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The Lion's Tale


Volume 31 Issue 4


January 29, 2014



photo illustrations by Malka Himelhoch and Jeremy Kaplan

Looking at racism See Page 08



Au revoir, French With discontinuation of the French program, Graff departs as well Landy recognized the relevance of the French language, but explained that the school cannot As the Class of 2014 leaves offer a class which a fairly small CESJDS, they take the French portion of students actually take. program with them. “I agree that French is a very The decision to stop offering valuable language,” Landy said. “I French classes to incoming sevstudied French in high school and enth-graders was made seven years college and all three of my children ago, as the Class of 2014 entered the were fortunate enough to study Upper School. June Graff, who has French with Madame Graff. Sadly, taught French at JDS for the past 35 there are many valuable courses years, will be leaving the school as that we would love to offer but we there will be no more students to must be practical in determining teach. which courses we can and cannot Some students are upset by the support.” program’s discontinuation. Assistant Principal and Di“Even though I’m not sure if I rector of Studies Robert Snee said would have taken French, I think that the French program’s future it’s kind of ridiculous that the depends on students’ interest in school only offers two languages learning the language. besides Hebrew,” sophomore Talya “I hesitate to speculate on what Kravitz said. Hebrew, Spanish and might be of great student interest Arabic are the other languages in the near or distant future,” Snee offered by the school. said. “But clearly the school is The decision to stop offering responsive to what students seem the course follows a nationwide to want.” trend of decreased interest in the Senior Sara Kresloff, a member language. According to the Center of JDS’s final French class, protests for Applied the adminLinguisistration’s tics, decision. nationwide “There’s student a lot of kids enrollment in younger in French grades that programs wish they decreased could learn from 27 French,” percent to Kresloff 11 percent said. “It’s in schools not all about with Spanish all language the time. I programs know that at the the few of us elementary that did take level and French really from 64 enjoyed our percent to photo by Hannah Josovitz time with 46 percent Graff poses with seniors Leah Schwartz, Hannah Iskow, Sara Kresloff and Natalie Mark at the Ms. Graff and in high annual waiter race, an event held by Graff for French studnets during National French Week. learning the schools, language, so between Dean of Students Roslyn Landy at least some people got to have that the years 1997 and 2008. explained that the choice of ending experience.” Graff said that the administrathe program was a result of its No matter what the future ention believed it was not viable to decreasing enrollment. tails for French at JDS, Graff said au offer a course that they considered a “The enrollment in the French revoir to JDS at the end of the first poor financial investment. program had been declining for semester. According to Graff, more than years and some years the classes Had student interest continseven years ago former Head of were so small that it was not pracued, “I would have stayed longer School Jonathan Cannon told her if tical to continue to support such a and I would have taught longer,” she did not get 15 students to sign program,” Landy said. Graff said. by urischwartz and jonahshrock reporters

up for French, the course would be cancelled. “[But] that was the year I got 16 kids,” Graff said. “So he couldn’t cancel it.” The following year, she once again managed to get 16 students and the program remained intact. The year after, however, “[Cannon] didn’t even let [the Romance Language Department] offer it.” Graff explained that part of the reason for canceling the course was that even if 16 students were to sign up in seventh grade, some would inevitably leave the school or the class, further shrinking the enrollment in the program. Even though incoming Upper School students would not be entering the program, Graff did not want students who were already “in the pipeline” to have to quit — and Cannon agreed. But when the seniors graduate, there will be no one left taking the course. “They’re done, so I’m done,” Graff said.


with June Graff

The Lion’s Tale: What’s your background with the French language? June Graff: When I was in seventh grade I had to make a decision as to whether I was going to learn French or Spanish. Because we had cousins in France, my father said he was making the decision for me and he said, “You are the next generation. You guys have to be able to communicate with each other. I’d like you to learn French.” So I, not having a preference, said “Sure, that’s what I’ll learn,” and I loved it — I really did from the very beginning. That was the beginning and I took it all through high school and then I majored in French in college. I [also] have a master’s degree in French Lit. Then of course there was travel to France because I had to meet the cousins, right? So I spent some time in Strasbourg studying as well was visiting. So that’s my experience. LT: When did you know that you wanted to teach French? JG: Well I was actually a teacher starting when I was 13 years old. I had a nursery class at our Shul on Sunday mornings for three-to five-year-olds and [although] I did not have a bat mitzvah, the

decision was made that I would try that out because it seemed like I would really do well. I don’t know what they recognized in me, but I became a teacher at a really early age. After [the first year] they kind of sprung me and told me, “you can do this,” and I did that for about seven years. Then college kind of got in the way, I had too much work and I said, “Now I think I’ve done it enough.” But I always enjoyed teaching and I always enjoyed being with kids so it was very logical to take my French and teach that. So that’s what I did. LT: How did you find JDS? JG: That was Mrs. [Annette] Lakein actually. [We both went to Beth Sholom Congregation] and she heard that there was an opening at the Jewish Day School because she was already working in the library and she heard there was an opening for the teacher and said, “You really want to go. It’s a great school.” [My husband and I] had already decided that our son was going to go here for kindergarten and I went for the interview and they evidently decided also that they wanted me to come on board. At the time we lived [close by], so we walked to school . . .

view more on Scan the code or type the link to read the full Q&A


King’s lasting legacy



Community reflects on impact of Martin Luther King in blackJewish relations

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.

by arielleweinstein reporter

have a dream.” Aug. 28, 1963: With a towering statue of Abraham Lincoln peering over his shoulder and a clear view of the Washington Monument in front of him, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech to a crowd of over 250,000 people. Men and women of all races and backgrounds flocked to hear the activist’s words that would leave an indelible mark on history. Jews were among the crowd that listened to King. King is best known for promoting civil rights for blacks through nonviolent means. Perhaps a lesser known fact was that he insisted on equality for all minorities. His message was one with which Jews could easily identify, given their history of persecution. Many Jews embraced King’s directive and actively participated in demonstrations alongside blacks. One of the most prominent figures of this “black-Jewish alliance” was the rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. “[Heschel] was an observant Jew, but he found himself to be an

photo provided by Wikimedia via Creative Commons

iconic philosopher,” JTTP teacher Sara Coxe said. “There are pictures of him walking with Martin Luther King, Jr. in a march because he is basically saying the values of equality and freedom are our values as Jews, and they should be applied to every human being.” While King’s quest for universal equality during the civil rights movement was not unique, his ability to communicate and motivate

Jews felt a particular affinity for King; Cohen believes that this was because blacks and Jews shared a similar history of adversity. “The Jews have been treated poorly for many many centuries and that’s something that can be shared with the African-American population [because] until pretty recently they have been discriminated against, taken for slavery ... [and] treated like animals,” Cohen said.

“Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” -Martin Luther King, Jr. people was unparalleled. “People liked to listen to him,” Coxe said. “They were inspired to try and change the world.” Sophomore Eitan Cohen explained King’s success with his passion and powerful approach to advocating for civil rights. “He was pretty charismatic and that always gets [people’s] attention,” Cohen said. “He was one of the few to get up there and fight for the rights of African-Americans.”

