How Quickly This Year Has Flown by Ruth Merrill, Education Director

By the time you read this update of the end of the year, the children will have received their report cards, said good bye to  teachers and Ohr Chadash friends and the school will be packed up and preparing to transfer to our location for September.

April was a very busy month with each class learning the laws, rituals and wonderful songs associated with Pesach.  On Sunday, April 10th, twenty-two children, from Gan-Katan, Shorashim and Mechina and their parents visited the Bay Terrace Chabad Matzah Bakery. Rabbis from Chabad acted out the story of the Exodus from Egypt and also demonstrated the special care and speed with which Shemurah Matzah is prepared and baked. Each student made their own Matzah to nosh on the way home and received a pre-packaged Israeli Shemurah Matzah for use at their family seder.

Not to be outdone, on Sunday, April 17, the children Kitot Aleph-Gesher participated in their own pre-Pesach Seder. Each class prepared a different part of the Seder and explained its importance to the invited guests. Parents, grandparents and the students of Mechina joined as guests and drank four cups of grape juice, ate celery, matzah, maror and charoset and enjoyed a festive meal of fish and macaroons.  The seder concluded with rousing competing, Hebrew and English renditions of Echad Me Yodayah—Who Knows One.

Following a more than two week break, students and teachers returned to school well fed and even better rested, ready for a month full of activity. Over twenty students participated in the May 4th community wide Yom HaShoah commemoration.  Children from Kitot, Gimel, Dalet and Hey read poems written by children during the Holocaust. It was a very moving and highly emotional experience for the participants and the audience.

With great joy and anticipation, the students of Kitah Aleph received their own Siddurim on Sunday, May 15th.  With warm remarks from the Rabbis and members of the various boards we were all reminded how important a role a siddur plays in a  Jews life. As each child proudly held and hugged his new Siddur, they were told to treasure it but more importantly to use it. The PA, graciously provided a cake and snacks in honor of the occasion.

May 17th, was a very special day for the students of Kitah Hey. Eight students received METNY Keter Torah awards in recognition of their years of attendance and participation in a religious school program.  Harper Sanders was also awarded the Akiba Award in recognition of her academic achievements and this year a new award, the Mensch Award, was presented to Rebecca Wolfgang recognizing the kindness she exhibits to classmates and teachers alike.

The final, school wide Kabbalat Shabbat dinner was held on Friday evening, May 20. Hosted by ICCJ, Rabbi Fryer Bodzin conducted a beautiful and inspirational service. After ushering in the Shabbat, the guests enjoyed a full Shabbat meal.

Sunday, May 22nd, was a very full day.  We held our year end closing ceremony in the Main Sanctuary.  Following remarks from the Rabbis, the teachers were thanked by the PA for a really successful year. Switching gears, we moved to the back yard for our very popular Lag B’omer day of sports. For the past two years, the Mens’ Clubs of the three Synagogues, under the direction of the HHJC Men’s Club, sponsored a morning of sports and food in a NYC park. This year, we decided to keep it in house.  Various games and activities were set up and supervised by parents and teachers. Listening to the suggestion of one of our students, a Bar-B-Que was held at the end of the activities. Thank you to the three Mens’ Clubs, Parents Association, parents and staff for their help. The children thought this was one of the “best days ever!!!”

My thanks to the Rabbis, Presidents and Board of Directors and support staff of HJC, HHJC and

ICCJ , the Parents Association and School Board for their help throughout the year. Beginning with planning meetings last June and always providing guidance and assistance throughout the year, the school could not function without them and their input and support. I look forward to all of us working together to make next year a truly exciting and innovative year at Ohr Chadash.

Thank you to the parents for entrusting your children to us for the past ten months. I hope to greet all of you on September 14th for the start of the new school year. Watch the Ohr Chadash Website and Facebook for registration information and materials.

Have a wonderful, safe and enjoyable summer.