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Kotarot The Emery/Weiner School Spring 2012

IN THE nEWS Page 4



Kotarot Administration Head of School Stuart J. Dow Chief Financial Officer Dave Meyer

A quarterly report on news and happenings at The Emery/Weiner School

From the Head of School Page 3

Jaguar Pride Page 16

In the nEWS Page 4

Head of Upper School Rabbi Shlomo Adelman Head of Middle School Dr. Lue Bishop

Read up about all of the action from this spring’s sports at EWS.

Director of Admissions Danny Kahalley Director of Advancement Rebecca Starr Director of College Counseling Lynn Slaughter Director of Athletics Angie Gubitz

Stay in touch with EWS and read up on the spring culture trips for all grades!

Faculty Spotlight Page 10 Mark your calendars now for the 12th Annual Joy of Education (JOE) Dinner, honoring the Helfman Legacy on Thursday, October 25.

Editor Ann Holdsworth

The Emery/Weiner School Mission Statement To educate and develop students whose intellect, moral character and Jewish identity provide a lifelong foundation for personal growth, commitment to the Jewish people and Tikkun Olam - improving the world in which we live.

Say goodbye to EWS Theater’s Larry Dachslager (upper right) and Josh Harbour (upper left). ON THE FRONT COVER: (L-R) Junior Jacob Silver, sophomores Alec Lapin and Cameron Rubenstein, junior Hayley Weycer, freshmen Illan Kunik and Mackenzie Kleinman, and freshman Danielle Gosdin. ON THE BACK COVER: Incoming sixth graders for the 2012-13 school year participated in their first EWS activity with a pizza party to meet their future classmates and begin learning more about the EWS Difference.

Consciously Unkempt I hate shaving. It’s not that I like having a beard – which gets itchy, hot in the summer and increasingly reveals grey – I just resent the time expenditure, along with the razor burn. So last week, as I was getting ready for an evening fundraising event, it occurred to me – I could go “Miami Vice.” Meaning, no, I wasn’t going to wear a pastelcolored shirt open to my navel; rather, I could show up with a couple days’ growth. Reason being, it was shortly after Passover – a time when observant Jews don’t shave. To be clear, I didn’t pretend then (or ever) to be more religious than I am, but I realized that my unkempt facial hair provided a “teachable moment” – one that would help me illustrate one of the most valuable features of an Emery/Weiner education. And sure enough, as soon as I arrived (literally), one of the guests remarked, “Nice look, Stuart!” “I can explain,” I responded, and so I did.

what is known as Lag b’Omer – so named based on the Hebrew letters, each of which has a numerical equivalent, that together equal 33. In other words, amidst one festival that marks national liberation and another that marks Divine revelation, we make a point of remembering students who passed away -- two thousand years later. This is so Jewish – not only that we strive to remember, but in terms of what we remember.

Stuart J. Dow Head of School

Every community and every culture has its collective Seven weeks after Passover, the holiday that memories. Taken together, they form narratives (real or commemorates our freedom from Egyptian slavery, apocryphal) that reflect the priorities and values of the Jews celebrate Shavuot, the holiday that commemorates given group. For example, ours is one that constantly receiving the Torah at Mt. Sinai. We essentially go from invokes our history as slaves – not just on Passover, being a “people” defined by shared experience and few but every Friday night during the Kiddush over wine, beliefs – though admittedly, monotheism was and is a Jews recount being subjugated strangers. Our deep “big” idea in the scheme of religions – to a nation bound commitment to social justice derives directly from to and by the Bible. We became what Rabbi Mordechai this repeated refrain of our experience in Egypt. Next, Kaplan would later call a consider Shavuot: A holiday “religious civilization.” celebrated not merely by eating or praying, but The 49 days between Amidst one festival that marks national by staying up all night Passover and Shavuot, studying. Because liberation and another that marks Divine and Pilgrimage holidays on regardless of one’s revelation, we make a point of remembering personal belief about which Jews historically made their way to the Torah – whether it students who passed away. Jerusalem, are marked by was given by God at Mt. what’s referred to as Sefirat Sinai, or authored by Omer or “The Counting of different men over many the Omer.” Omer was the legal measure for certain types generations – it’s the text that gives us our name, The of grain and wheat offerings made at the ancient Temple People of the Book. We honor learning. And finally, on these holidays. To be clear, despite its namesake, the there are these thirty-three days – when by tradition countdown doesn’t have anything to do with resurrecting we not only don’t shave, we also avoid scheduling any this ancient (dare I say antiquated) practice. (There simchas (happy occasions, such as weddings) – because actually are some Jews – very few – who dream of we choose to memorialize the loss of several lives, and building a Third Temple and re-instituting sacrifices, but we do so in a way that makes a material impact on our . . .) Anyway, none of this fascinating history explains my current conveniences. beard; but it’s necessary background. In sum, I realize that the vast majority of our students won’t The point is during the first several weeks of the Counting count the Omer once they graduate, and fewer still will of the Omer, observant Jews don’t shave because it’s observe the mourning rites during this period. But, they’ll considered a period of mourning. According to tradition, remember that while at Emery/Weiner, they did. And this during this same period in the first century, a fatal disease is our job as educators (and parents), to create moments spread among the students of famed Rabbi Akiba, killing in our kids lives where they think beyond the next test or several young scholars. Thankfully, after 33 days, the Facebook post, to provide meaningful pauses that help give mysterious plague suddenly receded, coming to an end on perspective.