Coxe sees a connection between King and another Jewish leader, Moses. “Intellectually, Martin Luther King, Jr. is sort of a modern-Moses who leads the people out of oppression,” Coxe said. Despite many Jews’ reverence for King, the relationship between Jews and blacks has been tenuous at times. The Nation of Islam, a black separatist religious movement, has angered Jews with its

anti-Semitic stance. In a recent speech, the leader of the group referred to Jews as “satanic.” Tensions between Jews and blacks reached a climax during the Crown Heights riots in Brooklyn, New York in 1991. The violent riots began after Yosef Lifsh, a Hasidic man living in Crown Heights’ sizeable Orthodox Jewish community, allegedly lost control of his vehicle and ran over Gavin Kato, a black child, killing him. Several hours later, a gang of young black men fatally beat and stabbed Yankel Rosenbaum, a Jewish Australian doctoral student. “It’s been a rocky road,” Coxe said. “Sometimes [the relationship between Jews and blacks is] good and sometimes it’s not too good.” Cohen beleives that as we celebrate King’s birthday on Jan. 20, “we should reflect on times when [Jews] were not treated as equals in [their] own countries, and [remember that blacks] went through similar times. Jews weren’t allowed to feel like citizens of their own country. This was the same for the African-American population and I think we should make that connection.”




lion’s tale

print editors editors-in-chief

ari charnoff, dore feith managing

stu krantz


aaron boxerman, dina rabinovitz


jeremy etelson, jonathan reem news

malka himelhoch, nina simpkins chadashot

matthew foldi, shira ungar


alison kraner, yael krifcher entertainment

eitan snyder, hannah wexler in depth

maddie dworkin, haley lerner


brian schonfeld, jesse zweben


r’ay fodor photo

david kulp

social media

yosi vogel


alec schrager, allie wiener

web editors web editors-in-chief

Staff editorial

It’s ignorance, not racism We are taught to watch what we say and that we should be wary of the words we choose. Words reflect how we portray ourselves, but can be misinterpreted far too easily. What seems innocent to us may offend someone else, so we try to think before we comment. But sometimes we just don’t. We try to stop our peers from making inappropriate remarks, regardless of whether their statements were meant to be understood in that way. But we are quick to jump, and instead of accusing our peers of saying something immature, stupid, cruel or racist, we characterize the student by his or her own words. We think that most CESJDS students who might occasionally or casually use racial slurs do not have racist intentions. They are ignorant, but they are not racist. Students may be unaware of the offensive connotations of their statements. It is therefore necessary to consider students’ intentions before automatically deeming them racists.

Regardless of students’ intentions, racial slurs have derogatory histories and are never appropriate. Once we leave JDS, we will enter a world in which we will come into significantly more contact with people who will be personally offended by the usage of many different hurtful words, so we must watch what we say. Some colleges might even take disciplinary action toward students caught using such language. It is therefore necessary to consider the way we go about teaching racism. JDS should teach its students that they should never use racial slurs, no matter the context, and no matter who is around. No matter the situation, racial slurs are always wrong. We call on the school to educate students about the value of the language they choose, rather than just teaching broad acceptance. Far less considered, but still important, is the way we should go about addressing the majority and minority groups when discussing racism. When we defend minorities

against racism, insensitivity and ignorance, we often do not consider how we address the majority. Just as we would never generalize about minority groups, we shouldn’t generalize about the majority, either. We often apply labels to a large group because it is convenient. However, it is best to look at a collection of people — categorized by race, religion, sex, etc. — as individuals. Acting as the defenders against racism and ignorance does not give anyone the right to generalize against the majority; rather, as those who oppose stereotyping, we have an even greater responsibility to be respectful of both sides. If we truly wish to instill in others the idea that they must watch their tongues and be wary of how even the most seemingly insignificant comments can be interpreted, then we must do the same in return.

-The Lion’s Tale

alexander flum, jeremy kaplan

web copy

cole aronson, jonathan orbach web section editors

evan kravitz, matt litman & adina pollak

senior reporters kobi fodor, matthew halpern, gefen kabik & danny waksman

reporters mijal altmann, robbie belson, michael berkowitz, harris block, cole cooper, naomi cohen-shields, isaac dubrawsky, emma enig, yonatan greenberg, emma hofman, sj hyman, yonah hyman, hannah nechin, josh paretzky, gaby pilarski, mark reichel, jeremy schooler, uri schwartz, jonah shrock, carol silber, gabi swagel, alysse weinberg, margalit zimand

staff adviser claire burke

adviser emerita susan zuckerman The Lion’s Tale Editorial and Ethics Policy As the student newspaper of the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, The Lion’s Tale is a forum for student opinion and expression. All content is determined by students. Its purpose is to inform the CESJDS community and to express the views of its staff and readers. The staff has made every effort to ensure the accuracy and objectivity of its news. Signed columns reflect the opinion of the writer; staff editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of The Lion’s Tale editorial board. The Lion’s Tale staff welcomes letters to the editor and guest columns, all of which must be signed. The staff reserves the right to refuse any material and may edit letters or columns for length, clarity, libel, obscenity and/ or disruptiveness. Submissions may be emailed to, mailed to The Lion’s Tale, or brought to room 328. The Lion’s Tale is funded by The Simon Hirshman Endowment for the Upper School Newspaper and The Kuttner-Levenson Endowment for the Upper School Cultural Arts and Student Publications, and community advertisement. The Lion’s Tale reserves the right to refuse advertisement for any reason. The staff will adhere to the ethics policies of The Society of Professional Journalists and the National Scholastic Press Association. The adviser will be held to the Journalism Education Association’s Adviser Code of Ethics.

Our first editorial: Coming of age Editors’ Note: The following is one of the editorials from the first edition of The Lion’s Tale, published on Jan. 18, 1984. Though The Lion’s Tale has grown from a four-page paper published every couple of months to a 16-page newsmagazine with online coverage, our values and our motivation to pursue good journalism remain the same. We present this editorial to illustrate how much has changed in these 30 years, but also how much we as a community still hold close to our hearts. In the past year our school has “come of age.” Many exciting things have happened to make our Upper School into a bona fide high school. Our enormous growth in the past several years necessitated additional space. The Lehrman wing, which opened in September 1982, gave us new science labs, additional classrooms, a computer lab, offices, lunch rooms, a kitchen, a teacher’s lounge, and most importantly, the student lounge where we students may relax. Along with the physical expansion have

come new courses and activities to enrich our education and our lives. New programs and courses in computers, study skills, rabbinics, and Latin have been met enthusiastically by students and parents. The yearbook and its staff have grown tremendously from its inception seven years ago, and with this issue we see the birth of a real Upper School newspaper. We are not alone in noticing the emergence of a “real” Upper School. The Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools also noticed by visiting us this year as a part of their evaluation and accreditation process. Although their final report will not be ready for several more weeks, we feel certain that they found us appropriately awesome. Many of our seniors this year have received early acceptances to some of the finest universities and colleges in this country. Those who want to share our wealth include Harvard, Yale, Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, University of Pennsylvania, and many others. We are all very proud of our seniors.

