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FALL 2017/5778


Shanah Tovah!


12 May this New Year be blessed with health, happiness and many sweet moments!

IN THIS ISSUE Message from Head of School Tony 1 Message from Board President Alan 1 Tiger Torah Rabbi Zachary Silver, Rav Beit 2 Message from Board Member Jason Wiznitzer, ’ 2 Year In 3 Faculty Spotlight: June 4 Model UN 2017-18 5 Athletics Program 6 Students Making 7 New 8 Robotics 9 Alumni.................................................................. page 10 Development/PO................................................ page 11 The Class of 2017 College 12-13


ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM Tony Frank, Head of School Bruce E. Scher, Academic Dean Dr. Roger Stein, Dean of Faculty Rabbi Zachary Silver, Rav Beit Sefer Dr. Rebecca Schorsch, Director of Jewish Studies Michelle Friedman, Director of Development Riv Lynch, Director of Admissions Bob Krakowsky, Director of Finance and Business Operations Inez Drazin, Director of Building and Administrative Services BOARD OF DIRECTORS Alan Frankel, Ph.D., President Karen Peaceman, Executive Vice President and Secretary Lynn S. Schrayer, Vice President of Development and Immediate Past President Joel Erlichman, Treasurer Gigi Cohen, Assistant Treasurer David Fishbaum, Second Past President Larry D. Adler, Founding President Margaret Cohn Sam Fleischacker, Ph.D. Kim Frankenthal Liz Geifman Judi Kelly Karen Kesner Scott Lederman

Brad Levin Carolyn Rosenberg Ari Taitz, M.D. Rachel Treister Adam Winick Jason Wiznitzer Rabbi Carl Wolkin

LAYOUT & DESIGN Michele Agbodza, Marketing and Communications Coordinator

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Rochelle Zell Jewish High School creates a culture of academic excellence that inspires our students to think critically and achieve their full potential, while preparing them to live Judaism as responsible and involved citizens in the modern world.

MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL, TONY FRANK This new school year has a special significance for me in that it is the start of my 10th year at Rochelle Zell. Of course, the school had a different name when I started — Chicagoland Jewish High School. The school had only recently moved into its permanent Deerfield home, and many students and staff at the time were still wondering whether the move to this fancy new building of wide halls and multiple floors would imperil the warmth and intimacy of the school that they had come to cherish. The move to a larger building was necessitated by the rapid growth of the school, and it has continued to grow – from 134 in the year of the move (2007) to 175 today. As our numbers have increased, so has the diversity of our student body. Five years ago only 13% of our freshmen class came from public and non-Jewish private schools. This year the percentage is 29%. In addition, as many as eight or nine students transfer each year from public high schools into our sophomore and junior classes. Looking at our student body as a whole this year, this translates into 61 students (35%) who came to Rochelle Zell from public or non-Jewish private schools.

Our geographic reach has expanded as well. Our students come from 22 cities and towns, including 20 who live in the City of Chicago. Two years ago we added a second shuttle bus to meet the students traveling from Chicago and other stops along the Metra North line at their disembarkation point in Highland Park. Other students come from as far as Aurora and even from out of state. Even as we have grown and become more diverse, certain fundamentals remain unchanged – the warmth and intimacy of our community, the close and caring relationships between teachers and students, an outstanding faculty, and our commitment to the intellectual, spiritual and ethical growth of each student. These are the foundations upon which our school’s reputation for excellence is built. I look forward with great excitement to many years of further growth as we continue, in the words of our mission statement, to inspire students of each new generation to “live Judaism as responsible and involved citizens in the modern world.” With best wishes for a Shanah Tovah U’Metukah, a sweet and happy New Year, Tony Frank

MESSAGE FROM BOARD PRESIDENT, ALAN FRANKEL It is an honor, and humbling, to report to you as the tenth President of the Board of Directors of Rochelle Zell Jewish High School. The school has been well served by my predecessors, most recently by Lynn Schrayer, who shepherded the board for the past two years and will continue to serve the school as Immediate Past President and chair of the development committee. I first became involved with Rochelle Zell Jewish High School (then Chicagoland Jewish High School) in the winter of 2000-01, when it was merely an artist’s rendering of a planned temporary facility in Morton Grove. A school like ours, however, is defined not by its facility, but rather by its students, faculty, administrators, and lay leadership. It is defined by its mission and core values – and its adherence to its mission and values. I was convinced, and enrolled my son Zach as a freshman for the school’s inaugural 2001-02 school year – the first of five students that my wife Kim and I enrolled at Rochelle Zell. A sixth child, alas, was too old to have the opportunity to enroll when the school opened. My own children who attended Rochelle Zell illustrate the diversity that is one of the school’s great strengths. Their

