Week in Review – March  01, 2019

We are about to enter the month of March and we are that much closer to spring! The next few weeks will provide a number of exciting activities for our students as well as wonderful opportunities for participation from parents.

This past week, the theme song for Gross Schechter could easily been “We are the Champions” as both our Girls basketball team and the 4th/5th basketball team won their league championships.  The Lady Sharks won the trophy for the 5th consecutive year and the 4th/5th team won the initial league tournament. Congratulations to all the players and to Coach K and Coach Lakin for a tremendous season. We can’t forget to mention our cheerleaders who demonstrated Schechter spirit at every game and cheered our teams to victory.  Thank you to Laura Albert and Sheri Gross for their leadership.

This past Monday, Jenny Kaplan and I had the distinct pleasure to meet with guests from St. Petersburg, Russia.  Every year, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland sponsors the visit and these professionals have the opportunity to meet with day school representatives to share information about their own programs.  It is always a wonderful opportunity to meet these guests.

Our 4th graders have started the exciting  tradition of reading Torah at our Tefillah services on Mondays and Thursdays.  This is a sense of pride for the teachers, students and parents who are invited to participate with their children.  It is impressive to listen to the students as well as witness the growth of their confidence and sense of pride.

On Thursday evening, our second graders hosted their parents at the annual Family Science Night.  This is a great interactive learning experience for our students and parents who get to participate in experiential learning activities which integrate both general and Judaic studies.  It is a wonderful example of knowledge, skills, creativity and joy! Thanks to Abby Greenfield and Hadassah Hoff for planning such a wonderful evening.

I am sure you will hear about the live animal show that visited Gross Schechter on Friday. This was one of the many activities planned during our Read for Life program. Nothing represents our Read for Life theme “Wild About Reading” than learning about wild animals! In addition, throughout the morning, older students were with their buddies, being good role models and building relationships.

Laurie Gross Kammer, Stephanie Kundrach and Sheri Gross will be traveling to the Q on Sunday with a group of 7th grade students to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers.  What a special activity for our rising 8th graders. I hope their cheering will have a positive result.


*THIS IS THE LAST EARLY FRIDAY DISMISSAL OF THE SCHOOL YEAR*   Next Friday, March 8 is a professional development day (no school for students) so regular Friday dismissal begins Friday, March 15.

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:
  • Friday, March 8th: NO SCHOOL Staff Professional Development Day- ICC is still open
  • Monday, March 11th: Middle School presents “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”
  • Wednesday, March 20th: Read for Life- Closing Ceremony ( *New Date*)
  • Thursday, March 21st: Purim Celebration
  • 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!
  • Wednesday, April 10th : Passover Play Grades 1st-4th 6:30pm
  • Friday, May 3rd : Muffins with Mom 8:00am sponsored by SPA
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 Vayak·hel — The Gift of Mirrors

This parashah, like three before it and one that follows, deals with the construction of the mishkan, the desert sanctuary built by the Israelites. Every paragraph is full of precise measurements: this many square cubits of cloth, that many weights of metal. There is only one exception: the bronze washing basin, for which no exact measurements are given. The basin is exceptional in another way as well: it was constructed out of bronze mirrors donated by Israelite women. For no other object does the Torah list the precise source of its raw materials.

Why did the women donate their mirrors, and why does the Torah single them out in this way? Some commentators argue that the women were forgoing the quest to look attractive; maybe they felt that physical beauty was shallow compared to the mishkan’s holy purpose. But attractiveness is never disparaged in the Torah! And this interpretation actually diminishes the importance of the women’s gift, because if the mirrors had become worthless, then they weren’t giving away anything of value.

The opposite is more likely: the Torah singles out their gift because the women did value their mirrors. Giving them up was hard—but the mishkan meant more to them than their own appearance. They sacrificed a tool for personal beauty to create an instrument of communal holiness. And for this reason, the basin had no pre-fixed dimensions; the number of mirrors donated would determine its size. Gifts that involve real sacrifice have unlimited potential.

Many metals were required to build the mishkan: gold, silver—and bronze. The bronze, surprisingly, may have been the most precious of the three; it was truly a gift from the heart.

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

Questions for the Shabbat table:
  1. The mirrors were used to build a basin, or sink. Is there a connection between the two?
  2. Have you ever given away anything precious—not something you’d outgrown, or no longer liked—for an important cause?

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Gross Schechter Week in Review – May 17, 2019
Gross Schechter Week in Review – May 10, 2019
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Ben Christ

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