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THE

OBSERVER

“Audemus jura nostra defendere”

Jewish Community High School of the Bay 1835 Ellis St. San Francisco, California

December 2017

Where’s Our Juice?? By JESSE LIEBERMAN (‘18)

2017-18 | ISSUE I

How To Succeed was a Success! By SARRAH WILKES (‘21)

Those of you who were here last year likely remember enjoying cranberry or apple juice at lunch. And this year, you’ve probably noticed that they are no longer there. What happened? Why are they gone? And what are these “infused waters” that have taken their place? I had a conversation with Mr. Shapiro to find out. In our conversation, Mr. Shapero explained that the juices he served last year were made from a concentrate. The concentrate would be mixed with water and stirred. The mixes had to be bought in bulk, and each case was by no means cheap. The mixes were becoming increasingly harder to find, as there are limited suppliers of juice mixes, let alone kosher options. But however, the decision to switch to infused waters was not just out of such difficulties: Mr. Shapero also took into account the health benefits students could enjoy. With all the places around the school to get candy, (Rabbi Ruben’s office, Ms. Hunt’s office, etc.) Mr. Shapero realized the school needed a healthier option for refreshments at lunch. The solution? Replace sugary juices with infused waters. In order to make infused water, a fruit or vegetable — such as a cucumber or apple — is cut and placed into a container of water early in the morning. Over time, the fruit/vegetable will

An empty juice container in the commons.

soak and distribute all of the flavor evenly into the water, creating the delectable drink. The decision to switch to these infused waters was made over the summer, by Mr. Shapero in concert with the administration cut the juice and start serving infused waters with lunch instead. Mr. Shapero was “concerned that there would be a lot of pushback” and that many students would question the decision. But in reality, the opposite is

happening. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, from both students and the professional community alike. Mr. Shapero says that students “absolutely” enjoy the infused waters, and that consumption of them is virtually similar to the juices. And students who don’t care for the infused waters are drinking regular ice water instead. But if the school is trying to be healthier, shouldn’t there be less candy available to students?

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How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying humorously tells the story of how a young man named J. Pierrepont Finch (played by Ben Robinow, a junior), climbs the ladder of success in the business world...without really knowing what he is doing. His secret strategy for success in the corporate realm? A book titled “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” that serves as the namesake of the play. This classic Broadway musical was first brought to the stage in 1961, but is still just as relevant today. However, despite being relevant, why was this show so fantastic, so different from all others performed here at JCHS? One thing comes to mind almost immediately: the superb acting chops of the cast. However, while these played a significant role, the work that went on behind the glitz-and-glam of the stage was just as important. After all, what’s an actor if he (or she) can’t be heard? And for, that we have tech to thank. From the lights and scenery, to the costumes, music, sound effects, and incredible hair styles, the people behind the stage put so much effort into making How to Succeed amazing. Maya Menachem, a junior, who played ”Smitty” wonderfully, said...

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Wolves Take the W! Fall sports have been a success. By ZOE MOSKOWITZ We’ve had an action-packed fall season. At the

beginning of this year, we left the Private School Athletic League (PSAL) to join the Bay Area Conference League (BCL). We’ve had a fantastic transition, and everybody is excited about joining this new league and having a very successful first fall season! Due to this transition, we don’t have to travel as far to compete, and we are able to play more talented, stronger players, elevating our game. We can get more fans out there, and students will be able to get home earlier, giving them more time for sleep, homework, and spending time with family. Also... Pictured: Idan Sharabi Soccer Game

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WHAT’S

INSIDE?

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Shabbaton Update!

Analysis of new StudentPhones

Update on JCHS’ Chess Team.

How To Succeed (cont).

Wi-Fi service.

2017’s natural disasters.

Observer Staff List.

A freshmen & transfer’s perspec-

Thanksgiving traditions are NOT

Note from the Editor-in-Chief.

tives on life at JCHS.

what they seem!


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The Observer The Wolves LOVED The Shabbaton! 2017-18 | ISSUE I

OBSERVER STAFF

SAM ARNESON (‘19) Editor-in-Chief JESSE LIEBERMAN (‘18) Senior Staff Writer VANESSA WALDMAN (‘18) Senior Staff Writer NAVA SCHWEIG (‘19) Staff Writer DANELLE TUCHMAN (‘20) Staff Writer ZOE MOSKOWITZ (‘20) Staff Writer ALEX GARROW (‘20) Staff Writer SAM LIEBERMAN (‘20) Staff Writer SARRAH WILKES (‘21) Staff Writer MAX BAMBERGER (‘21) Staff Writer

Note From the Editor I am so excited to publish the first issue of The Observer this school year! The Observer is the JCHS newspaper founded, written, and run by JCHS students. The paper was established in 2010 by Elijah Jatovsky and Arno Rosenfeld, graduates of the class of 2012. This newspaper gives students the opportunity to voice their opinions on current events, occurring both inside and outside of JCHS, and gives them an opportunity to build on and showcase their writing skills. I look forward to maintaining the presence of a strong newspaper at JCHS and believe it plays a vital role in creating a confident and empowered student body. Special thanks to Ms. Hunt and Mr. Cole for making this issue possible. Thanks for reading!