Jewish observance varies from secular to Orthodox. Two work in the private sector, one is a Jewish day school teacher, one works in another Jewish non-profit organization, and another is about to begin work in a government research laboratory. Each benefited directly from the school, its mission and culture, and – especially – from its incredible, dedicated faculty. I became co-president of the school’s Parent Organization in 2001 and joined the Board of Directors at that time. I have served on the board for most of the intervening years. I am proud to have served on a board so selflessly and tirelessly dedicated to stewardship of the school’s mission and financial security. The board, administration, and faculty depend on the commitment of our students and their families, and to our many supporters in the community, for the school’s continued success. We are certain to ask for your help in spreading the word about Rochelle Zell, supporting it financially, and participating in the life of the school. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I wish you Shanah Tovah. Alan Frankel


TIGER TORAH WITH RABBI ZACHARY SILVER During their junior year, our most recent graduates read a midrash about Abraham that they deeply connected to. Commenting on the first verse of Genesis, chapter 12: R. Isaac said: To what may this be compared? To a man who was traveling from place to place when he saw a palace that was “doleket”. He wondered: “Is it possible that this palace has no one who looks after it?” The owner of the building looked out at him and said, “I am the owner of the palace.” Similarly, because Abraham our father wondered, “Is it possible that this world has no one who looks after it?” the Blessed Holy One looked at him and said, “I am the owner of the world” (Breishit Rabbah 39:1). Doleket has been translated differently across the generations, both features of the power of fire. Abraham Joshua Heschel suggests that this palace was aglow. Avram saw a palace full of light and gazed in astonishment at the wonder in front of him. He bore witness to what Heschel dubs radical amazement. And yet, as Rabbi Shai Held points out, the word doleket

also means aflame. With this understanding, Avram experiences God’s presence precisely in the chaos of the world. He illustrates profound faith even in the midst of protest against the owner of the palace, God. Perhaps he finds God precisely because he was protesting God. Held continues and explains that Avram’s honesty leads God to accept Avram as a covenantal partner. As he states, “It is Abram’s achievement to have stormed the castle and made it home. In responding to the world in both wonder and indignation, he became Abraham— party to the covenant, father of a nation, and paragon of mature faith.” This midrash, particularly the subtlety of it, represents so much of the learning that we do here at Rochelle Zell. One word transforms the meaning of the parable, and more broadly the theology of how we understand God’s place in the world. We simultaneously can hold these opposite truths together as one. Of all times in history, we must embrace this complexity and elevate it. We can and do find God as we witness wonder. We can and do experience God’s presence as we protest and fight to protect God’s world from the flames we so often see.

Message from Board Member, Jason Wiznitzer (’06) Often we look back and wonder where the time went, how things moved or happened so quickly. For me that is the case with my upbringing and experiences in our community. As a graduate of Sager Solomon Schechter Day School, Rochelle Zell Jewish High School (formerly Chicagoland Jewish High School), and Lake Forest College, I often look back at the experiences that shaped me into who I am today as I embark on my third year as a member of our school’s Board of Directors. Our school was merely a dream shortly before I began my freshman year, and still in its infancy as I graduated four years later with my class of 18 students. I have had the privilege to watch the school grow from a small community, operating out of a single hallway and a few trailers, to one with its own state-of-the-art facility 2

that is not only an icon in the Chicago community but recognized nationwide as a top tier high school. The transformation and growth of our school was made possible thanks to the dedication of our faculty and staff, many of whom are still with us today, as well as the tireless efforts of members of the Board who served before me. They put the school and its vision before themselves, often sacrificing personal time for the betterment of the school, and the result that we see today is due to that commitment. It is that dedication that I keep in mind as a Board member, knowing that I have a responsibility to those who helped shape my life as well as to continue to foster a first class Jewish high school for our current students and those to come. Jason Wiznitzer


Rochelle Zell Jewish High School ranked as the #1 Best Jewish School in America for 2018 by Niche, the largest website for researching K-12 schools! We additionally received an A+ Overall Niche Grade which recognizes the overall quality of the school. Chicago Magazine also selected Rochelle Zell as one of its top 10 private high schools out of 95 schools in the area.


In May 2017, 54 students took 107 Advanced Placement exams and 85% scored a passing grade of 3 or higher. Six students were named National AP Scholars, six students earned the AP Scholar with Distinction Award, and seven students earned the AP Scholar with honors award.


Sixteen members of the class of 2017 were named Illinois State Scholars for outstanding academic achievement by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. Kol hakavod to Tallulah Bark-Huss, Sara Behn, Jacob Dayan, Natalie Ecanow, Adam Gilman, Samson Hoffman, Lexi Levin, Yoni Maltsman, Zev Mishell, Felix Rosen, Emma Siegel, Akiva Stein, David Vayngart, David Weisskopf, Samantha Wolf, and Henry Wolle.


