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12 Shevat 5782

January 14, 2022

Dear ICJA Family:

This morning we celebrated another siyum in the daf yomi cycle. Rabbi Rosenbaum finished learning mesechet megillah with more than 30 students in attendance. This is the third siyum we’ve made as part of the daf yomi cycle, and we’re doing this not only to celebrate the learning that people do outside of school but also to connect our students with the daf yomi program. Special thanks to the Masliansky family for sponsoring the refreshments in memory of Joseph and Tzippora Masliansky, z”l. 

A couple of nights ago, a very familiar figure was in the building – Mr. David Newman. Until a few years ago, Mr. Newman WAS everyone’s biology teacher (including mine!), and even after he retired, he keeps in touch. But most importantly, he volunteers his time to keep our HAM radio club up and running. 

HAM radio is a great way to learn about electronics, communications, and even Morse code! And it’s not too late to join the club. They meet every Wednesday from 5:00 – 6:00 pm in the HAM radio room (inside the biology lab). If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Newman at bioguy@juno.com.

I’m happy to report that Rabbi Myers is out of the hospital and in rehab, and his spirits remain high, and he’s looking forward to coming back to ICJA very soon!

Don’t forget about the special presentations this Monday. At the beginning of the 2nd period (9:46 am), Rabbi Simcha Willig will be speaking to our students about Tu Bishvat. Rabbi Willig is an instructor at Yeshiva University, a Rebbe at Frisch, the summer rabbi at the Jewish Center of Atlantic Beach, a member of the rabbinic team at Keter Torah in Teaneck, NJ, and a great speaker!

Later on Monday, at 1:30 pm, Rev. Roger Cheeks will be speaking with our students about Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Rev. Cheeks is the Senior Director of Outreach for International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, and he helped us create a special unit in our US history class on the Jewish-African American relationship.

These sessions will be on the same zoom link – click here, and parents are invited to join!

We wish a refuah shlaima to Josh Paskoff, who has COVID.

On Sunday, don’t forget that the following sporting events are taking place: Wrestling Practice (7:30 am),  Fencing Practice (9:00 am), Girls Varsity Basketball Practice (9:00 am), Boys JV Basketball Practice (2:00 pm), Boys Varsity Basketball Practice (4:15 pm) and Girls JV Basketball Practice (7:00). 

Which looks impressive – but is a regular Sunday sports schedule at ICJA!

Candle lighting tonight is at 4:23 pm. 

Shabbat shalom, stay safe, stay connected, and stay inspired!

B’vracha,

LAM

Rabbi Leonard A. Matanky, Ph.D.

Dean, Ida Crown Jewish Academy 


11 Shevat 5782

January 13, 2022

Dear ICJA Family:

If you haven’t noticed, there is a direct correlation between how busy of a day I had and the time that this update gets sent. On typical days (are there any typical days in a high school?), I can generally find the 30-45 minutes to compose this letter. But when the day is hectic, this update gets delayed. In fact, you can almost measure “how busy” by when this update is sent.

So what was different about today?

Well, several students were out because of the after-effects of the vaccine (refuah shlaima!). And unfortunately, Mrs. Zeffren has COVID (refuah shlaima!), and we needed to get a sub. And Rabbi Fox and Mrs. Pogonitz were both out because of cold-like symptoms (refuah shlaima!), and we needed to get subs. And there was another Town Hall meeting. And there was a special presentation for the seniors. And there was the regular excitement of another great day at ICJA.

But all is good – and in fact, it was great to welcome back Mr. Cooper, who is feeling fine and walked his AP US history through all the territories owned by the U.S. It took the class some time, but they eventually figured out that all those territories now have red, white, and blue flags (Hawaii, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, Philippines, Panama). Nice job, Hadassah Bernstein, for spotting that! 

And the town hall was a much-needed opportunity to speak with the 9th-grade girls. There are some issues I need to look into – everything from testing days to the cafeteria menu, but I am impressed with the girls and the way they took this meeting seriously.

But the highlight of my day was listening to Yossi Klein Halevi talk about his experiences, resulting from writing his book “Letters to a Palestinian Neighbor.” But also that led up to writing it. He spoke of his early involvement in the Soviet Jewry Movement, in the JDL, and how making aliyah helped shape his views. Kol hakavod to Gavriel Engel, Jonah Matanky, Eliyahu Malkin, and Ari Baral for their questions.

