MaccaBee September 27th, 2012

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Letter From the Head of School

The High Holidays have come and gone and next we prepare for the joyous holiday of Sukkot.  Sukkot begins five days after Yom Kippur and is an exciting time at AJA.  It has become an AJA tradition for eighth graders to build the school’s sukkah on the lawn outside the JCC.  Students prepare decorations in art class and head to the sukkah for a variety of activities while learning about the holiday in Judaic Studies.

AJA is excited to take part in two special events sponsored by the Jewish Community Center of Austin this year.   SukkahCity Austin 2012:  Reimagining the Ancient Structure Through a Contemporary Lens was a design competition based on Reboot’s SukkahCity New York, launched in 2010, and the 2011 SukkahCity STL.  The competition required all participants to submit a contemporary design which met the halachic requirements of a traditional sukkah.  The competition was open to all; six Texas winners were selected and an additional winner was chosen from Israel.  All finalists were awarded a grant to build their sukkah on the Dell Jewish Community Campus and three will be on display on the rooftop of the Whole Food Market flagship store in downtown Austin.  AJA is proud to have a traditional sukkah at the Whole Foods in addition to the other two “reimagined” ones, thanks to the generosity of the Hurt Family Foundation.  We hope you will come see all the wonderful sukkot which will be on display from September 30th – October 10th.

Lunch and Learn sessions will be held daily at noon on the rooftop of Whole Foods Market on 6th street and Lamar. Purchase your lunch and join us on the roof!

Wednesday October 3 – Dana Baruch: “The Four Species (lulav and etrog):  Riches From The Earth…Roadmap For How to Live a Good Life.”

Thursday October 4 – Rabbi David Komerofsky Executive Director Texas Hillel: “Building Stability on a Fragile Foundation: The Wandering Jewish Identity.”

Friday October 5 – Rabbi Alan Freedman, Temple Beth Shalom: “Sitting in the Sukkah: A Time for Reconsideration of our Everyday Lives.”

Sunday October 7 from 10am-1pmSukkot for children. Holiday crafts, stories, and treats hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Austin, PJ Library, Austin Jewish Academy, and the JCC Early Childhood Program. Appropriate for children ages 2 and up.

AJA joins the rest of the Austin Jewish community by participating in the SukkahFest sponsored by the Jewish Community Center of Austin which is taking place on Sunday, September 30 from 12:30 – 3:30 on the Dell Jewish Community Campus.

For more information, contact Aliza Orent at (512)735-8030 or


Cheryl Hersh

Save the Date

  • Monday and Tuesday, October 1st and 2nd: Sukkot, NO SCHOOL
  • Monday and Tuesday, October 8th and 9th: Shemini Alzeret and Simchat Torah, NO SCHOOL
  • Friday, October 5th 4pm: Volleyball game at Holy Family
  • Thursday, October 11th 5:30pm and 6:30pm: Volleyball home game against Bannockburn

Updates and Announcements

  • If you did NOT receive a call from the Parent Alert System on Wednesday, September 12th, please let Cecelia Stewart know at
  • It’s not too late to get your Flu Shot! With the generous support of Dr. Sharon Hausman-Cohen, the Austin Jewish Academy 8th grade class and JCC Wellness Program will be offering flu shots to the community. The price for the shots is $25 for mercury free shot, and $30 for nasal spray. This will be a walk-up event hosted at SukkahFest on the JCC campus on Sunday, September 30th 12:30-3:30pm.

Congratulations, Condolences and Tributes

  • Austin Jewish Academy extends its heartfelt condolences to Third Grade teacher Ilene Novy with the passing of her mother, Lillian Goodstein.
  • Lauren Meyers made a tribute in memory of Lillian Goodstein.
  • Daniel Dachis made a donation in memory of Jill Dachis’s grandmother, Peggy Larsen.
  • Toni Dachis made a tribute in memory of Peggy Larsen.
  • Cheryl Hersh made tributes in honor of the speedy recovery of 4th grader Idan Katry, in honor of Ruth Wolfryd’s Bat Mitzvah, and in memory of Ilene Novy’s mother, Lillian Goodstein.

What’s Happening at AJA?

  •  3rd Grader Caleb Legatt was invited to blow shofar for two ECP classes prior to Rosh Hashana.

  • On Thursday evening, September 20th a re-dedication and reception was held for Austin Jewish Academy’s Library and Technology Lab. Thanks to generous donations from Treva and Jeff Horwitz in memory of Treva’s Father, Johnny Loyd Cooper, and Jeff’s grandmother, Dora Adler Horwitz, our students now have an attractive and user-friendly library space. The library is filled with natural light and the shelving is beautiful and easily accessible. The library patio now has shading and new picnic tables for reading, meetings and middle school lunch weather permitting. In addition there are technology upgrades, a new circulation desk, tables and chairs for class and study, and a lovely area for story-time. The library upgrades incorporated space for the collections of Congregation Agudas Achim and Temple Beth Shalom, as well as AJA’s growing collection of excellent reading materials and the Finkel Judaic Collection.The Technology Lab has also received a face-lift with new tables specially designed to function for a variety of classroom arrangements, as well as a beautiful and engaging mural by local artist, Ethan Azarian, which includes an area that can be used as a green screen. Thanks to generous donations by the Zeifman family, the Garber Family Foundation and an anonymous donor, AJA was able to acquire new computers increasing the possibilities for learning for our students. AJA’s technology program continues to grow thanks to this generous support and the dedication of our amazing staff.


  • TK and Kindergarten began a unit on the Five Senses to study sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. Seeing colors all around was the first “Open Door” activity and they started with the color red.  Mrs. O’Keefe’ room found the children learning a song about the color red, making a crown with red jewels and eating a yummy red snack.  In Mrs. Duncan’s room, students examined their eyes and discussed the parts of the eye.  Students checked out each other’s eyes and talked about how our eyes can let in different amounts of light through the pupils.


The Jewish Corner

Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend Kabbalat Shabbat on Fridays from 8:00-8:30am!  In addition, to encourage family discussions, the Parsha is listed and family-friendly Parsha discussion ideas are available at the Shabbat Table in the foyer on Fridays.


  • Friday, September 28th: 8-8:3oam K-5 will hear a short presentation about the ADL’s No Place for Hate program. Second grade will be leading the school in a song. 8:45-9:15am Middle school will participate in Parsha discussion with Dave Kaplan.
  • Friday, October 5th: 8-8:30am K-5 will do a Simchat Torah activity. 8:45-9:15am Middle School will do a JCAT activity.

Upcoming Torah Portions:

9/28 Haazinu: Moshe recites a poem to the people and reminds them to be good in the land of milk and honey. He describes the Torah as a tree of life.

10/5 Vzot Habracha: Moshe gives his final blessing to the people in this last portion of the Torah.


What’s Happening in the Community?

  • Foundations of Jewish Family Living for Parents of Young Children is curriculum for parents providing a thought-provoking encounter with the core values of Judaism. Developed by the renowned Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, a project of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, it brings to life the master stories from our tradition and the profound messages they convey.  This rich learning experience for adults will provide an opportunity for you to bring the Jewish conversation home to share with your child. Taught by Dana Baruch, early childhood, parenting, and Jewish educator. For more information, contact Aliza Orent at (512)735-8030 or Meetings will take place on Sundays October 14th through December 16th from 10-11:30am, location to be announced.