06 Nov Launching the Lieberman Family STEAM Center

On Wednesday evening Schechter Manhattan was filled with energy as over 100 parents, students, alumni parents, faculty and trustees  gathered for the launch of the Lieberman Family STEAM Center. Thanks to the vision and generosity of Schechter Manhattan grandparents,  Eileen and Jerry Lieberman, we have officially embarked on the next phase of expanding the learning experiences for our students.

At Schechter Manhattan we have always believed that people learn best when they engage directly with phenomenon in the world, ideas, texts, and difficult questions and work together to figure them out for themselves. (Read more about student centered, constructivist teaching and learning.) STEAM is an extension of those educational aspirations re-framed for the 21st century. STEAM is more than an acronym representing the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math studies. STEAM learning starts with identifying authentic problems and challenges and then moves forward with bringing the knowledge and skills from those disciplines together to design and implement solutions. STEAM learning includes careful reflection on designs, prototypes, and models in an effort to find the weaknesses and errors in a solution and to then create something new, effective, and elegant.

The Lieberman Family STEAM Center is bringing this type of learning to Schechter Manhattan students in a number of ways. Sarah Kay, a veteran Schechter Manhattan teacher, has joined our Educational Leadership Team as our STEAM Coordinator. In this capacity Sarah is working with teachers and students throughout the school, K-8, to design and implement STEAM units and learning activities. Some examples of STEAM this year include:  our first grade students, as part of their existing curriculum about parks and playgrounds, designing and building models of playground equipment to better understand how these amazing, everyday items work, and in our  Middle School students are working on ways to engineer buildings that can withstand natural disasters. There will be many more STEAM learning opportunities to come, stay tuned!

Along with Sarah Kay our faculty is being supported by Dr. Nitzan Resnick, a scientist and a former faculty member at the Technion and at Harvard Medical School, who for the past 13 years has worked with schools to plan and implement STEAM education. Dr. Reznick will be visiting Schechter Manhattan throughout the year to provide  professional development for all of our faculty.  Dr. Resnick’s expertise is helping us to identify the right opportunities for STEAM integration and to be strategic in our long term plans to expand our STEAM program.

In addition to Dr. Resnick’s work as our STEAM consultant, Sarah is also collaborating with the STEAM Team which is comprised of Larry McMillan, Middle School Math Teacher and Elementary School Math Coach, Ellen Alt, Art Teacher and Coordinator, and Allison Levine, Coordinator of Educational Technology. Allison Levine joined our faculty this year and her position is made possible by the Lieberman Family STEAM Center. Allison helps to raise the bar for integrating digital tools for teaching and learning throughout the school  The STEAM Team is bringing together their expertise in the content and pedagogies of their disciplines to the joint effort of connecting those disciplines in meaningful ways for students.  The STEAM Team is already hard at work on planning our STEAM Fest II, a school wide event to take place in the spring.

In addition to the STEAM Team Sarah is also working with a professional development (PD) working group on STEAM. The STEAM PD working group has identified an ambitious learning goal for themselves: developing learning outcomes for students who engage in STEAM study. They are asking, What content, concepts, and skills in the area of STEAM should a student show evidence of? And what assessments will give us data on student learning in STEAM? Through our research and consultation with Dr. Resnick we have found that this sort of clarity of thinking about the outcomes of STEAM study is not yet fully developed in the field, and we hope that our cutting edge work will contribute the quality of the STEAM program at Schechter Manhattan, as well as to the knowledge base about how to best implement and assess STEAM teaching and learning everywhere.

On Wednesday evening parents and students all worked together in small groups to create their STEAM projects. Each group designed and built mobiles of all sorts to answer real world questions like: Which window in my home gets the best light for plants? (the mobile contained beads that change color with sunlight.) Participants were offered a taste of the types of learning opportunities the Lieberman Family STEAM Center affords Schechter Manhattan students. Adult and child participants alike, were all highly engaged in their learning and building. STEAM activities are fundamentally designed to be interesting and engaging- they draw people into them in authentic ways because they are about real world ideas and problems. We have found that the deep engagement STEAM activities generate leads to equally deep thinking and learning for the students.

Eileen and Jerry Lieberman have led us to this exciting moment.  On Wednesday evening Jerry spoke on their behalf to the Schechter Manhattan community.  He said:

“Eileen and I feel privileged and honored about our decision to invest in the future of our Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan’s children.  Science, Technology, Engineering, the problem solving attributes of Art and Mathematics (STEAM) will be the drivers for prosperity for the next generation, and we wanted to do our part in expanding the depth and breadth of this curriculum initiative right here at Schechter.”

