08 Apr Connecting to Israel: The 8th Grade Trip and Shlichut Initiative

On Wednesday morning the 8th grade students and parents gathered at Schechter Manhattan to discuss details of their upcoming class to trip to Israel. The room was filled  with excitement as we reviewed the itinerary filled with rich experiences. The students will connect with the history of the Jewish people, visiting historical sites both ancient, such as Masada, and modern, such as Rabin Square. They will have religious experiences, davening in beautiful locations throughout Israel and spending shabbat together in Jerusalem. They will touch the land of Israel, hiking in the natural beauty of the Galil and the Negev and experiencing agriculture by working in a field picking vegetables that will be used to feed the needy. They will connect to the State of Israel, visiting sites of national significance, such as Independence Hall and Har Herzl, and observing the central Israeli holidays of Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut. And they will build relationships with Israeli people, including the Israeli staff who will travel with them and the families and friends  who they will spend time with during their host shabbat. We know that this culminating experience of our student’s Schechter Manhattan education will   leave them feeling invested in and connected to the land, state, and people of Israel.

I feel privileged to go on this trip with our students. Each year I see them making connections between what they have learned over their years at Schechter Manhattan, the powerful experiences on the trip, and their Jewish identities. As a Jewish educator it is wonderful to see our students solidifying their relationships to Israel. As a committed Jew and a Zionist, I am personally renewed when I experience Israel with each new group of 8th graders.

As we look to strengthen our connections to Israel, we are excited to be participating in a new project of the Commission on the Jewish People of UJA Federation of New York, which will bring a shaliach, an emissary from the State of Israel, to the Upper West Side of Manhattan for the coming 2016-17 school year. We are partnering with other Upper West Side Jewish institutions to have a lead shaliach and two shinshinim, high school graduates completing a year of service before their army duty, working in our community to build our connection to Israel.  The shaliach, Hai Piasezky, and the shinshinim, Noam Vilner and Nina Yakhalomi, will be in New York beginning this summer, and we anticipate them spending time at Schechter Manhattan on a regular basis throughout next year. They will help to enrich our Israel curriculum and special programming, and will enhance the Israeli and Hebrew culture in our school.

At Schechter Manhattan we work to infuse our curriculum with meaningful ways for our students to connect with Israel – the 8th grade Israel trip is a truly rich culminating experience. As we prepare to welcome the new Upper West Side shlichim, we are certain that this too will be an engaging and important aspect of our student’s experiences of Israel.

Benjamin Mann

Author’s Chair




Kitah Aleph  students have been working on many different types of writing. Below is a free choice piece by Dex, a fill in the blank sensory poem by Eliya, and a story focused on an “inside” character trait by Leyla.


HiPYeS [Hippies]

HiPYeS SitYe Youer Cabin. TheY Sing Songs. TheY PlaY Bngos theY SaYPeiS theY where Clrofall. CloS the where Head BiandS DraV and HiPYe VanS and theY HaVe Long Haer.

[Hippies stay in your cabin. They sing songs. They play bongos. They say “peace.” They wear colorful clothes. They wear headbands and drive hippy vans and they have long hair.]




happiness is pink
It sounds like laghing Kids.
It smells like choklilit.
It tastes like cake.
It looks like a flaur.



Oncse apon a time thar was a grlie namd Leyla. She was nise! becs leyla hlpt pepal. Wene pepl get hrte. Leyla gte bandads iec paks and crem and call my best frins wene thay are hrte or sike. bate sam timse i cant halp people wene thay are hate or sick ckas i cnt hlpe them. bate sam timse i can hlpe them. my parints can and tetchrs can and doctars can. i cat hlpe them smiyal. i wad get them staf.

[Once upon a time there was a girl named Leyla. She was nice! Because Leyla helped people. When people get hurt, Leyla gets Band-Aids, ice packs, and cream and calls my best friends when they are hurt or sick. But sometimes I can’t help people when they are hurt or sick because I can’t help them. But sometimes I can help them. My parents can and teachers can and doctors can. I can’t help them smile. I would get them stuff.]