Nine students (over 40%) on the Rochelle Zell DECA team won medals for the top three scores in each event when they competed last year against other north suburban schools in the annual regional conference. The DECA team earned 14 medals overall.


Sara Behn (’17) was named a National Merit Finalist by the National Merit Scholarship Program. Akiva Stein (’17) and Natalie Ecanow (’17) were named finalist commended students. Anna Ecanow (’18), Gabrielle Ecanow (’18), Ben Hirsch (’18), Ethan Laney (’18), and Max Pivo (’18) will receive recognition by National Merit Scholarship Corporation in October 2017.


For the third year in a row, Rochelle Zell Jewish High School placed first among over 300 schools from 23 different countries represented at the National High School Model UN in New York City.


Mazel Tov to Jeremy Frankenthal (’08) & Becca Kipnis, Aaron Miller (’11) & Haddar Freund, Dani Wolf (’10) & Dan Weiss and Jackie Musleh & Leo Abramson.


Mazel Tov to Abigail Kime & Jonathan McDonald, Rachel Braun (’09) & Rabbi Marcus Rubenstein, Josh Altman & Becky Panter, Rob Eisenstadt & Greta Rothschild, Lisa Banoff (’05) & Matthew Rothenberg, Evan Dreifuss (’04) & Melissa Komisar, Shayna Flink (’06) & Brandon DeShields, and Tamara Frankel & Rabbi Zachary Silver.


Mazel Tov to Vanessa Averbach & Rabbi Ari Averbach, Deanna Levin Abrams (’05) & Brett Abrams, Zach Frankel (’05) & Laurel Van Allen, Tamar Rubin & Adam Parker, Lena Averbuch & Denis Masyukov, and Aaron & Christine Moss. 3

Faculty Spotlight: June Kramer What brought you to Rochelle Zell? “I came to Rochelle Zell seeking both change and continuity. I switched disciplines, from English to History, and it opened up an exciting world of connections, patterns of thought, recurring themes and problems. I wanted to continue teaching in a faith community.”

Tell us about re-enacting historical events in history class and the impact it has on students. “When students research an historical figure, and are asked to look at a given set of facts, or problems from that figure’s point of view and interact with other figures from the time period with opposing points of view, they get a much more nuanced understanding of the time period. One student confessed that he felt badly that he really understood the robber barons’ point of view after having What do you enjoy most while teaching? to play one. It’s no longer black and white, right or wrong, “I don’t think I could live without the kids. Who would but full of competing complex issues. I love it! Of course, laugh at my jokes? How would I know what is cool? How kosher snacks appropriate to the time period also really else could I continue to live in the world of ideas, of lively help them engage in the activity.” and thoughtful exchange? I love high school age students; they are old enough to see what they don’t know and at What would you tell public school families about the the same time they have a desire to learn. They’re also community at Rochelle Zell? young enough to get really excited about ideas and let “I would tell parents about the camaraderie at RZ. It truly their guard down enough to enjoy it.” is an inclusive community. My public school teacher friends are surprised that there are no locks on lockers, Coming from a public school background, how have and kids feel free to leave their things in the hallways you grown spiritually since you began teaching at unattended. That’s a level of trust you won’t find at a Rochelle Zell? “The idea of starting each day with public school.” morning prayer was very appealing to me. I think that education has both an intellectual and a spiritual What was it like to win first place your first time as cocomponent. Opening my heart and mind in prayer is the advisor of the Model UN Team? perfect precursor to learning and making meaning in the “The sheer joy of listening to the students belting out world.” Hebrew songs at the top of their lungs through the streets of New York on the way back to the hotel after taking You are in tefillah every day. Was there a specific day home first place.” from last year that stands out? “Ms. Gitlin’s story of coming to this country and What do you do in your free time? discovering that one of her student’s grandfather “I read books, watch movies, garden, cook and bake, was instrumental in her family’s immigration was an and slowly walk my dog while meeting and greeting the incredibly powerful example of what goes around comes neighbors.” around: the Great Round. And, our celebration of What are you looking forward to this year at Rochelle LGBQT rights during tefillah was a beautiful thing.” Zell? What is something that you learned from your time in “I look forward to listening, learning and laughing with tefillah? students and colleagues this coming year. I will also try “Tefillah has taught me the joy of faith; just come on to think of more opportunities for my students to wear Friday for a demonstration.” costumes to class!”

