Dvar Torah

Candle Lighting 4:34pm
Havdala 5:38

In this weeks Parsha, the megalomaniac Pharoah regrets his decision of freeing the Jews and so he sends his army out to get them back. The Jews now trapped between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army begin to berate Moshe: “Why did you have to bring us out here to die in the desert? You should have just left us alone to work for the Egyptians!” (Exodus 14:11-12)

How could the Jews, after 210 years of intolerable suffering in Egypt, complain to Moshe for liberating them?!

About 20 years ago, an incident occurred in Stockholm where terrorists captured and held hostages. The hostages were abused both physically and emotionally. Following their release, the hostages all spoke in complimentary, glowing terms about their captors! Psychologists have since identified the “Stockholm Syndrome,” whereby prisoners develop comfort and satisfaction in captivity.

For the Jews in Egypt, life was comfortable. In slavery, the rations may be meager and the bed made of straw, but all of one’s needs were provided for and there were no challenging decisions to be made. The Hebrew word for Egypt, “Mitzrayim,” means a “place of confinement.” Sometimes it’s the smallest box which makes us feel the most secure.

The Egyptians are thundering closer. The Jews are panicked. Nachshon, from the tribe of Yehuda (Dynasty of Kings) steps foot into the sea and the water rises to his chest, but the sea still does not split.

Nachshon’s mind races to the memories of supposed comfort and he realizes that this is his live or die moment. He reminds himself that life is about growing by leaving the place of confinement/small place of the known to moving forward into the unknown and a world of unlimited possibilities. He understood that choosing stagnation was ultimately a choice death. Egypt was not an option at all. As the water reached his nostrils, at this last possible moment, the Red Sea splits. The Jewish People all rush in after him. Finally, freedom.

Although every Jew passed through on dry land, the experience of Nachshon was qualitatively different. When Nachshon walked through the sea, he was alive and invigorated because he took the plunge. The future had issued its challenge, and Nachshon confronted it head-on. Slavery was baggage he’d left behind. He was liberated, both body and soul.

The Red Sea appears in our own lives as well. Ultimately, the story of our lives comes down to a few key moments of decision. These spell the difference between a life of achievement versus one of regret. Sometimes the answer is just “do it.” To jump into the sea and trust in the Almighty.

Of course, we cannot always know what’s waiting on the other side of the sea. But that’s part of the beauty in our living a life traveling with G-d. It’s our chance to become invigorated with the fullness of a relationship with Him, in His love and ultimate desire for our happiness. Growth, obstacles, and even suffering are there as a reason to become the best we can be (Victor Frankel, prominent psychologist and survivor of the Holocaust).

The Torah tells us: Nachshon chose life. We must do the same. The feeling is liberating, our self-esteem depends on it, and it is our only true option.

Shabbat Shalom

Dr. Chana Uzhansky

Chana Uzhansky Ed.D.
Head Of School


Kindergarten and First Grade
We had another great week in Kindergarten and first grade Judaics this week!
In kriah, the first graders learned about ‘sleepy’ and ‘loud’ sh’va and are really great at reading real words! Our word wall is growing! The kindergarteners learned the letter ‘lamed’ and had a great time making the lamed from candies and lollies and showing the class all the lamed items that they brought from home. They also learned how lamed was very careful to never say ‘lashon hara’ (gossip) about others!
In yahadut, we finished learning all the brachot and are so excited for our brachot party next week! We always make sure to say our brachot before we eat our food!
In parsha, we learned how Hashem split the sea for the Jewish people to go through even when it seemed like all was lost. We learned that Hashem loves us and is always taking care of us and how “Hashem is watching over me and I’m not scared!”.
In tefilla, the first graders finished learning the prayer ‘asher yatzar’ which is said to thans Hashem for constantly keeping us healthy!
We also learned about the Shabbat mitzvah of kiddush and made our very own kiddush cups to use by our Shabbat meals!
Looking forward to another great week.

Second Grade
What an amazing week we had in 2nd grade. We have been saying our Brochot out loud and answering Amein when our friends make a Brocha. Remember to use the blue Brochot chart given out last week at the Rosh Chodesh Assembly and check off the box if you say a Brocha out loud or say Amein to someone else’s Brocha. Bring the chart back to school after mid-winter break for a prize. We love playing “Beat the Clock” while we increase our reading speed and we spent time listening to words,figuring out which vowels(nikudot)are missing and adding the correct nikudot. We use so many Hebrew words in class and have some of the Hebrew words displayed on our new Word Block hanging in our classroom. We love learning the meaning of our prayers and can’t wait to learn about “Shema Yisroel” iy”H next week. Parsha came alive this week with treats. Since we missed school last Friday Morah brought in moon cookies on Monday since in last weeks Parsha the first mitzva of Rosh Chodesh was given. The Jewish calendar is according to the moon. It was so exciting to learn this weeks Parsha Bishlach which discusses the splitting of the Red Sea.( Yom Suf) and the Jewish nation leaving Egypt.

