Dvar Torah

Parashat Shmini
The Dr. turned to one patient and his family and said “Eat whatever you like. No diet restrictions”!
The Dr. then turned to the other patient and told him and his family “follow a very strict diet! Do not eat …”

Parashat Shmini delineates the list of which animals, fish, and birds we, as Jews may eat and which animals , birds and fish we may not eat.
When describing the animals the Torah states Zot Hachaya, literally meaning “this is the live one” . In Hebrew the word Chaya often means “wild animal”. Rashi explains that this term here is not referring to a wild animal, but to us, the Jews! The Torah is telling us that we are Chaya, a living one. Since we the Jews are destined to live a true life of Torah in this world and to merit an eternal life in Olam Haba the world to come. It is imperative that we eat “healthy foods” – kosher food. This will keep us properly sustained in this world and help us merit the world to come. The Midrash explains this with a parable;
A Dr. came into a hospital room where there were two sickly patients, laying there surrounded by family members. The Dr. examined the first patient and told the family “he may eat whatever he wants. No restrictions at all”. The Dr. then went to the other side of the room to where the second patient lay in his bed. After examining him, the Dr. told his family “it is very important for him to follow a strict diet! None of this or that may be eaten!”.
The family of the second patient became very alarmed and nervously asked “why the strict diet for our relative and for the other fellow, no restrictions at all?”
The Dr. looked at them very seriously and explained “the other patient is not going to live anyway. He may as well eat whatever he wants, but your relative is going to live, he therefore needs to be careful and follow the strict diet”.
The other nations were offered the Torah, but rejected it. We Jews accepted it! We are destined to “live”, therefore we must follow the diet and eat only kosher. It is not a punishment, but a remedy for life, in this world and the next.

One day, when we were learning the laws of what a Jew is expected/obligated to do every morning upon waking up; saying “modeh ani” washing 3 times with a cup on each hand, [boys] put on Tzitzit and a Kipah etc. a wonderful student A.L. commented “we have so many restrictions”. After Learning the above lesson we can see that there is a very good reason. The Torah says about us Jews that we are “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” . We are the King of all kings’ children. We are princes and princesses. Princes and princesses don’t go to a public school and study with the populace. They have private tutors who teach them. They are trained in acting royally. They are trained how to dress and how to eat. They are taught about their royal blood and heritage.
It is the same with us Jews. We can say/complain that we have “so many restrictions”, or we can realize that it is because we are G-d’s people, His chosen nation destined to live. As such, we must act, dress and eat differently than the rest of the populace.
After Hashem takes us out of Mitzrayim, from 86 years of being the victims of barbaric torture, murder and slavery, we are commanded to keep His Mitzvot. Hashem says “it was worth it to take you out and do all the miracles even if you just keep kosher!
Let’s try.
Shabbat Shalom

Special Announcement

Happy Birthday to Alivia Clift in 3rd Grade, Sarit Iunger in 2nd Grave, and Gabriella Fishman in 6th grade!

A message from Gabby’s Classmates:

Happy birthday Gabby!
You are the bestest friend! You are very kind and generous.
— from Madi, Eva and Mia

Students took advantage of the nice weather:

Parsha outside with ‘Morah Rebecca’

Congratulations to THIRD grade upon winning the Adar contest, the winners smiled at their friends and families and did many acts of kindness. Third grade received very cute smiley bracelets .


Thursday April 8, is “Yom Hashoah”.
In SIHA, every class learned a little about the life of a young child who was ruthlessly murdered by the Nazis and other Jew haters.
Each class took upon themselves to do Mitzvot in the Zchut/merit of the murdered Jewish child. We, our bodies, are not eternal, but our souls are. We are given a body and a life in this world to perform Mitzvot and serve Hashem, thereby “feeding” our souls with everlasting sustenance. The lives of these young Jews were snuffed out by Nazis and other Jew haters, thereby “starving” their souls of everlasting sustenance.
We hope that with the gifts, the merits that the students have done and will do for these children, that they will feel satiated in the Olam Ha’emet, in heaven.
Rabbi Kuritsky

Programming News

Dear parents.
I hope you are all doing well and had a beautiful Pesach holiday.
We had a wonderful (short) week, thank G-d!
Upcoming Contest:
As we count the Omer, we are working to do an act of kindness a day (or more!)
The students will receive their charts on Tuesday. Please encourage this at home as well.
Thank you very much!
Best regards,
Miss Dershowitz

Dear Parents,

April 8th is Yom Hashoa, The Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this very sad day we remember more than six million Jewish lives that were taken from us by Nazi Germany under Hitler. People were taken from their homes which they thought were a safe place. People’s families were torn apart and many people never saw their family members after World War II was over .

