Dvar Torah

Parashat Chukat
Highlighted in this week’s Parasha is the Parah Adumah The red heifer [aka cow].
The ashes of the red cow is used to purify any jew who became Tamei thru tum’at met being in contact with/under the same covering as a dead [jewish] person.

Once we are on the subject of a heifer…
A story is told in a holy book called Psikta Rabasi, there once was a heifer, owned by a Torah observant jew. Alas, the owner fell on difficult financial times and he was forced to sell his cow [to a non jew]. The new owner was very pleased with his new heifer. She worked very hard for him daily. She helped him plow his fields and draw his wagon. On the seventh day after purchasing the heifer [it seems it was purchased on a Saturday night], the heifer resisted even getting off the floor of the barn. The new owner screamed at it, kicked it and even whipped it, but to no avail. The heifer refused to get up, to work.
The new non jewish owner made his way back to the original owner with a serious complaint; the heifer is not even budging,let alone working and it is not even one week since the purchase! The original owner said he will come. He walked over to the non jewish owner’s barn, bent over to the cow’s ear and explained; “when I owned you, you did not work on the 7th day because I am a jew,and not only does a jew not work on Shabbat, even his animals are not allowed to work, but now you’re owned by a non jew, there is no rule that you can’t work on Shabbat, please get up and work”.
The heifer immediately rose and obeyed his new, non jewish owner’s commands to work. When the non jew saw what happened, he was astounded and demanded to know the witchcraft/magic spell that the jew used! The jew explained that there was no witchcraft/magic, it was just that the cow didn’t work previously when owned by me, because I am a jew and a jew’s animals are restricted from working on Shabbat just as a jew is.
The non jew was so impressed that he exclaimed “if a heifer who has no sense and can not even speak, can recognize that there is a creator,I, a human who can speak and who has intellect, all the more so, I must recognize that there is a creator.
This “non jew” ended up converting to Judaism and becoming one of the greatest Torah teachers of all times. He is known as “Rav Yochanan ben Torsa” literally = Rav Yochanan son of a cow, because it was the cow [heifer] that caused him to realize that there is a creator,and plan and purpose in this world!
Let us all see the obvious signs of our creator wherever we go, and let us remember that if someone can be influenced by a heifer/cow all the more so they can be influenced by us and our actions. We as jews must be careful to always realize that people are watching and learning from our ways.
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Y.S. Kuritsky

Congratulations to the SIHA class of 2021!

  • Ethan Azaraev
  • Taylor Badalov
  • Michael Clift
  • Orian Cohen
  • Joshua Dinar
  • Rachel Dym
  • Josef Jehudai
  • Shai Koldin
  • Amiel Lavy
  • Yosi Malka
  • Yehuda Mirocznik
  • Joshua Osher 
  • Gabriella Schwartz
  • Eliana Volfson
  • Joshua Yarden-Kushel

The graduation ceremony was beautifully arranged. A special thank you to everyone who worked very hard to make it happen, especially Ms. Ilanit, Ms. Ety, Ms. Ortiz, Mrs. Rosskamm, Dr. Uzhansky, and of course our stellar PTA parents!

It was truly a special day!

Note from mrs. Hazen:

I am immensely proud of our graduates. They have worked past many challenges to get to this day: Covid, remote learning, personal struggles, and challenging curricula. They came to their graduation with poise and bearing of young adults they are truly becoming. 

Amiel’s heartfelt speech was truly wonderfully written. Shai’s did a similarly phenomenal job with his speech. In addition to that, Yosef and Ethan presented an insightful Dvar Torah. I am including their speeches below for anyone who did not get a chance to see them in person. 

Yosef Jehudai’s Dvar Torah

Ethan Azaraev’s Dvar Torah

Shai Koldin’s Speech

Amiel Lavy’s Speech

Shabbat Week Contest!

Please see flyer below for details:


Kindergarten and First Grade

We had wonderful week in Kindergarten Judaics. We learnt a new nekuda patach and have been having a wonderful time doing many patach activities! We have also been practicing for our graduation and are very excited for it!

In First Grade Judaics the children have been practicing a lot for our siddur play! Walk down the hall and you will hear us singing and practicing our parts! We cannot wait to get our siddurim and are looking forward to our play!

