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Ma Nishma: Issue 18, June 3, 2020

Join Us for the 10th Annual Athletics Banquet Tonight at 6:00 p.m.
  • Athletics
Kyle Sheahan, Director of Athletics & Physical Education

Bernard Zell Director of Athletics Kyle Sheahan invites you to attend the 10th annual Athletics Banquet tonight at 6:00 p.m.! The evening will feature student-athletes and coaches reflecting on individual seasons, The David Stiefel Spirit Award, the highest honor a Bernard Zell student can receive and more! 

  • Athletics Banquet
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Shabbat Blessings Honoring the Class of 2020, 2016 and 2012
  • Events and Programs
Brian Barasch, Director of Marketing & Communications

This Friday, Bernard Zell will celebrate the incredible accomplishments of our classes of 2020, 2016 and 2012—heading off to high school, college, graduate school and the working world. But no matter what the next phase holds for our incredible graduates, each has been prepared with the tools to bring healing to our troubled world. Please join us for a special Shabbat in honor of the advocates, allies, changemakers and leaders who are moving to their next phase with the knowledge and Jewish values that will allow them to confront our most pressing societal challenges.

  • Shabbat
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Summer Reading at Bernard Zell
  • Academics
Rena Citrin, Library Director

One of the best things you can do for your child this summer is to encourage them to read! Just as we want our children to take full advantage of being outside to use their bodies, we also want them to exercise their “reading muscles” to reinforce their progress from this school year. “Summer slide” is a real phenomenon that can occur when students don’t read during the summer months.

  • Summer Reading
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Video: 2020 Volunteer Appreciation Event
  • Events and Programs
Rachel Charlip, Associate Director of Development

The annual Volunteer Appreciation program is an opportunity to say thank you to everyone who takes time to volunteer on behalf of Bernard Zell. Volunteers are a vital part of our community — from opening car doors, to delivering challah and coming up with creative ways to thank our faculty and staff for all they do.

  • Volunteer Appreciation
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Summer 2020 Resources
  • Community
Johnny Krug, Auxiliary Program Manager

Our BZ Auxilary Department has created a remote summer camp resource list for families to help fill the void that summer camps have usually filled. The list has an extensive range of options for each student at reasonable prices. Each resource has been researched by our staff to ensure the high-quality programming that echoes our before and after school programs.

  • Summer Resources
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Video: 2020 Annual Music Awards Luncheon
  • Events and Programs
Charki Dunn, Director of Music

The Annual Music Awards Luncheon was held last Wednesday, May 27, and was a huge success! All Bernard Zell bands and choirs performed music they learned in class earlier this year and were honored for their incredible accomplishments. Additionally, band students who earned their black belts received recognition for their achievements.

  • Music Awards
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Nursery Students Continue to Spread Kindness in "With My Own Two Hands" Video
  • Academics
Jaclyn Freitag, Nursery Teacher

Throughout the year, the Nursery class has focused on the value of chesed and how they each can plant seeds of kindness, love and hope within our kehillah (community). In the classroom, the nursery students would often bake some yummy treats or create a collaborative art piece to give to the various helpers in our school in hopes of making their hearts feel loved and appreciated.

  • Early Childhood
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Ma Nishma: Issue 17, May 20, 2020

Bernard Zell Day of Service 2020: Mitzvah Goreret Mitzvah
  • Events and Programs
Brian Barasch, Director of Marketing & Communications

This Friday, Bernard Zell students, faculty and staff will come together for our sixth annual Day of Service. Created in 2014 in memory of Dr. Alyson Horwitz's late husband, Judd Horwitz, the Bernard Zell Day of Service will honor his memory while bringing ruach to the work of giving tzedakah and lifting up those from underserved communities. 

  • Day of Service
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Virtual L'Chaim: Join Us Tonight to Honor BZ Security Team
  • Events and Programs
Michael Masters '93, Bernard Zell Parent & Trustee

Tonight from 7:00 - 7:20 p.m., members of the Jewish community from across North America will join together to honor the first responders who are on the front lines working to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will feature Billy Crystal as well as leaders from the Jewish community.

