Dvar Torah

This Shabbat, not only has TWO Parashot, [which happens often when there are not 2 months of Adar to accommodate all the Parashot, and when Holidays occur on Shabbat during the year, so we can not read the regular Parsha on that Shabbat], Vayakhel and Pekudei, but is also referred to as Parashat Hachodesh-Parsha of “the month”.

I will write a little about each.

Parashat Vayakhel

Parashat Vayakhel is the 4th Parasha discussing the Mishkan where Hashem positioned His presence for 40 years in the Midbar [wilderness], its furniture and the clothing of the Kohanim.
Each required tremendous skill and detail to create.
The craftsman with the most skill and in charge of all the work creating the Mishkan was B’tzalel. [The Gmara tells us that he was only 13 years old!]
Every time the Torah mentions B’tzalel it describes him as “B’tzalel son of Uri son of Chur”. [as an aside, Chur was the son of Miriam]
Why does the Torah always mention “Chur”?
The answer is; that when the Erev Rav [remember them from last week?] caused the Jews to sin with Egel Hazahav the golden Calf, a form of idolatry, very soon after Matan Torah, Chur stood up to the populace. He risked his life for Hashem’s honor, but was murdered by a mob while doing so!
Hashem promised that He would “reward” Chur for giving his life for the honor of Hashem. The reward was having a grandson who would design the Mishkan!
The question is; why didn’t Chur get rewarded with a son that would design the Mishkan, why did it “skip a generation”, why was it a “recessive gene”?
The message to us is an important one, a timely lifelong lesson.
We can not always have “instant gratification”.
We must trust in Hashem that if we do His will, He will repay us, but not immediately, necessarily. We do not understand Hashem’s infinite wisdom in His calculations. We who were born in the “5700’s” came in the middle of a story, so to speak. Sometimes we may see, for example: a wonderful child born to “not such wonderful people ” or vice versa. This idea of not seeing immediate reward and with the same understanding, immediate punishment helps us maintain our resolve to be faithful to Hashem and His Torah!
{adapted from Rabbi Yissoschor Frand on the Parasha with commentaries quoted from the Chofetz Chaim}.

Parashat Pikudei

At the culmination of FIVE Parashot describing the Mishkan the Torah says “the people brought the Mishkan to Moshe ”.
The Midrash says that from these words we learn the importance of “preserving the peace”.
Maharal Diskin explains;Moshe could have gone around collecting gold, silver, etc for the Mishkan, but someone may have been insulted and wondered; “why did Moshe go to the other fellow first, before me?” etc.
Therefore Moshe had the people “bring the Mishkan to him” [to bring their donations to him] to avoid the above scenario.
When a Jewish couple get married, there is someone, usually a great Rabbi who officiates. This is called “Mesader Kiddushin”. There are great Chasidish Rebbes [Hasidic rabbis] who are sought after to officiate. Some have a rule; if you want him to officiate, the wedding must take place in his court/courtyard.
Why? The Rebbes are concerned that if they would travel for one and not [further] for another, that second person may be offended. [quoted from Shemen Hatov]
We learn from this seemingly insignificant act of Moshe Rabbeinu, not to collect materials necessary for the Mishkan, rather have people bring them to him, lest someone be insulted that Moshe collected from his peer before him!

Parashat Hachodesh

This Shabbat is called Parashat Hachodesh, because we read a special part of the Torah, besides the Parashot of the week, about the month of Nisan.
Sunday is Rosh Chodesh Nisan, the month in which Pesach occurs and is celebrated. The month of Geulah [redemption] from Egypt 3,333 years ago and the month [which we look forward to happening very soon] which we will be redeemed by Moshiach-the Messiah from this Galut-exile.
We read about the commandment of the original Korban Pesach taken in Egypt and the laws that will follow for all of destiny.
Hashem tells us about Makat B’chorot [plague of the first born] and that we will soon leave Egypt!
Hashem gives us the Commandments regarding eating Matza and not eating Chometz during Pesach.

May we all merit the coming of Moshiach Messiah and the final redemption “speedily in our days”
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Y.S. Kuritsky

Special Announcement

The eighth graders were visited by Mr. Stuart Waldman of Waldman properties, who spoke to the children about how to carve your way out in the business world. Thank you to Mr. Waldman for his time and wisdom! The 8th graders learned a lot!

