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SUMMER 2016 ‫קיץ תשע’’ו‬

$100K Grant Enables Special Services Expansion By Rabbi Chaim Hagler, Principal


n schools across the country, some students struggle in upper elementary grades with Reading, Math and Language skills. For many, this is the result of not having had the intervention to identify and address their specific needs at the beginning of their formal education. As educators, we feel that one of the keys to helping children best is by strengthening their areas of weakness as early as possible, even as early as Buds. Piloted this past year, the school is now formally launching the “Chazak B’Noam” program, which will begin in the 2016–2017 school year. Made possible by a multi-year donation of $100,000 per year by an anonymous donor, Chazak B’Noam is a push-in inclusion program that spans from Kindergarten to Second Grade and seeks to strengthen students’ academic and social skills through special services delivered by newly hired specialist instructors, who will provide differentiated instruction to students who need it in each student’s regular classroom.

Every child has different strengths, needs and areas for personal growth, and fully addressing these needs is part of Yeshivat Noam’s core educational mission. When a child is at risk of not being on grade level, early identification, intervention and speciallydesigned differentiated instruction can help these children the most. Thanks to the help of this grant, Yeshivat Noam is poised to continue to add more programs that can address the unique needs of every individual student. The Chazak B’Noam program builds on other new educational models that Yeshivat Noam has implemented in the last two years to meet student needs. Last year, the pilot program for Kindergarten was introduced, providing additional support to students who need extra CONTINUED ON P. 13

Every child has different strengths, needs and areas for personal growth. Fully addressing these needs is part of Yeshivat Noam’s core educational mission.

Annual Dinner



1 Rabbi Hagler, Past Presidents Dov Adler and Laurence Schreiber 2 Batya and Nachman Paul 3 Dovid Warshawsky and Ronnie Weinblut, Annual Campaign Co-Chairs



4 Rabbi Chaim Hagler, Guests of Honor Bennett and Tammi Schachter, Faculty Awardees Yehudit Liebb and Arwen Kuttner, Community Service Awardees, Miriam and Gabe Hermann and Nachman Paul

President’s Message


aving recently completed another successful year, we should all feel proud of what we have accomplished. The Board of Trustees and our various committees continue to spend time and energy improving and enhancing our overall program, both inside and outside the classroom.

Nachman Paul

Our faculty and administration are a committed and dedicated group and they are role models for our children.


Our Annual Dinner was a huge success. We had the privilege of honoring a group of outstanding individuals, Bennett and Tammi Schachter, Gabe and Miriam Hermann, Ms. Arwen Kuttner and Morah Yehudit Liebb. The dinner afforded us an opportunity to pay tribute to these dedicated individuals, have a wonderful evening out and raise significant funds to support our scholarship budget.

manner, while allowing every child to benefit from a yeshiva education. Finally, our YNPA and PSP continue to be engaged in programming and educational initiatives to produce the best experience for our families. We will work throughout the summer to continue our efforts for the coming year.

We have recently hosted a number of other fundraisers, such as our Three-on-Three Basketball Tournament, which was successful and enjoyable.

As we end the year, I would like to thank all of those who have given so much of their time and energy to our school. Our faculty and administration continue to work incredibly hard, providing the highest quality education. They are a committed and dedicated group and they are role models for our children. Our Board of Trustees and our Committee members are an outstanding group of individuals who care about the school and who add value in so many different ways. I encourage everyone to get involved and participate in whatever way you feel you can add to the school.

We also continue to focus on a number of other areas. Over the course of the year, we have enhanced our security efforts by adding an additional security guard and improving communications and security measures. Our Technology Committee has spent time reviewing our platform and suggesting enhancements. Our Finance and Scholarship Committees work to manage our financial resources in the most efficient and careful

I am excited to let you know that the Board of Trustees has selected Robbie Scharf and Abie Cohen as Co-Presidents to lead the Board in the coming years. Robbie and Abie, who have both served as Vice-Presidents, are two individuals who have been committed to the success of Yeshivat Noam for many years. Feel free to be in touch with Abie and Robbie at president@ We look forward to another great year together.

