l ion’s tale
see page 4
HOMELESS WALK: A GREAT SUCCESS
Volume 26 • Issue 3 December 8, 2008 • 11 Kislev 5769
see page 12
HOCKEY’S STRONG START
Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School • 11710 Hunters Lane • Rockville, Maryland • 20852
Reality check: indecent photos A picture’s worth a thousand regrets by Sam Greenberg and Danny Schwaber “It’s a way for people to have fun … you can get attention from it,” said junior Sydney Liss of inappropriate photos students share electronically. These photos range from pictures of students drinking or smoking to photos of students scantily clad or without clothing. Whether it’s through Facebook, e-mails, mobile picture messages or even videos, students share pictures of themselves they later regret having taken. Many students know that inappropriate photos can cause problems with college admission officers or employers, and some succeed in ensuring that those individuals never see inappropriate photos. However, there is one group students have yet to outsmart: their peers. Fellow students can also make people regret sharing inappropriate pictures. “It’s become a way for girls to judge each other,” senior Laura Hecht said. “I’m sure they regret it once people see things and it’s out there; they can’t really change it,” Liss said specifically regarding naked photos of students. Even once photos are taken off the Web they can be saved and e-mailed around to others. However, multiple students interviewed, including Liss, felt that there is less social judgment of photos involving drinking
See PICTURES, page 6
Teacher harassment incidents addressed by Valerie Cohen and David Goldstein During the past month, the administration responded to two teacher harassment incidents that were brought to its attention recently. At the end of last year, middle school students made a hate group against a teacher on Facebook. “A few different people within the school received an e-mail from a person outside the school community, alerting us to the existence of a public Facebook group, whose purpose was to spread inappropriate speech regarding a member
of the JDS faculty,” Director of Judaic Studies Michael Kay said. These students received an “inschool suspension with a learning component,” according to Middle School Director Joan Vander Walde. Kay said the school will have to grapple with questions related to appropriate use of social networking programs. “There needs to be a way to educate toward appropriate and safe social networking uses. We are working on the educational component right now,” Vander Walde said. “The administration doesn’t look into students’ Facebook accounts to get students into trouble. We do it because
EARTH, WIND AND FIRE Senior Cassie Maxwell examines a test tube containing her DNA during a lab in her Genetics II class. Students prepared their DNA to be sent off to the Cold Spring Harbor Lab for sequencing. Results will reveal students’ ancestral lines and to which races they are connected. There have been various other hands-on science activities throughout the year, including making Winogradsky columns and using dry ice to change the pH of solutions.
For more on science activities, see page 3
we care about students and want to help to make certain that they make good decisions and don’t put themselves into a difficult situation that could come back to haunt them,” Dean of Students Roslyn Landy said. “I would like students to understand that there are channels for them to go to within the school. They don’t need to vent, insult and harass people. There are people here who will listen to them,” Vander Walde said. In the second incident, certain students made derogatory comments about one teacher to another teacher. These students also received suspensions and a reflective writing assignment.
NETA’s effectiveness questioned by David Steinberg There is a question almost every student has confronted at some point: Does NETA actually work? Many wonder whether students learn more or forget more Hebrew in the Upper School. Despite its success on a national and international level, the NETA Hebrew curriculum’s effectiveness at JDS is questionable. In a recent survey, an overwhelming majority of students expressed frustration with NETA. In addition, seventh grade students and juniors scored similarly on the objective part of an identical Hebrew test administered to both groups, while juniors scored higher on the writing portion. In the past eight years, NETA has grown from 13 schools to more than 100 worldwide. A 2005-2007 study by the Henrietta Szold Institute showed that students who use the NETA program are progressing from year to year, whereas less than 50 percent of students at those schools improved their Hebrew between seventh and 12th grade before NETA was used. However, a majority of JDS students express
see HEBREW, page 10
Survey Do you feel that NETA helps or hurts the broader Hebrew curriculum at JDS?
21% Helps 79% Hurts photo by Danielle Levy
survey of 258 high school students
December 8, 2008
Daniel Pearl remembered through music day by Joshua Boxerman On Oct. 17, the JDS community celebrated Daniel Pearl World Music Day. The day was held in commemoration of Daniel Pearl, the Jewish journalist and musician who was killed by Muslim fundamentalists while reporting in Pakistan. Director of Student Life Victoria Rothenberg and music teacher Charles Ostle, who organized the program, exposed students to various types of music over the course of the day. “[Daniel Pearl] was a great appreciator of music, and we tried to incorporate music into every aspect of the day,” Ostle said. “I think we did that very successfully. I’m looking forward to being able to put together a day like that next year.”
photo by Hannah Elovitz
HERE COMES TREBLE Eighth-graders, from left, Corey Hirsch, Matti Ben Lev and Ariel Lanes perform “Sunshine of your Love” by Cream in music class.
“We tried to fill the day with lovely music. We began the day with a performance by some sophomores in the front hall, we replaced all the bells with music,” Rothenberg said. Other events included performances by the eighth grade band and a Jewish bluegrass band. Ostle brought in professional musicians to work with students in the music classes. “They’re friends of mine from the D.C. area … all professional D.C. area musicians,” Ostle said. The bluegrass band, called the Zion Mountain Boys, entertained students in the cafeteria during both lunches. The leader of the band, Robbie Zev Ludwick, who attended JDS from 1975-77, was excited to participate in the day’s events. “What merit, what zchut, is what we call it in Hebrew, for his memory … to hear global peace,” he said about the day. “How can you bring all these people together, in all these different countries? This is what a special person Daniel must have been.” “I thought it was very nice to incorporate music into JDS life because it’s often left out of the curriculum,” sophomore Tamar Bardin said. Some students felt they were given no context for the events of the day. “I think there should have been an assembly because everyone lost the meaning of the day when no one told them what it was about,” sophomore Galit Krifcher said. “I was kind of disappointed with Daniel Pearl Music Day because we usually have an assembly that exhibits a lot of the musical talent in our school, and I think that that’s something that’s really important,” junior Madeline Moss said. “We didn’t have that this year, so it was kind of a let down. A lot of people didn’t even know that it was Daniel
photo by Sara Marcus
JAMMIN’ Students gather to hear sophomore Jake Romm play saxophone with his band in the morning. Pearl Music Day,” Moss said. Others thought that, along with the music, there should have been more emphasis on Pearl himself. “To me it seemed just like an excuse to play music and it didn’t really seem much like we were learning anything, or a tribute to Daniel Pearl,” said sophomore Yehudah Abraham, one of the morning performers. “It just felt like the fact that there was a random band playing during lunch, it just felt like background music. They should have done a little more to connect with the students,” Abraham said. “I absolutely think that more students are aware of Daniel’s life and work because of the day. I think that we added music to everybody’s day, so I think it was successful,” Rothenberg said.
Connell’s War and Civilization class visits Gettysburg by Leah Pedoeim On Oct. 30, seniors in History teacher Michael Connell’s War and Civilization class visited the Civil War battleground in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The trip, which has taken place every year since the History elective was first offered to seniors four years ago, is planned in accordance with the end of the Civil War unit. “I’m glad that Mr. Connell decided to take us on this trip to actually see the battleground so we could really put a picture to what we were learning in class,” senior Michal Abraham said. The trip coincides with students’ comple-
tion of the novel The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, which provides an in-depth account of the battle of Gettysburg. “It works out pretty well because the students have finished reading Killer Angels, and I try to gear the tour to have the guide focus on what happened during Killer Angels so the students can see the actual grounds where the battles occurred,” Connell said. Students spent part of the day at the visitor’s center looking at artifacts and replicas from the war and then took a tour of the various battlefields and landmarks in the area. Senior Ethan Oser thought the trip was a great way to further explore the material taught in class.
“Nobody in our class has actually been in the army or been involved in warfare, and I think it was really cool to be able to get out there and experience it first-hand using all your senses like touching, feeling, and seeing,” Oser said. Connell noted that students had responded well to the trip in previous years. “Feedback from the students has been overwhelmingly positive. They really like the fact that they read this book first and then they go out and see the terrain, so they get a really deep appreciation of this battle in detail,” Connell said. Abraham felt that the trip gave her a better overall understanding of what she had learned and read in class.
Brother speaks about ethics
photos by Shira Singlenberg
TURNING IN A BROTHER On Nov. 1, David Kaczynski, right, brother of “the Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski, spoke to Jewish Text, Thought and Practice teacher Matthew Lipman’s Ethical Dilemmas class. Left, freshman Ofer Kimchi listens intently to Kaczynski. “I like to tell the story. It has a lot to provoke thought about ethics and mental illness. It stimulates thought,” Kaczynski said.
“With any history class, I think going to museums or seeing where different events took place, if at all applicable, and being able to immerse yourself in the times, really helps the students get a better understanding of what actually happened in history,” Abraham said. Connell started the class and has taught it every year it has been offered. “I have a background in the military and I’ve always liked military history. I know one of the things that a lot of my students asked me when I was teaching World History is about details of wars or battles, so I thought the class would be of interest and it did get a good response over time,” Connell said.
