As we all know, one of the most difficult things for Jews is to sit in synagogue and pray. Not to just sit in shul and mouth the words to the prayers, but to really enjoy and feel the act of worship. As we all know, synagogue membership has waned, and people often say that they find attendance at services arduous and boring. If meaningful praying is so difficult for adults, imagine how hard it is to motivate children to really engage during a daily Minyan!
There have been many ideas suggested by respected Jewish leaders to motivate young people to enjoy services, but there is very little that seems to light that spark of interest in our children.
When we are in Israel during our annual graduation trip we have attended Shabbat services at the Carlebach Synagogue in the holy city of Safed, and I realize that services there are always an amazing experience for both adults and children as they sing the distinctively joyful melodies and dance enthusiastically in celebration of Shabbat. People are not hurrying to get through the prayers; rather they are lingering over the notes they are singing and relishing each moment. The Shlomo Carlebach phenomenon has spread throughout the world- there are now over 100 Carlebach synagogues, and the number keeps growing.
This year I have been thinking about how to make our services more “user-friendly” and meaningful to our students, and our faculty Rabbis and I have discussed this issue in depth. In particular, our boys’ minyan has presented a challenge to our students, and getting their participation has been stressful. As a result, we decided to make significant changes in an attempt to engender students’ enthusiasm for the minyan, and one of the changes is the incorporation of different and unexpected melodies- Carlebach, Sephardic, and Ashkenazi, into our prayer service to bring new life to the ritual.
I am happy to say that the students have responded very favorably to the new melodies, and the boys are participating in prayers much more willingly and enthusiastically since we have made these adaptations. It is very moving and inspirational to hear the boys as they sing the Az Yashir sung by Moshe, Miriam, and the entire Jewish nation after they crossed through the Red Sea and escaped the Egyptians. We have also been using a more non-traditional Siddur (the Nehalel siddur that I’ve discussed previously), and its moving photographs that accompany the text bring the familiar prayers to life in a new way. These variations on a familiar theme have brought renewed excitement and eagerness to the minyan, and it is good to see the positive response to a service that is not “the same old thing.”
The girls’ minyan is also a beautiful example of purposeful prayer- the girls run the services themselves, including reading Torah, and have also incorporated diverse melodies into their prayers. When they pray and sing with such enthusiasm they follow in the tradition of Miriam; a strong, empowered woman who led the women in prayer and musical celebration alongside Moses and the other men at the Red Sea. There is a picture in the girls’ chapel depicting Miriam and her tambourine at the Red Sea after their escape from the Egyptians and slavery, and our girls experience the joy of prayer, too.
I am proud that we have made our services more accessible, diverse, and meaningful to our students, and that as a result most of our children now attend daily prayers with focus, intention, and pleasure.
Rabbi Ira Budow
Thank you to all of the volunteers who made our Thanksgiving feast a huge success.
Aaron and Sarah Weinstein
Monica, Dan, Giselle, and Jared Matlis
Morah Sonia and Morah Raya
The 8th grade class
Abrams Staff and Faculty
2018 Annual Fundraising Campaign
2018 ANNUAL FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN
Before you know it we will begin this year’s annual fundraising campaign. Now is the time of year when we give thanks for the blessings we have and make donations to organizations that are meaningful to us. While we are in the giving spirit I ask you to consider making your annual donation to the Abrams fundraising campaign even before it is formally launched. Last year’s crowd-sourcing campaign was extremely popular and successful, so this year we will once again forego the expensive “event” and raise money that will be used towards the education of our children with little to no cost to the school.
We already have an incredible start to our campaign- over $100,000 has been pledged by generous “matchers,” and I am confident that once again our community will step forward and make it possible to reach our goal. Remember- each contribution is worth 4 times as much, thanks to the generosity of our major donors.
More details about the dates and how you can get involved will follow, but please consider making your donation now to be used towards our matching campaign.
This year we are honoring faculty and staff who have been at Abrams for 10 years or more, and it is very impressive that we have 17 people who have served Abrams and our students for over a decade!
2018 Honorees (Donna Moskowitz not pictured)
Our faculty/staff honorees are:
Rabbi Ira Budow
Rabbi Isaac Leizeroski
Rabbi Joshua Ottensoser
Rabbi Chaim Tesser
December 6th is Pajama Day
Come to school dressed in your favorite Pajamas
Hot Chocolate will be sold for $.50
Outdoor Classroom Nears Completion
Just as the weather is turning colder our outdoor classroom is reaching its final stages of metamorphosis!
PLANT, our landscaping and design firm, has created a safe, environmentally friendly, and aesthetically pleasing enclosed space dedicated to learning on our Yardley campus.
All of the natural materials, from the rocks to the wood used for the fencing, are materials native to PA; particularly to Bucks County. PLANT has designed a gorgeous water pond feature built with rocks mined in PA that will provide learning opportunities for curious future scientists and a tranquil, lovely and musical space for creativity to thrive. Benches will provide seating for students as they and our faculty use the new classroom for science, math, art, music, social studies, language arts, and much more!
The classroom also features a natural area that will house a butterfly/pollinator garden along with planters for science projects that will be planted by students in the spring.
Abrams thanks our generous donor and PLANT for making our “dream” seeds take root and come to fruition in this beautiful outdoor learning space.
Stay tuned for our next project- the playground!
5th Grade Friendship Project
Heart + Smart = Nice
Dr. P has been holding discussions with the 5th grade class focused on being thoughtful, kind and caring to others. This week Morah Shoshana and her class worked collaboratively to create friendship crafts for one another.
Parent Meeting with AHA School Psychologist- Dr. Donna Porwancher
Please join us for a discussion of popularity
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
I look forward to seeing you on the 7th day of Hanukkah! – Dr. P
Morah Raya’s students featured in Etzbioni
Once again Morah Raya, her students, and Abrams Hebrew Academy were featured in the monthly publication “Etzbioni.”
This Hebrew language magazine is read by students in grades 3-8 in Israel.
Congratulations to Morah Raya and her students!
Espresso Cafe Open House
“New Family Recruitment”
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.
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
Safety and Security Reminders
Just a reminder of 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!
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.
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 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.
Abrams Hebrew Academy, 31 West College Avenue, Yardley, PA 19067