Volume XXXXIV Number 8
The Ramaz Upper School
May 2014/Iyar 5774
Ramaz Bids Farewell to Ms. Malamy After 17 Years
Commemorated By Eddie Mattout ’15 Yom Hashoah is observed as a day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany. Like many Jewish organizations and families around the globe, Ramaz held its own ceremony toremember those who did not survive. Several weeks before Yom Hashoah, posters that depicted various stages of the Holocaust were hung up around school. Students had mixed feelings about the displays. “There’s a time and a place for everything. We should be looking at pictures of the Holocaust when the occasion calls for it, not when we’re just walking around,” said Sammy Merkin ’15.
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Color War to be at Seneca By Eddie Mattout ’15
For an interview with Ms. Malamy and an exclusive feature spread on her, see pages 2 and 3.
At the conclusion of davening on Friday March 28, Mr. Miller told the entire student body that this year the school will not have an in-school color war, but rather that color war will be at Seneca durng the whole-school Seneca overnight trip. Originally, the administration had a day planned for color war the week after President’s Weekend. However, because of a snowday cancellation, color war had to be rescheduled. After looking at the calendar for other possible options, the administration concluded that students could not miss more class. They decided that the only time for color war was during the Seneca trip.
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Extreme Makeover: Ramaz Edition By Andrew Lobel ’15 In the business world, a logo is intended to be the “face” of a company. Through images, colors, and fonts it communicates information that enables customers to identify with the company’s core brand. The same is true of logos in the academic world, and Ramaz is no exception. As the Ramaz com-
munity has probably noticed, this past year Ramaz re-branded itself. The Ramaz logo and website underwent an extreme makeover and a new, fresher, and more vibrant Ramaz “look” emerged.
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Idan Raichel Performs at Ramaz as Part of His U.S. Tour For an article and more pictures on the Yom Ha’atzmaut festivities, see page 15.
Senior Experience: New Twist
By Zach Klein ’14 Almost every year the seniors go on a grade-wide trip to Poland and Israel. This year, they continued that tradition, with some major changes. This marked the first time in sixteen years that Rabbi Goldmintz, who is currently on sabbatical, was not on the trip. In addition, this year the
6 FUGUE NIGHT
seniors began their trip with two days in Berlin. “Berlin was added to the trip in order to help the students understand the correct narrative context of the Holocaust,” said Mr. Miller. “Two examples are when we visited Wansee and when saw the train tracks that led to Birkenau. Those things gave us
an important perspective. What we saw in Berlin was a historical journey from the 30’s until today. We sang Hallel in Berlin on Rosh Chodesh Nissan in a shul that functions on a daily basis.”
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11 DIVERGENT REVIEW YOM HAZIKARON COMMEMORATED
Congrats to the Mock Trial Team on a great run this year! From a pool of 130+ teams, the team made it all the way to the semifinals!
G.O. PRIMARIES WEDNESDAY MAY 21st:
See Q&A with the Candidates on Pages 7-10!
The Rampage News
May 2014/Iyar 5774
MS. MALAMY: Taking attendance by day, modeling by night. In an exclusive sit-down with The Rampage, Ms. Malamy shared photos and articles from her modeling career.
“Modeling is fun. People have to listen to you. They take pictures of you. It’s nice to be the center of attention as long as you don’t have to go on stage..” -Ms. Malamy An email Ms. Malamy and the other Liz Claiborne models received from Isaac Mizrahi:
Ms. Malamy was on a List of Tonic.com’s 50 Most Beautiful People From June 2009:
Ms. Malamy on a bus stop advertisement on 80th and Madison. Nobody at the bus stop knew that this famous supermodel was just 2 blocks away telling kids to get to class!
Ms. Malamy’s profile on Liz Claiborne’s Website:
The Rampage News
May 2014/Iyar 5774
Ramaz Bids Farewell to Ms. Malamy After 17 Years By Alex Ratzker ’14 and Sydney Sarachek ’14 When you stumble into the building in the morning, presumably late, the first person you have to explain yourself to is Ms. Malamy. Typically seated at the table in the lobby, peering through her large round glasses, Ms. Malamy listens as you ramble on and decides whether or not to excuse your tardiness. Everyday, she comes into your your first period class, sometimes wearing your lost clothing, to take attendance. She lets you know what day it is and if we are on an irregular schedule. She speaks to your parents when you need to leave school early and always asks about your well being. Ms. Malamy is the heart and soul of Ramaz and after many years, she is leaving. Rampage sat down with her to discuss her upcoming retirement. Rampage: How many years have you worked at Ramaz? Ms. Malamy: A mere seventeen years. Rampage: What exactly would you say your role has been here? Ms. Malamy: I would say that I have been a mother to children, who aren’t my own, who happen to listen better than my own. But if you were to look at my title, I think I’m the attendance monitor / receptionist, which means I often say, “Hello this is the Ramaz School, how may I help you?” And then I help. Rampage: What do you love most about your job? Ms. Malamy: I love being with kids. Kids are fun. It makes me sad (tearing) not to be. When I first got out of college, I taught middle school for nine years. Kids are much more interesting than grown-ups. They’re alive, they’re growing, they’re changing. To come to school everyday and play with kids is really great. Some people say keep your mouth shut.
