February 26, 2016

17 Adar I 5776


     Parshat Ki Tisa
Candle Lighting at 6:02 PM
Strength in Contributions

In the beginning of this week's parsha, the Torah gives very specific instructions for taking a population census of the Jewish nation: we should not count each individual Jew but rather ask each Jew to donate a half-shekel so that we can count the Jews by counting the coins. The Torah warns that only by doing the census this way do we avoid a plague. Why would counting each individual cause a plague?  Rabbi Jonathan Sacks offers a beautiful interpretation. The usual reason for taking a census is to measure strength, whether in economic terms, military might, or simply demographics. The assumption underlying every census is that there is strength in numbers. Says Rabbi Sacks, "The danger in counting Jews is that if they believed even for a moment that there is strength in numbers, the Jewish people would long ago have given way to despair." Instead of counting people, the Torah instructs that we should ask Jews to give and then calculate their contributions. Although we are small in number, our contributions to the world stand out as extraordinary.

I want to thank the Highlites staff for their contribution to the school community as they publicize and share all of the great things going on at YHS. I also want to thank the Hollywood community for their hospitality this Shabbat as they welcome YHS staff members into their homes for the Hollywood Shabbaton.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Jonathan Kroll
Head of School
Upcoming Events
Friday Feb.29
First Day of Third Trimester

Good and Welfare
Oren ('07) and Mushky Hizkiya on the birth of a girl

Faculty Mazel Tovs
Dr. Michael and Ora Lee Kanner on the birth of a grandson
Community of Nations  
YHS Students Impress at YU Model UN

Graphic by Tamar Ciment ('16)
Article by Highlites Staff
This past week, 16 YHS students, accompanied by history teacher Mr. David Ohring and Shira Englander, participated in the 26th Annual Yeshiva University National Model United Nations (YUNMUN) in Stamford, Connecticut.  Students represented the countries of Turkey and Sweden.  Matthew Samilow ('17), was awarded his committee's most prestigious honor, Best Delegate.  
Highlites sat down with Matthew to hear about his experiences at YUNMUN.
Highlites Staff: What committees did you participate in?
Matthew A. Samilow: I participated on the Committee for Science and Technology for Developing Countries.  Our committee focused on the gender gap in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) education as well as E-government, which allows for government to conduct business electronically with citizens and corporations.
HS: What did your committee accomplish that you are most proud of?
MAS: It gave me a great sense of fulfillment when I was able to get my committee's e-government resolution to pass unanimously.
HS: What were the most enjoyable parts of the formal sessions?
MAS: I particularly enjoyed the formal debates, addressing my committee on our country's position as well as commenting on working papers and resolutions.  
HS: Aside from the hours you spent studying both in school and at home, how did YHS prepare you for YUNMUN?
MAS: I would be remiss if I did not thank my esteemed captain Simcha Stadlan for the way he drilled me for months in preparation for YUNMUN.  There was also a great deal of overlap with the public speaking we do in Debate Club and Mock Trial.
HS: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about YUNMUN?
MAS: The chocolate chip cookie bars were delicious! Also, it was cool hearing Maya Borzak present slam poetry at the award ceremony; she actually presented in poetic form every time she spoke in her committee.

Senior Active Volunteer Experience   
S.A.V.E. Program Helps Seniors Give Back to the Community in a Meaningful Way
Graphic by Ariel Schneider ('16)
Article by Highlites Staff

Last week 12th graders inaugurated an exciting new program in which they will be giving back to the community in a meaningful way.  Seniors and faculty alike felt that with the beginning of  the third trimester of their final year at YHS, seniors would benefit greatly from engaging in a more active experiential mode of learning. Therefore YHS unveiled its new initiative called S.A.V.E. (Senior Active Volunteer Experience.) By redesigning the Wednesday afternoon schedule for the third trimester, seniors now finish their classes at 1:45 and then proceed to their volunteer sites.

Seniors were asked to sign up for a variety of volunteer opportunities that the school arranged for them or to arrange their own and have it approved by administration.
Last Wednesday was the first day and students did a great job! The feedback the school received about our seniors has been phenomenal. In a letter to parents Rabbi Kroll wrote, "I can't describe how gratifying it is to get such wonderful notes of appreciation from the coordinators of the volunteer sites. Here's part of one of the notes that we received from our contact at Boca High: 

Just wanted to let you know that the student volunteers were wonderful today. They jumped in with minimal instruction and were a great help in the 7th period Adaptive P.E class. The students were comfortable with them and they even engaged students that are challenging to get involved. I am looking forward to Wednesdays and will plan more group activities where many assistants are greatly needed."

This groundbreaking program is being coordinated and spearheaded by Mrs. Lysee Stein and Mrs. Sharona Kay.

The Spoken Word 
Rabbi Grajower's 10th Grade Gemara Class Puts a Creative Twist on Gemara Study

Graphic by Akiva Stadlan ('19) and Noa Markovitz ('19)
Article by Jonah Tripp ('18)

This past week, my 10th grade Gemara class, under the guidance of Rabbi Grajower, was assigned the task of writing a poetic rap in which we summarized the Gemara we studied during the first half of the year.  

For many this task was daunting,  
consistently haunting  
the adolescents in their dreams  
as they relayed their nervous screams.  
But some enjoyed this project and its entirety,  
because through passion o' so fiery,  
my 10th grade Gemara class completed our mission,  
of relaying the vast message of Mesechet Kiddushin.

Humans of YHS 

Graphic by Ariella Mamann ('16)

 This Week in Pictures 


The Yeshiva Highlites Staff