It is Rosh Hashanah, so it is inevitable that my thoughts turn to religion. I am a student of Rabbi Pinchas Mordechai Teitz zt”l, one of the greatest Rabbis in the world. He took a small town, Elizabeth, NJ, where there were few Jews and no minyan, and turned it into a thriving Jewish community complete with synagogues, elementary schools, high schools, and every necessary business and service to accommodate vibrant Jewish life. I was not only fortunate to be one of his students, but also had the privilege of working for him as a staff member at the Jewish Educational Center.
I remember a talk Reb Teitz zt”l gave about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, where he said that each year when Passover comes there are people standing in line with every conceivable question about what medicines, foods, etc. are allowed during Pesach, but no one ever asks about how to do Teshuvah- repent. As we all know, Teshuvah is a major part of the High Holidays, but people do not ask how to achieve it because it is hard to do! Change is difficult, and the Rabbi said that altering one thing about yourself is harder than learning the entire Torah. That being said, what do we do? Do we just give up and not bother?
I would like to share some advice from Ner Yisroel’s Rabbi Kaplan, who once visited Abrams. I heard him speak at Ner Yisroel about Teshuvah, and he said that immediately before we recite the Amidah we read a few words that ask Hashem to open our hearts to give praise to G-d. Rabbi Kaplan says that when you recite those words and know that you are indeed praying to Hashem you will be able to elevate your prayers and open your heart to Teshuvah.
Another obstacle to Teshuvah is that the scope of repentance is so vast- we beat our hearts so many times that it becomes overwhelming. Rabbi Kaplan says to choose one thing per year on which to focus as an area of change. If we try to bite off too much we will end up not being able to accomplish anything.
Finally, on Yom Kippur the prayers are so long that they seem never-ending, and we can end up feeling like we are on overload. What are the most important prayers? Rabbi Kaplan tells us that reciting the viddui (confession) is the most important part of the service. He even says to read them in English so that we can understand what we are saying and mean what we say. If we understand what we are reading and say the words with intention, we will have fulfilled our purpose.
Rabbi Teitz zt”l believed in what he called “the spark of the Jew.” He believed that every Jew has this spark inside her/him; it is just waiting to be ignited. I was reminded of this recently when I was in Israel talking to one of our parents. This man told me that he identifies as a Jew, but is very secular. However, he said that on Yom Kippur he walked to synagogue- a distance of over nine miles. I was shocked- I never would have imagined that of him. Even when his family moved further away from his synagogue he arranged to stay with family so that he could still walk to shul on Yom Kippur. It struck me that this is what Rabbi Teitz meant when he spoke of “the spark.” I believe that we all have that spark inside of us and can strive to ignite it and reach for greatness.
I wish everyone a happy, healthy New Year.
Rabbi Ira Budow
I shared this week’s message with Dr. Rivkah Blau, noted educator and daughter of Reb Teitz zt”l, and she sent me the following remarks from her father on this week’s Parsha Nitzavim 30: 11-14 (pasted below):
11. For this commandment which I command you this day, is not concealed from you, nor is it far away.
12. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up to heaven for us and fetch it for us, to tell [it] to us, so that we can fulfill it?”
13. Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us and fetch it for us, to tell [it] to us, so that we can fulfill it?”
14. Rather, [this] thing is very close to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can fulfill it.
“My father said we first understood these p’sukim when we came to America and these were the excuses people gave.
They said that angels can keep the mitzvot, but not ordinary people here in the U.S. The Torah anticipated that-“It’s not in the heavens.”
They said on the other side of the ocean, in Europe, people could keep Shabbos and kashruth, but not here in modern times. The Torah anticipated that, too-“It’s not on the other side of the ocean.” (They were in the midbar; what ocean were they near? Clearly this is intended for a generation that will be familiar with an ocean.)
“It’s in your mouth and in your heart to do it”-if you will say that you can do it and will feel within yourself the determination and the courage to try, you will be able to observe.
My father commented, “The Torah speaks the language of tomorrow.” In the 20th century we could understand the profound meaning of these p’sukim and the anticipation of the challenges we would face.”
