Dvar Torah Parshas Vayishlach

In this week’s Parsha, we find an extremely interesting phenomenon. The Torah [which is usually very concise] mentions the passing of Rivka, our matriarch’s nursemaid.Her name is Devorah. Why is this such a special phenomenon? Out of the four matriarchs themselves, the Torah only mentions the passing of one, Rachel!
Why does the Torah find it so important to mention the passing of Devorah?
The only true “Torah home”, the only true Jewish home at that time was the home of Yitzchak and Rivka. Yaakov, our patriarch spent his whole life there [63 years]. Yaakov only left that “Torah Jewish fortress” because his life was in danger [Asov wanted to kill him].
He was very reluctant, nevertheless, because he was concerned about his “spiritual safety”. Rivka assured him that as soon as it was safe to return, she would send for him and restore his spiritual loss that he may have accrued during the time away, especially at the home of Lavan, “non spiritual”, trickster and thief.
Explains Rav Dov Weinberger, the only “method” of accomplishing the above would be by sending a long standing member of that “spiritual fortress” which was the home of Yitzchak and Rivka. Therefore, Rivka sent Devorah, her nursemaid, to fetch Yaakov.
To answer our question “why the Torah deemed it so important to mention Devorah’s passing, and why send such an elderly person [she was 133 years old!]
Rivka knew that the only person who could possibly contain the correct spiritual ideals and values, would be someone that spent so many years in the true “spiritual fortress” , the home of Yitzchak and Rivka.
This is why Rivka “needed” to send Devorah who was 133 years old, for this mission! This is why the Torah deemed it so important to mention her name, even though the Torah did not even mention the passing of THREE Matriarchs!
We all know that in previous generations there were true Torah Jewish Spiritual fortresses i.e. in Europe. Many of us have merited to see grandparents from “the old country”/at least pictures of them and their way of life. It is so important for us to visit with these people, if we can, if they still exist. If we don’t have them with us, then we atleast need to study their behavior and their beliefs to preserve our pure heritage.
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Kuritsky
Curriculum coordinator Judaic Studies

Special Announcement

A great, big SIHA Congratulations to all our amazing Students of the Month!

  • Kindergarten – Shlomo Groys
  • First Grade – Max Ryzhikov
  • Second Grade – Sophia Volfson
  • Third Grade – Leah Yakobzon
  • 4-A – isabelle Sandler
  • 4-B – Ariana Guz
  • Fifth Grade – Idan Koldin
  • Middle School, General Studies – Lana Mednik
  • Middle School, Judaics – Tyler Nieves

Enjoy our latest SIHA Weekly Podcast, hosted by Lana Mednik!



Kindergarten and First Grade
We had a great week in Kindergarten Judaics. We learnt about the tiny letter yud! We had fun playing does this start with a yud game! In First Grade Judaics we finished learning the nekuda segol. The students are doing such a great job practicing their reading! We are even up to reading 3 letter words!

This week we started to learn about Channukah! We discussed how Antiochus and the Greeks were very focused on being strong soldiers, while we as Jews know that the most important thing to focus on is Torah and Mitzvot! Even though Antiochus did not let the Jews keep Torah and Mitzvot the Jews did not listen. They used dreidels to trick the Greek soldiers into thinking they were playing games and not learning Torah. We discussed how a group of Jewish people were very upset at the laws Antiochus was making. They were also very upset because Antiochus put a pig in the Bet Hamikdash. These Jews got so angry that they got together to fight against the strong Greek army. These Jews were called the Maccabim. Their motto was Mi L’Hashem Eilai, if you are for Hashem join. These Maccabim felt that as proud Jews they were going to stand up and fight for Hashem’s honor even if they might not win, even if it is hard. We did a special project where we made our very own soldier in Hashem’s army hats. On the hat we made a shield where we wrote our name – “I am a proud Jew and I do what is right.” Then we drew two pictures of us doing the right thing, doing what Hashem wants, even if it’s hard, in two other shields on the hat. Some examples were, listening to our mommy right away and sharing our toys. We can’t wait to finish learning about Channukah and to bring all our projects home.

