Dvar Torah

Every word of the Torah is precious and meaningful. Reams of laws and lessons can be learned from only one word. All the intricate laws of keeping Kosher are referenced in the Torah by only a few words.

Yet, in this week’s Parsha, Parshas Chaya Sara, we see an usual event. The Torah tells us in detail about Eliezer’s travels to Charan and his mission. The Torah then repeats the events in detail when Eliezer tells over to Besuel about his mission.

This is an usual occurrence and many commentators discuss why the Torah repeats this story when the Torah is usually very concise.

One explanation explains that the Torah repeats the story in detail because Eliezer overcame his personal interest in order to faithfully fulfill his mission. Eliezer was sent by Avraham Avinu to find a wife for Yitzchok from Avraham’s hometown, Charan. Eliezer was instructed to look for a girl from Avraham’s family. He was also told that if the girl does not want to return to Canaan with him, he could then find a worthy girl from Canaan. Eliezer’s own daughter was a special girl and Eliezer wanted her to marry Yitzchok. He had a strong motivation not to do his best to complete his mission because then his own daughter would have a chance.

Even so, Eliezer did not allow his personal feelings to influence his actions. He did his job to the best of his ability and completed his mission with bringing Rivka back to Eretz Canaan.
In the merit of his actions, the Torah repeats the story for us so we can learn this vital lesson. We need to do our best, without letting personal interests dictate our actions. The Torah emphasizes the greatness of overcoming one’s personal motivations by going into extensive detail and repeating it. We see the greatness of even one act of overcoming one’s personal motivations.

(Sefer Madreigas HaAdam, Alter of Navardok)

Mrs. Rosskamm
Judaic Studies Supervisor

Special Announcements

A great big SIHA congratulations to our students of the Month for October! 

K – Emma Garber
1 – Ethan Michelson
2 – Brianna Sanders
3 – Ryan Yakobzon
4 – Leah Yakobzon
5-A – Diane Ashraf
5-B – Ella Dery
5-A – Liam Zbarsky (Judaic Studies)
6-8 – Charles Grego

Programming News

Dear parents.
Thank G-d, we had a wonderful week at Siha!
We are all very much looking forward to Chodesh Kislev and Chanukah at Siha – renowned for it’s spirited and exciting program!
The students are working to wash Netilat Yadayim in the morning and each time they eat bread. We are so proud of them!
Netilat Yadayim contest charts are due November 3rd. Looking forward to giving out lots of exciting prizes to our wonderful students as well as choosing our raffle winners.
Have a wonderful and relaxing weekend.
Shabbat Shalom!
Best regards,

Miss Dershowitz
Mrs Ferber


Kindergarten and First Grade
We baruch Hashem had another great week in Kindergarten and first grade Judaics!
In aleph bet, the kindergarteners really mastered the letter gimmel! Ask them to tell you how his snoring sounds and how his foot sticks out because he’s always ready to go! The first graders were busy reviewing all the letters until they know them inside out! Next week, we’ll hopefully begin learning nekudot.
In tefilla, the kindergarteners are continuing to learn the shema prayer and are getting really good at it. Remember to keep filling in their shema charts at home to receive a special prize! The first graders can now almost say the entire ma tovu prayer all by themselves! They’re really great at saying it in all sorts of interesting voices.
In parsha, we heard the fascinating story of Eliezer finding a wife for Yitzchok and how he was looking for a girl who was really kind to others. When a girl Rivka offered to draw water not only for Yitzchok, but also for all his camels, he knew that she would make a great wife for Yitzchok. In class, we made a well to depict the scene of Rivka drawing water! When learning about Yitzchok and Rivka getting married, we got to see how a real Jewish wedding looks!
We also learned about what a Torah is and where we received it. It was so exciting to see a real-looking Torah and hold it!
Looking forward to another great week!
Morah Chavi

Second Grade
We had another wonderful week as we continued to learn about Shabbat, the holiest most special day of the week. We learned about the Chesed of our matriarch Rivka who when Avrohom’s servant Eliezer asked for a drink, Rivka didn’t just give him a drink,rather she went back and forth giving water to all the camels as well. We discussed what Chesed is and different ways we can do Chesed. Shabbat Shalom

Third Grade
What a week that flew right by us before we can sayI love Siha!
Third grade keeps on growing and learning.
Davening this week was so beautiful, they really are making Hashem proud. Keep it up!
We continued practicing our script Aleph Bet, which is looking beautiful.
MS. Klahr visited the class and taught us a wonderful lesson on how we should be a bucket filler. The boys and girls were able to show examples in their daily lives when and how to do that.
In Pitgam, we all got to imagine how our palace will look one day. We have to build it by doing the right thing and earning reward from Hashem. Thank you Lielle Garber for the fun game.
In Dikduk we really know how to make a singular word into plural depending if it’s Zachar or Nekaivah. I’m so proud of how they all did their work to perfection.
Our Hebrew numbers keep getting more fluent, which we sing so nicely.
Once again we all enjoyed learning about the Parsha this week, with listening, coloring, and saying some wonderful lessons we can learn from.

