Shalhevet High School
Volume 1 Issue 1
August 2020 Elul 5779
How We Got Here Over four weeks in March, the world went from ‘normal’ times to Covid times. It wasn’t exactly overnight, but it felt like it. Here’s how it unfolded at Shalhevet, one Boiling Point story at a time.
Sarachek Tournament cancelled
Welcome to your first day of (online) school
Shalhevet to delay decision on reopening school until after Pesach
212 is a joint production of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 staffs of The Boiling Point Shalhevet High School 910 S Fairfax Avenue Los Angeles, California 90036 Magazine Editor-in-Chief Jacob Joseph Lefkowitz Brooks ’20 Magazine Creative Directors Sarah Feuer ‘21 Ellie Orlanski ‘21 Magazine Design Staff Zoe Miller ‘23 Tehilla Fishman ‘23 Keira Beller ‘23 Magazine Editorial Staff Sam Rubanowitz ‘20 Alex Rubel ‘20 Kate Orlanski ‘21 Liad Machmali ‘22 Benjamin Gamson ‘23 Magazine Photo Staff Maia Lefferman ‘20 Benjamin Gamson ‘23 Eli Weiss ‘23 2020-21 Editor-in-Chief Molly Litvak ‘21 Faculty Adviser Ms. Joelle Keene Cover drawing by Keira Beller
Dear Reader, None of us are the same people we were in March. The past months have been a period of incalculable tragedy and upheaval. More than 800,000 people have died, 180,000 in the U.S. alone, and that does not even begin to describe the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on families, businesses and communities around the world. At the Boiling Point, we seek to bring our readership the latest and most current information. Here, however, we are trying something new. After months of continuous coverage, we returned to the start of the pandemic and have compiled excerpts from our earliest stories into the inaugural issue of our new magazine, titled 212 for the boiling point of water. Like everything else this year, it was planned before we’d heard of the virus, and took a completely different shape. From the initial transmission of the illness into the United States to the gradual cancellation of everything we took for granted, this issue hopes to serve as a recounting of the journey each of us endured over the past months -- ending with a jump ahead into April, and the beginning of a new ‘normal.’ -- Jacob Joseph Lefkowitz Brooks, August 2020
SAR, two other day schools and Young Israel congregation closed by coronavirus case in NY By Liad Machmali, March 3
hree Jewish day schools located in the New York area — Salanter Akiba Riverdale (SAR) Academy High School, Westchester Torah Academy, and Westchester Day School — announced yesterday that they would be closed temporarily, after the state’s third case of coronavirus was confirmed in the father of a student who attends SAR High School and her brother, a male undergraduate at Yeshiva University. “School will be closed today, March 3, for precautionary measures,” said an email sent out by the SAR administration this morning at 7 a.m., New York time. In addition, Young Israel of New Rochelle — about seven miles away from Riverdale — has cancelled services for now, because the SAR father attended a bat mitzvah there two weeks ago. The homepage of the shul website says in red letters, “YINR is closed through Sunday, March 8.” Anyone present at that shul during the past two Saturdays has been advised to self-quarantine — that is, to stay home and not mix with others. Leila Haller, an SAR senior, told the Boiling Point they would most likely be at home until March 8, two weeks after the bat mitzvah and the same date Young Israel plans to reopen. According to the New York Times and other media reports, the father who has coronavirus lives in New Rochelle is in his 50s, and works as an attorney in Manhattan. He had not traveled to China, Italy, South Korea or Seattle and how he contracted the illness is not known. He has the second reported case of the coronavirus — known officially as COVID-19 — in
New York. A statement published on the Yeshiva University website states that the man’s son is currently in quarantine with the rest of the family. It said the YU campus is being disinfected, but so far not closed. “We have learned that one of the children of the Westchester attorney identified as New York’s second case of COVID-19 is an undergraduate male student at Yeshiva University,” it says. It also gave the parent’s Hebrew name — Eliezer Yitzchok ben Shifra — and urged the YU community to pray for his full recovery. Leila Haller, the SAR senior, said she woke up at 7 a.m. Tuesday to text messages from her classmates saying they were not going to have school today, due to a newly found coronavirus case in the community. Shortly after, students and parents received an email from the principal of the school, urging students and parents to “remain calm and please continue following the preventative measures.” Students were told they would not have school today or tomorrow. In the meantime, Leila said, students will be taking classes via Zoom, a website used for conferences and professional video chats. Today, Leila and her mom went grocery shopping to stock up on food, just in case the situation worsens and the family is told — or decides — to stay at home. The scariest factor, she said, is that there are many unknown facts surrounding the situation. “Nobody really knows what’s going on and that’s the scariest part,” said Leila. “We don’t know how long our lives will be impacted by this or if it’s serious. Everyone’s assuming the worst at the moment.”