I am thrilled to partner with Eileen and Jerry in doing just that, expanding the depth and breadth of our STEAM program so as to prepare our students to be the leaders and problem solvers of the future.

Benjamin Mann


Author’s Chair



Kitah Aleph “published” some of their writing at then end of their most recent literacy unit.

The wodr slide (the water slide)
and then I went to a fun restrent to eat dinr (and then I went to a fun restaurant to eat dinner)
and I went hom
and wen I got hom I tuoc a shawr.  Then I went to sleap (and when I got home I took a shower)



I so garelas pley tag at the zoo (I saw gorillas play tag at the zoo)
I so garela et sumfn (I saw a gorilla eat something)
Grels et banos They like it (Gorillas eat bananas. They like it.)



I played dodgbl with my prins. I had fun. I wn the game. (I played dodge ball with my parents.  I had fun.  I won the game.)


Students in Kitah Gimel  wrote ‘Who is’ books in Hebrew.

זה בן פראנקלן

הוא גר בבוסטון

הוא משחק עם עפיפון

הוא שותה טה

זה הסוף

–Simon M.

זאת פז

היא גרה בעיר של כלבים

היא אוהבת גלידה וקוקה-קולה

היא משחקת  עם חברים

זה הסוף

–Ella B.

זה גינגי

הוא גר בלונדון

הוא משחק עם חוט

הוא אוכל בננה

הוא לומד איך לשרוד

זה הסוף

–Nina G.


Kitah Heh completed our study of the first chapter of Shemot, Exodus. Students learned about the Israelite’s experience in slavery and wrote journal entries from the point of view of the slaves.


It is only the twelfth day in slavery and already the Egyptians have put, וישימו עליו שרי מסים, taskmasters over us. They are making us
ויבן ערי מסכנות לפרעה את פתום ואת רעמסס, build storage cities for Pharaoh, Pithom, and Raamses. I wonder how long they will make us do this back breaking work. They are using us as machines. This would not have happened if Joseph’s brothers hadn’t  sold him into slavery. I am so terribly annoyed and angry that  וימררו את חייהם, they made my life so bitter that I feel like I want  to hit something particularly a taskmaster and hard too. I have a new baby brother, and I’m so worried that Pharaoh will throw him into the river.

–Zoe T.



Dear Diary,

It’s soo hot out today. I’ve been working for the Egyptians for a while now and i just don’t understand why I am doing this. I’m so hungry and tired!! The Egyptians have been sending Taskmasters over to us to oppress the jews. I just wish that something would happen so i can be free. Even though the Egyptians are making us work so hard we are still increasing and becoming strong with all the work. I really feel bad for all of us, I mean were working so hard and were not getting anything out of it. I wish that i could do something about it…



Kitah Zayin had their annual Election Day debates.

Raphy J. and Mia A.

Opening Statement:

“..utter financial ruin, horrendous car wrecks, injury and death. Prison sentences, wrecked marriages, degradation and humiliation far beyond anything I’d ever experienced. But as long as I continued to drink, anyone of those fates could have been Ages 21­25 are some of the most formative years in our lives. During these years, we become independent, and responsible adults. During these years, we choose our careers, find an apartment, and might even start a family. Our parents will no longer guide us, and we are liable for our own decisions. Drinking during this vital age period can, and most likely will, ruin a person’s life. If you get arrested for drunk driving at this age, it goes on your record, and will make it more difficult to find a job; also you waste years of your life thinking, “what if I did not drive drunk.” That is one of the numerous reasons why the legal drinking age should be raised.

“On July 9, 2011, 7­year­old Xitclalli “Chilli” Vasquez spent the day at the mall with her sister, cousin, and aunt. She got her hair cut so that she would look extra pretty for her 8th birthday that was just three days away. On their way home, a drunk driver hit the car she was riding in head­on. The doctors didn’t think she would survive—but she did. And her life will never be the same.Chilli is now paraplegic, which means she has total paralysis of her lower body from the breastbone down.”

People ages 21­25 account for almost a third of all drunk driving crashes. Drunk driving also costs the U.S. taxpayers a collective sum of $199 billion dollars every year.

That is an average of $800 dollars a year for each U. S. adult.You might be thinking where this amount of money is going to, it is wasted on fixing all the damage caused by drunk drivers, such as destroyed road signs. If we raised the drinking age, we would save lives of innocent people and billions of dollars. Since, raising the legal drinking age to 21 in 1988,more than 25,000 lives have been saved.