  • Security Team
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Join Us for a Conversation About Planning a Summer During COVID-19
  • Events and Programs
Katie Rich, Director of Admissions

Just as parents the world over were coming to grips with the reality that school would be virtual for the rest of the academic year, a new unknown loomed: what will summer look like in the midst of a worldwide pandemic? This much we can assume — it will not be summer as usual. So now what? 

  • Dana Hirt
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Save the Date: Athletics Banquet on Wednesday, June 3
  • Athletics
Kyle Sheahan, Director of Athletics & Physical Education

On Wednesday, June 3, Bernard Zell Director of Athletics Kyle Sheahan invites you to attend the 10th annual Athletics Banquet via Zoom! The evening will feature student-athletes and coaches reflecting on individual seasons, The David Stiefel Spirit Award, the highest honor a Bernard Zell student can receive and more! 

  • Athletics Banquet
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Weekly D'var Torah
  • Weekly D'var Torah
Gary Weisserman, Head of School

Like many of you, earlier this week I received an envelope in the mail asking my family to participate in the US Census. (Well—that's not entirely accurate. I probably received it a few weeks ago, but I'm not always great about opening snail mail in a timely fashion.)

  • Weekly D'var Torah
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First Grade Siddur Ceremony
  • Academics
Karen Leavitt, Head of Lower School

First-grade parents are invited to the virtual First Grade Siddur Ceremony! Students will be showcasing their learning about tefillot as well as receiving their first Siddur. It will be a special milestone event for everyone. We hope you will be able to join us!

  • Lower School
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Ma Nishma: Issue 16, May 6, 2020

Video: Lower School Students Become Connoisseurs of Art in Distance Learning
  • Academics
Shana Ryback, Lower School Art Teacher

In different grade levels, Lower School students have learned about Faith Ringgold’s Story Quilts, Robert Rauschenberg’s sculptures, Andy Warhol’s pop art and Romero Britto’s works with patterns. Watch the videos below for a sampling of how students are embracing art with a distance learning lens!

  • Lower School
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Join Us for Shabbat This Friday Honoring Grandparents and Special Friends
  • Events and Programs
Gary Weisserman, Head of School

We can't wait to continue the ruach of Special Friends' Week and join together again as a community on Friday for a special Shabbat honoring our grandparents and special friends. Since this year's celebration is virtual, we'd love to see homemade signs and shoutouts to special friends from students and parents during Friday's Shabbat.

  • Virtual Shabbat
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Video: Webinar on Education at Bernard Zell During Covid-19
  • Events and Programs
Ariel Rosen, Assistant Director of Admissions & Community Engagement

Last Thursday, more than 100 Bernard Zell families tuned in for a live webinar in which Head of School, Gary Weisserman, and members of the school's administrative leadership addressed questions about the transition to distance learning and ongoing planning for the 2020-2021 school year.

  • Academics
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An Update from the PTC
  • PTC
Tracy Ankin, PTC Preisdent

Congratulations to the newly elected members of the 2020-2021 PTC Executive Board! Each parent brings a unique skill set to this incredible leadership team, and we look forward to supporting their efforts to enhance our Bernard Zell community next year! Also, a big thank you to our Nominating Committee for their thoughtful participation in slating the 2020-2021 Executive team.

  • PTC
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Bernard Zell Hope Tree Community Project
  • Community
Rena Grosser, Early Childhood Teacher

The BZ Hope Tree, located on Grace Street, will be a place where students and families can create, draw and paint their messages of hope on rocks, sticks, ribbons, signs or any other creative ways they can think of to add to the tree. Click read more below to learn more and watch and listen as EC teachers express their messages of hope and inspiration!

  • Hope Tree
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Weekly D'var Torah: Oh What a Wonderful Morning, Oh What a Beautiful Day… Parshat Emor
  • Weekly D'var Torah
Leon Covitz, Head of Jewish Life & Jewish Learning

Wow! What a wonderful morning I experienced yesterday at school! I had an inspirational zoomorning, and all from the comfort of my apartment. I was honored to join the Tuesday morning celebrations with Early Childhood and their grandparents. To see the happiness and joy on the faces of both the students and their beloved grandmothers and grandfathers, was uplifting.