Shabbat Shalom!
Morah Ferber

Fourth Grade

Dear Parents,

What an amazing week we had. We were busy talking about how 4th grade is soo much fun. We have a unique song “Fourth Grade is fun.” We also wrote on a paper why do we love school. There were many different answers, and it was fun hearing them.
The students are really doing beautifully in many areas. In our Chayainu book we spent much time knowing the Hebrew numbers from 1-10 and if it is used for a boy or girl. Josh knows it well and it was amazing to see how he helped others with practice worksheets. We practice Kriah and we are moving right along nicely.
The children started to play with slime. The way they play with it with such friendship, is really inspiring.

Rabbi Berelowitz

5th and 6th Girls

Dear parents.
Thank G-d, we had an incredible week at 5th and 6th grade Judaics! You may want to consider quitting your jobs and joining us here.
We continued on in our introduction to Chumash, learning all about the power of learning Torah and keeping Mitzvot. We watched amazing videos of men and boys studying Torah in Yeshiva (universities for Torah study.) We watched their spirited debates trying to understand the truth of Torah, their joy, their excitement and love for Torah.
We are very much looking forward to starting to learn Chumash ourselves this week!
We started actually saying Shemoneh Esrei, toward the Mizrach (West) direction, standing with our feet together. We finished learning the first blessing and G-d-willing, we’re starting the 2nd blessing this week.
We finished the 1st principle of faith – Hashem created and controls everything. The girls did a spectacular job decorating our Ani Ma’amin bulletin board.
We had a wonderful time decorating napkins rings in honor of Shabbat. We did this because we understand how the two Shabbat angels walk into our homes at the start of Shabbat. They look around and see if our homes are set and decorated and we’re dressed and ready for Shabbat. Then, when they see that we are, they give our home and family a special blessing for our week.
We are all going to try to dress up and set up for Shabbat, with our beautiful napkin rings!
We learned Shalom Aleichem, a beautiful traditional song, welcoming in the Shabbat angels.
Shabbat Shalom!
Looking forward to another wonderful week.
Enjoy a relaxing weekend!
Best Regards,
Miss Dershowitz

5th and 6th Boys

5th and 6th grade boys had their first Mishna quiz.
The boys did really well!
We began the second part of the Mishna, with Oren Yitzchak Hecht, hypothesizing correcty about how the Mishna would deal with the following case:
Two men come into Beis Din holding a TAlit. One claiming that it was totally his and the other claiming that is was 50% his.
Oren correctly said that the one claiming that it was totally his would receive 3/4 and the one claiminmg 50% would receive 1/4.
We learned a lot about PArashat Chaye SAra and more Halachot about a Jew’s requirements in the am.

5 Th and 6 Th had the privilege of having rabbi Berlowitz come into our class and give a ציצית demonstration.
He showed how to make ציצית and he even worked on repairing some of the boys Tzitzit.
He told a beautiful story as well.

Last week Rabbi Kuritsky did a ציצית demonstration in the 3 rd grade. Rabbi Kuritsky explained to the students that just as we can identify a police officer, soldier, fireman by their uniform, so too we can recognize a Jewish male by his ציצית, as that is part of his/our uniform.
It is showing that we are officers in Hashem’s service.

7th and 8th Girls

7th and 8th grade girls have already completed the first few P’rakim/Chapters in NAvi Yehoshua-The book of Joshua.
We learned about Yehoshua taking the place of Moshe Rabeinu, as leader of B’nei Yisrael. We just crossed the Yarden-Jordan river behind the Kohanim-Priests carrying the Aron and saw the great miracle of Hashem splitting it and us walking through the dry river bed.
We completed and reviewed the first 3 Ani Ma’amin’s.
We learned about which T’filot a girl is obligated to pray daily and which a girl should say.
Of course we also learned about the fantastic Parasha. PArashat Chaye Sara.
Lana Mednick has been marking davening points for our daily raffle.
Yaffa has proven to be a Navi wizard.
Yisrael Friedman said HAvdalah, this week for the girls.

