November 13, 2015

1 Kislev 5776


     Parshat Toldot
Candle Lighting at 5:13 PM
Multiple Avenues for Connection
I'm writing this message from the Beit Midrash of Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim. I landed this morning in Israel, hopped in a rental car and, along with Rabbi Englander of Hillel Day School, made it here in time for shacharit. It's wonderful to see our graduates at all of their different yeshivot and seminaries, and I look forward to seeing all of the various programs that cater to our students.

The Midrash Rabba on this week's parsha records a dispute between R. Yochanan and Resh Lakish about Avraham's age when he "discovered" God. One opinion says that Avraham was three years old and the other says that he was forty. Each opinion is derived from a particular interpretation of the pesukim, but what is the deeper message being conveyed by this dispute? I once heard Rav Aharon Lichtenstein explain that the argument is not about chronological age. Rather, R. Yochanan and Resh Lakish are arguing about what type of approach led Avraham to a deep belief in God. Was it the childlike wonder of the three year old who looks at the world and is awed by the power and glory and just knows in his bones that God is real? Or is it the reasoned arguments and proofs of the learned "forty year old" philosopher who arrives at a deep belief in God after rationally comprehending His reality? Both approaches are valid and each represents a path toward emunah. The Torah did not spell out explicitly which path Avraham took because God did not want to limit us to one particular approach.

When I see all of our graduates learning in different programs with different areas of emphasis, each with the goal of arriving at a deeper appreciation of Torah and mitzvot, the two possible paths of Avraham become even more resonant. It is critical to offer students multiple avenues by which to connect to Hashem and through which to develop a strong identification with the Jewish people. At YHS we strive to provide those multiple avenues which will engage, challenge, and inspire our students. Thank you to the Highlites staff for sharing what is beautiful about YHS with everyone.

Shabbat shalom.
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Jonathan Kroll
Head of School
Upcoming Events
Sun. Nov. 22
Open House

Mon. Dec. 21 College 101 for Juniors, 7PM

Tues. Dec. 29 College Financial Aid Workshop, 7PM
Good and Welfare
Danny Krasna ('04) to Hudi Grunwald
Alex Schlinsky ('10) to Shira Mayersdorf ('10)

Brandon Gelbart ('08) to Ricki Katz
Sarah Kowal on the passing of her mother Bertha Greenwald
David Schneider on the passing of his father Shlomo Schneider
Chani Dennis on the passing of her mother Eveline Kranzler
1st Annual Geography Bee
School-wide Rosh Chodesh Program Kicks Off
National Geography Awareness Week
Graphic By Tamar Ciment ('16)
Article by Matthew A. Samilow ('17)  

On Thursday the entire school congregated for the first annual YHS Geography Bee. Each grade sent a team consisting of two of their finest and most skilled students. Representing the senior class were geography gurus Ilan Gritzman and Leor Leveson. Eleventh grade delegated the dynamic duo of Evan Jacoby and Matthew Samilow. The other two teams were Ayelet Gross and Yonah Frieden from 10th grade, and Akiva Stadlan and Shimmy Siev representing the Freshmen. 
The match was a tightly contested battle between the juniors and seniors. Following a timely answer by Matthew Samilow, 11th grade surged into the lead. However, the heavily favored 12th grade led by Gritzman answered the final question correctly and secured the match in dramatic fashion.

Junior Chesed Day and Night Out
Bowling with Yachad, JARC and Friendship Circle, Capped Off By a BBQ With Friends
Graphic by Ariel Schnider ('17) and Ariella Mamann (16)
Article by Tamara Kahn ('17)

This past Wednesday, the Juniors were dismissed a few periods early and headed to a fun chesed activity. We had the opportunity to bowl with members of Yachad, Friendship Circle and JARC (Jewish Association for Residential Care), and it was a great bonding experience for us and our new friends who joined us to bowl. After bowling, we went to Quiet Waters Park for a grade-wide BBQ where we enjoyed delicious hot dogs and hamburgers and had quality "chill time" with each other. We look forward to more chesed and bonding activities in the trimesters to come!
Final Journey
Seniors Visit Funeral Home, Demystifying the Tahara Process     
Graphic by Gabi Frohlich ('17) and Bailey Frohlich ('16)
Article by Shanee Markovitz ('16)

This past Tuesday YHS seniors had the rare opportunity to learn more about the Jewish approach to the after life process at the Gutterman-Warheit Funeral Home.   
Accompanied by New York Times Religion reporter Samuel Freedman and a photographer from the newspaper (please see the link below for the New York Times article), students walked into the ceremonial room, where the director of the funeral home spoke of the respect and dignity the deceased receive, as well as the support that their family members encounter. Afterwards, students rotated around three rooms. The first was the actual Tahara room, where Rabbi Sugerman demonstrated some of the things which a Chevra Kadisha does during the tahara process; students got the chance to participate in activities such as the water purification process. Then the group continued back into the ceremonial room, where they heard from Rabbi Kroll more about the tahara and shiva processes. Finally, students were shown the shrouds that deceased are dressed in, and understood the different symbols and customs, including how to tie the traditional "shin" knots.

I think that the entire grade was significantly moved by the program. It was a very unique educational experience that I do not think most seniors are able to receive, and it was also highly interactive. This trip was definitely an unforgettable senior year moment.

The 2016 Elections and the Jewish People
Dr. David Luchins Provides Keen Insight into the Upcoming Presidential Elections
Cooper Invitational
Boys Impress in Memphis with 3-1 Record, 5th Place Finish
Graphic by Aaron Senfeld('17)
Building Update
Things Are Moving Along at the Site of Our Future Home

The Yeshiva Highlites Staff