Eighth-Graders Pose for Pictures. On Monday, October 23, groups of eighth-graders from Shulamith School for Girls took turns visiting Andrew J. Parise Park to have informal portraits taken for their yearbook. In addition to taking individual pictures of each graduate, Nicolette Guastella of Lucky Photography took some candid photos of the exuberant group.
Protecting Children in the Digital Age. Students are growing up in an age of unprecedented availability of information which not only enters their living rooms at home, but is available in their hands in the form of the ubiquitous mobile phone with which many parents equip their children from a tender age.
Shulamith School for Girls recently hosted Rabbi Norman Lowenthal, LCSW, social worker, educator, and renowned lecturer on internet safety, who presents widely on the subject of parenting in the digital age. The well-attended evening was coordinated by Ms. Eliana Kadish, school social worker, titled “Do You Really Know What Your Kids Are Doing? Parenting Strategies in the Internet Era,” and got excellent reviews from parents regarding the engaging content and useful information shared.
Rabbi Lowenthal also presented different programs to the students in grades fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth, separately, varying his presentations to make them different, relevant, and age-appropriate to each audience. He asked students if they would be more watchful of their (future) children than their parents are of them. A surprisingly large number of students said they would be inclined to set more limits on their own children than their parents set for them.
An interesting observation made in the parent lecture was that this is the first time in recorded history that almost across the board, children know more about something than their parents. The only other era of which that can be said is when children of immigrant parents knew more of the language of the adopted country than the parents did. But that affected a limited population, and in the age of the internet, the children’s superior knowledge of technology is almost universal.
Rabbi Lowenthal emphasized that whatever one puts on the internet is going to be “public and permanent,” and tremendous caution must be used. Parents were advised to “postpone and protect” as a strategy to be used when confronting children’s desire for smartphones at ever younger ages. Children were taught about “eyeball” friends, defined as people you know and have actually seen, in the flesh, eyeball to eyeball. Having 500 “friends” on social media doesn’t mean these people are one’s real friends!
Students and parents walked away with a great deal of food for thought, as well as concrete ideas and means for trying to assure personal safety in a challenging time. Shulamith hopes to host additional parenting programs as the year progresses.
Prophetic Milestone for Shulamith Fourth-Graders. The fourth-grade students of Shulamith School for Girls reached a momentous milestone in their lives as they each received their first Navi, Sefer Yehoshua. To begin the celebration, Mrs. Joyce Yarmak, principal of the lower division, spoke to the girls about the qualities that are truly important in a leader, such as the courage to stand up for what is right even in difficult situations.
The enthusiastic girls played Eretz Yisrael Bingo, learned a song about Yehoshua, and devoured delicious cookies with the map of Israel. The divrei Torah, singing, and breakfast treats were all wonderful, but the highlight of the event was when Mrs. Yarmak and Morah Mindy Futersak called upon each talmidah to receive her Navi. As they begin to delve into the study of Navi, the Shulamith administration is certain that each of the precious talmidot will continue to give their parents and teachers much nachat.
Eighth-Graders Visit 9/11 Memorial. On Thursday, October 26, the eighth-graders of Shulamith School for Girls visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum and the World Trade Center Observatory. The students, who were born a few years after 9/11, participated in an educational workshop titled “Events of the Day” in which they learned about everything that occurred on that infamous day in American history. They closely examined some of the artifacts in the main exhibit, including a heavily damaged fire truck and a piece of the antenna that once topped the North Tower. After the workshop, students had additional time to tour the museum in small groups.
The group enjoyed lunch in Westfield World Trade Center. They then had the opportunity to take the elevator to the World Trade Center Observatory, where they marveled at the spectacular view from the 100th floor of the building.
Returning to ground level, the group was met by Mr. Yaakov Morgenstern whose daughter Nechama graduated from Shulamith last year. Mr. Morgenstern shared memories of his sister Nancy, one of the victims of the terror attacks. Everyone viewed Nancy’s name on the 9/11 Memorial and Mr. Morgenstern explained the significance of various aspects of the memorial.
Many of the girls commented that though they had often been told about 9/11, they had never before truly understood its significance to individuals and to our nation until they visited the museum.