Message from Matt
I am immensely pleased to announce that yesterday afternoon, October 29th, Rashi purchased from Hebrew SeniorLife the land on which our new and permanent home will be built.  At the same time, Rashi secured financing  from Century Bank that will enable construction to begin immediately. The bank's willingness to approve the financing, particularly during these challenging economic times, speaks to the strength of our institution and the generosity of our donors. We are extremely grateful to the extraordinary leadership of our Capital Campaign -- parents Jill Goldenberg, Jon Sandler and Lisa Wallack, as well as our Director of Development, Barbara Gold.
While many people have contributed to this success, special recognition goes to Board members Janet Aserkoff, Kim Rubin, Ron Golub and our Director of Finance and Operations, Barbara Ross for their tireless and superb work leading up to the closing. All of us are deeply indebted to them, to parent Murray Sackman, and to our counsel Rashi parent Frank Litwin for skillfully navigating us through this process.

This is the end of the beginning, and now we move on to the next phase! I just want to remind you about the two events celebrating our move: on Friday, November 7 all the students, and we hope many parents, will visit the site, and on Monday evening, November 10, we will have a community forum to discuss the transition.

Matt King

A Full Week in Tzofim

Finally, a full week of school! As much as we all enjoy the fall holidays, I know that students, teachers, and parents are glad to return to the routines and schedules that were set back in September. Despite the lack of consistency in our schedule, students have accomplished a great deal in the time they have been in school.  This week I would like to offers a window into Tzofim classrooms so you can learn about culminating activities in our division.  Special thanks to the authors: Dave Rosenberg, fourth graders Odessa Elmore, Noah Riley, and Bella Pucker; and Katrina Knudson for their submissions this week.
gr 3 family edThis Wednesday, the Third Grade concluded its study of the Jewish calendar with a family education program. For the past month in science, students have been learning about the moon and its cycle. This study included integrated lessons about how the lunar cycle relates to the Jewish calendar. At Wednesday's program, families learned about the history of the Jewish and Gregorian calendars; afterwards, they broke into twelve groups. Each group focused on one of the twelve Jewish months. Families studied about their months and painted colorful images on a wedge of a circle to represent the characteristics of their month. The twelve wedges were then reassembled to create a Jewish calendar. Feel free to stop by the cafeteria to see this beautiful final product.
On Monday, Eve's grade 4 class went to Blue Hills. Fourth grader Odessa Elmore reports: "I saw so many weather instruments, including weather vanes, anemometers, and thermometers. I learned that Blue Hills has been measuring weather for 123 years. That means since 1885. I also learned that a meteorologist is a person who studies about weather so that he/she can be a weather forecaster. One more thing that I learned was that a kite was the first weather instrument to be made. Blue Hills is the oldest observatory still here in New England! I loved Blue Hills!"
Classmate Noah Riley wrote: I loved everything at Blue Hill Observatory (except the bees). I loved the instruments, especially the old fashioned ones. They had a history room where they had tools and records from over 100 years! We even got to go to the top of the observatory where we saw the coolest instruments and if we looked south we could see for miles! We built amazing kites and had an awesome scavenger hunt. But bees were swarming everywhere!  It was one of the best field trips I've ever had!"
Bella Pucker also noted: "After I got off the bus I found myself swimming with bees that migrated from Canada.  I was surprised, I never knew bees could migrate.  Inside the Blue Hills Observatory we split up into groups and then went to our first station. While studying the room, we filled out the worksheets. Then we moved on to the tower where we saw anemometers and wind vanes. An anemometer measures wind speed while the wind vanes measure the direction of the wind. In other stations, we saw barometers.  Barometers measure air pressure.  I learned how to use a lot of weather instruments that real weather reporters use."
Fifth graders concluded their study of prehistory; this unit served as a foundation for an upcoming study of Mesopotamia. Students read prehistory articles from a variety of sources and worked to develop their skills in note-taking, highlighting, and citing the sources of their research. Students learned about the importance of tools, the shift from nomads to farmers, and the development of culture, and recorded these key points in a variety of ways. For the final project, students were invited to choose one of four different activities based upon educational research about differentiated instruction. Each activity -- writing a "choose your own adventure" story, completing a journal entry from the point of view of a prehistoric child, creating a poster for a conference, and writing a position paper -- provided a different way to approach the material and demonstrate understanding. Children were able to choose their projects based on interest, yet all projects accomplished the same goal of demonstrating what students had learned about the pivotal importance of tools in the prehistoric period.
Amy Gold, Division Director 
Rashi Bullying Prevention Program: Year Two
Bullying prevention continues to be a high priority at Rashi. This year, we have decided to focus on the development of three key areas of our program: 1) implementation of our school-wide bullying prevention policy; 2) classroom instruction; and 3) parent outreach. The Rashi bullying prevention committee developed school-wide bullying prevention rules during the 2007-2008 school year. The rules are visible in every classroom, as well as the hallways, cafenasium, and playground. We hope you have had a chance to see them on various bright yellow posters during your school visits! These rules are one component of our policy. The remaining pieces represent our commitment to intervention. When our staff observes or is informed of a bullying incident, we intervene by following a set of steps to investigate the incident, address and identify the behavior, speak with parents, and issue appropriate consequences.
This year, classroom instruction related to bullying prevention will emphasize character education. We have selected three specific themes: 1) perspective taking or empathy; 2) difference and discrimination; and 3) courage and assertiveness. Teachers are taking time once a month during Olim and Tzofim classroom meetings and Na'arim Gar'in sessions to deliver the lessons. Teachers will also make connections to each lesson across the curriculum.
The parent subcommittee will continue to meet regularly to discuss helpful ways to provide information to our Rashi parent body about bullying prevention. One project will be a quarterly article in the Daf Kesher that will focus on ways for parents to support the character education that is taking place in the classrooms through conversations, suggested reading and other activities.
If you have any questions about the bullying prevention program, please contact Meredith Cohen.