Second Grade

We had an amazing week in 2nd grade. The class put on an outstanding performance at their Siddur Play/Party. A special thank you to Gal’s mom,Naama Zadok for dedicating the siddurim and for setting up an elaborate celebration on Tuesday. It is a huge milestone when a child receives a Siddur. The same prayers that your children have learned have been recited by our great,great grandparents for generations. Your children are now the next link of our beautiful golden chain. This week at SIHA all the students are reviewing what G-d created each day of the week and rested on Shabbat. The classes have been doing different projects each day of the week in honor of Shabbat. From delicious cookies to flowers for the Shabbat table. There is an exciting raffle for all SIHA students this week with fantastic prizes for the winners. Make sure to read all the details on the flyer included in this weeks newsletter. I would love to see you at my daughters wedding Monday night June 21, reception 5:30, ceremony 6:30 at the Legacy 1275 36th St. Brklyn,NY 11218 Shabbat Shalom!

Third Grade
What a wonderful special week we had. The Shabbat week was greeted with such enthusiasm and happiness. The students shared everything they knew about shabbat and we discussed various ideas of how we can make Shabbat holy amd special. The entire class raised their hand at once when asked if they would want to be a part of this SIHA keeps shabbat week. They were happy to prepare the many different projects for Shabbat as well.
It has been a pleasure to teach this class of wonderful children who learnt so much academically and also socially. Ia so proud of each one of them. Thank you for the opportunity.
Shabbat Shalom.
Morah Ivry

Fourth Grade

The feeling of Shabbat was real this week in 4A! Morah brought in a wrapped up gift, and altogether we had a class discussion about gift giving. The children participated in the discussion by giving examples of what their two yr. old brother/cousin/ friend is capable of giving….(jelly bean, his scribbles art work…) then we went older to a 13 year old (money, card ) twenty… parents, oblivious the older one is ,the more sophisticated / valuable the gift is.
Then we explained that Hashem also gave the Jewish Nation a gift from His treasure house…, and as we opened the present three children unscrambled the Otiot of Shabbat! If Hashem tells us that it is a good gift then we know that Shabbat is precious!
We had hands on baking potato kugel, chocolate chip bars, and everyone got to bake their own Challa! Our classroom smelled delicious from all the baking! The class said Amen, and watched the Mitzva of Hafrashat Challa. In addition, we also finished all the crafts that Programming – Miss Dershowitz assigned. Tefilat Hadlakat Neirot, Shabbat Cookbooks, Challa Covers and more!
Looking forward to everyone joining the school wide program/contest this Shabbat!

Shabbat Shalom!
Mrs. Bistritz

This week is shabbat week here at SIHA. Mrs Bistritz’ 4th grade made delicious potato kugel, baked delicious chocolate chip cookies, formed and baked beautiful חלות, decorated gorgeous flower vases, and made apple cobbler. The children had a great time preparing and are looking forward to their whole family enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Last newsletter, wait what? Time really flies when we are having fun and learning well too! We are leaving our beloved 4B classroom behind with some shadows:

shadows of morals, life lessons well heard
of sweet sounds of learning as we pondered each word
shadows of victory steps in the proper direction
of skills that were mastered to the utmost perfection
of songs, crafts and games and a whole lot of laughter
of answering deep questions as we considered each factor
of relationship and bonding, the purest of connections
of learning to accept each other with our imperfections
of unity and togetherness, reaching goals that we share
of the satisfying, sweet taste of having “done” a SIHA year
shadows of discoveries, the fruits of exploring
of fluttering wings on super-students who are soaring

I am so thankful for having had the opportunity to teach this truly exceptional group of super- students this year. They are sponges, always eager to absorb whatever lesson is being offered to them. I must admit, young as they may be, I learnt so much from them too! Every one of them will forever have a very special place in my heart. Oh, how I’ll miss them so please encourage them to be in touch!
Morah Toba

5th and 6th Boys
As the year comes to a close, we are using the opportunity to really internalize the ideas we have learned.
On that note , I would like to share a story that I have often told the boys.
There was a man who was late for an important meeting in the city, and as he drove around in circles he prayed:
“G-D, if you send me a parking spot, I promise I’ll become a kinder person, I’ll give more charity, I’ll start keeping Shabbat, I’ll put on tefillin everyday. Please G-D, PLEASE!”
A moment later a car pulled out of a spot in front of him, and as he maneuvered himself into the empty spot, he spoke to G-D once more:
“Never mind G-D, I found a spot already!
This lesson is one I have shared with the boys from day one.
On the need to make G-D part of our daily life, and not just in moments of stress.
As you may know, this week was Shabbat week at SIHA.
The school as a whole will be attempting to keep Shabbat and experience its beauty.
And this, in essence, is the purpose of Shabbat.
For 25 hours we take a step back and appreciate that although we work hard and accomplish,
ultimately, success is in G-Ds hands.
Thank you for entrusting me with your children this year, each one is a gem!
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Levy

