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THE LATEST AT BARRACK • October 2020 • Tishrei 5781 • ISSUE 1

BARRACK IS BACK TO SCHOOL arrack is back! School started this fall under unusual circumstances, but with our Path to Reopening, we have been able to successfully open our doors, welcoming 337 students, including 76 new students coming from 27 different schools in the greater Philadelphia area. Sixty-five of our legacy students come from 29 families who have a parent or grandparent (or both!) who attended Akiba-Barrack. We are educating families through the generations - a testament to our outstanding dual curriculum and timeless Jewish values.


MORE PHOTOS: jbhacademy.smugmug.com/First-Week-of-School-Fall-2020-/


Path to Reopening: Modified Hybrid Learning Success

his fall during our Modified Hybrid Model of learning, Barrack has offered comprehensive online education along with in-person outdoor learning. “Our educators and students did not miss a beat,” says Sharon Levin, Head of School. “The creativity, innovation and flexibility of our


teachers is allowing our students to learn and grow in new ways.” The Modified Hybrid Plan allowed the school to open with a measured approach, with one to two grades on campus each day, and utilized a phased approach with the highest safest precautions in place. “Within our outdoor tent classrooms, and in our online classes, we have been able to evolve our educational

experience and continue to allow our students to thrive,” said Levin. As we move to our full Hybrid Model of learning on Oct 12, Barrack students will have even more opportunity for inperson interaction with teachers and classmates; maintaining the highest safety standards, while delivering enriching education. We can’t wait to see our students back on campus more frequently!

BARRACK SPOTLIGHT Welcome New Barrack Faculty his fall we welcomed seven new faculty members to our Barrack educational team, including: Jesse Schwartz, English; Joshua Gutoff, Jewish Studies; Adam Lautman, Jewish Studies; Josh Waxman, Jewish Studies; Ellen Novick, Math; Michael Steinley, Math; Sally Belasco, Science; and Cheryl Gray Mitchell, Science. To get to know our new faculty, we will highlight a few of them in each Ma Chadash issue this year!


Ellen Novick, Math: Prior to teaching at Barrack, Ellen taught at the Grayson School, but she started her career as a pension actuary, and she still holds her fellowship to the Society of Actuaries! “I am excited to teach at Barrack because I have the chance to become even more familiar with the friendly and warm community - alumni and students alike show genuine kindness.” And she should know. Her son Jacob Novick will graduate this spring! Please welcome Ellen Novick to our Math Department!

UPPER SCHOOL DEANS: New Roles, Familiar Faces


arrack named three Upper School Deans this fall, who have all taken on new positions, but are well known to our students. The Deans also serve as leaders in Barrak’s Senior Administrative Team. In his new role, Justin Cooper, Upper School Dean of Students, who has been at Barrack for the past 8 years, will continue to oversee our athletic program, in addition to co-curricular activities and student wellness and support. “I am looking forward to having the opportunity to work with each Upper Schooler, promoting our robust co-curricular offerings so students have the agility to seek out what defines them as individuals,“ Mr. Cooper commented. In his new position as Upper School Academic Dean, Thomas McLaughlin, will oversee the entire academic program and mentor Department Chairs and teachers. Of his new role, Mr. McLaughlin said, “I am looking forward to encouraging the intellectual growth of each student.” Also, a beloved teacher for the past 20 years at Barrack, he will continue to teach English literature. Lucky for our students! As the new Dean of College Counseling and Academic Advising, Rebecca Trajtenberg is looking forward to “building relationships with students and families throughout their upper school journey.” As she has done for the past 11 years, Mrs. Trajtenberg will continue to oversee all aspects of the senior year experience and the college admissions process, but will also have the opportunity to get to know and interact with all upper school students. Best of luck to our new Upper School Deans, we wish you much success in the year to come!


Cheryl Gray Mitchell, Science: Cheryl started working in education after being involved in scientific research, and “never worked another day in her life.” She began her teaching career at Herzaliah High School in Montreal, and then went on to become the Science Chair at Hebrew High in Miami. After moving back to Pennsylvania, Cheryl joined the faculty at Episcopal Academy, where she has been for the past 10 years. She is now thrilled to return to her Jewish Day School roots at Barrack. Please welcome Cheryl Gray MItchell to our Science Department!

Barrack Club Fair - Virtual ur annual Barrack Club Fair was held virtually this year with almost all students participating in one or more student-led club or publication. From Human Rights to Harry Potter, from Mock Trial to M'et L'Et (our Hebrew newspaper) and from Photography to the Political Action Committee, there is an opportunity for everyone to get involved and pursue their passion. Student Association (SA) President Dan Bernstein noted, “with 6 publications and more than 40 student-led clubs, students have the chance to find and pursue their passion at Barrack.” He also commented, “despite being virtual, it was amazing to see almost the entire student body participate in our club fair this year. Everyone is excited about getting involved.” Our virtual Club Fair is another example of Barrack's innovation and creativity during this time. Kol ha'kavod to our SA!


