*There is no Week in Review Video this week. Have a great weekend and Shabbat Shalom!*

Week in Review – February  22, 2019

I want to wish our middle school students who are attending Shabbatons this weekend a Shabbat Shalom! I hope they all find great meaning and joy during their experiences. I felt their excitement this morning as they entered school with their backpacks and travel gear. An experience like this is a wonderful supplement to the Jewish experience at Gross Schechter.

As most of you have noticed, the driveway into the B’nai Jeshurun/Schechter parking lot is filled with potholes. This problem is an annual issue due to the freezing temperatures and then sudden thawing. We are aware of the issue and both organizations are working to develop a solution. Unfortunately, it can’t be fixed permanently until the temperatures are steadily above freezing. In the meantime, we have placed traffic cones around the worst spots and today most of the holes are being cold patched. *WHEN YOU ENTER THE PARKING LOT FROM FAIRMOUNT BLVD. STAY TO THE EXTREME RIGHT SIDE OF THE DRIVE AND WHEN YOU ARE EXITING, STAY TO YOUR RIGHT AS WELL*. This will help to avoid the major potholes. Please drive slowly and carefully, thank you!

On Tuesday morning, we held a meaningful shloshim service for Mort Gross A”H. The Gross family, their guests, and our middle school students participated in the service. Our students were privileged to hear Harley and Gary Gross talk about their father, their connection to Jewish life and their special connection to our school. Rabbi Berger delivered a beautiful D’var Torah as well. The Gross family sponsored a beautiful breakfast reception for guests, students and staff members. It was a morning we will all remember.

Have you noticed your children bringing home books and reading more than ever? It’s Read for Life season at Gross Schechter. Last year, our students read more than 2,000 books and the challenge to surpass that number has been set. Each week we “Drop Everything And Read”, we have had a book swap at school, students visit the library to return and withdraw books and we sponsor special events to encourage reading and literacy skills. We encourage our parents to take the time to ask about the books children are reading and make a point to “Drop Everything And Read” at home as well.

On Tuesday, morning we had a visit from author Sarah Aronson who previewed her new book, “Just Like Rube Goldberg” with our students. There were small group discussions with the lower school as well as group discussions with our middle school students who discussed the writing process as well as a group discussion about the book “Beyond Lucky”.

Thursday morning was Father’s Day at Gross Schechter! Students brought their fathers to school for donuts, coffee and hot chocolate. The media center was filled with Dads and students from preschool through 8th grade. It was a fabulous program – a huge thank you to our SPA parents for organizing this great event.  

This year SPA has also taken over our Mishloach Manot fundraiser. This is a great way for Kehillat Schechter to participate in the holiday! An e-mail with a link to the HappyPurim website was sent out yesterday. If you are having issues placing an order, or have any questions, please contact Ben Christ at 216-763-1400 ext. 410 or bchrist@grossschechter.org. Orders must be placed by March 14th!

Chef Yuval has a variety of tasty menu items for Passover.  Click here to view his menu.

Upcoming Events
  • Tuesday, February 26th: Schechter Shmooze 8:15am, Media Center. Rabbi Melinda Mersack will lead a discussion on “Raising Rodfei Tzedek”
    • SPA Purim Costume Swap
  • Wednesday, February 27, SPA Costume Swap
  • Friday, March 8th: NO SCHOOL Staff Professional Development Day
  • Wednesday, March 20th: Read for Life- Closing Ceremony ( *New Date*)
  • Sunday, March 24th: Super Schechter Dial-A-Thon! 11:00 AM- 2:00 PM in the Media Center.
  • Friday, March 29th: VIP Day. Go back to school and spend the day with your Schechter Loved One!
Sunday, May 19th: Save the Date! The 3rd Annual Gross Schechter Day School Run/Walk!

Have a great weekend, and Shabbat Shalom,

Randy S. Boroff
Head of School

Parashat Ki Tisa — Don’t Copy God’s Recipes

The Torah is full of severe punishments. Gather firewood on Shabbat? Death by stoning. Commit adultery? Ditto. And while we might deem the death penalty a bit harsh for these violations, we aren’t surprised that the Torah cares deeply about the sanctity of Shabbat and marriage.

Some violations are punished by karet, “being cut off”—a severe heavenly penalty. It is reserved for serious sins such as breaking Yom Kippur, eating hametz on Pesah, or committing incest. Again, while we might flinch at the severity of the punishment, we aren’t surprised that the Torah cares deeply about Yom Kippur, Pesah, and sexual morality.

But sometimes, it’s hard to understand why the Torah is so strict. In this week’s parashah, we read that you receive karet for making a knock-off version of anointing oil. This mixture of olive oil and choice spices was used for consecrating the priests and the altar — and if you tried to compound it for personal use, you were liable for karet. Why the severe punishment? Why does the Torah care so much about copying God’s recipes?

As Americans, we can imagine what would happen if people started making anointing oil for personal use. First would come the marketing campaign: “Now you too can feel like the High Priest! Shemen ha-mishhah, now available in stores everywhere!” We would buy it, and the first time we used it, we would feel special. But the second time, we’d start to feel like the Temple was nothing special. Just like that, yesterday’s holy scent would be today’s Drakkar Noir.

In its own way, the Torah is trying to give us a gift: the experience of having some things be special, awe-inspiring, holy. May we find our own ways to protect the sanctity of our most special times, objects, and places!
Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Jonathan Berger
Associate Head of School for Judaic Studies and Programs Questions for the Shabbat table:
  1. If the Torah didn’t want anyone making their own shemen ha-mishhah (anointing oil), why did it include the recipe for all to read? Why not keep it a secret, handed down orally from priest to priest?
  2. Do you possess anything that you use or wear only rarely as a way of keeping it special? Do you have anything that you do use or wear all the time, but that nevertheless remains treasured?

You may also like

Gross Schechter Week in Review – May 17, 2019
Gross Schechter Week in Review – May 10, 2019
Israel Blog 2019 -Day 9 Yom Ha’atzmaut – Eli Wolf

Ben Christ

Leave a Reply