The Monthly Roar, May 29th, 2014

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Dear AJA Parents,

The 2013 – 2014 school year is coming to a close and so much has been achieved. Kindergarten has mastered the aleph bet and ABC’s. The first grade has become readers. The second grade market sold assorted goods from bracelets to original tattoos raising over $400 for their tikkun olam project. Third grade mastered multiplication and landforms. Fourth grade are experts on the human body and Texas. Fifth graders have become sustainable farmers. Middle School survived AJA medical school, became whizzes on Civil Rights to Feminism, and now shine at analyzing Jewish texts.

This list is a glimpse of just a few of the many accomplishments at AJA for which we offer our thanks and appreciation to the outstanding faculty.

I want to recognize a number of people who have contributed their time and dedication to AJA. We thank Sheri Lippman for her service as she finishes her term as Parent Association co-President with Paula Drucker Falk. Many thanks to gala chairs, Treva Horwitz and Kathy Katz, and to their committee for such a fun time showcasing AJA at Brazos Hall. We are grateful to Sarah Porten as she steps down after three years as Board President. We also appreciate board members who have completed their term and are stepping down: Kathy Katz, Ben Jacobson, and Paula Baldwin. Paula deserves a special acknowledgement after serving eleven years on AJA’s Board! We wish Jeni Rosen well in her new position. We will miss other staff who are moving on as well.

Let’s have a great last week and an enjoyable Shavuot holiday.

Shabbat shalom to all!

Cheryl Hersh

AJA Summer Hours – The Admin team works all summer getting ready for the Fall. Someone will be here every day from 9:00 – 3:00. Please pop in to say hello and buy some SCRIP. We miss the kids and love visitors!

Mark Your Calendars

  • Tuesday, May 27, 2014 – Thursday, May 29th – Middle School end of year trip
  • 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

AJA Graduation

Graduation 2014

The AJA Parent Survey is out! Each year we ask our current families to share your feedback and impressions about your experiences at AJA. Please complete by Friday, May 30th by clicking on Parent Survey.

Your Opinion

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 Levy family on the recent death of Noa’s brother’s Adam Schmidt, Eddy’s brother-in-law and Jack and Gali’s dear uncle.
  • Our condolences to the Kraus family on the recent death of Peter Kraus, Dan’s father, Rochelle’s father-in-law and grandfather to Noah and Kira.
  • Cheryl Hersh made the following donations:
    – In memory of Adam Schmidt, Noa & Eddy Levy’s brother, Jack & Gali’s dear uncle.
    – In memory of Shlomo Peter Kraus, Noah Kraus’s grandfather and Dan Kraus’s father.
  • Donations were made in the memory of Daniel Siverstein – Carly & Brooke’s uncle, and brother to Jonathan by:
    – Jill and Jeff Dachis
    – Cheryl Hersh
  • The Legacy Heritage Fund

    Austin Jewish Academy would like to acknowledge a proud moment from the 2013-2014 school year, becoming an award recipient of The Legacy Heritage Fund. We gratefully acknowledge the generous Legacy Learning Labs challenge grant provided by the Legacy Heritage Fund to upgrade our science laboratory. With the Foundation’s help, our students are working in a new lab with updated equipment and receiving instruction from teachers who have been trained in the latest science curricula. The Legacy Learning Labs Challenge Grant has enabled our school to make the leap into the 21st century.

    Thank you to everyone who transformed the dream of a Science & Innovation Center into a reality for AJA students every day!

    A special thank you to our leadership donors on this project:
    The Ginor Family, The Zeifman Family, The Metni Family, Kenneth Horwitz & Barbara Horwitz and The Saad Family

    Science #6a

    Science #5a

    Science #4a

    Science #3a

    Science #2a

    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?

    NJHS Inductees
    Mazal Tov to our National Junior Society Inductees Emily Kolodney, Kendall Miller, Avi Distler, Hannah Eisenberg, Sivan Ginor, Brooke Silverstein and Aytahn Benavi.

