Week in Review 01/12/18

It seems like we had all four seasons this week as we returned from an extended winter break.  I hope that everyone enjoyed their time off from school and your travels were safe and pleasant.  Happy New Year;  I hope 2018 brings health, happiness and good things to all of our families.

The new year started off on a very positive note as we welcomed three graduates of the Infant Care Center to our preschool.  It is so rewarding to see those kiddos move into a new class with such ease and confidence.  Barbie Barnholtz and her ICC staff members do an amazing job caring for our youngest Schechter “students” and preparing them for this exciting transition.  Tracey Bortz and her ECC staff members then take over and begin to build tremendous social and academic skills in preparation for a wonderful academic experience through the grades in the Lower School and into Middle School.

Our basketball teams have started their rigorous game schedule with back to back games this past Wednesday and Thursday.  It is such a joy to watch our students compete hard and always with a sense of sportsmanship.  And who can resist watching the amazing halftime routines by our cheerleading squad.  If you haven’t watched a game or attended a halftime, I encourage you to come out and support our students.

ECC re-enrollment has begun.  If you haven’t yet completed an application and submitted your deposit, I encourage you to do that soon.  We are filling up fast and we need to plan accordingly to accommodate as many families as we can.  The Schechter ECC is the best place for children to begin their academic careers!  Next week we will begin the re-enrollment process for grades K-8.  Look for details via email.  Please complete the process early so we can plan accordingly for next school year.

Four important upcoming events:
  • On Saturday morning, January 20, B’nai Jeshurun will be sponsoring a “Schechter Shabbat”.  All Schechter students and parents are welcome as our students will be reading Torah and participating in the service.
  • We are inviting all Grade 4 – Grade 8 students and parents to join us on January 31, 2018 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm for a  for a special program sponsored by The Anti-Defamation League, “How to be an Upstander and an Ally” .  This is a No Place for Hate Campaign Presentation. Snacks will be provided.  RSVP Required.  Please email csinger@grossschechter.org.
  • We’ll be having a Buddy Havdalah PJ Party for all Pre-school/Kindergarten buddies, their families, and middle school students on Saturday, January 27th 6:45-7:45 in the Schechter Merkaz. Join us for Havdalah, Music, Dancing, Stories, Arts and Crafts, Hot Chocolate and a Yummy Treat! It is $5 per family, PJs are encouraged! RSVP with payment to the front office by Wednesday, January 24th. Please note: Siblings are welcome to come and participate in the program. The gym and the rest of the building will be closed.
  • Here is a message from Sheri Gross for all 1st-5th graders: Gross Schechter Day School has been invited for the second year in a row to perform at the community Tu B’Shevat program at the Mandel JCC! We would love to get a group of 1st-5th graders together to perform 3 songs at the event. We would rehearse during school hours.  The program is Sunday, January 21st at 2:00pm. Once I have more details, I can let you know exactly what time we would be singing. The event is a lot of fun, and we are so happy to have been asked to be part of the celebration! Please let me know ASAP if your child can participate!  Sgross@grossschechter.org

Stay warm this weekend as we quickly return to winter weather.  Shabbat Shalom.


Randy S. Boroff

Head of School

Parashat Va’era

“I can’t do what you are asking of me,” says Moshe; “My lips are clumsy.” He says this multiple times in last week’s parashah and in this week’s, and we have to wonder: what exactly is he trying to express? Is he hoping God will say, “Okay, I guess I’ll ask someone else”? Is he just voicing his anxiety? Or does Moshe have another motive?

Rabbi Avraham ibn Ezra suggests that Moshe harbored a secret hope that God would cure him of his speech impediment. After all, couldn’t the One who transforms staffs into snakes, and water into blood, also heal a lisp or a stammer? Every time Moshe mentioned his speech impediment to God, he was thinking, “Hint, hint!”

I love this perspective—I can easily imagine Moshe fervently hoping for a cure. But it is also worth considering another possibility: that he just wanted some help. Elsewhere in the Torah, Moshe is singled out for his humility. Here, “I can’t do it alone” is what he is expressing. And so God appoints Aaron to be Moshe’s spokesman.

All leaders have weaknesses. The problem is that some leaders are unaware of their weaknesses. God chose a leader who knew he needed help—this was the significance of Moshe’s humility. May we too be blessed with leaders who are aware of their shortcomings, and know what kind of help they need.

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Jonathan Berger

Associate Head of School for Judaic Studies and Programs

Questions for the Shabbat table:

  1. So much of Moshe’s job involved speaking: to Pharaoh, to the Israelites — so why would God choose someone who couldn’t speak well?

  2. When do you need help? When is it hard for you to ask for help, and when is it easier?

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Gross Schechter Week in Review – October 19, 2018
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Ben Christ

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