The Monthly Roar, May 15th, 2014

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Dear Parents of AJA,

I, Negev Cohen, am the Head of School for today and it has been a blast. I went to Austin Terrier and ate pizza. For dessert, I had some fried Oreos. I am about to get inside a golf cart. Parents your kids will love this spectacular opportunity.

Love, Mr. Cohen

I am not quite sure that Mrs. Novy’s third grade student, Negev, truly grasped what it means to be Head of School, but we certainly had a nice day together. Negev dressed the part and came prepared to fulfill his duties. Greg Bourland was kind enough to give an exclusive educational tour on campus security quizzing Negev on various precautionary measures.

We were also fortunate to have extra help in the school office. If it weren’t for child labor laws, AJA would hire fifth grader, Kylie Miller. She made quite an impression after serving as “Cecelia for a Day.” Cecelia could take a few pointers from Kylie who graciously asked if I would care for a cup of coffee or a glass of water. Both of these opportunities were a result of the silent auction at the Gala held in February. Many thanks to the Cohen and Miller families for their support of AJA.

Cecelia and I thought it would fun to interview Negev and Kylie. Here are some highlights.

Negev’s Responses

If you were Head of School, what would you like to do?

  1. I would put in a waterpark and add a petting zoo in the library.

What are your favorite things about AJA?

  1. It is a safe place.
  2. You get more breaks than in public school.
  3. I have good teachers and classmates.

What are your favorite subjects?

  1. P.E.
  2. Free writing

What do you see for the future of AJA?

  1. AJA will be built inside a rocket ship on Mars.

What age would you want to teach?

  1. Kindergarten because there isn’t a lot of paperwork.

Kylie’s Responses

What was most fun about working in the office?

  1. I liked connecting with all the staff and taking care of and helping people.

What was the most challenging part about working in the office?

  1. Taking care of sick kids and bloody wounds.

What are your favorite things about AJA?

  1. I feel secure.
  2. Everyone knows everyone.
  3. Great friends.
  4. The relationships with teachers from year to year.
  5. It’s the best school for a Jewish education.
  6. The extra-curricular classes: art, tech, and music.

What is AJA going to look like in 10 years?

  1. It is going to have an infirmary and a lounge area for students; the lobby is too crowded.

Shabbat shalom to all!

Cheryl Hersh


Negev and Cheryl

Kylie as Cecelia 1

Mark Your Calendars

  • Wednesday, May 21, 2014 – Friday, May 23, 2014 – Middle School Trimester exams
  • Monday, May 26th Memorial Day – AJA Closed
  • Tuesday, May 27, 2014 – Thursday, May 29th – Middle School end of year trip

Future Important Dates

  • Friday, May 30th – Field Day for Middle School
  • Monday, June 2nd – 8th Grade Graduation in the JCC Community Hall 5:30
  • Tuesday, June 3rd – Field Day for Kindergarten–5th Grades
  • Wednesday, June 4th and Thursday June 5th – Shavuot – AJA is closed
  • Friday, June 6th LAST DAY OF SCHOOL – early release at noon
  • Sunday, June 8th – AJA’s Palette of Young Artists will be opening at the JCC in the hallways.

Help us Pave the Way

Fundraiser - Brick #2

Bricks are still available for purchase! There is still work to do to finish paving the Science & Innovation Center. Want to honor a special family member in a lasting way? Need a special graduation gift? Contact Sarah Craemer at 512-735-8374 or E-mail. She would be happy to give you more information.

Click here to place your order AJA Brick.

Proceeds from the bricks go directly towards strengthening our scholarship fund to make AJA more accessible to current and incoming families.

Brick -Pave the Way

Congratulations, Condolences and Tributes

  • Our condolences to the Silverstein family on the recent death of Jonathan’s brother; Daniel James Silverstein. He is also the cherished brother-in-law of Jill and beloved uncle of Brooke and Carly.
  • Congratulations to Kendall Miller who celebrated her bat mitzvah this past weekend.
  • Mazal tov to AJA 4th grader Eddie Vane, whose bookmark was chosen as the 3rd/4th grade winner in a citywide contest sponsored by BookPeople! Eddie’s bookmark will be distributed at the store all year long.
  • Eddie Vane #2

    Eddie Vane #1

  • AJA athletes did a GREAT job at the recent track meet at St. Stephen’s! Congratulations to all athletes; Avi Distler, Lue Coplin, Emily Kolodney, and Kendall Miller. Lue came in 4th in the mile and 5th in the 800 and Kendall came in 9th in the shot put.
  • Track Meet

  • The Kaplan’s donated a book for Ellie’s birthday.
  • Thanks to the Parents Association for the great snacks that were left for us in the Staff Lounge this past week.

Rabbi Rachel Kobrin is leaving Austin
Rabbi Kobrin has been teaching Middle School Judaics at AJA for the past several years. She along with Rabbi Rick Brody, Noa and Adin are moving to Philadelphia where Rabbi Kobrin will start her new position as senior rabbi at Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.

Please join Congregation Agudas Achim, Sunday, June 1st 11:30AM – 1:30PM in the Social Hall for a light brunch. The event is free and open to the community. There will be a blank memory book on hand. Everyone is welcome including children to add a memory, blessing, good wish, thank you, drawing, photo, or even poem or song.

For more information, to help sponsor, or to volunteer, contact Natalie Weinstein or call 512-301-1148.

What’s Happening at AJA?

PSIA winners

Look what came home from Fort Worth: Mazel tov to our AJA students who earned top spots at the state Private School Interscholastic Association competition in May! Results: Talia Gorelick, 2nd place, creative writing; Carly Silverstein, 2nd place, ready writing; Eddie Vane, 3rd place, mathematics; Aytahn Benavi, 3rd place, ready writing; Brooke Silverstein, 4th place, impromptu speaking.

