05/17/2013 03:36 PM
A Message from Rabbi Lyon
Dear Shlenker Families,
It’s not just another year that has ended. It’s another year in which you fulfilled one of your most important promises to your children. To teach your children to love God, study Torah, and identify with the Jewish people is your highest duty. It doesn’t preclude other duties, but it leads to all others.
As a teacher in the 5th grade each week, I am an eye-witness to your promise. Students speak of God with greater ease than many adults, and ask questions about God that elude others. They study Torah regularly and in my classes they explore familiar Torah stories with classical and modern insights. They identify with the Jewish people because they see themselves as Judaism’s future. It’s true from the moment they enter Shlenker School as our youngest children, to the time they graduate as proud Shlenker alumni.
I’m also an eye-witness to your promise through the personal hours and resources you give to Shlenker School every day. Volunteers are invaluable to Shlenker’s success. Board and PTO leadership guide the school program to excellence. Committee volunteers turn fundraisers into community builders, and playground fun into carnival extravaganzas. Shlenker is more than a school; it’s a place to be and to grow.
I’m also grateful for the financial giving every family makes through tuition and annual gifts. Private school is a privilege; Jewish Day School education is recognized as a means to Judaism’s strength in the future. Only Jewish summer camps and Israel experiences can claim the same results. But, as much as we prize Reform Jewish day school education, few are available and fewer are thriving. Shlenker School is a jewel in the crown of Reform Jewish day school education because you have found a way to give Shlenker to your children.
On behalf of the rabbis and cantor of Congregation Beth Israel, thank you, parents and grandparents, for entrusting your dear children to Shlenker School. Most of all, thank you for keeping your promise now and in the future.
Rabbi David Lyon
05/10/2013 04:32 PM
“Life is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re going to get.” Thanks, Forrest. Or, rather, thanks to your Momma. Some days I feel like I have several boxes of chocolates to confront in one day and I am hesitant to open up any of them. In case you haven’t heard, the musical will be held in the Sanctuary this year, which should be interesting in many ways — a huge box of chocolates for us to explore. There are so many positives that come with this change in venue: seating, comfort, clearer sound, space. I am very excited, although my vision has yet to be realized.
When the musical comes around, I know the teachers dread the changes in their schedules, classes have to miss out on specialist sessions, and students are even more stimulated than usual. The choreographers are amazed at how the personality of a class can change from morning to afternoon. Students are enthused with all the creativity and turn into costume designers, choreographers and stage managers. The anticipation pervades everything else for the three weeks of preparation and production.
As I enter my “golden” years, I find that I have become much more patient. This is definitely in my favor; however, I seem to be more sensitive and take things to heart a bit too much. I believe this comes from working with the little people. I want everyone to be happy with what they get to do. I want every child to get to be on the front row at some point, even though it doesn’t always work out. I want every parent to have their flush of pride when they see their performer onstage. I want every person to find the chocolate they are hoping for in that box. I have to remind myself that I don’t make the chocolates, I simply provide the box.
“That’s Entertainment!” is Wednesday, May 22, 7:00pm, in the CBI Sanctuary. Plan to come and support these wonderful kids. And, please support this amazing Fifth grade class who started with me in PreK-4, my first year at Shlenker. I love them dearly and I am going to miss them.
No Place for Hate at The Shlenker School
Our school community is committed to creating a school atmosphere where each student feels safe, valued and able to succeed. Led by the No Place for Hate coalition, students, staff and parents have spent the past year implementing school wide projects to promote and sustain an inclusive school environment. The projects focused on manners, kindness, respecting everyone, recognizing and identifying the best ways to handle bullying, positive methods to resolve conflict, and acknowledging that working together is always a great fit.
As a result of these efforts, The Shlenker School proudly continues the tradition of earning the distinction as a “No Place for Hate” school. No Place for Hate® is a program developed by the Anti-Defamation League to educate children, parents, teachers and school faculty on how to have a bully-free environment. This philosophy is a natural partner with our core value B’tselem Elohim, which means that we are all created in God’s image and worthy of respect.
The year began with school members signing the ADL’s Resolution of Respect and making the promise to be kind, treat others with respect and report bullying to an adult. This commitment was put into action with weekly Mix It Up lunches which had students randomly sitting with different groups, providing a chance to get to know others in new ways. Another school wide activity was Manners Matter Week. The students had daily lessons about the importance of manners and made posters emphasizing manners that were displayed around the school. During weekly Divrei Torah, students share words representing the message which is displayed on our “Words to Live By” bulletin board.
In the fall, World Kindness Day was recognized at The Shlenker School. Students decorated strips of paper representing kindness which were linked together creating a kindness chain, a visual reminder of the importance of kindness. In the spring, fifth graders designed chesed cards, developed skits, poems and messages which were shared during Shlenker Chesed Week. Chesed cards were shared whenever students experienced or witnessed kind actions and words.Wednesdays at Shlenker are No Place for Hate t-shirt days. This year, a contest was held and students were encouraged to submit their designs for a new t-shirt representing what No Place for Hate means to them. Some of their powerful messages included: “Peace is always the answer,” “Close the book on hate,” “Hate just doesn’t fit in” and “Life is too short to fight.”
Our fifth grade students are currently working on a video as their graduation legacy to Shlenker. They have chosen to highlight the song “Send It On.” The message clearly represents the No Place for Hate philosophy that we must all continually build an environment of inclusion and acceptance.
“There's power in all of the choices we make.
So I'm starting now. There's not a moment to waste”