Trial run for online classes By Jacob Joseph Lefkowitz Brooks and Sam Rubanowitz, March 5
chool on Monday will be held via Google Hangouts as a test for a possible future school shutdown over the coronavirus outbreak, administration announced in an email to all students, parents and faculty late this morning. Associate Head of School Rabbi David Block and Principal Mr. Daniel Weslow both signed the
email, which announced what officials are calling a “preparedness drill” as schools around the world are closing their doors to protect students from the new virus, also known as COVID-19. “In case it’s not wise for students to be in the building..., we want to make sure we have the system set up to have the most efficient learning,” Rabbi Block said in an interview. “And we have technology in the world that can help us do this, but there’s always a learning curve.”
11 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York on March 4th
Sarachek Tournament cancelled By Alex Rubel, March 4
ext week’s Red Sarachek Basketball Tournament at Yeshiva University has been cancelled due to fears of the coronavirus, Shalhevet Head of School Rabbi Ari Segal announced this morning on Schoology. The annual tournament, which hosts 20 teams from Jewish high schools around the U.S. and Canada, was supposed to take place March 12 – 16 at Yeshiva University in Manhattan.
These stories appear in full on shalhevetboilingpoint.com/coronavirus.
4 Three coronavirus cases in people returning from AIPAC; one is in Los Angeles
Los Angeles By Jacob Joseph Lefkowitz Brooks, and Benjamin Gamson, March 8
os Angeles County health officials announced today that one person from Los Angeles has tested positive for coronavirus after returning from last week’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington, D.C. — a conference which was attended by 51 students from Shalhevet. Also, Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy in Beverly Hills announced it would hold no on-campus classes at least through Thursday, March 12, because a parent of one of its students has contracted the virus “from outside LA county,” according to an email from the school. “In speaking directly with the LA County Health Department, we were advised not to be alarmed,” said the Hillel email, which was received by many Shalhevet families associated with the school. “The family members are required to be in quarantine and the parent with the virus is in isolation at home,” it stated. “The Health Department has not required us to close school, but in an abundance of caution, we have decided, effective immediately, that we will not open school.” The Boiling Point was unable to determine for certain whether the Hillel parent is the same person who the health department says contracted coronavirus — also known as COVID-19 — at AIPAC. But the health department does say an AIPAC attendee contracted the illness there. “The additional positive case in LA County is a resident who recently returned from attending the AIPAC Conference in Washington, D.C.
where there was a known exposure to a person who was positive for COVID-19,” a department statement said. Boiling Point sources who did not want to be named said that it was the same person. So did an email from Gindi Maimonides Academy, another local Jewish middle school. “We are aware that a parent of a neighboring Jewish Day School has tested positive for the Coronavirus,” said the Maimonides email. “Baruch Hashem, he is already recovering and his family has not been sick at all — nor shown any symptoms of carrying the virus…The Health Department has informed us that this community member contracted the virus at the AIPAC conference — and not before that.” Two other AIPAC attendees, both from New York, had also tested positive as of Sunday, according to the AIPAC email. The current number of coronavirus cases in Los Angeles county, according to the LA County Department of Public Health, is 14.
irehawks for Israel president Sabrina Jahan, who attended the entire conference in Washington, D.C., March 1 – 3, said Saturday evening that she had not been informed by AIPAC about the LA case. Told about it by the Boiling Point, she said she was concerned mostly for older relatives. “I am concerned for my grandparents and my great grandparents,” said Sabrina, who then cancelled an overnight visit with her grandparents because of the news. “From what I understand the virus doesn’t affect children and people our age — well the symptoms may affect them, but it isn’t necessarily deadly.”
According to the AIPAC website, a total of 18,000 people, including students, synagogue members and government officials including Vice President Mike Pence, attended the conference, which included workshops, keynote speakers and lobbying of Congress members. Most Shalhevet students and faculty who went returned Tuesday night March 3. On Wednesday, they received an email from AIPAC letting them know that attendees from New York, where there has been an outbreak at Young Israel of New Rochelle, had tested positive for coronavirus when they returned home. AIPAC’s email said its officials had been told by the DC Health Department that any exposure at the conference was considered “low-risk.” “We have been made aware that a group of Policy Conference attendees from New York was potentially in contact prior to the conference with an individual who contracted coronavirus,” said the AIPAC email, sent Mar. 4 at 2:36 p.m. Shalhevet students said there had been rumors during the conference that an infection risk was present. But with no official information or reason not to, students returned to school on Wednesday. Senior Jacqueline Englanoff was not surprised to learn about positive tests among New York AIPAC attendees. “We kind of all saw it coming because there were so many people,” Jacqueline said after returning to Los Angeles, “especially after the word about the New York people — we all kind of foresaw all this happening. “And we were just waiting for that letter to come out that it was actually true, and so it definitely made it more real though when the email came out but I guess we kinda saw it coming.”