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As we rapidly approach our population limits, we hope things do not change too much. We hope that growth does not make our teachers and administrators less available. It is important that they know us as individuals regardless of how many of us there are. In addition, we wonder on what basis prospective students will be turned away because there is no more room. Our community school has always been open to any child who wants a good secular and Jewish education. CES JDS has always been able to meet the challenges of integrating students from Israel, Russia, South America and Iran. Having people from different countries has taught us more than what our teachers thought we were learning. We have watched our school grow for many years. The many changes that have occurred have made our school bigger and better than it has ever been before. As our school becomes older, the continuing progress will make the CES JDS into the best high school it can be.


Another type of civic education

by dorefeith and stukrantz editor-in-chief and managing editor

All around the world, schools try to teach about the history and values of their respective countries. CESJDS is no different, except it does not just teach about the United States. Israel, too, is on the curriculum. We all understand that there is a difference between proper academic study and propaganda. We want our school — in both its history courses and in its Jewish history courses — to be doing the former, not the latter. At the same time, there is such a thing as civic education that liberal democratic countries, including the U.S., do all over the world. These curricula promote love of country, respect for the country’s institutions and the ability to defend the country against unfair criticism. Beyond this factual education is the hope to give students — who will one day inherit their countries’ reins — both a sense that each of their countries deserves to be defended, and the tools with which they can defend the country against ideological enemies. JDS should be doing the same with regard to Israel. Unfortunately, we believe that JDS does not adequately prepare its students to defend Israel on college campuses. Among both students and faculties on these campuses, there exists an active ideological war over Zionism and over Israel’s right to exist. It’s not unreasonable to request that Israel classes provide an academic study of the history of the conflict while also presenting both sides of any issue so that students can defend Israel when the time comes. After all, our school’s mission statement includes ahavat yisrael (love of Israel). We have taken good courses taught by great teachers, but we have noticed an odd bending-over-backwards that we haven’t seen in any other history class. For the sake of open-mindedness, the curriculum has lost sight of its ahavat yisrael goal. Ahavat yisrael means allowing each student to form his own connection to Israel. However, we believe JDS should try to establish an intellectual relationship (in addition to an emotional connection, as is created through events like Zimriyah) between its students and Israel not based on

criticizing Israel. It’s difficult to turn negativity into support, while a relationship built on love still allows room for criticism. We feel that the curriculum currently cultivates the negative rather than the positive. Of course, there is no problem with teaching some criticisms of Israel. But there has to be balance. The Arab-Israeli Conflict course predominantly uses sources that are preoccupied with criticizing Israel rather than defending it, which gives the impression that the goal of the course is to inspire students to criticize Israel. We were assigned Avi Shlaim’s “The Debate About 1948” as our only academic reading on Israel’s War of Independence. Shlaim’s works are not just strongly critical of Israel, but also highly controversial and in some places factually wrong. In order to escape the charge that we’re being brainwashed to defend Israel, the bending-over-backwards results in the presentation of anti-Israel propaganda. In “The Debate About 1948,” Shlaim claims that the Arab countries’ invasion of the newly established Jewish state was motivated by territorial desires, and not by anti-Semitism and a hatred of Jews. Because Shlaim’s work was our sole reading on Israel’s War of Independence, some students may have come away thinking that his is the most accurate piece of history. The two of us recall receiving little warning, if any, about Shlaim’s political views before receiving the reading. Instead, we were just told that he was part of the New Historians who, as a group, rejected Israel’s conventional history. Our teachers have encyclopedic knowledge and teach in engaging and creative ways. We hope they look at models around the world to teach love of Israel in the way liberal democratic countries teach love of country. We know for a fact that Israel’s enemies are teaching why Israel should be destroyed. It’s time for JDS to teach why Israel is worth defending.


My complicated Jewish identity I’m a secular Jew. I don’t observe kashrut. I don’t pray every day. During minyan, I have been known to sleep, do homework or goof around in the corner. Sometimes I think about becoming more by aaronboxerman observant, about the copy editor wonders and depth and significance of a halachic life. Then I go to Chipotle and order the meatiest, treif-iest burrito I can find. Despite my on and off relationship with the faith of my forefathers, I identify strongly as a Jew. If you were to dig beneath all the labels and slogans stickered onto me, you’d find “Jewish” at the bottom, long after the rest had been peeled away. More and more people of Jewish background are beginning to wonder what remains of Judaism when religious practice fades away. The recent Pew survey, in which a record thirty-two percent of Jews of my generation identify as “Jews of no religion,” throws this issue into stark relief. Paradoxically, for many of these Jews, the only exposure they’ve ever had to their heritage involves religious observance: fasting on Yom Kippur, the eight-day self-denial of Passover, constant abstinence from pork, shellfish and goats seared in their mothers’ milk. Occasionally, they’ll make the trek to shul, where they’ll sit quietly in the back and mumble through a

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few prayers, checking their watches the entire time. This is the only Judaism they’ve ever known. It’s no wonder that Jews are leaving in droves. Much has been said of the need to return to a more substantial, stricter form of Jewish observance to avoid assimilation. However, the mechanical fulfillment of rote religious practice is far more insubstantial, far less valuable, far less worth preserving — and far less meaningful. “Why be Jewish?” runs the perfectly valid argument. “It’s just a set of arbitrary rules.” But Judaism has always been more than that: a nation, an ethnicity, a rich literary and cultural tradition. Judaism is intensely related to one’s nation and community. Other philosophies and religions tend to focus on the individual and her relation with God, the world, class struggle or another universal principle. But the Jews at the foot of Mount Sinai, hearing the Torah, responded in the plural — “na’aseh v’nishma”— we will do and we will listen. To be a Jew is to participate in a rich communal life, which can be related to religious practice or simply by a shared history. This aspect is deeply important. As every teenager knows, a life focused inward leads only to angst, anxiety, and frustration. By contrast, the Jews have adopted two maxims: “it is not good for a man to be alone,” says the Torah; “Do not separate yourself from the community,” warns Pirkei Avot. People do not exist in a vacuum — our lives are mutually entangled. Judaism asks that we recognize the ties that bind. It attempts to answer the question “how should people behave with each other and work towards something greater?” and not “how might I achieve personal redemption and salvation?” My minyan — despite my occasional lackluster performance — has influenced me strongly in this regard. As the melodies leave our throats, and the floor shakes from song, we look to one another. Most of the time, we do not mutter. Nor do we stand silently, our hands clasped. And rarely do we find ourselves in a meditative yoga pose. We pray not only to God, but to each other. Do I think all this because of an extensive brainwashing process courtesy of your local Jewish day school? That’s entirely possible. But for now, I have answers. That’s all. I’m off to Chipotle.



