April 28 , 2017

2 Iyar 5777

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    Parshat Tazria-Metzora
Candle Lighting at 7:33 PM
Purification of Character
In Parshat Tazria we are introduced to laws of tumah and tahara. In describing the process by which a new mother must wait until she is ritually pure in order to enter the Temple, the Torah says: בכל קודש לא תגע ואל המקדש לא תבוא עד מלאת ימי טהרה. Literally, that means that she may not touch any consecrated food or enter the Temple until the completion of her days of purity. The chassidic master, Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk, interpreted the pasuk homiletically: One should not touch holiness or approach God until he has first spent considerable time purifying his own character. Character is the foundation on which we build our spiritual lives. I hope that as teachers, students, and as a community we are able to use all of the opportunities afforded to us to strive toward that sense of character development and religious engagement.

Rabbi Jonathan Kroll
Head of School
Upcoming Events
Mon. May 1  
Yom Hazikaron

Tues. May 2
Yom Haatzmaut

Wed. May 3
Last Day of Senior Classes

Good and Welfare 
Sarah Cohen ('07) to Artem Djouraev

Yoni ('06) and Chaya Stern on the birth of a girl.

Shira (Roszler '04) and Kivi Steinberger on the birth of a girl

Mrs. Nili Alcalay, KYHS Ivrit Department Chair, on the passing of her beloved mother, Adit Esther Admoni.

Mrs. Peggy Linker on the passing of her beloved father, Mr. Henry Sperber.

Mrs. Chani Katz on the passing of her beloved father, Mr. David Singer.

Dr. Sasha Winderbaum on the passing of his beloved mother, Esther Winderbaum.

The Fight Against Denial
Yom Hashoah Program Focuses on the Theme of Holocaust Denial
Graphic by Alec Gelman ('17)
Article by Alec Gelman ('17)

This past week, students of Katz Yeshiva High School had the privilege of participating in a moving Yom HaShoah program. The program included hallway decorations, an exclusive Yad Vashem traveling exhibit, a screening of the movie "Denial", and an emotional candle lighting tribute to the victims of the Holocaust, led by Holocaust survivors who are residents of Forest Trace Senior Living Center. The program focused on Holocaust denial, a heinous example of historical revision pertaining to the Holocaust.

In preparation for the event, students decorated the school the prior night to set the mood for students arriving the following day. With the lights partially covered with paper and the walls obscured in black, the only things visible were the drawings indicative of the pain and suffering endured in the Holocaust. Scrawled across the wall was the number six million, painted in large letters and visible all throughout the hallway. Facts and statistics written on the walls attempted to evoke emotion but could only convey the most general facts of the Holocaust. The real, evil truths could not be succinctly conveyed in mere numbers and figures.

After davening, students had the chance to walk around the Auschwitz blueprints exhibit, on loan from Yad Vashem, a powerful and informative display that details the planning and construction that went into the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. On display were poems, historical facts and official blueprints of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Many students found the presentation extremely moving. "Walking through the exhibit was extremely meaningful, impactful, and effective," said Aaron Kurtz ('17).

To others, the most interesting part of the exhibit was the existence of such blueprints. "I have never seen anything like these [blueprints] before,"said Eli Litwin ('18). The exhibit was fitting for the theme of the program, as the recently discovered blueprints were a solid proof against Holocaust deniers, many of whom claim that Auschwitz was not actually used to gas Jews. The blueprints, however, clearly disprove that absurd notion.

KYHS students then gathered in the social hall for a showing of "Denial", a courtroom drama about Holocaust denial. After David Irving takes Deborah Lipstadt to court for libel, Lipstadt must prove that Irving is a false historian  and that his views on the Holocaust are unfounded. Essentially, Lipstadt must prove before a British court of law that the Holocaust indeed happened. Throughout the movie, Irving attempts to rattle the defense and onlookers by making outlandish accusations regarding Auschwitz, like "I don't see any reason to be tasteful about Auschwitz. I say to you, quite tastelessly, that more women died in the backseat of Senator Edward Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick, than even died in a gas chamber at Auschwitz!"In the end, Irving is found as a "liar and fraud", proving Lipstadt victorious. While it seems as though someone like Irving could never exist in real life, quite the opposite is true. David Irving v. Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt was a real case that was resolved in 2000. Denial was simple a dramatic rendition of extremely true events.

The formal program concluded with the traditional memorial prayer recited in memory of the 6 million who were murdered.  Most poignant were the words of the survivors, who spoke of their experiences as they lit candles; there is no greater rejection of Holocaust denial than the testimony of those who saw the horrors and atrocities firsthand.

Dog and Pony Show
Students Rejoice as Humane Club's 2nd Annual Dog Therapy Event Expands to 3 Days
Graphic by Justin Isaacs ('19) and Noa Markovitz ('19)
Article by M. Aaron Samilow, Senior Canine Correspondent

BOCA RATON, F.L. -- There is perhaps no single event that generates more buzz and publicity among the masses of KYHS than the annual visit by "stress-relieving" dogs ahead of Advanced Placement exams. This year, the event's organizer, president of the Humane Club and canine aficionado Zack Ben-Ezra, extended this new and beloved tradition across three days, giving students ample opportunity to cope with the stress that comes with the highly rigorous Katz Yeshiva High School curriculum.

Each day brought different surprises. On the first day, Tuesday, we hosted two of America's favorite hound, the Golden Retriever, and your faithful newsman can attest, based on his diligent on-scene reporting, that students were in visibly better mental spirits after interacting with the aforementioned animals. And it only got better as the week wore on. On Wednesday, Mr. Ben Ezra was able to arrange the visit of four Retrievers. And as you may have been able to guess, doubling the number of pooches, doubles the amount of stress relief. One noticeably frazzled student told Highlites that she "wasn't sure [she'd] be able to make it through AP week" had Mr. Ben-Ezra not organized this group therapy session. It was a stunning remark that put into sharp relief the staggeringly high expectations placed on yeshiva high school students.