Shabbat Shalom!
Morah Kaplan

Second Grade
The week zoomed by as 2nd graders eagerly prepared for Chanukah. We are learning the story of Chanukah and practicing our reading skills at the same time. This week we added the blessings of the Torah to our daily prayers. We discussed Shprintzy who came from another country and never tasted a sweet lollipop. When she first saw the lollipop she thought you stick it in your hair or ear, then she thought you eat it with the wrapper;only when she discovered the wrapper must be removed in order to taste the sweet lollipop did she see how sweet and tasty it was. The more a person studies,toils and listens to Torah classes the more appreciation and love is developed for our precious Torah which G-d gifted to the Jewish nation. In this weeks Parsha we discussed how our forefather Yaakov went back and crossed back to the other side of the river as he forgot some small insignificant jars. The Torah which is our guidebook for life relates this episode to teach us not to be wasteful. Many students related that when their clothes become too small they give them away to family,friends or poor people. If they have extra food they put it back to either give to one of their siblings or save for another day. All the 2nd grades have exceptional character traits. This week Amit did not have a green crayon to color the vowels on his worksheet with. Gal immediately handed him her crayon to use. In another episode, some papers and books fell off the desk and the students sitting close by quickly picked everything up. We are so proud of the 2nd graders.
Shabbat Shalom!
Morah Spiegel

Third Grade
Third grade was so happy to be back in school this week. We were able to finish the full story of Chanukah. The students learnt in detail the struggles of the Jews during the time of the Greek empire. They learnt the heart wrenching but inspiring story of Chana and her 7 sons as well as the heroic stories of Yehudit and Yochanan who tricked very important and powerful generals of the Greek army and killed them. They both made sure to daven to Hashem before executing their plan. THey understand now the greatness of the miracle of Chanukah.
They are also fluent on their Chanukah spelling words in Hebrew.
In Parsha, we learnt the importance to Daven to Hashem before we try to execute a plan, no matter what it is, from Yaakov who was preparing to meet his angry brother eisav. We also learnt that Yaakov fought against Eisav’s angel and won and received a new name: Israel. One of the students shared that his grandfather who has a birthday this week is named Israel, just like Yaakov in this week’s Parsha.
Shabbat Shalom
Mrs Ivry

Fourth Grade

We are so excited to learn all about the multi-sensational history of Chanukah!!
Our Parshah class took an exciting twist too, as we learn all about how Eisav tried to kill his twin brother, our forefather, Yaakov. We learn from Yaakov to cry out to Hashem in prayer and ask him to help us when we feel afraid. On the topic of prayer, btw, our daily Shachrit is truly beautiful, we are so careful to conduct ourselves in a way that is befitting a meeting with the King of all kings, Hashem. We review thoughts about our infinite value, how it is ours and no one and nothing can take it away, on a daily basis.( I believe that truly comprehending this concept can save us from a lot of suffering!) I’d like to thank all my generous, thoughtful girls for the home-made bridal décor and genuine Mazal Tov cards and pictures that they’ve been showering me with. My refrigerator at home looks truly fit for the bride. Have a wonderful Shabbat and thank you again for sharing your precious treasures with me!
Morah Toba

7th and 8th Grade Girls
Did you know that our class invented a game? Jewish Mafia. It is similar to the widely known game, Mafia, however we pick a setting form a time period in our history and apply it to the game. It gets us giggling and having lots of fun as we depict each scene and make it come alive. We got into a great habit of partnering up and reading together, to practice our Hebrew reading. We began to discuss the history of Chanukah. We sat wide eyed as we heard Yaffa Bereket and myself say over the famous story of Chana’s 7 sons. They were burnt one by one, by the infamous king, Antiyochet for refusing to forsake the holy Torah.
Chana watched all this, brokenhearted yet supportive of her sons decisions to make this very bold statement. This story is only one example of many that took place in this time period of the second Beit Hamikdash when Antiyochet gained control of Israel and tried to conform the Jews to forsake Hashem’s law.
We learnt that there is a very special place up in heaven saved for people who die “Al Kiddush Hashem” – for the sake of Hashem’s glory. We know how lucky we are that we can practice Judaism today freely, with no fear of getting prosecuted because of it!
Have a wonderful Shabbat!
Morah Toba