Nurse's Notes

It is that time of year when it is necessary to take action to protect you and your loved ones from the flu. The flu is a very contagious infection of the nose, throat, and lungs that is caused by influenza virus. It is easily passed from one person to another by coughing and sneezing. The flu usually starts very suddenly with fever, headache, muscle aches and general weakness and extreme fatigue. Flu is a serious illness that can result in severe consequences for children, especially those with underlying medical problems.

So what can you do to prevent the flu? Most importantly, take time to get a flu vaccine and have your child/children vaccinated too. Public Health recommendations this year are that all children ages 6 months through 18 years receive the flu vaccine. In addition, simple, everyday preventive actions will offer protection. These include, frequent hand washing with soap and warm water; staying home when sick; coughing/sneezing into a tissue and not into your hands and try to avoid close contact with sick people.

For information about the flu vaccine, and to determine there are no contraindications to you or your child receiving the flu vaccine, contact your PCP and your child's PCP. You can also visit the City of Newton website at - click "departments", then Health/ Human Services and click immunizations. Here you should be able to find information about flu clinics in Newton and throughout the state.

As always, you can contact the Health Office at the Rashi School if you have any questions.
Mary Beth Stone, School Nurse 

It's Not Too Late!!!!!
Saturday, November 15
Pine Manor College
Honor our 2008 Kehillah Award recipients Marcy and Bob Haber
Enjoy an evening filled with good friends, great music, delicious food and drink
Sneak Peek of Some Live Auction Items: 
    Dinner party prepared in your home by
world class chef Lydia Shire
    Fabulous trip to Montreal in a private plane and
two nights at the W Hotel
     4 Celtics Seats and a personal visit from Lucky!

Sneak Peek of Silent Auction Items:
Theater tickets, BSO seats, Celtics tickets, one of kind pieces of art, and gift certificates from your favorite retailers and service providers
A great way to support Rashi's Annual Campaign and to have fun with old friends and meet new ones!
Please join us!
If you would like to attend, RSVP to by Friday, October 31.