Programming News

Dear parents.
Thank G-d, we had a wonderful week!
This was the last week of our Adar – spreading joy – contest. As soon as we come back to school, we will announce which class earned the prize for the most stickers on their class’s smiley face. Looking forward to seeing which class is going to win the really exciting prize..
On Sunday is Rosh Chodesh Nissan! The upcoming monthly contest is to…. clean our rooms of all Chometz for Pesach (Passover.)
Checklists for cleaning our rooms will be given out closer to Pesach, as well as emailed to the parents.
Any student who follows the guidelines for removing all Chometz from their bedrooms and cleaning it for Pesach will receive an exciting prize!
Have a wonderful Shabbat and an enjoyable restful weekend!
Best regards,
Miss Dershowitz

KRIAH ( aleph bet tutoring )

This week in Kriah with Ariella from third grade we practiced reading some of the Hebrew months while practicing the letters and nikoodot. Miss Weitzner is so proud of Ariella for doing a super job on this!!

– Miss.Weitzner


Kindergarten and First Grade
We had a great week in Kindergarten and First Grade Judaics! This week we began to learn about Pesach! We know that on Pesach we cannot eat any flour except for in matzah or ground up matzah, because if flour and water are mixed together for more than 18 minutes it becomes chametz! We really enjoyed tasting Pesach cookies, made from potato flour, and watching videos of a matzah factory. We can’t wait to learn more about Pesach next week! Shabbat Shalom!

Second Grade
We had another wonderful week in 2nd grade. We learned why we celebrate Pesach and why the holiday is called Passover. We know we cannot have own any chometz for the 8 days of Passover.
Friday night as we would normally do since we are celebrating Shabbat, therefore the search is conducted Thursday night this year. We know that this Shabbat we complete the Book of Exodus-Sefer Shimot the second of the 5 Books of the Torah. We reviewed the whole Sefer Shimot this week as we read a sentence and drew a picture of the theme of all the Parshiot in Sefer Shimot. In the synagogue this Shabbat we read Parshat V’ykhail and Parshat Pikudei. We made a project depicting an aerial view of the Mishkon- the temporary shul the Jews were commanded to construct while in the desert after leaving Egypt. Shabbat Shalom!

Third Grade
Third graders started working on their Pesach Haggadah this week. While learning about each step of the Pesach preparations and the Seder night, they fill in and decorate each page of their Haggadah. The Haggadah contains all the specific details in each of the 15 steps plus some of the main parts that should be recited. The Haggadah are kept away from any source of Chametz so they can be used at the Pesach table.
They also continued practicing the correct spelling, order and translation of each of the 10 makkot.

Shabbat Shalom
Ms. Chaya

5th and 6th Girls
Dear parents.
We had a wonderful week, BH!
We started our Haggadahs and learned about Pesach. All the girls decorated their Haggadah covers beautifully!! I’m really looking forward to all of them truly knowing the Haggadah and all about the Pesach Seder.
We watched a great video about why bad things happen. You can ask your daughters why bad things happen and they can definitely tell you!
We learned about this week’s Parsha, (a double Parsha) Vayakhel and Pekudei, which is all about the building of the Mishkan.
Have a wonderful Shabbat!
Best regards,
Miss Dershowitz

5th and 6th Boys
This week we made a siyum on the 2nd chapter in Mishnayot Sukkah!
The boys worked hard , and we are looking forward to celebrating together.
We also began learning the Haggadah in earnest,
so we can be prepared for the Seder.
Shabbat Shalom!

7th and 8th Boys

This week the 7th and 8th grade boys took a test on Hilchot Tztzit and scored well. We also had our weekly Parashah test on the previous week’s Parsha. The boys scored well on the test on Parashat Ki TIsa as well!
The 7th grade boys, who were here in person {noah,Doron and Yisroel], took turns practicing the 19 B’rachot in Sh’mone Esre. They really were impressive.
Rabbi Kuritsky was out for a couple of days due to medical reasons. Thank G-d the test results were good.

Tzitzit Tzitzit Tzitzit

Not only are we learning, studying and scoring well on Hilchot [laws of]Tzitzit, but some boys are actually wearing them!
Yisroel Friedman, daily. Shai Koldin is not only wearing them, but keeping the Tzitzit [strings/fringes] out , proudly for all to see the Mitzvot of Hashem!
Rabbi Kuritsky brought in a beautiful book with pictures of the MIshkan,its furniture and clothing worn by the Kohanim, as a visual to to the Parasha, [not actual pictures, as we are not in possession of them since the destruction of the Beit Hamikdosh, over 2,000 years ago].
Rabbi Kuritsky and the boys also enjoyed looking at and studied a “timeline” book. The book has major events since 5,781 years ago when the world was created by Hashem.
We found this fascinating. We are now on zoom, but hope next week to meet in school in person and learn about Pesach!
Shabbat Shalom

Elementary School


This week kindergarten practiced writing a letter. They worked on identifying the literary elements of a story and how to summarize a story. They also reviewed how to spell words that begin and end with blends. In math they reviewed addition and subtraction. They created a mini book to review all the different strategies that they can use to subtract. In science they continued to learn about magnets and they realized that the material an object is made of determines if it is magnetic. In social studies they continued to learn about community helpers. They also learned how they can help their community.

