Week in Review – September 06, 2019

If you didn’t attend the 27th Annual Totally Kosher Rib Burn-Off, you missed the BEST event of the summer and the ultimate school kick-off event!  More than 3,000 people made their way to Gross Schechter Day School for a picture perfect afternoon of delicious food, music, games and community.  This is a major undertaking that involves many staff and volunteer hours and having a result as we did on Monday, was worth the tremendous effort. Kudos to Jenny Kaplan, Ben Christ, Tamar Poupko Smith, the administrative team, staff members, RBO 2019 committee, and the many volunteers who participated to make the Gross Schechter RBO the best place to be on Labor Day.  

Check out all the pictures on Schechter’s Facebook page

And of course, Mazal Tov to the winners:
1st place: Park Synagogue Men’s Club
2nd place: Fuchs Mizrachi School Dads “The Rib Cage”
3rd place: B’nai Jeshurun Congregation
And our sauce teams who tied! “Au Jew” and “Saucy Jew Works”

If you happen to see strange flying objects in the sky in the next week, don’t be alarmed.  They won’t be birds or planes or UFOs, or shooting stars; our middle school students are building rockets out of empty coke bottles and will be launching them soon.  Students calculate distance, height and flight time integrating math skills with their hands on science project.

The SPA (Schechter Parents Association) is continuing to sell honey for Rosh Hashana before and after school in the lobby of the school.  Make it a special sweet new year by supporting our wonderful parents association. Also be on the lookout for a sign up for grade-level WhatsApp accounts.  SPA is focusing on bringing our school community together in many ways and connecting our parents using WhatsApp can help in that effort. 

Today, we wish farewell to Joel Faulkner, who has informed us that he will be taking a position in Cuyahoga Falls beginning on Monday. Coach F and his wife welcomed a baby boy this past summer, and the new position offers a shorter commute (and more time with his son). Coach F has been with us for the past 7 years as our PE and Health teacher and Technology guru. The children have learned so much from him, and he will truly be missed! We wish him luck in his new venture, and know he will be back to visit and eat all the Israeli food he has learned to love. We are excited to announce that Kim Novak will be returning to Gross Schechter! She is a licensed teacher who has taught PE and Health at Schechter, in addition to coaching soccer. Her all-around excellence and familiarity with our school will allow for a seamless transition.

Congratulations to Jaden Tsirlin on his upcoming Bar Mitzvah on Saturday, September 7

Upcoming Dates to Remember:
Thursday, September 12: K-8 Curriculum Night, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Friday, September 20-21: 5th/6th Grade Shabbaton 
Sunday, September 22: Jewish Federation of Cleveland Super Sunday, click here to register 
Monday/Tuesday, September 30/October 1: Rosh Hashanah, No School
Tuesday, October 8, Erev Yom Kippur 12:00 pm dismissal (No Lunch) 
Wednesday, October 9: Yom Kippur, No School

Shabbat Shalom!  Go Browns!

Randy S. Boroff
Head of School

To RSVP, please Click Here

Parashat Shoftim—Yesterday’s Answers May not Work for Today’s Questions 

We sometimes think that on questions of legal tradition and change, the Torah is squarely on the side of tradition. But this week’s parashah, Parashat Shoftim, offers an intriguing perspective on the importance of being open to change. The parashah says that if a local magistrate encounters a difficult case, he should go to the capital and consult “the levitical priests, or the judge who lives at that time” to present his problem. He is then to carefully follow their ruling.

A little over 100 years ago, a Bible commentator named Arnold Ehrlich asked an interesting question about the phrase “the judge who lives at that time.” What could it mean to go to a priest or a judge who didn’t live at that time? His answer is fascinating: “This happens when a priest or judge wrote their decisions in a book, and died, and in another generation, a reader reads their decisions from their book.”

Judges, says Ehrlich, can’t rigidly rely on books. Instead, they have to understand their own context. Some old answers are still fully applicable, but others, good in their time, aren’t right for ours.

This is a powerful message for us at Schechter. We are blessed with a rich history, a lot of continuity, and beautiful traditions. But many of the challenges we face are different from the ones the school faced years ago—and even where they are the same, our answers may differ because our society and our world are different. We need to use our own best judgment, and not just rely on precedent, no matter how good it is. That’s why we are constantly evaluating our practices and approaches.

And it’s especially important to think about this as we prepare for Rosh Hashanah. Who are we, and who do we want to be, and how can we narrow the gap between? Sometimes, we may realize that our lives have changed, and we need new answers, new ways of finding meaning, new ways of being good, new ways of trying to live according to our sense of God’s will. May these holidays bring us powerful new answers!

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

Questions for the Shabbat table:
  1. Rabbis have to constantly apply the prescriptions of our tradition and sacred texts to life today. Can you think of a time when a rabbi did so in a way that felt powerful to you?
  2. Have you ever realized that you had been making decisions, or acting in a certain way, for reasons that no longer applied or held meaning to you? How did you respond? It can be easy to think of examples when we stopped doing something because it felt meaningless; try to also think of examples when you started doing something because you realized you weren’t living up to your ideals.

Todah Rabah to our 2019 Annual Campaign Donors!

as of 9/6/19

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

Pamela & Mark Angel
Flo Chelm
Ellen & Victor Cohn
Ora & Gil Dromi
Amy & Ted Einhorn
Rachel & Richard Gluck
Toby Gross
Lauren Henkin
Linda Schoenberg & William Jones
Jennifer & David Kaplan
Cassie & Larry Korland
Nancy and Stephen Markus
Ruth and David Moskowitz
Donell and Scott Newman
Phylis & Lawrence Pomerantz
Loree & M. Steven Potash
Doris & Harold Steinberg
Vicki & Michael Teitelbaum

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Ben Christ

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