A Message from Dan Sztrajt, Assistant Principal and Head of Jewish Life
On Tisha B’Av we commemorate much more than the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, we mourn a seismic shift in Jewish identity, a period in time so fraught with rapid change that it altered what it meant to be a Jew for the next 2000 years.
This period was foretold in Deuteronomy, “In the morning you will say, would that it were evening, and in the evening you will say, would that it were morning”. The Talmud, in Tractate Sotah 49A, explains this as a cursed time when each evening we yearn for the next morning to bring better news, but in fact each day brings progressively more troubling news, “because their situation is continuously worsening” (Sotah 49A). The Talmud recognises that the destruction of the Temples themselves were not the most troubling element, but rather the uncertainty of such rapid changes for the community.
This year we are confronted with a very real understanding of what it is like to live through a period of constantly evolving circumstances. We wonder each evening what the infection numbers will be the next morning and how these may impose a different regime of restrictions on us. We are anxious with this uncertainty because it seems that our ‘situation is continuously worsening’. Just like the destruction of the Temples, it is not the existence of Covid-19 that worries us, it is this perpetual flux of changing conditions.
The parallels are even more pronounced when we read Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar’s Talmudic commentary on the same verse which says “since the destruction of the Temple… the taste and aroma has been removed from fruit.” While this may have been meant as a metaphor, it is almost eerie to consider this as analogous to today’s Coronavirus symptoms. We too now long for the sweetness of being in the classroom together and enjoying each other’s company on the playground at lunchtimes.
Having said all of this, what can we learn from these similarities? Perhaps we are now more able to appreciate the tragedy of Tisha B’Av, not only as destruction, but as prolonged uncertainty. On the other hand, we know Judaism adapted to its new reality and would eventually thrive becoming the religion we are so familiar with today. Some would even say that this calamity ultimately lead to the establishment of Rabbinic Judaism, democratisation replaced centralised control by the social elite, and individual prayer substituted gruesome sacrifices. What better lesson could we take from Tisha B’Av than the knowledge that uncertainty eventually ends, and things do get better. When we are challenged, we grow. We find innovative solutions to what once seemed like unsolvable problems. We develop new appreciations for what is really important to us and in the process, make our lives even richer than before. If we are still here thriving 2000 years after the destruction of our Temple, we will surely be here thriving after Covid-19 too.
Our Year 8 and 9 Etgar (Challenge) students have been continuing this exciting program during lockdown. This week, some of the participants joined with My Village Kitchen for some healthy, fun cooking all done in their own kitchens. Why don’t you try this easy recipe at home?
Easy ‘Choose Your Own Vegetable’ Frittata
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek or ½ brown or Spanish onion, peeled and sliced thinly
1 garlic clove, peeled and diced finely
~ 500g of any vegetable of your choice (e.g. pumpkin, potato, sweet potato, broccoli, spinach, carrots, mushroom, zucchini)
½ cup grated cheese or fetta or any cheese you have at home
6 eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
Term 3 may not be unfolding the way we imagined it would, but there are still so many things to look forward to. All the usual excitement, activities and learning will take place in a suitable format and all our students, whether on or off campus.
Welcome back to the Creche and Kinder students, as well as the Year 10-12 students, who will be enjoying ‘business as usual’ on campus. And welcome back to our Year 2-Year 9 students — once again there is an amazing Digital Bialik offering in store for you.
Here are some photos of our Kinder students enjoying the first day of Term 3.
Our Year 8s have been studying medieval Japan this term, including learning about the life of a samurai warrior. Andreas Kammel, Makerspace Facilitator, conducted an interactive Kendo lesson. Kendo is a traditional Japanese martial art that was created when the age of the samurai was ending, as a way of preserving their culture and practices. Andreas demonstrated his use of metal and bamboo swords and then put on his traditional armour and allowed the students to strike him! It was a great way for the students to experience the legacy of an historic period they had studied
During the final week of Digital Bialik, the 6B English and Humanities students had a screen break and took the opportunity to do some baking.
The class are currently reading the book Sally’s Story. In this book, the main character Sally learns about her heritage and identity and so the students decided to look at food from their own various cultures. They chose to prepare foods that were special to them and their families.
It was a great opportunity to take a break from the screen, although the class enjoyed chatting via Microsoft Teams while cooking up a storm.
This year we celebrated Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli’s 72nd birthday, like never before, physically apart but together in spirit. Students from Creche to Year 12 got involved in various ways and students and many staff submitted a photo of themselves in blue and white which formed a collage. Some on the day activities included:
Celebrity Shout Outs Part 1:
Secondary School Video:
Primary School Video:
Lockdown by Julian M:
Celebrity Shout Outs Part 2:
This week we undertook a three day trial of Digital Bialik, an online delivery of our entire Prep to Year 12 curriculum. The trial was a huge success. Every subject, from Maths to English, from PE to Music, and even our kitchen lessons took place online.
Science was supported by our Laboratory Manager videoing science experiments at home, and even the Informal Team had lunchtime ‘hangs’ with our students.
Kol Hakavod to our inspiring teaching and administration teams who have relished the challenge and supported our children to continue learning.
In its sixth year, Science Week at Bialik saw students engaging in a range of activities around the theme of ‘Science in Motion’.
The ELC students investigated how neurons work to help them think and make connections by looking at and touching real brains.
Students in the Primary School got friendly with a variety of Australian animals like Serendipity the baby wallaby, crocodiles and snakes, and learned all about the human body by seeing and touching bones and body parts from different animals. The Year 3 and 5 scientists were amazed by the ‘Big Science Show’, where some brave students helped create a ball of fire!
In the Middle School, students learned the neuroscience behind magic, played with drones and robots, exploded a ball pit with liquid nitrogen, had a scavenger hunt around the school, and connected their Maths and Science skills whilst playing bubble soccer and using the crash carts.
Students from the Senior School honed their Physics skills when they took part in our axe-throwing activity, learned how to protect their brains and battled it out during a domino tower competition.
Throughout the week, students participated in forensics and sport activities, explored virtual reality and hugged some friendly animals during their lunchtimes.
Bialik gratefully acknowledges the generous support of Science Week at Bialik, in memory of Bettie Kornhauser.
Middle School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) days are a challenging and fun way for students to expand their learning environment and collaborate with peers from other year levels.
On February 26 and 27, the first STEM Days of the year were held and were a great success.
Students collaborated in their teams to find bushfire solutions. They spent time researching, talking to guests who had experienced bushfires before, talking to a guest from the Environmental Protection Authority, working in Makerspace with drones and robotics, pitching their designs to teachers – who gave them ‘Bialik cash – going to the ‘shop’ to buy supplies, making prototypes for their inventions, creating advertisements for their designs and sharing them on the CLE. Once they had uploaded their ads, they watched each other’s videos and left constructive feedback in the comments section.
We saw many amazing ideas, including new kinds of gas masks, drones to fight fire or rescue animals, animal shelters, subterranean dwellings modelled on Coober Pedy, animal transport containers, special banks to help people after the fires and so much more!
There are many brilliant prototypes on display in the Middle School Corridors. The students enjoyed being able to choose their teams and portfolios. They did well at following Bialik’s Design Process, which begins with empathy, designing something to help someone based on an identified need or problem, evaluating, modifying and improving until the end ‘product’ is completed, then pitching to an audience.
This STEM Day involved two pitches: the one to their teachers on Wednesday and their ads on Thursday.
While on the camp, students have been participating in surfing, kayaking, art/sand sculpting, an Indigenous Cultural Walk and a full day hike, to name a few activities.
The Year 7 camp is a non-stop outdoor adventure that leaves students with memories that last a lifetime!