March 18, 2016

8 Adar II 5776


     Parshat Vayikra
Candle Lighting at 7:13 PM
The Sweet Smell of Actions
The Torah describes the sacrifices as ריח ניחוח לה׳--a sweet smell for God. Is the intent of this pasuk to teach us about God's sense of smell? The Chidushei HaRim offers a profound answer. The smell of something sweet is not the actual source of sweetness; the sweet scent is derived from something more fundamental. The smell of fresh baked bread is wonderful, but the fundamental thing is not the smell but the bread itself. This is an apt metaphor for sacrifices, explains the Chidushei HaRim. A sacrifice is merely a sweet smell. In and of itself, a sacrifice is not important. What's important are the actions of the person who brings the sacrifice. A sacrifice is meant to be a sweet smell, an indicator of the person's actions following the sacrifice, which are far more important.

It's critical, although not always easy, to recognize what parts of our lives are the more important aspects on which we should focus. Sometimes we mistakenly focus on the scent and forget about the actions which are meant to follow. I hope that with an honest, respectful, and engaged educational experience we will all always evaluate our priorities and ultimately live lives that will be a source of pride to ourselves and to Hashem.

Thank you to the Highlites staff for another stellar edition. I'm proud of the victories and sportsmanship that our teams displayed both in Sarachek and the Geography Bee, and I'm excited that our readers will get a glimpse of their success. Our students played hard and made us all proud.
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Jonathan Kroll
Head of School
Upcoming Events
Wed. March 23
Taanit Esther- Early Dismisal

Purim Chagigah- 7:30 PM

March 24-25
Purim Break. No Classes 
     Sarachek Success     
Boys Varsity Basketball Secures 6th Place Finish in 20 Team Tournament, Best in School in History
Graphic by Shara Sakethou ('16), Justin Issacs ('19), and Noa Markovitz ('19)
Article by Jonah Rose ('17)

As the Storm varsity basketball team boarded their Delta flight from FLL to LGA, an eerie silence of understanding surrounded them. They knew this was no vacation; the Sarachek tournament was not about fun, giggling, or mediocrity. The team understood that they had purpose. They knew, as they boarded the plane and began heading to the far end near the lavatories, that this was a business trip.
"Not too high, not too low," assistant coach Steve Danis would warn. The boys mastered this balance of emotion: cold-blooded with a hint of shame. Through the leadership of the coaches and the offensive prowess of junior Ethan Lasko, the team cruised through game one against Maimonides of Boston, advancing to the Tier 1 quarterfinals against Shalhevet of Los Angeles.
Before the Friday game against Shalhevet, the team received a motivational speech from head coach Coach White. "Four score and seven years ago," began Coach White, "our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." With that, the team found the spark they needed to challenge Shalhevet. Just as the Maccabees fought the Greeks and Susan B. Anthony challenged societal norms, the underdog Storm came out swinging. However, despite a valiant effort led by the dominant bench presence from the likes of Jack Rubin, Jonah Rose, and Elie Zaghi, the Storm fell to Shalhevet.
Shortly after, Shabbat came around. The team participated in a glorious Shabbaton with 19 other teams from all over this planet we call home. As friendships were built, Torah knowledge was developed, and classic mass-catering Kosher food was consumed, the boys felt something new: an undeniable love for the Jewish people.
This tournament, the 25th annual Red Sarachek basketball tournament, was not all about winning. Through the games, time spent off the court, and the Shabbaton, the Storm were brought together with each other, new friends, old friends, and other acquaintances who they knew through mutual Facebook friends. As George Washington once said, "Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth."
World Champs! 
Geography Club Wins Annual South Florida Geography Bee in Dominating Fashion

Graphic by Ariella Mamann('16)
Article by Ilan (The Best Geographer of All Time) Gritzman ('16)

Going into Thursday's geography bee, I was not as excited I had been in previous years, as Ransom Everglades, the reigning champions and our archrivals would not be participating in this year's bee. To make things worse, Team A, one of our two, five member teams, lost Evan Jacoby ('17), at the last minute due to illness. Yet, those doubts were soon erased as Team A, composed of myself, Leor Levenson ('16), Azi Genet ('16), Matthew Samilow ('17) and last minute replacement Ben Portnoy ('17), dominated round after round in the preliminary round robin and for the first time in school history, went undefeated in the round robin. Meanwhile, Team B, led by their captain, Aaron Kurtz ('17), and supported by Yonah Freiden ('18), Elias Attias ('16), Jonathan Leff ('17) and Jeremy Griff ('19) also impressed in the round robin portion of the bee. In a tight 4-2 victory over Scheck Hillel, Attias and Griff correctly answered critical questions to win a nail-bitter.

Following a break for lunch, both of our teams were ready for the playoffs. Team B received its highest ever seed (ranked at #5), but they were narrowly defeated at the buzzer in the quarterfinals by Scheck Hillel's A Team, 6-5.  The team from Hillel, however was soon ousted by the Gritzman-led Team A, 17-3 in the semifinals. Team A then went on to the finals where they would face a daunting challenge against the top team from Riviera Prep. Initially, the match was close, but after a few incorrect responses by Riviera, Team A pulled ahead to win the 2016 ISSF Geography Bee, 19-11.

Senior participants, Ilan Gritzman, Azi Genet, Leor Levenson and Elias Attias would like to thank the supporters of our geography team. It has been a wild ride over these past 3 years and we worked tirelessly to finally win our school a geography bee. We will miss being on the geography team next year and hope that it continues to succeed in the coming years!

And the Results Are In...
YHS Students Participate in Mock Primary
Graphic by Akiva Stadlan ('19) 
Chesed Club   
New Club Founded by Two Freshman Already Making an Impact

Graphic by Ariel Schneider ('17)
Article by Sara Deichman ('19) 
Community service at YHS is one of the many co-curricular components that instills students with middot tovot. My friend Yakirah Rosen and I noticed that while getting Chesed hours is a great and worthwhile experience, it is sometimes difficult to find opportunities for chesed. Last month, we started a club that promotes community service and allows for easy opportunities to earn Chesed hours.
For one of our first events, this past Tuesday night we assembled Mishloach Manot at the Rosen home for Jewish Adoption and Foster Care Options (JAFCO), an organization that takes in Jewish kids and gives them a new look at life; the turnout was impressive. Students spent two hours packaging goods that will bring smiles to the faces of children who are less fortunate than us. Not only was this easy and fun, but it also enabled students to get Chesed hours! We are looking forward to many more events in the future.

The Yeshiva Highlites Staff