BUDS: From Caterpillars to Butterflies By Tsippi Cantor, Buds Teacher

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he concept of cycles appears throughout the Buds curriculum and the children love identifying cycles in different contexts. As the year begins, we learn about Rosh Hashanah and the cycle of a year. This somewhat abstract concept becomes more concrete and personal as we chart the students’ birthdays. The students recognize that after the last summer birthday, the calendar returns to the first fall birthday. When we focus on Bereishit, we delve into the cycle of rain. We return to this idea when we discuss Tu B’Shvat and the cycle of a seed, and we circle back to the concept in the spring by exploring the caterpillar and its transformation to a butterfly. This final unit of the school year has generated much of the recent excitement in Buds classrooms. As soon as our “pet” caterpillars arrive, Buds classes begin to explore the butterfly cycle. Our budding scientists study the anatomy of a caterpillar—how it moves and senses the world around it. Using fine motor skills, the children artistically string pom–poms together to make caterpillars, create papiermache chrysalides, and attach symmetrical


wings to their pom-pom caterpillars. They sketch the caterpillars at each stage of transformation.

Every morning, the students run to the pop-up habitat to see how their caterpillars and chrysalides have changed. With a sense of ownership, curiosity, and love, they make observations and anticipate what will happen next. Finally, after two weeks, the moment the class has been waiting for arrives: the butterflies emerge. Whether the event occurs overnight or as they listen to a book about butterflies being born (which actually happened this year!), the squeals of delight and excitement are certainly worth the wait. We then set our butterflies free! The students’ sketches then take our learning to an entirely new level. The children practice the pre-literacy skill of sequencing and retelling a story by sequencing their sketches, from caterpillar all the way to butterfly. They then dictate their words onto the pages and compile their annotated drawings into mini books. What a sense of accomplishment in completing a project in which they have been so deeply involved! The pride on their faces as they take home these newly authored books can’t be matched.


1 Siblings enjoying Lag B’Omer together

As our wonderful Buds fly off to Kindergarten, we wish them well. We excitedly await our new incoming Buds students, as the cycle of learning begins again.

2, 3 Kindergarten graduation

EARLY CHILDHOOD 4 Butterfly release

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4 1, 2, 4 Fourth Graders representing the state they researched at the State Fair

3 Fifth Grade presenting their research about the rabbeim from the time of the mishnah at the Tanna Fair 5 First Grader authors present their poetry at their publishing party 6 Fourth Graders celebrating with confetti at State Fair photo credit: David Beyda 7 Fifth Graders at the end of year BBQ 8 Mrs. Caryn Nat enjoying Lag B’Omer with her students




New Beginnings By Racquel Houpt, YN Parent


his June, we said farewell to our beloved Elementary School administrators, Mrs. Linda Stock and Rabbi Uzi Beer. While they will be sorely missed, we know that their contributions to our school will continue to be felt and appreciated for many years to come. Yeshivat Noam will also begin to reap the benefits of two phenomenal new additions to its leadership, as we welcome Mrs. Caryn Nat and Rabbi Elie Kurtz into their new administrative roles for the upcoming school year. “We express hakarat hatov and wish Mrs. Stock and Rabbi Beer much hatzlacha in their new endeavors, and we welcome our new team of administrators with great confidence and excitement,” says Rabbi Chaim Hagler. Mrs. Nat is an outstanding veteran teacher who has been enriching the lives of students at Yeshivat Noam for the past 12 years. She will be assuming the position of Curriculum Coordinator of General Studies in the Elementary School. “I am truly humbled by the outpouring of support and excitement over my appointment and the work I will continue to do on an administrative level,” shares Mrs. Nat. She has successfully integrated a Blended Learning program into our classrooms and has served as a Blended Learning coach to both the Third and Fourth Grade teachers.

We welcome Mrs. Caryn Nat and Rabbi Elie Kurtz into their new administrative roles for the upcoming school year.