Spring Culture Trips An important part of the EWS experience - and difference - are the grade-level field trips each class takes during the year. These trips require EWS students to traverse the country and visit parts of the U.S. that are steeped in history and Jewish culture. “My favorite thing about being a teacher at The Emery/Weiner School is the emphasis our institution puts on both education outside of the classroom and hands on learning,” said Caitlin Barber, a middle school history teacher. “One of the best examples of this can be seen every spring when our kids embark on learning trips all over the country. On these trips our students have the opportunity to forge stronger bonds with their peers and with their teachers. “These trips also provide our students with the opportunity to further their understanding of material they spend months studying inside the classroom,” Barber said.

Sixth Grade Explores Marine Biology, History of Galveston by Kirk O’Neal The first overnight trip of their academic careers at The Emery/ Weiner School is an important one. To help ease into the annual grade trips, the sixth grade travels far enough away to stay in a hotel, but stays close enough to home for some familiarity. The sixth grade takes their trip to Galveston, with the focus on creating a fun, educational experience that allows for social growth among the youngest Jaguars. Some of the activities the sixth graders participated in included learning about military and commercial planes used during and after WWII, a natural wildlife marine biology tour in Galveston Bay and a tour of the Elissa and Seaport Museum to discover the historical life of the ship, as well as life aboard early sailing vessels.

No trip to Galveston, however, is complete without a trip to the worldrenowned Moody Gardens where students explored the aquariums and studied marine life and the rain forest. This year’s class was also fortunate to have Rabbi Todd Doctor, of Congregation B’Nai Jacob, speak to the group about the immigration history Sixth grader Jordan Loev compares of the Jewish Texans in his smile to what’s left of the extinct Galveston. The students dinosaur’s mouth. returned the Rabbi’s favor by performing a Hurricane Ike Recovery mitzvah project for the synagogue.

Seventh Graders Visit Holocaust Memorial in The Big Easy by Caitlin Barber Taking the students to New Orleans, LA, provided unlimited possibilities for incorporating the material we had been studying in United States History. Not only is New Orleans home to the National WWII Museum, but it is also home to a beautiful Holocaust Memorial created by Israeli artist Yaacov Agam, a pioneer of kinetic art. Our seventh graders were also able to experience an incredibly diverse culture with ties to the Jazz Age and our country’s European roots. One of the most exciting parts of the trip was our visit to the National WWII Museum where our students met a WWII veteran who survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. “Soon there will not be any veterans that are alive to tell their story,” said seventh grader Jake Yudkin. “He sounded so passionate about what happened at Pearl Harbor and it made it feel more real than just reading about it.”

Seventh grader Elle Shaw was the lucky student to hold the lizard while out on the waters in New Orleans, LA. Behind her, seventh grader Roderick Harris can’t resist touching the scaly creature. Sixth graders Joe Sondock, Sari Raizner and Ari Schwartzberg ham it up while in the gift shop at the Moody Gardens.


Spring Culture Trips built on peace, honor and freedom,” said eighth grader Collin Hecht. As Hecht points out, the trip offers a compelling narrative of the centuries-long struggle to uphold our founding principles that continues to this day. Throughout D.C., elements of America’s past and present combine to tell a singular story. During the trip, students had the unique opportunity to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Only hours later, they watched the musical “1776” at Ford’s Theater.

Seventh grade students listen to Judaics and Hebrew teacher Gina Fass while gathered around the Holocaust Memorial in New Orleans.

The most moving part of our adventure in New Orleans was our discussion and prayer at the Holocaust Memorial led by Judaics and Hebrew teacher Gina Fass, who spent the week before the trip discussing with Agam’s work, specifically this memorial. To experience the memorial in its entirety, the students had to move to several places around its physical location to see the changes in its appearance.

Without fail, the students’ favorite activity is always the Newseum, the news museum that chronicles the history of journalism and media. Students can look at front pages from both the darkest and brightest days in American history, ranging from Lincoln’s assassination to the first moon landing. What’s more, the students realize that they themselves are active members in a dramatic historical shift — namely, in the transition from “old media” (newspapers, television) to “new media” (social media).

Once the students had a chance to see each part of the memorial, Fass asked the kids to quietly whisper the names of people they knew who perished in the Holocaust, so that they could be remembered at this meaningful place. It was an incredibly moving experience.