Today Miss. Weitzner and Miss. Dershowitz gave each class a poster board for one child who was tragically murdered in the holocaust. The teachers read their class a summary of the child’s life and how they were arrested and sent to the nazi camps. Because these children can not do any mitzvot now that they are not alive, the students will be putting a sticker on their poster board when they do a mitzvah ( a good deed ) in remembrance of this child.

Ms. Weitzner / Ms. Dershowitz


Kindergarten and First Grade
We had such a great week this week in Kindergarten and First Grade Judaics! It was so great to be back in school and see all our delicious, smiling friends!

This week in Kindergarten we finished learning the Aleph Bet by learning the letters Taf and Saf! We had a special ice cream party to celbrate! Morah is so proud of how hard all the children are working to know their aleph bet!

This week in First Grade we began reading Tehillim! We know that Tehillim (Psalms) are special prayers we can say whenever we want. Each word is like an arrow going straight up to Hashem, bring our prayers to Him. To celebrate we had a surprise ice cream party! We are so proud!!

This week we learnt about Sefira. Sefira is the time period from the second day of Pesach until Shavuot. Just like someone who is waiting for something to happen counts how many days until the special event, like a birthday; we count 49 days from Pesach until we got the biggest, bestest, most amazing present ever! The Torah! On Shavuot!!. We learnt how during this time we especially work on being kind to others. The children had great examples of how we can be kind to others. We are looking forward to starting our Honorable Mentschen, good Middot (character traits) program next week!

This week we also began a new Gedolim unit. We learnt how the Gedolim are big tzaddikim who learn so much Torah and do lots of mitzvot. We can learn so much from the Gedolim and we hope one day to be like them too. This week we learnt about Rav Aharon Kotler, and heard many stories about this great tzaddik.

Second Grade

We had a busy week zooming away in 2nd grade. The children are working hard at preparing their Haggadahs and enjoyed watching some clips of Passover songs and stories.  They can’t wait to ask you the Ma Nishtana (4 Questions G-d willing next week at your family Seder. Shabbat Shalom

Third Grade
It was so nice to come back to school and see all the students after such a long break. I would like to welcome Joshua Applebaum to our class.
we learned so much this short week. Starting with the new Shorashim curriculum and this week’s Parsha Shemini which teaches us about all the different types of Kosher animals.

Shabbat Shalom
Mrs Ivry
Fourth Grade

5th and 6th Girls
Dear parents.
Thank G-d, we had a wonderful short week in Judaics.
I’m so proud of all the girls who kept the Pesach contest, keeping many Mitzvot of Pesach and cleaning their room and backpacks for Pesach.
We will be celebrating with slurpee fun to reward all those who kept the contest???
We began learning the Shemoneh Esrei prayer in depth. We went on a trip around the school, imagining how we were getting closer to the throne room, where we had a private audience with the king. Throughout our Davening, it is the most amazing opportunity to talk to the king of all kings, Hashem. When we get up to Shemoneh Esrei, we are having a private audience with Him in His throne room. What a special opportunity, let’s use it out! We started learning the first blessing of Shemoneh Esrei in depth.
We learned about this week’s Parsha, Parshat Shemini which talks about the Mishkan (Temporary house of G-d in this world where the Jews served Him in the desert.) and which animals are kosher, etc.
We learned in Pirkei Avot about what it means to be a good friend to others, as well as understanding that every person has their own unique good qualities and deficiencies. We want to be truly kind people who are wonderful to be around. We are all going to work toward that goal throughout the rest of the year in Pirkei Avot.
Happy Bat Mitzvah to Gabi Fishman!
We had a beautiful Bat Mitzvah party in school to celebrate.
We began learning all about what it means to be a Jewish Woman – a Bat Mitzvah.
Have a wonderful Shabbat and an enjoyable relaxing weekend!
Best regards,
Miss Dershowitz

5th and 6th Boys
Welcome Back!
Despite having a short week, we dived right into the laws and Ideas of the Omer, as well as beginning the Book of Ruth in preparation for Shavuot.
We also discussed Yom Hashoa, and how every single human being can make an positive impact on society.
Looking forward to next Week.
Shabbat Shalom!