On Monday, we will have two speakers – Rabbi Simcha Willig will be speaking at the beginning of the second period about Tu Bishvat, and Rev Roger Cheeks will be speaking in the afternoon in honor of MLK Day.

Tomorrow we will skip 3rd period, and periods 10, 11, and 12 will meet. Candle lighting is at 4:23 pm.

Stay safe, stay connected, and stay inspired!

B’vracha,

LAM

Rabbi Leonard A. Matanky, Ph.D.

Dean, Ida Crown Jewish Academy 


10 Shevat 5782

January 12, 2022

Dear ICJA Family:

It’s been a busy day, and as usual, so much has happened that it’s hard to know where to start.

But instead of starting at the beginning, let me go back to last night and congratulate the Lady Aces on their win against Deerfield. Our JV played their freshman team and won in double overtime, and our SV played against their JV and won. (Their SV is among the top-ranked teams in Illinois… so we didn’t want to embarrass them just in case we won 😊.)

Also, last night our Entrepreneur Club had 20 students online for their inaugural event! Kol hakavod!

And finally, last night, we got word that three of our students were chosen by JUF to be part of this year’s cohort of “18 Under 18.” Congratulations to Laura Bellows, Ilan Blumenthal, and Kayla Kupietzky – we are very proud of your accomplishments, but even more so of your service to others! For more about this honor – click here http://www.juf.org/springboard/18-Under-18-Honorees-2021.aspx.

This afternoon not only did we have the vaccine clinic, but there was the first sign-up for this year’s production of “ICJA Takes the Stage.” It’s been two years since the girls at ICJA have had a chance to highlight their talents in music, dance, and fashion – but we are gearing up for a great program.

More than 70 girls signed up to be involved in this program that will take place in April at the school. It’s going to be great – and we are so excited that our student chairs are Dini Robinson and Laura Bellows and that in addition, the involvement of our mechanchot, ICJA alum and staff member, Carolyn Soffer, will be managing all of the details and ICJA alum Talia Molotsky has joined our team to direct and coordinate this production!

Unfortunately, I was holed up in my office for much of the day in meetings, so I didn’t get into classrooms. But in those meetings, I did get to see some of the things for which we should be so very proud. There was a meeting trying to find the best ways to help a student with learning differences, a meeting with lay leadership and JUF regarding finances of ICJA, a meeting with a candidate for our Kollel, and even a meeting to plan for the onboarding of a new staff member.

All were necessary and reminded me of what makes our school so exceptional – the talent we have in our building and in our community that continues to come together to make our school better and our impact on students stronger.

Tomorrow during 6th period, our MJH classes will have a unique online session with noted author Yossi Klein Halevi. He will be speaking with them about his book “Letter to My Palestinian Neighbor,” which they studied in Rabbi Rosen and Rabbi Simkovitch’s classes. 

Tomorrow we will also have a 9th-grade girls’ Town Hall meeting during 4th period.

Refuah shlaima to Nava Dreyster and to the other students recovering from COVID.

And finally, just a few moments ago, I spoke with Rabbi Myers. His surgery was successful, and he had already taken his first steps. But he still needs our tefillot for a refuah shlaima. Please continue to daven for HaRav Michael Avraham ben Sarah Devorah.

Stay safe, stay connected, and stay inspired!

B’vracha,

LAM

Rabbi Leonard A. Matanky, Ph.D.

Dean, Ida Crown Jewish Academy 


9 Shevat 5782

January 11, 2022

Dear ICJA Family:

The best part of my job is visiting classes and watching inspired teachers and students learn Torah together. And that’s what I got to do first thing this morning in both Rabbi Gross’ and Rabbi Broner’s Talmud classes.

Rabbi Gross’ class was 9th-grade boys honors, and he was working with them on understanding the difference between a “diyuk” and a “kal v’chomer.” And the way he did it was via a Mishna they were learning and a chart on his smartboard. Giving the boys just one piece of information, he had them go through an exercise of how much more they could just from that information. And they were an impressive group – especially Meir Zayan, Aidan Zukerman, Ami Czako, Yaakov Friedman – as they filled in the chart with the halachot of when it’s permitted to interrupt saying Shma.

And then, I walked over to Rabbi Broner’s 12th-grade honors Talmud class. They are learning Bava Metzia, and in learning about the obligation to give tzedakah, Rabbi Broner posed a fascinating question for them to consider. The question was – if a person didn’t have any money with them but was approached by a poor person, would they be obligated to charge their credit card to give tzedakah?

