Monday, January 13, 2014

Geography and Meteorology

Learning has come to life in all sorts of different ways for our elementary school over the past few days. Late last week, the grade level winners of National Geographic's National Geography Bee went head to head in order to determine the school winner.  While the competition was fierce and everyone gave it their best, 8th grader Shmuel Perl defended his title and will be moving on to the State qualifying test.  Students who score in the top 100 on the qualifying test are invited to Nashville in late March to compete in the state finals.

Today, everyone in third through 6th grade was a winner when Channel 3 Meteorologist Austen Onek visited Mrs. Triplett's science room to teach a lesson about weather.  With an array of recycled "junk" that he brought with him, Mr. Onek showed our students how they could build a fully functioning weather station out of materials they could find lying around their house.  He explained to them what each homemade instrument could measure and encouraged our kids to get actively involved in studying and reporting developments in the local weather.

Here are some more pictures from both the geography bee and the visit from Mr. Onek.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Images of our Mission

A little over a year ago, and following a grueling process that stretched over several months, our Board of Trustees voted to adopt a new mission statement; one that was felt to better capture the essence of who our school is what it strives to be.  Above is that statement illustrated by images of the children who bring it to life each and every day.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Divrei Hesped for Rabbi Efraim Greenblatt, ztz"l

I remember walking into the Anshei Sphard Beth El Emeth Congregation for the first time and noticing the slender man with the long white beard and black kapota standing near the mechitzah a few rows up from the bimah on the left hand side.  It was clear from his seat and the way that he carried himself that he was intending to be inconspicuous.  His garb, though, set against the deep purple and metalic silver of Anshei's unique decor made doing so rather difficult.

My first instinct was that this must be a visitor.   A rabbi, perhaps, visiting the mid-South from New York or maybe from Yerushalayim.  After seeing him interact with the rest of those who had come to Anshei to daven that Shabbos - a wonderfully eclectic mix of Jews from all backgrounds and of all levels of observance - I realized how mistaken I had been.  I was the visitor.  This was his home.  This was Rav Efraim Greenblatt: famed sage, student of Rav Moshe Feinstein, and one of the greatest poskim of his generation.  This was Rav Efraim Greenblatt whose erudition and acclaim didn't prevent him from spending decades, alongside his wife, teaching Torah to Memphis's youngest children in the school I had then just come to run.

Last week, the Torah world lost one of its most brilliant minds and the Memphis community lost one of its most cherished teachers: Ha-Rav Ha-Gaon Rav Efraim Greenblatt, zecher tzaddik le-vrachah.

It is an honor and a privilege to share with you these divrei hesped, words of eulogy, written by Rav Efraim's son, Rabbi Menachem Greenblatt, rov of Agudas Israel of St. Louis.