Eighth-graders learn to give by Samantha Bressman On Oct. 30, Nov. 21 and Dec. 2, the eighth grade had the first three of a series of meetings for its B’nei Mitzvah Projects. In the first meeting, representatives from Jewish Youth Philanthropy Institute spoke to students about how Jewish values connect to their projects. Students were then broken up into groups of 10, and each group was given $1,000 to donate. The groups will meet throughout the year to decide where they wish to donate the money. Throughout the grade’s bar mitzvah season, the school lets families make contributions to the B’nei Mitzvah fund in lieu of buying others gifts. Last year, families of students in the grade had the option of purchasing sets of Judaic books that they would receive from the school at their bar/bat mitzvah celebrations. After the gifts were bought, the fund had $10,000 left to be given to charity in this year’s project.
“Looking into different organizations will give us a feel of the different situations of the people in our society,” eighth-grader Shira Becker said. “We should be known as a school that cares about the world as a whole.” Eighth-grader Yaly Levy is excited to get together with her group to find the perfect cause. “Once we find a great organization or charity group, we [will] really make change,” Levy said. “It’s nice to have all this money to donate and put to good use,” eighthgrader Sylvia Jacobson said. “It held a lot of meaning for me. In the long run we’ll really be helping out the community,” eighth-grader Eli Berman said. “I think it’s really cool that we all get to work together to give our money to organizations that we feel strongly about as a grade,” eighth-grader Molly Schneider said. Additional reporting by David Friedland
December 8, 2008
Real life science
Club period makes a comeback by Adam Weinberger
by David Goldstein Since the school year started, students have embarked on many different hands-on learning activities in their science classes, such as extracting their own DNA, making Winogradsky columns, making an alloy of brass and using dry ice to change the pH of solutions. On Oct. 16, seniors in Genetics II performed a lab to reveal their ancestral line. Students extracted their mitochondrial DNA and sent it away to the Cold Spring Harbor Lab to be analyzed. Genetics teacher Kimberly Agzigian explained the results that the lab could produce. “For example, if we were to take Barack Obama’s mitochondrial DNA, we would see a descent from Northern Europe because Barack Obama’s mother was Caucasian. But if we were to take Barack’s daughter, Sasha, we would see an African descent because Michelle Obama’s DNA is from African descent,” Agzigian said. The procedure of the lab required students to first take a swab of cheek cells. Afterwards, students extracted their DNA and placed it in a thermocycler machine, which made millions of copies of the DNA. The lab will sequence the DNA for free and will allow students to compare the number of nucleotides that they share in common with different ancestries. The seventh grade also participated in a hands-on learning activity by creating Winogradsky columns, which host thousands of microorganisms inside a miniature world. In order to make the Winogradsky columns, the seventh-graders mixed mud from a ditch, ground chalk for calcium, epsom salt for sulfur and crumpled newspaper for carbon. They then placed the ingredients in the glass jar and topped it off with three quarters of an inch of water. After putting black paper on the bottom of the glass, the students started to notice changes. Some changes that the students observed were changes in color and the disappearance of certain bacteria colonies. “Each kid has their own Winogradsky column and [each kid] could observe changes in them. The purpose was to allow the students to see how different types of organisms grow in different mini ecological niches. At the top [of the Winogradsky column], two centimeters down, in the dark, and in the light,” Science Department Chair Nick Miller said. In the sophomore chemistry classes, students learned about alloys, combinations of two metals, by making their own alloy of brass in order to observe changes in color. To make an alloy of brass, students coated and then heated a copper penny with zinc. The finished alloy of brass looked very similar to gold. In addition, the sophomores experimented with dry ice to change the pH of a solution and then measured the acidity in the particular solutions. To top everything off, sophomore students also participated in a lab called ‘Chef’s Demo.’ For the lab, students created an exothermic calcium oxide reaction, which released a large amount of heat. Students used the heat given off by the reaction to enjoy a lab-cooked omelet.
Club periods returned to JDS for a second year on Oct. 27. In a change from last year, students had to sign up for clubs online in advance and were then assigned to clubs for each semester. Students who wished to change their club in the first few weeks filled out club add-drop forms. Teachers take attendance at clubs and students must have passes to leave a club, to go to a study hall or meet with a teacher. Only juniors and seniors, who are allowed to leave school during club period, did not have to sign up for clubs. “Before [we had club period], many students had meetings every lunch period. This also allows students to try activities they may not have had an opportunity to do before,” Director of Upper School Admissions Robin Shapiro said. The new sign-up and attendance policies are aimed at ensuring that students go to their assigned club. “It is difficult for the administration to constantly patrol the halls to make sure that students photo by Emily Hamburger are where they belong,” Dean of Students Roslyn PLEASE DON’T STOP THE MUSIC Seventh gradLandy said. ers Rachel Sniffen, left, and Rachel Skulnik dance the “Club period has in the past been a little bit cha- Turkish Kiss in the Israeli Dance Club. otic, in terms of students who don’t choose to participate or don’t want to participate and roam the the positives outweight the negatives,” Jewish Text, halls and feel that it’s kind of a willy-nilly time period Thought and Practice teacher Etan Weiss said. where they can [do] whatever they want .... But I think Still, many people think club period has been successful in that it gives a chance for students to do work, meet with teachers, pursue other interests or just relax. “We get to do homework or work with other people on projects if we need to. We have extra time to relax from all the stress and school. And we get a chance to see our friends at the end of the day, which is nice,” sophomore Hannah Cohen said. “It’s definitely nice because at the end of the day, it’s not so stressful, you have time to do whatever you want,” junior Ashley Silver said. Senior Yonah Lieberman said that he likes that “you can have meetings with clubs …. And it’s also nice because sometimes I go home, and sometimes it’s nice for you to go home if you feel like just getting out of school.” “I think the clubs are very successful. There are issues and always some challenges but I think most students enjoy the photo by Emily Hamburger STIR IT UP Eighth-graders Ofri Avieli, left, and Maayan Aniti time and that it is meeting the goals we stir their concoctions in Cooking Club. Club period gives stu- had for it,” Landy said. dents an opportunity to try new activities.
Learning lessons of tolerance Student leaders attend a Shabbaton by David Weinberg On Nov. 5, the seventh grade participated in the annual Living with Disabilities program, run by Educational Support Services Director Susan Zuckerman. The program supplements the English curriculum in which the seventhgraders read The Miracle Worker, a play about Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan. Former Camp JCC Director Sara Milner showed the entire grade a video about the special needs inclusion program at Camp JCC and discussed experiences that various students have had with people who have disabilities. Zuckerman and other volunteers shared experiences that involved someone they knew with a disability. After, students split up into small groups and met with people who have disabilities. Because they were in smaller groups, the students were able to talk to the guests and ask them questions.
Speakers included senior Matthew Grossman, who is hearing-impaired as a result of treatment for a brain tumor; Leslie Foxman, mother of sixth-grader Celia and eighth-grader Benjamin, who is a finger spelling and sign language interpreter for hearing and visually impaired people; Adam Lloyd (’87), who was paralyzed in a diving accident and now teaches at the University of Maryland; Jeffrey Reibman, a clinical social worker and musician who lost his vision as a teenager; and Lauren Raffel Rothstein (’02), who has a progressive hearing impairment. “It was pretty good,” seventhgrader Jeffrey Blackman said. “Jeffrey Reibman, it was pretty interesting talking to him and listening to what he does every day, how he goes through life.” “I thought it was great that they came here because I think that they really put our lives [in] perspective and I think that having a disability made them stronger … it’s inspirational,” seventh-grader Ilana Berger said.
by Adam Weinberger Twenty high school students attended the annual Leadership Shabbaton on Oct. 31 at Capital Camps. The shabbaton was organized by Director of Student Life Victoria Rothenberg and Director of Judaic Studies Michael Kay. “The High School Leadership Shabbaton is an opportunity for student leaders to spend Shabbat together and relax and enjoy themselves, and also to think about envisioning change for the school … and developing skills to help make those changes come to life,” said Rothenberg. According to Kay, the students invited to the Leadership Shabbaton “either are involved in formal leadership positions in the school, or take leadership positions in their minyanim, or in other ways demonstrate leadership in school.” The students participated in exercises and discussions about topics such as team-building, goal making, brainstorming changes for the school and working through conflicts. “One activity was basically to prioritize a list. We are on this boat that’s sinking and we have to get out of it and we’re only carrying 15 things with us,” sophomore Yehudah Abraham said. “So you make a prioritized list .... The whole idea was
working together in groups and seeing who steps up.” “I learned that some people have different views than I do and that some people just really don’t know what to do when they are trapped on a little boat in the ocean,” senior Amir Fogel said. Originally, only freshmen through juniors were invited. However, not enough students signed up, so Kay and Rothenberg decided to extend the invitation to seniors a week before the Shabbaton. “[Initially] we had a very limited number of people that we had invited and we didn’t want seniors who were about to graduate and go to Israel. In the end we did have a small number [sign up], and we were able to invite seniors who were interested in coming and acting as mentors,” Rothenberg said. “At first I was really worried because there weren’t so many people going, but because of the small group we were all able to get really close to each other,” sophomore Miriam Duffy said. “I decided to go on it because it was an amazing time last [year] and it was fun,” Fogel said. “It was a better experience for me because I actually got to interact and meet new people and it wasn’t just me hanging out with a group of my own friends,” Abraham said.
