February 5, 2016

26 Sh'vat 5776


     Parshat Mishpatim
Candle Lighting at 5:48 PM
The Influence of Environment

The first series of laws presented in detail to Bnei Yisrael are the laws of eved ivri -- a Jewish bondsman. Why, asks Rav Zalman Sorotzkin, does the Torah need to make this the first series of laws presented to the Jews? The Jews just left Egypt and the experience of slavery behind. Why is it necessary to warn the Jews of the dangers of slavery and the importance of treating slaves fairly? Don't they already know from their own experiences how to best treat slaves?

Rav Sorotzkin offers a startling psychological insight. Precisely because the Jews were victims of slavery, they are more likely to mistreat their own slaves or those who work for them. Sometimes our experiences affect our psyches in ways beyond our control. It was therefore critical for Hashem to instruct the Jewish people to overcome their experience of slavery and to treat everyone with kindness and fairness. The environment in which we each find ourselves influences each of us in so many untold ways. It is critical to create the most supportive and warm school environment in which every student is able to grow naturally and benefit in so many ways.

Thank you for another super edition of Highlites.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Jonathan Kroll
Head of School
Upcoming Events
Sunday Feb.7

Rosh Chodesh Adar

Good and Welfare
Leora Litwin ('12) to Dave Moskovich

Chana Leah Batt ('12) to Nachum Gruszczynski

Meira (Solomon)('11) and Shalom Zharnest on their Marriage

Noah Cohen ('09) and Talia Lichtenstein on their marriage

Faculty Mazel Tovs
Rabbi Chaim & Rina Lanner on the bar mitzvah of their son, Dovid

Rabbi Jonathan & Jennifer Kroll on the bar mitzvah of their son, Akiva

Linda Melcer on the passing of her beloved brother, Eugene Weisberg, z"l

Sheri Segal on the passing of her beloved father, Maurice Forman, z"l

Ilan Markovitz on the passing of his beloved father, Jacob Markovitz, z"l
Journey to Start Up Nation  
Engineering Students Take on the Holy Land

Graphic by Akiva Stadlan ('19)
Article by Eli Litwin ('18)
Over winter break I was privileged to be able to partake in an amazing trip to Israel as part of the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) "Tech Journey to the Start-Up Nation." The group consisted of 23 students from 6 schools from Florida, New York, and California, who all participate in the CIJE Tech elective in school.

The journey was a trip like no other; I was able to see Israel in a whole new light. Israel, in my mind, was no longer only the homeland to my people but also one of the greatest tech-hubs in the world which boasts the most start-up companies per capita than any other country.

We visited the classic tourist sites in Israel, such as the Kotel, but we were able to to visit the technological and innovative side of Israel as well. We traveled to Chaifa to learn robotics at the Technion, went to Tel Aviv to visit the offices of Compedia, an interactive educational systems developer, explored the Azrieli Institiute of Engineering, and much much more. Throughout the tour we heard from many great speakers and entrepreneurs such as Bob Rosenschein, the creator of Answers.com.  The trip was every unique and a once in a lifetime opportunity!

Budgeting for Life   
Seniors Create Budgets As They Inch Closer to Graduation
Graphic by Shara Saketkhou ('16)
Art on Display
Check out the Work of our Advanced Art Students

Graphic by Highlites Staff
Self Esteem Week    
JUMP NCSY Students Bring Happiness to the 
Halls of YHS

Graphic by Tamar Ciment ('16)
Article by Lana Rosenthal ('17)
This week, the YHS Jewish Unity Mentoring Program (JUMP) Team ran Self-Esteem Week to encourage students to de-stress and explore happiness. We dedicated each day of the week to one of Harvard happiness professor Shawn Achor's 5 steps to happiness: Monday was centered around gratitude, on Tuesday students wrote letters to their future selves, on Wednesday students participated in JUMP's Jump Rope Exercise Challenge, on Thursday JUMP held a kumsitz, and finally, Friday saw the delivery of the special Shabbat-o-grams that were sold throughout the week. Additionally, all students engaged in a Hashkafa class centered around happiness, its source, and its place in Judaism.

Throughout the week, as students participated in these activities, they took Snapchat selfies and tagged them #iLoveMySelfie as part of the self-esteem campaign. Self-Esteem Week was a big success, and the JUMP Team looks forward to running additional programming later this month.
Technology in the Classroom  
Rabbi Lanner and Mrs. Hegna Attend 
Future Educational Technology Conference

Graphic by Ariella Mamann ('16)
Interview by Mathew Samilow ('17)

Matthew A. Samilow: Please describe the focus and purpose of the conference.
Mrs. Hegna: FETC (The Future of Education Technology Conference) is a national event that brings together teachers and technology personnel to discuss, share, and improve technology use in educational settings.  For YHS, our focus in attending the conference, was to ensure that, as a school, we continue to maintain a high level of technology integration in and out of the classroom.  It was encouraging to see that YHS is implementing and using much of the technology touted by FETC as "cutting edge," such as Google Classroom. 

MAS: How do you think the things you learned at the conference can improve education at YHS?
MEH: Much of what we learned involved iPad applications and digital learning web sites. Bringing these applications to our faculty and continuing to train and collaborate on the use of these edtech tools will encourage student engagement and learning. As  we move towards an increase in technology-classroom integration and a new building, working within digital media is imperative to sustain the level of student success we have at YHS.

MAS: Are there any innovations that YHS is looking to implement in the near future?
MEH: We are looking to encourage teacher awareness and use of educational apps that integrate well into Google Classroom.

MAS:Was there anything that particularly caught your attention at the conference?
MEH: There was a plethora of items that caught my attention.  Perhaps my favorite is the potential for "holo-classrooms".  These are rooms set up with projector systems, that allow classroom walls to become virtual workspaces for students.  This would be an engaging and inviting educational space for student collaboration and learning.
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Graphic by Ariel Shneider ('17)
YHS Students Bring Home Scholastic Awards

 This Week in Pictures 


The Yeshiva Highlites Staff