Sukkot Festivities

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Sukkot Festivities

Caitlin Levine ’21

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Chol Hamoed Sukkot at Ramaz is a special time. Although Ramaz was open on both Wednesday and Thursday of Chol Hamoed Sukkot, the school day was very different than usual.

Some classes were held, but the administration also incorporated a lot of exciting events into the day to make it feel like a chag.  Both days began with davening (including hallel) followed by breakfast in the sukkah. The breakfasts were festive and included waffles with whipped cream. Alex Zemmol ’21 said, “I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better start to the day. It was great to be able to eat such delicious food surrounded by friends.” A lot of students also appreciated the late start of second period. Asher Silber ’21 stated, “Starting class at 9:35 made the day feel special. I did not have to rush while eating and felt that starting class later gave the days a sort of calmness.”

While many students attended class after breakfast, the school also provided students with the option of a chesed trip at Masbia Flatbush. Volunteers stocked shelves, prepared grocery bags for over 2,000 people, unloaded food shipments, and set up for the daily hot meal. Sarah Ginsberg ’22 said, “I really enjoyed participating in this chesed opportunity. It gave new meaning to the holiday.”  

For the students who remained in school, Ramaz offered an exciting activity. After third period, students had the option of attending a Simchat Beit Hashoeva in the Sukkah. Students ate cookies and enjoyed music and a special G.O. tie-dye station. G.O. President Ethan Morali ’20 said, “This activity was extremely fun and popular. Learning to tie-dye was cool. Even though my socks didn’t come out as planned, I had a lot of fun helping people out.” Sophia Ratzker ’21 said, “Tie-dye is one of my favorite activities. I was really happy to see something like this at school.” 

After a few classes, students returned to the Sukkah for lunch—chicken nuggets. Solly Taragin ’23 said, “Chicken nuggets are my favorite lunch that the school provides. How did Ramaz know?”

The day concluded with 2:15 dismissal. A lot of students thought that 2:15 was a perfect time to be dismissed. Norma Tawil ’22 said, “I felt like school ending at 2:15 allowed for the perfect balance of class and celebration. Everyone loved getting out early and it pleased a lot of my classmates.” On the other hand, some students felt like dismissal should have been earlier. Max Cohen ’21 said, “There is no need for snack and breaks. I would rather get out earlier. Perhaps we should have a Friday schedule and get out at a Friday time.”

The second day of Chol Hamoed Sukkot was identical to the first except that students attended community instead of Simchat Beit Hashoeva. At community, the students had the pleasure of hearing from both Rabbi Slomnicki and Mr. Cannon. Rabbi Slomnicki gave a short Dvar Torah and introduced Mr. Cannon. Jordan Sebag ’22 said, “Rabbi Slomnicki’s speech was perfect. It was timed perfectly and it engaged the students.” Mr. Cannon began his speech by introducing his family. He connected the idea of not judging his children to also not judging the student body. His speech received mixed reviews. Jared Harnick ’22 said, “I didn’t think the assembly was that great. It didn’t really add much to my day.” This sentiment was echoed by Asher Silber ’21. He stated, “I understand why it is necessary for Mr. Cannon to speak since he is the Head of School. On the other hand, the assembly didn’t really add much to the day.” Izzie Ottensoser ’22 disagreed. She said, “I loved the videos Mr. Cannon displayed on the screen. They really helped engage the student body.” Students also enjoyed lunch in the Sukkah on the second day, but the choice of food was not as well-received as the day prior.  Many students complained about the menu. Jack Dweck ’21 said, “I really liked eating in the sukkah, but I think that fish is not a meal liked by many and should not have been served.” Dessert, though, was still a hit. Ben Cole ’22 stated, “I really enjoyed the cookies that the school provided both days of Chol Hamoed.”

Overall, students felt that Ramaz did a great job with school on Chol Hamoed.  Nonetheless, some students believed the school would be better off closing over the holiday or further shortening the days. Jake Rubin ’22 said, “I would rather have just one day of school. Next year, I think the school should try to make that happen.” Kira Jacobs ’21 said, “I really enjoyed the two days of school! In the future, though, I think the school should give more opportunities to learn about the holiday so that more meaning can be brought to the day.”

Overall, most agree that if students must have school over Chol Hamoed then scheduling special activities and programs the way Ramaz did is the way to go.