Your job is what it is, keep your mouth shut. Just ask, “okay Alex, why are you late? Do you have a note?” But when you deal with kids, it’s more than that. Rampage: What stands out to you most about Ramaz kids? Ms. Malamy: When I was first told to apply for this job, I said that I had never heard of Ramaz. I was told that it’s an Orthodox-Jewish day school. I said I’m Reconstructionist, I’m not going to fit in. My son is a Reconstructionist rabbi and my daughter-
was on the cover of a tenth year reunion invitation with the caption, “Ms. Malamy is saying you better come to the reunion.” I thought that was cute. Another time there was a couple who was getting married and they were both Ramaz graduates and I submitted a video for the wedding. That was fun. Rampage: What are the funniest late note excuses you have ever gotten? Ms. Malamy: When I was younger, all of the cab drivers in the City were Jewish. In recent years, there
“The elevator, it didn’t come.” You can understand why it would make someone late when they live a block away. Rampage: Have you had the same pair of red glasses your entire time at Ramaz? Ms. Malamy: The red is my favorite. I have fourteen pairs. Rampage: Have you seen a lot of changes in the school over the years? Ms. Malamy: Sure, but any place has changes over the years. Our society has changed, so the way
in-law is a cantor at a Reformed shul. I thought Ramaz would be different. But kids are all the same. I subbed for a long time at a public middle school in Manhattan that was a drug school. The kids were the same there too. They might not talk like you or have the same experiences as you, but they’re kids too. I really feel that basically wherever you are, it’s fun to be with them. Rampage: Any favorite memories from over the years? Ms. Malamy: A picture of my headshot from when I modeled
has been an increase in Muslim drivers. A former Ramaz student once told me, “I couldn’t get a cab because it’s the last day of Ramadan.” I thought that was really funny. But students make them up now. “The helicopter landed and I really couldn’t get around it.” “I got stuck behind a garbage truck.” You wouldn’t believe how many garbage trucks there are in front of your cars. Even when students are walking, they get caught behind garbage trucks. But I think the best excuses are from kids who live on the other side of Park Avenue.
kids respond to events has too. I’m not as happy. Kids are less respectful of the world, not of people but of situations, of the world that we have. The courtesies have kind of lost their way. Kids will see something on the floor and no one bends to pick it up. The administration has certainly changed as well. There is a different way of looking at things - at what education means and how to treat the students. It’s a big change. Rampage: Why are you leaving at the end of this year? Ms. Malamy: There are a lot of
changes. I’m old enough (laughs). We’re not going to discuss my age, but I’m old enough to retire. Rampage: What will you miss most about Ramaz? Ms. Malamy: I will miss the kids the most. I will also miss seeing the faculty. I have good friends in the faculty, people I see out of school. I’ll come around to visit, but it’s not going to be the same. You see it when other people involved in the school leave – they drift away. It should be a family and a community, but it’s difficult to stay connected. It’s sad to leave. It’s like when you go off to college and your mother cries, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go, but it’s still sad. Rampage: What are your plans for after Ramaz? Ms. Malamy: I have these two little grandchildren. My son was so excited when I told him that I was retiring. He just thinks “free help!” I watch my 3-year-old grandson every Sunday, which is really my treat. This kid is just like me and we are constantly running together. I have a house in the country, which I can now go to a little more. I also have a place in Anguilla, which I don’t go to too often, so maybe I could go there. I’m always busy, so I can’t imagine I won’t be busy next year. Rampage: Do you know who is going to take over your role next year? Ms. Malamy: No idea, but I’d love to see. When I came into Ramaz, it was hard to learn. Well it seems that whoever takes on Ms. Malamy’s role certainly has big shoes to fill. We will all miss her genial smile and her sincere concern for the Ramaz student body. We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors!
I LOVE MS. MALAMY BECAUSE... Talia Thurm ‘09: When I lost my coat freshman year in the heart of a bitter winter, she personally took it upon herself to drive me home so I would be safe and warm. I never forgot it and that was just the beginning of the genuine care Ms. Malamy showed me... even if we were (always ) late! Also, she is the chicest most beautiful model I have ever met. Ethan Stein ’10: She always supported me as a student with what I wanted to do. She genuinely cared about my efforts for the school along with my own personal endeavors. She would always be honest and blunt with us students; something that not enough people do. She is a true role model and friend to me and many others and I am certain the school is truly at a major loss. Oh... and did I mention she also inspired my glasses swag? Talia Lefkowitz ’11: She is the sharpest person I have ever met. My freshman year I once got my phone taken away for using it during school hours. I thought I could get away with switching the sim card out and putting it into a spare phone (unfortuantely I left the phone with Ms. Malamy for over a week-- and of course she figured out what I had done!). Lesson learned, you cannot pull one over on Ms. Malamy. Rafi Schulman ’12: She knows how to call a spade a spade.
Nina Rohr ’13: Of her witty personality and sense of humor. She always knows exactly what to say and when to say it. Rachel Kastner ’14: Whenever I come in to school late she asks if it’s because I was seeing a broadway show. Every single time. She also comments on my red glasses every time she sees me. She really pays attention to all of us and she always has something funny to say. Naomi Sitruk ’15: Every morning, when I get to school (late of course), she reprimands me, but then tries to help me come on time the next day. She genuinely cares about me, and always tells me to set 10 alarms if that is what it’s going to take to come on time. I will miss her friendly face in the morning. I guess next year there’s no hope for me coming on time... Benjamin Schiff ’16: She is a bright, friendly face to see when I come into school in the morning. She is always smiling even if it is very early. Arielle Alcobi ’17: Because of her emails in the morning when she asks why I am late. She always tells me to blame my older brother, who is away in college for my latenesses.
