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As Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell sang, “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing.” What was most remarkable about last Monday’s Gesher Tefillah/Torah Program wasn’t the great tunes, inspiring praying, or skilled Torah reading. It wasn’t the poise and proficiency of our fourth and fifth grade students as they led. What made the program so powerful was its authenticity; it was a demonstration of actual mastered skills. It was the real thing!
The shaharit service was led by our fourth graders; parents and students joined in, and the room was full of song. An observer might have assumed that they’d been rehearsing for weeks like actors rehearse for a play, with special coaching and dedicated practices. In truth, though, they had no formal rehearsals at all! Their Tefillah skills are genuine; they pray every day, learning with Limor Shefer, their Judaic Studies teacher, and the only thing different on Monday morning was that they skipped some prayers they normally recite to moderate the program’s length.
Our fifth graders did practice hard to learn their Torah readings, it’s true, and Rabbi Berger spent hours with them to help them prepare — but all of their time together was spent learning genuine Torah reading skills. At no point did they receive a recording to memorize or sing along with; instead, they learned the building blocks of the Torah’s melodies, and taught themselves their verses. They are poised for a lifetime of reading Torah; they have genuine skills.
We wish mazal tov to the Gesher students and their families for their joyful, inspiring work!
Schechter celebrated a fantastic Lag Ba'Omer this past Friday. The entire school started the morning with RELISH, followed by an enthusiastic team relay race. Students were separated into four color teams: red, blue, green, and yellow. Our older students showed wonderful mentoring skills as they cheered on, and supported, the younger children heading for the finish line. After the race, EC, K-3, and 4-8 rotated together to various stations getting to try their hands at games such as capture the flag, accuracy & aim, and water sports. Lots of cheering and laughter could be heard from the soccer field to the black top. School spirit and good sportsmanship ran high as the morning of fun and camaraderie raged on!
After lunch and time to rest, the school-wide tug-of-war saw the color teams competing against each other for the ultimate winner. Then the real fun began as students were pitted against teachers - though teachers won a round or two, the children crushed the competition easily in several rounds! The sun was shining the rest of the afternoon for free-choice games and popsicles at the end of the day. There is no doubt that everyone went home tired, but happy!