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The Sh’kedim class (EC3-4) has been learning about hibernation and how it helps certain animals to pass the winter. Although many animals hibernate, including bats, bears and hedgehogs, students also learned that some animals that do not hibernate have a layer of blubber in their bodies to keep them warm throughout the frigid winter. To make this concept come to life, the children put on a “blubber glove,” then immersed the “gloved” hand into icy water to feel the protection the blubber provides to keep animals warm. They compared that to touching the icy water with their non-gloved hand…brrr!
Hot off the press! Rimonim students (grades 2-3) have just finished publishing their “small moment stories.” Students have been mining their own personal experiences as topics for their recent writing unit on short stories. As they developed their stories, students included problems and solutions as well as structured beginning, middle, and ends. The students worked hard to add details using their five senses and described their thoughts and feelings to capture the readers’ attention. After creating several drafts, the students edited and revised their work before creating their final products that also feature illustrations. These fantastic stories are on display outside the Rimonim classroom.
Sometimes, we say the shehehiyanu blessing mechanically; our mouth thanks God for “allowing us to reach this day,” but our minds are on something else. Other times, though, the words come alive; flowing from overwhelming gratitude for a blessing. Last Tuesday evening, our sixth graders and their parents came together in person for the Tallit Program, and at the end of the night, they recited shehehiyanu with all their hearts: for the new tallitot they created, for the meaning they discovered, and for the connection they felt with each other.
The work began many weeks earlier. Students chose a fabric they liked, and had it sewn it to the dimensions of a tallit. Then, together with our art teacher, Rhiannon, and Schechter parent and local artist Elizabeth Ehrlich, they designed, printed, and added the atarah (the tallit’s neckband). At the same time, the sixth graders and their Judaic Studies teacher, Roni Noyman, studied the passage from the Torah that commands us to make the tzitzit (the tassels on the corners of a tallit), and discovered the meaning of their original azure color and of the tzitzit themselves. These preparations made the night itself more meaningful.
Finally, last Tuesday evening, students and parents gathered at the school, to the delight of all. They began by chanting the passage from the Torah using our Torah reading skills. They continued with a joint study of the text. Finally, each family tied the tzitzit to the student's tallit. And then, at that point, came the shehehiyanu.
It was very exciting to see the parents and students study together and keep the mitzvah of making a tallit. The process was very meaningful for all—students, parents, and staff—and Roni felt especially honored to continue the tradition, with the help of Rabbi Chatinover and Sarah Montag, who were also present. It was a signature Schechter moment that will not be forgotten.
Kol Hakavod (Way to go!) to Sherri Pliskin, Schechter’s Director of Development, for reaching - and surpassing - her goal of 18 Life & Legacy commitments from the Greater Hartford area! We are so proud that Sherri is the first Development professional in the area to reach this fantastic milestone. Life & Legacy is a four-year initiative that promotes after-lifetime giving to local Jewish day schools, synagogues, social service organizations, and other Jewish organizations.
For more information about making a Legacy gift, please contact Sherri Pliskin at [email protected].