18 May Connecting to Israel and the Jewish People: UWS Singing in the Streets and the Celebrate Israel Parade

Last Friday the students and faculty of Schechter Manhattan gathered to hear from the 8th grade about their trip to Israel. A week after their return, the 8th grade students were still reflecting on all of the many powerful experiences over their two weeks traveling in Israel. At the school-wide assembly each student shared a special memory from the trip. One student remembered hiking in the desert and how that gave him a stronger connection to the land of Israel. Another talked about meeting Israeli teens at a a school and building relationships with the people of Israel. Another said a highlight was praying together at Ezrat Yisrael, the space by the Kotel designated for men and women to daven together, and connecting to the ancient history of the Jewish people.

A few of the 8th grade students chose to speak about the intense feelings of celebrating Yom Haatzmaut in Israel. They said that while they had celebrated Israel’s Independence Day for many years, the experience in Israel was special. They pointed to the fun of dancing in the streets, spraying each other with foam, and watching fireworks. But they also articulated something important that they learned. They said that they could see all of Israel celebrating together and they felt connected to the nation in a new way.

I think the students were expressing their new appreciation for being connected to the State of Israel and Jews around the world. Celebrating Yom Haatzmaut in the streets of Israel, the small Schechter Manhattan 8th grade community was joined by thousands of people.They were surrounded by an endless collection of revelers that made it hard to walk through the crowds. The students could see clearly that the State of Israel is a passion shared by the Jewish people. That a love for Hebrew, Israeli food and music connects us to something bigger. That so many other people also feel emotional when they sing Hatikva and think about the fulfillment of two thousand years of Jewish longing for our homeland. Celebrating Yom Haatzmaut on the streets of Jerusalem made the students feel part of something big and important.

I am so pleased that our students are able to express this feeling of connection to a worldwide community, as it is an important component in developing Jewish and Zionist commitments. I am also pleased that there are opportunities to connect with the larger Jewish community and supporters of Israel, not only on a trip to Israel, also right here in New York City.  This Sunday, May 21, 2:30-4:30 p.m., the Upper West Side Jewish community will gather at the JCC for the UWS Singing in the Streets program. Schechter Manhattan is a partner with a group of other Jewish institutions in our neighborhood who are connecting with Israel and with each other through the work of our shared shaliach, emissary from Israel, Hai Piasezky. Each organization has learned an Israeli song and on May 21st we will all come together to share our love of Israeli culture through shira btsibur, singing together. At Schechter Manhattan we learned the song וביניהם (uveineihem) by Meir Banai. Maya and Ido, the post high school young people (shinshinim) who work with Hai and at Schechter Manhattan, helped our students learn the song and what it is about. At the UWS Singing in the Streets program we will sing this song, and sing along to other songs that the other groups prepared. Come for family activities at 2:30 p.m. and the singing will begin at 3:30 p.m.  We sing Israeli songs frequently at Schechter Manhattan, and this program will give our students the opportunity to experience a love for and expression of Israeli culture along with the larger Jewish community.

A few weeks from now Schechter Manhattan will join an even bigger gathering of Zionists at the Celebrate Israel Parade. In terms of grand scope and power the closest you can get to the experience of celebrating Yom Haatzmaut on the streets of Israel is marching in the Celebrate Israel Parade on the streets of NYC. On Sunday, June 4th, we will join the throngs of people coming together to support Israel. Schechter Manhattan students in grades 3-8 and their families are encouraged to march with us. We will gather at 12:20 p.m. at 53rd Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues.  Click here to register.

I hope that you will join us for the UWS Singing in the Streets and Celebrate Israel Parade programs. I know that Sundays in the spring are super busy and finding time between baseball games and dance recitals is tricky – I encourage you to move things around if you can to join us.  I believe that participating in these community programs will help you feel connected to Israel and teach your children an invaluable lesson about their part in the larger Jewish people.

Benjamin Mann

Author’s Chair

Each week we feature the written work of our students. We hope you will stop by every week and see what they are writing and thinking about.



Gan students wrote books inspired by Eric Carle and his style of writing.


The Very Hungry Dragon
On Sunday he ate through 1 apple
On  Monday he ate through 2 pears
On Tuesday he ate through 3 plums
On Wednesday he ate through 4 strawberries
On Thursday he ate through 5 oranges
On Friday he ate through 1 sausage, 1 banana, 1 soup and 1 cupcake
On Saturday he ate through 1  and he felt better


The Busy Dragon

The busy dragon was guarding the castle. But one day a knight came up to him and said, “Do you want to fight?” The dragon didn’t answer.  He was too busy guarding the castle. One day the jester came and said, “Do you want to make some jokes on the Queen?” The dragon didn’t answer. He was too busy guarding the castle. The butler came and said, “Do you want to serve?” The dragon didn’t answer. He was too busy.



The Busy Panther
Have you seen my baby panther? No I haven’t.
Have you seen my baby panther? No I haven’t.
Have you seen my baby panther? No I haven’t.
— Yadin


Click on the student’s name to see their work AlanJudah, and Yadin.


Kitah Bet

The second grade students wrote literary essays explaining why they would or would not want to have a play date with the main character from the series they are reading.

Click here to see work by Natan, Sacha, Dex, Eliya, and Gail.


Kitah Dalet

Every other week, Kitah Dalet students spend 10 minutes doing free writing. There are no boundaries to the topics about which they write, and the process is designed to promote creativity within an otherwise set homework schedule. Click below to read some of the free writes from this week which give us a peak into the students imaginations.

Click here to see work by Ari, David, Ella, Nathaniel, Nina, Talia, and Yhonatan.


Kitah Vav

Kitah Vav students designed infographics about one topic of their choice from their science unit on Forces and Motion. They used a combination of text and images to convey the information.

Click on the student’s name(s) to see their work ZoeValentina and TalJared, and Sarah.