Chanukah festivities. Each year, the students and faculty of Shulamith Middle Division look forward to Chanukah and the chance to celebrate the chag together. The days of Chanukah are filled with joy, fun-filled activities, inspiring communal tefillot, and tasty treats!
The annual Chanukah chagigah took place on Thursday, December 18, the second day of Chanukah. Baila Caller, the energetic dance instructor of Jewmba fame, had the girls in Shulamith jumping, twirling, and spinning around the room. Glow sticks, accessories, and even swords for the “Maccabim and Yevanim” added to the excitement. Teachers, students, and guests from Kulanu united in lighting up the dance floor with achdut and ruach.
Upon returning from vacation, on Tuesday, December 23, the G.O. treated students to a scrumptious breakfast in honor of the seventh day of Chanukah and Rosh Chodesh Tevet. Students watched an exciting new Chanukah music video and a moving video in which Holocaust survivors spoke in Ivrit about their mesirat nefesh in lighting Chanukah candles in the most trying circumstances. Next, the G.O., Sela Pollak, Rachelli Wasser, Eliana Eichler, and Tamar Davies performed a song written especially for the occasion. Divrei Torah were then offered by eighth-grader Dvora Golombeck and sixth-graders Shoshana Brunner and Chaya Malka Bokow.
After breakfast, students from the sixth and eighth grades traveled to the Long Island Living Center to bring some Chanukah joy to the residents. They gave out Chanukah cards, chatted, and sang, bringing smiles to many faces.
Chanukah culminated on the eighth day with an astounding display of creative energy. A few weeks before Chanukah, the G.O. had announced a contest called, “Do You Wanna Build a…?” Students responded by building artistic menorahs, dreidels, and more. Each visitor to the display had the opportunity to vote for her favorite creations, but there were so many wonderful entries that it was hard to decide. When the votes were tallied, the winners were announced. The grand-prize winner was Hana Adler of eighth grade for her funky “Beauty Shop” menorah. First place was awarded to fifth-graders Hadassah Chait and Tamar Infergen for their colored-bottle menorah that glowed! The second-place winner was fifth grader Leah Weiss for her traditional and beautiful gold menorah crafted from paper towel rolls. The third place ended in a tie between eighth-graders Tamar Herschberg and Dani Prero who cleverly created a menorah from a banana, and fifth graders Elisheva Feinberg, Shira Mintz, and Rina Wiseman who made a giant gold gift-wrapped dreidel.
In addition to all of these in-school activities, each class enjoyed a Chanukah party sometime over the chag, hosted by their mechanchot. The affection that the students and teachers share with one another is a heartwarming part of the Shulamith Middle Division experience.
By Arielle Lipsky
On Monday, December 29, Literacy Week began in the Middle Division of Shulamith School for Girls. The week was jam-packed with events celebrating reading and writing. Under the guidance of Rachel Steiner, director of student activities, Alexandra Anthony headed a group of dedicated eighth graders who masterminded many of the fun-filled activities.
The week kicked off on Monday with a character dress-up day. Students and teachers dressed as their favorite literary characters, and the halls came alive! Girls dressed up with friends or on their own. The characters who wandered the school included Thing One and Thing Two, Peter Pan, Harry Potter, Tom Sawyer, and many others. The event was a smashing success.
On Monday, they also had a spelling bee. In the weeks before the school-wide bee, class spelling bees were held, and two winners from each class went on to represent their peers in Monday’s competition. Fifth-grade winners were Miriam Abittan, Aviv Amar, Sabrina Graff, Ariella Katz, Shira Mintz, and Haley Rosenberg. Representing the sixth grade were Shaked Harari, Rose Hecht, Jenny Lifshitz, Bailey Shapiro, Esther Rella Robinson, and Bryna Stern. Rivka Bennun, Eliana Eichler, Miri Granik, and Noa Harari won the seventh-grade class bees, while Miri Biderman, Channa Gelbtuch, Eliana Hirsch, Sari Lifshitz, Rena Seidemann, and Kayla Wienerkur were the eighth-grade winners.
The competition was fierce, and the spellers were impressive, but after multiple rounds, Haley Rosenberg emerged victorious in the fifth- and sixth-grade bee, and Rivka Bennun was the winner on the seventh- and eighth-grade level.
On Tuesday, the competitive spirit was still in the air, as Shulamith held its first ever Poetry Slam. All students had a chance to enter a poem. After much contemplation, a group of girls were chosen to compete. The custom for official Poetry Slams is that audience members snap their fingers in lieu of applauding poems, but in Shulamith, the students got toy hand-clappers to applaud the poems they enjoyed. The poems were wide-ranging in style, and the poets each did a masterful job of reading their poems. With so many wonderful entries, the Slam ended in a three-way tie for first place. Fifth-grader Tehilla Ostroff, seventh-grader Marsha Joseph, and eighth-grader Sari Moskowitz shared top honors. The second-place winner was sixth-grader Sara Stein, and third place was awarded to seventh-grader Rachel Sandler.
Tuesday afternoon also brought with it the opportunity for students to visit the Book Fair. Thanks to dedicated parent volunteers Lisa Abittan and Rachel Laufer for once again planning, ordering, organizing, and selling an assortment of quality literature.
Students had a chance to enjoy literacy workshops on Wednesday. The fifth-graders heard from Mr. Chaim Schneider, parent of Shulamith fourth-grader Ilana. As an employee of Judaica Press, Mr. Schneider is well-acquainted with the book publishing process and explained to the students every step a book takes from the time an author conceives of an idea until it is in the hands of the consumer. The sixth- and seventh-graders were treated to a creative and thought-provoking workshop by Mrs. Chaya Sara Stark, a published writer, speaker, and dance instructor. She had the students engage in a variety of activities that had them wondering what a “World Without Words” might be like. Finally, Mr. David Seidemann, a lawyer, columnist, and parent of eighth-grader Rena Seidemann, spoke to the eighth graders about different tools and tricks he uses in his writing. Among other things, Mr. Seidemann explained how he uses humor and showed how he connects many real-life situations to the parashah or chag to create his columns.
Literacy Week concluded on Thursday with a visit by Rabbi David Fohrman from Alpha-Beta. His presentation was most fitting for Asarah B’Tevet, as he showed the students a beautiful video about how we can speak to Hashem in our lives without prophecy. He explained Yosef’s story and how he was able to understand Pharoah’s dream. Rabbi Fohrman inspired with his message of how easy it is to see and hear Hashem in our lives.
Literacy Week was a time to bring reading to life. Children all over the world say how boring it is to read, but it is reading that makes us smarter and is the key to a successful future.