Ultimately, each of us has the ability to know and observe the Torah in his/her heart- we only have to make a sincere effort and believe that it is achievable.
September Holiday Schedule
14 Monday Rosh Hashanah – No School
15 Tuesday Rosh Hashanah – No School
22 Tuesday Erev Yom Kippur- No School
23 Wednesday Yom Kippur – No School
28 Monday Sukkot – No School
29 Tuesday Sukkot – No School
Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Game
Maccabi Tel Aviv & Armani Milano
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Madison Square Garden
$25 per ticket
Abrams has the opportunity to purchase group tickets for the Maccabi Tel Aviv/Armani Milano basketball game at Madison Square Garden for the special price of $25 per ticket.
We need to purchase 50 tickets to get this discounted rate.
If enough people are interested in attending we will consider chartering a bus. If not, people can take the train on their own from Trenton directly to the Garden.
Please call the school office ASAP (by the end of next week) if you want to join us!!
BTW- It would be great to show our support for Maccabi Tel Aviv, who generously provide us tickets to a game when the 8th grade makes its annual trip to Israel.
Rabbi Budow and Dr. Fuchs to be Honorees
Rabbi Budow and Dr. Susan Fuchs
to be honored with ZOA
Guardians of Israel Award
2015 Annual Gala
Wed., Oct. 21, 2015 at 5:30 pm, at
Hilton Philadelphia City Ave.
(4200 City Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19131 )
Delicious kosher buffet dinner, drinks, and dessert reception
Contact ZOA for more information at:
8th Grade at Abrams Residence
Rabbi O blows the Shofar at the
Students and residents talk while completing craft project together
The 8th grade class made its first trip to the Abrams Residence to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with the seniors. This visit kicked off the second year of “Better Together,” a generous grant from the Legacy Heritage Fund that brings seniors together with young people. Last year’s program with the 8th grade was a tremendous success, and this year is sure to prove just as meaningful.
Incredibly, no introductions were even necessary, as students and seniors immediately gathered together and began interacting with one another. The time flew by, and nobody wanted the visit to end!
AHA will visit Abrams Residence approximately once a month during the year to celebrate Jewish holidays, shmooze, and share activities and food.
Annual Community Family Fun Event
SAVE THE DATE
March 13, 2016
First Annual Abrams Family Fun Community Event
This is not going to be the same-old-same-old tired fund raising dinner! Abrams is shaking it up with new venues, a new time, and lots of exciting entertainment, food, and activities for all ages.
Seating will be limited, so make sure to RSVP early for this unbelievably exciting AFTERNOON event with something for everybody!!
You don’t want to miss this fun-filled community event for the entire family!!!
Food from Espresso Cafe:
Falafel, pita, hummus, Israeli salad
Couscous with vegetables, Caesar salad
Fettuccine with marinara sauce, Greek salad
Borekas (cheese, spinach, potato), tuna salad
Friday menus will alternate between pizza and Dunkin’ Donuts (bagels. tuna and egg salad)
Lunch cost: $5 per day
Instrumental Music Lessons
Instrumental Music Lessons will begin on
Thursday, September 17, 2016
for students enrolled in the program
Students should report to the music room at their assigned times
Dr. Grossman wishes everyone a Happy, Healthy, Sweet and Musical New Year!
Over the Counter Medicines
If you want your child(ren) to receive OTC medication (such as Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl) from the nurse’s office, please send it in its original packaging to the nurse clearly labeled with your child(ren)’s name(s) and the dosage. It will be kept in the nurse’s office.
No medication will be administered before calling for parental permission.
At Abrams Hebrew Academy our online presence is very important. Not only do we have a website, but we have a private Facebook group page for parents and teachers only.
This private page enables parents and teachers to communicate with one another and lets you see what is happening in the classrooms.
If you are a new parent or are a current parent who needs information or help to become a member of this group please contact Arielle Budow, our social media and web person.
Rabbi Elliot Strom, Rabbi Emeritus of Shir Ami Congregation and author of “Rabbi, Run,” a novel about a congregational Rabbi, his struggle to balance his family and work life, and his faith.
Book Reading and Discussion (books will be available for purchase)
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Refreshments will be served
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 avoid nuts because of 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