The Rampage News
Ramaz Rebranding Campaign Continued from front cover In the past, Ramaz used a written communications, which variety of logos including: the set out acceptable colors, usable name Ramaz in English, with the fonts, and grammatical style “m” in the form of the preferences. two tablets, written According to “The school needed over “yeshivat ramaz” in Ms. Krevat, a fresh, updated look Hebrew; the open torah the new that was truly reflescroll on a round patch; branding flective of who we and of course, the head presents are.” of a Ram (the school Ramaz in -Esther Buterman, mascot). According to a more Director of Communications Head of Admissions modern and Randy Krevat, the idea cohesive way. of a new logo might have started Ms. Buterman adds that “every with “a push from the admissions division, department, administraoffice,” but there was a general tor and teacher will be using one agreement among the adminislogo” and that is very important. tration and the communications The Watsons re-brand of Raoffice that “Ramaz had too many maz consisted not only of a “logo logos that were being used by difrefresh,” but a complete overhaul ferent divisions and departments of the Ramaz brand’s design in too many ways. Ramaz needed aesthetic. In addition to the logo, one unique, recognizable logo that the agency redesigned the school’s would trigger the thought “this is brochures, created the promotions
Ramaz.’” Esther Buterman, Director of Communications at Ramaz agreed: “We needed consistency. There were multiple logos and tag lines floating around but it’s very important for a school to have one identifiable brand.” Moreover, “the school needed a fresh, updated look that was truly reflective of who we are.” Accordingly, Ramaz hired an outside agency called the Watsons to create a logo that would be used consistently throughout all divisions of the school. The agency came to Ramaz and immediately experienced “that when you walk the halls of Ramaz, you’re inundated by color, light, movement and energy.” At the same time, they respected the school’s “rich history.” Accordingly, they reformulated the Ramaz logo by keeping its English portion and retaining the distinctive tablets as the “m.” But they modified the Hebrew by changing the font to give a more modern and clean look. Ms. Buterman also points out the use of new colors: “while the school colors are still navy and gold, the school now uses secondary colors such as aqua, pink, orange and green that give flexibility with design” and better reflect the dynamic energy of the school. Going forward, Ramaz will also use branding guidelines for all
dents. We told the brand story via student profiles. We showcased a diverse range of ambassadors who were living our brand promise.” Early reactions to the rebranding and the new website have been encouraging. According to Ms. Buterman, “parents love the vibrancy” and she has only heard “positive feedback.” While “down the road there may be a need to add a graphic or tagline to the logo, for now we are happy with the simple, clean and modern look.” Students are also in favor of the new Ramaz image. Talia Menche ’14 feels that the new look, visible in the mission statements and posters that have been displayed around the school, “portray the school in a good light. They make the school look more professional and they also evoke the happy and energetic atmosphere that Ramaz students enjoy.” Rachel Kraft ’17 thinks the website has been a great development for the school, “I like the new website a lot and I think it’s really nice and organized. I also like how it uses a lot of pictures of students on the home page. It shows a much friendlier side of the school.” for admissions events, produced Some students, however, feel the the annual dinner invitation pack- new color scheme and rebranding age, and worked with are a needless the school administradeparture from “The Ramaz school is Ramaz tradition, staff, IT departa class act. Much like tion. As Erica ment and website their new brand.” builder to overhaul Newman-Cor-The Watsons, the Ramaz website. A ré ’15 said, “I Marketing Agency major change, espethink it is silly cially noticeable in the to use different new website, is the use colors for of Ramaz students as part of the marketing than the colors we use rebranded image of Ramaz. As the for our sports teams and things agency explained, “We’d like that. Our colors are blue and come to realize that gold; why start using magenta and there we were no more orange?” credible, or compelling While individual reactions to spokespeople for Ramaz the new image will inevitably vary, than their students. So, it is clear that the new brand gives we created a design that the school a fresher and more not only reflected the modern “face.” As the Watsons put energy, color and dynait, “the Ramaz school is a class act. mism of the culture, but Much like their new brand.” that brought the school’s many strengths to light by way of its stu-
May 2014/Iyar 5774
Parents Council Launches Natan@ Ramaz By Eddie Mattout ’15 Natan@Ramaz, a flagship initiative of Parents Council, was launched to extend a helping hand in times of need and celebration in better times to Ramaz students, parents, teachers, and staff. Natan@Ramaz offers assistance, support, and resources during typical life-cycle events such as births, deaths, and medical or natural emergencies. Sherri Libin, a member of the Ramaz community, had the idea of creating an organization that would generate community awareness during life-cycle events. She asked Hillel Rapp to gather representatives from each grade. These representatives are respon-
sible for letting Natan know of anything that occurs in their grade, whether it is a simcha or a tragedy. Hillel Rapp created a whatsapp group where representatives are able to quickly and easily tell each other when an event occurs. “Natan is committed so that nothing falls through the gaps when it comes to community member’s life-cycle events. At that sensitive moment, it is important for people to be there for support, and oftentimes that support can be missed. Natan ensures that does not happen,” said Hillel Rapp. “We created a Whatsapp group where representatives can communicate easily. Although it doesn’t take much effort, it has worked really well,” he continued. After receiving notice of a trag-
edy or a joyous occasion, Natan representatives write a card that is appropriate for the occasion. Rabbi Haskel Lookstein noted that Natan, “is fabulous,” and is doing “wonderful work.” An anonymous Lower School parent spoke about Natan and said: “I wanted to share with all of you that I was recently so touched by the Natan Initiative as I arrived home from the hospital on Friday with a new “stylish” diaper bag filled with all sorts of helpful baby gear waiting for me! Thank you for working so hard to make such a difference in the community to touch all of our lives in good times and in challenging times. Please let me know how I can get more involved!” A Ramaz teacher noted that, “As a teacher I have sent Natan emails to inform them of births in my students’ families. It is quite another thing to be the recipient of Natan’s chesed. I found the experience to be overwhelming. I returned home from the hospital after my recent surgery late Thursday. Friday morning I received a phone call and then a visit from a parent. She brought bags of Shabbat goodies and a big smile on her face. It feels wonderful to be part of a warm and caring community. Thank you so much to Natan and the Ramaz community! Tizku l’mitzvot.” Upper School student Henry Mosseri ’15 said that, “the small note that Natan gave me really meant a lot. It really showed me that I am part of a caring community.” Hillel Rapp hopefully said, “I look forward to the continued success of Natan and I am very proud to see the communal unity it has brought.”