Ariel Sharon z”l Students mourn the loss of Israel’s 11th Prime Minister

photo courtesy of the Israel Free Image Project via Creative Commons

Sharon (center) as a boy growing up in Palestine.

by markreichel reporter

Every day during the week of Jan. 13, CESJDS students walked into school and noticed a memorial stand commemorating the life of Ariel Sharon, a prominent military and political figure in the history of the State of Israel, who died on Jan. 11. For some it was a surprise, for others yet another reminder of the death of a great leader. In January 2006 Sharon suffered a coma-inducing stroke which abruptly ended his political campaign for the Kadima party. He remained in the coma for eight years until he died this month. Hebrew Department Chair Yaffa Dagony does not think that his death will have any direct effect on the political landscape in Israel because Sharon had been incapacitated for so long. “He really passed away recent-

photo courtesy of Jim Wallace via Creative Commons

photo courtesy of Tamar Yardeni via Creative Commons

Sharon as a young man during his service in the IDF.

ly but he actually passed away eight years ago,” Dagony said. She remembers him fondly and vividly by his reputation as the tough guardian of Israel, which earned him the nickname “the Bulldozer.” “[Sharon] had a very strong conviction that he needed to protect the security of Israel,” Dagony said. “That was his mission and his goal.” According to Jewish History Department Chair Aileen Goldstein, Sharon’s life “mirrors the history of the development of Israel, particularly the military establishment.” “Ariel Sharon was one of the leaders of Israel who was born in pre-state Palestine,” Goldstein said. “... He participated actively in every war from 1948 to 1982, [mostly] in military capacities but also later in political capacities. He served as Defense Minister twice. He served as Prime Minister. He was responsi-

ble for the withdrawal [from Gaza].” But Sharon’s career was not without controversy. In 1982 — when Sharon was Defense Minister — Israeli soldiers failed to prevent the massacre of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians by a Lebanese-Christian militia in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. An investigation found that Sharon was “indirectly responsible.” Teachers were left to decide the extent to which they would speak about Sharon in class and most had to decide which aspect of his legacy to focus on. “I think that it is incredibly important that we look at multiple perspectives but also that we’re doing it in the context of community,” Goldstein said. “Even though Sharon was a controversial figure, he deserves to be respected because he was the leader of our people and was a leader of our state. Many [U.S. presidents] were not beloved but

Sharon delivering a speech as Prime Minister of Israel.

when they pass away, we pause as a nation to recognize what they gave and who they were.” Although no assembly was held and no mention was made in the announcements for Kehillah, Psalm 23 was recited on the PA system and was followed by a moment of silence. “The moment of silence was definitely good and the tehillim was a very nice touch,” senior Ben Shemony said. “[There is] not much else to say or do. Sometimes silence is the best way to pay respect.” The memorial stand at the entrance of the school was a compilation of pictures and an obituary published by The New York Times. The headline of the obituary read, “Ariel Sharon, Israeli Hawk Who Sought Peace on His Terms, Dies at 85.”

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NUCLEAR FACILITIES WERE DISCOVERED IN IRAN. THE IRANIAN C u r r e n c y h a s a n a n n u a l i n f l a t i o n r a t e o f 4 0 p e r c e n t a n d s i n c e 2 0 11 i t d r o p s 6 0 p e r c e n t o f i t s



With the recent signing of an interim deal between world powers and Iran over the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons, the world now holds its collective breath to see if diplomacy has paid off. After weeks of talks in Geneva, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany completed an interim nuclear agreement that went into effect on Jan. 20. The deal will begin dismantling economic sanctions that have crippled the country’s economy and have lead to unchecked inflation in Iran. According to The Washington Post, “the current Iranian year is proving to be the most economically trying one since Iran’s eightyear war with Iraq ended in 1988

... [with] unemployment at 12.4 percent.” Iran’s current economic developments have done nothing but plummet in the last year according to Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen. “[Iran’s] economy contracted last year by more than 5 percent and it is on pace to contract again this year,” Cohen wrote in The Wall Street Journal. “Its annual inflation rate now stands at about 40 percent Iran’s currency, the rial, has lost around 60 percent of its value against the dollar since 2011.” In Oct. 2013, a report published by Roubini Global Economics and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies estimated that “the Iranian government has unencumbered access to only $20 billion.” However, with the sanctions relaxing, experts are worried that the

United States will not put enough pressure on Iran to cause any real change to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. As the Foundation for Defense of Democracy’s Mark Dubowitz told Congress in Nov. 2013, “if the United States allowed sanctionable activities to occur without consequence, the floodgates could open. “Companies that had chosen to cease activity in Iran rather than risk U.S. actions would re-enter the Iranian energy, shipping, and financial sectors. This would yield a massive financial windfall for Iran,” Dubowitz said. Foreign investors are already looking to take opportunities to invest in Iran. According to the Foreign Policy Initiative, executives from France’s energy giants are meeting in Tehran, signaling a new round of interest in Iranian oil and gas reserves.

Dubowitz estimates the deal’s sanctions relief could yield Iran as much as $20 billion or more — roughly a quarter of what they currently have in reserves. The Israeli government is frustrated with the United States over the deal and has expressed concern that the deal gives too much leeway to Iran in return for too little resolution. A recent Israeli news report suggested that American officials “have conceded over the past few days in conversations with colleagues in Israel that the value of the economic sanctions relief to Iran could be much higher than originally thought in Washington. In any case, it’s about 20 or 25 billion dollars. Even the Americans understand this.” Iran’s June 2013 elections resulted in the election of Hassan Rouhani, who is considered by

some to be the best man to lead Iran out of their current economic issues. “I believe that Rouhani’s foreign policy outreach can definitely impact economic programs in positive ways,” economic analyst Seyed Hossein Ghasemi said to The Washington Post. However, The Washington Post argues that conservatives within Iran have been more active in recent weeks saying that “conservatives feel emboldened to reaffirm an ideology increasingly at odds with the policy of international engagement favored by Rouhani and his administration.” With the final pieces of the deal being put in place, only time will tell whether the decision to cut a deal with Iran was a success or simply a diversion.



INSENSITIVITY PREJUDICE Ignorance Diversity and racism in the CESJDS community

by carolsilber reporter

The conversation began in school and boiled over on Facebook. On Dec. 5, 2013, senior Hannah Halpern wrote a letter to CESJDS administrators about racial insensitivity that she observed in the JDS community. She then posted the letter on Facebook, leading to an intense and controversial discussion both in school and over cyberspace about race. The Facebook post garnered over 100 comments. In the letter, Halpern wrote that one of the main racial issues at JDS is students’ uses of racial slurs. “I have noted that the students who partake [in the use of these words] are mainly males, in specific white males -- the most privileged one can get,” Halpern wrote. Halpern said she has heard JDS students make jokes or comments invoking racial stereotypes that they would hesitate to make if they were in a different setting. “Someone of color would be like, ‘You can’t say that word,’

or ‘You can’t say that or this, because it offends me,’” Halpern said. In a more diverse setting, she continued, “someone is there to call them out on what they’re saying.” Senior Claire Mendelson explored racial issues during her participation in Operation Understanding D.C., an educational program for Jewish and black teens consisting of workshops, activities and a summer trip to New York and the Deep South. The goal of the program is to promote racial understanding and societal change. Mendelson credits the program with increasing her sensitivity to racial slurs, particularly one directed towards blacks. “It’s a word filled with hate,” Mendelson said. “It was used first by white slave owners to make less of the black slaves that they owned and they would use that word as an insult. It’s sort of disgusting that anyone would want to use it.” Mendelson said she has heard this word used in many environments, including the JDS community. Though she does not label the JDS community as “racist,” she does feel that JDS

students should be more aware of racial issues. Mendelson said that because they attend a mostly white school, JDS students have an obligation to “get out there and know the real world.” “It’s not intentional racism that’s a problem at our school,” Mendelson said. “It’s a lack of exposure.”