These stories appear in full on the Boiling Point website.
5 County health officials tell Shalhevet webinar school closures are certain, timing undecided By Jacob Joseph Lefkowitz Brooks, March 11
number of COVID-19 cases
ccording to Los Angeles County public health officials who are advising Shalhevet, school will not be closing for now, and any closures will be timed to have the greatest impact on slowing the spread of the virus while not overly disrupting life for students and parents. In a live webinar for parents last night, they said that healthy students were not at risk from coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, and instead the main risk was their spreading it to their parents, grandparents and other adults. Dr. Zachary Rubin, Chief of the Healthcare Outreach Unit at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH) Acute Communicable Disease Control Program, and Dr. Julie Higashi, LADPH’s Tuberculosis Controller, addressed parents via Zoom from 8 p.m to 9 p.m., moderated by Head of School Rabbi Ari Segal who asked questions of the doctors. “What we’re trying to do with school closures is actually slow down that transmission into the community,” Dr. Rubin said. “Because studies of influenza have shown that if you actually close schools, you actually can push that spike of cases out significantly far.” Dr. Rubin spoke for the majority of the presentation, which according to Zoom was watched by 112 parents and students. Both Dr. Rubin and Dr. Higashi are also Shalhevet parents. Dr. Rubin, father of 11th-graders Akiva and Yael Rubin, said that school closures were a certainty, but that the outbreak is not extensive enough yet in Los Angeles to necessitate them. He said
“By summer these flu patients will have children were not getting sick from the illness, gotten better and gone home and hospitals will but that they were transmitting it to older people have more room,” said Dr. Rubin. “We’re already who could become very sick or lose their lives, having supply shortages with masks and gowns and so keeping children well — especially by in hospitals; we want the factories in the U.S. keeping them away from each other — would to ramp up as much as possible. In summer slow the spread of the illness to adults who were hospitals tend to empty out a lot, so we have a lot more vulnerable. “Kids sometimes don’t have the best hygiene,” more room which gives us an ability to regenerate some of the supply… Dr. Rubin said, “and they like to hang out “The goal really of this together and do all kinds of mitigation phase is not to stop things close together, and so transmission, it’s really to push the virus is fairly transmissiThe goal really of this mitiit out further.” ble in that population. gation phase is not to stop As of March 11 there are “And in lots of those cases transmission, it’s really to 28 confirmed cases and one kids don’t get that sick, or death in LA County, accordthey get very mild illness — push it out further.” ing to the LADPH website. and they kind of take it back But Dr. Rubin showed slides home and we start getting — Dr. Zach Rubin, Los Angeles that showed the disease exadult cases.” Department of Public Health panded logarithmically within population. j o i n t s t u d y by the If more Shalhevet students World Health Organizaget the virus, more adults they know are likely to tion and China’s version of the CDC, published in February, found that the fatality risk grew with get it as well. The Boiling Point has confirmed that at age. least two Shalhevet students who had fevers and “Only 965 (2.2%) were under 20 years of coughs were tested and found to be negative for age and there is just one recorded death (0.1%) coronavirus. Both attended the AIPAC convenin this age group,” said the study. “Most patients tion in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. (77.8%) were aged 30 to 69 years. Patients aged Asked by email before the webinar how over 80 years had a CFR of 14.8%.” many people had been tested at Shalhevet, Rabbi Any type of delay or prevention of the virus, Segal said that he was “not allowed to share the Dr. Rubin said — including shutting down answer.” schools — is aimed at minimizing cases until Rabbi Segal also spoke himself, breaking the there is available medical infrastructure to handle news that the Penn Model Congress and SAS them. Civil War Gettysburg trips would be cancelled Getting current influenza patients, which the later this month because of coronavirus. This CDC estimates there are 350,000 of this season, means that all of Shalhevet’s “March madness” out of the hospital would help ensure sufficient resources to treat coronavirus patients, Dr. Rubin trips have now been cancelled. said, by emptying hospital beds and by giving factories time to make more supplies.
estimated hospital capacity
You can find them at shalhevetboilingpoint.com/coronavirus.
