By the time this article appears in certain bulletins of our school’s sponsoring synagogues, the school year will be well under way. Although the close alignment of Labor Day and the High Holidays proved calendarically challenging, Ohr Chadash began classes for the Aleph through Hey classes on Wednesday, September 16, 2015, at its Fall 2015 home, Hollis Hills Jewish Center. The HHJC custodial staff was quite hospitable in arranging ample accommodations for both study material and students. The children and the teachers rapidly acclimated themselves to their environment and things ran smoothly.
On Sunday, September 20th, the entire school convened, from Gan Katan through Gesher. A delightful opening assembly was held in the Main Sanctuary, with Education Director Ruth Merrill graciously welcoming both returning and new families. Following the singing of Hatikvah and the Star Spangled Banner, Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin of Israel Center of Conservative Judaism, Rabbi Manes Kogan of Hillcrest Jewish Center, and Rabbi David Wise of Hollis Hills Jewish Center provided an informative and entertaining greeting, highlighting the importance of forgiveness at this special time of year. Ariella Bodzin, 7-month old daughter of Rabbi Fryer Bodzin and Aaron Bodzin, had an up-close and personal view of the three rabbis and is now weighing her career choices carefully.
David Hasson, President of ICCJ, on behalf of the chief executive officers of all three congregations, expressed his words of welcome and hopefulness that this will be a truly dynamic year at our school. Robert Zuckerman of the School Board captured the morning’s activities in photos for posterity, carrying on where his son, Michael, left off as the Ohr Chadash unofficial official photographer.
On Saturday morning, September 26, 2015, the first Ohr Chadash Shabbat of the 2015-2016 season was held at Hillcrest Jewish Center. Rabbi Kogan engaged students, parents, and morot with an informative and enjoyable Ask the Rabbi. At its conclusion, those in attendance went to age-appropriate Junior Congregations. In timely fashion, the youngsters reassembled in the Main Sanctuary to help Cantor Fuchs conduct Ein Keiloheinu, Aleinu, and Adon Olam. Afterwards, the children and the congregation retired to the Moreida, where everyone celebrated Shabbat with a fun food kiddush.
Plans for a special Sukkot/Hoshana Rabbah commemoration ran into an unfortunate meteorological confluence, namely a northeaster intensified by Hurricane Joachim, which precluded our children’s sukkah experience coming to fruition this year. But the seasonal joy was not denied and the older students experienced the Shacharit service with the Hollis Hills Jewish Center minyan and joined in the Hoshanot processions. The joy-filled morning concluded with an indoor gastronomical celebration in the Menchel.
This school year definitely holds much academic promise, with many new families joining us, citing positive reports about Ohr Chadash from established families as their reason for becoming affiliated with our school. We thank all those who have encouraged others to become members of the Ohr Chadash community and we will continue to provide the same level of academic excellence that you have learned to expect from our staff.