Dean of Students Roslyn Landy says that JDS has made efforts to raise awareness among students about racial issues. “We bring in OUDC to run a program with the freshmen about diversity, but I think we could do more in terms of education about language,” Landy wrote in an email. Junior Joel Halpern has learned

“[JDS students] don’t need to be schooled out of their racism, they need to be schooled out of their ignorance.” -senior Cole Aronson Senior Cole Aronson said that, given JDS students’ lack of exposure to racial minorities, the school should educate its students so they do not make unintentionally offensive comments. He publicly protested Halpern’s claim that JDS students are racist. “[JDS students] don’t need to be schooled out of their racism, they need to be schooled out of their ignorance,” Aronson said.

to be more cautious about making racially insensitive comments when interacting with his more diverse out-of-school friends. “I’m more careful around my soccer friends … primarily because there is much less diversity at our school [than there is on my soccer team],” Joel said. “[At school] we all come from Jewish backgrounds and are mostly Caucasian, so we worry less about people taking offense to

racial comments.” Alumna Naomi Eyob (‘12), whose parents are Ethiopian, said she occasionally felt excluded and uncomfortable during her time at JDS because of classmates’ racially insensitive comments. “They were in an environment where they [felt] like they could say anything they want,” Eyob said. Eyob currently attends the University of Maryland. She said she has experienced more racial tolerance there than she did at JDS. “People [at the University of Maryland] just think about what they say before they say it, rather than at JDS where people just say things and they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s fine,’” Eyob said. Eyob said that students should never say anything racist, even if their intent is not to be offensive. “[The mentality] should be that ‘Overall, as a person, I don’t want to say this, no matter who I’m around,’” Eyob said. Sophomore Mayan Beroukhim, whose parents are both Persian, has also experienced insensitivity. Beroukhim says that her classmates


have used stereotypes to tease her about her ethnicity. “Most Persians are known for being very hairy,” Beroukhim said. “A lot of people I know joke around and make fun of me because of that.” Beroukhim, however, does not let these comments offend her. “I am proud of my background and I am also proud of the stereotypes that come with it, even the bad ones,” Beroukhim said. “I like being different and I choose to wave off the hurtful comments that I recieve because I know that it’s not worth it to get upset about them.” Sophomore Liat Bregman, who is half Taiwanese, said that like Beroukhim, she has never felt out of place at JDS. “I’ve been at JDS my whole life and I’m used to being [of] a different ethnicity than everyone else,” Bregman said. “I’ve never gotten racist comments or anything that people have said that would offend me. Even though it’s a small environment and Asians are the minority, I’ve never felt misplaced.” Bregman thinks that her experience regarding race at a public school would be similar to her current experience at JDS. “I’ve shadowed Wootton High School before and there were many Asians and [students of] other ethnicities,” Bregman said. “I feel like they wouldn’t be treated with offensive racial comments because there’s a numerous amount of them.” Junior Annie Mendelson attended Westland Middle School until she switched to JDS in eighth grade. She said that at her more diverse public school, there was less racial sensitivity. “For the most part, the African-Americans tended to stick together,” Mendelson said. “There were many

times when African-American students would refer to [me and my friends] as ‘white girls,’ but I never said anything back.” In her letter, Hannah Halpern made no mention of students of other races. She wrote, “I hope this issue brings to light the racism that exists within JDS due to the homogeneous student body and

careless with their language without considering the ramifications of their word choice.” Aronson noted a distinction between “racism” and the true meaning behind racially insensitive comments made by JDS students. “Racism in America used to mean supporting [the] Jim Crow [laws] … and believing blacks to be

“Even though it’s a small environment and Asians are the minority, I’ve never felt misplaced.” -sophomore Liat Bregman faculty.” In contrast with Halpern’s statement, Landy said that she has never personally witnessed or experienced racism at JDS. She pointed out that she believes the “racist” remarks made by JDS students do not have a hateful intention. “I don’t believe that our students are racist,” Landy wrote in an email. “I believe they are

an undesirable other,” Aronson said. “I have never encountered a person at JDS who believes that.” Aronson noted the





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importance of distinguishing between racism and ignorance. “You devalue the label of ‘racism’ when you classify things that are the result of ignorance, rather than hostility, as racist,” Aronson said. “It’s important to be able to charge someone with bigotry, provided they are a bigot rather than simply an ignoramus.”




According to the National Sleep Foundation... Teens need about


hours of sleep per night

Driving while sleep deprived is just as dangerous as driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent


states have already pushed back their start times

A recent poll found that 60 percent of children under the age of 18 complained of being tired during the day, according to their parents


school districts are considering delaying their start times

The poll also found that 15 percent of children under the age of 18 said they fell asleep at school during the year Sleep patterns indicate it is natural for teenagers to not be able to fall asleep before

11 pm

One study found that only 15 percent of teenagers report sleeping at least 8.5 hours on school nights

Too tired to read this article? Sorry, no solution here. Following an intensive study done by the 2013 Bell Times Work Group, Dr. Joshua Starr, Superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools, has suggested delaying start and end times in public high schools by 50 minutes. by margalitzimand reporter

The 2013 Bell Times Work Group is a group of MCPS parents, students and staff members. Starr called on group members to study bell schedules in other school districts, to collect data regarding student, parent and teacher desires, and to analyze the options for MCPS. As discussions of a shift in MCPS policy begin, questions arise as to how JDS will respond. Dean of Students Roslyn Landy thinks the proposal is “absolutely a wonderful” idea. “Young children get up early, and they’re bright-eyed and bushytailed, and adolescents cannot get out of bed,” Landy said. Nurse Margarita Payne confirms Landy’s claim.

“On a daily basis I see kids who are suffering from lack of sleep,” Payne said. “It makes it hard for them to perform in school, it has effects on their ability to concentrate, [and] it can have effects on anxiety. They’re sleepy during class, so they’re not learning.” This is accentuated by the fact that teenagers have a natural tendency to go to sleep late. “During puberty, [it is] difficult for you to fall asleep before 11 o’clock, just because of hormonal changes,” Payne said. “Yet you still need eight to nine hours of sleep a night between the ages of 14 and 18 years old. So, if you delayed the start time, rather than having to be in at 8 o’clock in the morning, which only gives you 6 or 7 hours of sleep, [students could] sleep in longer and hopefully get more sleep and perform better in school.” That being said, some students still do not believe that delaying start and end times would affect the amount of sleep they get. “If the school day [were] longer, I would be getting home later which would mean staying up later to finish homework,” freshman Talia Horowitz said. “Although delaying start times would allow me to sleep later, it would not actually be helping me get more sleep.” The Bell Times Work Group found that although delayed start times corresponded with delayed end times, the change increased the amount of sleep students received. A 2002 study done in Minneapolis Public Schools found that MPS students slept an average of 46 minutes longer than did students in a neighboring school district with