Eighth Graders Explore U.S. History, Patriotism in D.C. by Ben Stern The annual spring trip to Washington, D.C., is a pilgrimage that often awakens students’ latent patriotism. Although they learn about the founding of the United States and the democratic process in class, it is difficult for students to appreciate that Congress people are voting, judges are ruling and soldiers are training every day to ensure the success of this democratic experiment. “I connected with my country and now really The eighth grade class placed a wreath on understand that America the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during their spring culture trip to Washington, D.C. is indeed a country

The eighth grade class on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building where students were able to go inside and see first hand how government works.

Another poignant moment to the trip was the visit to the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial at sundown, which effectively immersed the students in the tragedy of the attack. Students once again realize that in their young lives, they have experienced pivotal moments in American history. Lively discussions followed on the bus ride to the hotel, as students tried to understand the impact that 9/11 had on the world. Most of them were too young to remember the actual event, so the pre-2001 world becomes the subject of an impromptu history lesson.

Freshmen Dive into Civil Rights in the Deep South by Margot Hiller Experts say that the best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it—to live and work with native speakers of the language and to daily put your new knowledge into actual practice; it’s not enough to read books on the subject. On the ninth grade Deep


Spring Culture Trips Freshman Dylan Blend and the rest of his class also explored the Deep South’s musical roots while at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis, TN.

South trip, we encouraged the same principle: immersion. We had students sit in the pews of the Ebenezer Church where Dr. King delivered his speeches, speak with civil rights activists who walked alongside King in the marches, and listen to the brutalities, injustices and civil rights violations from the mouths of people who experienced them. We then went to museums that exposed students to live footage of assaults on peaceful protestors, racist propaganda and artifacts from the era. We also waited at the Rosa Parks bus-stop, visited the 16th Street Baptist Church where four little African-American girls lost their lives in a bombing, and stood below the balcony where King was shot. Students learned civil rights chants and marches from Bishop Williams, a man who narrowly escaped death several times during his fight for equality and freedom. “I got to meet people who experienced that time, and I’m aware that my kids won’t get that kind of opportunity,” said ninth grader Sarah Stein. The students were touched by the sites that we visited and the people that we met, but the beauty of it, the evidence that their

immersion had made a difference in them, was when they began to consider the civil rights of people in today’s America. At the Southern Poverty Law Center, students learned about civil liberties cases that are going on today, and the 1,000+ hate groups that the center has to monitor in order to protect certain individuals. The Southern Poverty Law Center gave them the opportunity to pledge tolerance—to accept the differences in others and fight for their freedoms and safety—by signing an electronic wall of hope and change. When we took the students to visit the AIDS quilt and learn about the stigmatization of people with the disease, they were inspired to put their new knowledge into practice and to protect and fight for those who cannot fight alone.

Tolerance a Key Lesson of Sophomore Trip to Southern California by Liz Bender The sophomore journey through Southern California was educational, exciting and rewarding. In a week spent traveling through the Los Angeles and San Diego area, students and staff invested in the trip’s theme — Social Power and Responsibility.

Sophomores Matthew Leightman and Alexa Barsky try out a flight simulator while at the USS Midway Museum in Southern California.

Despite visiting many popular West Coast attractions — such as Sony Pictures Studio, high tea and a walking tour of the Huntington Library and Gardens, and an afternoon spent in the world renowned San Diego Zoo — students also experienced some lesser-known sites, including the Museum of Tolerance and the Beit T’Shuvah treatment center, which gave students a new perspective on how to effectuate responsible social power.

The freshmen spring culture trip focused on race relations within the U.S. during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. The trip to the Deep South included stops in Birmingham, AL, Atlanta, GA, and Memphis, TN.


Beit T’Shuvah proved to be a particularly moving visit, as it has traditionally been in previous years. The addiction and rehabilitation center treats individuals from various backgrounds through a unique approach that combines Jewish spirituality, behavioral therapy, 12-step program philosophy and outlets into the creative arts. Students heard from two patients at different

Spring Culture Trips The museum tells the moving tales of the 12 million immigrants who entered America through the golden door of Ellis Island. Today, the descendants of those immigrants account for almost half of the American people.

Rabbi Shlomo Adelman, head of the Upper School, takes some time out to discuss the history of the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA.

stages of recovery; after the program, the students shared a meal with the patients as well. “I liked the rehabilitation center, because it showed that addiction can happen to anyone,” said sophomore Ryan Brandt. Several students commented that Beit T’Shuvah was the most memorable and meaningful part of the trip, noting how well the speakers connected with the group through the universal feelings associated with adolescence and early adulthood. As a cohesive element between each day’s events, time was taken each evening to reflect through group discussion and personal journaling. We encouraged students to document their new experiences, for instance, at the poetry slam competition or sampling the foods at the renowned kosher restaurants in Los Angeles’s Pico-Robertson area. The hope is that students bring their journals on all of their school trips, even the capstone trip to Poland and Israel their senior year, and have it as a memento for years to come.

Junior Trip Focuses on Jewish Immigration, Culture in NYC

Junior Danielle Resh examines the names of victims on the wall at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City.