Sam Arneson Editor-in-Chief

We howled & bonded at Walker Creek from October 20-22, 2017. By SARRAH WILKES This past October, JCHS held its annual Shabbaton at Walker Creek Ranch — and, surprisingly, it wasn’t canceled! As a freshman going into such an experience, I wanted to know what makes the Shabbaton so special. I wanted to know why everyone loves it so much. And on this year’s Shabbaton, I found all those answers and much more. To start off: this year’s activities — or lack thereof — were really fun! Whether you went to the freelectives, or hung out with friends, all evidence points to the activities being a great success. Jacob Stadtner, a sophomore, remarked on how “the activities were surprisingly fun, and not at all what I had expected.” One of these activities — arguably the highlight of the entire Shabbaton — was the Saturday night dance; which was ‘glow-inthe-dark’ themed. Sigal, a freshman, gushed that “the dance was awesome; it was a great ending to the day, and a fun-filled weekend!” Everyone got their ‘shabbat-on’ with the multitudes of Jewish activities threaded throughout the weekend, and in these activities, the student body not only survived — but thrived! From Friday night services to Saturday morning tefillot; many remarked on how these activities allowed everyone to be practice in a way that was comfortable to them. Specifically, the creative tefillot — and all the alternative tefillot in general — contributed to this success by allowing people to engage in Judaism without making them delve into a siddur-based tefillah; which isn’t the right fit for every student. Max

The JCHS community at the 2017 Shabbaton.

Bamberger, a freshman, confirmed such suspicions when he remarked that “it was really cool there were a whole range of tefillah and activities for all the kinds of students that go to this school.” Havdalah ended our lovely Shabbat with an emotionally fulfilling event that everyone could participate in, together as one kehilah kedosha: holy community. However, in my eyes, one of the most unique aspects of the Shabbaton — above the incredible activities, past the pluralistic religious experiences — was the bonding that occurred among both the students and faculty. On this journey, many new friendships were made that bridged grades, friend groups, and pre-conceived prejudices, and countless existing friendships were strengthened. Even the more established grades at JCHS felt this; Shayna Dollinger, a senior and our student body president, confirmed this. She remarked on how “the

bonding that happened within my grade was incredible. We were all sad that it was our last Shabbaton, so we were committed to enjoying every minute!” Now, back to my question(s): what makes the Shabbaton so special, and why does everyone love it so much? On this year’s Shabbaton, myself and many others soaked up every minute of fun, activities, friendships, and Judaism. We basked in the refreshing fog, partied on Saturday night, and grew closer together as a community. Those experiences — the ones we can never get back again — are what make the Shabbaton so, so special; along with all the work that the professional community put into this wonderful experience. I speak for the entire JCHS community when I give a sincere thank-you to all of our wonderful faculty, staff, and student leaders who made this weekend one we’ll never forget.

How To Succeed was a Success!

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...with candor how “getting ready for the show was mostly teasing our hair and using TONS OF HAIRSPRAY!” I could only imagine how much work was put into making this production happen behind the scenes. Remember the amazing music? Even though you couldn’t see the band (because they were in the tech booth), they played a huge role in making this musical a success. Why? Live music certainly made

the already superb singing and dancing of How to Succeed exponentially better — and a huge shout out goes to the members of the jazz band; and to Mr. Kuchar; their conductor. Overall, How To Succeed was a wonderful, polished, and wellacted piece of JCHS theatre that I can truly say was a pleasure to see. The theatre department, while demonstrating their excellence, showed that How To Succeed was more than just well-acted — it was well-written. Ben Robinow, a junior who played the lead role, summed my feelings up best when he remarked that “[How to Succeed] is

already such an incredible play because it has everything. The writing is genius, the music is beautiful, and the lyrics are as catchy as they are hilarious. I truly cannot think of a better show for this cast, and I’m so excited to get to show the school everything we’ve done!” I was impressed and truly proud of all my classmates who performed so well on the stage. It takes a lot of chutzpah to speak, sing, or dance in front of an audience! Clearly, Ms. Russell made an excellent choice for 2017’s fall musical.


