Ninteenth Week: SJS 2/1, SJS 2/4 & SMFP 2/7

Ramah 2014
We are grateful to Pardes student Max and Vav student Daphna for creating this fantastic 3 minute video of their Camp Ramah experience.
Message from Mr. Sherman
This week I encourage you to check out our class home pages if this is not yet part of your weekly practice.  Each week our teachers diligently update our community on what is taking place in their classes.  The teachers also write a parent prompt to give parents a lead-in to start discussions about what our students are learning in their SJS classes.  Please go to the “Quick Links” above and click on “Class Home Pages” to find your child(ren)’s class(es); or click right here.  For those who are curious about Jewish Studies in future years, the class home pages give you the opportunity to preview learning that lies ahead. I look forward to seeing many of you at Friday Night Live this evening for a family-friendly, 40-minute musical service beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Shabbat Shalom!

Eighteenth Week: SJS 1/25 & 1/28

Our star Hatikvah Singer!
Our star Hatikvah singer and SJS Vav student Alexis singing before 400 people at the Israel Cancer Relief Fund benefit last month.  We are so proud and impressed!
Message from Mr. Sherman
During our regular Tefillah sessions this week, I shared with our Gan through Heh students the importance of reading Hebrew for five minutes per day.  I have invested a lot of time and effort into finding the best Hebrew program available for a congregational school that meets the type of hours that we do.  The research I have done leads me to believe that repetition of reading this incredibly phonetic language makes a HUGE difference when it comes to reading fluency.  With our students involved in so many important things, how can we find five extra minutes?  By setting a timer on an electronic device and limiting ourselves to a specific amount of minutes, we can find these five minutes.  Now, let’s ask ourselves: Is Cantor Simon a magician when it comes to preparing students to chant Torah and Haftorah for Bar or Bat Mitzvah?  Absolutely.  Do we have many talented teachers at SJS?  Without a doubt.  Devoted madrichim?  For sure. Do we want our students to find extra comfort levels when it comes to picking up a skill to last a lifetime?  There is no question.  Do we expect our students to come out of SJS as fluent Hebrew readers who should be able to feel comfortable in synagogues all over the world?  Yes!
As the dad of two active boys, I know how hard it is to get kids into the rhythm of practicing Hebrew reading on a daily basis.  Making this a part of the daily experience will make the B’nai Mitzvah preparation SO much easier and remove SO much unnecessary stress.  Imagine if all of us studied throughout the semester instead of cramming for the big finals.  While this may be a totally new concept for some, I challenge everyone not to wait until our students receive their Haftorah to practice.  Now is the time!  Your child(ren) will read Hebrew like you wouldn’t believe. They will enjoy SJS 200% more!  I’m handing out user names and passwords to Gan students because they also want to start and are ready just as Kindergarten students learn how to read English.  Never before did we have the instrument to make it possible to practice Hebrew even if a student’s parent(s) didn’t know a single Hebrew letter or vowel.  Now we do.  Let’s make it happen.  Please see “Class Updates and Hebrew Practice Below” to get started if you haven’t already.  If you have any questions, please let me know.  Shabbat Shalom!

Seventeenth Week: SJS 1/18 & 1/21

Message from Mr. Sherman
Seeing the picture in the Chicago Jewish News this week of Rabbi Newman Kamin placing a Mezuzah on our School of Jewish Studies building when it first opened really grabbed my attention.  Where would we be without our school building?  Rabbi Newman Kamin’s leadership and determination to bring a school building to Am Yisrael is just one of her many ongoing accomplishments at our synagogue.  I really hope to see many of you at the celebration honoring our Rabbi’s 25 years at Am Yisrael taking place on Sunday, February 8th at 3:00 p.m.  Two of our upcoming B’nai Mitzvah students are not only thriving at SJS, but were recently named students of the month at Wilmette Junior High!  Mazal Tov to Markus and Ella and their families.  Please continue to share good news with us when it comes your way.  While it feels mundane compared to those opening two points, please bring in toilet paper rolls for an upcoming Tu Bishvat project.  A true case of someone’s “recycling” being someone else’s treasure!  We will have a bin in the SJS lobby.  Also, please contact Becky Brodsky if you are able to volunteer at an upcoming Tu Bishvat program.  She will fill you in on all of the details:
This Shabbat the Gan and Aleph Classes will help to lead services on Friday night beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary.  Mazal Tov to Sophie Himmelfarb, her parents Nancy and Michael, brothers Daniel and Jack and their entire family as Sophie will be called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah on Shabbat morning.  Shabbat Shalom!

Sixteenth Week: SMFP 1/10, SJS 1/11 & 1/14

Message from Mr. Sherman
Welcome back to Am Yisrael SJS!  We missed getting to see our students on Wednesday due to the frigid temperature, but very look forward to seeing everyone this weekend.  Our Teachers and Madrichim are very grateful to the parents who contributed to their Chanukah gifts, as has become a really nice tradition.  For a description of SMFP programming by age/grade level, please go to We have an excellent team of teachers who look forward to teaching our students at SMFP beginning at 9:30 a.m. sharp, which coincides perfectly with the start of services in the Main Sanctuary.  Those attending the “Undernighter” Ruach program with Miss Jamie Cooper should contact her if you have any questions: or 847-962-1478.  Also, just a reminder that the Bet Brunch with the Rabbi, originally scheduled for this Sunday was moved to the following Sunday, January 18th.  Shabbat Shalom!

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