    NJHS - Sarah

    NJHS - Girls

    NJHS - Kids #1

    NJHS - Kids


    Watching the metamorphosis of ladybug larvae has been exciting for our Kindergarten students. Excited voices could be heard exclaiming “The pupa changed to a ladybug!!” After watching the yellow, spotless ladybug for a short time, once again a student yelled “Now there are spots!!” The next day, the change continued as they began to change from yellow to pink and the number of spots increased. First hand observations of life cycles are fascinating!

    Along with observing ladybugs, the children are working on creating bug poetry. They have learned that there are many ways to be poetic, which really means to try to look at things in a fresh, new way.

    photo 3

    Special Events at AJA

    Gala Winners – The Miller girls spent a great afternoon with Ms. Hersh eating ice cream and going to Marmalade Skies to paint pottery.
    Remember to bid next year at the AJA Gala to spend time with Ms. Hersh and any of the other AJA Staff.

    Miller Girls

    Middle School Field Day with their families

    The Middle Schoolers along with their parents and sibling has a great afternoon at the JCC. Thanks to Avi Distler and Hannah Eisenberg for planning the events and to Coach Bull and Mr. Aguero for all the help! Can’t wait for next year!!

    MS Fun Day #1

    MS Fun Day #2

    MS Fun Day #3

    4th Grade Texas History Play
    Enjoy these great photos courtesy of Richard Gorelick.

    4th Grade Play #4

    4th Grade Play #6

    4th Grade Play #3

    4th Grade Play #5

    4th Grade Play #2

    Field Trips

    Kindergarten had a great time at the Thinkery.

    Kindergarten - Thinkery2 #2

    Kindergarten - Thinkery 1

    3rd Grade went to Austin City Hall and got to meet the Mayor.

    3rd Grade with the Mayor

    4th Grade also went to the Thinkery which was just what the doctor ordered after a long week of testing. The children enjoyed making video game controllers with circuit boards and…pickles?

    Ally discovers that strawberries, oranges and Playdough all conduct electricity.
    Ally discovers that strawberries, oranges and Playdough all conduct electricity.
    Mueller Park Playground. WEEEEEE!
    Mueller Park Playground. WEEEEEE!

    Middle School is in Houston for their end of year trip.

    The docent at the Holocaust museum thought our students were knowledgeable and well-behaved. After their visit they had lunch in the sculpture garden of the museum district.

    MS Houston #1

    They spent a fun afternoon at the Musuem of Fine Arts.

    MS Houston #2

    At the Kemah Boardwalk where they apparently were encouraged to touch the stingrays.

    MS Kemah #2

    MS Kemah #1

    MS Train

    MS Group Shot

    At the Science Museum

    MS Sc. Museum #2

    MS Sc. Museum #1

    Community Support

    The 2nd Grade class set up a market, sold goods and raised over $460.00 for the Humane Society of Austin. Megan Russell from the Austin Humane Society was here Tuesday 5/27 to get the check from the class.

    2nd Grade Market #2a

    2nd Grade Market #3a

    2nd Grade Market #1a

    2nd Grade Check

    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

    Yaheli Bernstein, past student at AJA is celebrating her bat mitzvah at home in Israel. We are so honored that she used a work of art she created at AJA in her invitation.

    Yaheli's Invitation #1

    Adi Miller – AJA Graduate 2010 was just recognized at Vandegrift High School as being in the top 10% of her graduating class. She was in the National Honor Society as well as the French Honor Society.

    Adi has been accepted and will be attending the U.T. School of Engineering in the Fall.

    What’s Happening in the Community?

    • Tikkun Leil Shavuot 5774–Eternal Torah: From Generation to Generation – Tuesday, June 3 at 8:30pm – Wednesday, June 4 at 6:30am at Congregation Agudas Achim.
    • The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning – Summer Adult Jewish Education Opportunities. Bordering on Legitimacy – this summer 2014 Lecture Series is taking place every Monday in June. Also being offered is Modern Living: Maintaining Balance – Discovering Ageless Answers in Timeless Jewish Texts which is taking place 7/20, 7/27, 8/3 and 8/10. This will be taught by AJA Founder Dana Baruch. For more information contact Aliza Orent at 512-735-8030 or Aliza Orent.
    • 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.
    • 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, a Hag Semach and a wonderful summer!