The Observer

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2017-18 | ISSUE I

Student WiFi: Wi’s & Wi-NOT’s! By NAVA SCHWEIG Starting this year, the school has introduced a Wi-Fi network exclusively for student phones. The reason for this? The use of phones as tools for internet access in class or during assemblies has been growing. Ms. Krieger, director of educational support, says that, logically, “if teachers are expecting students to be utilizing devices during school, then we are required to provide wi-fi for those devices.” Though phone usage was once discouraged at school, quick internet access has become increasingly essential to learning both in and out of the classroom. Thus it has become important to democratize such access, so that everyone is on equal playing field when asked to utilize devices. While some students complain of slow connections or limited access, Mr. Louie, director of educational technology at JCHS, explains that the limitations for this network are essentially the same as the ones for student computers — meaning that there are identical restrictions on video streaming and gaming. The only reason ‘Student Phones’ is a separate wi-fi network is to “prevent the likelihood of jams occurring as a result of misuse of wi-fi or too many devices on one network,” says Mr. Louie. But does this new wi-fi network for phones fulfill its purpose, or does it serve as a distraction when

Students in JCHS’ courtyard.

students should be focusing in class? While one might assume that such access might result in an increase of improper usage, a quick survey of students and teachers indicates that phone activity in class has mostly remained the same. Ms. Krieger observes that “phones are a distraction, but having wi-fi doesn’t increase that—students were using their phones just as much before. In general, their computers are just as distracting.” In other words, students who get easily distracted by their phones were using them just as much

before, and the new network does not seem to escalate that problem. And perhaps phones aren’t even the biggest issue—while phones can be an obvious distraction, computers can still be misused in class more discreetly. Senior Sophia Brodie-Weisberg goes so far as to say that “ninety-percent of the time, when students say they’re taking notes in class on their computer, they’re actually doing something else.” The use of technology in the classroom in general still poses the same questions: how can technology be used for productivity instead of distraction?

And how can teachers ensure that technology increases student involvement in class instead of hindering it? While perhaps technology will always invitingly offer distractions, it is also safe to conclude that phones aren’t serving as any more of a distraction than they were before, now that the new wi-fi network is in place. When it comes down to it, all students need to have equal access to a learning platform that is more and more a part of our modern education, and it is up to the school to make sure that this availability is granted.

A Freshman & Transfer’s Perspectives on JCHS By MAX BAMBERGER (‘21) I entered JCHS this year as a 9th grader, immediately after living for two years in Israel, where I attended an all-boys Yeshiva middle school. Only Hebrew was spoken in almost every class! Needless to say, returning from the yeshiva to the Bay Area — and to a pluralistic Jewish high school — has been quite of a culture shock! From the moment I walked into JCHS, I noticed some differences in the way our school celebrates Judaism, but I soon found comforting similarities as well. At both JCHS and at the yeshiva in Israel, students from many varying backgrounds could be found. For example, at the yeshiva, there were Moroccan, Yemenite, Polish, German, French, British, and American students — just to name a few! These students were all observant Orthodox Jews who spoke fluent Hebrew and kept Shabbat and Kashrut. This is in stark contrast to JCHS, where most of the students are Ashkenazi Jews, but come from many

varieties of Jewish homes, including interfaith, Reform, Orthodox, Conservative, non-practicing, Hebrew speaking, non-Hebrew speaking, and so many more. To be honest, it was a hard shift to go from a school where everyone did Tefillah together in Hebrew, with Tefillin, and had 9 hours of Tanach that were mandatory every week, to a school with 9 Tefillah options and all kinds of classes focusing on modern Judaism. However, I am embracing this new mindset of Judaism with gusto, where each individual connects to our religion in whatever way best suits them. JCHS, among many things, has taught me that we are truly strongest when we all bring our different experiences, traditions and open our minds to learn from each other.