Mrs. Nat will work with the entire General Studies faculty, and will ensure that all curriculum and professional development is in place. She will be partnering with the teachers to make certain that the highest levels of instruction and learning are taking place in each classroom and that all of our educators have the necessary resources to meet the needs of each student. She will offer guidance so that instruction continues to be increasingly more data driven, differentiated, and Common-Core aligned and that Yeshivat Noam continues to raise the bar for each student at his/her level while being appropriately challenged. Rabbi Elie Kurtz will assume the role of Acting Director of Judaic Studies in the Elementary School. Rabbi Kurtz is a seasoned teacher and innovator who received semicha from Yeshiva University and also holds a Master’s degree in Jewish Education from the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration. He was a beloved teacher at RPRY in Edison and has been a favorite teacher in our Middle School for the past four years, where he taught Gemara, Navi and Halacha. “While leaving the classroom is going to be hard, being part of the education of hundreds of students at a time is so wonderful,” says Rabbi Kurtz. “I can’t help but be excited, and I will hopefully infuse that excitement into the Elementary School.”

Mrs. Caryn Nat

In the Middle School, Rabbi Kurtz pioneered our extensive Torah L’shmah program and played an integral role in the development of our skills-based Gemara curriculum. As an educator, he has always prioritized student confidence and love of learning. “I love the positive atmosphere and growth mindset that permeates the air at Yeshivat Noam,” says Rabbi Kurtz. “I love the freedom to break the mold and do creative things that bring the goals of learning to life. As a Noam teacher, I always felt that I was supported to improve and perfect my craft and now I want to provide that support for our wonderful teachers.” We look forward to Mrs. Nat and Rabbi Kurtz bringing their passion, creativity and leadership to our Elementary School and know that they will inspire parents, teachers and students alike.

Rabbi Elie Kurtz

Farewell presentation to Mrs. Linda Stock and Rabbi Uzi Beer at Eighth Grade graduation

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Better Together

“At the end of By Aliza Chanales, MS Assistant Principal the day, they are or the past two years, Yeshivat Noam has been the beneficiary of a generous grant just versions of called “Better Together™” from a well-renowned national foundation. As part of the you, but with grant, the Sixth Grade travels every month to the Daughters of Miriam nursing home in many more Clifton, NJ. There, they gather around tables, young and old sitting together, talking and memories and sharing. On every visit, the students and residents participate in a joint art project related to the upcoming Jewish holidays, they talk about traditions and about school and life, and then much more life they sing, accompanied by Rabbi Dr. Alex Mondrow on the guitar. experience.”


It is a pleasure and a privilege to see our young students put aside their own lives and focus on the mitzvah of hiddur pnei zakein, glorifying and respecting the elderly. The repeated visits, along with the carefully planned activities by Ms. Barbra Solomon, allow the students to become increasingly comfortable sharing and learning from the seniors. They become invested in their lives, seek out their stories, and look forward to seeing them again. Connecting with the older generation allows the Sixth Graders to begin to imagine the lives they have ahead of them and the experiences they want to fill them with. And, of course, it also brings smiles and energy to the faces of the wonderful people who call Daughters of Miriam their home. When asked to reflect on her experience, Sixth Grader Maya Krause wrote a letter from her 90-year-old self to her current-day self, which beautifully captures the depth of the experience: “Once my skin wrinkled and I started using a cane, it was as if the younger me became invisible. Now people talk to me like I am a child. It is frustrating because I know I have so much experience to share. My voice may not be as loud, and my back may not be as straight, but underneath I am still that strong woman… Think of a senior in your life. Instead of just saying a quick hello, or giving them a pleasant smile or hug, try something different. Ask them questions about their life and their memories. Get their advice. Give them the same attention you would want someone to give you today. Take advantage of all their life experience …They may look different. They may need help eating or getting out of their bed. They may talk more slowly…But at the end of the day, they are just versions of you, with many more memories and much more life experience. When you hold their hand and ask them questions because you really want to get to know them, it will bring a smile to their face.” We hope all of our Sixth Graders, as they reach gil mitzvot and approach adulthood, will internalize these values of caring about other people, understanding them, and learning about them. We know they will carry this experience with them for many years to come.