earlier start times. Despite this, Landy believes that delaying start and end times at JDS is not a realistic option, due to the fact that JDS already ends considerably later than public schools. Junior Drew Hein appreciates the time that JDS ends, given the dual curriculum. “One thing about JDS that’s nice is that it ends late but it doesn’t end too late, compared to a school like Hebrew Academy ... that ends [at 5:30] for the high school,” he said. “I know a lot of kids that switched to JDS because they disliked that.” JDS went through a similar process to the one MCPS is currently going through, which resulted in the current bell times. “We used to go to school until 4:30,” Landy said. “In the [1980s], we changed the schedule so that we were finished at 3:30 every day, which worked much better for our population. Many of our students have activities after school like MSI [a recreational soccer league] or dance or music lessons. They could not participate in many of these activities if we went until 4:30.” While delaying start and end times may have several benefits, it is likely that JDS will remain the way it is for the time being. “Where things are now, everyone’s adjusted and used to it,” Hein said. “If the start time was delayed and the end time wasn’t delayed, I think people would be happy ... but I don’t think that’s a very realistic adjustment. So I think it’s more realistic to keep things the way they are.”



30 years later: How JDS has changed since 1984 Imagine reading “1984” by George Orwell in 1984. Although the English curriculum differed from what it is today, classics from the current curriculum such as Brave New World, the Miracle Worker, and the Crucible were all read 30 years ago. English teacher Annette Lakein, who has been working at JDS since 1980 weighs in on why

You think you have it bad? Imagine if every day were a D day. Instead of a block schedule, students had to attend all nine classes in one day. “We spent a full year investigating various types of schedules and the faculty research group recommended that we move to the block schedule in 2000, when [the middle school and high school] moved into the new building,” Landy said.

the English reading curriculum has changed over the years. “The reason things are changing has to do both with what our student needs are and also with trying to create a breadth and depth of literature and narrative that will give our students the type of background and experiences that are useful,” Lakein said. “... We changed away from American Lit when History changed their curriculum. American Lit became too difficult, to be quite honest, and [some of the problem was students] did not have the background from History.” Lakein highlighted the changes made to the senior curriculum. “Grade 12 was interesting. ... It was more British literature. We did Hamlet, which I miss terribly,” she said. “We made the changes for many reasons but the main reason was to alleviate stress,” she said. “With only six courses each day, students did not have homework in nine courses each night ... In addition, classes are longer in the block schedule (an hour versus 37 minutes), so that teachers are able to accomplish more.” Sophomore Bronya Lechtman appreciates the variety provided by the block schedule. “I like having a change up,” Lechtman said. “I don’t want the same thing every single day.” The CESJDS Cheerleading Squad, 1983-1984, poses for a yearbook photo.

Halftime went just a little differently.

Once, JDS had a cheerleading squad responsible for conducting school pep-rallies and promoting overall school spirit and sportsmanship. High school students were eligible to try out for the cheerleading squad and once on the team these students were expected to be leaders at school athletic events.

“The cheerleading team was not very different from the current dance team,” Landy said. “The cheerleaders had uniforms and pom-poms and did more cheering and less dancing.” Senior Ayal Subar enjoys the concept of official cheerleaders at sports events. “I used to be a really big fan of the retro JDS cheerleaders, so

of course [I would support that idea],” Subar said. “If they sported the vests just as well, I’d totally be down for that. When I come home from college for the Hebrew Academy game, I would come [to see them].” But not everyone is a fan. Freshman and dance team member Avital Krifcher appreciates the transition the school has made

Dimensions yearbook file photo

from the cheerleading squad to the dance team. “If JDS had a cheerleading team, I wouldn’t be on it,” Krifcher said. “I like dance team because we actually get to dance hip-hop and other styles, and cheerleading is more pom-poms.” compiled by Hannah Nechin and Alysse Weinberg



Album of the Year

This award goes to the main artist, featured artist(s), producer(s), engineer, mixer and mastering engineer. This award is the most prestigious Grammy.

CESJDS’s Grammy Ballot The Grammy is an award given by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, an organization of musicians, producers, audio engineers, and other recorded music professionals, to recognize outstanding musical achievement.

46% 30%




51% The Lion’s Tale did a survey of JDS students to determine who they thought should win at the Grammys, which aired Jan. 26, 2014. The survey asked voters to identify who they thought should win out of the five nominees in seven categories: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Duo/Group Performance, and Best Pop Vocal Album. For a full list of survey results, go to

24% 7%



Song of the Year This award goes to the songwriters and is judged on quality of music and lyrics.

Photos provided by Wikipedia, Billboard, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and the National Post via Creative Commons

Daft Punk

Macklemore + Ryan Lewis

Justin Timberlake Taylor Swift

Sara Bareilles


Bruno Mars


Katy Perry


Kendrick Lamar



The Lorde of our generation

17-year-old Lorde has become music industry royalty and the voice of 21st century teenage life by eitansnyder entertainment editor

The Grammy Awards, like any awards show, can feel very distant. Celebrities coming together to celebrate each other’s artistic successes and popularity can seem a bit narcissistic. The Grammys take place at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles wach year, while CESJDS is on the opposite side of the country. However, this year the Grammys get a little bit closer to home, because one of the night’s top nominees is right around our age. Lorde, born Ella Yelich-O’Connor, is a four-time nominee at this year’s Grammy awards, which was broadcast on Jan. 26,

has never been done before. This kind of description rings a bell in a school like JDS, where students debate Israeli settlement policy in class and then talk about who is taking whom to Prom after the bell rings. Most adults think that the generation that Lorde belongs to is narcissistic and addicted to technology, but really, current high schoolers have grown up with the Internet, an almost infinite information source at our constant disposal. Though teenagers do not have the emotional or physical maturity of adults, they still are plenty knowledgeable and have incredible analytical skills. Though there are other stars around Lorde’s age, none of them

“I think that the way that [Lorde] uses her experiences being an adolescent in her songs and in her lyrics makes her music very relatable to people my age.” -junior Sarah Hirsch 2014 at 8 p.m. She is nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album for her album “Pure Heroine,” as well as for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance for the album’s first hit single, “Royals.” “Royals” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, meaning it has sold over four million copies. Lorde also happens to be a 17-year-old high school student. In an October 2013 profile of the singer, Rolling Stone reporter Jonah Weiner writes that Lorde “is the sort of teen you forget is a teen.” She loves reading fiction by authors like Raymond Carver and Kurt Vonnegut, and has been universally praised as a songwriter for taking a mature, analytical look at suburban adolescent life in a way that

articulate what it is like to be a teenager in this day and age quite like Lorde. Miley Cyrus grew up in front of the camera, so her teenage years were not typical of most teenagers’. Taylor Swift talks about subjects that resonate with a lot of teenagers in her songs like budding romances and heartbreak, but these are timeless adolescent experiences. These artists not specifically describe what it is like to be a 21st century teen, whereas Lorde does so all over her album. The album consists of songs that talk specifically about what it is like to grow up in the suburbs in the digital age. No other artist gives people a true inside look at what it is like to be a teenager in this day and age quite like Lorde. Junior Sarah Hirsch thinks that the

greatest thing about Lorde is how self-assured she is as an artist at such a young age. “For her to emerge with such a distinct voice, that in every song you hear from her, you can recognize her voice even if you don’t quite know her music,” Hirsch said. “I think it is a great accomplishment for someone coming into the music business so young to be able to make that apparent in her first album.”


