The weather is about to change in Northeast Ohio and the snow is expected to arrive this weekend into next week.  Although the forecasters are anticipating less than normal snowfall this winter we have to be ready for the inevitable…closing school due to inclement weather. Gross Schechter communicates closely with our local school districts in making that decision. You will be notified of a school closing using our One Call Now automated call system. We will send a phone call and a text message and it will also be posted on the local radio and television stations. If you haven’t signed up for the text notification system by giving us a cell number please contact Sue Foley in the main office as soon as possible.

Also, please remember that we do like to take the students out for recess as much as possible during the winter months so please send in snow pants, hats, gloves, boots, etc.

This past week, Gross Schechter participated in the election process. Our Read for Life theme is always selected by our students and we utilize Election Day as an authentic learning experience. After hearing presentations by our eighth graders about the themes being considered, students in grades K-8 voted for their preference. We created voting areas and ballot boxes. Students were able to choose between three recommendations. “Wild About Reading” was the winning theme this year. In the Early Childhood Center, our youngest students participated in the voting process as well. They were able to choose between a Pajama Day, Crazy Hat Day or Crazy Sock Day. The students used our IPads to electronically vote. We had a lot of PJ’s at Gross Schechter on Wednesday!

On Thursday morning, our eighth graders assisted at the JNF Breakfast. They served as hosts, led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of Hatikvah. They also had the opportunity to listen to the keynote speaker, Ethan Zohn. Mr. Zohn is a former professional soccer player, cancer survivor, winner of the hit reality television show Survivor Africa and co-founder of Grassroot Soccer. As demonstrated by his charitable work, volunteerism, and community involvement, Ethan believes that a better and healthier world can be achieved through education, advocacy and inspiration. This was a great community service and learning opportunity for our students.

Students also participated in an all school Rosh Chodesh service welcoming the month of Kislev.

On Friday, our General Studies staff participated in a professional development program focused on “Writing Across the Curriculum”. Our Judaic Staff planned an activity-filled day of Jewish Studies while our General Studies teachers were engaged in their own learning activities. This was similar to our STE(A)M day last week when our Judaic Staff was involved in their professional development.

We have an update to our Student Council Fundraiser for the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Please scroll down.

Dates to Remember:  
Date Activity Notes
Every Friday, beginning November 9th and ending March 15 Early Friday 2:30 pm Dismissal Aftercare closes at 3:45 pm ICC closes at 4:15 pm This year, the following districts WILL be providing transportation on Early Fridays: Shaker Heights Beachwood The following districts WILL NOT be providing transportation on Early Fridays: Solon Mayfield South Euclid/Lyndhurst Orange
Wednesday, November 14th CPR Course 5:30pm-9:30pm Free and Open to the community
Thursday, November 15th Dial-A-Thon 6:30pm-8:00pm
Thursday, November 15th SPA Meeting 7:30pm-9:00pm
Monday, November 19th To Kill A Mockingbird Performance$3.00 a ticket 6:30pm-8:00pm
Tuesday, November 20th ECC Thanksgiving Feast 10:30am-11:30am
Wednesday, November 21- Sunday, November 25th Thanksgiving Break School resumes Monday, November 26th

Have a nice weekend, Shabbat Shalom and stay warm.

Randy S. Boroff
Head of School

Dear Schechter families,
In light of the Pittsburgh tragedy, the student government and Schechter middle school want to reach out to help people in need. We are hoping to raise $500 to be able to plant 11 trees in Israel to honor those who lost their lives in the shooting.  We then plan on donating the rest of the money that we raise to help the Tree of Life Synagogue with repairs, or whatever they need. We are asking for donations to help us reach our goal. Please make out any donations to the Schechter Student Government and they can be dropped off at the front desk.

Thank You,
Student Government Presidents,
Maya Greller and Julian Landes

Parashat Toldot

In comparison to Abraham and Jacob, Isaac is the quiet patriarch. The most well-known fact about him is something he didn’t do: he was the only patriarch who never left the land of Israel. Why not? Because God told him not to. God goes on to explain: “I will make your descendants numerous… because Abraham obeyed Me.” In other words, even that one unique trait of Isaac is actually due to his father. Isaac seems to have no merit of his own

There is, however, another way to look at Isaac. Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev explains that Abraham’s mission was to draw people close to God through his wanderings; to meet more people, he had to travel. Isaac’s mission was to help his father’s followers to strengthen their relationship with God. His goal was increasing quality, not quantity. Isaac stayed in one place so he could help them grow.

In the world of sports, it’s commonly said that winning one championship is easier than winning a second. There is, I think, great truth to this idea: maintaining excellence is harder than initially achieving it. Abraham’s task wasn’t easy, but Isaac’s was harder.

In our lives, we sometimes follow Abraham’s path and try to start something new. Beginnings are challenging, but we are buoyed by the excitement of going from nothing to something. At some point, though, the work shifts from the drama of building to the hard work of maintaining and improving; at that point, it is hard to sustain our excitement and drive. Then, I think, is when we need to think of Isaac—and realize that his greatness lay not in dramatic initiatives, but rather in ongoing, dedicated growth.

Shabbat shalom,
Rabbi Jonathan Berger
Associate Head of School for Judaic Studies and Programs

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