Week in Review – October 25, 2019

This is the last of the short weeks and the official end of the Chagim season.  It is a credit to our staff and students that they continued to teach and learn without missing a beat the past few weeks with the short weeks, celebrations and traditions.  We ended last week with an impactful lesson about compassion led by our amazing fourth grade class. Through their own initiative, assisted by their teachers Donell Newman and Noam Meinrath, the group sponsored a bake sale with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross to assist residents of the Bahamas still impacted by Hurricane Dorian.   The class raised over $600 through this project. This student initiated project reflects the Four Pillars of a Gross Schechter education; Knowledge, Skill, Creativity and Joy. As one parent stated, “some of the most important learning is not in the textbook”.

Once again, I want to thank our amazing SPA (Schechter Parent Association), especially Mia Euton-Goldstein for the very festive 1st Annual Sukkah Fall Fest.  The weather turned out to be perfect for a bonfire, games, hayrides, apple cider and donuts. This was a great opportunity for our community to come together to celebrate Sukkot and the joy of a Gross Schechter experience.

On Thursday, our fourth grade students and second grade students made the annual trek to Ramseyer Farms in Wooster.  They experienced so many features of a real rural community that will help with their social studies unit.  Even the bus ride on the way to Ramseyers Farms was helpful so that the students looked at characteristics of a rural community’s downtown, post office and grocery store. Everyone returned happy, with pumpkins in hand, excited to talk about the experience.

Upcoming Events:
Wednesday, October 30: ECC-8th Grade Parent Teacher Conferences; 4:15pm-8:15pm –Click here to sign-up! 
Wednesday, November 6: Picture Retake Day 
Thursday, November 7: ECC-8th Grade Parent Teacher Conferences; 4:15pm-8:15pm- Click here to sign-up! 
Monday, November 18, Professional Development, No School for ECC through Grade 8.  ICC will be in session.
Wednesday, November 27- Friday, November 29 : Thanksgiving Break 

Daylight Savings Time Ends Sunday morning, November 3.  In preparation for early Shabbat, students will be dismissed at 2:30 p.m. every Friday from Friday November 8 through Friday, March 13, 2020.
-ECC will dismiss at 1:00 pm and Enrichment will end at  2:30 pm.
-Aftercare and ICC will close at the following times:
Fridays, Nov 8 & 15 we will close at 4:15pm
Fridays, Dec 6 and 13 we will close at 3:45pm
and on Dec 20 we will close at 3:00 pm
The only buses running on Early Fridays are Shaker and Beachwood. The JCC aftercare will be sending a van to transport their students.

Shabbat Shalom, and Enjoy the weekend.

Randy S. Boroff
Head of School

Parashat Bereishit — Strong relationships challenge and encourage

What do good spouses, friends, bosses, and schools have in common? Our Torah portion offers an intriguing answer.

Constant opposition is toxic for a relationship. Have you ever been in a professional or personal relationship with someone who argued with everything you tried to say or do? Even if there is some truth in what the other person says, it’s almost impossible to hear that truth if they seem hopelessly antagonistic. That kind of relationship breaks us down; it’s unhealthy to be closely connected with someone who is always telling you that you’re wrong.

But constant affirmation, though it might feel good for our ego, is equally unhealthy. After all, we are human, never perfect. If our friend, or supervisor, or teacher is always telling us that we are right, then they are certainly wrong. How are we to grow if that person never takes a different perspective, never helps us see the things we are blind to, never gets us to reflect?

When God created the first woman as a match for the first man, the Torah tells us that God’s goal was to create an eizer kenegdo, literally “a helper in opposition.” The Jewish ideal of marriage is the holy union of two people who, in addition to loving each other, also help each other by challenging each other, by seeing things the other doesn’t, by having strengths the other lacks. 

And why does Gross Schechter’s mission promise our students a “challenging and encouraging academic environment”? Because the best teachers get us to stretch ourselves further than we could have imagined, all the while assuring us that we have untapped reservoirs of creativity, strength, understanding. 

May it be a year of challenge, encouragement, and joyful growth!

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

Questions for the Shabbat/Holiday table:
  1. What are some relationships in your life that have fit this model?
  2. The ideal relationship might offer both constructive challenges and encouragement — but not always at the same time! Are there times when you might need one more than the other? When, and why?

To make your gift to the 2019-2020 Annual Campaign, please click here

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Ben Christ

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