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This is a reminder that Daylight Savings Time begins this weekend.  Turn your clocks ahead one hour Sunday morning!  There will be no late passes issued Monday morning! 🙂 If you visited school this past week, you may have seen a number of past Presidents and Explorers walking the halls. This was the week of the annual 3rd Grade President Presentations and 5th Grade Meet the Explorers presentations. Every student did an amazing job speaking about their assigned President or Explorer in front of their peers and parents. The third graders were introduced, walked a red carpet and dressed in costume. The 5th graders made their presentations in both English and Hebrew. These were wonderful lessons in research, writing and public speaking. Our students develop amazing confidence and poise from this experience. Our Read for Life program is coming to a close next Friday, March 13 with our annual Closing Ceremony.  Yesterday, as part of the program, we were visited by Tricia Springstubb, a local author who shared with our students the process of writing a book.  She brought examples of children’s books she has written.  She talked about how she gets ideas for the books, the rewriting process as well as how books are illustrated. This past week, our first grade students and their parents came to school to design and decorate a Siddur cover.  Later in the school year, they will all receive their very own Siddur and they will be able to have their own personal cover to make it special just for them. Have you heard about the Mishna Club?  Some of our middle school students have been meeting with Rabbi Ben to study Mishna during their advisory period. It has been incredible to see their dedication.  Thanks to all the volunteers who helped bake hamantaschen, pack and deliver Mishloach Manot for Purim.  It is wonderful to watch our community come together for a school wide event. Speaking of Purim…we will be celebrating on Tuesday, March 10.  We will have the annual Purim Parade, Purim Shpiels,  reading of the Megillah and a carnival in the afternoon.  The parade will begin at 8:40am, Megillah will be read at 10:00 am.  Come and join us for this festive holiday…and wear a costume! Safety and Security is always a high priority at Gross Schechter.  We are being vigilant in making sure students and staff wash hands regularly throughout the day, especially before and after lunch, PE and recess.  We are cleaning classrooms, bathrooms and common areas each night. We do have hand sanitizer in certain areas of the school and, as with the flu, we are asking parents to keep their children home if they do not feel well.  We are asking staff who do not feel well to stay home as well. We will be having a meeting together with the other Jewish day schools leadership next week to develop a collaborative plan of dealing with any situation that may arise.  We will continue to monitor the situation closely. Based on the latest information from the Ohio Department of Health here are some helpful hints in dealing with the coronavirus: General Information and Precautions
  • Currently, you are only at risk if you (1) are displaying symptoms; and (2) have traveled to China in the 14 days before feeling sick or have been in contact with someone who has confirmed COVID-19. By and large, travel history is key.
  • People who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 have reported symptoms including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing that may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days after exposure to the virus. At this point you are more likely to catch the flu or a common cold, which both show some of the same symptoms.
ODH recommends precautions used for reducing the risk of infection for other illnesses, such as flu. Encourage staff, children, and families to follow these precautions at all times.
  • Frequently wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water. If unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick (except to visit a health care professional) and avoid contact with others.
  • Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
I have also included the following ODH link to Frequently Asked Questions: Dates to Remember: Sunday, March 8: Daylight Savings Time Begins Tuesday, March 10: Purim Parade and Celebration starting at 8:30am Thursday, March 12: 2nd Grade Science Night, 6:30pm Friday, March 13: Read for Life Closing Ceremony, 9:40am, Regular 3:30pm Dismissal Tuesday, March 17, Shoresh Program, 7:00 pm Wednesday, March 18, SPA Meeting, 7:00 pm Thursday, March 19, Schechter Step Up Day, 10:30am-11:20am. Monday, March 23, First Ultimate Frisbee Practice 3:30pm-4:30pm Thursday, March 26, 1st Grade Kabbalat Siddur, 8:30 am in the Merkaz Friday, March 27, VIP Day. Every K-8 student is invited to have a special guest join them for VIP Day!  Friday, March 17, 2:00-3:30pm. RSVP here! Wednesday, April 1 and Thursday April,2,  Arsenic and Old Lace Production, 6:30 pm in the Merkaz Tuesday, April 7, Nesi’ah Tova Ceremony 10:30am in the Merkaz. 12:00 noon Dismissal for Passover Break Monday, April 20, School Resumes Mazel Tov to Kiva Jacobs and Anna Belle Shapiro and their families on their upcoming B’nai Mitzvah this weekend. Our hearts go out to Rabbi Ben and his family due to the passing of his father.  Please keep them in your thoughts as well. Randy S. Boroff Head of School

Purim 5780 —On being a hero

Esther is a hero of the Purim story—but for much of the story, she doesn’t seem at all heroic.  At birth, she was given the Hebrew name “Hadassah,” and we imagine that she lived a Jewish life with her parents and Mordekhai.  But before she is taken to the palace, she is told to hide her Jewish identity, and she does so without protest. She changes her name and conceals herself, blending right in with the other concubines in the royal harem.  We can, perhaps, excuse her actions—but it is hard to construe them as heroic. Even after trouble arises, when Haman’s decree threatens the Jewish people, she hesitates.  Mordekhai has to persuade her to intervene; it is at this point that she transforms herself into a hero.  She resolves to fast, presumably to evoke God’s assistance, and she gets the community to fast with her. Only then—having renewed her relationship with God and the Jewish community—does she enter the throne room, uninvited, to make her plea. So what makes her a hero?  Two things stand out. First, she knew when it was time to be bold and take action; second, she knew the importance of being connected to God and her people.  Both of these qualities are as important, if not more so, today. We too need to know when our everyday way of life is inadequate to the challenge at hand, and when we need to break convention to stand up for what is right.  We too need to strengthen and balance our commitments to our community and to Torah. May Esther be our inspiration when we find ourselves in those situations! Shabbat shalom and Purim sameah, Rabbi Jonathan Berger Associate Head of School for Judaic Studies and Programs Questions for the Shabbat table:
  1. Why do you think Esther wanted the other Jews to fast? She knew that when she walked into the throne room, she’d be all alone, whether the people fasted or not. What, in your opinion, did the fasting accomplish? (There is not just one right answer!)
  2. When in your life has it felt good to gather moral support for a challenge? How did it help?

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Ben Christ

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