Sometimes there are mitzvot which provide singular joy and other times there are mitzvot that continue to give. Through the unbounded efforts of Silvia Surazski Kogan, wife of Rabbi Manes Kogan of Hillcrest Jewish Center, the families of Ohr Chadash were able to become part of a Queens-Ashkelon connection whereby our children’s gently used Halloween costumes became Purim ensembles for youngsters from disadvantaged single-parent families in Israel.
Mrs. Kogan provided storage for the costumes for the past several years, and through the kindness of family members, such as the elder Kogan daughter Daniela, herself, her brother Rabbi Gustavo Surazski of Ashkelon’s Kehillat Netzach Israel Synagogue, and others who sojourned from here to Eretz Israel, the costumes found their way to new homes and brought increased happiness to Israeli children for whom the celebration might not have been so bright. When the outfits reached their intended destination, Rabbi Surazski was instrumental in the distribution of the apparel.
To prove that it is truly a small Jewish world, Terri Davis, sister-in-law of Ohr Chadash’s reading specialist, Cherie Davis, and a member of Rabbi Surazski’s congregation, sent a letter of appreciation to Morah Ruth Merrill to extend a hearty Todah Rabah to the Ohr Chadash families for all their efforts in making this mitzvah a wonderful reality.
By the time our students sat down with their families at this year’s Passover celebration, they had been well-prepared for all the fine nuances of the holiday. On Sunday morning, April 10th, the Gan-Katan, Shorashim, and Mechina classes visited the Chabad of Northeast Queens’ Matzah Bakery in Bayside. They learned the stringent rules of Passover matzah making, called upon all their muscle strength to grind the grain which was used, employed extra elbow grease to roll out their individual pieces of dough, and watched astonishingly as their efforts bore fruit when their own personalized pieces of matzah were removed from the special ovens.
The following Sunday, April 17th, was a very hectic school day. The Holocaust is a major focus of the Dalet-Hey curriculum and the students provided readings in commemoration of the Shoah, as preparation for their involvement in the multi-synagogue program which will be held at ICCJ on Wednesday evening, May 4th.
Also on that Sunday morning, the Mechina class observed the hard work which their older schoolmates had put into providing a Model Seder from which they could learn the proper order of the service, how to recite the Four Questions, and the melodies and lyrics of the traditional songs of the holiday. Aleph through Gesher conducted a wonderful warm-up for the actual family events they would be participants of at the end of that week.
On Shabbat morning, April 16th, Shabbat HaGadol, the last Sabbath before Pesach, ICCJ hosted the Ohr Chadash student body in the last of the school’s shul Shabbat services. A morning of learning and prayer concluded with a delightful kiddush prepared by the wonderful ladies of the synagogue’s Sisterhood. Todah Rabah Ladies.
After the Passover break, our students will return to an extremely hectic last full month of learning and celebration. Morah Ruth A. and the Aleph class have been working hard for months in anticipation of the presentation of their first siddurim. Parents, morot, and schoolmates will be in attendance for this Sunday morning, May 15th, special program.
That Friday, May 20th, will be the final Kabbalat Shabbat dinner of the 5776 school year. Keep an eye out for all the details. That Sunday, May 20th, is the annual Lag B’Omer Sports Day.All information will be forthcoming soon.
We hope that everyone had a zissan Pesach and we look forward to the spring days and events on the Ohr Chadash horizon.