Third Grade

Another week in third grade flew by.
The weather may be cold but our class is warm and welcoming.
We learned and reviewed nicely new and old words in Lashon Torah. The list is really growing. This will help us when we begin learning Chumash. We also reviewed the Hebrew months of our Jewish calendar. We are really practicing our brachot. I see them really remembering them. They are getting wonderful mitzvot and creating angels-Malachim by answering Amen.
We had special visitors this week from The Zone! They came to introduce their summer camp and in addition their weekly program right here in Staten Island. Thursday evenings for girls, And Saturday night for boys.
We are also working on a special something for Tu Bishvat! We can’t wait to bring it home and show you!!
We ended off the week with Parshat Bishalach where the Jews finally left Egypt and had the miracle of the Yam Suf. Boy were they excited to learn about it! Let us not forget about our Noach who we truly miss at school. We hope you feel better real quick!
Shabbat Shalom to all!
Morah Ferber

Fourth Grade

Dear Parents,
It was another terrific week here in SIHA.

In Tefilla class we started a brand new Tefilla. The Tefilla of Baruch She’amar. We explained that Hashem is Blessed. Hashem did not have to build anything, Hashem just said and there was a world. We sang a beautiful tune to it and it was really inspiring.

We had the great joy of starting Chumash. We started learning the Parsha of Lech Lecha. We first had an introduction, then we started learning how Hashem tested Avram to leave his land and his birthplace. It was a big test for Avram going on a journey that he did not know where to, and did not have GPS. We were honored as Dr. Uzhansky shared with us a Nesivos Shalom, an amazing commentary on the Chumash.

We had many great questions in the class.

We had our Lashon Tov contest to teach the students how to think positively about their friends. It was a great success.

Have a Shabbat Shalom,
Stay healthy and well.
Rabbi B.

5th and 6th Girls

Dear parents.
Thank G-d, we had a wonderful week!
We learned the 5th blessing of Shemoneh Esrei, Birkat Teshuva. We learned about the gift and power of repentance (Teshuva) to completely get rid of all sins, without a trace.
We continued on in Perek Bet of Shemot. We learned about the birth of Moshe Rabbeinu and how he was saved from being thrown into the river.
We learned the Beracha of Shehakol, which we make on all other foods that aren’t grains, fruits and vegetables or wine/grape juice. Shehakol foods are, for example – drinks, candy, chicken, fish, eggs, etc.
The girls all made a Shehakol out loud and ate a special treat.
We spoke a lot about the meaning of the Beracha and how everything comes through the word of Hashem. Hashem is in control of everything. Everyone is in exactly the right place at the right moment and He is planning it all perfectly. We heard an amazing story of Hashgacha Pratit (Divine providence), clearly seeing Hashem’s hand through it all.
We can all look at our own lives and find the Hand of Hashem. The more you look for It, the more you’ll see It. The more you trust in It (Him), the more you’ll receive His extra divine providence and assistance.
Have a wonderful Shabbat! Thank you for allowing me to steal your girls for Shabbat. I am truly looking forward to the most amazing Shabbaton ever!
Enjoy your weekend. Shabbat Shalom!
Best regards,
Miss Dershowitz

5th and 6th Boys

This week was a spectacular week.
We continued on our journey through Parashat Va’eira, our in-depth study. We are currently studying the maka Arbe.
We are getting ever so close to finishing and having a Siyum.
This week Rabbi Kuritsky handed out the beautiful Mishnayos Suka to each student.
The boys were very excited, as was Rabbi Kuritsky. These new Mishnayos have N’kudot and illustrations, to help the students learn with visual aid. We rae learning about the measurements of the Suka
We studied and reviewed this week’s monumental Parasha, and of course we daven, daily.
New Classmate
Boruch Hashaem we were joined by a wonderful young man. His name is Nathaniel aka Nate, Alterman. He has already proven himself to be a real asset to our class.

7th and 8th Girls
We journeyed further into our in-depth study of Parashat B’ha’aloscha.
We are studying how Moshe went about purifying the L’viyim. We also learned that the L’viyim “took the place” of the B’chor-first born males,doing the service in the Beit Hamikdosh, after the B’chor [besides from the tribe of Levi] sinned by worshiping the Egel HAzahav-the golden calf, a form of idolatry.
We, of course studied,in outline form, Parashat B’shalach, this week’s Parasha. We began the laws of how to pray Sh’mone Esre.
We then put it into practice, as our goal is to actually daven properly, daily.