Graphics and Page Design by Ellie Orlanski
Senior Tanach class seeks
Evan Rubel: We are vulnerable, and quarantine gives us time to consider what this means. Our world is undeniably a different place than it was just several months ago. Chaos and uncertainty plague humanity, which are proving to be, perhaps, even more lethal than the virus itself. In light of the interconnectedness of our society, COVID-19 has demonstrated just how vulnerable we all are – that, at a moment’s notice, our world can be brought to its knees by something infinitesimal and that there are greater, unknown dangers to our existence. Each and every one of us should consider our role within our communities, our countries, and our world; we should consider and think deeply about how we affect others and what effects our actions have. One protective measure – quarantine – actually empowers us to contemplate what is important and how we can contribute to the common good.
religious meaning of quarantine
Rabbi Ari Schwarzberg’s senior Tanach class held a Schoology discussion forum last Thursday on the religious significance of quarantine from the coronavirus. “Given the craziness and uncertainty of our current reality,” Rabbi Schwarzberg wrote in the discussion description, “I’d like you all to take a few steps back at the beginning of class to think about what’s going on reflectively.” He then instructed students to respond to this prompt: “Let’s say someone came to you with an inquiry about the religious, spiritual, or moral significance of Corona and quarantine. They wanted to process their current reality seeking some meaning or symbolism out of it. “Obviously, you do not and cannot know, but what ‘pastoral’ advice would you give to a person looking for deeper meaning?” Here are four of the students’ responses, used with permission and edited only for spelling and minor syntactical errors. Entry headings have been added by the Boiling Point. -- Sam Rubanowitz, March 16
Page Design by Sarah Feuer BP Photo by Benjamin Gamson
Danya Helperin: See quarantine as a spiritual cleansing — as the Torah does — and not as a punishment. I would first and foremost say that it is not a punishment. It could be perceived as such because human nature tends to interpret solitude as a negative, but that is more a product of the process than it is the goal of the process. Rather, quarantine could be considered almost a form of cleansing or meditation. To the best of my understanding, in a biblical context, quarantine was usually for cleansing the impure or following a misdeed. In the case of impurity, quarantine served as a separational cleansing, whether physical or spiritual. In the case of
a misdeed, it appears consequential on the surface, but I believe it was a time for the person who commited the deed to meditate on their actions and understand their wrongdoings. In the case of both impurity and misdeed, both cleaning and meditation is implied. So, to me, the nature of the situation we’re experiencing seems almost…spiritual? Of course, the coronavirus is a terrible occurence and one should treat it as such, but the method of recovery — quarantine — could be looked at in a more meaningful light.
Anna Weiss: This crisis is not about religion. I could say something dumb like, “Oh, everything happens for a reason! Hashem has a plan.” Or maybe I would say, “Well, this is Hashem’s way of telling us that we need to be better people and learn to come together as a community to help one another.” Like I said, this is dumb. This does not make me feel better, and I doubt it would make anyone else feel better. The virus seems to continue to penetrate and hurt our community, leaving nothing positive. I guess one can take this time to do some self-reflecting, learn to live in the moment, and build on their connection with G-d/Judaism, but I think it would be better to focus on the health and needs of your family. I don’t think religion should be anybody’s #1 concern
right now. If we focus too much on religion and ignore the reality of the current state of the world, we might not have anyone left to pass on the religion. I don’t really have any pastoral advice to give. Everything about the Coronavirus is damaging and unfortunate. Our entire world has been put on hold, the economy is plummeting, people are losing their jobs, family members are dying, and the world’s education system has been moved to laptops. I think that right now, it’s difficult to see any good or anything positive coming out of the Coronavirus and the necessary quarantines. Maybe in the future that will change, but for now it just really sucks.
Read more student responses at shalhevetboilingpoint.com/coronavirus
Neima Fax: Quarantine opens us to prayer and to purpose. I had a realization recently because of this virus about why Jewish faith has remained so solid for thousands of years. I was sitting in my bed feeling helpless, worried, stressed, and anxious about all the consequences of Coronavirus and all I felt that all I could do was pray. It was the only power I had. And I realized that the Jewish people have spent the majority of their existence feeling helpless, worried, stressed, and anxious about anti-semitism, whatever form it may take. And in those moments of crisis, the only power they had was prayer. And then I started thinking about people who have it way worse than we do. People who are homeless, living paycheck to paycheck, can’t afford healthcare, or don’t have the resources to survive quarantine. Even on a regular basis, these groups of people feel helpless, worried, stressed, and anxious because their future is unsure. If we are stuck in quarantine I would put my time towards coming up with plans to help the underprivileged, because whatever problems we have, they have it way worse, and as Jewish people and just people in general, we have the obligation to help them. MINCHA: Men davened on Alta Vista Boulevard in Hancock Park March 18. When synagogues closed, people in search of a minyan created distanced prayer groups outside.