The students also participate on a Jewish Hasidic Walking Tour in Crown Heights where students gain a new perspective on Hasidic Jews as they walk through the neighborhood visiting scribes writing an actual Torah Scroll, experience the history of education and lifestyles in the community and taste the great kosher Jewish cuisine. Also, we took a tour of the Lower East Side where we visited a whole range of sites including the spectacular Bialystoker Synagogue. The students also “lived” the culture of NY by riding the subways, seeing original NY theatre shows, and enjoying the people and food in this grand city. From the college counseling side, the students were able to get a feel for college in a large urban area by visiting Columbia University and New York University in Greenwich Village.

by Lynn Slaughter The junior trip to New York City is the final culture trip in preparation for the penultimate trip — the Ann and Don Graubart Senior Trip to Poland and Israel — that seniors take their last month at EWS. While the junior trip varies some, most of the following tours are a mainstay for Jewish Immigration and culture in NYC. The first tour that students take is the all-important tour of Ellis Island Immigration Museum and the Statue of Liberty. Both sites are some of the country’s most popular historic sites, and served as a mainstay of an immigrant’s journey to the U.S. from 1892 to 1954.

Juniors Sabra Nelkin, Marlee Esses, Caitlin Helfman, Morgan Hamburger, Elle Wermuth and Sam Robinson also spent some time in Times Square during the spring culture trip to The Big Apple.


Spring Culture Trips Senior Internships Challenge, Change Student Perspectives by Katherine Ray Ballerina. Animal Psychologist. Teacher. What do all of these have in common? At one point or another, each of these was my answer to a question all of us — especially our students — have heard from adults: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It is essential to not only prepare students to thrive in an academic setting, but also to provide them with opportunities that help them figure out who they are, and who they want to be. One of these opportunities is the EWS Senior Internship Program. Each year, while the freshmen, sophomores and juniors are on trips, our seniors participate in a one-week internship at a company Jenna Jarnagin stocking or organization of their choosing. the pantry at The Ronald Through the EWS Senior Internship McDonald House. Program, students will: • Explore through first-hand observation and experience an area of interest for a future career or potential college major; • Gain knowledge and be exposed to many facets of the socioeconomic life of the community; and • Further develop a student’s leadership qualities and habits of responsibility, analysis and planning. This year, each of EWS’s 82 seniors worked with professionals at law firms, professional sports organizations, hospitals, real estate companies, magazines, small businesses, architectural firms, schools, radio stations, art galleries and non-profit organizations. Here are some of the things our kids are saying about their internships: “This experience helped me confirm my passion for teaching, and I loved every minute of it. I learned so much from interacting with

Senior Sydney Florsheim interned at Crossroads School where she worked with students with learning disabilities.


Annie Biondi interned at T.H. Rogers School, spending time with deaf third graders and students in wheelchairs. “I learned a lot of different ways to engage students with multiple disabilities, reaffirming my passion for working with kids who have special needs,” Biondi said.

the students, teachers and administration, and I even got to teach some of my own lessons to the students!” Marissa Finkelman, Beth Yeshurun Day School “This experience definitely solidified my desire and aspirations of becoming a journalist. I learned the difficulties and reality of being a journalist beyond the outside perspective of simply getting paid to watch sports and write about it. The strict deadlines and pressure to make the readers happy, whilst having time for only one draft, are not aspects I really realized.” Aynav Leibowitz, The Houston Chronicle “The field of Occupational Therapy surprised me in the sense that it is much more personal than I expected--beyond mending broken bones and scars, the therapists help mend feelings of discouragement that often come with a life-changing disability by getting to know their patients personally.” Robyn Croft, Houston Hand Therapy

Senior Greg Diskin spent his week working at BHP Billiton, an oil and gas company.

It is crucial that our students explore as many areas as they can before entering the “real world.” Through our internship program, we hope to help our students find their own answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” If you are interested in hosting a future EWS student intern at your organization or business, please email me at

THE EWS ANNUAL GIVING CAMPAIGN has raised more than $212,000 so far! Help us set a new record by making your donation today! Giving Levels: • Rothschild Society – $100,000 (payable over 4 years) • Golda’s Circle - $50,000 (payable over 4 years) • Sanhedrin - $5,000

• Knesset – $1,000 • Chaverim - $500 • Chai Society - Less than $500

What makes up our bottom line? • • • •

Attracting and retaining the best educators Integrating technology into the classroom Assuring a competitive Athletics program Offering exceptional fine arts opportunities

• Providing a nurturing and encouraging environment for all students • Securing the “extras” that define The Emery/Weiner Difference

Visit, and click on “Giving” to make your gift or pledge. You will receive immediate confirmation once your payment information has been submitted. Recognition of all donors will be listed in the summer issue of the Kotarot.