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS Don’t Feed The Plants! Rochelle Zell’s spring musical literally came alive with the appearance of the 600 pound Audrey II puppet, eating cast members and delighting the audience. Stay tuned for the announcement of this year’s spring musical! 4

Model UN Captains Last March, Rochelle Zell Jewish High School placed first among over 300 schools from 23 different countries represented this year at the National High School Model U.N. in New York City. The team represented the Republic of Iran. Emma Mati (’18) and Ethan Laney (’18) will step up as captains of the Model UN Team. Here is what they had to say about what they did this summer and what they look foward to this year. “This summer, I attended Camp Szarvas, an international Jewish summer camp located in Szarvas, Hungary. The camp is run by the Lauder Foundation and the JDC and works to revive the Jewish community in Eastern Europe. Some days we went swimming with Moldovan campers and the next day we had Israeli dancing with Hungarian campers. I had not imagined I would meet somebody from Moldova, let alone a Jewish Moldovan. During meals, the cheder ochel transformed into a multicultural cafeteria full of kids chanting for their respective countries in their respective languages. Meals were often followed by spirited singing and dancing sessions, which was one of my favorite aspects of camp. As a member of the American delegation, I participated in daily discussions about Jewish identity with the American group. We discussed topics ranging from ‘Who is a Jew?’ to ‘What should pluralism look like?’ in addition to addressing more hot-button issues regarding Israel and social justice. All of these discussions took place in a pluralistic environment which exposed us to a wide range of Jewish beliefs and practices. Most importantly, the camp allowed me to reflect on my Jewish identity and strengthen my ties with B’nei Yisrael. “I am excited to return to RZJHS in the fall for my senior year as co-captain of the Model UN team to prepare the team for the annual conference in the spring. I play on the tennis and soccer team, and on the accomplished swim club. For the second year in a row, I’ll be leading Interfaith Youth Core and I hope to continue building a strong relationship with our partner school, the Islamic Foundation School. I will also be leading DEAP, RZJHS’s social justice club, and I hope to bring social justice issues affecting the Chicagoland area to the attention of the RZJHS community. I am also a member of ARK in the Park, a club that visits the ARK each month and meets with its clients. “Outside of school, I will continue participating in the Write On for Israel Fellowship. We travelled as a group to Israel this past summer and I am excited to continue the program. I will also be playing tennis in my spare time. Overall, I am so excited to be learning at RZJHS for another year with amazing teachers and friends.” — Emma Mati

“This summer, I travelled to Tel Aviv for a month-long internship at Panorama Software, a software vendor that sells a business intelligence application for companies to analyze their data. I worked with interns from around the globe on social media marketing, competitive research, and product development. In doing so, I learned much about the industry and how a technology company runs. I also became much more comfortable delivering presentations in a business environment. “While in Israel, I explored the city, the people, its beaches, and the vibrant night life, where I could practice my Hebrew language skills. I found engaging in political discussions with Israeli citizens impactful and meaningful. My Israel advocacy position with StandWithUs last year helped me learn so much about Israel’s rich history as well as developing invaluable skills for activism on college campuses. Speaking with both Israelis and Palestinians about how certain legislation or conflicts directly affected their communities contributed a much more personal understanding to my advocacy work. “This personal connection to Israel is something that I will try to bring this year to the Model UN team. Although we will be researching and discussing a widerange of global issues, Emma and I hope that everyone becomes personally and emotionally invested. We are really excited to share new ideas and activities in class and make our mark on the team. “I’m looking foward to running RZJHS’s DECA business club this year. Along with the usual stock market games, guest speakers, and regional competitions, we additionally hope to attend the state conference this year and run a “Shark Tank” style event. In addition, I also participate on the golf, tennis, and newly-founded wrestling team. I strongly encourage all new students to become involved in as many clubs, sports teams, and leadership positions as you can. RZJHS makes it really easy to be involved in many different activities without being overburdened. B’hatzlachah for a great year ahead of us.” — Ethan Laney



Every Rochelle Zell varsity sport team earned the IHSA Team Academic Achievement Award. To earn this award, teams must have a cumulative 3.0 GPA.


Boys basketball coach Marty Dello was recognized as Coach of the Year by the Chicago Prep Conference.


Boys Volleyball won the school’s first Chicago Prep Conference Tournament Championship.

“When I first got to school I didn’t really know many people in my grade, let alone the upperclassmen. But that all changed when varsity basketball started up. Many of my teammates were seniors when I was a freshman. The bonds you form on athletic teams here are ones you can’t form anywhere else in the school, and something I’ll always cherish forever. ” Eli Nasatir (’18) 6


Boys Basketball won its first CPC Division Championship and earned the Chicago Prep Conference Sportsmanship Award




The boys basketball team and the girls volleyball team won the Chicago Prep Conference Sportsmanship Award. Head coaches from the conference vote for the team that displayed excellent sportsmanship througout the season.

Boys Cross Country won its 7th Chicago Prep Conference Championship in a row.

