As the winter drifts have been blowing, so too has Ohr Chadash been a-flurry with activity these past few weeks. Just before the Winter Break, Hollis Hills Jewish Center hosted the first Ohr Chadash Shabbat of the school year on Saturday, December 20, 2014, with Rabbi Wise leading a very special Ask The Rabbi for the students and parents. Young leaders of the synagogue conducted an informative Junior Congregation, after which the youngsters moved to the Main Sanctuary for the conclusion of the services. The congregation provided a lovely sit down kiddush for the Ohr Chadash families, which beautifully complemented a quite enjoyable morning.
In mid-January we regretfully bid farewell to Israel Center of Conservative Judaism, which had so warmly welcomed our school for the fall semester. Thank you to ICCJ and its tenant, the Birch School, for accommodating us so graciously. We would be remiss if we did not express our appreciation to Mark Barsz, Meryl Gorochow, Howard Laufer and Gil Yellinek, the parents who enabled our relocation to our new semester venue on that ice-laden January 18th morning. This difficult transition would not have been possible without their assistance.
Hillcrest Jewish Center became our next academic home for the spring and we readily settled in. Rabbi Kogan officially greeted us at the opening assembly on Sunday, January 25th, which was conducted by education director Ruth Merrill. Synagogue president Dr. Richard Meyer also expressed the shul’s delight at having Ohr Chadash back at HJC. Ohr Chadash Board Chair Phyllis Laine expressed confidence that the upcoming months will hold great promise for our students.
On Sunday, February 1st, Gan Katan, Shorashim, and Mechina, the younger classes, held celebrations in honor of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year for Trees. Morah Emily and Morah Sara combined their efforts and taught their students about the environmental importance of trees and the holiday. Under teacher supervision, the young chefs combined the various produce they had brought in to make a delicious fruit salad.
In Mechina, the students participated in a Tu B’Shevat Seder, learning about the groupings of different fruits by edibility and mixing grape juices of varying colors, representative of the four seasons. They then listened to English songs which delineated all the service trees provide for both humanity and nature and to special Hebrew tunes that celebrated the holiday.
Aleph through Gesher classes held their own Tu B’Shevat Seder on Wednesday, February 4th, which coincided with the actual date of the holiday. In addition to the tasting of fruits and juices, the morot and the students got to experience the flavor of bokser, or carob, in its natural form and as a rice cake coating which turned the mundane into the delectable.
Purim looms on the horizon and we look forward to the Megillat Esther reading, the carnival being held at Hillcrest this year, and all those hamentaschen. Don’t forget to check the Ohr Chadash website for glimpses of past programs and for information on upcoming events.