7th and 8th Grade Boys
Seventh and Eighth grade boys learned about intricate and detailed laws of brachos i.e. in a “cholent” aka “chamim” , we learned that depending on whether there were small pieces mixed together or there were large pieces , and one only can eat one item from the cholent at a time, the “Halacha” regarding the Bracha will change. If there is barley in the cholent and the cholent is made up of small pieces of meat and potatoes, the Bracha will be M’zonos. The more prominent Bracha, as put by Amiel/Michael. If there are large pieces of meat, we will say Shehakol on the meat, and if there are large pieces of potatoes, we will say Ha’adama on the potatoes [besides, of course the M’zonos on the barley]. We also discussed that there will actually be a different Bracha made on Kellog’s brand corn flakes versus a “knock off ” brand . Kellog’ stakes corn and flattens it and toasts it , therefore the Bracha is “Ha’adama”, other brands , crush the corn into cornmeal [causing it to lose its Ha’adama status], and then “create” a flake. The Bracha then becomes Shehakol.
We continued our study in the laws of “saving a life”.
We studied the Parsha of course.

Rabbi Kuritsky

Elementary School

This week kindergarten has been working hard on their writing skills and almost the entire class can now independently write sentences! They also listened to many different types of stories and made insightful predictions about what they thought would happen next in the story. They are becoming so good at our spelling game that they keep getting a tie and both teams win. In math they began learning to add and subtract using objects, number lines, and mental math. They are doing an amazing job adding and subtracting by 1. In science they learned all about the sun. They were given a problem to solve and they worked in groups to figure out how they can create a type of shade to protect their doll from the sun. They came up with some very interesting and functional creations. In social studies they learned the definition of family and what makes everyone’s family different. Congratulations to Shlomo Groys on being our student of the month.
First Grade
This week our first graders shared about their family traditions. Students were so proud to tell about the celebration of Chanukah. Students expressed their excitement for the songs, the gifts, and all of the treats Chanukah brings. Some were most grateful for lighting the menorah and being with family.

Mrs. Adams

Second Grade
The second-graders had a very busy week! On Monday, we celebrated Ryan Yakobzon’s birthday. Happy birthday Ryan! This week in ELA, students have been continuing to read their trade book Charlotte’s Web. They also have been learning all about nouns and action verbs. In math, students have been hard at work reviewing addition and subtraction with renaming to prepare for their unit test. In social studies, they have been discussing culture and learned about how to conduct an interview. Our student of the Month is Sophia Volfson. Way to go, Sophia!

In Science, students worked so hard on their “Land Habitat” projects. Ms. Belli is so proud of their amazing work.
Ms. Bronstein

Third Grade
This week grade 3 was introduced to persuasive writing. They began to put a list of items they may ask for as their Hanukkah gifts. Trick is, now they have to come up with valid reason that would persuade their parents to consider some of their requests. We also began a very passionate discussion about whether or not they believe homework should be assigned during the break. Students also worked on identifying and modifying nouns from singular to plural form. In math, students continued to practice solving addition equations both vertically and horizontally. They are now focusing of being able to choose the most efficient method to first simplify and then solve the equations. In Social Studies, students expanded their landform list to include multiple water-based formations such as rivers and lakes as well as added more land- based formations such as volcanoes and islands. We had a very exciting discussion about the formations of islands and how (the path of) magma travels to burst out as lava in the most unexpected places such as in oceans (which was very shocking to the kids).
In science, students learned all about Animals and their adaptations. Drawing was illustrated to describe the life cycle of different animals. Excellent job 3rd graders on their Test!!

Miss Sasha

Fourth Grade

This week in math we continued to work on fractions. Adding and subtracting like fractions and fractions from a whole. Changed improper fractions to mixed numbers and completed word problems with fractions.
In ELA we started a unit on verbs and persuasive writing. Identified action verbs and verb tense, subject – verb agreement. We also completed a few persuasive writing activities.
In Social Studies, we started chapter 4 living in the East. We discussed the distinctive heritage of New England and the Mid- Atlantic states and their state governments.