Girls Volleyball earned the Chicago Prep Conference Sportsmanship Award

“Participating in athletics at RZJHS not only lets me improve my skills and challenge myself; it provides an incredible opportunity to bond with students in other grades. Many of the strong friendships I have are credited to my participation in sports. When things get stressful, playing sports is a great break and a good way to release the tension.” Ann Kushnir (’19)

Students Making Headlines Gaby Ecanow (’18) and her friend Diva Harsoor took first place in the Mobile Makers High School Winter App Contest in Swift and iOS development. She was also one of two winners of the annual Esther K. Wagner z”l Essay Prize last school year at Rochelle Zell. She played on the varsity girls basketball team and varsity cross country team. She is co-president of the RZJHS math team, and earned first place at the junior/ senior competition last year. Recognized this fall as either a National Merit Commended student or SemiFinalist by the National Merit Program, Gaby is looking forward to her position as president of Vaad Israel and copresident of the Chesed Club. She hopes to take on a greater leadership role in both the sports teams and clubs she is involved with. Eli Ecanow (’18) won a silver medal in the Chicago International IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Although he had not yet turned 18, Eli was promoted to the adult division; there were eight other competitors in his division, the next youngest being 25 years old. Eli also completed a volunteer program at the Vernon Hills public library this summer, became a sponsored jiu jitsu athlete for CK fight-life, and travelled throughout Peru to do community service work. He will continue playing varsity soccer and competing on the wrestling team. Hadar Halivni (’18) participated in a summer trip to Israel with Diller Teen Fellows. They meet monthly during the year, and the program culminates with a three-week trip in Israel. The group travelled with Jewish teenagers from around the world and spent a week living like Israelis in home hospitality. Hadar says she especially liked hearing how people of various backgrounds lived

in Israel. Hadar spent the next three weeks at SciTech, a research program for STEM-oriented high school students at the Technion in Haifa. Hadar’s project focused on the human effect on soil’s physical properties. This fall, Hadar is in cross country, and in the winter, Hadar plays on the basketball team. She’s the co-chair of Va’ad Tefillah and the president of Environmental Club and Math Team, along with participating in Interfaith Youth Corps and Feminism Club. Arielle Bledsoe (’20) represented the United States in Karate at the 20th World Maccabiah games this summer and worked at her parents periodontal office, where she learned a great deal about surgeries and the lives of people in the dental field. Arielle is currently training to compete in the Chicago Triathlon and is a Diller teen fellow. Arielle is involved with the Tri-M honor society, spring musical, engineering club, Vaad Israel, and ARK in the Park. She plans on joining the swim club and soccer team as well as strengthening and developing her Jewish lifestyle. Outside of school, she’ll continue to study and teach karate and participate in various programs geared towards people who have disabilities. Daphne Budin (’18) was named one of the year’s 18 Under 18 by JUF for her work in Jewish leadership and philanthropy. Daphne is involved with USY, BBYO, Ramah and Rochelle Zell’s own Bikkur Gidwitz. She is also on the varsity basketball team and is the senior editor of 2017-18 The Prints, the school literary magazine. This summer Daphne went to Poland and Israel with Ramah seminar. She is looking forward to Modern Jewish

Thought, AP Psychology and partnering as co-president of Chesed club with Gaby Ecanow. Hannah Kelly (’18) is the 2017-18 Spirit Club president, ARK Cafe president, Broadcast Club co-president, and is part of Feminism Club. This summer she traveled to Hungary as a Camp Szarvas fellow. Camp Szarvas is an international Jewish summer camp where each day is filled with dance, song, sport and meaningful conversation. Hannah says her favorite part of the summer was getting to see how kids from over 15 countries keep Jewish tradition alive. Hannah is looking forward to anatomy class. Since she is entering the nursing field, she “can’t wait to take my first crack at studying the human body.” In addition, she volunteers at Lurie Children’s Hospital. Outside of school, she is a part of JUF voices, a teen foundation aimed at teaching professional philanthropy and grantmaking through a Jewish lens. Along with 25 other teens, Hannah helps decide how to allocate funds of at least $25,000 in a way that affects real change. Sol Treister (’18) is in DECA, Enviromental Club, Vaad, cross country and is a Broadcast Club co-president. He will continue to serve as president of ARK In The Park. He said the experience has opened his eyes to the complexity of the world and the plight of those less fortunate. Outside of school, Sol is a competitive cyclist; he trains year round and this year culminated in winning both State and Regional titles. Additionally, this summer he competed in the National Championships in Los Angeles and finished in the top ten.