The 5 and 6th grade boys had so much fun decorating black and white cookies while learning about Shabbat. On the first day of creation G-d created light and darkness so we decorated the cookies in honor of this day of creation. The boys enjoyed learning and singing the song “Just one Shabbos and we’ll all be free!”

7th and 8th Girls
No one ever said commutes are easy, but I must say, it was worth the trip in from Jersey every day to learn and grow together with my beloved “fountain” girls. Each of my girls is a fountain, overflowing with knowledge, passion and on- target ideas. I loved hearing there beautiful trains of thought and am thankful for having had the opportunity to contribute little to that rich thinking. At the rate their going, they will truly get far in life in a very real way. Each one will always have a very special place in my heart and I’d love to be in touch.
Morah Toba

7th and 8th Boys

We are winding down with our beloved 8th graders.
Dear reader, by the time you see this in the SIHA newsletter, they will have already graduated. Congratulations! How sad. We will miss you.
This week, we learned that “food” belongs to Hashem (and we are stealing) until we make a Bracha , but after we say a Bracha the food belongs to us.
This week we also celebrated the Bar Mitzva celebration of Shai Nisim Koldin. Although Shai actually has been Bar Mitzva for quite a while, he did not have celebration due to covid 19. All Shai’s classmates attended the beautiful celebration. Shai had an Aliya L’Torah and read the Torah as well. Rabbi Ze’ev officiated. The decor and the ambience was really something to behold. The warmth in the air with family and friends participating was palpable. In attendance was Miss Etty Perez, Mrs. Ilanit Dinar, Rabbi Kuritsky and Dr. Uzhansky. It was a really special occasion.

Last “official” day of school for 8 Th grade.
Beautiful שחרית

Josh osher saying הבדלה for the 8th grade

At Shai’s bar mitzvah

An alumnus, Pazi, visits and sets a good example for 7th and 8th grade

Elementary School

This week kindergarten was very busy getting ready for graduation! They have also been carefully observing and documenting all the fascinating things the caterpillars have been doing this week. Three of the caterpillars have now become butterflies, which the children have named Penelope, Philp, and Angela Doobie. They learned how butterflies eat, how they use mimicry and camouflage to survive, and they made their own butterfly using symmetrical designs. In ELA they worked on finishing the books they are writing about their favorite things, they read a story about robots, and they practiced reading and spelling words that end in ed, ing, and er. In math they learned how to add and subtract very large numbers by breaking numbers into tens and ones. Using this method they can now also add and subtract by 10 using mental math. In science they finished their celery experiment. When they ripped open their celery they found it amazing that they could see how the stem of a plant works. In social studies they learned how to read a map key to find places on a map.

Coby did an excellent job teaching the class about solar power and Raquel did a wonderful job teaching the class why we need to wash our hands before we eat.

I am so proud of kindergarten. Throughout the year they have worked hard and they always put their best effort into all of their work. They have grown so much and it is amazing how well they are now reading, writing, and solving math equations. They are so excited to share what they have learned in kindergarten with you at their graduation.

First Grade
This week our first graders proved to be fabulous once again. We completed the Science Unit about matter. We took our final Social Studies test. We counted groups of US coins including the half dollar. We have ready learned alot this year.

This week we also created beautiful Father’s Day cards and picture frames. As we reflect on all of the great things our fathers do for us, we are grateful to have them in our lives. We wish all of our wonderful 1st grade dads a happy Father’s Day.

Second Grade
This week in second grade, the students have finished their grammar unit on pronouns. On Wednesday, they took their last grammar test of the year and they did great! In math, the students continue to work on multiplication and have been reviewing math topics from throughout the year. On Thursday, the second graders had their end of the year party. They had a lot of fun!