  • Weekly D'var Torah
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Ma Nishma: Issue 15, April 22 2020

Senior Kindergarten Embraces Distance Learning
  • Academics
Marisa Fujinaka, Early Childhood Teacher

Distance learning was a newcomer to the field of Early Childhood and Bernard Zell Senior Kindergarten (SK) students were ready for the challenge! Since the beginning of distance learning, SK students have shown great resilience and adaptability to this new form of learning. They continue to be fully engaged and successful in the curriculum.

  • Early Childhood
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Special Friends' Day 2020 Reimagined with Week Long Virtual Experience
  • Events and Programs
Gary Weisserman, Head of School

Rather than an in-person gathering on May 8, Special Friends’ Day will now begin on Monday, May 4 with a variety of virtual experiences throughout the week, including opportunities to engage with students, teachers and Bernard Zell leadership, concluding on Friday, May 8. 

  • Special Friends' Day
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Ma Nishma: Special Pesach Edition

Ma Nishma: Issue 13, March 25, 2020

Join Us for Shabbat Honoring Our Medical Professionals This Friday
  • Events and Programs
Gary Weisserman, Head of School

Shabbat is a reminder of the purposefulness of the world and the role that all of us play in it. Never has this sentiment felt more important than at this particular moment, and for the last two weeks, it's been incredibly uplifting to experience the role that Bernard Zell families have played in creating community and developing the joy of Shabbat.

  • Virtual Shabbat
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Virtual Passover Seder at Bernard Zell
  • Events and Programs
Leon Covitz, Director of Jewish Life & Jewish Learning

While social distancing this Passover, Bernard Zell is helping to facilitate a connection between families, even if only virtually. Sign-up below to either host a Passover seder (allowing another BZ family to join your festive meal via a live video call); or sign-up to be the virtual guest at another family's home.

  • Passover
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Faculty Spotlight: Camille Dominguez
  • Faculty
Brian Barasch, Director of Marketing & Communications

One of Camille Dominguez’s earliest and most enduring memories of Bernard Zell comes from her job interview. Often a setting rife with formalities and pleasantries, to this day, Camille remembers a heated conversation with her future employer that quickly departed with decorum and instead delved deep into educational philosophies and pedagogy.

 

  • Faculty Spotlight
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Weekly D'var Torah, Parshat VaYikra: Answering the Call, Again.
  • Weekly D'var Torah
Leon Covitz, Director of Jewish Life & Jewish Studies

I love reading, learning Torah and preparing quality lessons, which are hopefully meaningful and transformative for my students. The last few weeks our Torah readings have been focused on organizing and then building the Mishkan—the Tabernacle or sanctuary in which God’s presence was to be felt the strongest. 

  • Weekly D'var Torah
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Ma Nishma: Issue 12, March 11, 2020

Ma Nishma: Issue 11, February 26, 2020

NPR Host and Bernard Zell Alumnus Scott Simon Visits Bernard Zell
  • Events and Programs
Abby Spalding, Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Yesterday, the award-winning author, journalist, NPR Weekend Edition host and Bernard Zell alumnus, Scott Simon, took time to visit with 5th, 6th and 7th graders. The event was moderated by our Library Director, Rena Citrin, who offered her perspective not only as an expert on children's literature but also as Scott's former high school classmate. 

  • Scott Simon
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Important Information Regarding Special Friends' Day
  • Events and Programs
Candace Chesler, Director of Information Management

Grandparents and Special Friends' Day will be on Friday, May 8th and we don't want your family to miss out on the fun! Please login to BZ Connect to review the 2020 Grandparent/Special Friends' Profile form to make sure we have all the correct information for your family's Grandparents or Special Friends.