Lead by Example: A Powerful Way to Give Saving Taxes by Giving Your 401(K) to Emery/Weiner Suppose you have a 401(k) with $100,000 in it. You are thinking about giving it to your children. The bad news: There are two (not one, but two) taxes on that transaction. There is: (1) the estate tax and (2) an income tax on the “income in respect of a decedent” (IRD). The total of those two taxes could easily run 35% to 40% of the money in the 401(k). Thus, instead of getting $100,000, your children would get between $35,000 and $40,000. If you designate Emery/Weiner as the recipient of the 401(k) distribution, there is no estate tax and no income tax. Thus, Emery/Weiner would get $100,000 (instead of $35-$40,000). The following table shows how this works:

We do not know the size of your estate or your income or the applicable tax rates — our numbers are just examples, but the concept is valid. You should discuss this with your tax advisor. Contact Rebecca Starr ( or Stuart Dow ( to discuss this further.

Faculty Spotlight

Larry Dachsla

Thanks for the M and occasional reluctant actor in productions at the JCC. I eventually grew much more confident and skilled as an actor and, though I enjoyed the performances, it was the rehearsal process that really fascinated me. After high school and throughout the 80’s, I Affectionately known to his students as “Mr. D.,” Larry Dachslager was worked at the Jewish one of the highlights of the 2011 Joy of Education (JOE) Dinner with an Herald Voice and did Abbott and Costello routine with sophomore Alec Lapin. a great deal of acting around the city — still preferring the When the final bell rings, signaling rehearsing to the performing. the end of the 2011-12 school year at The Emery/Weiner School, an era will All along, I mostly envied the directors end. Veteran theater teacher Larry with whom I was working. They got to Daschlager — who has seen the school enjoy the rehearsal process without the through its I. Weiner Middle School only stress that went with performing! days, the growth into The Emery/Weiner High School, the first graduating class, Q: Tell us about your path to EWS. and countless plays and productions in between — will leave Emery/Weiner for A: In 1987, I started teaching and directing a voyage that many of his own students at Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS). My have already taken. first class was made up of seven and eight year olds, including Talya Emery and Josh Q: How did your passion for acting and Harbour! Little did I know the impact theater begin? those names would have on my future! After leaving TUTS, I freelanced as a A: As a kid, I was obsessed by books, theatre teacher/director at many schools, records, and movies – passions that including Welch Middle School where continue to this day. In my teen years, I worked with my mentor Gail Silver, who I was recruited to be a spotlight operator


also directed the annual I. Weiner musical. My association with I. Weiner began in 1996 when Gail asked me to co-direct I. Weiner’s production of “Anything Goes.” I then met principal Ilona Thomson who, shortly thereafter, invited me to join the faculty. Q: What are some of your proudest accomplishments while at EWS?

Dachslager introduces the 2011-12 production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” with fellow theater teacher Jennifer Bauer-Conley.

A: I’ve felt countless moments of pride while watching students discover talents they never knew they had. My favorite moments are those when a young actor gets a large laugh by perfectly executing a shtick or line delivery that I suggested. To me, this is the ultimate actor/director


in Texas — I’m originally from Maryland, but came to Texas in 1967. Additionally, with each passing year, I’ve grown more and more regretful that I never earned a college degree. Finally, I’ve always been passionate about old movies and have envied my many students who’ve gone to film school.

Memories! collaboration. Recently, many former students have been sharing their memories of things I said and did during class or rehearsals that impacted them over many years. Most of these memories are in reality seemingly trivial, but the fact that they still remember them means the world to me. If I were to choose a single proud moment, it would be at the 2006 JOE Dinner when I was presented with the first Preida Award for Teaching. Normally, I’m not big on awards, but this was non-competitive and it gave me the opportunity to publicly express some of my views on education and my gratitude to this extremely generous community. Also, the event afforded me my first-ever standing ovation – not as an actor or character, but as Larry Dachslager. I’ll never forget it. Q: What do you hope your students have learned from you through the years? A: I hope I’ve taught my students, among other things, that not everything has to be a competition. If a person always views his/her appearance, skill set, social status, etc. as compared to those of other people, that person is in danger of not being able to fully recognize, develop and appreciate his/ her own unique strengths and challenges. Any artist who strictly strives to do “what the other guy does, only better” risks sacrificing creativity and individuality.

Q: Have you always wanted to be a teacher? A: Since both of my parents were teachers, our household was very much focused on education. Also, my sixth-grade social studies teacher, Alma Allen (who is now a Texas State Representative), was an enormous inspiration. She was, to say the least, unorthodox, and was the first teacher (and one of the few adults) I ever knew who always seemed to be having fun at her job! I can honestly say that Ms. Allen made me want to become a teacher.

The exact moment of my epiphany occurred on closing night of our production of Macbeth. I had never directed a fulllength Shakespeare play before, and as I proudly watched a particularly strong cast play to an enthusiastic (and soldout) house, an unexpected and very personal thought entered my mind. “It’s never going to get better than this.” It was at that moment that I started the mental process of turning some of my geographical, educational, and vocational fantasies into reality. When I first started sharing these thoughts with friends, family, and colleagues, the response was overwhelmingly positive, giving me the strength to continue to work towards achieving these dreams.