December 8, 2008
SADD promotes safety during Red Ribbon Week by Jonathan Waksman During the week of Oct. 27-31, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) held the annual Red Ribbon Week, the national campaign against alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Throughout the week, SADD members handed out different items as students entered school in the morning. The items included red ribbons, stickers that said ‘I elect to be drug free,’ Twizzlers that said ‘Don’t let drugs twist your mind’ on the wrapper and pencils with different anti-drug messages. They set up a display about celebrities who died or changed their lives as a result of destructive decisions, and posted facts about drugs and alcohol and pictures of teenagers who recently died from drug or alcohol abuse on lockers. “I actually think it was [successful],” SADD Co-President senior Tal Carmel said. “We had people coming up and asking us, ‘What are you people handing out today?’ or ‘We read the fliers.’” Students had a range of opinions about the week. “I don’t think it was enough to influence a lot of people, because it just didn’t seem very big and out loud,” freshman Alon Balf said.
“Any organization would technically help; it’s just a matter of how they do stuff and how they are run,” seventhgrader Judah Drelich said. “It definitely got the message out. To see kids with Twizzlers or red ribbons on them certainly caught everyone’s attention and got the message out,” sophomore Noah Berman said. “The purpose was to mislead us and give us way more hyped situations about potential and harmful things that should be avoided in large proportions,” junior Daniel Kolender said. “I think that the purpose [of Red Ribbon Week] was to educate JDS students about what’s wrong with drug and alcohol use and what bad consequences it can have on your health, and how … we sometimes look up to celebrities [who] make the wrong choices, and we should not emulate them,” seventh-grader Cole Aronson said. Students had differing opinions about the school’s general drug and alcohol education programming. “I think that the education should be more on a need-toknow basis. We should be educated about things that we might do, not just the whole general thing. We should be educated about only the things that pertain to us,” Aronson said. “I feel that the various assemblies and physical educa-
tion do help with drug and alcohol use, but it is definitely up to students to educate themselves further if they want to remain drug and alcohol free,” Berman said. “I think that it is pretty effective. Compared to other schools that I have been to, people at JDS are pretty mature,” junior Maya Felman said. additional reporting by David Goldstein
photo by Carolyn Weinstein
GET INFORMED Senior Emily Hamburger hands out SADD pencils to seventh-graders Noam Drory, left, and Rotem Drory during Red Ribbon Week.
newsbriefs compiled by Joshua Boxerman, Valerie Cohen, Caroline Mendelsohn and Hallie Silvermetz
Facebook access at school Exercise can benefit others Administrators recently decided to unblock Facebook from school computers after accepting that students regularly accessed Facebook despite measures to block it. Students had mixed opinions on unblocking Facebook. “[Adminstrators] shouldn’t have blocked [Facebook] at all. They don’t really have a right to,” junior Sharon Kimel said.
“I don’t think it’s good because I already spend all of my free time on Facebook,” sophomore Ilia Esrig said. “I only got Facebook to contact people whose emails I don’t have. It won’t be any more of a distraction as it has been. Students can find any way to waste time on a laptop, it won’t be any different,” senior Elliot Dine said.
Alumnus injured fighting fire On Nov. 7, Joel Rogozinski (’03), a member of the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department, returned home from the Washington Hospital Center Burn Center. Rogozinski was severely injured in a fire early in the morning on Oct. 2. He fell through a collapsed floor into a basement minutes after the fire left the area. He was able to escape, but he suffered severe
burns on his arms and legs. “There’s not a lot of time to think, so you basically just fall through and you’re looking for different ways [to escape],” Rogozinski said. After 36 days in the hospital, four skin grafts, and 11 blood transfusions, Rogozinski is expected to make a full recovery in about a year.
On Nov. 3 during middle and high school lunches, students participated in the annual Walk for the Homeless, and raised just over $2,000 for Emory Beacon of Light, a homeless shelter connected to the Emory United Methodist Church. While donations ranged from $5-$100,
the suggested national donation was $15 for youth ages 25 and under and $25 for adults. Fannie Mae matched the money raised during the walk. The community service club HaDa’Sh organized the walk for the second year in a row.
Lakein receives MSPA award On Oct. 31, English teacher Annette Lakein was named Journalism Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Scholastic Press Association (MSPA). Lakein was recognized for her work as the adviser for Collage, the middle school literary magazine. Freshman Daniel Liss nominated Lakein for the award. “I, frankly, was shocked and humbled and pleased. It was nice,” Lakein said. “I feel strongly that in accepting this,
I also have to acknowledge all the help and support I have received from the advisers of the other publications at the Day School. We have amazing advisers here, so we’re very gracious in their mentoring,” Lakein said. Lakein attended an MSPA conference, which included a day of workshops and a keynote speaker about television journalism. At the closing ceremony, Lakein gave a speech about her method of teaching.
France takes over for a week The election comes home JDS held activities for the seventh annual National French Week from Nov. 10-20. The Romance Language Department coordinates National French Week every year to promote the school’s French program. During those days, French students participated in various activities. On Nov. 10, eighth grade French students cooked French food, and the senior class did the same on Nov. 20. Food Services Manager Erick Gilbert also incorporated French-inspired food into the menu at the cafeteria. On Nov. 14, the Middle School had its annual waiter races, during which students run while carrying glasses of fake champagne. The High School waiter races were on Nov. 17. Students found the waiter race to be the highlight of the week. “[The waiter race] was a lot of fun except only four people showed up. My team won it,” seventh-grader Hannah Iskow said. “The waiter race was very fun and very competitive,” junior Maya Felman said. The week was originally scheduled for Nov. 5-11, which coincides with National French Week, but had to be postponed be-
cause Romance Language Department Chair June Graff was unexpectedly out of school. “We [did] the same activities that we normally do for French Week, but I [did] them in classes … so nobody has lost their opportunity,” Graff said.
photo by Arielle Fradkin
BALANCE CHECK Seventh-graders Nitzan Scharf, left, and Hannah Iskow test their waiter skills during National French Week in the annual Waiter Races.
While millions of Americans voted in the presidential election on Nov. 4, Upper School students had the chance to cast their ballots in a mock presidential election on Oct. 24. As a culmination of the election speaker series for Upper School students, the mock election was a way for students to express their political views and simulate a real election. Though only students were eligible to vote in this election, History Department Chair Carleton Cunningham explained that they may expand the election program to teachers and faculty in the upcoming election years. Students voted online, using individual ID numbers to log into a section of the JDS website. The ballot, solely presidential, gave the students a choice between the two frontrunner candidates, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama. The mock election served other purposes as well. The Jewish Week used the mock election as a means of comparison to other schools to determine how local Jew-
ish schools leaned in the election. The results, though not very close, demonstrated varying opinions within the student demographics. Obama won with 75 percent of the vote in the High School and 77 percent in the Middle School. Students had mixed reactions to the simulation. “Voting in a mock election, or any election, is important since it helps you get a better feel of what political environment you are in. Everyone should vote,” seventh-grader Kobi Fodor said. Senior Eitan Chemerinski did not vote in the mock election at JDS because he said that people use it in place of genuine contributions to feel like they played their role in the election. “I believe that the mock election is detrimental to the democratic process. I would go so far as to say that this mock election was an inconsequential proxy for true political activism,” Chemerinski said. The goal of program that took place over the last few months was to “make this election cycle more meaningful and exciting for our students,” Cunningham said.
December 8, 2008
newsbriefs compiled by Neville Brodie, Hannah Elovitz, Nathan Forman, Isaac Nelson, Hallie Silvermetz and Adam Weinberger
Talking Jewish politics Seniors join the circus In early November, the Election Speaker series culminated with visits from Reva Price, advisor to the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, on Nov. 3 and Ron Kampeas, Washington Bureau Chief for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), on Nov. 5. Price spoke to juniors and eighth-graders, and Kampeas spoke to students in the Jews in the News courses for juniors. Price advises Nancy Pelosi on issues such as the environment, but specifically deals with Jewish related issues. She spoke about the importance of the Jewish vote in the upcoming election, Jews in politics and the topics about which she advises Pelosi. “While we had many speakers during the election series, she was the only one who came from a Jewish perspective and could address issues about the Jewish vote in the election,” Jewish History teacher Cynthia Peterman said. “I wasn’t too engaged in her speech. I thought it was good, I thought it was informative, [but] I thought compared to our other speakers it wasn’t too engaging,” junior Zachary Roth said. “I think her job is important, and she could have made it more important in the
eyes of students,” Roth said. “She really didn’t talk about what it meant for a Jew to be in politics. Some of her speech seemed more of defense of Nancy Pelosi and her actions,” junior Jonathan Iskow said. The JTA, for which Kampeas works, is the wire service for Jewish news nationwide and internationally. Kampeas spoke about how both candidates fared in the elections and how statements by the candidates have been used and taken out of context. He also spoke about Obama’s decision to choose Rahm Emmanuel as chief of staff. “I thought he did a wonderful job. He has an insider’s view, so he was able to share views and information that we would not otherwise have access to,” said Peterman. “Having Mr. Kampeas come in was really good because he helped us understand the Jewish voting during the election. He came into our class after we found out the results of the election, and it was really interesting that he was able to explain to us how Jews voted and why Obama won,” junior Alon Krifcher said.
