HAFTR Lower School joined schools and communities around the world in celebrating the Shabbos Project. Throughout the week, teachers incorporated lessons of Shabbos in a variety of curricular areas that helped build the excitement and enjoyment of Shabbos.

In kindergarten, students strengthened their writing and number sense by writing Shabbos books using numbers one through seven. In second grade, students learned about Kiddush and its importance to the creation of the world. They located the source of Kiddush in the Chumash, practiced the Kiddush from a card they decorated, and proudly took a class picture in front of the Moully sculpture, Overflowing Blessing Cup, situated in front of our school building. The entire school reviewed the laws of Al N’tilas Yadayim, understanding that while one must always wash before eating bread, on Shabbos it is a specific mitzvah to do so.

To enhance the excitement, students were treated by the PTA to a Shabbos-style lunch. They walked into their lunchroom where the tables were set for Shabbos, complete with grape juice, challos, kugel, and deli. Rabbi Weiss and the fifth-grade boys prepared a cholent that would win any cholent taste-testing contest. The ruach soared as the students sang and danced.

As a school community, over 800 people gathered at HAFTR Lower School on Thursday evening for our annual Challah Bake. Donning aprons and gloves, participants got straight to work, kneading the dough from scratch. By the end of the evening, 800 pounds of flour, 520 packets of yeast, 200 pounds of sugar, 525 eggs, and more were mixed, and the aroma of the rising dough filled the air. Mrs. Sheila Wiener, Mrs. Gail Lipton, and Mrs. Smadar Preston, PTA representatives who helped bring the first Challah Bake to HAFTR, performed the hafrashas challah. Everyone recited a t’filah and T’hilim, having in mind few individuals who are in need of a r’fuah sh’leimah.

While the dough was rising, families were invited to design a Lucite Al N’tilas Yadayim cup and towel, which is sure to be used especially on Shabbos by our HAFTR families. The room was electrifying as students came together to sing some of their favorite songs. They impressed their audience with a Sephardic Shabbat melody, composed by the late Joe Amar, who lived in Woodmere and whose grandchildren graduated HAFTR, and with a heartfelt rendition of Benny Friedman’s Tatty My King.

It was moving to see a room full of children and their parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents as they worked together to usher in the Shabbos so beautifully. Thank you to the PTA committee and sponsors for a memorable evening.