First Grade
Our first graders are learning so much this week. We are now adding and subtracting with two-digit numbers in Math. In Grammar we practiced using antonyms to compare animals. We read Eric Carle’s “A Tiny Seed” to discuss sequence of events through the life cycle of plants. In Science, we explored the idea of weather and clouds. Students identified how the cumulus, stratus, and cirrus clouds tell us about the weather. We also conducted a scientific experiment to see how water evaporates into the air! It has been a great week.

Second Grade
This week in ELA, the second graders have been mastering verbs and their irregular past tense forms. They also have been reading The BFG and using character traits to support their opinions about the best character. In math, the students have been practicing telling time to the nearest five minutes. They have also been working on understanding and using phrases such as “half past,” “quarter to,” and “quarter past.” This Saturday is Benjamin Portman’s eighth birthday. Happy birthday Ben!

Third Grade

This week Grade 3 students continued their journey into Mexico’s past. They explored the City of Tenochtitlan and and the early history of the Aztec people. During our Math lessons, students continued to work on their multiplication skills, were introduced to division, were able to connect grid mapping skills they learned in social studies to the construction of arrays, as well as discovering the ability to find the area of a shape using their multiplication skills. During our Grammar lessons, students practiced modifying verbs into their present tense form in order to achieve subject-verb agreement. They were also able to analyze the writing process of explanatory writing in order to help them strengthen their first drafts. During the Russian lessons, students learned letter Я vocabulary. They were also able to construct complete sentences using past vocabulary and the pronoun Я.

Fourth Grade
This week in math we completed unit on decimals and started a new unit The Four Operations of Decimals. Kids will be adding , subtracting , multiplying , and diving decimals.
In ELA we finished our story writing unit and continue to prepare for the state exam.
In Social Studies we took a test on chapter 8 Living in the Midwest.


4B has been focusing on test prep. We are preparing for our ELA and Math state tests. In math we finally finished fractions! We are now starting a new unit on decimals. In social studies we continue to learn about the Midwestern region of the United States. In some more exciting news, we had two birthdays to celebrate this week! Ari Usubov and Lila Havia, our newest student! We enjoyed goodies and sang happy birthday!

Fifth Grade
Greetings and salutations,

This week has been very busy for the 5th graders. In ELA they learned about pronouns and prefixes/suffixes. They practiced argumentative writing in preparation for the argumentative essay next week.
In social studies they continued learning about the Maya civilization. They even practiced doing math in the Maya way!

Middle School

Middle School ELA and Social Studies

6th Grade
This week has been all about our Argumentative Essay! Students were assigned topics, and did their research. Everyone wrote wonderful outlines! Mrs. Hazen would really like to commend Noah, Eva, and Madi for their diligence and attention to detail.
Later on in the week, we turned those outlines into our first drafts. We also took notes on effective introductions, practiced identifying strategies used in examples, and then wrote our own introductions.

In Social Studies, the 6th grade had a blast learning about the Qin Dynasty. They were particularly interested in the famous Terracotta Warriors.

7th Grade
This week has been all about our Argumentative Essay!
Students were divided into teams, and each team was assigned a topic and a position. Students got a chance to work together on researching their topic, and writing strong claims supported by relevant evidence. We reviewed how to make an outline, and created wonderful outlines that we then turned into our first draft. We also discussed effective ways to start our essays, looked at some examples, and wrote our introductions. Mrs. Hazen would really like to commend Gary and Tyler for being very hard-working!

In Social Studies, students wrapped up their study of the Age of Jackson with a study into Transcendentalism. We defined what it was, looked at some examples of transcendentalist writing, and then completed a nature-appreciation project. Everyone did a great job! Mrs. Hazen would really like to commend Ariella, Noah, and Yisroel for their awesome work!

8th Grade
This week has been all about our Persuasive Essay!
Students chose the topics for their persuasive essays. We reviewed rhetorical devices, introduction strategies, and paragraph format. We had a great class discussion about which introductions are most effective in a persuasive essay. Mrs. Hazen would like to commend Yosef and Taylor for their awesome contributions to our class discussion!
Students did their own research, and created outlines. We are turning those outlines into wonderful drafts!

In Social Studies, we wrapped up our lesson on the 1920s with a discussion of how the car changed American economy and way of life. Students took notes, had a great discussion on the economic boom of the 1920s, and took a quiz.

Middle School Math

5th grade started the unit on mixed operations with fractions and decimals.
6th grade reviewed how to determine if algebraic expressions are equal and practiced using the distributive property.
7th grade reviewed surface area and how to calculate it when there are overlapping sections in a prism.
7th grade honors learned about proportionality and slope.
8th grade reviewed how to graph equations given slope and y-intercept.
8th honors started the unit on operations with polynomials.

Middle School Science

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.