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We’re starting a new tradition at Schechter: a school-wide Nesiyah Tovah assembly to wish our 8th graders safe travels in Israel. Each classroom prepared two gifts for our travelers: small, folded-up prayers that the 8th graders will place in the cracks of the Kotel, and tzedakah money that the 8th graders can distribute in Israel to a cause or site they want to support. We wrapped up with a slideshow of photos from the last Schechter class trip to Israel (pre-pandemic).
During their Passover unit, the Gesher students (grades 4-5) discussed how family customs can change based on one’s situation or geographic location. To illustrate that point, they focused on Mah Nishtanah: some students led it for the first time when they were very young; some have been the youngest for a long time and are in charge of leading it each year; and some have never led it. Everyone sings the same tune, and students noted that sometimes it is comforting to have a familiar tune, while other times it gets boring. Sarah Montag, Schechter’s Director of Teaching and Learning, taught Gesher and Rimonim students a new Sephardic tune for Mah Nishtanah that is most likely from Argentina. Students loved singing and “drumming” to this new tune as they incorporated it into their joint seder!
Do you want to learn this Argentinian version of Mah Nishtanah? Click HERE to see our students sing or HERE for a voice recording from B’nai Jeshrun in New York. The main tune begins about one minute in on the B’nai Jeshrun version.
The Life Sciences unit offers Habonim students (grades 6-7) the opportunity to make concrete connections between the needs of the individual organism and the needs of a population of organisms. Earlier in the unit, students kept a food log over the course of one day, then traced where the energy in those foods came from. In the case of every single food item they had eaten during that day, the source of energy ultimately traced back to plants.
To test the idea that animals get their energy and building materials from plants, students tested two parts of plants, potatoes and beans, for the presence of starch using an iodine indicator solution. Students observed a color change in both the potato and the bean, proving that they have starch. Since plants contain food, this means that animals get their energy from other animals and plants.
The question students will be investigating next is: Where do plants get their energy and building materials?
We are thrilled that our Bogrim 8th graders are able to resume the Schechter tradition of culminating their Schechter experience with a visit to Israel! They are joined with students from other smaller day schools and are already forging lasting friendships. Some highlights of the first week of touring and exploring with Solomon Schechter Day School of Manhattan, Gerard Berman Day School (Northern New Jersey), Kellman Brown Academy (Southern New Jersey), Gross Schechter Day School (Cleveland), and Hillel Academy of Tampa include:
To see some photos from their time in Israel, check out THIS ALBUM.