7th and 8th Boys

Our Mitzvah we discussed this week, is the Miztva of redeeming a first born. We asked who is a first born in their family and there were many boys that said they are.
We had a great review on the Gemara that we learned followed with a quiz and many students did very well. We learnt the Gemara that discusses the concept of pulling something up to push it down. We had a vote if an upward motion that a person does, is an act of going up or rather it is to just put something down.
In Halacha we are learning about a Mezuza. We learned a lot of Halachot about it.

Let us all keep up the great learning and accomplishing!!

Topics from the Parsha:
Sarah Passed away at the age of 127. The 3 miracles that came in her merit – candles always lit, cloud over the tent, bracha in the dough – all stopped.
Avraham bought the Cave (the place where Adam and Chava were buried) from Efron to bury Sarah there. Once he insisted on paying for it, Efron asked for 400 silver coins.
Avraham sent Eliezer to his family in Charan to find a wife for Yitzchok.
Eliezer davened to Hashem, asking for help in finding the right wife for Yitzchok. As soon as he finished davening, Rivka came to the well, and after Eliezer asked for water for himself, Rivka offered to give his camels also.
Eliezer saw that Rivka was a Kind person, so he knew that she was the right one. He gave her special jewelry, and thanked Hashem for helping him so quickly.
Eliezer spoke to Besuel and Lavan. He told them that Avraham sent him and asked them to send Rivka with him.
Yitzchok married Rivka, and the 3 Miracles came back.
Avraham passed away at the age of 175. He was also buried in the cave, by his 2 sons, Yitzchok and Yishmael.

Have a Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Berelowitz

Thoughts from Mrs. Hazen

The official start date of the fall season for 2021 was September 22.
However, September never feels like fall. It is more of an extended summer; days are bright, sunny, and hot.
If I had to pick a more appropriate start for the fall season, it really would be the end of October/beginning of November. It’s never really the fall until trees change colors, and until the days get cool enough to wear a sweater or at least a long-sleeve shirt.

For a good amount of time, I lived in an apartment close to Wagner College. Driving to SIHA meant passing straight through the Greenbelt, down the stretch of Manor Road that bisects one of the parks. It was my favorite part of the morning commute in all seasons, but especially in the fall. Watching the trees blossom with color was like a beautiful gift every morning during the fall season.

Last year, in 7th grade, we studied transcendentalism. As part of our unit, I invited my students to take a walk in a green space near them, and just watch, listen, and maybe take some pictures of nature. It was a homework assignment that all of my students quite appreciated. They put together presentations of surprising depth and meaning. There is something about natural beauty that is truly transcendent; that is to say, something exceptional, beyond human experience. The most awe-inspiring part of natural beauty is that it doesn’t need to be grand. Seeing the waves wash against the beach; a spider web in the backyard; fall leaves; fiddler crabs in the parks – all of these things are very ordinary, and we have the fortune to see them and be amazed by them even though we live in one of the biggest cities on the planet.

There is no shortage of poets that wrote about nature, but one of my favorites is Emily Dickinson’s description of the sunset :

She sweeps with many-colored brooms,
And leaves the shreds behind;
Oh, housewife in the evening west,
Come back, and dust the pond!

Elementary School

This week kindergarten learned the letters U, F, E, and L. They used their heart words to make funny sentences. Then they determined which punctuation marks to put at the end of their sentences. They did an amazing job reading and spelling plural CVC words. They really enjoyed using whisper phones to practice independently reading books on their phonetic skill level. They enjoyed it so much that they wanted to read extra books so they could listen to how they sound on the phone when reading. In math they continued learning how to classify and sort different objects to review for their test. They loved playing different games and dancing to the Hokey Pokey to practice identifying different positions and directions. In science they learned all about clouds. They used puffy paint to make their own cumulus clouds in the shape of different objects. In social studies they began making an All About Me book. This week they focused on making self portraits in their books.

First Grade
This week the first grade continues to be amazing. We examined the findings of an air pollution experiment and found that indeed there is pollution just outside of SIHA! Students recommended using electric cars and solar panels as a means to lesson particles in our air. Students also enjoyed painting fall trees. We practiced the skill of blotting the paintbrush. Students were very creative in making these tertiary colored trees. The artwork will be on display in our classroom for the next few weeks.

Second Grade
2nd grade had an exciting week! We had an unexpected day off due to inclement weather, which we were so devastated about, because we love to be in school! We had a math quiz on addition with three digit numbers, as well as a social studies test on our first unit of study, “People and Places.” We also began writing our personal narratives this week! The students are enjoying writing about a personal experience that is special to them. In the pictures, you can see Sloane Garber and Brianna Sanders working on addition problems with three digit numbers, in preparation for our quiz.
In science, Students learned groups of animals and their characteristics. Students learned about comparing mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish according to their characteristics and their adaptations.