Ramaz Girls’ Torah Bowl By Eliana Doft ’16 Once the underdog of the league, the Ramaz Girls’ Torah Bowl team rose to the top during the playoffs at home in March. Knocking out SAR, Frisch, and then Ma’ayanot in the final round, the team secured a spot in the finals in April. “Ma’ayanot was our biggest challenge and we beat them in the tiebreaker, so I have faith that we’ll beat whatever team we face in the championship,” said Elizabeth Ritz ’16. A normal
Torah Bowl game works like a trivia game show. The teams are assigned around three Parshiot from Devarim to study. During the game, each team sends up four players, and a series of questions about the text and their corresponding Rashis are asked. The first person to press the buzzer gets to answer. Usually, the Torah Bowl team prepares for their games by meeting twice a week during
homeroom, and dividing up the material among the members to be studied at home individually. However, for the championship, they are upping the preparation with after school practices and even more at home studying. “Although studying takes a lot of extra work, it’s proven to work because we’ve been killing it!” said Jessica Fuzilof ’17. Ramaz Torah Bowl has not seen such a successful run like this
Stemp ’15 suggested, “I think our team is special for two reasons. First, the girls themselves are all really dedicated and serious. They aren’t just doing it to drop a Tanach test or put an extra club on their college application. The second, and main reason is because of our advisor, Ms. Mitnick. Her belief in us and her effort towards us made us realize that we can be a winning team.”
May 2014/Iyar 5774
By Eddie Mattout ’15 On Thursday March 27, the Ramaz Model Congress Team headed to the University of Pennsylvania to participate in the University’s Model Congress competition. This year was Penn’s 70th annual conference and it drew over 800 delegates from all across the country. Model Congress strives to enhance political awareness and responsible citizenship through the study and debate of political issues in an intellectual setting. For four days, students from across the nation gather at Penn to confront the most challenging domestic and foreign issues that face America today. By writing their own legislation and preparing for debate, delegates learn to actively engage in contemporary political discourse. The Ramaz delegation was founded three years ago. However, it only became a serious team under the leadership of Daniel Low ’13 and Hillel Rapp. With a team of about thirty kids, the team won nine awards. This year under the leadership of Alex Weinberg ’14, Teddy Tuckman ’14, Yona Kornsgold ’15, faculty advisor Hillel Rapp, the sixteen member team again won nine awards. The team decreased in size as a result of several factors. Unlike last year, Ramaz did not completely pay for the entire cost of the trip. Students had to pay a sum in order to attend, which led to several members leaving the team. Furthermore, as a result of scheduling conflicts, students that were part of the Mock Trial team or the girls’ varsity basketball team had to make a choice of which team they wanted to be a part of. Each member of the team was assigned to a certain committee of Congress. Everyone wrote their own bill that covered a large array of political issues. Each member of the team meets in his/her individual committee, as well as in a larger “full session.” Some members participate in Penn Model Congress’s “special programs,” which include a mock Supreme Court and a mock executive. The Supreme Court gives delegates the chance to play the roles of Supreme Court Justices, in addition to acting as petitioners and respondent attorneys arguing before the Court. The Executive Branch program, led by a student-elected President of the United States, consists of the President’s Cabinet and closest advisors. Delegates discuss signing or vetoing legislation passed by Congress and attempt to tackle some of the most difficult issues facing our nation. Weinberg and Kornsgold participated in the Supreme Court and Jonathan Silverman ’14 represented Ramaz in the executive. Kornsgold said, “I enjoyed it a lot and had a great time. In terms
of our success as team, I think we did really well. We had sixteen people on the team and we won nine awards. Over the past few years we have been improving immensely as a team and I look forward to us having even more success next year.” On Shabbat, Ramaz, as well as other yeshivot who were at Model Congress, such as, SAR, HAFTR and Shalhevet, did not attend sessions. The team joined the UPenn students at the Hillel and had a fabulous Friday night dinner. “I really got a chance to feel like what a Shabbat at college is like,” said Jack Tauber ’14. Many team members felt that because they did not attend two committee sessions on Shabbat, they were judged negatively. “I was a little disappointed that certain team members did not win awards, who participated fabulously during our weekly practices. We may have suffered from the schedule where we missed two sessions,” said Hillel Rapp. Overall, however, team members felt that Penn was accommodating to them. “Penn understands that we can’t go to sessions on Shabbat and instructs the committee chairs not to deduct points from us for not competing on Shabbat. Of course, it is still a concern and definitely harder for us to make an impression and win awards but Penn does the best it can to ensure that we have a chance in winning,” said Kornsgold. This year the Ramaz team considered attending other Model Congress competitions. “Ever since the club started we went to the Penn conference and that was it. This year we investigated whether we could go to another conference. We decided to go to Princeton but the problem was it was very expensive and Ramaz told us that if we wanted to go, we would have to pay. The team ended up deciding that it was too much money and we didn’t go. As much as we would like to go to another conference and get more experience, unless something changes and Ramaz subsidizes a trip to Princeton or another school we probably won’t be able to do it,” said Teddy Tuckman ’14. Hillel Rapp said that he was, “very proud of the team effort.” Ben Kaplan ’16 added to this and said, “Overall it was a great trip. Hanging out with the team, meeting kids from other schools and competing were all very fun.” Kornsgold finished by saying, “I encourage everyone to come try out for next year’s team. It’s a great club where you can practice and improve your debating skills, learn about how Congress works and have an awesome time.”
