This week’s Parsha is Lech Lecha; the story of Abraham and the birth of the Jewish people. The Torah chronicles our history and teaches us that anti-Semitism was experienced by our earliest forefathers and has persevered throughout the ages.
Abraham was told by Hashem to leave his home to go live in Canaan, the land we now know as Israel, where Isaac, Joseph and Jacob were born. Jacob left Canaan because of famine there and settled with the Jews in Egypt where they prospered and improved conditions for themselves and the Egyptians. During this time the Egyptians revered Joseph and respected the Jews. However, once Joseph died a new Pharaoh arose who did not remember Joseph, and the tide quickly turned for the Jews. They were enslaved by Pharaoh for many years until Hashem led Moses and the Jews to freedom.
This story demonstrates that even when things are good for the Jews, their fate and circumstances can turn on a dime. The capricious turnaround from being accepted as full members of a country’s society to being reviled and persecuted has happened to the Jews many times, and it is documented in the Torah so that we are able to observe how these recurring reversals of fortune that affected our ancestors have been repeated throughout our history.
The Jews have always been subject to persecution and have often been forced to flee for their lives from places they considered home. We have been the victims of pogroms and all forms of discrimination for centuries, leading up to the ultimate genocide of the Holocaust. Even after the establishment of Israel as a Jewish state, Jews have been singled out for discrimination and anti-Semitic acts of cruelty and violence in many other countries, to the point where some of them they have left their adopted lands to live in Israel.
For example, although Jews lived successfully in France for 800 years and established a vibrant Jewish community there, virulent anti-Semitism has forced many French Jews to immigrate to Israel. In fact, Rabbi Shemtov’s daughter and son-in-law are currently helping a group of French immigrants adjust to their new lives in a community located in the Tel Aviv suburbs.
Jews living in the U.S. during the Diaspora have been very fortunate. We are able to practice our Judaism in the open, and there are communities, such as the one located in Baltimore where my daughter lives, where the Jewish community has everything it needs- synagogues, kosher markets and restaurants, etc. In America it is easy to say, “All is good here for the Jews.” I am extremely grateful that I have been able to live a wonderful life with my family in America.
However, last week I was shocked to read a very disturbing article in the NY Daily News written by Talia Katz, a senior at U of Michigan. Talia writes about her own experiences on campus as a Zionist- being reprimanded by professors for being the daughter of an Israeli immigrant, walking past an “Apartheid Wall” where students dressed as Israeli soldiers yelled at her as she walked by, seeing swastikas drawn on bathroom stalls, etc. U of Michigan has an active BDS movement, and Talia recounts numerous disturbing anecdotes, such as a professor refusing to write a recommendation for a student wishing to study in Israel, requiring art students to attend a lecture comparing Netanyahu to Hitler, etc.
These overt examples of anti-Semitism occur all over the country at numerous colleges and universities, and I wonder, “Is this the future for Jews in the U.S.? Are the young students on these college campuses going to graduate and perpetuate this anti-Semitism in our communities?” I am concerned that if this level of discrimination is permitted to go unchallenged on our college campuses the result will be a generation of adults who will continue to raise the level of anti-Semitism in the “real world.” One positive note at U of Michigan is discussed in an article on the Hillel website:U of Michigan Hillel article.
Let us look back and remember that Pharaoh made the Jews slaves in Egypt after the Jews had been productive, contributing members of Egyptian society for many years, and this turnaround has happened to us many times in the past. It is imperative for us to protest and draw attention to these current troubling incidents so that we can ensure that the U.S. continues to remain a safe place for Jews.
Rabbi Ira Budow
Early Friday Dismissal Starts TODAY
Early Friday Dismissal Begins
TODAY- Friday, October 19, 2018
Children will be dismissed at 2:00 pm
Thanksgiving Feast Sponsors Needed
The time for the Abrams annual Thanksgiving Feast is approaching and Abrams needs sponsors for this delicious and highly- anticipated family event. *Details coming soon!
If you would like to donate towards this program, please contact Rabbi Budow.
Volunteering at Abrams
Abrams is happy to announce that Ellen Hartenstein, our former Assistant Principal, will be volunteering part-time in reading classes.
Please contact Rabbi Budow If you would like to volunteer at the school.
Current Abrams families with a child not currently attending Abrams who will be starting Kindergarten in September, 2019 will be eligible for special tuition pricing.
This offer is limited to the first 10 new Kindergarten students enrolled.
If you are interested, please call Rabbi Budow immediately.
AHA Basketball Tryouts
Boys Tryouts Girls Tryouts
November 5, 2018 November 1, 2018
Tryouts open to all boys/girls
Grades 6th- 8th
Tryouts- AHA Gym- 3:45 pm -4:45 pm
**All students must have transportation home no later than 5:00 pm.
Girl’s first practice: Tuesday, Nov. 6
Boy’s first practice: Wednesday, Nov. 7
All practices will be held in the Gym
3:45 pm to 4:45 pm.