AIPAC Summit is a hit On Nov. 9-11, 12 students attended the annual AIPAC High School Summit Conference at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C. Four of the students participated as part of the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO), and the rest participated with JDS. “As soon as we got there, we literally went straight to meetings,” said senior Amir Fogel. The purpose of the meetings was to prepare the participants to lobby for their representatives. After the meetings, they went out to lobby, putting what they had learned into practice. Students came from all over the world to participate in the conference. Each participant met with his or her own representatives to lobby. “There were kids from everywhere, even California. A few kids even came from Israel for the convention,” said senior Yaniv Hoffman. The conference culminated with Israeli hip-hop band Hadag Nachash performing a live concert for the AIPAC participants. Juniors Talia Evans, Zachary Roth, Maya Shair, Joshua Walfish, and seniors Raviv Brooks, Hannah Elovitz, Amir Fogel
and Hoffman attended with chaperone and Jewish History teacher Aileen Goldstein. Although JDS had eight representatives, sophomores Carmi Bardash, Ilia Esrig, Danielle Novick and junior Jordan Kovalsky chose to go with BBYO. “Going with BBYO was a better opportunity for me to branch out and gain more knowledge because of the amount of preparation that was done, and the follow up,” said Esrig. Students had to write an essay to attend. The essay could be either about why the U.S.-Israel relationship is important to Israel, the U.S. and American Jews, or about what the students hoped to learn from the conference and how they would bring that knowledge to JDS. “I didn’t even know it was a possibility to go with JDS,” said Kovalsky. At first, only juniors were invited to attend AIPAC, but seniors were invited to participate one week before the conference. Students are planning to take what they learned and teach it to fellow students. “We learned how to lobby and we actually did that so now we are going to start an Israel club and lobby even more,” said Hoffman.
JSA accumulates awards Thirty-four students attended the semiannual Junior Statesmen of America conference on Nov. 14-16 in Cherry Hill, NJ. Students heard from different speakers, including the mayor of Philadelphia, and had the opportunity to debate issues. Five students were awarded Best Speaker and one student was awarded Best Moderator. Sophomore Joshua Dalva was one of the students to win Best Speaker. “[It] was good. [I] was able to convey what I was trying to say,” Dalva said. Students enjoyed the opportunities presented by the JSA conference. “It was really fun. It’s always really fun to stay in a hotel with all of your friends
and go to all these debates. You hear what’s going on in the world right now, and you get to talk about your opinion about what’s going on,” senior Inbar Scharf said. “It was very interesting. It was really fun to get into these great discussions and to meet other people and to learn about different viewpoints that I might not have heard before,” freshman Daniel Neuberg said. “I saw it as an open forum and I just joined in and was very comfortable with the scenario,” Neuberg said. “It was really fun, and I’ll definitely be going again,” Dalva said. “I thought it was a great opportunity to meet people and learn different points of view,” junior Ezra Rudman said.
The senior class saw “Kooza,” an artistic circus performance by the Canadian entertainment group Cirque du Soleil, on Nov. 6 at the National Harbor. The show was well received by the senior class. “I thought it was ridiculous. To be able to pull off some of the stunts they did, I don’t know how they did it. The tricks that they used, the way that they … made it look like they defied physics was pretty cool,” said senior Arieh Rosenberg. “Cirque du Soleil was a lot of fun. It was a new twist on the original concept of a circus, and lots of flashing lights, definitely bright costumes, very entertaining,
a lot of cute jokes which made it a good show,” said senior Rachel Wong. “I think they [the administration] appreciate and understand that senior year at JDS is extremely stressful … that sometimes we need a break,” Wong said. “Cirque du Soleil seemed to be the show that interested the seniors the most and would be exciting for the seniors and allow them to see the spectacular show that they may not have seen before,” Director of Student Life Victoria Rothenberg said. “We’re very excited about the opportunity and we hope everyone [enjoyed] the show,” she said.
Sophomores explore NYC The sophomore class visited New York City on Nov. 12-13. The trip was designed to “allow students the opportunity to experience some of these cultural institutions in New York, [and] to allow students to bond as a grade,” Director of Student Life Victoria Rothenberg said. Students took a walking tour of Central Park, visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and saw the Broadway show “Billy Elliot.” In addition, on the second day of the trip, students chose between touring the Lower East Side, seeing the USS Intrepid, visiting the Museum of Natural History and visiting the Museum of Modern Art. “There were a lot of really cool things to do in New York … so I said ‘why choose? Let the students choose!’” Rothenberg said. “I hope that they really appreciate that opportunity [to choose] because they’re the first class that has ever had it,” she added. Students enjoyed the opportunity to be with friends and create their own New York experience.
“It was amazing … I liked the Metropolitan Museum of Art because it was really fun going around with your friends and looking at all the paintings, and the exhibits were really interesting,” sophomore Marissa Cytryn said. “We didn’t get a lot of sleep, but it was worth it,” Cytryn said. Sophomore Hannah Cohen liked “that we got to go on a tour see Central Park … and we got to do it with all our friends, and we got to pick who we room with.” Students had differing opinions about the show “Billy Elliot.” “The play was really fun. But it was a little inappropriate, it was inconsistent with our school’s morals,” Cytryn said. “The show wasn’t that good, they could’ve done better,” sophomore Solomon Shapiro said. “I liked the choice of the play because it was not relatable but had to do with children and stuff like that so that was entertaining,” Cohen said.
Coffee house with a ‘teawist’ On Nov. 3, the senior class hosted Chai Casa, a variation of a coffee house, as a fundraiser. As groups performed, cups were passed around for audience members to donate money. The performance that collected the most money will choose an organization to which the money raised will be donated. The event raised $85, which will be matched by the senior grade government. According to Senior Grade Government Vice President Raviv Brooks, 40-50 students attended. Chai Casa included 10 musical acts, rang-
ing from full bands to violin duets. Audience members and performers alike enjoyed the event. “It was very nerve-wracking, but in a good way, because music is always good,” said senior Matthew Grossman, who performed in multiple acts. “I really liked it, I thought it was interesting to see how talented the kids in our school are and each one of them really put a lot into what they were working on. Their acts were really good,” sophomore Brooke Friedman said.
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December 8, 2008
Four KINGS OF by Valerie Cohen and Sarah Freishtat Since former Upper School Principal Reuven Greenvald left the school in 2000, JDS has not had a steady principal. Current Dean of Students Roslyn Landy was interim principal from 2002 to 2007. According to Head of School Jonathan Cannon, Anthony Kandel accepted the position in 2006 and turned it down after receiving an offer closer to home. Beverly Buncher was principal last year before she resigned and moved back to Florida. Now, JDS has no principal. Instead, four administrators divvy up the principal’s job. “Unfortunately, we found out from Mrs. Buncher early in the summer; it wasn’t even late in the school year,” School Board President Danny Krifcher said. “Jonathan [Cannon] felt that we, the school, really didn’t have the ability to launch a successful search for a new principal, to have somebody in place literally in 60 days.” Cannon formed the leadership team in July, just weeks after Buncher resigned. Director of Judaic Studies Michael Kay, Landy, Academic Dean David Solomon and Middle School Director Joan Vander Walde now share the tasks of the principal. “[We could have gone] back to an interim principal,” Cannon said. “We could’ve looked—rushed a search and tried to find somebody from outside or inside.” In the end Cannon felt it wouldn’t be fair to ask Landy to step in as interim principal again. He decided to combine experienced leaders within the school community and those in new leadership roles. “Mrs. Landy and Mrs. Vander Walde are very experienced in leadership within the school, and Dr. Solomon and Mr. Kay are both people who have been in the school already stepping up to a new position,” Cannon said. “Together we just thought they would bring excitement and direction.” This situation is temporary for now, but may become permanent in the future. “I said from the beginning we were going to make a short-term decision to get the year going, and then start thinking about what the long-term plan will be,” Cannon said. “Right now, we’re still very focused on getting us off to a good start.” Yet, according to Cannon, the school has not started the search for a principal. The school without a principal Krifcher feels that the school’s high standards play a major part in the current difficulties finding a long-term a principal. “I think that we as a school have very high standards and Jonathan [Cannon] has very high standards and so any search he takes is going to be one where he is going to be rigorous in his evaluation and rigorous in the search,” Krifcher said. “[The candidate] has to have the confidence of the students, the confidence of the teachers and the leaders,” Cannon said. Other current and previous board members declined to comment.