And the answer is not so easy, as Noam Weisman and Gavriel Engel discovered. Since, on the one hand, charging a credit card is equivalent to taking a loan, and does someone have to take a loan to give tzedakah? And on the other hand, if they had money at home to cover the charge, is it still considered a loan? And that’s just the beginning of the issue.

What a great way to start the day.

Tonight is the first meeting of the Entrepreneurship Club – 7:30 in Mr. Cooper’s zoom room: http://zoom.us/j/5948729726?pwd=eFdGVktpeFdOUm95L2JiNXJydXRGdz09. The club co-chairs, Ben Boyarskiy, Josh Kupietzky, and Matthew Schreiber, are hoping for a great turnout. I hope you’ll join and learn about the basics of entrepreneurship and the process of how to create a business pitch. 

Today we learned that two more of our students were diagnosed with COVID, and we wish a refuah shlaima to Dini Robinson and Moshe Osgood! Remember, if you’re not feeling well – don’t come to school and get a COVID test.

Tomorrow is our booster clinic, and over 50 students are signed up! Thanks to CareOne Pharmacy and ICJA alumni Seymour and Stan Gertz for making this possible. 

Finally, as I write this letter, Rabbi Myers is in surgery to repair his broken leg. Please continue to daven for HaRav Michael Avraham ben Sarah Devorah.

Tomorrow is an early dismissal day, and we skip 9th period.

Stay safe, stay connected, and stay inspired!

B’vracha,

LAM

Rabbi Leonard A. Matanky, Ph.D.

Dean, Ida Crown Jewish Academy 


8 Shevat 5782

January 10, 2022

Dear ICJA Family:

This morning, I began the next round of town hall meetings with the 9th-grade boys. The great news is that overall, they’re happy, and almost everyone is involved in some extra-curricular activity. Of course, they would prefer less homework (so would I!), but in general, their homework load is within our goals of less than two hours per night. 

But what did come up is a new challenge of COVID – the question of fully vaccinated who were exposed to someone who tested positive. Based on the latest CDC guidelines, a person exposed to COVID (i.e., being within six feet, unmasked, for 15 minutes or more) and is asymptomatic, when fully vaccinated (or boosted) within the past six months, is not required to quarantine at home. However, a person who is unvaccinated or vaccinated more than six months ago must home quarantine for a minimum of five days, and then after receiving a negative COVID test, return to school.

Unfortunately, nearly all of our underclassmen who are fully vaccinated are outside the six-month window. As a result, today, four students had to stay home and zoom in to their classes. 

This is yet another reason for our students to get their booster ASAP! It’s also the reason we have received an extension through tomorrow morning for people to sign up for our in-school clinic, click here. In addition, I am attaching a consent form that must be completed and either returned to the office or sent to our office manager, Ms. Eve Partouche epartouche@workerscompensationprofessionals.com

Yesterday, unfortunately, Rabbi Michael Myers slipped on the ice and is hospitalized with a broken leg and will be having surgery to repair the break. We, of course, wish him a refuah shlaima and ask everyone to have HaRav Michael Avraham ben Sarah Devorah in their prayers. Today I’ve spoken to him several times, his spirits are high, and he is looking forward to returning to school. But he will be out for at least a month.

When our teachers and staff found out about this, everyone was concerned and wanted to help. It’s what makes our ICJA family so special, and I thank them all, especially the following teachers who have agreed to sub for him – Rabbi Gutstein (1st period), Mrs. Aberman (2nd period), Rabbi Fliegelman (3rd period), Mrs. Kraft (4th period) and Dr. Brown (6th period). 

On a better happier note, earlier today, I received an email from Ori Wasserman about the upcoming Chess tournament at ICJA beginning on January 19. Over the past several years, under the watchful eye of Rabbi Menachem Rosenbaum, chess has become one of the favorite free-period pastimes at ICJA. You can always find students engrossed in a chess match in our Math-Science commons whenever there is a break. It’s fantastic, and I get a lot of nachat that this has become the largest sport at ICJA. 

To sign up for the tournament, click here by January 16 – http://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeoJqy5aVOYXT-EYMH5wh6wMbaBrDUvBAFYlNkIKedhru0OjQ/viewform?usp=sf_link. Teachers and students are invited to participate!

Stay safe, stay connected, and stay inspired!

B’vracha,

LAM

Rabbi Leonard A. Matanky, Ph.D.

Dean, Ida Crown Jewish Academy


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