  • Special Friends' Day
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Weekly D'var Torah: Building and Giving Out of the Go(o)dness of Your Heart
  • Weekly D'var Torah
Leon Covitz, Head of Jewish Life & Jewish Learning

How do you feel when you enter a Beit Knesset/Shule/Synagogue and go into the sanctuary? I have been to many synagogues throughout the world. In each one, I have had a different feeling. There is a certain feeling of awe that is hard to describe. I do not feel it anywhere else, only when I enter into the sanctuary.

  • Weekly D'var Torah
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Faculty Spotlight: Benje Casper
  • Faculty
Brian Barasch, Director of Marketing & Communications

Growing up in Texas, Bernard Zell third grade teacher, Benje Casper developed a love for Dallas’ Camp Chai and still maintains a deep affection for his summer camp experiences—an institution he first attended as a camper, later as a counselor and eventually as a supervisory unit head.

  • Faculty Spotlight
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Ma Nishma: Issue 10, February 12, 2020

A Message from the Head of Early Childhood and the Head of Lower School: February 12
  • Academics
Abby Aloni, Head of Early Childhood & Karen Leavitt, Head of Lower School

This week, our third graders transformed into teaching experts, as they showcased newly acquired expertise in the area of Chicago History. Their authentic audience, our very own SK class, was able to connect this teaching to their own Chicago learning and experience the benefits of this integration together. 

  • Early Childhood
  • Lower School
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A Message from the Head of Middle School: February 12
  • Academics
Stephanie Bloom, Head of Middle School

Spring conferences are around the corner and we’re already preparing for our time with you! In Middle School, spring conferences are student-led. As a Middle School, we are committed to helping students invest in their own learning and develop a growth mindset. We strive to ensure Bernard Zell graduates know they can develop their skills and talents through effort and diligence while being receptive to feedback.

  • Middle School
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Alumni Spotlight: Rachel Vorwaller, Class of 2005
  • Alumni
Brian Barasch, Director of Marketing & Communications

This past December, Rachel Vorwaller (Class of 2005) tied the knot in a ceremony at Chicago’s Theater on the Lake, just a couple miles south of Bernard Zell. Not only was Anshe Emet’s Rabbi Michael Siegel officiating, but Rachel’s maid of honor and several other members of her bridal party were fellow BZ classmates.

  • Alumni Spotlight
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Eagles Go 4-0 Last Night, Check Out Games This Evening!
  • Athletics
Kyle Sheahan, Director of Athletics & Physical Education

Congratulations to our coaches and student-athletes! All four of our teams won last night, putting them in the final four in the conference and guaranteeing themselves games both Wednesday and Thursday nights. Thank you to Dana Gradman, Matt Rieger, and Taty Sampson as well as Matt Tobias and his crew for being great hosts for day one of our tournament.

  • Athletics
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Ma Nishma: Issue 9, January 29, 2020

BZ Annual Book Swap February 10-12
  • Academics
Rena Citrin, Library Director

There’s no better way to combat the winter doldrums than with a good book. Our Annual Book Swap will take place from Monday, February 10 - Wednesday, February 12 in Blum. Students are encouraged to bring in gently used books to swap for “new-to-you” books. Book collection will take place in classrooms on February 5, 6 & 7. No adult books, please! 

  • Book Swap
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Ma Nishma: Issue 8, January 17, 2020

A Message from the Head of Lower School: January 17
  • Academics
Karen Leavitt, Head of Lower School

Students at every grade level are now entrenched in the act of reading and writing nonfiction as part of our Lucy Calkins Reading and Writing Curriculum. Lucy Calkins is the Founding Director of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University in New York, and the author of the reading and writing Units of Study series, which have been an integral part of our literacy curriculum at BZ for many years.

  • Lower School
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Faculty Spotlight: Shana Ryback
  • Faculty
Brian Barasch, Director of Marketing & Communications
 

While still only in her second year at Bernard Zell, the Jewish Day School environment is certainly not unfamiliar to Lower School art teacher, Shana Ryback. Having grown up in Lincolnwood, Illinois, Shana attended Solomon Schecter Day School before moving on to Ida Crown Jewish Academy for her High School education. So when she started teaching at Bernard Zell in the fall of 2018, the community atmosphere, in many ways, felt like a homecoming.

