So Little Time and So Many Things To Do by Ruth Merrill, Education Director

Over the past ten months, we at Ohr Chadash Religious School experienced so many firsts.  We grew to a school of over 100 students and as a result hired extra staff to work with the children.  In mid-January we moved to Hollis Hills JC and learned the many hallways and levels of their building.  Despite the frigid and snowy winter Ohr Chadash only had two snow days.

From Purim until our closing ceremony on June 8th, our calendar was a very full one.  On March 9th, Len Levitt of Puppet Levity conducted a puppet making workshop and presented his puppet filled version of “Megillat Esther.” The Parents Association generously paid for half of the cost of this great and funny program.

On April 6th, eighty five children and their parents relived the Exodus from Egypt and baked their own Matzah for the trip. Hosted by Rabbi Eli, we attended a two part–two shift Matzah Baking program at the Chabad at Bay Terrace.  The children baked and noshed on Matzah to get into the right spirit for Pesach and their well earned 10 day vacation.

On Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, (Sunday, April 27) the children of Kitot Bet-Hey, heard Bertha Strauss, a member of HJC, recount her experiences as a very young child during the Holocaust.  The younger children, in preparation for Yom Haatzmaut, Israel Independence Day, had a special Hebrew language and movement program about Israel with Tali of “Rokdim Ivrit.”

Wed., April 30, our post Bnai-Mitzvah Gesher students, invited the students of Kitah Hey to join them for a viewing of the award winning movie “Paperclips”.  ICCJ member, Susie Berkson joined them to tell them about her trip to Tennessee and seeing the school and exhibit that are the subject of the film.  The children had their questions about the film answered first hand.

May 11th, was a very exciting and emotional day for Kitah Aleph.  After working very hard this year, especially in their reading groups, each received their first Siddur.  The children sang songs from the siddur and presented a brief skit describing their feelings on this special day.  Thank you to the PA for sponsoring the refreshments.

HHJC hosted the students and OC families twice.  Shabbat, May 3rd was the third and final OC Shabbat.  25 students and parents met with Rabbi Wise for an “Ask the Rabbi” session followed by their own Shacharit service.  They joined the main service for the D’var Torah and Musaf and assisted Mr. Seidman, a parent and member of HHJC, singing and co-leading the end of the Shabbat Service.   On Friday night, May 16th, children in Kitah Hey and Gesher, joined the Rabbis, their parents and members of the OC School Board and staff for a “deli”tful” make your own deli sandwich meal. Two days later, on May 18, the Men’s Clubs of all three synagogues, joined together to host a Lag B’Omer day of fun for all the students and staff of OC.

A slightly belated Yom HaAtzmaut program was held on Wed. May 21st.  Retired, IDF officer, Amit Shuker, presented a double program for the children. In his popular Gadna (Israeli Army training) program they children got a full work out and learned about life in the Israeli armed forces.  While cooling down, a 20 foot long map of Israel was rolled out and divided into teams, the children answered questions about the major cities and regions in Israel.  Teachers served as cheerleaders and coaches.

June 1st, OC and the three member synagogues were represented at the Celebrate Israel Parade on Fifth Avenue and with both joy and a bit of sadness we bid farewell and wished each other a wonderful, healthy and safe summer at our closing ceremony on June 8th.

Thank you to all three synagogues, their Rabbis and office and custodial staffs for making our stays in their buildings such rewarding ones.  Thank you to the Board for their constant support and encouragement and to the staff, parents, and especially the children for working together to make 2013-14 a truly memorable and fantastic year.

Have a great summer and see you on Sunday, September 7th at 9 AM at ICCJ.