New Initiatives In Stem Engineering Physics with CIJE Rochelle Zell is pleased to partner with the Committee for Initiatives in Jewish Education (the CIJE), a group designed to implement state-of-the-art S.T.E.M. classes in Jewish day school in rolling out a new science class this fall called Engineering Physics! This innovative new curriculum prepares students for careers in engineering, programming, and advanced technology. CIJE aims to educate a generation of students in Jewish schools so that they can enter and compete in the global marketplace. The new physics course incorporates a project-based learning approach to inspire students. In addition to their academic study of forces and mechanics, Engineering Physics brings technical, practical, and marketable skills to students of all abilities with units in open source software, practical electronics, 3D modeling and printing. Engineering Physics fills a vital niche alongside our bursting-at-the-seams College Prep Physics and Honors Physics tracks. Mrs. Shira Eliaser explains, “Engineering Physics is about the here and now, on the lab bench and in the microprocessor: what we can build, design, create, and market, and how to use technology to make this world a better place. It’s all about what you can build yourself and how you can justify it in terms of your current knowledge and the needs of your community. It’s a very different world than Honors Physics, where mathematical rigor serves as the necessary underpinnings to any viable model, especially in the advanced topics of electricity and magnetism. Each class caters to a different reason for learning, and I think that’s just incredible.” Rochelle Zell is the only Jewish high school in the country to incorporate the rigorous academic study of physics with a full CIJE engineering program. In June, Mrs. Eliaser met with dozens of other fledgling and experienced engineering teachers, including representatives from Ida Crown Jewish Academy, Fasman Yeshiva, and Hannah Sacks Bais Yaakov, to pilot curriculum and collaborate on project development. The team has high hopes for its first year courses in Chicago, and hopes to join Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, and Miami as a major center for Jewish day school engineering programs. Established CIJE schools have already begun to offer second- and third-year courses in advanced engineering topics, providing a wealth of possibilities for Rochelle Zell students in the future. QuarkNet The August 21st solar eclipse sparked a whole new chapter in physics research for the Rochelle Zell QuarkNet team! For the first time, Rochelle Zell is now among 800 collaborators on a scientific question of international importance: the origin of the cosmic rays we have been tracking for many years. Michael Daugherty (’18) said, “In QuarkNet, there are many kinds of learning; there are teacher-student relationships and student-researcher relationships, but the backbone of QuarkNet is the student-student relationships. Since QuarkNet is a student-run club it is vital to enrich the yearning for knowledge from the students themselves. Students devise and analyze the experiments we run, so it is only fitting that we have the students teach others about the experiments they make.” He continues, “QuarkNet and STEM are places where students can join the fields of science and math regardless of prior knowledge of the subject. A new recruit at QuarkNet can vary from a new freshman interested in space to a senior itching to learn a little more on particle physics. Regardless of where you are in the academic ladder, STEM encourages you to join because you want to learn.” 8

Robotics Team After an amazing 4th place overall finish in last year’s competition, Rochelle Zell Jewish High School’s Botball® Robotics team will return in the spring of 2018 to develop new and improved designs for its second year of the competition. After seven weeks of building in February and March, the Rochelle Zell Robotics Team plans to bring their new robots to the regional tournament to compete against other student teams in the current season’s game challenge.

We talked to a Robotics Team member, Alex Bernat (’20) about his participation in last year’s competition. What was it like going to that first Robotics Team competition? “We had no idea what to expect when we arrived. The competition was harried and required us to make on-the-fly decisions, modify our robot on the spot and adjust the programming accordingly, all while under the competition’s extreme time pressure.

What did you do to be successful? Being successful required us to adapt our more complex design to a simpler, yet more reliable model. Because the simpler model performed more consistently, we were able to rack up more points quickly in the timed competition. Restructuring our robot allowed us to rise from the bottom of the ranks to a third place finish.”

allow RZJHS students to create and explore areas that interest them.

Why is what you learned valuable? “I want to be a computer scientist/ electrical engineer. Participating on the Robotics Team is not only fun but it also teaches many important skills. Skills like organization, teamwork and strategy development play important roles in virtually all careers. The left hand must always know what the right hand is doing – learning to develop and execute a strategy is important to pull the whole competition together.”

How is RZJHS special? “RZJHS is different from other high schools in many ways. RZ has so many opportunities for students to find their interests and balance their extra curriculuar pursuits with their workload. RZ teachers and staff are extremely supportive of the students not only in the classroom but outside of it as well. Because it is a small high school, we have the opportunity to socialize across grades and meet people that we may not otherwise have known.”

What kinds of interesting opportunities does RZJHS have in Science and Technology? “Among the opportunities are Robotics Team, QuarkNet, Math Team and a host of math, computer science and general science classes. I think that the most important opportunity that RZJHS offers in science and technology is an environment conducive to challenging yourself to excel in these difficult pursuits.”

Club leaders are accommodating in terms of adjusting schedules so that students are not overwhelmed by workload. This gives students the opportunity to fully experience areas of interest while at the same time balancing the demands of school assignments.”