Buncher said that the hardships with the principal position may not be unique to JDS. According to her and Cannon, there is a shortage of school administrators across the country. “I think it was a smart decision to go to a principal team,” Buncher said. “Principals are very hard to find at the high school level. It’s a very difficult job and an extremely demanding job, and there aren’t a whole lot of people interested in it, to tell you the truth, in that type of job. And I think that in a place like JDS where you have so many administrators that are able, and each
one can handle a piece of the pictu a principal team, a team of admin Landy felt that an outsider ma culture of JDS. “A new principal, someone fro lenges. Our culture is very differe a lot you have to learn,” Landy sa The school’s many demands o recent vacancy in the position. “
wo that we’ Director enberg exp “We are a la we’re demandin and we tend to that’s intimidatin
Reactions to th
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the team model “I think you some really grea a lot less guilty that the people th handle it. It wasn’ lurch, because I re they’re doing, they kn Many teachers are ex the leadership team. “It’s been a lot easier Agzigian said. “Now, you can usually acce day and get a resolu question arose.” Agzigian said th en her a better sen issues th “
illustration by Sarah Lazarus
December 8, 2008
F THE CASTLE
hat the leadership team has givnse of who to talk to for certain his year. “Last year every time that I thought I was supposed to go to Mrs. Buncher and I would say, ‘OK, I’ve got this,’ they would say ‘No,
Principal’s Office lomo
r,” science teacher Kimberly with all the division of labor, ess the person within the same ution for whatever problem or
work with one person specifically … I just thought it went back to the way it was before with Mrs. Landy as the dean.” Senior Talia Lieber has worked with the administration since she was in ninth grade planning Zimriah, graduation and other projects. She said that when she works with the new team, she only works with them as individuals, and she works with a different member of the team depending on the issue. As a member of grade government she has worked with Landy. She has worked with Kay on issues concerning minyan, and has Dr. Solomon as a teacher. “I would love to have a new principal that fits and that works, but I think that one of the problems is that JDS can be a tight-knit community, and it can be kind of hard to understand the flow and how things work and so to have a team that’s been here before and knows how things run and knows the teachers and the students, it makes everyone feel comfortable,” she said. “But I do look forward to a time when we do have a principal, I feel like that might just make things easier.” She also said that it is easier to work with the team because she feels comfortable with them and had a personal relationship with them before they became administrators. She is especially excited that Solomon is on the leadership team. Lieber feels that because he is still teaching, he “has not forgotten how to be a teacher,” despite now being a member of the administration. Looking towards the future?
According to Cannon, the school is currently not searching for a principal. “Right now I’m putting all my energies into working with this wonderful team,” Cannon said. Although the leadership team is a temporary solution, Cannon hopes to begin searching for a new principal soon. At the moment he is focusing on a smooth transition from last year to this year. Some feel that the team is a good long-term solution. “I don’t know that there’s really a necessity for an individual when there are already people who are carrying out those functions,” History Department Chair Carlton Cunningham said. “I definitely do not think that there should be a principal,” Blank said. He also thinks that the academic dean should be for both Judaic and secular studies. “I really like the way it is going as it is, I do not know how long they could sustain it,” said Jewish History teacher Grace McMillian. Others feel that in the long run there Students needs to a principal. “That’s [Cannon’s] decision. Eventually, I assume there will be a principal,” Landy said. “I get the feeling that it’s not intended by anybody really to be long-term,” Jewish History teacher Dodie Goldstein said. “But it is really effective and I have been really pleased.” The final decision about what will become of the principal’s position rests with Cannon. “Ultimately, Jonathan [Cannon] gets to decide the qualities of the person who will lead the Upper School,” Krifcher said. “From my perspective, those qualities are the qualities that would work best with Jonathan and advance the overall agenda of the school that Jonathan lays out.”
eel that the team is working betrincipal because those involved They are familiar with the stuts and unique JDS style. The administration is very positive about how the leadership team is working. “Logically it perhaps shouldn’t have worked out as well as it did,” Cannon said. “But you can speak to pretty much any student, any parent, any faculty member, and they feel that the school is being led, they know who to go to for the different things.” Buncher is optimistic about l. u’re lucky because you’ve got at people there,” she said. “I felt about leaving because I knew hat I was leaving behind could ’t like I was leaving them in a eally wasn’t. They know what now the school, they’re great.” xcited about the accessibility of
he new team
“The parents want what’s best for their kids, the teachers are trying to do their best to help the kids learn,” Buncher said of her time at JDS. “The administration—there are so many things going on and everybody in the administration has a thousand responsibilities and it’s just sort of orking together to make sure ’re all coordinated.” r of Student Life Victoria Rothpressed similar ideas. arge school, and I do think that ng. We tend to be perfectionists, ask a lot of people and maybe ng to people.”
om outside, faces a lot of chalent from other schools. There is aid. of a principal might explain the
no that’s Mrs. Landy’s job,’ ” Agzigian said. “It always seemed like everything I needed was always Mrs. Landy’s job. In that sense it didn’t really feel like from when Mrs. Landy was doing double duty to last year that there had been any change ... Dr. Solomon now seems to be the person I speak mostly with.” Math teacher Reuben Silberman also felt that Landy was responsible for most of the principal’s job. “I feel like Mrs. Landy has done more or less the same things every year that I’ve been here regardless of her title, and they are things she’s really very good at,” Silberman said. Senior Associate Israel Engagement Initiative Aileen Goldstein said that sometimes it is difficult to know which member of the team is responsible for each issue. Initially, she was not sure if the team could work until she found out who was going to be on the team. “When I heard that we were being led by a team my first thought was, ‘Oh, well that’s interesting … who’s on the team,’” she said. After finding out who was on the team, she was reassured that it could work. Jewish Text, Thought and Practice teacher Paul Blank said that now, with the new team, he can focus more on developing his own curriculum. Last year, he said, there was too much emphasis on more general educational initiatives. Students who work on grade governments also said that they still work mostly with Landy. Many felt that having a team has not made much of an impact on the school. “The leadership hasn’t made an impact in the student life so far,” sophomore class Vice President Tamar Bardin said. While all of the teachers and many parents know about the new team, a lot of students do not. “I did not know that there was a principal team,” president of the class of 2009, Yaniv Hoffman, said. “When I work through the administration I usually
ure, it’s a great solution to have nistrators.” ay have trouble fitting into the
y a K l e a h Mic ic Studies Juda f o r o t c e r Di
illustrations by Hannah Elovitz
December 8, 2008
Hebrew system not inspiring a love of language Choosing a language curriculum is no doubt a challenge, and a search for the most effective curriculum can often pose questions and inspire criticism. The Lion’s Tale editorial board believes the Upper School Hebrew program, especially the NETA system, does not effectively teach or foster an appreciation for Hebrew. The primary problem is in the NETA system, which is used to teach Hebrew to all students in grades seven through 10. The books each have very specialized vocabulary lists, and offer little instruction about grammar. Much of the literature students read as part of NETA are stories written for the books based on the books’ themes. Students are not reading contemporary or classic Israeli literature, and do not learn useful vocabulary. There would be benefits and disadvantages to having teachers write their own curriculums rather than use NETA. Teachers might spend more time preparing for classes if they wrote the curriculums. However, they might not write effec-
tive curriculums that fit into and work as part of a larger plan for Hebrew education. An effective curriculum, as Director of Judaic Studies Michael Kay says, is one in which students are comfortable speaking, reading and writing Hebrew and in which students enjoy Hebrew and feel positively about Israeli culture. Another issue facing Hebrew instruction is that students in the Upper School tend to take their Hebrew classes lightly. Perhaps this is the fault of the program, but maybe there are other reasons for their levity regarding Hebrew classes. We believe both curriculum and passion are factors in student attitude, and it prefers the elective courses offered to juniors and seniors to the required NETA courses in grades seven to 10. If students were to take the program more seriously and allow it to be the foundation for a constructive Hebrew language course in which they can learn real Hebrew, maybe NETA would not be more successful. While Kay believes NETA is effective in ac-
complishing the two goals of the Hebrew department, the Lion’s Tale editorial board believes there are problems within the school that do not allow for proper Hebrew education. It is not all up to the students, though. Students may also dislike the curriculums in the Romance Language department, but the structure of classes and stability within the department allow for strong knowledge of the language. The Romance Language department had a standing department chair for many years. It had stability, leadership, and direction. With the Hebrew department changing department chairs, students sense instability and lightness within. In order to make for a stronger Hebrew curriculum in the Upper School, the Lion’s Tale editorial board proposes that students’ attitudes change, and better programs be implemented more effectively. The editorial board hopes that in future years, students will learn as much Hebrew as they hope to in the Upper School.
