By Mrs. Sandi Swerdloff, SSLI Lower School Principal


June 15, 2018

June 15, 2018
By Sandi Swerdloff, Lower School Principal

Dear Schechter Families,

Our school year is coming to an end and even up to the last full week of school we were busy with activities. Sunday night the AriNotes performed at the Celebrate Israel Concert at Eisenhower Park. They sang Hatikvah and the Star Spangled Banner with the rich voices of the Long Island Cantor's Ensemble. Afterward, they sang Coming Home and Yisrael Sheli to thunderous applause.  Enjoy the AriNotes performance



Monday morning, we welcomed several parents to join us during our morning exercises to see their children receive IXL awards. This was the first year that our school offered IXL over the summer for Grades 1-5 and then throughout the year for all students in K-5. There is one student who did exceptional work over the summer and spent more time practicing math skills than anyone else in the school. Second grader, Jacob B. completed 1,227 math problems and was awarded for his outstanding achievement. Throughout this year, many of our students spent a great deal of time working in IXL both at home and in school. There are 5 students who accomplished more than any other student in the number of problems they solved and in the amount of time they spent practicing IXL. The top 5 students are: Gavi N. - SSLi champ (9,683 problems), Rubin K. - the only Kindergartener finishing in the Top 5 with 8,567 problems, Noah A. with 7,826 problems, Shoshana W. with 7119 math problems and Yoni G. with 5,096 problems. In addition to these top 5 students, there is 1 grade who completed more IXL problems and spent more time reinforcing math skills than any other grade. Ms. Wolozin and her 2nd graders were the overall champs having completed 58,109 math problems, practicing for 320 hours and progressing in 658 skills.

Congratulations to the Top 5 and all of the students who reinforced their math skills this past school year. IXl is available throughout the summer so please encourage your children to practice. If your child forgets his username and password, please contact Mrs. Sokoler.   Click here for more photos

Later in the morning, Jeffrey Pravato, Addison's dad brought in Nassau County Town Supervisor, Joseph Saladino, Greg Mangino and Jaime Van Dyke to speak to the children in kindergarten and first grade about the importance of the town's new initiative, Single Stream Recycling. We learned that if you live in the town of Oyster Bay all paper, plastic, glass and aluminum can be recycled together.

For additional photos click here

On Wednesday, I was fortunate to join eleven fifth grade students who performed in Beauty and the Beast to the city to see School of Rock. We all had a wonderful time and the students were so appreciative to be treated to this experience.

Thursday morning, we had our final all school Rosh Chodesh minyan led by Rabbi Joel Levenson who was joined by Rabbi Cara Rosenthal and Rabbi Tracy Kaplowitz. Tefilah was davened beautifully by all of the children and a huge debt of gratitude is owed to our Rabbis-in-Residence for giving of their time, knowledge and expertise over the course of this year. Click for Rosh Chodesh images   

Our final performance of the year was the fifth grade Moving Up ceremony which was the quintessential piece d'resistance. The show was a combination of the 70 faces of Israel, the 70 faces of Torah and the 70 faces of Schechter. Through music, song and dance the students spoke about the significance of the number 70:

70 Jewish people came down to Egypt
When B'nei Israel received the Torah, there were 70 nations
70 elders were chosen by Moshe
There were 70 sages of the Sanhedrin
70 years of King David
70 years of Babylonian exile which established our determination to keep the love of Zion in our hearts and to look toward Yerusalayim from any place in the world


The performance was enriched with the addition of our Shinshinim, Tomer and Ella, who had a cameo role in the show. When the show was over they asked to say a few words to the fifth graders. They spoke so beautifully about their special connection and how they are going to miss seeing the kids on a weekly basis. They encouraged everyone to stay in touch and of course visit them when they go to Israel.     

Enjoy additional photos of our 5th Grade Moving Up Ceremony

It is hard to believe that another school year is over. We enjoyed a full school year of action-packed days, special occasions, and SSLI traditions and now it's time to reflect on our time together and prepare for moving on.