1, 2 Eighth Grade graduation 3 Kayla Zlotnick, Class Speaker at Graduation 4 Akiva Prager, Class Speaker at Graduation

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5 Rabbi Benjamin Pomper and Rabbi Elie Kurtz awarding raffle prizes to students for learning Torah L’shma as part of the Shamati Learning Program. Some students learned Shnayim Mikra V’Echad Targum weekly and others learned 30 weeks of mishnayot for a total of 150 mishnayot each. The Middle School students combined learned 4,500 mishnayot this year as part of this program. Kol Hakavod! 6 New Jersey State Assemblyman Joe Lagana, who represents the 38th District, meeting and greeting students, staff and parents. Assemblyman Lagana toured the campus, addressed the students and answered questions about education affordability, and local government.


7 Glaciers. Flooding. Bacteria. Climate. Just a few of the topics addressed and researched by our students, which culminated in their multi-media science presentations at the Middle School Earth Expo. 8 Seventh Grade trip to Hershey Park 9 Eighth Grade trip to Lake George




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Chidon HaTanach Winner

Teacher Award

Yeshivat Noam seventh grader, Uriel Simpson won the National Bible Contest, Chidon HaTanach. Uriel prepared with his coach, Rabbi Elie Kurtz, and his father, Mordy Simpson for a full year in order to master the material being covered in the tests. Uriel will represent the United States next year in Israel in the International Competition. Congratulations to Yehuda Mazin and Eli Nat who were Finalists in the competition. Mazal tov, Uri!

Heather Brukner, Fifth Grade General Studies teacher, was awarded the Marcia Hirt Initiative Award for excellence in teaching. Mrs. Brukner (below, right) was recognized for taking the lead in Project-Based Learning in the Elementary School. For example, she created the Puritans and Pilgrims program, developed the Curious George Unit as part of the Holocaust Studies curriculum, and analyzed data to better meet the needs of her students. Mazal tov to Mrs. Brukner and thank you to Ari and Pam Hirt (center) for their generous contribution in memory of Ari’s beloved mother.

Lag B’Omer Grandparents & Special Visitors Day 8 | DARCHEI NOAM

Israel Day Parade

Yom Ha’atzmaut

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YN Parents Association:

Books, bowling, and beautiful art were just some of the YNPA events for families this past spring.

1 Wine & Cheese Tasting event 2 “Paint With Me” with Nikki Sausen 3 Author/illustrator Kevin O’Malley visits YN 4 Parent Bowling Night


Spring Events

he YNPA recently organized a number of events for our children, families, and couples to enjoy literature, art, and socializing within our school community.

In support of literacy, the YNPA recently hosted classroom visits with children’s book authors Kevin O’Malley and Andria Rosenbaum. O’Malley, author and illustrator of 75 books, presented to Kindergarten through Sixth Grade. Rosenbaum, an author of pictures books, poetry and short stories, visited Buds. The YNPA purchased a number of books by these authors for children to enjoy for years to come. In March, the YNPA hosted the Barnes & Noble Book Fair in Hackensack. Children excitedly entered the store in anticipation of listening to Rabbi Hagler, their administrators, teachers, and other students read books, tell stories, and read their own poetry. One of the event highlights was listening to the Yeshivat Noam choir’s beautiful performance under the direction of Morah Adina Mermelstein. Another notable part of the event was hearing Yeshivat Noam parent Chana Stiefel share her experiences about becoming a published author. In celebration of art and friendship, the YNPA hosted a mother-child paint night with Nikki