Final roster will be posted the day after tryouts.
For further information, please see Mr. Gowton
Rabbi Message to Alumni
Alumni and the Israel Trip
The most significant thing that I have done in my Abrams career is to take children to Israel. You can see the many pictures in my office of our trips through the years, and I am proud to say that I have accompanied hundreds of students and adults to Israel during the past 20 years.
This year we celebrate the 20th anniversary of our annual 8th grade trip, and to commemorate this momentous occasion Joni and Joe Glassman have generously funded a beautiful art mural depicting the city of Jerusalem. There is a committee to promote purchasing pieces of the mural to generate funds for the school and honor the mission of Zionism and love of Israel that is at Abrams’ core, but I want to appeal specifically to Abrams alumni and parents with this message.
We made the pilgrimage to Israel for the past 20 years, even during times of the Intifada when no one was traveling to Israel. The Jerusalem Post and television stations took notice of us in print and video because we were so unusual in our determination to continue to visit the Holy Land despite turbulent times. Our trip is not the typical tour- we go to unusual places and travel all over the country from the ice rink in the North that was dedicated by Canada to Eilat in the South, and everywhere in between.
I understand that $1,000 is difficult to donate all at once, but I have an idea that will make this donation more manageable. Do you buy a coffee every day? A newspaper? A bagel? I am asking you to give $1 per day- less than the cost of the above-mentioned items- for 3 years. Your $1 per day over the course of 3 years will earn you a plaque on the commemorative mural and support your school.
We will contact you shortly, and send you a charity box as a reminder. At the end of each year you can send a check for $360, or you can simply send your check for $1,000. Please respond to this request- remember your experience on the trip with your classmates and help to commemorate this milestone in your life and support Abrams for the future.
Rabbi Ira Budow
How to Participate in EITC
Tax Advantages Giving, for individuals, under the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC)
Pennsylvania individuals that contribute to the EITC may be able to both:
(a) Significantly reduce their Pennsylvania state tax liability by receiving tax credits for contributions to state-approved scholarship organizations (i.e. Abrams). The PA income tax credit is equal to:
a. 75% of the contribution for a one-year commitment or
b. 90% of the contribution for a two-year commitment (preferred)
(b) Claim a charitable tax deduction on their federal tax return for these contributions.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the schools in the region have created the Foundation for Jewish Day Schools. The Foundation raises contributions through the EITC program. Individuals can participate by joining a special purpose entity (SPE). You complete an application to join the SPE. Once your application is approved you will need to send in your donation check. The SPE applies for the tax credit to the State and disperses the approved funds to schools. You will received the State tax credit K1 form in February from the Jewish Scholarship LLC to file with your taxes, and you should expect to receive your State tax refund as you normally would.
– Individual income of $200,000 or joint income (spouses combined) of $300,000
– Minimum PA tax liability of $6,900.
– Minimum donation of $6,200 in each year.
Pennsylvania only allows a limited amount of charitable contributions to be donated to the EITC every year, so you’ll need to act quickly. We currently have 2 opportunities available:
- For 2018 tax year: We are in a unique position this year of still having funds available for new donors for the 2018 tax year for qualified people who pay PA state income taxes personally (not through their businesses). We do not know how long these funds will remain unclaimed, so please contact Rabbi Budow to put your name on a waitlist.
- For 2019 and 2020 tax years: If you are interested in participating in the EITC for those years, please call Debra Goldfarb at Abrams; ph: 215-493-1800; email: firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible
It is advisable to consult your tax advisor before participating in the EITC program.
Most taxpayers work with their tax advisors to prepare a projection of their estimated PA tax due before participating in the EITC program in order to determine eligibility as well as their eligible tax credit.
City of Jerusalem Mural
City of Jerusalem Mural
The High Holidays are the time of year when Jews reflect on the past and look to the future as they focus on their lives and what Judaism and the State of Israel mean to them personally. Abrams has always been committed to fostering Zionism and support of the State of Israel within its students, and the culmination of an Abrams education is the 8th grade graduation trip to Israel.
This year, 5779, is the 20th anniversary of the annual Israel trip, and generous donors have funded a commemorative City of Jerusalem art piece to be installed prominently in the school as a lasting tribute to the relationship between Abrams and the Land of Israel.
There are 78 naming opportunities to memorialize your support and commitment to Abrams by purchasing plaques to be affixed to the sculpture. Each brick, stepping stone, windowsill, or urn plaque costs between $1,000 and $9,000, depending on the size of the plaque, and is an opportunity to give a beautiful tribute to whomever you wish while supporting Abrams.