8 No on-campus classes next week as school joins accelerating shutdown of L.A. due to coronavirus By Sam Rubanowitz, March 13
lasses will move online starting next Monday for at least a week, school officials announced today, after two all-day training sessions for online learning and following news that most other Jewish schools and synagogues in the area had closed or would be closing beginning today. Also this morning, the Los Angeles and San Diego school districts announced they would be closing for at least two weeks. Together they serve almost one million children. Shalhevet’s regular school schedule had already been cancelled today — for the second time this week — as officials continued to grapple with the accelerating coronavirus outbreak and fears that its spread would overwhelm local hospitals if it is not urgently slowed. The email was sent almost exactly at noon,
and signed by Rabbi Segal, Rabbi Block, Mr. Weslow and Chief Operating Officer Ms. Sarah Emerson. It said that they had consulted not only with public health authorities but with the school’s posek, or rabbinic authority, Rabbi Jeremy Weider, who is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva University. “Please know that we don’t take closing lightly,” said the email. “In his conversations with us, Rabbi Wieder emphasized that we must act per the guidance of the local health authorities, and at the same time reminded us of the costs of keeping our kids home when they are not directly threatened by COVID 19 – namely diminished Talmud Torah and general learning, as well as a lack of socialization. “All that being said, we will be closing for next week and moving fully to online classes on Monday morning.”
SCREEN: A Google Hangouts window shows IT Director Nick Parsons testing the web application for the online class trial set for Monday. School officials have planned a “preparedness drill” in case school closure is needed because of coronavirus.
Remer: All school sports shut down to contain coronavirus By Alex Rubel, March 13
thletics at Shalhevet have been suspended indefinitely, in response to the intensifying coronavirus outbreak, Athletic Coordinator Jeff Remer told the Boiling Point. “I would have to say that sports, more or less, will be shut down completely,” said Coach Remer. “We’re all going to have to be hunkered down and follow the protocols that have been given to us, to give ourselves every opportunity to stay well and healthy.” By and large, the American sports world has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in a similar fashion. After two Utah Jazz players tested positive for coronavirus just before tipoff against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, the NBA cancelled the game and announced that it would be suspending its season until further notice. The NHL followed suit on Thursday, and Major League Baseball postponed its own opening day as well, which had been scheduled for March 26.
Meanwhile, the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament — known as March Madness — has been cancelled for 2020. Seniors David Saeedian and Adam Tizabi had organized a bracket challenge for it, and invited the entire school to participate in the annual tradition. “It’s the most exciting and intense part of the sports world,” David said. “It’s a shame that it was cancelled.” In a webinar for Shalhevet parents Wednesday night, Dr. Zach Rubin of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said children are especially prone to carrying the virus when they are in close contact with one another. Therefore, he said, limiting inter-school activities like sports at Shalhevet would help prevent the spread of coronavirus in the wider community. He said Los Angeles County is planning to reduce the number of gatherings where there are
These stories appear in full on shalhevetboilingpoint.com/coronavirus.
by oto er Ph u BP la Da Lay
CANCELLED: Firehawk girls flag football players
stretched before their 30-2 rout of the YULA Panthers Sept. 16 at the Glendale Sports Complex.
thousands of people congregated in close contact. “We’re probably ready to pull the trigger on some of these things fairly soon, but we’re not quite ready to do it yet,” Dr. Rubin said. Spring sports at Shalhevet include boys and girls volleyball, boys baseball, girls swim, tennis, and golf. The annual girls volleyball tournament at YULA has been postponed, as have all meets for the swim team. Next week’s Milken Tournament has also been cancelled for the boys volleyball team.
9 Good morning!
YULA student tests positive; spread to Shalhevet called inevitable
Welcome to your first day of (online) school By Sam Rubanowitz, March 16 With classes being held online this entire week due to the coronavirus outbreak, teachers and support staff took to Schoology to announce what to expect. Here is your guide to the first day of official online learning at Shalhevet.