The Rampage News
Jeff Flug Speaks at BIC
By Skyler Levine ’15 On Tuesday night, April 28, the Business Investment Club greeted an exciting, accomplished, and high-profile speaker. Jeff Flug, President of Union Square Hospitality Group, LLC, came to speak to BIC about his wide variety of experiences in the business world. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst in 1984, Mr. Flug worked in an accounting firm for several years. He then decided he was less interested in accounting and more interested in business. He therefore attended Columbia Business School starting in 1988. From there he continued on to work on Wall Street, serving first as managing director for Goldman, Sachs & Co. After his work at Goldman Sachs, Mr. Flug worked as Managing Director and Head of North American Institutional Sales at JPMorgan Chase and Co. from May 2000 to April 2006. After his work on Wall Street, Mr. Flug became interested in non-profit work. He spent two years as Chief Executive Officer and Executive
Director of Millennium Promise Alliance, Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is to eradicate extreme global poverty. After this non-profit work, with the encouragement of friends, Mr. Flug entered the food industry. Since August 2009, he has held a variety of senior positions with Union Square Hospitality Group, LLC, a restaurant chain whose biggest restaurant is Shake Shack. He helped grow Shake Shack and was proud of its development into a large enterprise. The members of BIC greatly enjoyed Mr. Flug’s lecture. He had a positive attitude and encouraged the members to be adventurous in their future decisions. Many members found his attitude extremely inspiring. Jack Tauber ’15 said, “He really motivated all of us to never be afraid of taking risks and putting ourselves out there. He was a living breathing example of someone who was not afraid to fail, and because of this, ended up an extremely successful man, learning more and more
from every risk he took.” Other members enjoyed hearing about the many routes he took in his career. “He has worked in many diverse fields, and has an interesting outlook on each,” DJ Presser ’16 said. “He was a very interesting speaker because of all the different types of jobs he has held over the course of his professional career.” Students specifically enjoyed hearing about the process of growing and regulating Shake Shack, as it is a very popular, expanding restaurant chain. Jacob Berman ’16 said, “Mr. Flug gave interesting insights on how to manage a global business such as his, and how hard it is to keep high standards for quality around the world. He also spoke about how Shake Shack tries to be as fair and supportive of their customers--even if it means spending millions of dollars to improve their french fries to become the best.” Overall, Mr. Flug’s talk was well received and enjoyed by all.
Parallax Wins Columbia Silver Crown Award By Andrew Lobel ’15 Parallax, the Upper School’s acclaimed literary magazine, won its third Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) Silver Crown Award for its 2013 edition. The award was conferred at an awards convocation that took place on March 21 at Columbia University. In its history, Parallax has won three CSPA Silver Crown Awards, three Gold Crown Awards, and has been deemed a Gold Medal publication by the CSPA every year since it was first submitted in 1999. According to Dr. Honig, the Parallax faculty adviser, the Ramaz literary journal has been so consistently successful because “we have talented, smart, creative and devoted students”. The CSPA is an international student press association whose goal is “to unite student journalists and faculty advisers through conferences and award programs.” Each year, hundreds of schools nationwide enter the CSPA competition in the High School Magazine category. For 2013 publications, the CSPA awarded 16 Gold and 20 Silver Crown Awards. Ramaz was the only school in New York City to win a Silver Crown Award. Riverdale Country Day School, winner of a Gold Crown Award, was the only other Crown recipient in the state of New York. Parallax is both the Upper School’s creative writing club and its literary magazine. At weekly meetings, students hold creative writing workshops during which they write and read each other’s poetry and prose. In addition to publishing an annual literary magazine, the club also produces the creative writing section of the yearbook and helps run the annual Celebration of the Arts at which members often read their work
aloud. Parallax, the literary magazine, is produced annually and any student, regardless of whether they are a club member, is welcome to submit their work. Dr. Honig explained that Parallax means “the apparent displacement of an observed object due to a change in the position of the observer.” Parallax, the literary publication, is “about looking at things differently and creatively.” According to Jessica Gruenstein ’14, “every edition of Parallax has a theme. The theme helps provide structure to the publication as a whole and promotes balance and transition between the different tones and the variety of pieces within it.” The winning 2013 edition of Parallax was subtitled “Wonderland” and its articles and artwork reflected different aspects of this theme. Gruenstein explained, “Wonderland is all about the world of physics and the wonder it contributes to the physical world.” It’s also “about the state of mind of exploration and viewing one’s entire life experience in a deeply thoughtful, creative and curious way.” According to the CSPA, entries are judged using a “holistic approach.” Judges evaluate each publication’s design, photography, concept, coverage and writing. In its review of Parallax, the CSPA wrote: “Parallax is a wonderful journal in monochrome. It explores the use of visual texture for images while echoing graphic experiments of the mid-twentieth
century and concrete poetry in the texts. There is something for every reader, from cleverly written limericks to expert fiction writing that uses exposition, complication, climax, and resolution to tell complete stories.” The CSPA especially appreciated the magazine’s “interpretation of Wonderland as not just a place but also as a state of mind.” Parallax contributors are justifiably proud of receiving the Silver Crown. Erica Newman-Corre ’15, a writer for Parallax said, “I am so happy to have contributed to this award winning publication. Next year, I hope we can keep up this tradition.” As exciting as it
is to receive the honor, Parallax writers find the creative writing process rewarding in and of itself. As Gruenstein said, writing for Parallax “gets my brain juices flowing. The prompts we are given encourage me to think out of the box and bring something to life.” Most importantly, “when I see my poetry and prose published alongside others I hear others’ stories come to life and I am reminded that everyone has something to bring to the world, even if it’s just a story.”