At this time of year, when Jews gather to pray, reflect on their lives, and recommit to Tikkun Olam, please consider donating to this worthwhile and beautiful project.
If you are interested in contributing or have additional questions, please contact Debra Goldfarb 215-493-1800 ext 29; email@example.com.
The 2019 8th grade trip to Israel is scheduled April 1-12, 2019. The trip is rather early this year to allow people enough time to take the trip and return in time to get ready for Passover., which begins on April 19.
Shmulik Taylor from the Jewish Journey Ltd will meet with the 8th grade parents to discuss the trip on:
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
* It is very important that all 8th grade parents be present at this meeting- it is the only opportunity for you to meet with the tour company representative before the trip!
Bricks in the Link
Buy a Brick on the Link Wall and
Support Abrams by purchasing a commemorative brick on the wall in the Link for a $100 donation. The bricks are made of colored Plexiglas and visibly located on the wall outside the gym.
Buy a brick to commemorate a special occasion- it is a wonderful and lasting gift to celebrate a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, birthday, anniversary, graduation, or to recognize the memory of a loved one or friend.
Your donation will be acknowledged to the recipient, and Abrams will benefit from your donation.
Please contact the office if you would like to purchase a brick.
Open houses in people’s homes is an effective way to meet with families who are potentially interested in enrolling their children at Abrams. Rabbi Budow and a small group of faculty members are happy to travel to meet informally with your friends and neighbors to discuss the advantages and opportunities that Abrams offers to Jewish children.
If you would like to volunteer to host one of these gatherings, please contact Rabbi Budow.
Safety and Security Reminders
Reminder- AHA Security Procedures:
All parents should use the front door to enter the school with key cards and not the back doors. Parent swipe cards only work at front door.
Please do not ask students to open any doors- parents must report to the front office and check-in before entering the school.
No student or other person should use the lunchroom doors other than for dismissal or emergency purposes.
These rules are for our children’s safety.
Thank you for your cooperation!
Cell Phone Rules
REMINDER: Cell Phone Rules
Electronic devices have become a common means of communication and information access in today’s society. However, these devices have the potential of disrupting the orderly operation of school. Our cell phone/personal electronic devices policy is designed to keep the focus on education.
At the start of the school day, all cell phones MUST BE TURNED OFF (NOT IN SILENT MODE) AND STORED IN THE STUDENT’S LOCKER OR BOOK BAG FROM 8:30 AM UNTIL 3:30 PM. Students are not permitted to carry them on their person or to use them to make or receive any calls or text messages during the given time.
If a student has an emergency, and needs to be in contact with someone, she/he must use a school phone, or have the permission of a faculty member, to use his/her cell phone. Parents should contact the school office, if they have an emergency message for their
Electric devices, such as iPods, or hand-held gaming devices may be used on the bus/van transportation to/from school, prior to school, and following school. Students must turn off and place these items in their locker/backpack during school hours.
If any of these items are out at the inappropriate time, they will be confiscated by staff, and given to the director of discipline.
Students will be allowed to bring cell phones on school trips for emergency use only. Any hand-held gaming device will be the responsibility of the students on a school trip.
The school is not responsible for lost, misplaced, damaged or stolen electronic devices/cell phones.
CONSEQUENCES FOR STUDENTS WHO DO NOT FOLLOW THE ABOVE RULES:
1st Offense – Phone confiscated, and returned at the end of the day.
2nd Offense – Phone confiscated, returned at the end of the day, and written notification that requires parent signature.
3rd Offense – Phone confiscated, and parent must pick up phone from director of discipline.
4th Offense – Suspension from school
Support AHA Donor Businesess
Abrams is greatly appreciative of all of the benefactors who donate generously to the school through participation in EITC, LLC, grants, cash donations, etc. Many of these donors are business owners, and Abrams encourages the AHA community to support the businesses of these people whose largess supports the school.
* This is not a complete list- we will add businesses throughout the year!
Thank you very much to all of our supporters!
Abrams thanks Oorah, a nonprofit organization located in Lakewood, NJ for all of its financial support to our students.
Oorah sponsors numerous programs that all share the common goal of opening doors for Jewish children and families. The mission is to reach out to Jewish families everywhere with opportunities to make their Judaic heritage more personal, relevant and meaningful.
Abrams received $100,000 in scholarship aid for qualified families this year from Oorah and is extremely grateful for the generosity of this organization.
Please do not send meat lunches or snacks to school with your children.
Food sent from home must be
dairy or Pareve only!
Thank you very much for your cooperation
Car Pool Rules
All Parents who Car Pool:
Please note that the car pool line is for grades N and K only. All other students are to be dropped off in the front of the building.
Parents who use the back for drop off should follow the directions of the teachers in the parking lot. They are there to assist students and maintain a safe environment.
