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27 Elul 5780
September 17, 2020

Dear ICJA Family:

Today is the end of the fourth week of in-person learning at ICJA. Looking back, it has been an intense, rewarding, challenging, and ever-changing experience. Our students continue to inspire us with their understanding, and our teachers continue to amaze us with their skill and creativity. We have a great community!

When we return on Monday, because of Tzom Gedalia we will have a shortened day, with periods 7, 8 & 9 meeting and dismissal at 2:38 pm. (Periods 5 & 6, which are our lunch periods, will be combined into one class period, e.g. students who have lunch 5th and class 6th, will only have 6th period.)

Our mechanchim are beginning to meet with our students and continue to plan new and exciting programs. Next Thursday night (9/24), there will be a mishmar for the 11th-grade boys (see attached), and Saturday night (9/26), there will be a “Zumba” event for the girls (see attached), and over Sukkot, there will be a special learning program as well.

On September 30th will be the first Mathletes meet, and in preparation, there will be meetings this coming Tuesday. For more information, and to join our Mathletes team, contact either Mrs. Pederson (spederson@icja.org), Hershel Thomas, Noah Brody, Enon Gurvich, or Benny Grey.

Free period signups for next week are now open – click here https://www.signupgenius.com/go/ICJA_Week_9-21

Finally, with Rosh Hashana just around the corner, I want to take this opportunity to wish all of our parents, students, and staff a כתיבה וחתימה טובה, a happy, sweet, successful, healthy, and inspiring new year! 

Stay connected and be inspired!

B’vracha,

LAM
Rabbi Leonard A. Matanky, Ph.D.
Dean, Ida Crown Jewish Academy 


26 Elul 5780
September 16, 2020

Dear ICJA Family:

Tomorrow will be the last day of school this year – 5780. As a result, first thing in the morning, we will take the opportunity, as we do every year, to perform hatarat nedarim [the customary pre-Rosh Hashana annulment of vows]. But this year, all of the classes will zoom into my office, where Mr. Harris, Dr. Kahan, and I will form the beit din. It will be unusual – but it will be! By the way, for parents who want to take advantage of a zoom hatarat nedarim, I know many of our shuls are offering it as is the cRc. The cRc hatarat nedarim will be Friday at 10 am at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82636884235?pwd=emphZFNyZFJJdjBBcks5d1dsQUJIZz09

We are very proud to share that the National Merit Scholarship Program has recognized two of our students for academic excellence. Mazal tov to Enon Gurevich, who scored in the top 1% of all seniors on his PSAT and is now a Semi-Finalist, and to Benny Grey, who scored in the top 3-4% and has been selected as a commended student! 

Our medical advisory committee continues to offer us guidance as new research is released, and new questions arise. Just yesterday, they informed me that because COVID Antigen tests (the “rapid tests) result in 25-30% false negatives, in cases where students or staff need to take a COVID test, the only COVID tests that we can rely upon are the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests. For more information on the tests, please visit – https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/coronavirus-testing-basics.

Please remember, for students who develop cold or flu-like symptoms, please stay home! And our protocol to return to school is as follows:

1. If your doctor provides an alternative diagnosis (i.e., it’s just the flu), STAY HOME until you are fever-free for 24 hours, and any respiratory issues are improved. Siblings can return immediately. But, you may not return to school without a doctor’s note from your primary care physician. 2. If you were tested with a PCR test for COVID and the results were negative – STAY HOME until you are fever-free for 24 hours and any respiratory issues are improved. However, after the negative test results, siblings can return immediately.

3. If you were tested for COVID and the results were, G-d forbid, positive – immediately contact your local Department of Health for further instructions. Let the school know, and STAY HOME in quarantine, until at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms, and 3 days without fever and improved respiratory symptoms. Siblings must be in quarantine for 14 days from their last exposure to you.

4. If you were NOT tested and there is no alternative diagnosis, STAY HOME for at least 10 days from symptom onset and at least 3 days after fever resolution (if present) and improved respiratory symptoms. Siblings must also stay home for the same period of time.

Stay safe, stay connected, and be inspired!

B’vracha,

LAM
Rabbi Leonard A. Matanky, Ph.D.
Dean, Ida Crown Jewish Academy 


25 Elul 5780
September 15, 2020

Dear ICJA Family:

Today was truly a special day at ICJA. Following selichot, we were fortunate to have a live video conference with Israeli champion marathoner – Beatie Deutsch. Beatie is not only a running phenom, the winner of the Jerusalem Marathin, Tiberias Marathon, and marathons around the world, but an Orthodox woman who uses the lessons she learned while running to inspire others. And today, she inspired us, speaking about setting goals, pushing ourselves to achieve even more, and knowing that everyone has their own special G-d given talents.