  • Faculty Spotlight
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Ma Nishma: Issue 7, December 13, 2019

22nd Annual Student vs. Faculty Basketball Game
  • Athletics
Kyle Sheahan, Director of Athletics & Physical Education

On Friday, December 20, Bernard Zell will host its 22nd annual Eagle Classic Student vs. Faculty & Staff basketball game. If you are unfamiliar, this is an opportunity our 8th-grade basketball teams look forward to for years. Both the girls' and boys teams get an opportunity to try and keep up with the faculty and staff of Bernard Zell.

  • Eagle Classic
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8th-Graders Showcase Their Hebrew Through Song
  • Academics
Yair Bernstein, 7th & 8th Grade Jewish Studies Teacher

Eighth graders learned a contemporary Hebrew song by musician and songwriter Idan Amedi. The song is called "Helek M'hazman - חלק מהזמן" (part of the time). The students learned the Hebrew words, discussed the meaning of the song while looking at the metaphors in it, practiced the tune, and had lots and lots of fun creating the video.

  • Middle School
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Don't Miss the Hanukkah Book Fair
  • BZ Library
Rena Citrin, Library Director

Our annual Hanukkah Book Fair will take place next week in Malkov from Wednesday, December 18 through Friday, December 20. The Book Fair is a convenient place to do your Hanukkah and vacation book shopping. Your purchases will benefit the Bernard Zell library, which in turn benefits our whole community!

  • Book Fair
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8th-Graders Participate in Design Competition for Official Bernard Zell Hanukkah Card
  • Arts
Abby Spalding, Marketing & Communications Coordinator

A select group of 8th-graders were asked to design the cover of our official Bernard Zell Hanukkah card and the results were incredible! We narrowed the designs down to 6 finalists and ultimately chose one design. Mazel Tov to Julia J. for the winning design! See below for the other five finalists.

  • Hanukkah Card
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Our Artist-in-Residence, Ariel Burger, Collaborates with 8th-Graders and Speaks to Community
  • Events and Programs
Dr. Jeff Ellison, 8th-Grade History Teacher

Memory will last a lifetime and beyond. Last Monday evening, 8th-grade parents and students participated in the 3rd annual parent/student book club. What made the book club so extraordinary was the presence of our artist-in-residence, Dr. Ariel Burger. The focus of the book club was Elie Wiesel's memoir Night and the first chapter of Burger's book entitled Witness.

  • Ariel Burger
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Support Our Lego League Team by Visiting Their Innovative Website to Make Chicago Cleaner!
  • Academics
Nicole Allen, Middle School Science Teacher

BinZ, Bernard Zell's first Lego League team is excited to share their innovation project with the Bernard Zell community. This season, 6th and 7th graders set a goal of making the city of Chicago cleaner! In order to accomplish this, they’ve built a website that includes a map that will locate nearby garbage cans. Please visit https://binz.now.sh/ to check it out and support our BZ Lego Team!

  • Lego League
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Faculty Spotlight: Andrew Grabowski
  • Faculty
Brian Barasch, Director of Marketing & Communications

The son of a high school teacher and college professor, it’s no surprise Andrew Grabowski found a career path that led him back to the world of education. But if you ask Andrew—Bernard Zell’s Director of Technology—if he had ever envisioned himself working in a school, he’ll confidently tell you that his middle school self would have never believed he would become someone who spends his days working with teachers and students. 

  • Faculty Spotlight
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Hanukkah Music Festival - Ticketing Information
  • Events and Programs
Charki Dunn, Director of Music

We hope you are looking forward to a festive Hanukkah with family and friends! We're excited to continue our wonderful Bernard Zell tradition, the Leona Molotsky Hanukkah Music Festival on Friday, December 20 at 9:00 a.m. Click below to find important information about ticketing for the festival and other pertinent information. 