7th and 8th Boys

Dear Parents,

It was another great week in class.
In Tefilla class we spoke about the Beracha of Shemona Esreh that we ask Hashem to return Yerushalayim. Yerushalayim is every Jews dream and yearning to go back to. We played on the smartboard the famous song of Abie Rottenberg that is “Yerushalayim we’re going home”.

In Gemara class we had a vote. Does a blind person go to Galus. The Mishna tells us the argument. We also learnt the Gemara that says the reasons of the opinions. We said a story that Billy could not see and by mistake killed someone. He did not know if he goes to Galus. However the scholars in our class knew the answer.

In Chumash we had a great time wondering what was created the first and second day, We spoke about how Hashem separated the waters and called the water above “Shamayim”.

Topics from the Parsha:
Hashem directed the Yidden to take the long route towards אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל to avoid the פּילשתּים.
The Yidden were protected on 6 sides with special clouds, and another cloud to lead the way. At night a fire came down to give them light.
פַּרְעֹה regretted that he let the Yidden go and wanted his gold and silver back, so he decided to go with his army and chase them. He hesitated as he remembered all the מַכּוֹת that had happened not that long before. Hashem made פרעה decide to chase them because he wanted to punish him and the Mitzrim again by the Yam Suf. Hashem then told משה to travel backwards towards מִצְרַיִם. This way, the Yidden would look like they were lost and then פרעה would come to chase them.
The Yidden saw פרעה and his army coming and got scared. They were now stuck between the מצרים and the Yam Suf. They began to daven to Hashem to save them. The רְשָׁעִים started to complain to משה, “ Why did you take us out of מצרים?” ( Story with the pigeon and the eagle. )
Hashem told משה to travel forward, and the Yidden will be saved. They did, but when they reached the water, no נֵס happened. Hashem was testing “Do they trust Me? Are they going to travel forward like I told them to?”
נַחְשׁוֹן בֶּן עַמִינָדָב from שֵׁבֶט יְהוּדָה was the first to show his full trust in Hashem, and he walked right into the water. After him, others followed. Hashem saw the great trust they had, and then split the water. As they traveled through the dry land Hashem did many ניסים for them, and there was clean water for them to drink and fresh fruits for them to eat.
The Mitzrim chased after the Yidden right into the water. As soon as the Yidden reached the other side, the water came down on the Mitzrim and drowned them.
The Yidden saw all of these ניסים and the way Hashem punished the Mitzrim and they were so thankful. They sang a special שִׁירָה to Hashem. משה led the men, and מְרִיָם led the ladies.
After traveling for 3 days without water, Hashem told משה to throw a branch of a tree into the bitter water and the water will become clean and fresh.
מָן- Each person got an עוֹמֶר. No matter how much you took or how little you took, when you got home, you had an עומר for each person. You were not allowed to save from one day to the next, except for ערב שבת when you got double.
בְּאֵר מַיִם- Hashem told משה to take his stick and hit the rock, water will come out- enough for all the Yidden.

A big Mazal tov to Noam on his beautiful Bar Mitzvah. It was very special to be part of this beautiful event.

It is hard to say Goodbye to our wonderful Student Mikai who will be going to Eretz Yisroel next week. We want to wish him much success in the future.

Shabbat Shalom.
Rabbi Berelowitz

Elementary School

This week kindergarten read the second story from the first grade reader and once again they did a fantastic job! They learned what a character is and they made a puppet of the main character in the story. They were able to put the story in sequential order using pictures and then they wrote about the story using the time order words first, next, and last. They took their first spelling, decoding, and comprehension test this week and I am so proud of them and how well they did. In math they learned how to fill in the missing part of a number bond. They continued to work on their math facts and they played different games to practice adding. In social studies they continued to learn about American symbols. They painted the American Flag and listened to many songs about America. They also learned about the Liberty Bell and the Bald Eagle. In science they reviewed the states of matter and learned about the properties of gas. They went on a scavenger hunt for solids, liquids, and gases and sorted pictures based on if the pictures were a solid, liquid, or gas.

First Grade

First graders continue to be amazing. We have learned so much this year. First graders learned about the phases of the moon in Science. Students loved identifying the crescent, gibbons, and full moon shapes. We even created a mini book about the moon wherein we made up names for the moon.

Students solved Math puzzles for fact families. In Reading We learned about different types of jobs and put them into categories. Finally, in Social Studies we began a unit about famous world explorers. Students understand that anyone can be a great explorer if they are willing to venture outward. Students are excited to see how these brave men and women traveled across great distances to discover new lands.

