond to stimuli; distinguish learned and inherited behavior.

Fifth Grade
Greetings and salutations!

This has been a pretty good week for 5th grade!
They practiced with singular and plural nouns. They continued reading their novel with some amazing class discussions. The 5th graders are quickly wrapping up their novel. Next week, they will begin their essay.
In science, students described and learned the structures and processes involved in the food-making process of plants; they recognize photosynthesis as an adaptive characteristic of plants that improves their ability to survive in an ecosystem.

Middle School

Middle School ELA and Social Studies

6th Grade
Greetings and salutations!
In ELA the 6th grade practiced with subject and object pronouns.
They finished reading Hatchet and began working on their essay on literally conflict.

In Social Studies the 6th grade wrapped up their Ancient India Part1 and took their quiz. They also began leaning about the Mauryan Empire of Ancient India.

7th Grade
Greetings and Salutations!
In ELA the 7th graders practiced with subject pronouns and object pronouns.
They continues to read their class novel, The Master Puppeteer, and discuss the themes of loyalty and betrayal as they are shown in the book. The 7th graders will soon be finishing this class novel and starting their essay.

In Social Studies the 7th grade continued their exploration of the American colonies. They were particularly interested in the history of New York and how it came to be New York.

8th Grade

8th Graders had a great week!
In Grammar, we continued our study of pronouns by discussing subject and object pronouns. In reading, we started our novel study of Animal Farm. We discussed the book as an allegory for the Russian Revolution and discussed which animal character stands for which historic person. Jeffrey Shutman was particularly impressive in class discussion!

In Social Studies, we are Midway through our World War II unit. We finished the week with Pearl Harbor and wrote a journal comparing the Rise of Hitler to the Rise of Stalin.

Middle School Math

5th grade learned about division of fractions and applying that knowledge to challenging problems.
6th grade is reviewing fraction and decimal operations.
7th grade learned about statistics and how to extrapolate information from a graph.
8th learned how to graph linear inequalities on a coordinate plane and how to solve absolute value equations.

Middle School Science

6th grade
The students become familiar with the processes involved in volcanic eruptions; During a lab students observe what happens during a volcanic eruption and how it occurs.

7th Grade 

7th grade students have been fabulous in Science. They have been investigating how our body works on a cellular level. Students have learned about the various types of cells such as prokaryotes, eukaryotes, plant and animal cells. The differences between animal and plant cells and the functions of the organelles. Shout out to all of the 7th Grade Fabulous Job! Special shout out to Mikai, Asher, Madison , Kobe and Ella. Fantastico!!! Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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 finished the first unit for the year and is having a test on Tuesday! We learned about creation and used history to prove that Hashem created the world, controls the world, and cares about the world. Now that we established the foundation, we are moving on to the foundation of the Jewish Nation!

8th grade is continuing our study of the times of the second Bais HaMikdash. We learned about how the Greek Empire split into three and control of Eretz Yisroel flipped between the Ptolemaic and the Seleucid Greeks! This had a major effect on Jewish History!