7th and 8th Girls

As reported by Ariella Shindelman and Eliana Volfson:

This week was the first week back from Pesach break! Mora Tobah made it very fun for us to return to our studies. We learned about the signs that Hashem gave Moshe to take the Jews out of Mitzrayim.
We had an ‘open mic’ class in which Rachel talked about how Torah is not a history book. We also played 7up, which was a lot of fun, and on Friday we had a Shabbat party!
Morah Toba brought in caramel popcorn and BBQ chips.

The 7th and 8th girls are very grateful to Morah Toba for teaching them and making Judaics as fun as possible!

7th and 8th Boys

This week we began with laws of Sfirat Ha’omer .We discussed this “fairly easy” Mitzva to count the 49 days , daily from the 2nd night of Pesach until the night prior to Shavuot.
We did something really weird , The Rabbi/Judaics study teacher asked the boys/the students to choose the curriculum.
Shai asked to learn about the “giants” that fell from heaven in the time of Noach.
Amiel asked to learn about the laws of “a husband dying and his widow remarrying”.
Noah asked to learn “stories about the Parashah”
Michael asked to learn the “Aleph Bet”.
Rabbi Kuritsky is working on “making everyone happy”.
We began intricate laws on what body parts are necessary to identify the deceased husband. How much time may elapse after death. Are specific marks on the body sufficient. Is clothing sufficient evidence.
We also discussed a real “live” story of Rabbi Bauman who jumped into the Atlantic ocean to save one of his students. He was successful in saving his student but then went missing, only to have his body found floating five days later.
Was/is his wife permitted to remarry?

Elementary School

This week kindergarten had a lot of fun learning how to read long vowel words with Bossy E at the end of the word. They continued to work on their writing skills and wrote about how to give a pig a bath and what they see outside in the spring. They loved reading this week’s story which was about a dinosaur named Flip. They also practiced spelling blends with the letter l. In math they continued to learn about 3D shapes. They experimented with 3D shapes to learn if they can stack, slide, or roll and they played a scavenger hunt game to find the different shapes. They also learned how to add within 20 by counting on. In science they sorted pictures of objects based on if they are living or nonliving. They also made a book about the 4 things all animals need to survive. In social studies they finished their unit on community helpers by learning to sing and dance to a fun song about what community helper they can be when they grow up.
First Grade
Our first graders had a very interesting week. In reading they made inferences about two friends. They did research to help compare butterflies and bees. Students also continue to add and subtract two-digit numbers in Math.

In Science we made observations about the sky. We discovered that we can see stars, moon, planets, and comets in the night sky. However, the sun is the only bright star we can see during the day. Students also enjoyed experimenting with light to see how the sky changes as the earth rotates!

Second Grade
The second graders has had a busy week! In ELA, the second grade has been working on analogies and cause and effect. They have also been hard at work drafting their first paragraph of a research report. In math, the second graders have been learning about different ways to represent data. They’ve been creating pictographs, bar graphs, and line plots. In social studies, the students have been learning all about the 13 colonies and why the colonists declared independence from Britain. On Wednesday, April 7th, we celebrated Sarit Iunger’s 8th birthday. Happy birthday Sarit!

In Science, second graders were so excited to present their project on the Solar System.
Discussions about planets during science class were surprising.
More projects are going to be presented in the following week.

Third Grade

This week grade three came back from the break ready to learn from day one. To refresh our memories after the holidays, we spent most of the week reviewing our past topics. During our Grammar lessons, we used our new spelling words to create and analyze complete sentences. Students dissected each sentence into different parts of speech such as nouns, adjectives, and verbs of all sorts. They also found the prepositions, conjunctions, the simple and complete subjects and predicates too. During our Reading lessons we continued to learn about how authors set the mood or atmosphere within a piece of writing. We also began reading our new class novel, James and the Giant Peach, which allowed students to see first hand the use of imagery, vivid words, and setting as means to set the mood. During our Social Studies lessons, we reviewed what we had learned about the Aztecs thus far and students took a quiz with the concentration on the development and fall of their great Tenochtitlan City. During the Computer lesson, students reviewed the format and elements of an e-mail. In Math, we reviewed topics like solving multiple step word problems with multiplication and division, locating the area and and the perimeter of shapes, and reading and labeling the analog clock. In Russian class, students were introduced to vocabulary using the letter З, while also reviewing our past vocabulary.

This week we also had the pleasure of welcoming a new student. Joshua has joined our class and we were all very impressed with his ability to speak both Russian and Hebrew, as well as with how he has been able to participate so well in our class activities.