The Rampage News
May 2014/Iyar 5774
ELIANNA SCHWARTZ ’16: LIFE ABROAD IN THE HOLY LAND
By Eddie Mattout ’15
RamPage: Why did your family decide to go live in Israel? Schwartz: For as long as I can remember, I have always felt a connection to Israel. All of my paternal family made Aliyah many years ago; including my great grandmother, my grandparents, my aunts, uncles, and many of my cousins. Currently, I have five cousins in the Israeli Army. My maternal grandparents are both Holocaust survivors and intended on moving to Israel but got “stuck” in America. My parents have always wanted to live in Israel but for the usual reasons of family and work, they have not had the opportunity. They believe that an essential part of loving the land of Israel is living in the land of Israel. My parents wanted us to experience the Israeli way of life, even if for a short amount of time. They felt strongly that this was the perfect time for our family since my brother Benjy ’13 was already in Israel studying in Yeshivat Orayta in Jerusalem. Coincidentally, my father’s family went to Israel during his freshman year of high school so he felt it was the opportune time for me! RamPage: Were the kids that you attended school with similar to Ramaz kids? If they were different, how so? Schwartz: I went to an all-girls school called Amit Ranaanim. Attending an all-girls school in itself is a different experience from being in a co-ed school. Naturally, Ramaz kids and Amit kids are different because of the extremely different cultures we grow up in.
Ramaz students are focused on college, something that is foreign to the students I met. Israelis are focused on the army and sheirut leumi (public service). University is something very far off for them. Yes, they have bagrut (standardized subject tests), regular tests and homework; however, Israelis take their holidays a lot more seriously. For example, Purim begins with Rosh Chodesh Adar. The students take over the entire school, decorate it and literally transform it like the megilla says, “v’nahafochu”. This goes on for two weeks; with costumes, carnivals, food, and celebrations. Nonetheless, kids are kids and even though Ramaz and Amit are completely different, we share the same values and love for Judaism and can connect easily. RamPage: Do you feel like Ramaz gave you a strong basis in Hebrew to go and live in Israel? Schwartz: Yes, not only do I feel that Ramaz gave me a strong basis in Hebrew to go and live in Israel, but every Israeli that I interacted with, whether it was one of my teachers or just a friend, was so surprised by my Hebrew language skills. Of course, it was still a challenge to speak everyday Hebrew with my peers. I had to catch on to the quicker pace at which they speak, the way they text (just like the acronyms we use), and to all of their slang. Everyday Hebrew is very different from classroom Hebrew. RamPage: Did your relationship to Israel change as a result of your stay? Schwartz: Visiting Israel has
always been special for me. I am sure that any Jew who has had the privilege to visit Israel will agree that they felt an instant connection to the land and the people in it. But my relationship to Israel has evolved to even more than that. I have built so many strong relationships with neighbors, kids from my school, and families from my shul. My love for Israel has grown from my experiences. I have learned so much from my peers; not in a classroom setting, but from the way they live life. First of all, the hachnassat orchim that they exhibited towards me and my family was exemplary and I only hope I will have the opportunity to welcome strangers into our school the way they welcomed me. In addition, I learned a lot from the bonding experiences. Whether it was Kabbalat Shabbat in the local shul and a Shabbat dinner with my whole class at one of our classmates with homemade food contributed by all, or a threeday hiking trip in the Galil, their love for Judaism and Israel shined through every aspect of their lves. Without sounding too cliché, Israel has truly become my second home. RamPage: Do you plan on returning to Israel? Schwartz: My family intends to return to Israel to “finish what we started”. The best is yet to come- Yom HaZikaron, Yom Ha’atzmaut, Lag Ba’omer, Yom Yerushalayim and Shavuot. Experiences my parents believe to be too valuable to miss out on.
Continued from front cover However, because Ramaz had never before gone to Berlin, there were some coordination failures. “The amount of time in Berlin was rushed and cut short because we underestimated the amount of time it would take us to drive to Warsaw,” said Mr. Miller. “It was unfortunate, because the amount of time in Berlin was too short even to begin with. But the addition of Berlin is worth preserving and doing differently next year.” Another significant change to the Poland trip was the absence of Rabbi Goldmintz, who had been helping to run it for the past sixteen years. “Rabbi Goldmintz and I had done this for many years together, we could just look at each other and know what to do,” said Rabbi Weiser. “Without Rabbi Goldmintz, most students didn’t read books that would have prepared them more for the trip. We have to reevaluate how we did Poland Prep this year.
