Week in Review – October 04, 2019

Gross Schechter is preparing for Yom Kippur and Sukkot.  Students and staff will be filling a bulletin board with their personal thoughts about changes they will make in the year 5780.  This is a time for everyone to reflect on the past year, make amends and dedicate themselves to make changes in order to be a better person.  Here we are in a beautiful school, with outstanding educators, and supportive parents; we have opportunities to participate in activities outside the classroom, field trips, overnight trips and even a culminating amazing trip to Israel. We need to take the time next week to reflect on what we do each day, and what we need to do during the next year to make a positive impact on our family, our school, our community and the world.

Have you heard about the new Physical Education teacher?  Music may be her major, but Alexis Gross has agreed to substitute in physical education for the next few months.  Unfortunately Kim Novak left to pursue another opportunity. Alexis’ relationship with students and love for Schechter has made this transition seamless.  Coach K has been serving as a mentor and each day Alexis brings her wonderful enthusiasm to the gymnasium. We are lucky to have her at Gross Schechter!

ISACS is the acronym for the Independent Schools Association of the Central States.  Last year, Gross Schechter began the process of earning accreditation from this prestigious independent school organization.  Last April, as a first step in the process, we received Provisional Accreditation from ISACS. This year, we will be completing an intensive self-study report that will require a deep dive into all aspects of the school.  We will also be administering a community survey and results will be included in the final report. Next school year, we will host a visiting team of independent school educators and administrators from across our Central States region.  This process will not only result in full accreditation for our school but also give us a direction for improvement. This process will make Gross Schechter a stronger organization and an even more effective and successful school.

Mazal Tov to Maurice Kaplan on his Bar Mitzvah on Saturday morning, October 5th.

Are you ready for some football?  Monday Night Football features our Cleveland Browns…it’s Browns Monday at Gross Schechter…wear your favorite Browns gear to  school on Monday to show your support for our hometown team.

Upcoming Events:
Monday, October 7: Wear Cleveland Browns Gear
Tuesday, October 8: Erev Yom Kippur 12:00 pm dismissal (No Lunch)
All regular school buses will be picking up at 12:00 pm dismissal
Wednesday, October 9: Yom Kippur, No School 
Monday/Tuesday, October 14/October 15: Sukkot, no school
Thursday evening, October 17, SPA Sukkah Fest 6:30 pm
Monday/Tuesday, October 21, October 22: Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, no school  
Wednesday, October 30: ECC-8th Grade Parent Teacher Conferences; 4:15pm-8:15pm
Thursday, November 7: ECC-8th Grade Parent Teacher Conferences; 4:15pm-8:15pm
Please note the change in dates:
Monday, November 18, Professional Development, No School for ECC through Grade 8.  ICC will be in session. This is a change from Friday, November 15.

Shabbat Shalom and have a great weekend.

Randy S. Boroff
Head of School

Mazal tov to new parents, Rabbi Josh and Katie Foster!  Leora Sadie Foster, welcome to Kehillat Schechter!

Shabbat Shuvah—between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

The following story appears in Elie Wiesel’s Souls on Fire, a collection of stories about the early Hasidic masters:

A woman begged the Maggid of Kozhenitz to pray for her; she wanted a child.

“My mother was as unhappy as you are, and for the same reason,” he told her.  “Until the day she met the Ba’al Shem Tov. She presented him with a cape. I was born the following year.”

“Thank you,” the woman said, beaming. “I’ll do as your mother did.  I’ll bring you the most beautiful cape I can find.”

The Maggid of Kozhenitz smiled: “No, that won’t help you. You see, my mother didn’t know this story.”

I love this tale because it so neatly captures the dreams and disappointments we can experience on Yom Kippur. Who among us hasn’t desperately prayed for something? Sometimes our prayers are answered, but often they are not. And the idea that giving someone a cape could guarantee us a baby is so tempting—both to us, and to the woman in the story—even if we know the world doesn’t work that way. We can be left wondering at the point of all the words in the mahzor (High Holiday prayerbook).

But this story teaches us that if we simply mimic another’s path, we should expect nothing in response; we each have to find our own path to prayer. And it teaches us that acts of kindness must be done for their own sake; if we give in order to get something in return, we will emerge with nothing. But if we act out of selfless love, we will reap much more than we sow.

Shabbat shalom and g’mar hatimah tovah—may you be written and inscribed for a good year, a year of learning, growth, heartfelt prayer and deep kindness.

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

Questions for the Shabbat table:
  1. In your own words, what was the Maggid of Kozhenitz trying to say?
  2. What are you praying for this year? How might you make yourself more worthy of God’s blessings—keeping in mind that worthiness is no guarantee?

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