Closing statement in Third round

Drinking can also have negative effects on developing brains. The human brain is not fully developed until at least someone’s mid­20s, and possibly as late as in someone’s early 30s. Drinking before a brain is fully developed can damage short and long­term brain growth, and that damage can be permanent.

In 2013, 10,076 people were killed in alcohol ­impaired driving crashes, an average of one alcohol­ impaired ­driving fatality occurred every 52 minutes. These alcohol impaired ­driving fatalities accounted for 31 percent of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States. Of the 10,076 people who died in alcohol ­impaired driving crashes in 2013, 6,515 (65%) were drivers with BACs [blood alcohol contents] of .08 or higher. The remaining fatalities consisted of 2,724 motor vehicle occupants (27%) and 837 nonoccupants (8%).

National Highway and Safety Traffic Association 2014 Report Notice that of these over 10,000 alcohol ­related vehicle deaths, more than 35% of the victims were sober. This means that more than ten percent of the all victims of all motor vehicle fatalities in 2013 were people killed by drunk drivers. That number comes out to almost 28 deaths per day due to drunk driving, with almost ten of those people being sober. Are we okay with over 3,500 innocent people dying every year? It is well ­established that alcohol often impairs a person’s decision making. This is the reason why 90% of sexual assault on college campuses involve alcohol; 95% of all violent crime on college campuses involve alcohol; and 40% of all violent crimes in the United States involve alcohol.

For all of these reasons: a fall in drunk driving­related deaths, the protection of brain development, and a huge savings for the American People, we should raise the legal age for consuming alcohol.


Asher E. and Bella R.

Opening Statement:

What is an adult? An adult is someone who has rights and obligations that children do not have. Adults have the ability and the right to make choices.

On our 18th birthday, we take on a number of new responsibilities and rights including the obligation to serve on juries, the right to vote, the right to get married, the right to sign contracts, and even the right to serve in our military and die for our country. If we are accused of a crime, the criminal justice system prosecutes us as adults.

If we are trusted with all of these important privileges and responsibilities of adulthood, then why shouldn’t we be trusted to drink alcohol?

In order to create a society made up of adults who can be trusted, society has to trust them.

One would say that alcohol is very unhealthy and that people under the age of 25 should not be able to have it because we need to protect this population from the dangers of alcohol. But then again, cupcakes are unhealthy, too, and we’re not outlawing that from any population, are we?

Underaged drinking is a problem today as people under age 21 drink in unsupervised locations such as fraternity houses or house parties with no supervision resulting in binge drinking and sexual assault. 71% of underaged drinking happens at parties with no supervision.

Legal drinking in bars or restaurants leads people to behave in a more acceptable fashion. Raising the drinking age to 25 will not result in less drinking, just more underaged drinking.

Our opponents have led you to believe that we should take drinking away from 25 year olds and down because of the amount of drunk driving accidents.

However, we have found in our research that most high Blood Alcohol Content drivers tend to be between the ages of 25 through 35 and male. Therefore, raising the drinking age to 25 will not be very effective in terms of lowering the amount of drunk-driving accidents. 21% of drunk driving accidents in the past year are from underaged drinkers. Even if we raise the legal drinking age to 25, people under that age are still going to drink, causing even more underaged drinking and driving accidents.

Alcohol is part of our lives. It is part of our religious rituals, it is part of our eating traditions, and it is part of our celebrations. To deny adults age 21 through 25 this right and this pleasure is to deprive them of a basic dignity.

Notes on Pro Opening statement:

  • Rate of drunk driving highest among 21-25 yr olds
  • More than 80,000 americans die because of excessive drinking
  • By raising drinking age, more lives will be saved
  • Affects college performances and makes more missed classes
  • Can affect brain growth
  • Save lives and money
  • Regulating alcohol: Control and limit who has access to alcohol and So many fake IDs
  • You’re saying that there will still be lots of underaged drinking,
  • Drinking during this age period can affect job, independence etc.
  • Primary developing time 21-25
  • $800 a year for each adult on alcohol