Holocaust memorial students visited in Berlin
Having been there so many times, Rabbi Goldmintz knew exactly what to prepare kids for.” For most of the Poland trips, this year included, Ramaz has
included there was a great clamor to go back.” The students had a meaningful time in Poland, and shared that the trip was truly inspiring and life changing. After a tough week in Berlin and Poland, the twelfth grade ended their journey in the land of Israel. “I have been to Israel so many times, but I have never appreciated Israel the same way I did after Poland,” shared Simone Amar ’14. The Students participating in a memorial ceremony at Majdanek students were thankful taken the students straight from for something as simple as landing Poland to Israel. There has been in Israel and finally being able to some criticism of this, because, eat anything. despite the short Israel stay of only The seniors said that they two days, it adds a large cost to the gained a new appreciation for the trip. “You can make the argument land, and many got very excited that Israel adds to spend the upcoming year in a large amount Israel. Sandra Perl ’14 said, “I of expense for a was unsure about my decision short amount of to go to Israel next year for a time, and that it while. However, after a tough doesn’t contribute week in Poland, and landing much,” said Mr. in Israel, I have reaffirmed my Miller. “I hear decision and I understand how that. Just note that important it is to continue in the two years to gain a greater sense of my that Israel was not Mia Shoshany ’14 in front Jewish culture.” of a cattle car at Auschwitz
JACOB BERMAN ’16: CHESS PRODIGY
By Alex Leibowitz ’15
The normal Ramaz student This time, Berman and his father goes home every night and has traveled to Al Ayn, a city in the hours and hours of homework. United Arab Emirates, to compete Being a world champion in against other young chess players anything besides procrastination from around the world. is unthinkable. Most students feel One would think that such like the teachers lump so much skill would require a rigid schedwork on them that they couldn’t ule. However, Berman says he even be mediocre in a competitive doesn’t have a set amount of time sport, like chess. Jacob Berman he practices. Leading up to a large ’16, then, is not the typical Ramaz tournament he will practice many student. times a week, but if he doesn’t Since eighth grade, Berman has have any tournaments in the near been playing competitive chess for future he will rest up. South Africa. In Eighth grade, his One of the hardest parts of father encouraged him to enter being a chess champion is keeping The Close, a chess tournament for all of South Africa. The winners of every age group represent South Africa in world tournaments. During that first tournament, Berman broke out as a star, finishing third in the Under Sixteen age group. He received the honor of representing South Africa in chess tournaments around the world. Berman ’16 at a chess tournament in He first traveled to India, where India this past December. he played in the India Commonwealth Games. He then played for up with all of his schoolwork. South Africa in the World Chess Berman says, however, that teachUnder Sixteen Olympiad in Chiers tend to be understanding and na, where he spent two weeks by allow him time to catch up when himself in Chong Qing. This past he has to leave school to play in a year, Berman played in the most tournament. Lucky him! prestigious of world tournaments for his age group: The World Youth Chess Championships.
By Skyler Levine ’15 On Tuesday night, April 1, parents and friends of 11th graders poured into the Upper School auditorium to watch Fugue Night. Fugue night is the culmination of a semester-long project within the 11th grade music curriculum. Throughout the semester, students compose and perform their own spoken or sung fugues, choosing a text and then creating the rhythmic patterns that portray its meaning and character. This year Fugue Night was specifically unique, because this was the first year that Fugue night was in a late-night talk show format. Although all of the fugues were very entertaining, some of the highlights of the night were: 1. Bekiut - Eli Lewis ’15 and Tzvi Merczynski-Hait ’15 This was a satirical fugue about Bekiut. The pair made fun of the new format of Bekiut and the material being studied this year, Sefer Hakuzari. “On Wednesdays there’s be, bekiut, bekiut means, no final. Ku za ku za ku za ku za kuzari.” 2. Dulny - Daniel Dishi ’15, Stephen Eliau ’15 , and Alex Leibowitz ’15 In the fugue the three boys discuss the pleasure of experiencing Mr. Dulny’s gym class throughout their three years at Ramaz. The trio ended the fugue with a classic line that was personally directed at Mr. Dulny: “Dulny can’t handle the pressure.”
3. FNL Fugue - Adam Bandler ’15 and Sammy Merkin ’15 This fugue was about the TV show Friday Night Lights. The fugue discussed some of the main characters and inspirational phrases from the show. “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose. Clear Eyes, Fugue Hearts, Can’t lose.” 4. Live On - Gaby Stemp ’15 This fugue stood out, as it was the only melodic fugue of the night. For her fugue, Stemp sang an original song that she wrote as encouragement for a friend who was experiencing a rough time. The fugue was about living life and knowing that even through the ups and downs, life always turns out okay. “We’ve both had good days and bad but you gotta know that life gets good even though sometimes your life seems sad.” 5. Bad Athletes - Alex Agus ’15 and Jack Tauber ’15 This fugue was about athletes who make bad decisions and the funny yet unwise things they do. This fugue mentioned Lance Armstrong, Michael Vick, Richard Sherman and their previous mistakes. “Lance arm-no-so-strong without his PEDS.” Congratulations to all the Fuguers on a job well done. As Mr. Henkin put it best, “Fugue hard or Fugue home.”
May 2014/Iyar 5774
The Rampage News
Getting to Know your GO Candidates Secretary
Rampage: What makes you the best candidate for the position of Secretary?