Davening Davening this entire week is not optional, but required to do by yourself, and will be from 8 to 8:30 a.m. When it’s over, there will be an optional biur tefila — explanation of tefila — held on either Zoom of Google Hangouts for 10 minutes. Today, the session will be led by Judaic Studies teacher Rabbi Derek Gormin. Link is on Schoology. “Can’t wait to connect!” Rabbi Gormin wrote. “The biur tefila will be for the usuals... and all not-yet usuals alike!”
Education Support To schedule a 30-minute Ed. Support meeting with Dr. Ashley Evins or Ms. Valencia Wilson, “to work on your schedule, plan out your week, or just check in,” Dr. Evins wrote, or “if you are in need of help with your math class or homework,” Ms. Wilson wrote, follow the link.
College Counseling “While we can’t be there in person to give you a high five or hug, we want you to know that we’ve been working hard to create resources to support you,” wrote Mr. Eli Shavalian. He said those resources include virtual raffle tickets, Zoom celebrations, drop-in appointments, and helpful links. PDF flyer of all resources is on Schoolgy.
Harkham Hillel Middle School, who also went to AIPAC, tested positive March 8. At least 10 Shalhevet students were present at the Shabbaton. ccording to a late Saturday email from As of March 15, there were 69 confirmed Bnei Akiva of Los Angeles, a student at Yeshiva coronavirus cases in LA County, according to University of LA (YULA) Girls High School has the LA County Department of Public Health tested positive for coronavirus. website. On Sunday morning, both Hatzolah of Los The Boiling Point spoke to three Shalhevet Angeles and Shalhevet Head of School Rabbi Ari students who attended the Bnei Akiva ShabbaSegal said the virus would affect all schools. ton. None was willing “Over the past few It seems fairly clear at to be give his or her days, there have been name, but none felt multiple confirmed cases this point that we will threatened by contact of COVID-19,” stated inevitably have cases with the YULA Hatzolah, a neighborhood -- Rabbi Ari Segal, Head of School patient. One said that volunteer emergency she said hello to the service, at 11:13 a.m. on student but did not Sunday. “All of these people make any physical contact. Another said she have had extensive interaction at multiple places, didn’t remember seeing the girl there. with members of the community. Still, Hatzolah cautioned that no one has had “Thus, a large segment of the community has this virus before, meaning no one has antibodies already been exposed.” to it that could prevent them from getting sick. Rabbi Segal said that this meant it was “We have witnessed a sudden spike in “inevitable” that cases would reach the Shalhevet young adults with flu-like illness over the past Community. 48 hours,” said Hatzolah’s email, which was not “It seems fairly clear at this point that we signed by any individual. “However, the Departwill inevitably have cases within the Shalhevet ment of Health has advised us that ANYONE community – students, siblings and/or parents,” with a flu-like illness should be presumed to have Rabbi Segal announced in an email at 4 p.m. COVID-19, and further culturing is to stop at today. “Even with all of the social distancing, this time. Culture exposes all health care workers hand-sanitizing and ‘vampire coughing,’ this is to unnecessary risk and threatens to disable the flu-like in spreading quickly between people.” health care system in place, without adding any The Bnei Akiva letter, which was forwarded benefit.” to the Shalhevet community by Chief OperatBnei Akiva’s email says the YULA student ing Officer Sarah Emerson, also said the YULA began experiencing symptoms March 12, 10 student attended a Bnei Akiva Shabbaton last days after returning from AIPAC and five days weekend, March 6-8, at the Dovid Oved Retreat after the Bnei Akiva shabbaton. It said she is not center in the San Bernardino Mountains. very ill. This was the second publicized case “Baruch Hashem her symptoms are mild and within the Jewish community, after a parent at she is feeling well at this time,” stated the email from Bnei Akiva president Ruth Berkowitz. By Jacob Joseph Lefkowitz Brooks, March 20
SPREAD: A van belonging to Hatzolah, whose volunteers provide emergency response in Beverlywood, Hancock Park and other Jewish neighborhoods, was parked on Alta Vista Boulevard March 19.