The students of Kitah Gimmel have been working on biographies. Below are timelines of different people’s lives that will help the students write their biography.


Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth was born in 1533.
Her father divorced in 1535.
1546- Her sister put her in prison because she thought Elizabeth was plotting to be queen.
1558- She defeated the Spanish army who was at war with England.
1562- She caught smallpox.
1603- Elizabeth dies.



Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein is born March 14, 1879 in Germany.
Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was 3 or 4 years old.
Albert got kicked out of school because he was asked too many questions that his teachers couldn’t answer.
Albert Einstein got his first scientific paper published when he was a teenager.
Albert began to become famous for his discoveries, like that light bends.
Albert Einstein discovers that when a little mass turns into energy, a lot of energy is released. This is how the atomic bomb was created.
He dies in 1955.



Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs was born on Februrary 24th,1955 in Mountainview, California.
During his childhood, he helped his dad build cars which helped him decide to build computers.
In 1976, he starts Apple. At that time, Apple was a small company that invented the Macintosh computer in 1984.
In 1985, Steve Jobs left Apple and started NeXT. NeXT is a company that makes computers.
In 1997, Steve went back to Apple. In the coming years, Apple made the “i” prodcuts like iphones. They become popular everywhere.
In 1991, he marries Laurene Powell.
In 2003, he finds out he has cancer.
On October 5, 2011 Steve dies because he has cancer.



Theodore Seuss Geisel aka Dr. Seuss
Born March 2, 1904.
1927-Married Helen Palmer
1937- Published “And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street”
1957- Published “Cat in the Hat”
1960- “Green Eggs and Ham”
1984- Wins special Pulitzer Prize for his contribution to children’s literature
1991- Dies September 24, 1991


Anne Frank
Anne Frank was born on June 12th, 1929 in Frankfort, Germany.
In 1933, Anne’s sister Margot and her mom moved to the Netherlands.
In 1934, Anne and her dad joined the rest of the family in the Netherlands.
In 1942, Anne gets a diary for her 13th birthday and writes everything that happens to her in it.
In 1942, the Franks move to the Secret Annex. They go into hiding because the Nazis are trying to kill Jews and friends help them to buy food and other things.
In 1944, the residents of the Secret Annex are arrested but one of the helpers hiders Anne’s diary in a drawer where no one can find it.
In 1945, Anne Frank dies.
In 1947, her diary is published and translated into a bunch languages.



J.K Rowling
In 1965- Born on July 31 as Joanne Kathleen Rowling.
As a child her and her family loved books.
In 1983 she went to Exeter University where she learned about great writers even though she didn’t major in writing.
In 1987 she worked as a secretary but at lunch wrote at cafes.
In 1990 she came up with the idea for Harry Potter
In 1991 she wrote the first drafts of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
In 1994 she moved with her daughter Jessica to Edinburgh and finished Harry Potter.
In 1996 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is published.

–Maya F.


Kitah Heh has been studying the different sections of the Passover seder. The class created a Twitter Haggadah comprised of hashtags.


@Seder Plate #6items

@Kadesh #wine4all

@Urchatz #ohwhenthejewsgowashtheir hands #noblessing

@Karpas #makeitsalty

@Yachatz #allwedoisbreak  #crackedmatzah

@MagidHaLachmaAnya #helpthehungryseder

@Magid4Sons #wearealldifferent

@MagidVeHiSheAmda #keepcalmandhelpon

@Magid10Plagues #freedomorelse #plaguepalooza

@Rachtza #blessedhands

@MotziMatzah #finallymatzahtime

@Maror #freedomforall #stillslavery

@Korech #Hillelforprez #sandwhich

@Shulchan Orech #morefoodlesswaiting

@Tzafun #afikomanismine

@Barech #bensch

@Hallel #G-disawesome #Passoverpraying

@Nirtzah #Bedtime