How has your relationship with your teachers, advisers and classmates affected your performance at school and with your team? “The teachers at RZJHS are supportive and encourage students to try new things. Many teachers are advisers to clubs and teams that 9

Alumni: Where Are They Now? Rachel Binstock (’09) Rachel is an earth-based Jewish educator living in the Bay Area. She spends her days bringing Torah to life through the farm and forest for children and adults of all ages. Rachel started exploring the limitations of our industrial food system in college and became a sustainability advocate and farmer at Washington University in St. Louis. There she majored in Environmental Anthropology, studying how different cultures relate to the earth and value its resources. This led her to start exploring the Jewish connection to seasons, rain and water, the moon, nature-based ritual elements, and environmental stewardship. She wrote her first curriculum on Jewish Ecology for her Hebrew school class in St. Louis, which led her to connect to Hazon and the quickly forming network of Jewish environmental organizations. She worked as a farmer and educator at Eden Village Camp, a farm based overnight summer camp in the Hudson Valley, NY, where she helped develop curriculum that wove Jewish ideas through lessons on herbalism, nature based art, earth-centered spirituality, gardening, cooking and animal care. She recently finished the JOFEE Fellowship which placed her at Urban Adamah, a two-acre farm and environmental education center in North Berkeley where she continues to serve as program coordinator and beekeeper. Vanessa Youshaei (’08) Vanessa started her freshman year of college at Oberlin and then transferred to Emory for her second year. Since her parents are immigrants and she was the first born, her family was completely unfamiliar with how the college process worked in the US and what to look for in a school other than a great education. It took a full year at a school that was not the right fit to figure things out. Receiving her undergrad degree from Emory was one of the best decisions Vanessa has ever made. Not only did she learn from some of the best professors, she also met some incredibly talented people and made life-long friends from around the world. 10

Vanessa feels honored and humbled to be featured in the Spring edition of Emory’s Business School newsletter which featured her journey through school and the first few years of her career. After graduating, Vanessa accepted a job at Google which has been another life altering decision. Similar to Emory, working at Google introduced her to a new way of thinking and a new group of people who she said are extremely intelligent, fun to be around, and most importantly generous and kind. Vanessa adds that her parents have always believed in her even when she doubted herself and has truly supported every decision she’s made. Vanessa graduated from Emory University in 2013 and was recognized as one of its most notable alum. As a member of the central revenue team at Google, Vanessa helps implement strategic initiatives for the sales teams. Prior to this role, she worked in the marketing and sales department, helping small and medium-sized businesses with their Google advertising strategies through Google Search, YouTube and other channels. Vanessa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read more about her in the Spring Edition of Emory’s Business School newsletter: www.emorybusiness. com/2017/05/05/vanessa-youshaei-on-grit-strategicmoves/ Joe Cohen (’15) Joe has been working this past year as the Under Secretary General for the Economic and Social Council at the International Model United Nations Association (IMUNA). As part of his job, he helps the directors, those leading the committees at the National High School Model United Nations (NHSMUN) conference that RZJHS attends, with pre-conference research and training. He assists the directors to produce the background guides that delegates use as a starting place for the committee research for the topics discussed at NHSMUN. Joe said that being a part of the staff is an incredible experience and has allowed him to strengthen delegate’s experiences at the conference while also being a Model UN mentor and resource to the committee chairs. Joe recently began his junior year at University of Michigan and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

DEVELOPMENT Last year we renamed our school in memory of Rochelle Zell z”l and in honor of the extraordinary support of the Zell Family Foundation. In her lifetime, Mrs. Zell advocated for excellence in education and for sustaining Jewish values, consistent with our mission to create a culture of academic excellence that prepares students to live as responsible and involved Jewish citizens in the modern world. A naming gift from the Zell Family Foundation, along with the remarkable generosity of the Harvey L. Miller Supporting Foundation and the Crown Family, secured the permanence of our school for generations to come by putting the school on a path to become debt-free. The school’s endowment fund also participated in this debt reduction plan. The gifts for debt reduction enabled us to redeem in full the school’s outstanding bond debt. We reduced our debt from over $14 million in 2015 to less than $7.5 million today, and greatly reduced future interest expense. A loan guarantee from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago enabled us to obtain a bank loan which we will be able to retire in nine years, leaving us debt free 17 years earlier than under the previous debt structure. Your support remains critically important. The naming gift and the other two major gifts were given to the school to reduce and ultimately eliminate our debt first and foremost. In addition, we must continue to raise over $1.5 million each year to meet our annual operating budget, which sustains all we do including academic programs, tuition assistance, athletics, extra-curricular activities and more. Please consider a new or increased contribution to the Rochelle Zell Jewish High School Annual Campaign. If you have already made a gift to this year’s campaign, thank you. To make a gift: • Go to our website at and make an online donation • Mail a check or pay by Visa or MasterCard with the enclosed response envelope • Call our development office at 847.324.3720 Your committment to providing a quality Jewish education for all of our students is greatly appreciated.