Schedule change hopes to restore more normal hustle and bustle By Alex Rubel, March 24
s the school started its second week of online-only learning, administrators announced changes to the schedule that they hoped would restore more of the normal hustle-and-bustle of free periods, club meetings and of course, Town Hall. A virtual Town Hall has been scheduled for today, Tuesday, though not during school hours. Town Halls will meet via the communication website Zoom from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. On Wednesday, a Flex period — a slot for office hours, advisory, club meetings and other purposes — has been added to the schedule from 11:25 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. And Thursday’s schedule will have a second club meetings block from 1:55 to 2:25 p.m, where various clubs can meet. Due to these added periods, school will end later — and at different times each day. On Monday, school ended at 3:50; Tuesday, at 2:15; Wednesday, at 3:55; Thursday, at 3:35; and Friday, at 12:45. Regular school would end at 4:35 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and at 12:45 on Fridays. Morning start time, however, will stay the
same. Last week, senior Zach Helfand posted a poll on Schoology to gauge support for having the school’s start time pushed from 8:45 a.m. to 9:30. However, student reaction — in the form of a 118-56 vote — indicated a two-to-one preference for the original start time. Officials also announced optional new after-school workout periods, to be held every other day after Mincha. Dean of Student Life Dr. Jonathan Ravanshenas and Assistant Executive Director Mr. Nachum Joel will be leading an “Insanity” virtual workout for students who wish to stay active. “All you need is a 10 ft x 10 ft space – no weights or machinery, only your motivation and 30 minutes,” wrote Dr. Ravanshenas in the email, which was also posted on Schoology. The first workout was held Tuesday at 2:45 p.m. The changes at school come amid major government efforts to reduce nonessential social interactions in public — efforts that have cancelled team sports, debate and robotics competitions and class and club trips and made it harder for clubs and other co-curriculars to meet, all in hopes of stemming the rapid spread of COVID-19, the sometimes
fatal illness caused by the coronavirus. Last Thursday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide “Safer at Home” directive, effectively ordering the state’s 40 million residents to stay at home, in an effort to ramp up distancing and containment efforts. The order was issued at midnight Thursday night and is set to last a month, until April 19. It includes the closure of nonessential businesses like shopping malls, hair salons and most retail stores, but essential businesses like grocery stores, banks, gas stations, doctors’ offices and pharmacies remain open, along with cannabis dispensaries and laundromats. Governor Newsom said strict social distancing measures were needed to ensure that the state’s health care system is not overwhelmed by a surge in cases of COVID-19. Preventing such a surge is known as “flattening the curve” — spreading the same number of cases over more months, reducing the demand for services at any one time. “We need to meet this moment and flatten the curve together,” said Governor Newsom, who was elected to succeed Governor Jerry Brown in 2018. In other countries, sharp spikes in demand for treatment have resulted in devastating shortages of hospital staff, space and equipment, leading to higher death rates. “Home isolation is not my preferred choice, but it is a necessary one,” the governor said at a
11 Shalhevet to delay decision on reopening campus until after Pesach, Rabbi Segal says By Jacob Joseph Lefkowitz Brooks and Sam Rubanowitz, April 2 news conference Thursday, which was broadcast via TV and internet. “This is not a permanent state, this is a moment in time.” California officials have estimated that more than half the state’s population could contract the virus if the state fails to adequately contain it through social distancing. Gov. Newsome said new projections showed the state would need an additional 50,000 hospital beds to treat coronavirus patients. And in addition to the 416 hospitals across the state, Newsom stressed the state will quickly need more medical facilities — even after all of the existing hospitals increase their capacity by 40 percent or more, contributing 30,000 of the needed 50,000. Also last Thursday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an order mandating the closure of nonessential businesses and banning all gatherings. His directive states that bars, nightclubs, restaurants, movie theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, gyms and fitness centers, along with other venues, must close. A day later on Friday afternoon, Head of School Rabbi Ari Segal urged Shalhevet families to read and follow MayorGarcetti’s order. “God willing, the more successfully this is implemented, the more quickly the virus will be contained, and we can all return to our sorely missed ordinary lives,” Rabbi Segal wrote in an email sent out to the community.
Shalhevet officials will defer a decision on whether to reopen on-campus school this year until after Passover, Head of School Rabbi Ari Segal said this week, adding that if things haven’t changed by then, “in all likelihood” online-only classes would continue until the end of May. Asked whether Shalhevet would follow the lead of California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, who told school local superintendents March 31 that the state’s schools would likely stay online-only for the rest of the school year, he said no — at least for now. “We’re holding off until we see how the social distancing works,” Rabbi Segal told The Boiling Point Tuesday evening. If after Pesach the situation remains the same, he said, Shalhevet will make an announcement delaying re-opening until the end of April. “Once we delay until end of April,” he said, “we’ll see — in all likelihood it may go to the end of May.” Classes officially wrap up on June 5. Mr. Thurmond made his announcement in a letter that was obtained by various news sources including the San Francisco Chronicle. “Due to the current safety concerns and needs for ongoing social distancing it currently appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year,” Superintendent Thurmond wrote. Rabbi Segal said while the state needs to plan for dates further away, he said, Shalhevet would like to take it “chunk by chunk,” in case there are new medical developments and “please God, the fear is reduced.” BP Photo by Eli Weiss
UNCERTAIN: A sign at Canfield Elementary School in Beverlywood was an ironic reminder on March 31, when state School Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced all state public schools would remain closed through the end of the 2019-20 year.
