Week in Review – November 02, 2018

In the aftermath of the horrific tragedy at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh,  we have gone to great lengths to reassure our Schechter community that we are in constant consultation and discussion with the The Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s security team.  

There is no question that our students are living in a new world and an ugly part of our history, anti-semitism, has now become part of our current events. This is something we have to struggle with as parents and teachers. We will continue doing what we do best here at Gross Schechter, educating and inspiring the future leaders of our Jewish community to be proud of their Jewish identity and be examples of kindness and compassion.

I am proud of our Student Council for their leadership as they crafted a response to memorialize the Tree of Life victims. (see Maya Greller’s letter below)

On Tuesday, I returned from attending the 2018 General Assembly Mission to Israel with a group of people associated with the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. This was an amazing educational trip. I attended a 3 day conference in Tel Aviv learning about Israel’s STEM initiative, security challenges, as well as some of the political issues facing the country. We heard presentations by US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, Canadian Ambassador to Israel, Deborah Lyons, President of the State of Israel Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Our group also attended a session in the Knesset’s historic Chagall Hall in Jerusalem where we heard from Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein and Israeli parliamentarians. We also spent time in Beit Shean, Zichron Yaacov, Hura, the Kurdish Village in the Valley of the Springs and Ben Gurion University. Our last few days were spent in Jerusalem and the Old City. I am grateful to the Jewish Federation of Cleveland for their support of this experience and overwhelmed at the impact they have in Israel.

On Wednesday, we enjoyed a Lower School STE(A)M Day at Gross Schechter. This was a wonderful day of hands on learning with projects, experiments, discovery and imagination. Our students rotated through a series of activities including making a lava lamp, counting, sorting and graphing, building miniature structures and practicing for their upcoming musical production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Our students were challenged in each activity to use their creativity, knowledge and higher order thinking skills to complete their projects. Each activity required collaboration and cooperation with each other. One student commented, “STEM days are my favorite days of the school year”.

On Thursday evening, we sponsored our annual Ready, Set, Kindergarten! program. This informative program is focused on sharing information about kindergarten for preschool parents as they prepare for this exciting transition and milestone. Our guests heard from experts in the field of early childhood education, psychology, and health. This is always a very informative and well attended Schechter program. We want to thank our presenters for their presentations and support of Gross Schechter.

This weekend is our Schechter Shabbat! Our parent association has worked hard to pair families for Shabbat celebration and we encourage families to attend Shabbat Services this weekend, especially in light of the worldwide effort to #ShowUpForShabbat.

Next Tuesday we will be having a special Election-Day themed program. Students will be voting on our Read For Life theme for this year. We’re encouraging students to wear red, white, or blue on Tuesday.

Finally, we want to wish Ellyn Klein well as she begins a new adventure in Florida. Ellyn has worked with our Nitzanim students in the ECC. Her husband has accepted a new position in Florida and will be moving. Although here a short time, Ellyn had a very positive impact on the children in her care and we will miss her presence.


Early Friday Dismissal: The following districts WILL NOT be providing transportation on Early Fridays
  • Solon
  • Mayfield
  • South Euclid/Lyndhurst
  • Orange

Shaker and Beachwood will be busing as usual. Please contact Molly Rosenberg (mrosenberg@grossschechter.org or 216-763-1400 ext. 401) with any alternate transportation plans for your student.

    • Monday, November 5: Gan Gesher: Building a Bridge to Preschool. A program for children 0-2.5 years old with a caregiver, 10:00-11:00 am. More info here:https://grossschechter.org/gangesher/
    • Friday, November 9: Early Friday schedule begins. Dismissal will start at 2:30 pm on Fridays until March 1st.
    • Wednesday, November 14: FREE Adult/Child/Infant CPR course with Dr. Rob Zimmerman. 5:30 pm-9:30 pm at Gross Schechter. Please register by emailing tsmith@grossschechter.org by Nov. 5th
    • Thursday, November 15: Gross Schechter Day School Dial-a-Thon! 6:30 pm-8:00 pm in the Media Center.
    • Thursday, November 15: Schechter Parent’s Association meeting.  7:00 pm in the Conference Room.
    • Monday, November 19: Gross Schechter Day School Presents: To Kill a Mockingbird. 6:30 pm-8:00 pm in the Merkaz.
    • Tuesday, November 20: ECC Thanksgiving Feast. 11:00 am to 12:00 pm in the Merkaz.
    • Wednesday, November 24-Friday, November 26: Thanksgiving break. No School.
    • Thursday November 29: SPA Mom’s Night Out: Chanukah Cookie Decorating. 7:00 pm. RSVP with check or cash at the front desk.  

Monday, November 19 from 5:30-8:30 pm: The Arts of Thanksgiving at B’nai Jeshurun Congregation. Come and experience an evening filled with music, art and dance. The arts of thanksgiving features visual and performing artists from a variety of faiths and cultural backgrounds in a joyous expression of gratitude to God for the many blessings in our lives and most importantly, for the beautiful diversity of our city. This evening is free and will be enjoyed by all ages. Learn more on our Website: https://www.bnaijeshurun.org/aot2018 or join the arts of thanksgiving page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/Artsofthanksgiving/. Contact Shani Kadis to learn more at (216) 831-6555 ext. 131 or shanikadis@bnaijeshurun.org  

Have a great weekend and Shabbat Shalom!

Randy S. Boroff
Head of School

Parashat Chaya Sara

Dear Parents,

This is a big Shabbat in Cleveland! Our SPA has organized Shabbat dinners throughout our community; many families are hosting Shabbat dinners, and others will be guests. On a national level, the American Jewish Congress initiated the #ShowUpForShabbat campaign as a positive, community-building response to the the attack in Pittsburgh. And within our school, students have been engaged in various projects to add a little extra spice to Shabbat.

If you’re like me, then your cell phone is your constant companion. To paraphrase the Ve-ahavta portion of the Shema, it’s with you when you’re at home and when you’re on the road, when you lie down and when you rise up. If you’re like me, you have a hard time ignoring its rings, buzzes, and bells; it is always begging you to see if you missed anything. Turning it off at the end of the day brings a certain sense of relief.

For this reason, several years ago, the innovative Jewish organization Reboot drafted a “Sabbath Manifesto” that culminated in a “National Day of Unplugging.” Without reference to Torah, Jewish tradition, or the system of mitzvot, they made a compelling case for the power of disconnecting from devices, one day a week. At Schechter, we can add to their list of reasons: we want to add holiness to our lives, to observe mitzvot that help us grow closer to God.

This week, our first through fourth graders made an “Unplug Bag” in art this week. The idea was to decorate a bag that can be used to store phones, tablets, video game controllers, etc. during Shabbat. This bag, if everyone puts their devices in together, will help families spend time together, distraction-free. Why wait until bedtime to enjoy that sense of relief! Your child’s art project can help transform your Shabbat.

With wishes for a restful, peaceful Shabbat,

Rabbi Jonathan Berger

Associate Head of School for Judaic Studies and Programs  

A Letter From Maya Greller, Student Government Co-President:

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 share details on how to participate soon.

Thank You,
Student Government Co-President,
Maya Greller

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