Third Grade
This week grade three students learned how to correctly modify irregular verbs into their past tense forms. They also continued their literary journey along side the J.G.P. crew as they (rudely) came in contact with the mysterious Cloud Men. During their Math lessons, they continued to develop problem solving skills using all they had learned this past year. They also learned to convert length measurements and had fun measuring objects and areas with in the school grounds. During our Social Studies lessons, students presented their Wilma Mankiller reports to the class. They had also read about the creation of the Cherokee language. They are now very excited at the opportunity to create their own alphabet. As the year is winding down, I am both saddened and excited to see my kids move on (though luckily not too far). They have grown so much already, but there is still so much ahead.
Miss Sasha

Fourth Grade

This week in math we finished our unit on Volume. We also finished our class chapter book Flora and Ulysses. This week and next week kids were given the chance to be the fourth grade teacher. Liam did an outstanding job! He created a presentation on how to sketch a person and provided all materials needed for the entire class. Ariella Khaimov did a beautiful presentation about Isreal and showed kids pictures of underwater museum. Evelina was a natural at teaching kids about Walt Disney and guided kids on how to draw a game character.

As this is our last newsletter for this year it’s a bittersweet moment for me. I truly enjoyed teaching your kids and watching them grow. This was by far one of the most challenging teaching experience I had. I was very nervous of how the kids would react to all the new changes but yet they adapted easily. I was truly blessed to have this class and wish them to continue to always work hard! Have an amazing restful summer!

4B had a healthy ballance of learning and fun during this final full week of school! We wrapped up our grammar unit, on adverbs and prepositions, with a grammar test, which the children did really WELL on! (Part of the unit was knowing when to use the adverb “well” vs. the adjective “good.”) In math we had a geometry test, which the children also did really well on! Now that our final units are wrapping up, we are finding more time to enjoy the new playground! Today we will watch the movie “Wonder,” based on the book we have been reading. Next week we will have an end-of-the-year celebration!

Fifth Grade

Fifth graders had a great week! In ELA, students took their final quiz of the year! Everyone did a great job. We also completed our novel study of Sadako and a thousand paper cranes. Students made paper cranes, paper lanterns, and bookmarks with their name written in the Japanese Katakana script!
In social studies, we finished our final unit of the year, and we are looking forward to summer vacation!

In math, 5th grade finished their unit on proportions, ratios, and percents.

Middle School

Middle School ELA and Social Studies

6th Grade

Sixth grade is ending the school year with success! We are wrapping up our novel study of the City of Ember and we are writing a fictional story in one of the genres we discussed. Mrs. Hazen is very proud of everyone’s hard work, but she was particularly impressed by Oren Dery’s creative science fiction story.

7th Grade

Seventh grade had a great week! In ELA, we are wrapping up our novel study of the Indian in the Cupboard. We also wrapped up our creative writing unit by writing great stories. In Social Studies, we finished our final unit with a quiz. Everyone did a great job, but Mrs. Hazen is particularly impressed with Doron Glickman’s answers. He showed great insight and did an awesome job!

8th Grade graduated this week! Good luck to everyone!

Middle School Math
8th grade honors contributed regents prep.
7th grade honors finished learning about the Pythagorean theorem.
7th grade continued reviewing important algebra concepts.
6th grade learned how to write algebraic expressions from percent problems.

Middle School Science

7th Grade has ended their academic school year learning about how our body needs and responds to nutrition, whether it is good or bad. They investigated eating disorders, food history and conducted food analysis. Students that conducted a food analysis also brought to school the item that they analyzed. They even learned the concept of condensation and why it is important to allow baked goods to totally cool down, prior to applying any type of frosting or covering it for transport. Nonetheless, the effort of that student was stupendous, well done Leam. As we wrap up the school year students have been preparing for their Living Environment assessment. Students will have the opportunity to sit for a High School level course and complete the necessary regent requirements to fulfill that course criteria, pending how their assessment turns out. Students started taking this exam on Wednesday and will complete it on Thursday.

I want to wish all of these lovely students and their families a peaceful and restful summer. Looking forward to seeing how tall you get over the summer. See you in September, be ready to Rock and Roll!!!!

Recipe Analysis

Nutrition history project

Bulimia project

science project


Jewish History
8th grade accomplished a lot this year. We began during the period of the Jewish kings and worked our way through all the way until the 1200s learning many lessons along the way. We did not learn history. We learned FROM history.
Congratulations to all my 8th graders on their graduation.

7th grade is beginning to explore the first Jewish kings and we are looking forward to picking up where we left off next year.