Rochelle Zell Jewish High School Parent Organization The Rochelle Zell Parent Organization is gearing up for a great year! We have exciting Adult Education and Social Event plans in the works for 2017-2018/5778. Watch your in boxes for information on our new adult education program coming this fall. There are many opportunities to get involved with us. Please contact us at with questions, comments or to volunteer. We look forward to hearing from you! Cindy Taitz and Susan Laney Rochelle Zell PO Co-Presidents


Mazal Tov To The Class of 2017/5777! “Franz Rozensweig, a Jewish philosopher, says that the only way to teach is by demonstration, by setting an example. At RZ, we had awesome role models. Our teachers all demonstrated how to nurture relationships in professional settings, motivating and inspiring us to achieve our best. For example, I personally was inspired by Mr. Baumstark, who showed me how to be a professional mensch. Another example is with Mrs. Eliaser, who appeals to students by incorporating Judaism in her physics class almost every day. Either with language, by using Yiddish terms to explain the movement of a particle, or conceptually, by using biblical sources to explain Galilean Relativity, the physics classroom at RZJHS is definitely a Jewish one. This approach, shared by many other teachers here, conveys that being distinctively and enthusiastically Jewish is complementary to being engaged in the search for meaning in the wider world. Today, I myself am an example of this: an aspiring engineer, giving a D’var Torah at the siyum!” —Akiva Stein (’17)


Average ACT Score



Seniors Named Illinois State Scholars


National AP Scholars

55 3.74 Colleges and University Acceptances

Cumulative GPA

Colleges Choose Rochelle Zell Students The 39 members of the class of 2017 were accepted to the following universities, colleges and programs American University Arizona State University Bard College Binghamton University Boston University Bradley University Brandeis University Bucknell University Case Western Reserve University Colgate University Colorado State University Cornell University Dartmouth College DePaul University Dickinson College Duke University Emory University Franklin & Marshall College George Washington University Harvey Mudd College Hofstra University Hunter College of the CUNY Indiana University at Bloomington Iowa State University Johns Hopkins University Kansas State University Kenyon College Lehigh University Lewis & Clark College Louisiana State University Loyola University Chicago Macalester College Miami University Michigan State University Northwestern University

Nova Southeastern University Princeton University Queens College of the CUNY Quinnipiac University Rice University Rutgers University-New Brunswick Stern College for Women Syracuse University The Ohio State University Towson University Tufts University Tulane University University of California University of Chicago University of Colorado University of Denver University of Illinois at Chicago University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University of Iowa University of Kansas University of Maryland University of Miami University of Michigan University of Minnesota University of Missouri University of New Orleans University of Pittsburgh University of Puget Sound University of Rochester University of Tennessee University of Texas, Austin University of Vermont University of Wisconsin, Madison Washington University in St. Louis Wesleyan University

“Standing at the end of a known period, we are faced with the start of a new period of unknowns. We must be fearless, ready to shape the world that we want to live in. We cannot be afraid. As Rabbi Nachman of Braslav states, ‘The entire world is a very narrow bridge, and the most important thing is not to be afraid.’” Natalie Ecanow (’17) 13

Rochelle Zell Jewish High School 1095 Lake Cook Road Deerfield, IL 60015 847.470.6700


2017-2018/5778 EVENTS October 9, 2017 Sukkah Hop October 24, 2017 Grandparent and Special Friends Meet & Greet November 5, 2017 Open House for Prospective Families November 7 & 14, 2017 Parent -Teacher Conferences November 18, 2017 Homecoming December 10, 2017 Placement Test (incoming freshmen) December 25, 2017– Jan 5, 2018 Winter Break January 7– 25, 2018 Senior Israel Experience January 12, 15– 19, 2018 Final Exams January 14, 2018 Placement Test (incoming freshmen)

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February 1, 2018 Curriculum Night (incoming freshmen) March 6 – 11, 2018 Model UN Conference March 29 – April 6, 2018 Pesach Break April 27 – 29, 2018 All-School Shabbaton May 3, 2018 New Student Bowling Party May 24, 2018 Athletic Recognition Night May 24, 2018 Grandparents and Special Friends Day May 25, 2018 Last day of classes/all-school BBQ May 27, 2018 Prom May 29 & 31, June 1 & 4, 2018 Final Exams May 30, 2018 Siyum and Graduation

A partner with the Jewish United Fund in serving our community. Affiliated with Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools. Accredited by the Illinois State Board of Education and The Independent Schools Association of the Central States.