CJP Acharai Leadership Development Program
Each year, Rashi receives funding from Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP). Founded in 1895, CJP is the oldest federated philanthropy in the U.S. and has a long history of caring for people in need, preserving Jewish learning and culture, providing educational opportunities, supporting Israel, and rescuing Jews around the world.

In addition to raising and allocating funds, CJP is committed to developing the next generation of Jewish leaders. Its Acharai program is an intensive two-year leadership development program that prepares a select group of opinion-leaders and decision-makers to transform CJP and our community in future years.

We are very proud to note that of the 20 members of the current Acharai class, five are Rashi parents. They are Cindy Janower, President of our Board of Trustees; Dana Gershon, Vice President; David Aronoff, Treasurer; Lynda Bussgang, Trustee, and Luis Vidal, member of the Campaign for Rashi Cabinet.

Together with their Acharai classmates, they are currently participating in a CJP mission to Poland and Israel, where they are visiting places of importance to the past, present, and future of the Jewish community; meeting with international Jewish leaders, and getting a first-hand look at the issues facing the Jewish homeland.
According to CJP, "Acharai graduates join the ranks of truly distinguished leaders whose talents, energy and commitment are vital to the well-being and future of our Jewish community."

AcharaiAt Independence Hall in Tel Aviv: CJP President Barry Shrage with Rashi parents Luis Vidal, Dana Gershon, Lynda Bussgang, Cindy Janower, and David Aronoff. Rashi is honored that such a high percentage of CJP's Acharai leadership group is connected to the Rashi School.

The group will return from their trip this Sunday, November 2, which also happens to be CJP's Super Sunday phone-a-thon. Super Sunday will be held both at the Leventhal-Sidman JCC in Newton (9:30 am- 2:00 pm, 4:00-7:00 pm) and at the Striar JCC in Stoughton (9:30 am-1:00 pm). To volunteer, visit or contact Patrick at or 617-457-8744. 
Join the Rashi Orchestra!

Students in grades 3-8 and/or their parents who are interested in joining the Rashi orchestra are encouraged to fill out the survey below and return to or to the mailbox of Kelly Hodge.
Kelly Hodge
Music Teacher

 Rashi Orchestra/Band Survey

1.   Name of family members interested in participating:

NAME                        GRADE                  INSTRUMENT

2.   Do you already have an instrument?  If yes, which type?

3.   Do you have extra instruments you would be willing to share with potential orchestra members?  If yes, which type?

4.   How many years of playing experience do you/your children have?

5.    Based on responses, rehearsals will take place either before school or after school, once a week.  Please indicate below your best times to rehearse by numbering three choices 1 - 3, 1 being the best.

DAY                            BEFORE SCHOOL     AFTER SCHOOL

Monday _______         _____________        ___________ 
Tuesday_______         _____________         ___________

Wednesday_______      ____________          ___________

Thursday________       ____________          ___________

Friday__________        ____________          ___________

October 30, 2008/1 Heshvan 5769
Gr. 3 Luach project
gr3 fe

Third graders create calendar wedges depicting the months of the Hebrew calendar. See Tzofim article at right for more details.
In This Issue
Message from Matt
A Full Week in Tzofim
Bullying Prevention
Nurse's Notes
Martinis on Miami Beach
CJP Acharai Program
Coming Up
Nov. 2
Admissions Open House
1-3 pm

CJP Super Sunday
Nov. 3
Gift Card orders due 

Nov. 4
Civics Day

Nov. 7
Rashi Students visit "Rashi on the Charles, 2010" site

Nov. 10
Community Forum for Parents: "Rashi on the Charles, 2010"
7 pm
Nov. 12
Gr. 8 parents and students Israel trip meeting, 8:10 am
Gr. 5 Family Education 8:15- 9:45 am in the cafenasium

Please check the website calendar regularly for all updates and changes!


This week, we were thrilled to welcome Rabbi Joel Sisenwine from Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley as our first guest in the new "Rabbis at Rashi" discussion series.  Rabbi Sisenwine discussed "What is Reform Judaism?" with seventh graders and Rashi parents.

He asked students first to identify differences they might notice between Reform and Orthodox services, creating a list, and then turned to the issue of where and when Reform Judaism began.  