This year we shared many wonderful moments. Beginning in September, we welcomed our new Shinshinim, Tomer and Ella. Together they brought absolute joy and infused excitement into the very fibers of our building. Every Thursday morning, they joined the students in the gym and began the day with singing and dancing, introducing our very hip and savvy American kids to the wonderful sounds of Israeli music. Each week they came up with games and challenges that taught our children about the geography, culture and history of Israel. They spent time at recess teaching our youngsters how to play Israeli outdoor games and created bulletin boards throughout the year that made everyone stop and notice their handiwork.  Dancing with the Shinshinim

As a parting gift to our school, Tomer and Ella, with the help of our students, splatter painted a wood bench with the word Shalom printed on the backrest. They wanted to leave a legacy of their own and came up with this great idea. Each student helped to splatter paint the bench and it is proudly placed in our main lobby for everyone to see and use.

As a going away gift for Tomer and Ella, we gave them a farewell breakfast on their last Thursday. We gave them Schechter sweatshirts and baseball caps to wear proudly when they return home to Israel. I hope their parting gifts will remind them of the special times we spent together during the 2017-2018 school year.  They both became integral parts of our lives and they will be sorely missed.

Every week we welcomed Shabbat with members of our third, fourth and fifth grade choir singing traditional and non-traditional melodies and we were joined by guest rabbis and cantors who entertained us with their interesting stories and Midrashim. I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank all the parents who joined us each week at Kabbalat Shabbat and all the guest Rabbis who enriched our Shabbat experiences. 

Our grade level performances proved to be meaningful highlights of the year. We watched the third-grade students receive their Chumashim and the second graders celebrate The Creation. The fourth graders presented "A Brave New World" a play about Jewish Americana focused around the 23 Jewish people who in the year 1654 sailed from Recife, Brazil to the shores of New Amsterdam in their continuous search for freedom of religion. The first graders received their Siddurim, the Kindergarten children celebrated their moving up to first grade with a beautiful Siyum and the fifth graders celebrated their Moving Up Ceremony with an original script and songs about the 70 faces of Israel and the 70 faces of Schechter.

Our students went on interesting field trips and returned with memories and stories that will last a lifetime. To name just a few of the trips: The students in Kindergarten enjoyed Henry and Mudge at the Hofstra Playhouse and the first graders went to Hofstra to celebrate Purim. The third graders went to Safety Town in Eisenhower Park, the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan and along with fourth grade to the Jewish Discovery Museum housed in the Commack JCC., where they experienced a day of learning about the 70 Faces of Israel. The second grade spent a day at the Queens County Farm Museum and the fourth graders also enjoyed a great day of team building at Project Adventure right here in Brookville and an overnight trip at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires. The fifth graders enjoyed TEVA. two full days in Manhattan visiting Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and the Lower East Side and culminated their year with a Shabbaton with Rabbi Dahlia Bernstein at Congregation Beth Ohr in Bellmore.

We held out annual Read-A Thon and recited the Oath of Reading with Judge Roy Tarantola officiating. We raised over $2500 in support of Mazon and No Kid Goes hungry. 

Our annual STREAM Day, representing SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, RESEARCH, ENGINEERING, ART and MATH was a huge success. We had hands-on math activities in the gym, hands-on science experiments being conducted in the science lab, guest participants such as Mad Science Long Island and Town Supervisor, Joseph Saladino teaching students about the importance of recycling paper and plastic. We had several activities in the MAKER SPACE where children came and designed their own creations and a fully stocked art area where students created individual masterpieces linking the knowledge with science and art. And most important of all, on this day our students in grades three, four and five proudly displayed their science projects and explained their research and data to the many visitors that came to see their interesting experiments.  

We celebrated Purim with a wonderful reading of the Megillah by our fifth graders, followed by a fun filled carnival where teachers, students and parents dressed in creative costumes and participated in games and activities throughout the afternoon. 

The PA hosted our annual Passover Model Seder, led by Rabbi Levenson, and parents and students participated using the Schechter Family Haggadah.

The fifth-grade students presented a beautiful service for Yom HaShoah and the fourth grade remembered the victims of those people who fought for the preservation of peace in Israel in a Yom Hazikaron proram.