Lastly, we were privileged to say Happy Birthday to two of our classmates: Aviel Raytburg and Raquel Ashraf.

Second Grade
2nd grade had a busy week! In math, we are learning about multiplication and division. We took a quiz this week, and the students’ grades were amazing! I asked the students to create a word problem for the equation- 24 divided by 4 equals 6. Brianna Sanders, as shown below, came up with a beautiful word problem for the equation! In ELA, we are now learning about verbs, while continuing to work on descriptive writing. In social studies, we just completed our unit on ways of living.
In science, students learned how a volcano forms and does it change the Earth’s surface. During a pre-lab students learned and understood the steps of the scientific methods.

Third Grade
This week Grade 3 students continue to develop their problem solving skills. They are now working with multi-step multiplication and division word problems. We also began to solve multiplication equations using the vertical formation. During our Reading lessons, we continued to read our class novel as well as examples of procedural writing. During our Writing lessons, we wrote and analyzed a full essay (introduction, body, and conclusion), which students used as a model to write their own essays. Next week, students will be able to revise, and share their hard work. We are very excited to hear and take notes on the variety of culinary and creative skills students are writing about.

In science, students learned and explored how living things they need; explain how populations avoid competition; describe adaptations that protect organisms in different ecosystems.

Miss Sasha

Fourth Grade
This week in ELA students completed explanatory writing activities. Identified adjectives and correctly used articles a, an, and the in sentences.
In math students subtracted mixed numbers, solved word problems,and multiplied whole number and fraction.
In Social Studies we read about People of the South in the past and present.

In science, students learned and described the flow of energy in a food chain and explained the predator-prey relationship; students found possible food chains on the food web.

Fifth Grade
This week students finished their novel essay. They practiced their vocabulary and learned about appositives in grammar.
They also practiced making an outline for a long response type of answer and then writing a long response.
They composed thank you notes for Tu B’Shvat!
Lastly, they began their new novel- The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks.
In science, students learned and understood the importance of the Water Cycle. A visual “Water Cycle Model” was created during the science lab.
In math, 5th grade is finishing up the unit on geometry.

This week students finished their novel journal. They practiced their vocabulary and learned about appositives in grammar.
They also practiced making an outline for a long response type of answer and then writing a long response.
They composed thank you notes for Tu B’Shvat!
Lastly, they began their new novel- Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli.

In science, students learned and understood the importance of the Water Cycle. A visual “Water Cycle Model” was created during the science lab.
In math, 5th grade is finishing up the unit on geometry.

Middle School

Middle School ELA and Social Studies
6th Grade
In grammar, students started their chapter on verbs. We reviewed action verbs and linking verbs, and learned how helping verbs help make tenses. In writing, we learned about plot and characterization. We also continued our novel study of Milkweed, and wrote a characterization journal about one of the major characters.
In social studies, this week the 6th graders continued their journey through China’s Shang dynasty. They learned about how silk and kaolin was made. Students were particularly amazed by the process of silk making!
They wrote a journal on the previously learned Chinese philosophies.

7th Grade
Students practiced their vocabulary. They also finished their class novel, The Master Puppeteer with no small amount of triumph. They then began the task of prewriting their literary analysis essay.
In addition to their novel, the 7th grade continued their state test practice finishing both a long response and a couple of short responses.
In social studies, students started our unit titled ‘Road to Revolution’ and learned about the political atmosphere in the colonies right before the American Revolution. Students also studied several primary sources. Mrs. Hazen is particularly impressed by Oren Dery for his awesome participation!

8th Grade
8th graders had a busy week! They learned new vocabulary, and practiced using it in different contexts. We also finished our essay on Animal Farm. Mrs. Hazen is particularly impressed by Doron Glickman’s essay. Excellent job!
In social studies, we wrapped up our chapter on the aftermath of World War 2 and started discussing the Cold War.

Middle School Math

6th grade is finishing up the unit on ratios.
7th grade is finishing up the unit on scientific notation.
8th grade is finishing up the unit on the system of equations.

Middle School Science
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.

During an activity students described each type of weathering as well as find an illustration or picture to show an example of each.
Students learned and understood soil formation as the result of weathering and biological activity over long periods of time; the natural agents of erosion: glacial features include moraines, kettle lakes, finger lakes, and outwash plains.

Jewish History

7th grade is making sure class stays very interesting with some very stimulating questions. This week we spent time learning about Yitzchok Avinu and the legacy he left for the Jewish people.

8th grade is learning about what happened after the Chanukah miracle!