Renia Schustermann fascinated the students at the Academies at Gerrard Berman Day School with her recollection of living through Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938. Mrs. Schustermann detailed how, on that November night, her father was taken by the German Police and sent to a concentration camp, just because he was Jewish. She told the students that, after that night, all Jewish children were forced to go to the same school, where even though every teacher and student was Jewish no Judaic education was permitted.

Following Kristallnacht, all Jews, not only the children, were segregated from the general population, explained Mrs. Schustermann. Her family was forced to move from their spacious apartment to a small five room apartment where a different family occupied each room. Eventually, she fled Germany and went to Shanghai, China where she spent seven years before moving to the United States. Mrs. Schustermann was lucky to be able to flee when she did and escape the terrible events that ensued in Germany. The GBDS student body is grateful to Mrs. Schustermann for sharing the real life account her experiences, which chronicle a crucial part of our Jewish History.

 reina schustermann1  reina schustermann 2


Creativity was on display, when as part of GBDS' Sunday Sept. 28th family Sukkot celebration, our second annual miniature Sukkah building contest took place. Thank you to all the families who participated and to our judges. A big congratulations to the children who won prizes in the most creative, best themed, and best use of upcycling categories.


Contest Winners:

Age 8 and under

Elianna Nahomove - Most creative
Nate Kaplan - Best Theme
Sam Terdiman and Eitan Toledano - Best use of Upcycling

Age 9 and older

Ariella Burnstein - Best use of upcycling
Keira Efrusy - Best Theme
Dari Ancelowicz - Most Creative


Elijah and Emmanuel Greenberg - Best use of upcycling
Giloh family - Best theme
Lender Family - Most Creative




Click here to view pictures from the event!

GBDS celebrated Simchat Torah with our annual Torah re-rolling ceremony. Students, teachers, and parents came together to support our 7th graders as they read from the Torah, joined in song and watched the Torah re-rolled for the New Year. 

Click here to view pictures from the gallery!

What does it mean to be mathematically proficient in today’s world? It used to be that proficiency in math meant the ability to get the right answers. We measured that by multiple choice tests where it was fine to just memorize math facts and “plug in” numbers into memorized formulas. In today’s world it is still those things, but now, added to that is the ability to think mathematically and actually know when and how to apply those skills to solve problems. Our students today also need to be capable of explaining the reasonableness of their answers and defend their thinking in order to qualify as mathematically proficient.

So, the question then becomes what can you, the parent, do to help your child along in this process of becoming math thinkers? The following is one possible suggestion. If your child asks for help doing their math homework try asking the following type of questions (where a “yes” or “no” answer is not a possibility):

  • What computation do you think you need to use? (add, divide, multiply, or divide) Why do you think that?
  • Explain what you have done so far to try to get the answer.
  • Does your answer seem reasonable? (Does it make sense?)
  • Explain your thinking.

Open-ended questions help solidify your child’s mathematical understanding and sometimes just verbalizing helps them to see what may come next.

In essence, we need our children to learn how to think and not what to think. Every student (given a “safe” environment to take risks in their thinking) has the ability to think beyond what they believe they can do. We need to encourage them to reason and persevere when they solve difficult math problems so that they can gain confidence in their own mathematical thinking.


By Ellen Bloomberg

(K-5 Math Coordinator & Grade 6 and 7 Math Teacher)

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