For Grandparents Day, held on Yom HaAtzmaut, we had a musical program in the auditorium and then the grandparents and children had lunch together in the gym. They decorated lucite frames and as a parting gift, received a family photo as a remembrance of this special day. In the afternoon, our students visited the wonderful places in Israel such as the Dead Sea Spa, the Kotel, The Shuk, The Museum of Notable Jewish Americans and topped off their day off with dessert at an Israeli cafe.

We celebrated Lag B'Omer with an incredibly well run, well organized field day filled with games, races activities and a faculty vs fifth grade kickball game. The weather was perfect, the children's enthusiasm was at an all-time high and Mr. Meyer made sure that everyone understood the importance of good sportsmanship and fair play.

Our Schechter Long Island Lower School Choir, The AriNotes, performed at many venues over the course of the year. We celebrated Hanukkah with the senior citizens at the Woodbury Jewish Center, we sang at the Suffolk JCC, we performed at the Israel Fest in Port Washington, we sang at the Midway Jewish Center for Yom Hazikaron and we performed at the Celebrate Israel Concert with the Long Island Cantor's Ensemble.

We presented Beauty and the Beast to packed audiences and both shows were extremely well received. Our leads in one show had minor roles in the other and vice versa and some of our students became tech gurus and backstage managers. This success was due to the incredible talent and perseverance of our music teacher Mrs. Elana Stern, and her assistant Rikki Chaskes.

A successful year cannot happen without the help and support from teachers, parents and community members. I want to thank our dedicated teachers for their creativity, flexibility and humor and for keeping our school climate safe, supportive, and happy. It is wonderful to work with this talented team every day. 

Thank you also to our Director of Student Services, Gila Calev, for ensuring that the needs of our students are met in a warm and compassionate setting and for ensuring that our students feel safe, cared for and are engaged in learning.

Many thanks are also due our supportive families and our PA President, Andrea Bitton. Andrea works hand in hand with her wonderful and supportive board and together they enrich the lives of the students and the teachers.

I would also like to acknowledge this year's Rabbis in Residence who spent time each week in the classroom, doing Tefila with the students and enhancing their learning. Many thanks to Rabbi Joel Levenson, Rabbi Cara Rosenthal, Rabbi Tracy Kaplowitz, and Rabbi Dahlia Bernstein. I would also like to give an additional shout-out to Rabbi Levenson who lead Tefila every Rosh Chodesh, who ran the Tu B'Shevat and Pesach Seders and for sharing his wisdom 100% of the time. His steadfast commitment and tireless work for our school is greatly appreciated.

Special thanks to Cathy Main who is truly my "right hand man". She has the uncanny ability to know what I need before I do and takes care of all the details, major and minor, so that I can visit classrooms and spend time with the people I care about most - the students and the teachers.

Also, a huge thank you to Roy Tarantola and Dave Ostrove who never say, "No" and who are always willing to indulge my "creative" thoughts and ideas. Special thanks to our security guard, John Gordon, for always keeping a watchful eye on our school and our children and ensuring that all students go home safely.

I would be terribly remiss if I didn't say a huge thank you to my favorite "editor in chief", Sheryl Sokoler. Sheryl works tirelessly to make sure that the Friday letter is sent out and pictures are uploaded so that everyone who reads my novelettes can have a glimpse into the wonderful happenings at the Schechter School of Long Island each and every week. Enjoy our entire year of school events in our photo gallery.

And last, but certainly not least, thank you to my brilliant, wise and supportive team of Elana Stern and Adele Spickler. We work closely together to instill a continuous love of learning in our students. I am truly blessed to have such caring and devoted teachers at my side whose only goal is to ensure that the wonderful work we do continues to flourish. May we all go from strength to strength.

Our 2017-2018 school year is over.  My best wishes for a fun filled, safe and enjoyable summer. I look forward to seeing everyone on the first day of school which this year will be Tuesday, September 4, 2018.

Shabbat Shalom,


Sandi Swerdloff
Principal Lower School 
Posted in June 2018


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