By ALEX GARROW (‘20) As if starting a new school isn’t hard enough, my first day began with missing the train. On the first morning my stomach had been tied in knots. Although I had been at JCHS the day before for transfer student orientation, and had been given important information such as schedules and lunch codes, this did nothing to calm my nerves. As I drove to the train station, all the traffic lights were red and the clock seemed to move too fast. When I finally arrived, my heart was racing. I ran onto the platform just in time to see the train’s doors swish close a hair’s breadth before my face. However, when I finally arrived JCHS that morning, the excitement in the air was tangible. Students were smiling ear to ear in the lobby as they met up with their friends. Throughout the rest of the day, I continued to notice how warm and welcoming all of my classmates were. I spent my first two weeks at school checking my schedule and never knowing which class was next. Long blocks were also an adjustment that I

was not prepared for. Even though my teachers were engaging, on the first two days of school, each long block felt like an eternity — and I struggled to keep my eyes open through each teacher introduction and syllabus. Now, I’ve gotten used to these huge stretches of time, but I still have trouble relating to people who genuinely appreciate seventy-five minute classes. However, on my first day, I discovered that at JCHS, test retakes and even take home tests were common, which I found eliminated an undue level of examination anxiety. On the whole, I have felt that JCHS has been incredibly inviting and accepting. It resonated with me how understanding and accommodating the teachers and students are. Five months here have quickly passed me by; I haven’t missed the train, I know my schedule, and I appreciate my friends and teachers. I am happy to say that in this case, first impressions persist.


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Wolves Take The W! By ZOE MOSKOWITZ

The Observer Where’s Our Juice??

By JESSE LIEBERMAN

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...by playing against teams that are better, we can become better ourselves, which will strengthen each team — thereby strengthening our athletics program. With huge thanks to Coach Moler (who took the reins of Athletic Director while Coach Tallon is on maternity leave) our fall season was great. The girls’ junior varsity volleyball team worked hard at practice to improve their skill, and ended the season with three wins/twelve losses. The girls’ varsity volleyball team felt very challenged this season by a new league, but were continually able to improve their game, and ended the season with seven wins and nine losses, and made it into the NCS D6 playoffs! They made it through the first round and but then sadly lost to Holy Names in a great game. The boys varsity soccer team came in kicking, and continued to elevate their game, ending with three wins and eleven losses, making it into the BCL playoffs, where they unfortunately lost in a great game in the first game. The co-ed cross country team had a blast this season, competing in three BCL meets in which everyone ran their hearts out, with leading runner Henry Denberg, 20’ breaking the school record for fastest time! He went to the NCS playoff meet, where he beat his personal best! Overall, the season was amazing, and we cannot wait for the winter season with boys and girls basketball!

...The thinking behind the candy idea is that students will interact with their teachers. The candy is a way for Rabbi Ruben and Ms. Hunt to bring students into their offices so they can connect with them on a more personal level. It should be noted however, that Ms. Hunt offers fresh fruit, raisins, and pretzels, in addition to chocolate. Will juice ever return to lunch? “Yes” says Mr. Shapero, who adds that juices haven’t been offered as frequently as he expected. His goal is to have juices out about once a week, with exceptions of course, such as Knesset asking for juices during Sukkot. But students should expect there to be “sweetened beverages from time to time.” As Mr. Shapero’s cutback on juices shows, JCHS continues to makes strides in offering healthier food and beverage options for students. Hopefully, these healthier trends can extend outside of JCHS and serve as a reminder on the importance of being healthy.

Natural Disasters By VANESSA WALDMAN Throughout recent months, our country has faced multiple natural disasters which have caused tremendous grief and destruction. One such example is the multiple hurricanes that have ravaged America in past months. For example, take Hurricane Harvey — a ‘category four’ storm with 120 mph winds — that hit Louisiana and Texas, and caused massive flooding. As a whole, Hurricane Harvey killed at least 82 people and ensued 180 billion dollars worth of damage. Another hurricane, deemed ‘Hurricane Irma,’ hit Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and parts of the Caribbean. Its 130 mph winds destroyed 95% of Bermuda’s infrastructure, and caused approximately 61 deaths. Hurricane Maria, yet another hurricane, was the first to hit Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in 85 years! Its 155 mph winds left over 45 dead and between 5-95 billion dollars in damage. Recently, California was struck by two ravenous fires — one in Santa Rosa/Sonoma, and one in Southern California — both stripping our families and friends of their homes, memories, schools, and loved ones.

In Northern California, a combination of 13 fires burned 220,000 acres and destroyed more than 7,000 homes, businesses, wineries, schools, etc. 8,000 fire-fighters and 640 police officers flocked to the fires from near and far to provide support. Even in towns miles away, school districts even closed temporarily because of the thick smoke. At JCHS, the mechitza minyan found the sukkah covered in ash on a Monday morning in October. As they prayed, more ash rained down on them. Southern California has experienced much of the same terror and destruction beginning early December; and as of now, the fires continue to rage. According to Gov. Jerry Brown, “This is truly one of the greatest tragedies California has ever faced.” We must remember to not lose hope in such a trying time.