Rabbi Sisenwine linked the beginning of the reforms to the Revolutionary War in this country and the beginning of the Enlightenment in Europe.  Jews, he explained, had previously all lived in ghetti in Europe and were considered "just" Jews - they didn't share in the rights enjoyed by other citizens such as the choice of work, where to live or where to go to school.  Jews at that time began trying to determine, both here and abroad, how they could be both citizens of the countries in which they lived AND Jewish.  The Reform movement was one way to begin to answer those questions, and Rabbi Sisenwine outlined several ways in which some of the "new" reforms actually traced their origins back to ancient Judaism.  He addressed some of the reforms and linked them back to the differences between traditional and Reform Jewish services that the students had enumerated at the outset.

The "Rabbis at Rashi" series will continue with Rabbi Sharon Clevenger on Tuesday, December 2, 2008.  All Rashi parents are warmly invited to join this informal, informative and warm conversation with Rabbi Clevenger. If you have any questions, please contact Rabbi Ellen Pildis or Marjorie Freiman.
Grade 6 Family Education
Last Friday, sixth graders and their parents - nearly 120 people - joined together to study the nature of holiness as outlined in the Torah portion Kedoshim ("You shall be holy") from Vayikra (Leviticus). Chapter 19 of Leviticus sets forth more than 20 commandments, some of which are restatements of the Ten Commandments from Exodus. Participants looked at many of those verses to try to understand the intent of the commandments as originally written and their application today.

Sophisticated questions prompted discussion among students and parents as they applied current situations to the ancient commandments.

The groups were given a pair of Mitzvah Guru Danny Siegel's "Mitzvah Cards" cards with random nouns on them, and asked if they could think of ways "to be holy" using the ideas on those cards, and whether those actions could be linked back to the Torah portion. Here is an example of how the brainstorming worked, with ideas from one table:

Pen and Juggle:

1.  Teach a homeless person to write (with the pen) and how to write an application letter to a clown school.  Once the person is admitted, becomes a clown and learns to juggle, he or she can apply to the circus or elsewhere for a job and become self-sufficient.

2.  Write flyers with the pen to hold fundraisers with clowns who juggle for children who are ill.

3.  Send clowns to a hospital to juggle and entertain patients and book their appearances with the pen.

4.  Have clowns juggle, and then hand out, pens that are stamped with logos such as "Feed the Hungry" or "Help the Homeless".
Applications for siblings applying for September, 2009, are being mailed to your home. If you do not receive an application, please contact Anne Puchkoff at We are requesting that all sibling applications be submitted to the Admissions Office by Friday, November 21.

Do you know what WOMA means? If not, it means Word of Mouth Advertising. We need all Rashi parents to join the Admissions Team! Please spread the word about Rashi. Tell everyone about our upcoming Open Houses for new prospective parents on
 Sunday, November 2 at 1:00 pm.
Thank you!
Adrienne Frechter
and Anne Puchkoff

Community News
Zachor: An Exploration of Jewish Memory - adult education course taught by Abigail Gillman at Temple Emanuel. Course begins Wed., Nov. 5, and runs for 6 weeks (Nov. 5, 12, 19, Dec. 3, 10, 17), 7-8:30 pm. Course fee is $60. For registration contact Terri Swartz Russell, Family Educator (tswartzrussell@, or 617-558-8105).

Fiesta Sepharad, a high-spirited concert featuring world-renowned performer, musicologist and composer, Ramón Tasat, Sat., Nov. 8, 7:30 pm, at Temple Emanuel. Accompanying Hazzan Tasat will be his Fiesta Sepharad Trio, in an evening of joyful songs in Hebrew, Ladino and Aramaic which represent the rich tapestry of songs from the Mediterranean and Middle East. Adults: $20 ($25 at the door).  Students: $10 ($15 at the door).  For more information and tickets call 617/558-8100, or visit

The Rashi School, Boston Area Reform Jewish Day School          15 Walnut Park, Newton, MA 02458  ˇ  617-969-4444 
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