I column as I see Em Recipe for teaching, learning Throughout my almost 12 and a half years at JDS, nothing sticks out in my mind more than walking into class on the first day of ninth grade to have my teacher explain that we would receive stickers for answering questions correctly. Is this really high school?, I thought to myself, fondly remembering earning stickers in third grade for finishing books. Shortly after that first class I realized that it was teachers like those who would make my learning experience memorable. Furthermore, I believe that a student’s perspective on his or her education is in complete control of the teacher. I have been fortunate enough to have several great teachers throughout my JDS career who have made the most boring things seem utterly fascinating, gotten me interested in subjects I previously did not enjoy and made me appreciate my education overall. The teacher-student relationship, in the Upper School especially, can be extremely complicated because it requires the perfect combination of authoritativeness and mutual respect.
One of the best qualities a teacher can have, especially with our school’s dual curriculum, is to understand that his or her class is not the only one the students are taking. I understand that with block scheduling teachers only have three to four hours a week to teach, which I am sure can be frustrating, but we students are still taking up to eight other classes. I once had a teacher who would actually consult with the class before scheduling a test or quiz, and once even moved a test to accommodate students. When a teacher understands the magnitude of our workload we are able to develop a deeper appreciation for his or her class. By respecting our needs, we are more prone to respect the teacher’s needs. The teachers who leave the most lasting impressions are those who are not afraid to get a little sidetracked and encourage us to express our curiosity. Some of my most memorable classes have been when teachers go off on tangents and tell the class a funny story, discuss their hobbies or take the time to look up a YouTube video.
I really think ...self-indulgence is really out As prom approaches, the senior class is grappling with whether we should cut back on some of the extras of afterprom given the current financial crisis. Might some of the money from streamers and extra iPods for raffles be better spent on those who are currently hurting from the recession? I can’t pretend that spending a lot more on after-prom wouldn’t make it more fun—but where do we draw the line? We should willingly make this relatively small sacrifice: have an enjoyable after-prom without unnecessarily wasting money. Thinking beyond prom festivities, all of us should take this as an opportunity to consider how we are living in these uncertain times. There are two types of people who are affected right now: those who were already living in poverty, and those who lived comfortable lives but now must cut back on their spending in order to stay afloat. Like the Roaring ’20s that preceded the Great Depres-
My class once broke out in hysteric laughter after a student complimented the scent of a teacher’s gum, and the teacher returned to her office to bring some for all of us to try. Although it was only exploring a new flavor of chewing gum, teachers like the aforementioned one have taught me the most, taking the time to teach about things bigger than the classroom. They teach us to challenge ourselves and not be afraid to explore the unknown. Approachability is also a fundamental quality of a good teacher. This does not mean that he or she has to be available all of the time, but that the teacher makes it known to students when he or she is available.
Additionally, it is healthy for students to be able to talk to their teachers about topics unrelated to class. It was always refreshing to have classes where the teacher would let us complain for the first 10 minutes, whether it was about homework, college, or anything else, and would then remind us that all of the things that we were stressing about were so insignificant in the grander scheme of life. Looking back on all my years of school I have come to realize that the best teachers are those who teach us not only about their respective subjects but also life lessons, whether it be responsibility, expressing curiosity and exploring, or just putting life into perspective.
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sion, we might be nearing the end of a hedonistic era in American history. At JDS, many are fortunate enough to be financially stable (yet we cannot make the mistake of assuming that nobody here is hurting financially or deciding to cut back on their spending). Those who are still doing well should adapt their spending patterns in light of all of those who are currently suffering. Spending modestly is not only an exercise in fiscal responsibility that we do for ourselves. It is also for others. Some may not be inclined to scale back their own luxuries, since they don’t really seem to hurt others. However, we must realize how when we are focused solely on ourselves, we are doing less for others. Furthermore, we should always be sensitive to those who may be affected by this situation, or are simply realizing they have to spend money more frugally. How might those who have recently lost their savings or jobs feel when others continue flaunting their riches?
I know that if we spend more money on after-prom, it could be better. However, what would each of us feel as we left, knowing that we spent thousands of dollars unnecessarily to make a few hours a little more elaborate, while this money could have helped feed someone who cannot make ends meet? I believe there is more fulfillment in knowing we helped those in need, while still having a party that lets us all have fun together. We should consider this not only in tough times. This recession has let the media highlight the tough times Americans face, but poverty is nothing new, nor something that is likely to end with the recession. Even once it ends, we must remember to consider how our lifestyle choices impact—or fail to impact—others. Self-indulgence definitely has its perks. But when we look back at ourselves one day, we will want to know we have made a choice that takes others into consideration.
December 8, 2008 the
lion’s tale Editors-in-Chief Sam Greenberg Emily Meister Managing Editor Dafna Feith Copy Editor David Steinberg ass’t: Jonathan Waksman News Editor Hallie Silvermetz ass’t: Joshua Boxerman, David Friedland, David Goldstein, David Weinberg, Adam Weinberger Israel Editor Talia Nachbi ass’t: Neville Brodie Feature Editor Dory Fox ass’t: Danny Schwaber In-Depth Editors Valerie Cohen Sarah Freishtat ass’t: Kyle Hardgrave
Sports Editors Jeremy Lynn ass’t: Benjamin Block, Joshua Walfish Imaging Editors Hannah Elovitz, Joshua Ra’anan Web Editor Daniel Liss Reporters Samantha Bressman, Hannah Elovitz, Nathan Forman, Caroline Mendelsohn, Isaac Nelson, Leah Pedoeim
Photographers Arielle Fradkin, Hannah Goldstein, Emily Hamburger, Jake Klein, Sara Marcus, Shira Singelenberg, Carolyn Weinstein
Advertising Manager Ari Luks Joshua Tessler Business Task Force Manager Thomas Gutterman Business Task Force Jake Akman, David Ben-Ami, Ari Blask, Benjamin Block, Gabrielle Charnoff, Max Cutler, Jeremy Halpern, Kyle Hardgrave, Daniel Himmelfarb, Daniel Kolender, Sam Krosnick, Alexander Orenstein, Ezra Rudman, Yaron Steinfeld, Joshua Walfish, Jonah Weisel Faculty Adviser Samantha Gendler Adviser Emerita Susan Zuckerman
Member: Columbia Scholastic Press Association, Maryland Scholastic Press Association, National Scholastic Press Association, Quill and Scroll Recipient: CSPA Silver Crown, Gold Medalist Award; MSPA Marylander Award; Quill and Scroll George H. Gallup Award
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Published by the students of the Upper School Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School Annette M. & Theodore N. Lerner Family Upper School Campus 11710 Hunters Lane Rockville, MD 20852 phone: 301.881.1404 fax: 301.230.1986 www.lionstale.org
Letters The cost and benefit of alum’s education Dear Editor, As a recent JDS graduate, I feel that this school has prepared me very well for college life. Academically speaking, I feel that my analytical and writing skills are ahead of many of the students in my class, and I attribute that mostly to the high quality education I received here at JDS. But in one respect, JDS has failed me. The biggest change from high school to college for me has been the culture shock that’s hit me as I discovered that not everyone on earth is rich, white and Jewish. While I obviously knew that this statement wasn’t true, I had never actually been in an environment where this was the case for an extended period of time. Introducing diversity to our community would greatly benefit JDS and would help them prepare to live in a world outside of Rockville. One of the better ways I think of doing that would be a greater emphasis on community service projects based on other communities besides our own. As part of a service-learning require-
ment, I tutor fifth grade students from a local elementary school where many of the students come from less fortunate backgrounds. I’ve found the differences between these fifth graders and the fifth graders at JDS to be quite immense in many aspects. These experiences have changed my perspective on issues of education as I’ve gotten to see firsthand how many of the students have given up on hopes of going to college at the age of 11. It’s going to be the responsibility of my generation to fix problems like this and without proper understanding of world issues, these problems will not get solved. Let’s face it: JDS students live in a heavily sheltered world. Many of our students do not fully understand the world around them, and I feel that community service projects would go a long way in helping to fix this gap in a JDS education. Daniel Greenblatt Class of 2008
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with limited Internet access Dear Editor, I wanted to share my thoughts on “Tech: a bittersweet addition to school” by Cassie Maxwell (see Lion’s Tale 26n2). “For students with nine classes, checking every Web site every four minutes is not productive, but the fear of being penalized for not checking the Web site or your e-mail is far greater than anxiety over wasting time,” she writes. Our family’s access to the Web is probably more limited than most, though we try to be diligent about checking the Web sites. Having said that, it still seems that even with unlimited access, having to check often enough to catch all the changes for classes and for other school activities would be a tremendous burden. We have missed a number of things so far because of later additions or changes to various JDS schedules on the school website. While I do appreciate the Middle School administration’s common-sense policy that changes should not be made
between class meetings, I would like to suggest a technological improvement. In the Lower School, some of the teachers used a programmable feature that sent an FYI email whenever there was an update to the teacher’s website. There is a feature now (at least on the athletic calendar) where one can request an e-mail reminder; however, one had to know that the individual event on a particular date existed in the first place to request the reminder. So there was no way to request an e-mail covering anything changing about a particular team overall. Maybe it’s a SMOP (simple matter of programming) to set up such a feature for sports teams, or for teachers’ homework listings. That way, students like Cassie Maxwell can relax just a bit more — secure in the knowledge that when something changes, there will be a notice. Jonina Duker JDS parent
We should get to witness history Dear Editor, I circulated a petition to the Upper School students and faculty to close school on Inauguration Day. I feel the historic value of this day is too great to pass up when we are so close to Washington and can be present firsthand. I felt strongly that I would like to be there in person and recognized that a lot of other people I know feel the same. To me, the election of Barack Obama is significant not just because he is the first African-American to be elected President, but because of the breakthrough opportunities this represents to minorities and any underrepresented group here in the U.S. or around the world. It was an unlikely victory from the start and seems to have gotten just about