  • Hanukkah Music Festival
Read More about Hanukkah Music Festival - Ticketing Information
Weekly D'var Torah: The Two Influences in Ya’acov’s Life - Rivka (mother) and Rachel (wife)
  • Weekly D'var Torah
Leon Covitz, Director of Jewish Life & Jewish Learning

This Shabbat is a very special one for me. Yes, this Shabbat’s Torah reading, VaYishlach, is my Bar Mitzvah portion. Since my Bar Mitzvah, I have been blessed to have read it from the Torah in synagogue nearly every year. It is also significant for me because of what happens in one of its narratives. 

  • Weekly D'var Torah
Read More about Weekly D'var Torah: The Two Influences in Ya’acov’s Life - Rivka (mother) and Rachel (wife)

Ma Nishma: Issue 6, November 15, 2019

A Message from the Head of Middle School: November 2019
  • Academics
Stephanie Bloom, Head of Middle School

We are looking forward to welcoming you to Parent-Teacher Conferences on November 25th and 26th. Our teachers will be arriving with student work samples, up-to-date feedback and insight about how students are learning, growing and even engaging in good struggles. When meeting with teachers, we encourage you to share what you observe and hear at home.  

  • Middle School
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4th Graders Try Their Expertise as Tour Guides
  • Academics
Arielle Nagle, 4th Grade General Studies Teacher

After learning about the seven continents of the world and the five regions of the United States, 4th graders have chosen a state that they want to learn more about. In this final phase of their geography unit, students used text sources to learn about their chosen state’s history, landforms, tourist attractions, and more.

  • Lower School
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Faculty Spotlight: Kim Houston
  • Faculty
Brian Barasch, Director of Marketing & Communications

She is the smiling face you see upon entering Bernard Zell, the woman with all the answers and a fixture of our school community. And since her arrival in the role of receptionist more than 20 years ago, Ms. Kimberly Houston has been the go-to person for fielding any and all questions about BZ.

  • Faculty Spotlight
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Weekly D'var Torah: What's the Point of Assessments?
  • Weekly D'var Torah
Leon Covitz, Director of Jewish Life and Learning

Currently, at Bernard Zell, there is much activity amongst the school’s faculty. Report cards, as you know, are being prepared and the entire staff is getting ready for parent-teacher conferences. If you go into the teacher workrooms you will see many of the faculty with their laptops open, papers on the desk and colorful projects neatly stacked up.

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Ma Nishma: Issue 5, November 1, 2019

Alumni Spotlight: Nadav Sprague '09
  • Alumni
Brian Barasch, Director of Marketing & Communications

“My passion for tikkun olam and giving back started at Bernard Zell,” said Nadav. “In 7th grade, I remember raising money for the food pantry, Maot Chitim, serving on the leadership committee and creating different fundraising initiatives. This is always something that’s stood out to me about Judaism and something that Bernard Zell really gave me a passion for. The emphasis that Bernard Zell has on tikkun olam inspired me to get to where I am today.”

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Ma Nishma: Issue 4, October 18, 2019

Ma Nishma: Issue 3, October 4, 2019

Ma Nishma: Issue 2, September 20, 2019

First page of the PDF file: Mascotfullname
Kyle Sheahan, Director of Athletics and Physical Education

We hope you'll join us this Thursday, September 26 at 4:00 p.m. in our new Pritzker and Pucker Gymnasium and Performance Space to cheer on the Varsity Girls Eagles Volleyball team as they take on GEMS and on Wednesday, October 2 at 4:15 p.m. on our Field of Dreams to cheer on the 6th and 8th Grade Eagles Soccer Teams as they take on Catherine Cook.

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Ma Nishma: Issue 1, September 6, 2019

Faculty Spotlight: Andy Hirt
  • Faculty
Brian Barasch, Director of Marketing and Communications

Now in his 26th year as a teacher at Bernard Zell, Andy Hirt has seen a lot of change at the school during his tenure. Among the biggest changes throughout all that time has been the growth of the facilities and the overall size of the student body and staff.

Read More about Faculty Spotlight: Andy Hirt

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