8th Graders give significant gift to children with cancer

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By: Slater Torah Academy 8th Grade

Last week, we, the 8th grade of Slater Torah Academy went on our graduation trip to Florida. We had many fun trips, like segwaying, biking on the beach and going to an escape room. In order to go on the trip, we had to raise money, and in the end we raised over $4000! We raised money through a variety of activities including hot lunches and participation in bake sales. After raising all this money, our chaperone, Mushka Kazen advised us to give some of the money to an organization called Chai Lifeline.

Chai Lifeline helps families who have a family member with cancer. Not only do they help that family member, but they make programs for the siblings and support groups for the parents.

On the second day of our trip, we went to the Chai Lifeline office in Florida. There, we met with the director of Chai Lifeline of the Southeast, and some of the other staff. We presented them with a check for $500. As we went on a mini-tour of the office, the director showed us closets full of toys that are sent out to the families helped by Chai Lifeline, and she spoke to us about some of the programs they do, including a camp for the sick children, and a camp for children with illnesses or needs that prevent them from going to a regular camp. This was a very special experience. The feeling you get when you take a large portion of money that you earned through a year of hard work, and then give it to such an amazing organization as Chai Lifeline is indescribable.  


ISRAELI GENERAL VISITS SLATER TORAH ACADEMY

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Bentzi Gruber is a Brigadier General in the Israeli Defense Force who oversees 20,000 soldiers.  He is founder of "Chesed in the Field," a non-profit that brings together IDF reservists and chronically ill and disabled children for special events throughout the year, instilling the values of community and social responsibility in the hearts of thousands of soldiers.  Gen. Gruber also established "Ethics in the Field" to shatter myths and present the facts missing in today's discussion of Israeli counter terrorism.

Bentzi Gruber addressed students of all ages at Slater Torah Academy this past Tuesday, as part of his trip to New Orleans for Amiel Bakehillah, a program sponsored by the Jewish Endowment Foundation in partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Diaspora affairs. 

Some students brought in photos of their relatives who have served in the IDF to show the general and to make the discussion more personal for our young students. 

We are grateful for this program that has brought many Israeli visitors to our school throughout the year including a chef, musician, artist and the head of United Hatzalah. These programs have helped bring a strong connection and pride to our students with Israeli culture and the land of Israel.

FIELD TRIP TO GROW DAT YOUTH FARM

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Grow Dat Youth Farm is a sustainable organic farm with the mission of teaching young people about growing healthy foods and making a difference for our environment. Our students visited Grow Dat on Lag Baomer. 

Students participated in two different programs. Our younger students participated in Birds and Bugs on the Bayou: Observing Organisms in Their Habitats. They learned about the benefits that various insects have for our environment. They observed bugs such as bees, ants and worms using magnifying glasses. 

Older students participated in Seed to Plate: The Story of Food. Students followed the journey of a vegetable that is currently in season on the farm. Throughout the field trip, hands-on experiences and photos invited student investigation into the differences between the industrial food system and sustainable farming at Grow Dat. They saw vegetables/fruit such as beets, lettuce, squash, carrots, potatoes, and clementines growing and were able to taste some of them. 

An interesting highlight for the students was learning about how horse manure is used at Grow Dat Youth Farm!

An Israeli Mother's Day

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This year, we had the unique opportunity to celebrate Mothers' Day and Israel Day together. Mothers and grandmothers were invited to school for a program marking this occasion.

The students performed songs for their mothers including the Hebrew song "Ima Yekara Sheli" (My special mother), and participated in baking a traditional Israeli cookie, Maamulim. Each family received their own ingredients to make a complete recipe. We played a trivia game about Israel called "Are you smarter than an Israeli mom?" where students at Slater Torah Academy competed with some of our moms from Israel answering questions like "What is the tallest mountain in Israel?" and "What currency is used in Israel?". 

At the end, we enjoyed an Israeli breakfast of salad, bagels and Shakshuka prepared by Lina Warshawski and Orit Naghi. 

D-Day Invasion Field Trip

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The World War 2 Museum here in New Orleans organized a virtual field trip on Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, marking 75 years since the D-day invasion. Schools from across the country joined a trip based out of the local landmark.

The field trip followed a few students as they traveled across the English Channel to Normandy, France following the path that 12 allied countries took when they invaded France on June 6, 1944. 

Our students were able to participate in answering poll questions and pose questions of our own. 

Teacher Appreciation Week

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This week, across the country, parents and schools showed gratitude to their hardworking teachers. At Slater Torah Academy, we planned a week of various gestures of thanks. 

Teacher appreciation week was kicked off with Starbucks coffee and personalized STA mugs from the school. The PTO provided breakfast for the staff on Tuesday and fruit on Wednesday. Students and parents were encouraged to write personal thank you cards and give a small token of appreciation on Wednesday and Thursday. 

Thank you to Orit Naghi, Ilanit Shargian, Sarah Nagar, Lina Warshawski and Rivkie Chesney for organizing this special week!

Project Based Learning about Passover

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While frontal teaching may have had its place many years ago, times have changed and we have learned as educators that the best way to engage students is through child centered activities. This new, child focused, way of teaching is one of the core values at Slater Torah Academy. 

As such, in getting ready for an important holiday like Passover, it was vital that the students were involved in a meaningful and personal manner. Elementary teachers worked with the students in their classes on individual and group projects. 

The students used information they learned in class from their teachers along with information gained from their online research to create individualized projects that demonstrated their new knowledge about Passover. Using chrome books to research online resources for project based learning is an invaluable skill that the students are learning.

Student projects included a snakes and ladder board game, a Passover Monopoly game, a video slideshow on the steps of the Seder, a jeopardy game and more! 