everyone I know interested in the election and motivated and excited to take a stand. A lot of us took the time to act in some way on behalf of Obama’s candidacy and are excited to have this moment arrive. Those who supported John McCain might also feel, as Senator McCain himself said on election night, that this is an important moment for our country. They too, may want to witness the inauguration first hand. I would like to see this unique opportunity taken up by as many of my friends and teachers who can and relive it in the days ahead. As my grandmother often said, “They’ll be smart a day later.” Alexander Orenstein junior
Dear Editor, The suspension of a number of eighthgraders by the JDS Administration sparked a very important dialogue in our community about a student’s right to privacy. I want to emphasize to the administration that there should be a line that cannot be crossed when it comes to students’ rights to privacy. Facebook and online actions are new grounds for our school system. This event vaguely outlined what exactly is “kosher” to do and to say online. I would like to put forward a few rules that the administration should take into account in order to ensure that no personal rights are infringed upon. First, I do not believe that Facebook profiles (in particular, wall-posts) should be allowed to be used as legitimate grounds for major discipline. Wall-posts — unlike groups, applications, etc. — do not show up in any Web search. So, any information gleaned from a “wall-to-wall” conversation would logically imply that there was a direct attempt to convict an individual student, using tricks in order to see the actual profile. This leads me to my overriding rule for our administration: it cannot undergo random (or select) searches of Facebook or any other online social networking site. To do this would indicate intention of going through students’ personal matters. This would sever the trust between teacher and student and would breed an environment of fear because of the ambiguities of grounds for suspension. Students would be afraid of writing on each other’s walls, not knowing what would be grounds for punishment. Teachers may become paranoid and check their students’ profiles to find “slander.” Our JDS community is based on trust. If these rules are not followed, all trust will immediately be thrown to the ground and be trampled upon. Our community cannot prosper in such a hostile atmosphere, and these simple rules will help avoid that. Yonah Lieberman senior
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December 8, 2008
NETA curriculum under scrutiny HEBREW, from page 1
write an essay about a leader, using the con- teaching suggestions and strategies. tions of Upper School courses that do not tent and the language that were [developed] “We know [that] no curriculum, no set of use NETA varied widely. dissatisfaction with NETA. In a survey tak- throughout the unit. And that’s a project books, can teach itself .... We cannot teach Non-NETA-based Hebrew electives en by 258 high school students on Friday, that we expect every teacher to run in every 15,000 students, but we can work hard to range from the I Speak Ivrit program, a Nov. 7, 81 percent believed that JDS should class, as the peak and the main achievement create a cadre of teachers who can do that,” course based on speaking and functioning not use NETA, and 42 percent said that the of this unit,” Kobliner said. Stillman said. in Hebrew, to Dilemmas, a class where stuprogram let their Hebrew deteriorate over This type of standardization in assessThe Hebrew Department has undergone dents discuss current events and read news the years. In addition, 22 percent said that ments and in the curriculum has been met a series of leadership changes in recent in Hebrew. the NETA program did not improve any of with varied responses. years. Dagony was the department chair “In the Lower School, they’d teach their Hebrew language skills such as speak“Typically, when people learn languages, until 2006, followed by Hava Lurya for the us grammar and then we’d use it a lot. In ing and writing. they don’t like to use a workbook or text- 2006-2007 school year, Esther Kalter from NETA, they just have a subject and we learn “I’m frustrated myself …. If a student book like NETA provides. However, I’ve 2007-2008 and current Director of Judaic vocab about the subject, except we don’t use says ‘I don’t like it,’ I can’t tell him ‘you do found that that works the best for me,” said Studies Michael Kay. However, students it in our everyday lives,” Gasko said. like it.’ But I still fail to see what the prob- senior Jonathan Ochs. did not express that this was one of the main “Is the NETA program appealing? No .... lem is … it’s a tool for me to teach, and I Daniel Green (’06) and many other stu- factors that caused the problems they saw However, I have found it to be better than I don’t have to use everything in the book,” dents found NETA’s volume of vocabulary with the Hebrew program at JDS. Speak Ivrit,” Ochs said. Hebrew teacher Yaffa Dagony said. problematic. “Students have a negative outlook on JDS has been using NETA since 2002. The Lion’s Tale “The Hebrew Hebrew class now that we’re using NETA, According to Dagony, the Hebrew curricuadministered a Hecurriculum that a curriculum that we don’t really agree lum at JDS before NETA was left up to the brew test to sevI experienced with. It’s not so much the teaching. I’ve had individual teachers to plan with the Hebrew enth-grade students in college was teachers that are really enthusiastic,” fresh- Department’s guidance. and juniors from much more man Tamar Gasko said. “The benefit of [NETA] is that there is a • The Lion’s Tale distributed a Hebrew the Scholars Hebased on gram“I can tell that [the teachers] try their philosophy, there is a structure, there is protest to seventh grade students and jubrew classes who mar than on hardest ... and they’re doing the best they fessional development, and there is a goal niors interested in participating. The volunteered to take vocab .... The can, but the program, I feel, in and of itself, for the program as a whole and an objectest was available for Scholars level it. Fourteen stuidea was that is flawed,” Rosenfeld said. tive for every level in a unit. The fact that Hebrew students in both grades. dents took the test. you could learn One common complaint was that He[some students] do not reach that level is a • Fourteen students volunteered and Students completed words along the brew teachers tend to stick too closely to the different story, but at least there is a target completed the test. their tests during way. And I think textbook. for people to aim to,” Dagony said. • The one hour test was taken either in club period. that it worked “When the teachers teach NETA, they One component of students’ dislike of one sitting or in two half-hour sesThe average much better than teach it directly from the book, and they NETA may be a disinclination to learn Hesions. The test was comprised of an grade on the objecm e m o r i z i n g don’t provide any extra information,” freshbrew regardless of what curriculum is used. essay and objective questions. Each tive portion of the lists of words,” man Samuel Yerushalmi said. “Apathy’s a big part of [why students dissection was graded out of 100%. test was the same Green said. Dagony and Hebrew teacher Rebeca like NETA],” sophomore Jake Romm said. • The tests were graded by or with guidfor both grades. The “Right now, Rydel said that they mold the curriculum to “People really don’t like the NETA sysance from Hebrew teachers. scores of seventhI could tell you fit their classes’ needs. tem because it does challenge them, and • The test evaluated skills including: grade students were the word for “I do not rely on the teacher’s guide solemaybe they feel like Hebrew should be a grammar, vocabulary, sentence comfairly consistent, cupboard, but ly because I want my lesson to reflect my joke class,” Stark said. position, writing and spelling. while the scores of I couldn’t give specific goals and the needs of the students, Whatever the cause, students do not feel the juniors covered you a sentence so I use it judiciously. It’s a great tool...,” prepared to use Hebrew outside of JDS. a far wider range. with that [word] Rydel said. Green said that after taking six years of On the writing section, juniors, on average, in there in modern Hebrew,” junior Adam “The program doesn’t work by itself. I Hebrew at the Upper School, his language scored 11 percent higher. Rosenfeld said. am teaching NETA classes and many, many skills were about average for his introduc“[My Hebrew] has definitely worsened “The themes were a little corny, but they electives …. And the way I am teaching tory Hebrew class. …. [NETA is] reiterating things we’ve really did help me learn the words, and most those electives is the same way I learned “You can learn Hebrew at JDS for six learned before, so we’re not learning any- of my vocabulary I learned from the NETA how to teach Hebrew as a second language, years at a time and have the vocabulary of a thing new,” sophomore Julie Carmen said. system,” senior Caryn Stark said. the same way I’m teaching my classes that three to four-year-old. But if you go to Israel Hilla Kobliner, director, and Naomi The survey revealed that among JDS stu- use NETA books… I don’t think, ‘Oh, this and stay there for two weeks, one month, Stillman, associate director of the NETA dents surveyed, 43 percent felt that NETA is NETA, and this is an elective.’ I’m a He- you’ll know so many more words. You’ll program in North America, work with JDS had helped improve their vocabulary. brew teacher, and I’m teaching Hebrew,” know how to speak so much better. Obviand other schools that use NETA. NETA also focuses on teacher training. Dagony said. ously, something can be improved,” Ochs Stillman said that one of NETA’s major The program Despite their said. How do you feel that the NETA benefits is its standardized curriculum. helps train complaints about Stark felt similarly unprepared, though “[NETA’s major contribution] has been more than 150 the NETA system, she said that non-NETA-based electives curriculum has affected your the introduction of the idea of standards and high school students have had were to blame. Hebrew? objectives, of a structured sequential cur- Hebrew mixed experi“I know for a fact that when I go to IsLet it riculum,” Stillman said. teachers each ences with other rael and I talk to Israelis in my broken Hedeteriorate The NETA curriculum is divided by summer, and JDS Hebrew cur- brew, they’ll make fun of me. I think that’s Greatly 42% textbooks. Each book is based on a differ- the lesson ricula. Many felt very disappointing that I’ve been to Jewish Improved ent subject, such as leadership, furniture or plans that most comfortable day school my entire life and I only know 13% computers. The books provide a series of ar- complement with the Lower so much Hebrew, and I’m a very interested ticles, songs, stories, poems and interviews the textbooks School’s curricu- student, I’m interested in learning more,” Somewhat about their topic, as well as relevant vocabu- contain many lum, and percep- Stark said. Improved additional reporting by David Friedland lary and assignments. 15% “[For example], towards the end [of the Which skills, if any, has the Upper leadership unit], each student will be able to
About the Hebrew test
School Hebrew program improved for you? (Circle all that apply)
Do you feel the Neta program should be used at JDS? Little Impact 31% Yes 19%
About the survey • • •
The Lion’s Tale distributed a survey to 258 high school students on Nov. 7. The questions, the responses to some of which are shown below, addressed student feelings about the Hebrew curriculum and the Neta system. Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Numbers at right add up to more than 258 since students could have circled multiple answers.