Sausen of “Paint With Me.” Mothers and children painted their own works of art on glass. After spending quality time together, everyone took home their masterpieces. Another form of artistic expression enabled the Elementary School children to create beautiful Purim cards for their teachers, under the direction of Morah Lea Pecaric. YNPA volunteers delivered the cards, along with mishloach manot, to the teachers and staff on Shushan Purim. In addition, a donation was made in the staff’s honor to Tomchei Shabbos. On Saturday night, February 20, parents of families with children in Buds through Third Grade came out for Parent Bowling Night at Bowler City. This annual event is a great way for parents to socialize, meet new people, and have a good time. Yom Ha’atzmaut is always a special day at Yeshivat Noam. Our thoughts were with the land of Israel as we watched the beautiful Fifth Grade daglanut presentation and listened to the sweet voices of our Yeshivat Noam choir. Thank you to Morah Adina and our shlichot, Reut and Moriya, for leading our children in these beautiful presentations. Children and adults alike sang and danced to the music of Moshe Masri of DJ MRM. Thank you to Mr. Masri, a new Yeshivat Noam parent, for generously donating his music and talent. A committee of new volunteers organized the celebration this year. Thank you to Rachel Erdfarb, Debra Glanzman, Gali Goodman, Yael Herman, Rebecca 2 Masri, and Elissa Seltzer. We are currently planning events for the 2016-17 school year. If you would like to get more involved with any of our programs, please contact ynpa@




Parent-School Partnership

Learning at Yeshivat Noam:

Not Just for Kids Anymore


isit Yeshivat Noam Middle School on any given Tuesday morning and in between scenes of children learning, chances are that you’ll encounter a group of adults engaged in study in the Beit Knesset. This group of Yeshivat Noam parents and other community members take part in a weekly text-based shiur on topics in Tanach, Jewish thought, and Torah and psychology. Middle School psychologist and teacher, Rabbi Dr. Alex Mondrow, examined the psychological and philosophical meanings and motivations behind various laws and practices of Shabbat in the Fall. In the Spring, Middle School Tanach Enrichment Coordinator and teacher Mrs. Aliza Weinberg explored fractious sibling relationships in Tanach. In the busy weeks before Pesach, parents had the opportunity to prepare for the holiday with an evening shiur by Rabbi Dr. Mondrow, exploring the thematic meaning behind different aspects of the Seder. Following Pesach, Rabbi Dr. Mondrow also led a morning mini-series related to the Aseret HaDibrot in preparation for Shavuot.

The PSP’s Parent Education Committee offers several series of shiurim throughout the year to enable parents and others to learn from the stellar educators at Yeshivat Noam and beyond.

The committee is working now on a schedule of shiurim for the Summer and the upcoming year. Please come learn with us! 1

Rabbi Dr. Alex Mondrow


1 Coordinated by the Middle School Chessed Committee, over 15 Yeshivat Noam students and moms donated their hair to children with cancer through Zichron Menachem at the Cut-a-thon at the Lillian Lee Salon.

Aliza Weinberg

2 Seventh Graders organized a “Shake It Up: Pasta Drive” in their Shuls for Purim to collect for those in need of food. Congregants were encouraged to use pasta boxes as groggers and then donate them. Over 830 boxes were collected and donated to Tomchei Shabbos and the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey! 3 Second Graders take the lead in collecting and sorting cans for the Food Drive. 3

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to all the Yeshivat Noam teams!


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1 6th Grade Girls Basketball: Champions! 2 Girls Hockey Team: Congrats on a great season! Not pictured: Eliana Warshawsky 3 7th Grade Boys: Champions! 4 7th and 8th Grade Girls Basketball Team: Made it to the Championship Game!


5 8th Grade Boys Basketball: Champions! 5

6 6th Grade Boys Basketball: Champions! 7 Middle School Boys Hockey: Co- Champions!

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See our Championship Soccer Teams on the back cover!


Inaugural 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament

Under the leadership of Event Chair Noah Wasserman, Yeshivat Noam parents and alumni enjoyed an evening of Basketball.