  • It doesn’t matter if drinking alcohol affects college performance, because age 21 is already towards the very end of college for most
  • It doesn’t matter what the drinking age is while a college student is in college, they will still drink. The drinking age is 21 right now, but kids in high school and college who are younger than 21 still drink alcohol.
  • Your point is that if we raise the drinking age to 25 that these things will not happen because the people under age 25 will not drink. Although, actually they will, because these people will still drink. Underaged drinking is a problem now, and it will always be. People under age 21 are drinking in their fraternity houses and at parties and now there will be even more people underage drinking.
  • Just like people 21 and up help younger people get alcohol, people age 25 and up will help an even larger amount of people get alcohol, causing a large amount of underage drinkers.
  • It’s true that drinking makes you not not behave in a civilized manner, although the point is that there is supervision in bars and restaurants who can help with that 22
  • You said that alcohol can actually hurt people’s brains under the age of 25, but it can hurt people’s brains over the age of 25 as well. Long term heavy drinking can shrink the frontal lobes of the brain, which impairs thinking skills. This is not specific to under the age of 25, this is for long term heavy drinking, which people from ages 21 through 25 have not yet experienced because they’ve only been able to drink for 4 years.
  • A law like this would, instead of reducing the amount of drunk driving accidents, would, by increasing the range of what underage drinking is (changing it from 0-21 to 0-25), get more people (needlessly) incarcerated.
  • Sometimes, laws have the opposite effect. Anonymous quote from debate.org: “Young adults (under 21) are already unsafe with alcohol because of the taboo aspect of it. Once you’re allowed to drink, it loses the appeal to be secretive and unsafe about it. If we were to raise the drinking age[,] we would just be making the years of deviance last longer.”
  • We can regulate alcohol and make it so that people ages 21-25 have a limited amount of alcohol that they are allowed to purchase
  • You said that this is a prime time in a person’s life, but they should be able to have a glass of wine after a stressful day at a new job.
  • A person should be able to have alcohol at their wedding
  • Many people drink alcohol unsafely over the age of 25, and many people under the age of 25 drink safely, so to take alcohol away from these people is unfair.
  • The U.S. government received 6,492,927,000$ in taxes from the sale of alcohol in 2012, an amount tripled (or, to be precise, multiplied by 2.86851892) since 1977. However, 6,492,927,000$ today was worth 1,642,710,531$ in 1977, about half of the tax cost.


Kitah Chet reflected on the nature of color.


הצבע הסגול הוא סמל בתרבויות שנות. הסגול הוא סמל של מוות,של כוח, של ריפוי, או של מלכות.

בתרבות המערב, הסגול הוא סמל של מלכות ועושר; זה כמו מלכים. גם התרבות המזרחית ובתרבות יפנית, הסגול הוא סמל של עושר.

בתרבות ההינדית, הסגול הסמל של צער ונוחות. האנשים חושבים שסגול הוא צבע של רגשות. בתרבות קתולית וברזלאית, הסמל של סגול מוות. האנשים מאמינים שהצבה הזה סמל של אבל. סגול הצבה עצוב

בתרבות אמריקנית, סגול הוא סמל של רוחניות וגם של מלכים

סגול הוא צבע עם הרבה משמעות בתרבויות שנות. לפעמים סגול הוא סמל של שמחה ומלכים, ולפעמים הוא סמל של מוות וצער


Sports News

Schechter Manhattan 5-6 Soccer Team Wins Big!

Schechter Manhattan 6

Mandell School 1

A surprisingly warm November day saw the Mandell School coming to Schechter Manhattan’s home field. The game began tightly contested with both teams fighting for possession.   Goalkeeper, Ziv Bolton, made a couple of great saves to keep the game tied at zero. Eventually, Schechter Manhattan took control and was able to keep the ball on the opponent’s half of the field. Still, several Schechter Manhattan shots were blocked by the opposing goalkeeper.  Finally, about halfway through the first half Ittai Kivetz opened the scoring with three goals, quickly giving Schechter a 3-0 lead. Right away, Mandell was able to strike back and get on the scoreboard following a nice display of dribbling. After re-grouping, Oliver Sacher set up Joshua Feld for a strong shot into the net. The score was 4-1 at the half.

The second half started off with a much better tone, as Schechter Manhattan was able to keep the ball on the opponent’s side of the field. In fact, much of the game was played in the opponent’s penalty box!  Mandell defended with nearly all their players, making it difficult for Schechter Manhattan to score again.  After many close opportunities, Oliver made a breakthrough for Schechter Manhattan and scored about halfway through the second period.  In a battle against fatigue, Schechter Manhattan decided to switch things up and Goalkeeper Ziv moved up to striker while fullback Jared moved to goalkeeper! As the game came to a close, Ziv was able to slot the ball into the far right corner for a final goal. The game ended 6-1 Schechter.

The game was a dominating performance by Schechter Manhattan. Coach Hector said, “The team is developing very well and is in great shape for their final game of the season coming up next week. I’m very proud of how much the team has improved. Go Schechter Manhattan!”