And then, it was on to the un-Retreat! There was mini-golf, Kollel workshops, sichot with our mechanchim and mechanchot, trivia games, and “minute to win it” competitions. But the best part of the day was that the mandatory masks and social distancing did not detract from the fun and the learning of the day. Thank you to all of our teachers who helped make this special day such a success, and especially to Rabbi Yoni Fox and Mrs. Alissa Zeffren, who did a great job in imagining, planning, and directing the program!

Just one note of regret – unfortunately, some families chose to use this day as an opportunity for a “day off” or to catch up on appointments or other out of school necessities, which is unfortunate!. Because it’s days like today that build our community and create a positive spirit in the school. We will have more special days, and when we do, I hope everyone will be there to participate and enjoy.

Tomorrow we will skip 10th period, and school will be dismissed at 4:47 p.m.

Also tomorrow, I will be sharing with you a letter co-signed by many of our sister schools (“yeshiva high schools”) around the country appealing to all of our families to make plans for a “safe” Sukkot vacation. As I told one parent yesterday, we have done many things to safeguard students and teachers at ICJA. In fact, I believe that for many, the safest time of day is when they are at ICJA. But the only way we and all of our day schools will be able to remain open is if everyone is careful even when out of school. Please help us keep everyone safe!

Stay connected and be inspired!

B’vracha,

LAM
Rabbi Leonard A. Matanky, Ph.D.
Dean, Ida Crown Jewish Academy 


24 Elul 5780
September 14, 2020

Dear ICJA Family:

Rosh Hashana is just a few days away, and today all of our classes began the day with a “sicha” from Rabbi Menachem Penner, Dean of RIETS. He spoke about saying selichot, but more importantly, about making the saying of selichot more meaningful.

And he offered three suggestions:

1. Don’t rush through selichot, trying to say all of the words. Instead, focus on just a few lines and try to understand those words.

2. Pay particular attention to the 13 middot (“Hashem, Hashem Kel Rachum v’Chanun”) – the formula that Moshe was given by G-d to seek forgiveness. These words are the key to selichot and, combined with the viduy (“ashmanu”), form the core of the selichot experience.

3. Use selichot not only to seek forgiveness from G-d but to forgive yourself. Because sometimes we are harder on ourselves than G-d is on us!

Over the past few days, a number of students have asked to zoom in to classes for a variety of reasons. Please understand the remote learning option was established for the safety of our community. It is not an ideal form of instruction and is an imposition on the class and the teacher. It  is meant only for those students who are remoting in long-term or cannot attend school because of current COVID related concerns (e.g., a household member has COVID-like symptoms). 

The short-term remote option is not available to students for non-health reasons. Furthermore, as we have shared before, ICJA is following the C.H.O.P. protocol, and students who are absent because of health concerns cannot return to school without at least a doctor’s note submitted and approved in advance by the office.

Tonight is the “Simulated School Night.” The school update will begin at 7:15 pm (here is the link), and then at 7:30 pm, we will begin the regular schedule of visiting classes. 

All of the teachers’ zoom rooms are available at icja.us/schoolnight, and the schedule of classes is as follows. (Parents, please speak with your children to make sure you have their correct class schedule and will be able to move “virtually” from class to class in a timely fashion.)

    Period 1 – 7:30 – 7:38 pm

    Period 2 – 7:41 – 7:49 pm

    Period 3 – 7:52 – 8:00 pm

    Period 4 – 8:03 – 8:11 pm

    Period 5 – 8:14 – 8:22 pm

    Period 6 – 8:25 – 8:33 pm

    Period 7 – 8:36 – 8:44 pm 

    Period 8 – 8:47 – 8:55 pm

    Period 9 – 8:58 – 9:06 pm

    Period 10 – 9:09 – 9:17 pm

    Period 11 – 9:20 – 9:28 pm

    Period 12 – 9:31 – 9:38 pm

Tomorrow is the unRetreat, and Rabbi Fox and Mrs. Zeffren have a fun-filled day planned, including mini-Golf, a workshop with the Kollel, teacher programs, and much more. During all segments of the program (even mini-golf), masks and social distancing will be required. Please make sure you are at school on time (optional ICJA minyan is at 8:05), and classes begin at 9:05 am. There will be a few regular classes meeting, and dismissal will be at 4:47 pm.

Stay safe, stay connected, and be inspired!

B’vracha,

LAM
Rabbi Leonard A. Matanky, Ph.D.
Dean, Ida Crown Jewish Academy 

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