Q: With how much you love EWS in mind, what was the inspiration behind your decision to leave? A: Working at EWS has truly been my “dream job” for the past 16 years. Until fairly recently, I imagined myself staying here forever, fully realizing that I could never find a teaching environment elsewhere that was better-suited to my personality than EWS. As happy and comfortable as I’ve been at this incredible school, I’ve never felt completely at home

When Mr. D puts on a production, he makes sure the entire cast knows what’s expected of them!


In the nEWS

Spring Even February.... and Grandparents Day! Middle School Judaics and Hebrew teacher Sharon Wechter helped out the Judaics Department in putting together a program to honor Tu b’Shevat — also known as Jewish Arbor Day.

Freshman Alex Wasserstrom and the rest of the Upper School also spent Tu b’Shevat learning about Jewish Arbor Day, including the types of food produced from different types of trees.


Seventh grader Marlo Olifant (left) and eighth grader Danielle Singer (right) serenaded the crowd of grandparents during Jewish Love Day.

Tikvah Juni (inset) spoke to both the Middle and the Upper School in February about the importance of tolerance and inclusion. Her campaign to “Spread the Word to End the Word” focuses on eradicating the use of the word “retarded” from regular conversion. After her speech, students flocked to sign the pledge.

nts at EWS

Grandparent Eve Sonik shares the love with her grandaughter, sixth grader Allison Daniels. More than 150 grandparents joined their middle school grandchildren in the auditorium for a special Grandparents Day presentation, along with a few games, before moving into the Commons for food and time to catch up with their grandchildren.

Seventh grader Elle Shaw enjoys the company of her grandparents, Frank and Irene Shaw.

EWS grandparents Ann and Don Graubart, also an EWS Board of Trustees member, with their seventh grade grandson, Lewis Graubart.

Some EWS students were lucky enough to have more than one set of grandparents on hand, such as eighth grader Adam Leightman (above) and seventh grader Jake Plantowsky (right).


In the nEWS Channeling “Revenge of the Nerds,” the Middle School students certainly stood out in their assortment of costumes during the Purim celebrations in March.

The five Holocaust survivors featured in this year’s “Holocaust and Memory” enjoyed a quiet dinner with their interviewers before the film’s screening.


Thirty-five members of the Class of 2013 were inducted into the National Honor Society during the annual ceremony. The organization honors those who have demonstrated excellence in scholarship, leadership, service and character. ABOVE: Seventh grader Roderick Harris was one of many featured acts at this year’s Evening of the Arts. The event highlighted both upper and middle school student artwork, including sculptures — such as the one pictured below by freshmen Mirra Gutman and Andrew Hirsch — and live performances throughout the night.

The Upper School spring theater show was a rousing rendition of “Little Shop of Horrors” that enthralled audiences for three jam-packed shows in March.


Unlike previous athletic contests this year, April’s dodgeball game of the Upper School versus the faculty and staff saw the students walk away with the victory — and the free dress day — as they picked off their teachers one-by-one.


The all-school musical in April featured talented performers from both the Upper and Middle Schools, including seventh graders Adam Glombicki and Olivia Dadoun. Athletic Director Angela Gubitz was on hand to congratulate seniors Blake Glauben and Ria Gerger as they signed to continue their sports careers in college. Glauben signed to play baseball with Rhodes College, and Gerger for tennis with Middlebury College.


Jaguar Pride MS Track Builds Toward Title Run The Middle School Track Team wrapped up their season with a solid foundation for next year’s team, and for the high school team, too. The highlight of the season was the Greater Houston Athletic Conference where the team had 10 finishes that scored points for the team.

the throwers in the shot put.” “David Kaplan continually improved throughout the season, and made drastic improvements in his times after coming off a fairly recent knee surgery,” he said. Next year’s team Senior Matthew Kaiser (left) and junior Joseph will build off this Kisluk both excelled in the shot put this year. year’s success with 25 athletes returning to the team, plus the very skilled crop of eighth graders that Wakefield has also coached on the MS track team.

MS Softball Fields Young Team

Track coach Lane Wakefield looks on during an early track practice as he inspects the latest additions to the middle school girls squad.

“Dylan Solomon and Cole Caress were impressive runners in the eighth grade division all season,” said Lane Wakefield, the MS track coach. “They have great potential to be very competitive on the upper school team.

The MS Softball Team battled through a tough schedule against some highly skilled opponents to finish the season 1-10. “The girls had a difficult year,” said Angi Boudreaux, the MS softball coach. “We had seven sixth graders who were playing for the first time, so this was definitely a learning year. Each of them showed tremendous improvement throughout the year and are all looking forward to being even better next year.

“A couple of our sixth graders also showed a lot of promise this year,” Wakefield said. “Sixth graders Jordan Loev and Julia Roberts really enjoy the sport and consistently came up with great times.” With 23 students returning to the MS team next year, and a good crop of incoming sixth graders, Wakefield expects the team to make a run for the Greater Houston Athletic Conference title next year. “The most exciting part is that the entire team has a great work ethic,” he said. “A lot can be accomplished with a focused team and we are very excited to see how far they will go next spring.”