Under no circumstances are parents to park their cars in the middle of the line and leave them unattended to walk students into the building.
** We ask that parents refrain from cellphone use in the parking areas while dropping off and picking up their children.
Abrams Dress Code
Studies have found that appropriate dress influences behavior and learning. Abrams strives through the dress code to maximize the learning environment.
Respect for the sensitivities of others requires that students/parents/guests follow reasonable standards of modesty and privacy. We ask that students/parents/guests dress in a manner befitting a Jewish day school when entering the building.
Dress Code for Grades 1-8
Clothing cannot advertise or advocate the use of alcohol, drugs, tobacco or weapons.
Clothing cannot display writing or pictures that are obscene or suggestive.
No writing or pictures on the back of pants.
No sleepwear or bedroom slippers to be worn at any time, unless pre-approved for a special occasion.
Heavy linked chains may not be worn as jewelry.
No extreme hair colors are permitted.
All boys must come to school wearing a kippah. Baseball caps and other head coverings are NOT permitted.
No sleeveless shirts, tank tops, halter tops, spaghetti straps, tube tops, crop tops, belly shirts, or tight shirts.
Dress Code for Boys Grades 5-8
Shirts, sweatshirts, tank tops, and tee-shirts should be appropriate for school. Students may not wear undershirts.
Pants or denim jeans must be properly hemmed and not dragging on the floor. Pants will not have rips, holes, or fraying and will not be too tight or over-sized.
Shorts must be to the knee.
Pants/shorts will not sag, as underwear may not be visible.
Boys are to be clean-shaven.
Hair is to be well groomed. Partially or fully shaved heads and ponytails are not allowed.
Piercings of any kind are not allowed.
Dress Code for Girls Grades 5-8
Dresses/skirts/shorts must be no shorter than 2 inches above the knee.
Pants or denim jeans must be properly hemmed and not dragging on the floor. Pants or shorts will not have rips, holes, or fraying and will not be too tight.
Leggings of any type are not permitted to be worn in place of skirts or pants, but may be worn under clothing. If worn, they must be accompanied by a fingertip length or longer, dress, skirt, or top.
Clothing that exposes any part of the midriff, cleavage (front or rear), or any clothing excessively revealing may not be worn.
Clothing materials for tops and bottoms must be opaque (not see-through).
Consequences for Students Who Do Not Follow the Dress Code:
1st Offense – Explain to student what is wrong with his/her attire. Student must change into appropriate clothing.
2nd Offense – Written notification that requires parent signature. Student must change into appropriate clothing.
3rd Offense – Student must change clothes to follow guidelines and parent is called on the telephone immediately.
4th Offense – Suspension from school.
Parent conference required for student to return to school.
Birthday Celebrations at School
When sending birthday treats into school to celebrate that special day for your child, please consider sending in a healthy treat, such as frozen fruit bars, rice cakes, fruit salad or cups, sugar free pudding snacks, yogurt cake or pie, cheese sticks, light popcorn or air popped popcorn (when age appropriate), pretzels, carrots/celery (when age appropriate).
Please do not send anything with nuts due to allergies.
In order to maintain a consistent kashrut policy and to avoid confusion, ALL orders for birthday cakes/cupcakes MUST be ordered from Cramer’s Bakery, 16 E. Afton Avenue, Yardley. Cramer’s will deliver the order to the school at a discounted price.
Please call Kim Pierce at 215-321-5707 to place your cake/ cupcake order.
Celebrate Your Simcha at Abrams
Abrams Hebrew Academy is a perfect choice to host your family or social affair, business meeting or athletic event. Whether you’re looking for an inviting space to celebrate a special occasion; a meeting area with state-of-the art technology; a fun, safe environment for a child’s birthday; or a gym or athletic field for a sporting event, Abrams can accommodate your needs and your budget. For more information on room rentals at Abrams Hebrew Academy, call (215) 493-1800 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check Your Child’s Assignments with Homework Now
Parents- all homework will be posted on-line by all teachers grades K-8 by Sunday evening each week.
Instructions for use of homeworknow.com:
Click on homeworknow.com
Click on Parent and Student
Click on find school
Click on Pennsylvania
Click on Abrams Hebrew Academy
Click on your child’s teacher
View homework assignments
Share Abrams News With Others
Is there a family member (such as a grandparent) or friend who would be interested in hearing about everything going on at Abrams? Sign them up for our e-mail list today! Please contact the Main Office.
Information about the Extra
Please submit any information to be considered for inclusion in the Extra to Dale Sattin, Director of Development & Communications: email@example.com. (215) 493-1800 ext. 22 by
Wednesday of the target week.
Abrams Hebrew Academy, 31 West College Avenue, Yardley, PA 19067