‘One Campus’ Campaign Announced at Annual Dinner. The snow was piled high on the ground, but that did not stop more than 500 people from celebrating the achievements of the honorees at the annual dinner of Shulamith School for Girls, on motzaei Shabbat, January 4 at Temple Beth El in Cedarhurst. Shulamith continues to grow on Long Island, educating hundreds of children beginning with its highly successful preschool program and continuing through the eighth grade. When the dinner guests arrived, they had no idea that they were about to learn about some very exciting news about the future of Shulamith.
Mrs. Robyn Lipsky was awarded Educator of the Year in acknowledgment of the wonderful start she gives Shulamith’s nursery talmidot. Sisters-in-law Mrs. Elana Fertig and Mrs. Tova Fruchter jointly received the Shalshelet HaDorot Award, which celebrated 60 years of their family members attending Shulamith. Parents of the Year Rabbi Ari and Mrs. Deborah Rockoff were recognized for their efforts on Shulamith’s new Parents’ Council and their remarkable professional achievements on behalf of the Jewish community.
A surprise announcement was made during the dinner program. Everyone watched the members of Shulamith’s Capital Campaign Committee provide a video tour of what will be the new, united campus for Shulamith School for Girls. The campus, which will be located in Inwood, will be a state-of-the-art home for Shulamith’s existing grades and allow for the creation and development of a new Shulamith High School. With a planned opening in September 2015, Shulamith’s students will be able to enter the campus as they learn to read and write, and remain on one campus through twelfth grade, developing lifelong friendships and learning with teachers who live the values of Shulamith.
The chairman of the “One Campus Campaign” is Shulamith Board Member Moshe Pilevsky. Joining him on the capital campaign committee, which is still in formation, are Elisheva Baum, Jeff Eisenberg, Elliot D. Ganchrow, Adina Goldstein, Benjy Goldstein, Dov Hertz, Elizabeth Kurtz, Racheli Laufer, and David Sokol. At the dinner, Shulamith’s president, Ari Cohen, announced the appointment of Rabbi Richard Bieler—a veteran of more than 30 years of securing financial support for major projects in the Jewish community, and a Shulamith grandparent—as the campaign’s director. The members of the committee and Rabbi Bieler can be reached at email@example.com.
Tu B’Shevat Fair. What do you get when you mix a little science and nutrition education with the shivat ha’minim and trees? An awesome Tu B’Shevat fair!
At the Shulamith School for Girls Lower Division, teachers and parent volunteers put together an unforgettable Tu B’Shevat total sensory experience. Focusing on science and nutrition, the students in grades 1–4 spent time tasting, touching, smelling, seeing, and hearing about the shivat ha’minim.
The students participated in seven separate activity exhibits, for the minim and trees. Starting with the sense of taste, students sampled and voted for their favorite honey from among these exotic varieties: orange blossom, clover, mesquite, blueberry, and date syrup. The clear winner was blueberry honey, receiving over 70 votes. Date syrup, while delicious, was an acquired taste. It came in at last place. Fascinating video presentations of how honey is made and how dates are harvested were available for viewing. A sample of a real honeycomb was also at the honey station for the students to inspect. Many of the girls were amazed at how each of the cells is shaped like a hexagon. “I didn’t know bees knew geometry,” said one enthusiastic first-grader.
Next came the fig investigation. With magnifying lenses, the girls inspected the figs for bugs; the teachers were happy to report that none were found! They also compared the seeds in size, shape, and color to the seeds of the pomegranate.
More popular than grape juice—and perhaps more fun to make—some fresh-squeezed pomegranate juice was made by the girls, using rolling pins to press the pomegranate seeds. Pomegranates, they learned, are high in antioxidants. More important, they are delicious. Some of the students even tried to count the seeds to see if there are truly 613. A valiant attempt was made, but most gave up to nibble on the seeds instead.
Many students were enlightened to the process of making olive oil by a fantastic video from the show How It’s Made. From the growth of the trees and harvesting and sorting of the olives, to the pressing and bottling of the oil, each step was explained in five minutes. Oils, including olive oil, play an important role in our health. Aside from giving us soft skin, shiny hair, and lubricated joints, fats and oils help keep us warm by insulating our nerves. To prove this, the students tested out a “blubber glove.” By placing one hand in a plastic bag “glove” insulated with oil and the other hand in a plastic bag without insulation into an ice bath, the girls had to predict which one would keep them warmer. They also learned that arctic animals keep warm with a layer of blubber under their skins.
Barley—not the egg barley pasta, but the actual grain—was available to taste, smell, and touch. Students in grades three and four learned that when barley, as well as grape juice and flour, is mixed with yeast, fermentation takes place. To show how yeast cells give off gas during the process, they had the yeast cells blow up balloons!
To highlight the min of chittah, wheat, the girls engaged in the most creative activity—making pasta from scratch. Assistant teacher and nutrition specialist Sarah Miller and parent volunteers helped the girls mix a little wheat flour, eggs, olive oil, and water—and presto, pasta! Then they rolled out and cut shapes from the pasta dough. The girls took home fresh pasta that cooks in three minutes.
Often, the chag ha’ilanot is overshadowed by the shivat ha’minim. Shulamith made sure not to forget the importance of the trees. At the fair, the girls were given tree trunk samples to determine how old the tree was and what kind of weather conditions it had during the years. Prior to the event, all the classes had science lessons about the purpose of trees in our environment: as a shelter for animals, a resource for humans as providers of food, materials, and oxygen, and a necessity to preserve the earth from erosion. To further emphasize and celebrate trees, the classic book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and the movie Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax were presented to the students. Even though these were familiar stories, they were more meaningful when tied to Tu B’Shevat. v