2017-18 | ISSUE I

Check Them Out!

The chess team rises to the occasion this school year.

By SAM LIEBERMAN The JCHS chess team kicked off the season with a bang! The team has already played in five tournaments this year: four at the Mechanics Institute and one in Santa Clara. There have been many strong performances so far, including one by Ben Michelson — he won three games and had one draw in the first tournament! And another by Jacob Derin; who won two games and drew one in the second tournament. In the third tournament, both Daniel Perlov and Cash Ashkinos had stellar performances where they each won four out of five games. The team has also had many incredible upsets. What is an upset, you might ask? An upset in the broad world of sports is when a player wins a game when, at first, they are the underdog. However, in chess, an upset is when a player with a

lower rating bests a player with a higher rating. Dave Hoffman had three upsets of 517, 557 and 911 rating points respectively while Misha Lubich also had an upset of 473 rating points. Daniel Karp added on to these incredible feats by notching two upsets over 500 ratings points. When asked to comment on the team’s progress this year, Mr. Fitch (the coach), said that he is “excited because we have several returning seniors, and the team is making big rating gains in tournaments recently.” The senior captain of the team, Ben Michelson, also spoke to the team’s success in other ways: “We have grown quite popular, and people inside and out of JCHS are taking us seriously. It is incredible to see our hard work and effort pay off in that way.” The team is currently preparing to rock the state championship, which will be held in Santa Clara on April 6 — and overall, they’re killing it!

Thanksgiving’s Not All About That Baste By DANELLE TUCHMAN “You can’t have Thanksgiving without turkey. That’s like the Fourth of July without apple pie, or Friday with no two pizzas” (Friends). While some might argue this anecdote (spoken by Joey Tribbiani) captures the essence of Thanksgiving — a historically rich and long-established holiday — it fails to recognize the diverse ways that people celebrate it in today’s world. Most Americans commemorate the first Thanksgiving — which began when a group of religious refugees landed on Plymouth Rock and befriended the Native Americans there, who helped them survive the harsh winter — with turkey, pumpkins, football and family. However, many people celebrate this holiday in atypical ways that don’t fall within the ‘American stereotype.’ Which brings up the question: can a holiday such as Thanksgiving be celebrated in so many unique ways and still stay true to its historical roots? Well, to answer that, I turned to the members of the JCHS community, and inquired how they celebrate the holiday. Ms. Rubin explained to me that she celebrates Thanksgiving in a more traditional sense — namely, watching “The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” with her family. Many students mentioned traditions such as family board games like Monopoly or Scrabble, as well as thousand-piece puzzles they work on together. Additionally, other families like Alex Garrow’s watch football as

an alternative to the parade — a tradition that’s also a common practice among Americans. However, in my case, instead of watching football, my cousins and I play the real thing. Every year, we engage in a “Girls vs. Boys” football game in my grandparents’ backyard. These differences go to show how many variances there are in how people celebrate the famed American holiday. Although one might think that at least the foods people eat on Thanksgiving are all the same, everyone has their own family recipes. While the more traditional foods consist of pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and turkey, Eli Moldavsky always has shepherd’s pie on Thanksgiving. Often, people take traditional foods and give them a twist. For example, Alex Garrow’s family eats tater tots instead of mashed potatoes. My family isn’t exactly full of pumpkin lovers, so we substitute chocolate chip cookie pie for pumpkin pie. Despite the many different traditions, recipes, and ways to celebrate this holiday, each of them share one distinguishing factor: unity. Regardless of whether or not you play football or watch it, Thanksgiving is about spending time with loved ones and appreciating them. The main message of Thanksgiving, at least in my humble opinion, is not its historic origin of surviving together, but of thriving together, embracing our differences and of always being grateful for those that enable you to thrive.


The Observer

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2017-18 | ISSUE I

Wolves Fall 2017 Crossword Puzzle By ZOE MOSKOWITZ

Across 2. Public bus lots of kids take 4. Place to relay information 6. Wednesday schedule 10. Description of school 11. Fall play: How To Succeed in _____ Without Really Trying 12. JCHS’s Student Government 14. Street right next to and parallel to basketball courts 16. Cafeteria 17. Person’s office with best candy 13. Shabbat _______!

Down 1. Junior Journey 3. Happened to the shabbaton twice 5. Color of Class of 2020 7. Sports League 8. Color of Class of 2018 9. We practice there sometimes 13. Shabbat _______! 15. ______ _______ y’all

The Observer (Issue #1 - Fall 2017)  
The Observer (Issue #1 - Fall 2017)  
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