Bernard Zell Blog

A Message From Abby Aloni, Head of Early Childhood
Abby Aloni, Head of Early Childhood

Each morning when I arrive at school, I take a peek at the state of the construction of our new building. To be quite honest, I know there is a lot of work happening but it isn't the type of work that gets the same amount of attention and excitement as when a structure begins to pop out of the ground. What is being built right now is the foundation. And a building cannot be strong if this vital step is skipped and is not approached with attention and intention. 

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Recent Graduates Share What Bernard Zell Athletics Means to Them
Allison Dunn '18
I jumped up and down. I played. I scored. I won. The blood coursing through my veins, the sheer happiness of achievement. These emotions are what gives me the motivation to continue in the sport I am playing. I’m Allison Dunn, an 8th grader here. I have been an athlete at Bernard Zell for 2 years, and I have participated in volleyball and softball. 
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Using Design Thinking to Solve Real-World Problems
Rachel Jury, 5th Grade Teacher
by Rachel Jury, 5th Grade Teacher
 
How do you prepare students to be problem solvers in the real world? You teach them the steps of Design Thinking and then allow them to practice those skills until they can independently apply those mindsets. Through Design Thinking in Middle School at Bernard Zell, we offer invitations into the complexities of the world and afford students opportunities to become empowered to solve real challenges that exist. We believe that with repeated practice students can strengthen their Design Thinking muscles and learn to view challenges as opportunities for which there are a multitude of possibilities.
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The Essence of Jewish Identity
Candace Chesler
by Tzivia Garfinkel, Director of Jewish Life and Learning

After discussing this idea and inviting each student to identify the three legs they would choose, we asked them this question: If you were to suggest a sixth leg to the table, what would it be? Here are some of their suggestions: 
  • Community
  • Tzedaka
  • Values
  • Jewish Education
  • God
  • Knowledge
  • Faith and Hope
  • Tikkun Olan
  • Tolerance
  • Prayer
  • Devotion
  • Empathy
  • Pride in being Jewish
These suggestions are an expression of the many facets of Jewish life that our students have explored and experienced during their years at Bernard Zell. We firmly believe that developing strong Jewish identities in our students provides the best foundation for the next generation of Jewish Americans and forecasts a stable “table” for the future of the Jewish community. 
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Tiyul 2018 - Days 8 and 9
Candace Chesler
by Caroline H., Ella K., Arielle P., Eva S.

 
Back in Tiberias we got hyped up for Aqua Kef, an inflatable water park on the Kinneret. We were supposed to be there for only 45 minutes, but our generous hosts let us stay if we “agreed” to promote the park on social media (“Ugh, as if”). Us crazy kids ran, or should I say swam, around the park, jumping off of the highest platforms we could find, and trying not to get pushed off by our friends, teachers, or counselor Yair. Speaking of Yair, after lounging on a beach neighboring the water park, we headed over to his place to see what an average Israeli household looks like. Once we’d poked around for a bit we drove back down to the shores of the Kinneret, to hop on a boat. Not only did we get to coast across the Kinneret, but we also participated in a drum circle and dancing lead mostly by Yair. When we got back onto dry land we finished up our day with shopping and dinner in Tiberias. All things considered, it was a pretty good day.
 
Going on the Majrase water hike has been for sure one of the highlights of the trip so far. The hike was not only exciting and unique, but the scenery was amazing as well. The hike started with the water up to our ankles. We hiked through rocks, branches, fallen trees, basically everything found in a river. We had to watch our step because one small step on a slippery rock meant getting soaked from head to toe! The hike was around 45 minutes. At the end of the hike, the water was all the way up to our waists. And or course we had to splash and dunk each other because what else would we do? We definitely splashed the teachers as much as each other! Can"t wait for more hikes and fun!
 
 
The Archaeological Dig was definitely nothing short of an amazing experience. We were given a sense of what Jewish life was like some 2000 years ago during the Maccabean period through artifacts we found while digging in caves. When we entered the cave, our tour guide gave us directions on how to dig and what to look for. The cave is mostly made up of chalk rocks which we needed to sift through. This is something we would put in the rock bucket, such as pottery shards, charcoal, and bones. These are common things found in the cave that regular people like us found. My group found three large pieces of pottery which was insanely cool as, for all we know, it could have been a dinner plate 2000 years ago. The biggest find of the day was Tamar’s; she found a coin! This coin can tell us what materials they were using, a time period, and the ruler. Definitely a highlight for our group. Finding these artifacts made me realize how cool the Jewish life really was. A blast from the past!
 
When we arrived at Kiryat Gat all of our mifgash friends were there waiting for us. We were so happy to see them since we haven’t seen them in months. When we got there we did a scavenger hunt around Kiryat Gat and then went swimming in a community center. After we went to dinner and had schnitzel, fries, and salads. When it was time to go to our families houses I was anxious at first, but when I got to their house I felt at right at home. They were so welcoming and asked us if we needed anything. They offered us a lot of food and I mean A LOT of food. The family I stayed with was so nice and made sure I had a blast. In the morning they gave us snacks for the day and other goodies. When we had to say our goodbyes it was so sad because they were so comforting. Then we met up with everyone in the morning and did some activities. It was so sad saying goodbye to everyone, but we will remember all the fun times we had.
 
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Tiyul 2018 - Days 6 and 7: Northern Israel
Candace Chesler
by Talia A., Maya C., and Lucy G.

 
Today we hiked Mt Bental. Mt Bental is on the northern border of the Golan Heights. We started off by going into a real Israeli bunker that would be used if conflict arose. There we had a discussion about the relationship between Israel and Syria. After that we climbed to a lookout point where our tour guides pointed out the border to Syria, which was less then a mile away. We were all blown away to see the country that we have heard so much about in the past few years. It was unreal to hear the gun shots, explosives, and fighting going on in real time out into the distance. The most eye opening part was talking about the people that are hurt every single day by the fights that we were witnessing, and that it is our responsibility to end this conflict and stop harming millions of innocent lives.  I"m really glad we had the opportunity to go there because I felt that this was such an interesting and eye opening part of this trip.
 
We started the first hike of our trip, the Arbel, by hiking up to an overlook in our bus groups. Standing on top of the overlook we saw mountains, the Kinneret, and a little bit of city life below. After taking photos our tour guide sat us down to discuss fomo, the fear of missing out, and the importance of living in the moment and fully experiencing this unique and wonderful trip we are on. From there we started our descent down the trail until we stopped at a point where we hiked down a cliff. We went in groups of seven and a teacher down the cliff. It was nerve racking to do but exhilarating when finished. Part of what made that specific part extremely special is that as you were climbing down the cliff, other classmates who had already made it down cheered you on. After finishing that challenging portion of the hike the entire eighth grade, teachers, and Keshet staff made our way to the end of the trail where we saw cows! This experience was a highlight of the trip because as a grade we supported each other and pushed our selves out of our comfort zones, while witnessing Israel"s beautiful scenery.
 
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