In Hirsch’s opinion, part of Lorde’s success can be attributed to her unique sound. Senior Ayal Subar, who has studied audio engineering, said that the sound of mystery and intrigue that captures peoples’ attention on “Royals” is the result of a reverb effect the producers added to the song. “They probably sent all of the drums through an auxiliary channel strip, which means that they set the electrical signals from the drumset and also probably the voice parts to a specific reverb, so it sounds like they’re all in the same room,” Subar said. “That room is big, it’s like a hall or something, and it gives it that air of mystery and makes it seem like she’s onstage.” Lorde’s story is not one of the successes of Photo courtesy of Kirk Stauffer via Creative Commons an extraordinary teen, but rather of On the other hand, senior Sara Kresloff the potential of all teens. rejects the idea that Lorde is unique. “I think that the way that she uses her “I just feel like everyone is always experiences being an adolescent in her talking about how she stands up for the songs and in her lyrics makes her music weird kids and she’s weird and she’s not very relatable to people my age,” Hirsch like any other celebrities, but I look at her said. “But I think that just seeing how and she’s exactly like every other celebrity,” successful she can be at such a young age is Kresloff said. “She’s beautiful, she’s really really empowering for people.” talented, she’s suddenly famous. She’s not standing up for weird people just because she looks weird. She doesn’t look weird at

The rise of the Lorde: Timeline of Lorde’s success Lorde gets discovered after singing in and winning her school talent show. She gets signed to Universal and begins writing her own songs.


Lorde releases her first EP, “The Love Club,” on SoundCloud. The EP features her future hit single, “Royals.”

Nov. 2012

“Royals” hits No. 1 on Billboard’s Alternative chart, becoming the first solo woman to top the chart Lorde makes her US television debut on “Late Night with Jimmy since Tracy Bonham in 1996, Fallon,” singing “Royals.” before Lorde was born.

Aug. 24, 2013

Oct. 1 2013

“Royals” hits No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, becoming her first No. 1 hit and making her the first New Zealand act to hit No. 1 on the chart as a lead artist.

Lorde is nominated for four awards at the Grammy Nominations Concert. She is nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, and Best Pop Vocal Album.

Oct. 2, 2013 Dec. 6, 2013



Alumnus starts sports humor blog “Cespedes Family Barbeque” attracts attention from NBC and MLB team by robbiebelson reporter

Ditching conventional baseball commentary and analysis for quirky humor, alumnus Jake Mintz’s (‘13) blog “Cespedes Family Barbecue” has taken an alternative approach to online sports journalism. Mintz, along with his longtime friend Jordan Shusterman, has created a popular sports blog that entertains thousands of baseball fanatics. Mintz, a baseball player himself, has always enjoyed mixing sports and humor. “Growing up with the game since you were little, you pick up on the little things, and those little things can help you play it, but also write about it and make

jokes about it,” Mintz said. On Nov. 15, 2012, Mintz’s passion for baseball humor led to the creation of his blog. “Two summers ago my friend Jordan and I just started talking about baseball a lot. ... We figured we were having these

Oakland Athletics. “Céspedes is shown roasting a pig over an open fire with his family in the background,” Mintz said. “The video is well known across the Internet world as being the most absurd twenty minutes you could imagine.”

Mintz said. “We realized when we started this that there are hundreds of other people on the Internet who get paid to write for baseball, so there was no reason for us to post any legitimate analysis. … We [wanted to] entertain in a way that other people weren’t entertaining.” Mintz posts to the blog three to four times a week. His posts consist of photoshopped jokes and animated photos called GIFs. Within the past year, “Cespedes Family Barbecue” has gone viral, attracting more viewers than Mintz ever thought possible. This viewership has given him publicity nationwide. “As we’ve gained traction, we’ve sort of become part of this online baseball online lexicon,” Mintz said. “We’ve started to make friends with writers, with

“Baseball is an industry that takes itself too seriously sometimes, so we wanted to focus on the lighter aspects.” -Jake Mintz (‘13) conversations anyways, so we might as well write [them] down,” Mintz said. The name of the blog, “Cespedes Family Barbecue,” is a reference to a video of All Star outfielder Yoenis Céspedes of the

This type of absurdity and humor is exactly what Mintz’s website brings to viewers. “Baseball is an industry that takes itself too seriously sometimes, so we wanted to focus on the lighter aspects,”

Junior skates in National Championships by brianschonfeld sports editor

At just 17 years old, junior Gabriela Morrell-Zucker competed at the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 10 and 11. The best figure skaters from across the United States came to the TD Garden arena in Boston, Mass. to see who would compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics. Morrell-Zucker and her partner Andrejs Sitiks qualified for the event after placing in the top four at the Eastern Sectional Championships. “It was a really great thing to hear because last year we didn’t qualify so this year was kind of like first time together at this big event,” Morrell-Zucker said. “It was a big step for us as a couple.”

Morrell-Zucker left on Jan. 8 for Massachusetts to prepare for her and her partner’s performance. Before performing, Morrell-Zucker had multiple practice sessions. Apprehensive and excited, Morrell-Zucker took to the ice to skate in front of thousands of fans. “The first time [performing] was really overwhelming because the stadium was completely full,” Morrell-Zucker said. “Having our name up on the megatron, I was so nervous. I was smiling the whole time; I wasn’t even focused,” MorrellZucker said. The next day Morrell-Zucker and Sitiks returned to the ice with a revitalized sense of confidence to showcase one of their best performances together.

“We scored our highest score of the season,” MorrellZucker said. “It was really successful. I felt very confident throughout the whole program and getting off I was smiling. It was great. My coaches were proud of us. It was a really good experience.” Looking back at her performances, Morrell-Zucker has learned where she needs to improve. “[The first performance was] more peppy but the judges (when they were commenting on our program) said we looked better doing our second program which was to Coldplay,” MorrellZucker said. “It was slower, more slow pace a little more romantic type and they said we looked better doing that.” Morrell-Zucker was grateful to be skating with some of the

world’s most elite figure skaters. “Just being with these world champions and Olympic medalist, it’s overwhelming but a good experience to know that I’m at the same level as them knowing that in several years, if I work hard enough, I can be where they are,” Morrell-Zucker said. Morrell-Zucker and her partner intend to improve in the off-season by working on new tricks and lifts so that they can return in June for a successful season. She hopes to return to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. “I hope my technical elements and scores go up so that we can get an overall higher component score and hopefully place better next year,” MorrellZucker said.