JPOA Students Experience Seder

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Jewish Preschool of the Arts students experienced a real Seder in school before the Passover break to get them ready for their own family Seders. Organized by their Judaic teachers and Morah Lina and led by Morah Libby Groner, the Seder was all about the children.

Pesach is a time where we focus on the children. The Mitzvah of Pesach is "V'higadeta L'vincha"- "And you should tell your children". The students at JPOA were well prepared having practiced and learned with their teachers in the weeks leading up to the Seder things like the Ma Nishtana, the 10 plagues and the steps of the Seder. 

We were proud to hear about our students who shared the Ma Nishtana beautifully with their families at the Seder and were able to follow along with the Hagaddah for Pesach. 

Chickadees Prepare for Pesach

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Dramatic play is an integral part of early childhood education. At Slater Torah Academy's Jewish Preschool of the Arts, we take dramatic play very seriously because we know that children learn best through play! Our JPOA classes change their dramatic play centers as the year progresses in order to teach important lessons through play. This type of play also empowers children, helping them to process and express their own thoughts about various experiences in their lives. Over the years, the Chickadees dramatic play center has been everything from a palace to a tent, a veterinarian office and a grocery store.

As the holiday of Pesach is around the corner, the Chickadees transformed their dramatic play center into a Matzah bakery complete with a special matzah oven, rolling pins, flour, water, aprons and hats. The students are having a great time baking their own Matzah. When they eat the Matzah at their Seders on Pesach, it will be an especially meaningful experience for them because of their experiences at Jewish Preschool of the Arts.

Super Sentences

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This week, 1st-2nd graders learned how to turn simple sentences into super sentences. The students tapped into their creative sides, brainstorming adjectives, verbs and details that would make a sentence shine. 

Together, the class used a writing guide and their ideas to create new amazing sentences. The students found the step-by-step process helpful and fun. They practiced writing exciting sentences about different subjects each day. Their favorite part of the day now is reading their super sentences aloud for their friends!!  

Students Excel in Worldwide Competition

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The Chidon is a worldwide competition which has students learning all 613 Mitzvos from the Torah over the course of 4th-8th grade. They study this information in depth. Any student who achieves an average above 70% is eligible for participating in a Shabbaton weekend in New York City. Five students at Slater Torah Academy participated in this program and joined this incredible weekend experience in New York. 

Three of our students received grades on the three tests they took over the past few months that ensured them a place on stage as a representative. 
Representatives took a difficult test to determine the winners of each grade level and then participated in a competitive game show in front of an audience of thousands of people.

A big congratulations to our very own Slater Torah Academy student, Mordechai Rivkin, who out of hundreds of other 4th graders, came in 3rd place, snagging the bronze trophy for his division in the Chidon! 

A big Mazal Tov goes to Morde Rivkin, Risha Nemes, Rochel Rivkin and Rivka Rivkin for participating in this amazing competition, many walking away with plaques and medals for their achievements.  

A Mitzvah with JFS

JFS is doing their 34th annual Passover Food Basket Distribution where they deliver bags and boxes to those in need in our community. Last year 130 deliveries to individuals and families either in nursing homes or living independently in the community were made. 

Slater Torah Academy students have been contributing handmade items towards these baskets for the past couple of years. 

This year, together with their art teacher, Ms. Denise Brown, the students decorated beautiful cloth Matzah covers, making almost 70 covers to send to people in need. 

One of our school's core values is about instilling values. The students put a lot of effort into these covers even though they were not going to be able to keep them. This enthusiasm by our students in the Mitzvah of Tzedakah is part of what makes our school such a special place. 

Donuts for Dad

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At a well-attended event on Tuesday, dads of Slater Torah Academy came to school for a special program with their children. The program, Donuts for Dad, which happens annually at Jewish Preschool of the Arts, is an important part of our school culture where the Torah Academy Family is one of our core values. The school community impacts not only students but staff members and parents as well. We believe that the partnership between parents and school is an integral part of the children's educational success. 

After an adorable presentation by the students, where they sang some father's day songs, everyone was entertained by Daniel Yehudah, who is visiting New Orleans as part of Amiel Bakehillah. He performed and taught a few magic tricks using cards and string, interspersed with classic Hebrew songs which he sang and played on his guitar. 

We can't forget the donuts. Everyone enjoyed chocolate donuts and refreshments after the performance was over. It was wonderful to see many dads stick around afterwards schmoozing with each other and watching their children play on the playground.

Thank you Morah Lina Warshawski for coordinating this wonderful program!

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MORDECHAI'S PONY CAME TO TOWN...

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The Parents Organization at Slater Torah Academy sponsored Pony Rides as part of the festivities of Purim Spirit Week. 

A famous part of the story of Purim is where Haman is forced to march while leading Mordechai on the King's horse saying, "Thus shall be done to the man whom the king wishes to honor." The students got to experience what Mordechai felt like on top of that horse! 

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PATRICK TAYLOR AWARDS

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The Patrick Taylor Award is given to students who maintain a GPA of 3.5 and higher to students in 7th grade-11th grade. We congratulate our entire eighth grade class on receiving this award. The award comes along with a year's membership to all Audubon attractions for the student and two adults.

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STUDENTS BRING HOLIDAY CHEER TO SUNRISE

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Slater Torah Academy students spread the excitement of the Purim holiday on their recent trip to Sunrise Senior Living. Led by Mrs. Charlene Gubitz, their music teacher, they sang many traditional and new Purim songs such as "P-U-R-I-M and Purim is it's Name-O" and in Hebrew "Chag Purim, Chag Gadol Layehudim". 

They participated in a craft together decorating Purim masks. The students distributed Mishloach Manot packages that they packed especially for their friends at Sunrise.