The MaccaBee May 10th, 2012

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Letter from the Head of School

The months of the school year symbolically resemble books lined up snugly on a shelf and held firmly together by bookends.  The first book on the left represents the frenetic onset of the new school year, adjusting to new teachers and the return to school routines. The intervening books (months) stand strong until we come to the book on the far right which contains the flood of end-of-year activities, coupled with the anticipation of summer’s freedom just around the corner.

Many of you are aware that I have facilitated a middle school class called Council this past year. It’s been an inspiring journey as I gradually came to know the students and they, in turn, felt comfortable with me.

After overcoming the many ups and downs of middle school, the eighth grade class has become an extremely close-knit group. Throughout the year, I’ve enjoyed listening to their stories. I have watched as they came to realize, with mixed emotions, that graduation is approaching. They’ve shared with me the importance of school traditions. To commemorate their last year and to mark my very first year, the class has created a beautiful garden made of hand-painted rocks.

We wish Maya, Anael, Barrett, Haruka, Michael, Noa, Mackenzie, Roni, Daniel, and Shirel a “mazal tov” as this chapter in their lives draws to a close.

We hope to see you all at graduation on May 30th, at 5:30 p.m. in the JCC Community Hall.

Save the Date

  • Friday, May 11th Portfolio Day
  • Thursday, May 24th 5:00pm Hebrew Story Hour
  • Monday, May 28th Memorial Day NO SCHOOL
  • Wednesday, May 29th Field Day (click here for Field Day Schedule)
  • Thursday, May 30th Last Day of School
  • Thursday, May 30th 5:30pm 8th Grade Graduation

Updates and Announcements

  • Austin Jewish Academy is proud to partner with Sifriyat Pijama B’America (SPBA), a Hebrew and Jewish Family Engagement literacy program that aims to enhance knowledge and affinity to Jewish values from a young age by reading together and discussing books from a Jewish perspective as a family. All families (with at least one Hebrew reading and speaking adult) raising Jewish children from age three through six years are welcome to sign up to receive free, high-quality Hebrew children’s literature and music mailed on a monthly basis. AJA will host a registration event on Thursday, May 24th at 5pm. Throughout the 2012-2013 school year, AJA will sponsor shared readings and enhancement activities. Please contact Collette Hill, Director of Admissions and Outreach, for more information at
  • Parents of Students Entering Grades 1 – 5: Summer will be here before you know it!  AJA students have learned so much this year and we want to make sure they retain as much as possible over the summer. To make it easy, we are placing an order for some books that AJA teachers have previewed and believe will provide good summer practice.  It is very important for you to also include reading in your summer plans.  You may also purchase books for the grade ahead if you’d like your child to have a little more challenging practice.  For example, if your child is entering grade 2, you could purchase a book for grade 2 and 3. To order fill out the form below, attach a check and turn in to the AJA office. The deadline for ordering is Monday, May 14and we will not be able to accept late orders.

    Cost per book

    Qty to be ordered

    Extended Price

    Summer Express – grade K to 1


    Summer Express – grade 1 to 2


    Summer Express – grade 2 to 3


    Summer Express – grade 3 to 4


    Summer Express – grade 4 to 5


    Student(s) Name and Grade

    Amount Enclosed:                                                                                                                 

Congratulations, Condolences and Tributes

  • Congratulations to AJA Art Specialist, Susan Slomowitz, for being selected as the Jewish Federation of Greater Austin’s recommended recipient of the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award in Excellence in Jewish Education for 2012.
  • Our condolences to First Graders Ella and Asher Shaul and their parents Greg and Ofer with the passing of Ofer’s father.
  • Cheryl Hersh and Risa Ferdman both made tributes in memory of Ofer Shaul’s father.
  • Cheryl Hersh made a donation in honor of Alex Soltes’s Bar Mitzvah.

What’s Happening at AJA?

  • You may have noticed the “Poetry Museum” in the Kindergarten hallway! TK and K students have been working on poetry for the last few weeks and the children have been trying to look at regular objects in a “fresh, new way”.  Students learned that some simple language can be turned into poetry just by putting in unusual line breaks so that it brings attention to certain words. Students showcased their work and the objects that inspired their poems.                                                             
  • First Graders are discussing why healthy teeth are important in art class as part of  “My bright Smile” global art contest offered by Colgate/Palmolive. Students read the book Sweet Tooth by Margie Palatini (Author), Jack E. Davis (Illustrator) and are discussing “Why My Bright Smile Is Important”. Students will be using various materials to complete their artwork withc will then be submitted to represent the Austin Jewish Academy in the National/International Colgate/Palmolive contest. Good luck, First Grade!
  • For the past nine months, 5th Graders worked with senior adults through the JCC to create artwork that is currently on display in the JCC hallway. Using various mediums, each participant was guided by Art Specialist, Susan Slomowitz, to create their own individual expressions in a fun and artistic environment. The projects culminated in a collaborative effort to bridge the gap between generations and provide a safe place to communicate and express ideas, thoughts and feelings through art.

The Jewish Corner

  • May 18 K-5 and MS together: Rosh HodeshParsha: Behar-Bechukotai: we learn about important laws affecting use of the land as we end the book of Vayikra.
  • May 25 K-5 will have the final Kabbalat Shabbat of the year with special activities for Shavuot.
  • Parsha:  Bemidbar: Directions are given about how to travel in the desert and how to arrange ourselves around the mishkan.