players, with scouts. I can call the lead baseball writer for NBC.” The blog’s twitter account has also become quite popular, to the point where the Los Angeles Dodger’s follow Mintz’s and Shusterman’s tweets. Mintz was pleasantly surprised by this occurrence. “As we continue to do this we hope that it gets bigger and bigger,” Mintz said. “We don’t know what this will become but we’re just happy we’re doing it now.” Realizing that several JDS students currently write for sports blogs of their own, Mintz had some advice to offer to newer bloggers. “The one thing that people told me was write as much as you can, the only way to become a better writer is to write. It’s hard initially to break that boundary ... but the only way to get better is to write,” Mintz said.

view more on Scan the code or type the link below to view the latest edition of Mr. Smolin’s workout tips



Students and teachers reflect on JDS-Hebrew Academy Rivalry

by evankravitz sports editor

Walking down the Cardo primed and focused, the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy Cougars marched to the gym, ready to take on the CESJDS Lions. With fans chanting Hebrew songs and holding large signs, the two teams took to the court to engage in a rivalry between the only two Jewish schools in their league. Today, the Hebrew Academy-JDS rivalry article attracts many students to games and brings excitement to the community. “Our school always has great theme weeks and makes the coming days before the [rivalry games] so fun,” junior Jordan Block said. The Hebrew Academy-JDS rivalry is well established. JDS and Hebrew Academy were founded in 1966 and 1944, respectively, providing ample time for the rivalry to grow. Alumnus Daniel Abramowitz (‘82), who played basketball at JDS from 1979-1981, remembers the rivalry with the Cougars. “There was no bigger rivalry than the one with Hebrew Academy,” Abramowitz wrote in an email. “We always had a big crowd when we played Hebrew Academy and the energy in the room would reach a whole other level.” Some believe the rivalry is due to the geographic placement of two Jewish schools who play in the PVAC; students foster support for either JDS or Hebrew Academy depending on which school they attend and live near. Athletic Director Michael Riley believes that the rivalry comes as a result of the frequency with which the school interact. “I think that anytime you have two schools that are in the same conference and where the kids know each other pretty well, there is usually a good rivalry,” Riley said. Regardless of the exact source

of the rivalry, boys varsity basketball player senior Noah Soumekhian enjoys the rivalry and believes that it affects his team’s gameplay. “[The Boys Varsity Basketball team] definitely has another element in our games against Hebrew Academy, as we just feel like with the environment we are in there are higher expectations,” Soumekhian said. “We have more of an adrenaline rush with the overwhelming attendance so we just go out and play our game.” Both the varsity boys and girls basketball teams defeated Hebrew Academy at home this season. The Lions look to sweep the series in their final matchups against the Cougars of the regular season on Feb. 1 at Hebrew Academy. Last year, the Boys Varsity Baseball team routed the Cougars in a 12-1 victory while the Boys Varsity Volleyball split their two-game series with Hebrew Academy. Other sports find it harder to garner as much attention when it comes to the rivalry. Junior Aaron Handelman, who plays Boys Varsity Soccer, notices smaller attendance for JDS-Hebrew Academy soccer games compared to the basketball games. Furthermore, JDS only has pep-rallies for upcoming varsity basketball games against Hebrew Academy. Some students at Hebrew Academy are also cognizant of this trend. “Basketball games are virtually the only occurrences that spawn strong feelings of rivalry,” said Amir Wertheimer, a junior at Hebrew Academy and a former student of JDS. The attention the rivalry does attract some concerns from

students. “Now [the rivalry] just feels artificially inflated so we can pretend we have real sports teams with real rivals,” senior Ethan Steinberg said. “Most of us don’t know anyone on the Hebrew Academy teams or even at the school, so I feel like most of the rivalry is created just for the sake of having a rivalry.” Despite some skepticism surrounding the rivalry, many students believe it is healthy even with the amount of attention and excitement it brings. “I don’t think people get that competitive at our school. [A game against Hebrew Academy] is more a game to look forward to and get spirited,” junior varsity girls basketball and soccer player Sophie Kader said. “Nobody gets super upset if someone loses - it’s just a fun experience.” Soumekhian agrees, adding that the rivalry does not negatively affect gameplay.

“On the court there is no smack talking and mostly pretty clean, gritty basketball,” he said. While Steinberg believes that the two schools do not see much interaction, other JDS students have close ties with Hebrew Academy. In their opinions, this connection leads to clean play. “I went to Hebrew Academy for all of my life until high school,” said junior Lauren Spiegelman, who plays varsity basketball. “I grew up with the players on the opposing team. I still keep in contact with most of the players on the team and have great friendships with them.” Soumekhian agrees, adding that their Jewish backgrounds and common interests help students at JDS and Hebrew Academy forge strong friendships. For Wertheimer, the Jewish backgrounds of the schools serve as a barrier that fuel the rivalry. “This rivalry is unique because it’s based on ridiculous

opinions of whose form of Judaism is better,” Wetheimer wrote. At the end of the day, many people are supportive of the rivalry despite some of its negative qualities. “We won some and lost some, but all these years later, it is the Hebrew Academy games that I still remember,” Abramowitz wrote. Over 30 years later, Block agrees with Abramowitz in that the rivalry brings much enjoyment. “The JDS-Hebrew academy rivalry is one of the best parts about being at JDS,” Block said. “These [athletic] events truly show the spirit and culture of JDS.”

LT file photo

Freshman Bryan Knapp shoots a free throw during the Dec. 3, 2013 game again MJBHA. The boys team won the game 64-34, while the girls varsity basketball team won their game that evening with a score of 42-24.



Mythbusters senior year edition* *Spoiler alert: It’s not as great as you think.

myth myth myth myth

“While there have been more demanding expectations from teachers ... school itself has been more fun than ever.” —senior Eitan Armon


“I expected a lot of down time. Low expectations from teachers, not a lot of homework, plenty of time to hang out with friends. A smooth, easy ride.”

“My expectations were bad. I have older siblings so I thought I knew what I was getting into. It was a little bit [harder than I expected]. I didn’t expect college applications to take so long.” —senior Eli Friedland


“I expected it to be a little bit tough with college applications for like the first two months, but then I expected it to go very smoothly, to be very easy, like the last few months of school.”

“It’s fine but just different than I expected ... You still need to put in effort. I think it’s so ingrained in our minds to do well that you still try to work hard, so you’re not just gonna slack off.” —senior Sydney Greene


“[I expected senior year to be] probably less work. I knew that college apps were going to be a lot of work so I thought there was going to be less school work.”

“It sucks. To be more specific the workload is much more than expected and the school didn’t accommodate college essays adequately. We had one essay writing day but were given a ton of homework due the next day.” —senior Rebecca Panitch


“[I expected senior year to be] mainly fun and easy. My sister had a pretty stress-free time and she is a very stressed person so I expected the same.”

... but there is so much work and college apps and on top of that I have a job so it’s hard to balance, but there isn’t standardized testing which [took] up a lot of time and I seem to be friends with more people I wasn’t in the past, everyone is branching out to different ‘cliques’.” —senior Maya Goldstein


“Every senior said senior year is so much fun and really easy...


compiled by Emma Hofman

Volume 31 Issue 4  
Volume 31 Issue 4  

Volume 31 Issue 4 of The Lion's Tale