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No Parents Allowed
Kids and special friends learn and play at Akiva's Grandparents Day.
group of grandparents and "grand friends" joined the children in their lives
at Akiva Hebrew Day School's Early Childhood Center's Grandparents Day.
The multigenerational crowd shared a continental breakfast, made
Havdalah box art pieces together, viewed a digital video featuring the young students
and each family took home a braided challah to bake for Shabbat.
"The highlight of the morning was the spectacular singing performance by
the children," said Lisa Parshan, director of the Southfield-based school's Early
Childhood Center. "Singing all their Hebrew songs in the repertoire they learn
through our Ivrit Immersion program, they sang with vigor and gusto"
Sandy Cohn of Southfield has fun with
her grandson, Jonah Schwartz, 3, of
Natalie Lipnik of West Bloomfield enjoys the program
with Sara Minna Gottfried, 4, of Southfield.
Joyce and Rick Spalter and their grandson Meir Shomer, 6, all of
Boston Bombings from page 12
Facebook post, Robin, 1:48 a.m.: "Watching CNN, see-
ing the situation in Watertown unfold in front of my sis-
ter's house. Stay tuned. Scared out of our minds:'
From TV, Facebook, Chris' police scanner and Linda's
reports, the Echt family knew more than most about what
was happening in their neighborhood, often just blocks
away. Chris continued to advise the family to stay away
from windows and not to use their cell phones for fear of
accidental detonation of any IEDs (improvised explosive
devises) in the area.
Facebook post, Chris, 1:49 a.m.: "They are still work-
ing the area extensively and missing a suspect. Stay put,
stay calm. Sending love, and I promise to keep you updat-
ed for as long as it takes:'
A little later in the morning, Linda's other sisters, Liz
Echt of Bethesda, Md., and Karen Echt of Chicago enter
the Facebook conversations, mostly thanking Chris for his
info and staying abreast of developments. Their mother
in East Lansing also joins in. Brother Andrew Echt of
Birmingham, an executive with the Jewish Federation
of Metropolitan Detroit, was on a Federation mission in
Cuba and unable to communicate.
Facebook post, Chris, 5:47 a.m.: "FBI is about to start
actively working a track within the perimeter grid, along
with existing resources:'
"We were on complete lockdown, with constant heli-
copters flying overhead, and SWAT, armored vehicles and
police everywhere Linda said to the IN. "The media was
all at the bottom of our street, and we were trapped in our
homes feeling both incredibly well protected and vulner-
able at the same time:'
Facebook post, Linda, 6:57 a.m.: "Thank you Chris
and my sibs for staying up with us all night:'
An especially poignant moment in the ordeal came
when Noah, who is on the autistic spectrum, was pre-
pared by Linda and Jill for the arrival of a SWAT team to
check their home to make sure it was safe. Upon seeing
them in full gear at the door, he forgot who they were and
asked if they were there to shoot them.
Soon after suspect No. 2 was captured on a nearby
street later on Friday, the residents of Watertown were
told it was safe to leave their homes.
"About 20 minutes later, we heard helicopters louder
April 25 • 2013
than ever, could literally feel them over our homes circling
extremely low at nearly roof level over a large circled area
about what appeared to be a mile or so away:' Linda said.
"We then again hear explosions and gunfire, further away
this time. We turned on the news and became aware that
the suspect had been found on Franklin Street, across
from where our daughter goes to daycare.
"After quite a while, [the suspect] was put in an ambu-
lance that rode right past our street, and then folks fled
into the streets to see each other, celebrate the fact that
we could leave our homes and see each other. People
gathered quickly, and the media was everywhere. Police
cars, FBI, all kinds of vehicles came through the crowd to
cheering and clapping.
"There was a sense of relief and elation that very quick-
ly changed to shock and almost bewilderment:' Linda
said. "We were all just kind of wandering and circling
each other in the street:'
Robin saw her sister in the crowd on Mount Auburn
Street on TV news and was elated.
;:a1111111..111M 1 1111.11/1 1M1..... "
'Like A Battle Zone'
Facebook post, Robin, 7:48 a.m.: "It's been a very long,
A view from Linda Echt's window of a SWAT team next
door to check the house.
terrifying night for all. Linda, Jill, Noah and Eva are so
Linda is the principal of a private school. At around
6:30 a.m. Friday, she pulled herself together and sent an
email to her school community, followed by others every
five hours or so. She knew Monday at school would be a
tough day, but she had prepared her staff and had com-
municated with parents and students.
"There are a whole slew of us just walking around
like zombies, going through the motions of life because
that's what we have to do:' Linda said. "Jill described [the
ordeal] as a battle zone. I felt like I was in perpetual dan-
"My body is literally sore and I feel immensely agitated.
It is difficult to concentrate and we are worried about our
children," she said. "I am totally in the place where I have
to hold myself together — for my job and family — and I
almost never have to feel that way.
"We are so grateful to our nephew and my siblings and
my mother for staying calm and talking us through every
moment. I can barely remember a whole minute that went
by without one or many of them on the phone with us:'
Linda says Jill posts on Facebook all the time and that
she and her whole family make fun of it. Not anymore.
"It will be a long time before I bash social media again:'
she said. And, she says, she'll never be caught without a
charged cell phone again.
Linda may not yet be able to express what she took
away from this harrowing experience, but Robin can.
"We all learned — when my dad died suddenly at age
53 — that life is fragile and how close family needs to be,
and to live each moment to its fullest:' she said. "We've
had reminders along the way, and this was one of those
intense reminders, to hug those you love, tell them you
love them and be there for them in whatever way they
need. This moment reconfirmed what we already knew,
that we are there for each other:'
In a gesture of family she didn't recognize at the time,
Linda says that sometime on Friday she put on her father's
mezuzah. She hasn't taken it off yet, and maybe never