Writing 54 Reading 58
Vocab 111 Listening 53
December 8, 2008
Your digital photos: ‘O the places they will go’ PICTURES, from page 1 or smoking, “because a lot of kids are just doing the same thing,” said Liss. At the same time, she acknowledged that these pictures still carry repercussions in terms of college admissions and job applications. “People are hurting themselves with these pictures, and it’s hard to look at them the same way,” senior Elizabeth Feldman said. One major problem that arises is that digital photos can spread easily through the Internet, and often reach an unintended audience. “Even if they send it as a private e-mail, it’s going to get around. It only will come back to hurt them in the end,” Feldman said. Liss felt that at JDS, the pictures, or gossip about them, can “spread right away because someone will show someone who will show someone else.” Ironically, it is often also social pressure that compels students to take these pictures in the first place. “Whoever took the picture, they have a reason for doing it …. It could be like someone asked for them, or maybe they feel better if they took the picture, or they want that attention, like people to make positive comments on them, if people are trying to impress guys,” Liss explained. Sometimes pictures end up portraying students in a different light than intended. “Some pictures aren’t so obscene but they are things people might look back on in the future and regret,” sophomore Michael Weinberg said. “I don’t think they are thinking ahead when they take them, I think they
are just in the present.” “I am concerned that kids today tend to think that everything is a joke when in fact, oftentimes, the issues at hand are not funny,” Dean of Students Roslyn Landy said. Debra Roffman, a human sexuality educator, added, “Pop culture is telling kids all
year, Kovalsky proved just how easily accessible photos are by showing a series of inappropriate photos of JDS students that she had been able to access with a fake Facebook account. In her work, she also sees how employers and college admissions officers can access
the time that limits and boundaries don’t matter.” Debra Kovalsky, mother of eighth-grader Matthew and junior Jordan, whose company Computer Training Wheels helps teach parents and students how to use the Internet safely, knows about the effects of students’ irresponsible decisions. “The audience is much broader than you think it is,” she said. In an assembly last
photos students think are private. One instance she recalls involved a camp director who saw pictures of his staff engaging in illegal behavior at a party, and subsequently fired them. Colleges, too, sometimes use the Internet to find out more about applicants. Colleges can create groups for interested students, and through that, gain access to students’ profiles and photos.
“Some college admissions representatives, especially those who are younger and more technologically oriented, regularly check social networking sites like Facebook for information about prospective students,” Associate Director of College Counseling Katie Boin said. A survey done by Kaplan, which provides services related to college and career placement, found that one in 10 college admissions officers at top schools use social networking sites to find out more about their applicants. “If something bad does pop up, that’s a red flag for them,” Kovalsky said. Boin noted that since Facebook is a public space, “If a student wouldn’t say or do something directly in front of a college admissions representative, then he or she should not post words or pictures on Facebook.” Roffman said that exposing one’s self to others in photos can have psychological consequences. “Understanding the importance of personal limits and boundaries is just so crucial in life … when we act as if those things aren’t important, we’re not really understanding something that is vital to being a healthy and safe person,” she said. Students sometimes realize they should remove certain photos from the Internet. “There will always be some racy pictures but anything with red cups in it usually comes down,” senior Daniel Kaprow said. However, once photos get out, there is no controlling where they end up. “In a digital world, your identity is not just who you are in person, but it’s also who you’re showing yourself as online,” Kovalsky said.
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S S Jewish swimmer takes home the gold December 8, 2008
through training paid off at that moment,” he said. Although Weber-Gale became an Olympic gold medalist at age 23, he did not become serious about swimming until Garrett Weber-Gale was in complete shock. He looked he was a junior in high school. Weber-Gale broke several up at the board to see “USA” in bright lights next to the national and state records when he swam at Nicolet High number “1.” Weber-Gale was the second leg for School in Wisconsin. He then went on to achieve the team USA 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay team several swimming accolades at the University of that had just come from behind to win the gold. Texas at Austin. Prior to his gold medal win in the relay, Weber“For a long time I wanted to be a downhill skiGale also won a gold medal in the preliminaries er,” Weber-Gale said. to the games. He became one of only six AmeriFellow Jewish swimmers Jason Lezak and can Jewish male Olympic swimmers to ever win Ben Wildman-Tobriner joined Weber-Gale at this a gold medal. year’s Olympic games. “We kind of joke about Viewers of the Beijing Olympics have debeing Jewish in a good way. We joke about being scribed it as one of the most eye-dazzling Olymthe ‘Jew Crew,’ and the Jews really dominated the pics of all time. As an athlete, Weber-Gale were [short-distance swimming],” he said. just as impressed. “It was the most spectacular, Weber-Gale tries to be an active Jew. As a child, warm, exciting environment I have ever been in. he went to religious school, had a bar mitzvah and China did everything perfectly, and everyone a confirmation. “I still go to synagogue on the High loved it. Everything I ever worked for came true, Holidays, and I interact with people in the Jewish and it was the most magical thing I have ever community,” he said. “But when I was training for been a part of,” Weber-Gale said. the Olympics, it was hard to be religious because Weber-Gale was especially impressed with my life was all about the Olympics … everything the water cube, where he competed during the else was put on hold.” Olympics. “It was the best swimming venue I Despite the lack of time for religion, pride in have ever seen in my entire life. The outside of Judaism existed in the United States’ Olympic the pool is just breathtaking and it was exhilaratswim team this past summer. Maybe a new “Jew ing to compete there,” he said. Crew” will be created in 2012, when Weber-Gale photo courtesy of Blogger’s “The Year in Pictures” As for the other Olympic athletes, the weeks SOUNDS OF VICTORY Garrett Weber-Gale, left, celebrates with Michael hopes to be competing in London. leading up to the Olympics were not nearly as Phelps after their gold medal victory in the 4 x 100 freestyle relay. Weber-Gale gives a word of advice to up and glamorous. Weber-Gale’s success stemmed from coming athletes such as those at JDS. “The reason his rigorous daily training and diet. I couldn’t believe what had just happened,” he said. I kept swimming was because I excelled at it, and I loved “The most important thing about eating healthy is that I “Everything I ever wanted came true in that race, and I it. If you don’t enjoy something that you are doing, stop have a high blood pressure so I need to be able to control was just ecstatic. It felt really good to be on the awards stand and find something else to do because you are wasting your that. I try to be an extremely careful eater so that my training and see the look on my family’s faces. That was definitely time. You are not going to be any good at something that and performance will be positively affected,” he said. my favorite part of the Olympics. Every day I had gone you don’t love.”
by Jeremy Lynn
During the relay, after his second-leg swim, Weber-Gale was left to watch the last two legs of the race. “Close to the end, I was looking at Michael [Phelps] saying there was no way Jason [Lezak] would do it, but every inch he got closer to the wall, he got closer to the lead. When I saw the results,
Hockey hits the ice
photo by Jeremy Lynn
HANDS UP Sophomore Barry Shapiro defends against a Maryland School for the Deaf player in their scrimmage on Nov. 25. The boys varsity basketball team is undefeated as of time of publication.
photo by Jake Klein
CHECK US OUT Senior Adam Goodman playing on the new JDS hockey club. The club has had a strong start to its inaugural season, beating the St. Johns College High School Cadets 2-1 and the Junior Varsity Winston Churchill Bulldogs 7-3.