Congratulations to the winning team from the Class of 2014: Chaim Weinstein, Efrayim Saks, Eli Harcsztark


help in developing their foundation in language, learning, and social skills. Students participating in this model are part of a traditional Kindergarten classroom, with three full-time teachers. In addition, a dedicated specialist inclusion teacher supports the children who are part of this model, both in and out of the classroom. The children build their confidence, while the classroom curriculum is modified to meet the learning needs of each child. Yeshivat Noam has also put multiple new structures and hires into place to help identify children with specific needs that may have otherwise gone undetected. Buds students are being screened to detect any potential learning issues using an assessment called the “dial-test,” which helps teachers collect valuable information about who might be candidates for additional help. In Kindergarten, Yeshivat Noam has hired an exclusive, full-time, dedicated reading specialist, and has woven several new formal reading assessments into the curriculum, both to help enhance reading skills and target problem areas in Early Childhood learners. As children move from Early Childhood to First Grade, some students find the transition difficult. To that end, the 2015–2016 school year saw the addition of a full-time reading specialist for the First Grade who was tasked exclusively with working in small groups, or one on one, to develop reading skills. By using an Orton-Gillingham-based reading intervention curriculum called “Preventing Academic Failure,” Yeshivat Noam has witnessed growth in measurable ways. “The First Grade Inclusion pilot year has been a tremendous success,” explains Debra Tolchin, the inclusion teacher. “Our students have enjoyed being a part of the larger class while getting the individualized attention and support that they need to grow academically. Plus, the confidence that the First Grade Inclusion model fosters in each student leads to increased success.” For the 2016–2017 school year, the Chazak B’Noam program will expand to include several components in Second Grade. For students who are below grade level in reading, a research-based Intensive Reading Acceleration Program (IRAP) will be available to provide students with 90 minutes of literacy daily, utilizing, in part, an Orton-Gillingham approach in a small group setting. Arwen Kuttner, a trained reading teacher and a veteran Yeshivat Noam learning specialist, will be the instructor for this program. In addition, an inclusion option will be offered, in which students can work with a facilitator in a small group within the classroom to help them navigate social dynamics, anxiety-based challenges and various student skills. As in all of

the elementary grades, small-group learning will continue to be available with learning specialists for Reading, Math, Chumash and Ivrit, for students who are ready to learn the core of the Second Grade curriculum but benefit from a smaller teacher-to-student ratio. As part of this comprehensive approach to better reach students who learn differently, Yeshivat Noam has added another crucial position to the Elementary School team—Mrs. Shulamit Roth, a full-time speech and language therapist. Mrs. Roth is a licensed, ASHA certified learning specialist and Speech and Language pathologist with a specialty in language and learning disabilities. She will screen students for language-based learning difficulties and train the teachers to meet more language needs directly in the classroom. Together, the Yeshivat Noam Early Childhood and Elementary School Special Services team, which includes School Psychologist Dr. Miryam Benovitz; Amy Kagedan, Director of Early Childhood Support Services; and Stacy Katzwer, Director of Elementary School Support Services, and eleven special educators will work collaboratively to help each child fulfill his or her own potential. Yeshivat Noam invites those interested in hearing more about these exciting new initiatives in differentiated learning to reach out to Stacy Katzwer at or call 201-261-1919 x232.

Arwen Kuttner, Coordinator of Second Grade Intensive Reading Acceleration Program

Stacy Katzwer, Director of Elementary School Support Services

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Congratulations to our Girls and Boys Soccer teams who made it to the Championship. For more Championship teams, see p. 12.

Nitzanei Noam Nursery School






For more information contact:

A dynamic Early Childhood Program located at Congregation Bnai Yeshurun Child-centered curriculum led by warm and experienced Morot Classes for 2 and 3 year olds Optional extended hours from 7:30 am-6:00 pm

Esther Feil, Director of Admissions 201.261.1919 ext. 380


For more information, please visit or call (201) 261-1919 x122 *Nitzanei Noam Nursery School is an affiliate of Yeshivat Noam

Darchei Noam Summer 2016  
Darchei Noam Summer 2016