Varsity Track Sets Personal Records Throughout Season The Varsity Track Team had a standout season by performing well at several meets, and by setting more than 15 personal-best records at one meet. “Our performance at the Fort Bend Christian meet was outstanding this year,” said Lane Wakefield, the US track team coach. “Matthew Kaiser was a consistent point scorer for us all season long and led


MS Softball coach Angi Boudreaux had a young team to build up this year with seven sixth graders new to the sport.

“We had some exciting games with a lot of tremendous improvement,” Boudreaux said. “These girls worked hard every day to be the best they could be, and they are all looking forward to being even better next year.” The young team has a lot of good things to build on as their fielding was great and their on-base average went up as the season progressed. “The team was incredible in our game against Grace Presbyterian

when they scored 14 runs,” Boudreaux said. “Many of the girls stepped up to lead the team, including Orly Golub with her pitching, and by getting on base every game, and Nikki Schwartz, our catcher, who was a leader both on and off the field. She prevented many runs from being scored, as well as having a high stolen base percentage!”

Varsity Softball Narrowly Misses Playoff Berth The Varsity Softball team finished the 2011-12 season with a 7-8 record and tied for a playoff spot. The Lady Jaguars missed out on that spot due to the selection process, but coach Robert Royer knows they won’t miss out next year.

Seventh grader Garrett Glover takes a swing during batting practice for the MS Baseball Team. The team finished the season with a winning record of 8-6.

experience for these kids to go toe-to-toe with those older, more experienced players.” Some of the highlights this year included extremely strong pitching from seventh graders Dylan Agnich, Michael Ran, Jake Yudkin and Garrett Glover, and sixth grader Dylan Zisman. With the majority of their core group of players returning to the team next year, Rodriguez expects a great season, and for the team to compete for the division title. (L-R) Juniors Morgan Hamburger and Sabra Nelkin goof off with sophomore Jordan Dokell before a softball game. The Lady Jaguars narrowly missed out on the playoffs this year, but will field a strong team next year.

Varsity Baseball Breaks Record with Most Wins in a Season

“All of our girls are returning next year, and we will be a force to be reckoned with,” Royer said.

The Varsity Baseball Team set a new high for the program this year by winning more games than any previous baseball team in EWS history.

Royer was impressed with the dedication and grit his team showed throughout the season, especially with the experienced leadership of juniors Taylor Bookstaff, Nicole Alexander and Elle Wermuth. “These girls, along with junior Jordann Tiras and freshman Brooke Kaplan will help the incoming freshmen fill in any holes in our offense and defense,” Royer said.

MS Baseball Shows Promise with Winning Record The MS Baseball Team wrapped up their season with an 8-6 record, with many great players to create an even better team next year. “We were competitive in every game this year,” said Dado Rodriguez, the MS baseball coach. “We pushed games to the brink, including the game against the eighth grade team at John Cooper School. “The other team ended up beating us by one run, but with our young team, it was a great learning and growing

Senior Bryan Binder winds up for the hit during the 2011-12 baseball season.

The team faced stiff competition within their district, but came away with some key victories, including one against Concordia Lutheran High School, which is moving up next year to a 5-A district, the largest district size in the state.


Jaguar Pride “As a whole, there was a lot of improvement and progress this year,” said John Hudek, the varsity baseball coach. “All the way through the season, a lot of players stepped up when needed, especially for the come-from-behind victory against Concordia Lutheran.”

Golf coach Kirk O’Neal works with senior Brett Tarnopol on his putting skills.

Players with stand-out years included seniors Brandon and Brett Levinson, Bryan Binder and Blake Glauben, and sophomore Drew Levy. The team capped off the year with a great charity outing with the Challenger Baseball League to help kids with special needs. “The Challenger baseball game was a great event for the kids, and really showed the character of our team,” Hudek said.

Tennis Competes at District, State The EWS Tennis Team capped off a successful season with several players competing at the district and state tournaments in April. The team finished 4-2-1 in district play, but senior Ria Gerger and junior Ben Schoen completed district play with a 6-1 record each. Both qualified to compete in the district tournament, along with seniors Ted Levy and Ryan Frankel, who competed as a doubles team. Gerger competed at the state Junior Haley Greenberg stretches competition, narrowly losing herself to the max to return a shot. in the championship game. Gerger finished the season ranked third in state, while Levy and Frankel were ranked ninth. “We’re losing some very talented players this year, but I’m really excited about next year’s team,” said Dave Green, the tennis coach. “We have two big hitters coming up from the middle school, including eighth graders Sam Stewart and Collin Hecht. Both did extremely well during middle school competition this year at the United States Tennis Association tournament. For the girls, junior Jordan Hecht will be moving into one of the singles positions,” Green said. “Jordan hits the ball hard and has been waiting for this opportunity.” Green also expects 11th graders and Junior Varsity stand-outs Eleanor Mayer, Cara Sheena and Ellie Stein to make the starting line-up and have an immediate impact next year.

Golf Team Surges in Popularity The Golf Team competed in several tournaments this year, even taking home fourth place at the Baytown Christian Tournament.


