Middle School prepares for Shabbat Project

HAFTR Middle School Prepares for Shabbat Project

During the week leading up to The Shabbat Project, all HAFTR students, from early childhood through high school, got involved in the preparations for the exciting annual celebration of Shabbat.

PTA co-presidents, Candice Feiler and Tamar Scharf, coordinated countless volunteers and orchestrated the week’s events at every division. “We are proud to be a part of the Worldwide Shabbat Project and are already looking forward to next year!” they shared.

On Thursday, the generous HAFTR PTA sponsored Shabbat lunch for all students and faculty. Schnitzel, kugel, and cholent were served in every lunchroom, as students delighted in a pre-Shabbat meal.

The early-childhood students rolled up their sleeves, put on a pair of gloves, rolled out dough, and shaped their own challot as part of HAFTR’s Shabbat Project, a community-wide program to understand the importance of Shabbat, including the mitzvah of challah.

On Thursday evening, over 250 families participated in the HAFTR Lower School Challah Bake. Parents, grandparents, and students collected their supplies and found a spot to be part of the mitzvah of hafrashat challah and made the berachah together with the almost 500 people in the room.

STEM learning at HAFTR lower school

While students and guests waited for their dough to rise, they drew on their artistic talents to create various Shabbat-themed projects, including hadlakat neirot berachot frames, candle holders, and dip-dyed Shabbat candles. Tremendous energy resonated throughout the room. After the fifth grade choir performed a few timely Shabbat zemirot, everyone braided their dough to create beautiful challot for Shabbat. Everyone left the event looking forward to Shabbat.

STEM learning at HAFTR lower school

HAFTR third-graders learned about balanced forces, and had to figure out where to place two pennies in order to make their robot balance. The second-grade students are learning about different properties of matter, and took the opportunity in the lab to explore and experiment with different materials to find out how absorbent each one is.

HAFTR High School CIJE Tank Finalists

Ari Gurvitch, Ben Sides, and Jacob SteinmetzHAFTR High School Juniors Ari Gurvitch, Ben Sides, and Jacob Steinmetz recently participated in the second annual CIJE Tank competition, sponsored by the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education. Seven teams from six yeshiva high schools presented their projects in front of three “sharks.”

“We worked tirelessly for two years in order to reach our desired outcome,” said Ari Gurvitch, leader of the HAFTR team. Ari and his partners, Ben Sides and recent Fordham recruit Jacob Steinmetz, created a tire that would ultimately produce enough energy to power a car. Using piezoelectric tiles, a material that creates energy directly from pressure and vibrations, they were able to light up an LED, demonstrating that their concept worked. The students were honored to be finalists in the competition, and enjoyed engaging in the research and development process.

“This competition is not about winning or losing, but about learning how to become the next generation of entrepreneurs,” commented Jason Cury, president of CIJE.

CIJE has created a STEM curriculum that has expanded to over 100 Jewish day schools across the country. Mr. Cury continued, “It is important for us, that all our students become the next generation of innovative leaders.”

HAFTR High School, with the guidance of CIJE, recently built a new state-of-the-art STEM and Innovation Lab, currently offering 12 different STEM course options for the high-school students, including two APs.


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