Third Grade

This week in Math, Grade 3 students reviewed the concepts we have been learning thus far in the year. They had also practiced identifying patterns and comparing three and four digit numbers. During our Grammar lessons, students practiced locating the complete predicate within a sentence. During our Reading lessons, we read an article Shelter Buddies and worked on our comprehension skills and non – fiction elements. We also continued to read our class novel where Jack is finally getting a hang of poetry. After completing their quiz on map elements and skills, students were introduced to different types of communities. During our Social Studies lessons, students analyzed and took independent notes on a book called The City Kid and the Suburban Kid by Deb Pilutty.

In science, during a lab, students were able to identify ways that plants can reproduce without seeds. 3rd graders were so excited when they saw a green onion grow from cutting.

Lab reports were so well written and organized with beautiful pictures. Way to go 3rd grade!!

Miss Sasha

Fourth Grade
This week in math kids had their first test on Whole Numbers. We are continuing to master multiplication table. This week we started out new unit Operations of Whole Numbers. We are using different strategies to add and subtract numbers to one million.
In ELA kids completed their first grammar test. They started to organize and draft their first personal narrative essay. In Social Studies we read, discussed, and answered questions about how people use natural and human features to divide the United States into regions.

4th graders started a new chapter: Human Body Systems”.

Students learned and understood that to function properly, living things need the nutrients found in food. Students will understand that the digestive system breaks down food and how food is digested.

Fifth Grade

In science, students have been learning and understanding how your body works and functions was the most exciting chapter from all 5th graders. Students enjoyed working on their “Digestive System” ,”Skeleton”, “Heart”, “Brain Hat” projects.

ELA this week was all about fixing sentences, compound subjects, and compound predicates. We also continued our close reading of the class novel. I am very happy with how well the 5th graders participated in the class discussions.

Social Studies was all about learning how the environment of North America shaped the lives of the first Native Americans. We learned about how the Native Americans used the resources at their disposal in order to thrive in the many and varied environments of North America.

In science, students have been learning and understanding how your body works and functions was the most exciting chapter from all 5th graders. Students enjoyed working on their “Digestive System” ,”Skeleton”, “Heart”, “Brain Hat” projects.

ELA this week was all about fixing sentences, compound subjects, and compound predicates. We also continued our close reading of the class novel. I am very happy with how well the 5th graders participated in the class discussions.

Social Studies was all about learning how the environment of North America shaped the lives of the first Native Americans. We learned about how the Native Americans used the resources at their disposal in order to thrive in the many and varied environments of North America.

Middle School

Middle School ELA and Social Studies

6th Grade

Sixth graders had great week! In reading, we continued our study of Fish in a Tree. We discussed conflict, and started working on our journal on word choice. In Grammar, we learned about the direct object.
In Social Studies, we wrapped up our unit on Mesopotamia with a project. Students made cuneiform tablets out of air-dry clay. The tablets are still drying, but please look forward to them going home with the students next week!

7th Grade

Seventh graders had a good week! In reading, we continued our study of Fever, 1793. In writing, we practiced making inferences and using textual evidence. In grammar, this week was all about reviewing for our upcoming grammar test.
In Social Studies, we wrapped up our study of Europe before 1492 with a review for our upcoming essay.

8th Grade

Eighth graders had a busy week! In reading, we continued our novel study of Lord of The Flies. Students did in-class reading and discussed characterization and the importance of setting. In grammar, this week was all about review for our grammar test next week!
In Social Studies, we started our unit on the 1920s and the Great Depression. We discussed the changes in United States following World War I in terms of society, economy, and politics. We had a great discussion and wrote a journal on the literature of the Lost Generation. Mrs. Hazen is very impressed with Ariella’s writing!

Middle School Math
In math, both fifth grade classes worked on Order of Operations. Students used mnemonic devices to help them remember and apply the order of operations so that they could solve tough problems.

The 6th graders reviewed how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions. They also presented their Unit 1 Projects. They all did an amazing job!

The 7th grade class has been working on solving two-step inequalities. The honors class has been using their skills to solve word problems.

The 8th grade class has solving multi-step inequalities, compound inequalities, and have been hard at work solving questions from previous years’ algebra regents.

Middle School Science

6th Grade
Students learned chemical composition and physical properties to determine how minerals are used by humans; Learned and described the types of rocks; the different processes occurring in the rock cycle. Students were able to understand the great variety and complexity of Earth materials; the importance of their availability and properties.

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 is continuing our study into creation, time, and where we come into the picture.

8th grade completed the first unit for the year! We will be taking our first test next week and moving on to learn about the events of the Kingdom of Yisroel. Donkeys and Lions coming up next week!

Mrs. Rosskamm