“We had several players really dedicate themselves and who competed in every tournament, including sophomore Drew Levy, and freshmen Dylan Blend and Joey Bursten,” said Kirk O’Neal, the golf coach. “Overall, our players gained a lot of experience in competition play, and that showed as they improved during this season. “I expect next year to be even better with 15 of our golfers returning to the team,” O’Neal said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to send some of our girls to tournaments, too.”

Athletes of the Year Congratulations to seniors Bryan Binder and Ria Gerger for receiving the EWS Athlete of the Year Award at the Athletics Banquet in April. Binder has been a multi-sport athlete for EWS for several years, and Gerger has been a fouryear member of the tennis team who recently signed a scholarship to play tennis with Middlesbury College.

Jag Award Recipients Congratulations also go out to senior Brett Levinson and Jessie Bursten for winning the prestigious Jag Award at the Athletic Banquet. The award is presented annually to one senior male and female athlete who exhibit outstanding character, citizenship, leadership and sportsmanship on and off the field of play.

Donations Gifts In Honor Of

In honor of Melanie Gwen Lopez

Sherry and Gerald Merfish

Mrs. Daisy Shinbrot

Ms. Carolyn Plessner Mr. and Mrs. Joel Rovinsky

February 2, 2012 - May 1, 2012

In honor of Matthew, Samuel and Benjamin Lyons Len Camber Charitable Trust

In honor of Larry Dachslager

In honor of Ed Weiser

Mr. and Mrs. Steven Goodman

Mr. and Mrs. Joe Kaplan

Mr. George Sawyer Mr. Paul Sirbaugh * Ms. Diane Rubin Swan Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Tiras Mr. and Mrs. Ed Wulfe In memory of Ronald Turk

Mr. and Mrs. Steven Bender

* Mr. and Mrs. Jack Turk

Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Robinson

Gifts In Memory Of

In honor of Scott Gold’s Bar Mitzvah

In memory of Debbie Engelhart

Mr. and Mrs. Danny Gold

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Engelhart

In honor of Ahava Guefen

In memory of Albert Erani

* Miss Dana Guefen

Dr. and Mrs. David Erani

In honor of Solomon Guefen’s Promotion from 8th Grade

In memory of Karri Faigen

* Miss Dana Guefen

Jeff, Robyn, Leah and Lauren Shkolnick

In honor of Josh Harbour

In memory of Gerald Gershon

Mr. and Mrs. Steven Goodman

Dr. and Mrs. David Erani

In honor of Char Hochschild

In memory of Edith & Albert Ginsberg

Mr. Danny and Dr. Lisa Kahalley

Dr. Lawrence Ginsberg

In honor of Marjorie Kosoy

In memory of Joel Mandel

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hochschild

* Mr. and Mrs. Howard Bookstaff

In honor of Kim Glover: Get well wishes! Mr. and Mrs. Randy Levy

In honor of Kim Glover:

February 2, 2012 - May 1, 2012

Milton and Patty Faigen

In memory of Robert Weisz Mr. and Mrs. Marc Abramson

All gifts in honor of and in memory of loved ones benefit ongoing fundraising efforts of The Emery/Weiner School. * These donations were allocated to the Kosberg Scholarship Fund. Donations to the Kosberg Scholarship Fund are matched, and will provide support for scholarships for EWS students who demonstrate financial need.

Mr. and Mrs. John Hamrick

In honor of Sheryl Levin

Mr. and Mrs. Livingston Kosberg

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hochschild

Drs. Jerome and Marjorie Kosoy Dr. and Mrs. Mark Kunik Ms. Lee Levit



9825 Stella Link Houston, TX 77025 (832) 204-5900 (832) 204-5910 (Fax)

The Emery/Weiner 2011-12 Board of Trustees Judy Abrams David Bell Eric Blumrosen, Vice President Mark Brookner, President Andy Bursten, Treasurer Adele Croft Debbie Diamond Carol Emery Caroline Esses Vikki Evans Clive Fields Tom Fish, EWS Foundation Board Chair Martha Freedman David Gerger Kim Glover Carol Goldberg Don Graubart Joe Kaplan Rick Kaplan Kenneth Katz Joe Kornfeld Bobby Lapin, Immediate Past President Bryan Leibman Stan Levy Barry Lewis Eric Lombardi David Morris David Neuberger Brad Rauch, Senior Vice President Elisha Selzer Julie Silverman Jordana Slawin Alana Spiwak Gary Stein Dan Steiner Roger Stern Mark Weycer Joe Williams, Vice President Bonnie Winograd

Important Dates to Remember August 10-12 13 15 16 19 26-27

9th Grade Shabbaton All School Check-In First Day of School Theater Auditions EWS Annual Picnic 12th Grade Retreat

September 3 17-18 26

Labor Day: School Closed Rosh Hashanah: School Closed Yom Kippur: School Closed

Kotarot - Spring 2012  

This issue of the Kotarot features highlights from the Spring Culture Trips by all grade levels, the results of the spring sports season and...

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