PSIA Participants

PSIA Medal

Yom Ha’atzmaut – Israeli Independence Day
We had a great celebration at AJA celebrating Israel’s 66 years. The students started with a flag raising. After each student received a passport, they spent the next hour traveling all over Israel. At the conclusion, they had great snack of felaffel and Jaffa oranges.

Getting ready for the parade

Israel Indep. Day - K and 1st

Our Israeli Born Students

Israel Indep. Israeli Born Students

Hanging Out

Israel Indep. Day #2

1st Grade – Contraction Surgery!

Our team of 1st Grade doctors had to perform surgery on their contraction patients and put them together properly!





3rd Grade – Special Visitor

3rd graders enjoying a wonderful presentation from author, Suzanne Freyjadis. Her fantasy, adventure book about a young pirate sounds awesome!

3rd Grade Author #2

3rd Grade Author

4th Grade had a visit from Austin Energy. The students were each given jobs with the electric company and were called on to make repairs on a model city.


Jess and Ben make some repairs to the power lines.
Jess and Ben make some repairs to the power lines.
Ruby, Caleb, and Katie make sure the wind turbine and solar panels are working properly.
Ruby, Caleb, and Katie make sure the wind turbine and solar panels are working properly.

Special Events at AJA

Portfolio Day
What a special day at AJA. We had 41 guest panelists and are very proud of our students and the amazing job they do presenting a sample of their school work.

Portfolio Day

Musical Showcase
It was so nice to see the Community Hall so full of music and families who came out to hear some great singing from all of our AJA students.

Musical Showcase #1a

Musical Showcase #2a

4th Grade Annual Texas History Play

4th Grade Play #1a

4th Grade Play #3a

4th Grade Play #4a

4th Grade Play #2a

Capitol Art Show – For the 2nd year in a row, AJA had an art display in the Capitol building the first week of May. Some AJA staff and families met on the grass for a picnic.

Art Show Set-Up

Art Show Booth

Picnic - Capitol #2

Picnic - Capitol

Middle School spent an afternoon this past week cleaning for a local food pantry as part of their National Junior Honors Society service project.

Food Pantry
At Micah 6 of Austin.

5th Grade Excerpt from a letter received from Green Gate Farms.

Greetings 5th Grade Parents:

We are so proud of your children!

During the several months they worked at Green Gate Farms this winter, we watched them blossom into knowledgeable, passionate and reliable beginning farmers. We were delighted to host them in partnership with Karen Hidalgo, the remarkable teacher who is helping us realize our School to Farm vision.

Proof of their mastery came when they led tours for Magellan Academy Kindergarten students on their final day here. As they guided the little ones through each of our farm stations, they explained the importance of our integrated, organic systems with eloquence.

These leadership skills are why we are inviting your children to participate in our summer farm camp as part of our Farmers-in-Training (FIT) program. FITs lead such activities as caring for pigs, chickens, rabbits, harvesting, setting up the farm stand and games. These activities will help them further develop their leadership skills, while enjoying time on the farm.
Thank you for support and we look forward to seeing you on the farm!

Warm Regards,
Rachel Blalock
Farm Educator
New Farm Institute at Green Gate Farms

Library Book Donation

Recognize an event, milestone or someone special by purchasing a book from the Library wish list. A book plate will be placed in the donated book. The student you are honoring will be able to choose from the newly purchases collection (not yet received). He/she will be the first to check the book out and it will be presented at Kabbalat Shabbat. Alternatively an acknowledgement letter will be sent to any non-student who is being honored.
Want to learn more? Contact the front office at 512-735-8350 or e-mail Myrna Glikman.

Alumni News

Jacob Jew, AJA graduate, thank you for helping our students celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut. Jacob shared a bit about his experience currently serving as active solider in the Israeli military and how his AJA experience helped form his Jewish identity. For more info about Jacob’s military program click here – Military.

Jacob Jew

What’s Happening in the Community?

  • National Essay Contest for High School Students. As part of The Story of the Jews series that recently aired, an essay contest has been launched which is open for grades 9-11, ages 13-18. All entries must be submitted by June 13, 2014 to PBS essay contest.
  • Austin Jewish Business Network’s (AJBN) May meeting is at Café Express, 3418 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX ‎78705 on May 20th, 2014 6:30-8:30 pm. Michele Schwartz of A Modern Jewish Wedding will present “A Winning Strategy for Social Marketing”. See how you can harness free, web-based tools and apps to ignite your marketing strategy. You can register at AJBN.
  • Youth Triathlon for kids ages 7 – 15Sunday, May 25. The children will be utilizing the JCC pool for the swim, neighborhood streets for the bike portion and the jogging trail for the run. Trophies awarded to top three finishers in each age division. Check out Triathlon.
  • AP Comedy Camps @ The New Movement– Students build creative confidence, teamwork and performance skills in a working comedy conservatory. Students will be introduced to a variety of comedy performance including: short-form improv (think Whose Line is it Anyway); long-form improv (think Second City); sketch writing (think Saturday Night Live). AP Comedy’s curriculum incorporates social and emotional learning principles, and welcomes youth of all levels of performance experience. June 16-20 (high school) – June 23-27 (middle school) 9:00am-3:00pm. At The New Movement theater in downtown Austin (616 Lavaca St.) Cost: $300. For more information e-mail Adam Niederpruem.

Please join us – Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend Kabbalat Shabbat on Fridays from 8:00-8:30am. We would also like to encourage all students to wear white shirts on Friday to give AJA that special Shabbat feeling.

On behalf of the staff at AJA we would like to wish you and your families a Shabbat Shalom.