In Science, students incorporated the lessons into their drawing representing different ecosystems.

4B had a bit of a stressful week this week. After a relaxing Thanksgiving break, we came back to a full week that included a Grammar quiz and test, and a social studies test! But 4B is resilient! I am confident that we did very well on all quizzes and tests. In other news, we have a new student of the month. Due to academic excellence, excellent behavior, and consistent completion of HW and other assignments, I am proud to announce that the student of the month in 4B is Ariana Guz! Congratulations Ariana!

In Science, students incorporated the lessons into their drawing representing different ecosystems.

Fifth Grade

The fifth grade had a busy week. In grammar the students learned about action verbs and direct objects. In writing the students practiced finding themes in a story or a drama. And in reading, we started our new novel, Holes by Louis Sachar. 

In Math, students practiced adding, subtracting, and multiplying fractions. There is an upcoming unit test next week. I think the class will well on it!

In Social Studies the students started learning about the continent of South America. They are currently learning about the many and varied geographical features of our neighbor to the south. 

In science, students performed a Mini-Lab to dissect a bean seed in order to identify all of the parts of an embryonic plant and describe it in their drawing and discussions.

This week, Ms. Tatic would like to commend her remote students- Ziva, Idan, and Alec for working so hard despite the many challenges that remote learning brings to the table. 

Middle School

Middle School ELA
6th Grade had a great week!
In grammar, we learned about different ways to combine sentences. Students practiced making compound subjects, compound verbs, and compound sentences. They also revised paragraphs to create greater sentence fluency. In writing, we wrote about character motivations and attitudes. Students wrote beautiful paragraphs! We also continued our novel study of “The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan. Mrs. Hazen would really like to commend Etai for being a great student and writing a beautiful paragraph!

7th grade had a busy week! In grammar, we learned about different ways to begin a sentence. We revised paragraphs to create greater sentence variety and fluency. In Writing, students reviewed summarizing fictional texts. We also wrote a wonderful characterization journal. We continued our study of Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli. Mrs. Hazen would like to commend Leam for being a diligent student!

8th grade had a great week! In grammar, we reviewed independent and dependent clauses. Students also learned about different types of subordinate clauses and how to use them in their writing. In writing, students reviewed elements of story and wrote beautiful paragraphs incorporating those elements. We also continued our novel study of The Giver by Lois Lowry. Students wrote a beautiful journal about the setting of our novel

Middle School Math

All math classes have a unit/chapter test on 12/7.
6th finished their unit on numbers. We will be starting number operations tuesday. 
7th honors worked on solving literal equations. They also finished their unit on expressions, equations, and inequalities. 
7th review the unit and they are getting ready for the next unit, Geometry!
8th honors and regular finished up the chapter on algebraic properties. Next chapter will be algebraic equations.

Middle School Science
In science, Ms. Belli’s students learned and understood the Earth’s Changing Surface. Students described the differences between mechanical and chemical weathering and were able as well to give examples of each of them.

In science, Ms. Belli’s students studied:”Earth: Water Planet”; the importance of water on Earth and fresh water sources as being either surface or underground water.

Middle School Social Studies

This week, 6th grade began the journey of learning about the greatest civilization of the ancient world: Egypt. Students reviewed a timeline of Egyptian history, and learned about the key to Egypt’s power, the River Nile, as well as the period that historians term “Dynasty 0.”

7th grade discussed the very first government of the United States of America, the Articles of Confederation. Both the positives and the negatives of the first republic that the world had seen since the days of Ancient Rome were examined, as well as the fallout of that system.

8th grade also journeyed through a fundamental period in World and American history, the dawn of industrialization. The pre-Industrial Revolution age was discussed, followed by the first and second periods of industrialization. Famous American inventors, such as Thomas Edison, and their creations were also looked at.

Jewish History

7th grade learned some valuable lessons on what it means to be the Chosen people, what is anti-semitism and what is our birthright as the Jewish people as we explored the life and times of Yaakov Avinu.
8th grade began to learn the background of the Chanuka miracle as we develop a true understanding of what really happened.