JEWISH LIFE Jewish Life In Nature Jewish Life at Barrack has flourished outside! From daily Shacharit services under the trees, to Tachlich by the creek, to Hol ha’moed in our Sukkah, the outdoors has provided a vibrant spiritual backdrop. The gorgeous weather this fall have allowed our daily rituals to take on new meaning in nature. Rav Will Keller, Director of Jewish Life said, "being outside has inspired us to reimagine and

reinvest ourselves in our rituals, in a way that is really meaningful for our staff and students. He added, "as Jews, we are asked to see ourselves as if we had escaped from Egypt, wandering around the desert. While we are in nature - learning under our school tents and eating and praying in our sukkah, we have had the power to know that we are all in this together, and we will move forward." ‫ברק בחוץ‬# Barrackoutside MORE PHOTOS: jbhacademy.smugmug.com/Jewish-Life-Barrack-/

7th Grade Hiddur Mitzvah Program On October 7, our 7th grade had the unique opportunity to think about issues and values connected to becoming B’nai Mitzvah/‫בני מצוה‬, and to learn about the concept of Hiddur Mitzvah/‫מצוה‬ ‫הידור‬/beautifying a mitzvah/‫מצוה‬. Students had the opportunity to

choose their own piece of Judaica (candlesticks, menorahs, dreidels, etc.)

MORE PHOTOS: jbhacademy.smugmug.com/Hiddur-Mitzvah-BarBat-Mitzvah-Project-/

Met L’et - Back to School Edition

PUBLICATIONS Barrack Back-toSchool Publications


he Cougar Chronicle is Back Welcome back to school from Barrack's favorite news source!!

to “beautify” with glass mosaics. Part of the Class of 2026 B’nai Mitzvah Group Gift/Project, the works of will be fired and attached to the metal work at the studio of the Gary Rosenthal Hiddur Mitzvah Project. We hope our students will treasure these works of art for years to come.

Check out the latest back to school issue - with news, opinions and special features on the Chronicle's new website, thecougarchronicle.org, and on our school's publication page jbha.org/student-life/publications

his special issue of M'Et L'Et, Barrack's Hebrew language newspaper explores how life has changed for our students at this time and offers unique perspectives from our students. With beautiful artwork and even an original Hebrew comic, this issue will engage students at various Hebrew levels and with different interests Check out the latest back to school issue at jbha.org/studentlife/publications



For the full season visit jbha.org/arts/drama

The 2021 Drama Season is underway! hrough creative innovation, Barrack Drama will launch a Virtual season of entertainment, drama and music. Beginning with the Barrack Repertory Company’s performance of the The Laramie Project, a play that depicts a series of short scenes portraying a range of individuals'

The Laramie Project November 15–17, 2020


Directed by: Ash Chelder ’21, Ben Fisher ’21, & Dewey J. Oriente reactions and reflections in the wake of the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student who died after a brutal hate crime.

Tickets available soon. Stay tuned!

ALUMNI NEWS Our 2020 seniors are off! Our stellar senior class of 2020 is attending a broad range of schools and gap year programs (virtually and in-person), with 90% of the class accepted at one of their top choice schools or programs. Because of the pandemic, some choose different paths that capitalized on unique opportunities to work or help give back to their communities, but many have also opted to continue their educational journeys. For the full list of schools and programs our 2020 students are attending visit jbha.org/academics/collegecounseling/college-matriculations

Sophia Shapiro '20 - STAMPS Scholar One of our recent alumni, Sophia Shapiro '20, who, at Barrack was a three sport athlete and team captain, Student Association President, and theater stage manager, was among only 5 students in Pennsylvania to be awarded a prestigious STAMPS scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh. The program recognizes students who have shown exemplary academic and community leadership. Sophia, who has been a dedicated community activist, with experience in

state-wide political campaigns and gun violence prevention initiatives, says “Barrack opened many doors for me, and shaped the person I am today.” This summer, as an incoming freshman, Sophia help found a Pitt Students for Biden group and recently helped organize “Prom at the Polls”, a nonpartisan national initiative to energize young voters and inspire them to turnout on or ahead of November 3. See the CNN coverage here. We can’t wait to see what Sophia and her fellow Barrack alums will do next!

FACULTY NEWS Rabbi Lauren Brody Rabbi Dan Rosenberg On August 23/3 Elul, our own Rabbi Dan Rosenberg, Jewish Studies teacher, married Tova Tenenbaum at an outdoor wedding at the Merion Tribute House. Officied by Rabbi Chaim Galfand '82 and aided by Rav Will Keller, the wedding was attended by a small group of family in-person, and by friends from around the world on Zoom. Mazal Tov! Wishing the new couple years of happiness!

Eliana Renata “Ellie” was born August 28 to Rabbi Lauren Brody, Jewish Studies teacher, and husband Richard Brown. Siblings Jonah, Alex ‘28, Emil ‘27 and Charlie ‘26 are thrilled to welcome their new baby sister! Barrack faculty and staff are thrilled for Rabbi Lauren and her beautiful baby girl. Mazal Tov!

Profile for Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy

Ma Chadash? Whats New? Fall 2020  

Ma Chadash? Whats New? Fall 2020