These stories appear in full on shalhevetboilingpoint.com/coronavirus.
Graphics and Page Design by Sarah Feuer
With memes and TikToks, teens lighten the mood of ‘Corona break’
arlier this year, social media seemed like the problem, blamed for causing unnecessary panic over the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, Covid-19. But now, Generation Z is finding light in the midst of uncertainty by using social media as an outlet to spread laughs and positivity during the pandemic. There are coronavirus-related TikToks, music videos and memes, Instagram challenges and more. Teenagers have been referring to the extended time out of physical school as “Corona break” or even “Rona break” for short. On Instagram, the hashtag #coronamemes has over 1.2 million posts, filled with memes and screenshots of funny Tweets. One popular meme page, under the username @daquan, imagines a theoretical virtual graduation with avatars, so seniors would have to use their computer to graduate online. “Seniors finna be out here graduating electronically ‘click to walk across the stage,’” the meme says — with laughing emojis. Comments include “How you gonna buffer your own graduation” and “‘selecter printer for diploma.’”
here’s a more personal side, too. Teens are using their favorite platforms to stay in touch with friends during this period of otherwise loneliness. Shalhevet junior Samson Taxon says that he has been able to talk to people he does not normally talk to during the time off. “I am talking to more people less directly -people I wouldn’t necessarily talk to at school, I am texting,” said Samson. “I feel like now people are more eager to interact, so any preexisting stigma about people goes away. I have noticed that dead group chats are coming back to life.” Senior Alyssa Wallack says she is grateful to social media, something that has been criticized by older generations, for allowing her to stay connected.
Without it, said Alyssa in an interview via text message, “it would be nearly impossible to keep in touch with so many of my close friends,”. Content on the video-making app TikTok, where people can share dance videos, comedy skits and more, generally becomes popular when many users are able to relate to a topic. Since almost every teenager has transitioned to a life of online school and quarantine, the app has been flooded with comedy videos relating to the reason. One features a girl standing in her front yard with the caption: “Me doing the fire drill from home because of the coronavirus.” Many users have recreated variations of a group video-chat titled, “Class of 2020 Graduation,” with each member of the chat pretending to collect a diploma while on a video call. Comments include “THIS IS SO SAD BUT SO FUNNY,” and “Imagine going to school for 12 years and this happens.” Shalhevet senior Rachel Metzger said that particular chat is meeting a widespread need. “It’s really nice that we are all able to connect over this, especially for seniors,” said Rachel. “It’s comforting to be surrounded by memes and videos on social media that express the same feelings that I have.”
he coronavirus TikTok trend has also made its way into the world of Jewish TikToks. One girl made a tear-jerking video with the caption, “I’m supposed to go to Israel this summer.... I have been looking forward to this trip my whole life. Here is what I’m going to miss,” followed by a montage of images of Israel. Comments included, “same I’m going to Poland and Israel hopefully everything works out,” and “I’m in Israel and all these comments literally make me so emotional. So happy to see people love this country and want to visit here.” The term “corona break” is also gaining popularity on TikTok, referring to teenagers’ time learning from home during the pandemic. The hashtag #coronabreak has 5.3 million views, and includes videos of teenagers showing how they’re spending their out-of-the-
By Kate Orlanski, April 29
PERSPECTIVE: Tiktoks about coronavirus made it to the world of Jewish memes.
building class days. Popular videos feature teens baking, dancing, showing off their outfits and more. Others complain that their parents won’t let them out of the house — a topic which has gained popularity due to the universality of this experience. The universality of a pandemic, albeit unfortunate, naturally creates a world-wide “inside” joke — pun intended. In a time that is scary and unfamiliar, humanity is drawn to the familiar — and for a lot of teens, that means memes. Freshman Daniel Kunin sees both sides of the issue, and is able to appreciate the humor while still taking the pandemic seriously. “I do laugh,” said Daniel, “but then again I always know that the coronavirus is a real thing and people are suffering and dying from it, so maybe it’s not always something we should laugh about because it’s not always humorous, but sometimes they are humorous. “But also the coronavirus memes, it made it feel like the situation was much more normal.”
All of the stories in 212 appear in full on shalhevetboilingpoint.com/coronavirus, where you can read much more about how the pandemic continues to unfold at Shalhevet and beyond.