Jewish Day Schools Across The Country Join Walkouts Demanding Action On Gun Violence

March 14, 2018
By The New York Jewish Week



Jewish Day Schools Across The Country Join Walkouts Demanding Action On Gun Violence


Click here for original online publication

NEW YORK (JTA) — Students at Jewish day schools offered prayers, lit candles and demanded change as part of a nationwide student walkout calling for gun reform in the wake of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

At the Golda Och Academy, students organized a memorial service
in addition to a walkout. (Courtesy of Golda Och Academy)

Students around the country walked out of class for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. Wednesday to pressure Congress to approve gun control legislation and to honor the lives of the 17 victims of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. The national walkouts come a week before the March for Our Lives, a protest organized by Parkland students in which their peers from around the country will descend on Washington D.C. to call for stricter gun control.

At Golda Och Academy, a Conservative day school in West Orange, New Jersey, students organized a prayer memorial service ahead of the walkout. At the service, students and teachers spoke about the Parkland victims and lit a yahrzeit memorial candle. Each speaker was picked so that he or she shared some characteristics with the victim being talked about, such as being in the same grade or teaching the same subject.

Afterwards, the overwhelming majority of students chose to participate in a walkout, where they carried signs, made speeches and sang songs.

Theo Deitz-Green, an 11th grader and the president of the school’s student council, said he and other student organizers planned the event after learning about the Parkland shooting.

“There was a sense that yes it happened at a different school, but it could have just as easily happened at our school, we could have been the school experiencing that tragedy,” Deitz-Green told JTA over the phone.

 Students at the Hannah Senesh Community Day
School in Brooklyn made signs for the walkout.
(Courtesy of Hannah Senesh Community Day School)

“As we saw the Parkland kids start to speak out, there was a sense that something about the aftermath of this shooting had to be different. It was time not just for the country to change but for students to lead that change,” he added.

Another organizer, 8th grader Sarah Farbiarz, was happy with how the event turned out.

“We worked really hard, so most of it seemed really powerful, and really moving, especially at the end when people were singing together, I thought that was a really great moment,” Farbiarz said.

The school was supportive of the students, said the head of the school, Adam Shapiro.

“From a school perspective we supported the desire of the students to carry out this program and make their powerful voices heard,” he told JTA in an email.

Earlier this month, Shapiro led a group of 139 heads of Jewish day schools who signed an open letter voicing their support for students organizing for gun reform after the Parkland shooting.

Students at Hannah Senesh Community Day School in Brooklyn also held a prayer memorial service. The service honored all victims of gun violence in schools. Students gave out note cards with the names of gun violence victims, lit a yahrzeit candle and prayed for the families of victims.

After the service, students had the choice to stay inside, walk outside the school or walk together with teachers to Brooklyn Borough Hall, where students from other schools gathered. The majority of students took part, said Annette Powers, the school’s director of communications and marketing.

Powers said supporting the walkout was “very much in line with our values.”

Students protest gun laws at Solomon Schechter of Long Island today.
Courtesy of Solomon Schechter of Long Island

“We’re a school that really promotes the idea of social action and not just talking about issues but taking action to make a difference,” she said.

At the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, a pluralistic school in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, students gathered in a parking lot outside the school. They read about the lives of the Parkland victims and heard speeches from students and teachers.

“It was really an incredible sense of togetherness that all these people I’ve talked to about other issues where we might not agree, or just people that I don’t know very well, we all came together and stood together for this issue that we all feel so passionately about,” said Sophia Shapiro, a 10th grader who organized the walkout together with 11th grader Ruthie Cohen.

She emphasized that the walkout was only the beginning of action. Shapiro and Cohen are planning to find ways to keep their fellow students engaged on the issue, including by organizing students to contact their local representatives.

“Our message doesn’t end with this news cycle,” Shapiro said. “When this news cycle ends, our message will continue, and we will continue to fight for what we believe in.”

NFTY, the Reform movement’s youth group, urged members in public schools and day schools to march and share their participation on social media using the hashtag #JewsDemandAction.

Suozzi, King and Rice: Students Meet To Organize Gun Violence Prevention Rally On March 24th

March 12, 2018
By Long



Suozzi, King and Rice: Students Meet To Organize Gun Violence Prevention Rally On March 24th


Congressman Tom Suozzi with the March for Our Lives
student planning committee. Photo by: Office of
Congressman Tom Suozzi

Glen Cove, NY - March 12, 2018 - Democrat Members of Congress Tom Suozzi (NY-3) , Kathleen Rice (NY-4) and Republican Peter King (NY-2) today announced the Student Planning Committee for the March for Our Lives Rally on March 24, 2018 that is being jointly hosted by the three Members of Congress in a show of unity and bipartisanship to demand action on common sense gun legislation.

“We are inspired by the teenagers and high school students who are standing up collectively and demanding ‘not one more,’ and we want to help them organize across Long Island and beyond. This is a young people’s movement and it’s our job as elected officials to shepherd this passion so meaningful action is taken at the congressional level to address gun violence prevention,” said Suozzi.

“I am proud of our young people who inspire me and Congressman Suozzi and they give me a renewed sense of effort to continue to advocate for policies that prevent gun violence and keep our communities and children safe,” said King. 

Twenty-two high school students from schools in Baldwin and Lindenhurst to Hicksville and Syosset, as well as the Schechter School and several schools on the North Shore of Nassau met with Suozzi on Friday to discuss how they will get the word out about the rally to their peers, as well as decide the program and speakers for the rally.

“I am so impressed with the young people I met with on Friday. They have passion and conviction and inspiring ideas of the message they want to send to Washington,” said Suozzi. “I could not be happier about helping them to give voice to their concerns and the kind of country they want to live in.

“These are terrific kids and we should listen to them.”

"I am excited by the energy of these young people and will encourage them as they highlight the need for common sense gun reforms," said Rice.

The students, many meeting each other for the first time, decided to establish regular communications and to meet again on Friday, March 16, 2018.

“I am happy that Long Island has leaders in Congress who care enough about this issue to put their partisan differences aside and work with us to urge their colleagues in Washington to do something before another mass shooting occurs and more young people die needlessly,” said Andrew Goldman, Student Body President of Syosset High School.

“I am excited for our rally and I hope it will encourage our peers to attend and help us highlight to Congress how serious my friends and I are that we want to always feel safe when walking into our schools”

The March for Our Lives Rally will be held on Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 11:00 AM at the Nold Athletic Complex at Farmingdale State College 2350 Broadhollow Road Farmingdale, NY 11735.

Suozzi, King and Rice support H.R. 4240, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, which is being led by Congressman King and cosponsored by Congressman Suozzi. This bill would expand the existing background check system to include all commercials firearm sales, provide reasonable exceptions for family and friends, and preserve Second Amendment Rights. It would also offer states better federal funding if they maintain proper record-sharing systems that help report criminals and the dangerously mentally ill.

Posted in Long

Why We Should Teach Coding in Elementary School

March 09, 2018
By Sheryl Sokoler




Why We Should Teach Coding in Elementary School

Here are a few ideas for developing the next generation of programmers

By Sheryl Sokoler, SSLI Educational Technology Integrator

According to Steve Jobs, “Everybody in this country should learn to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think.”

We live in a digital age in which computers are everywhere and have become an essential part of our lives. Every student should have access to technology, whether it be computers, smartphones, or tablets because almost everything we do requires some form of programming.

Why coding instruction should begin as early as possible
Coding or computer programming is writing a set of instructions that a computer understands so it will perform a task. There are several advantages of learning to code in...Click here to continue reading.

Posted in eSchool News


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