In science, students learned the causes of fast changes on Earth’s surface; how a volcano is formed and the causes of a volcano. Facts and researches on natural disasters and damages that they caused were assigned to the students.

Miss Sasha

Fourth Grade
This week in math we worked on dividing decimals by whole numbers. Solved word problems with decimals. In Social Studies we read and discussed the geography of the West, including its major landforms, climate, and plant and animal life.
We are preparing for the ELA and math state exams. We are also really enjoying our class chapter book The Tale of Despereaux.

In science, students learned and understood the role of the Sun’s energy on Earth. Discuss the role of the Sun’s gravity in the solar system. Students described and compared the planets in our Solar System.

4B had a busy week! With 7 children in person and 6 on zoom, it was a very interesting classroom dynamic. In ELA we reviewed our grammar unit on adjectives, in preparation for a test next week. In math we continued to learn about decimals. We learned how to change decimals into fractions, and vice versa. We also learned how to add and subtract decimals, and round them. When we weren’t learning, we were taking advantage of the beautiful weather and new playground!

In science, the students gave a “Be a Meteorologist” presentation: Students were able to present their weather map using the data they collected.

Fifth Grade

In ELA we practiced making subject pronouns and verbs agree with each other. We practiced identifying compound subject pronouns and compound object pronouns as well.
In writing, we practiced identifying the structure of poems and plays and how the structure of a poem/drama affects our understanding of it.
We also continued to read our class novel, Moon Over Manifest.

In social studies we learned about the Toltec civilization of Mesoamerica and we began learning about the Inca.

In science students learned the importance of physical properties ; they understood the ways to measure the volume and density of an object.

Middle School

Middle School ELA and Social Studies

6th Grade

Sixth graders were very excited to be back in school and with their friends!
In ELA, we started reading a new novel: Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli. This novel is set during the time of the Holocaust, and students showed great curiosity about the novel’s protagonist and setting. In grammar, we learned about present and past participles, and in writing, we practiced writing about point of view.
This week, we had the pleasure of meeting Naomi, virtually! All the 6th graders are very excited about their new classmate. Welcome!

In social studies we finished off our Ancient China unit by making paper. The 6th graders had a blast!
We also began learning about ancient Greece. The class seems very interested in ancient Greece as a whole and I look forward to our journey through this ancient civilization.

7th Grade
This week was all about the upcoming state test! We reviewed how to annotate for fiction and nonfiction, and practiced on multiple choice texts of great variety. We also wrapped up our novel study of Farewell to Manzanar by writing an editorial. Mrs. Hazen would like to commend Noah on his hard work!
In Social Studies, we learned about the Industrial Revolution in America. Students had a great time playing an interactive game in which they learned about the changes in working life during the 19th century.

8th Grade
This was a busy week for the 8th grade! Students came back from the break ready to go, and started working on their speeches! We read and analyzed famous speeches, such as Elie Weisel’s ‘Perils of Indifference’ and JFK’s Inaugural address. Students also outlined their speech, and are ready to practice this coming week.
8th graders also finished their novel study of the Outsiders with an art project. Everyone did an amazing job, but Mrs. Hazen would like to commend Taylor on all her hard work!

In Social Studies, we started learning about the Great Depression. We covered the causes and events that started everything, and read primary source material from the era. Mrs. Hazen would like to commend Yehuda for being amazing during class discussion!

Middle School Math

8th honors finished chapter 6 and reviewed concepts in chapters 3 to 5.
8th reviewed graphing and previous topics taught earlier.
7th honors reviewed graphing and slope while preparing for the state test exam.
7th reviewed concepts for the state test.
6th review percent and proportions.
5th grade reviewed operations with decimals.

Middle School Science

6th graders
This week 6th graders connect science and math calculating and comparing the density of different objects using math formulas.
Thank you Ms. O ?!

7th Grade

Over the next couple of weeks students will be learning how our body systems function to maintain homeostasis. Students just finished up the Immune System and they all did well on their test. This week we are discovering the benefits and necessity of our skin. Students will be able to distinguish between the epidermis and the dermis, identify the functions of the skin and the role it plays to protect us from various pathogens and environmental toxins.

8th Grade Students

8th Grade will be investigating how humans are complex organisms that maintain a narrow set of internal conditions through a system of feedback and communication mechanisms between multiple organ systems. In this unit, students will explore how body systems interact to effectively monitor and respond to both internal and external environmental changes. Students complete both Making Connections (a NY State required lab) and a human thermoregulation laboratory, both of which focus on skills of experimental design.