Alas, Mr. Ben-Ezra, ever the showman, was not finished. To cap off an already stunningly successful event, he convinced upwards of ten experienced dog trainers to take time out of their busy schedules and bring in their dogs. I, along with almost all those present, were simply dumbfounded by the number of dogs, some cute, others cur-like, that showed up. Any fears that the event would be marred by the incontinency of one of the smaller pooches proved unfounded as all present seemed to enjoy themselves.

Mr. Ben-Ezra has assured me that event is already scheduled for next year and that he anticipates it continuing for the foreseeable future.

STEAMing Ahead
KYHS Team Wins Technion's International Competition
Graphic by Sydney Freedman ('20)
Article courtesy of Jennifer Frey, Technion Official Press Release (http://www.ats.org/news/earth-day-themed-rube-goldberg-machine-wins-technion-contest/)

Some Earth Day events involve volunteer clean-ups, planting flower beds or unplugging your gadgets for a day. The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, however, challenged high school students worldwide to build an Earth Day-themed Rube Goldberg Machine-and three schools came through with flying colors (all shades of green, of course).

For the uninitiated, a Rube Goldberg Machine is a wacky contraption that is deliberately over-engineered to perform a simple task by setting off a comical chain reaction. Katz Yeshiva High School of South Florida (whose team of students ranged from 9th through 11th grades), placed first in this fun but difficult challenge, winning a one-year full scholarship to the Technion.

"When I saw our school's name appear on the screen, I was overcome with emotions of comradery and school spirit. Tens of hours of hard work had finally paid off," said student Tani Loskove. Teammate Ty Kay added: "As a high schooler pursuing dreams of becoming an engineer, Technion's Rube Goldberg Earth Day Challenge was a great stepping stone for me. It was my first real engineering project."

"It taught me values like teamwork, collaboration and communication, and as the only girl on the team," said Michal Amar, "it showed me the importance, and sometime difficulties, of making your voice heard." 

Other students on the team include: Noah and Joshua Bernten and Max Davis. Working out of a student's garage, the winning team concocted a nearly one-minute chain reaction in which Coca Cola bottles activated a toy car, sent a ball down a winding slide worthy of a Water Park, releasing liquid gallium to complete a circuit, which eventually set off a stream of water that spun a home-built Ferris wheel, knocked down popcorn boxes that activated a fan-illustrating recycling (plastic, metal and paper) and alternative energy sources (hydro, solar and wind power).

Some 24 high school teams around the world participated in the challenge. A team of judges led by Prof. Alon Wolf, Director of the Biorobotics and Biomechanics Lab at the Technion's Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, selected the winners based both on their creative renditions of Earth Day themes and the complexity of the energy transfers from one action to the next. Le Hong Phong High School for the Gifted in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam placed second, while the International Bilingual School at Hsinchu-Science-Park in Taiwan came in third.

"It's very exciting for us," says Dr. Yosef Wolf, who heads up Katz Yeshiva's STEM courses and started a robotics club at the school (no relation to Prof. Wolf). "It's the first engineering contest that we have ever entered, and we came in first place! We've been growing our engineering opportunities recently and we have plans to further expand our STEM offerings next year. This result has further helped to increase our students' excitement for the upcoming initiatives."

Big Decisions are Right Around the Corner
Sophomores Have First College Night with College Guidance Department
Graphic by Yosef Linzer ('18)
Article by Sara Deichman ('19)

Multiple signs hanging in the hallways of KYHS read "college is just around the corner!" As daunting as the expression is, Sophomore College Night elucidated the process by which we get to the corner we must round. On Tuesday night, Mrs. Roberts and Mrs. Seidenfeld welcomed the class of 2019 and their parents into an informative session about college. At the start of the program, students and parents were provided with both an informational packet, and each respective student's report card and PSAT score. Throughout the program, the informational packet was referenced. So many ideas were covered in the short sixty minutes, making the session extremely worthwhile. Sophomores and parents learned about the most important features to admissions offices around the country, along with the steps they should be taking to reach individual goals. Thankfully, with a great guidance team and hard work, we are on the right track to succeed in the realm of college acceptance and beyond. The first college night of our high school careers was a huge success and we sophomores cannot wait to learn more about next stage of our lives in the coming year.
Teacher Profile
Meet Mrs. Rachey Mirzoeff ('07) Hashkafa and Tanach Teacher Extraordinaire 
Graphic by Mayrav Saketkhou ('20) and Liora Mayer ('20) 
Interview by Max C. Wiederhorn ('18)

Highlites writer Max C. Wiederhorn sat down with Mrs. Mirzoeff for this hard-hitting interview

Max C. Wiederhorn: Where are you from?
Mrs. Rachel Mirzoeff: I was born in Miami Beach and lived there most of my life.

MCW: What are your main hobbies?
MRM: I love spending time with my kids. I also love running.

MCW: What/who is your source of inspiration to teach?
MRM: I always loved to learn as a child, and as an adult I have gained a tremendous amount learning from my students and my teaching experience.

MCW: What do you like most about your field of expertise?
RBS: The meaningful relationships I develop with my students through our shared discussions of Jewish Philosophy and Tanach.

MCW: Tell us something that nobody knows about you.
RBS: I was on the KYHS Girls JV basketball squad as a junior and senior.

MCW: What are your plans for this summer?
MRM: I'm working as a division head at Camp Morasha.

MCW: Thank you for your time Mrs. Mirzoeff!
MRM: It was a pleasure.


The Yeshiva Highlites Staff