Rein: I’m extremely hard working and creative. Being devilishly handsome also doesn’t hurt.
HershkowOppenheim: A itz: Being Secretary is secretary works in all about communications; communication—something I handling the GO Instagram, think I’ve excelled at. I’ve worked Email, Facebook, website, and on a few Ramaz Facebook pages (especially Humans of Ramaz). I also taking notes for administration and have a knack for photography, which at SFAC meetings. Because I have good relationships with faculty could help the GO spread news and students and I am involved and pictures. I can take notes in extra curricular activities, I quickly and efficiently, which will be able to be a great could be helpful at SFAC secretary. meetings.
Rampage: Junior year is notorious for its workload. How do you plan on managing the GO and junior year?
Rein: I have had no issues balancing my work as class president this year, so I’m confident that being a part of the G.O will not be an issue next year.
Haber: Refused to comment.
Rampage: Senior year is often called the most “chill” year. What motivates you to commit so much of your time to the GO?
Oppenheim: I plan on strengthening my skills at prioritizing and pushing myself through my obligations, even if they seem overwhelming. I think time management is partially skill and partially emotional. I’m also secretly working on a time machine with the Ramaz Spacetime Continuum Club and NASA, so stay tuned…
Hershkowitz: The GO’s special events and constant updates on social media make the students feel connected to the school, beyond what goes on inside the classroom. I am willing to dedicate my senior year to working with the GO, the administration, and the faculty to continue spreading the comfort that I felt throughout high school.
Haber: Refused to comment.
Rampage: What do you plan on changing in the school?
Rein: I hope to let the students suggestions guide me and my decisions. I hope to make the school more enjoyable by relieving a lot of the stress felt by students. Ramaz students are under constant pressure, and I hope that next year I can start to take measures to relieve some of that pressure..
Oppenheim: I want to flesh out the GO website so that more clubs can be represented. I’d like to make sure there aren’t too many special schedules that lead us to lose homeroom. The test calendar should be more malleable in case unforeseen issues pop up. I also want to push the school to upgrade their outdated email system.
Hershkowitz: My goal would be to add spirit, unity, and involvement throughout all grades. I would like to add more schoolwide outings and in-school programs in order to bond students together beyond their immediate circle of friends. Additionally, I would like to institute school trips relating to each grade’s curriculum.
Haber: Refused to comment.
The RamPage News
May 2014/Iyar 5774
Getting to Know yo
Presi Junior Vice President Rampage: What makes you the best candidate for the position of JVP?
Silverman: I have great relationships with many faculty and administrative members, which will be beneficial in coordinating events and in passing favorable programs for students. I will also bring my intelligence to the table, as well as my sense of humor, which always helps to lighten the mood.
Rampage: Why do yo of the school and why for th Schub: I care about the students and the school, and would like to keep as many people as possible happy. I would work to help make student-life in school as great as it can be.
Rampage: Junior year is notorious for its workload. How do you plan on managing the GO and junior year?
Silverman: I don’t think that it is going to be much of an issue, since I’m an efficient and productive worker. I will simply have to budget my time wisely next year. Worst comes to worst I fail, and I don’t get in to college.
Schub: Even though junior year is going to be a lot to deal with considering it’s an intense workload, I will make my responsibilities for GO my main priority. I will put my work aside or finish it before having to deal with GO related issues, that way all my focus can go into keeping the student-body happy.
Rampage: What do you plan on changing in the school?
Silverman: I would like to reinstate whole milk into breakfast. I’d also like to add more Rosh Chodesh chagigas, institue special Friday breakfasts, and organize grade-wide optional ski trips. In addition, I want to expand the videogame lounge in the auditorium to include beanbags and musical instruments. And Chickies catering – look out Ben Marans ’14.
Steman: uinely care ab student body an give back to the R nity in the best wa it has supplied me portunities and frie for the job because to the school and essary experien government.
Rampage: You were J what skills have
Steman:Thro JVP I’ve learned properly approac tration with ideas a manage my academ responsibilities that representing the st
Rampage: Do you have the school n
Schub: I would say what I plan on changing in the school, but my ideas are insignificant. Whatever the students want to change is what I will try my best to do. I will work for the student-body and put all of my personal opinions aside to ensure that the students are receiving what they’d like and enjoying the school environment.
Sterma year I hope student body Butterfield and ing shops as well school bonding op as a picnic in Cent idea is for all junio off of school the major standar dates.
May 2014/Iyar 5774
The Rampage News
our GO Candidates
ident Treasurer Rampage: What makes you the best candidate for the position of Treasurer?
ou want to be President y do you think you are fit he job?
I genbout the nd want to Ramaz commuay possible after with so many opends. I think I’m fit e I’m committed d I have the necnce on student
Junior Vice Presidente you learned?
ough being d how to ch the adminisas well as how to mic life with the t come along with tudent body.
Levine: I have innate skills and previous businness experience. I am a very good math student, and have succeeded in honors math for the previous three years. These skills will allow me to calculate our resources and plan ahead for the year. I am also a member of business investment club. Lastly, I really care about Ramaz and the students. I want the best for them.
Rampage: Senior year is often called the most “chill” year. What motivates you to commit so much of your time to the GO?
Levine: As someone who has gone through the Ramaz experience, I can relate to what students are facing. I want to give back some of my free time to ensure that Ramaz students are as happy as they can be. I am dedicated to improving the lives of students and when I set a goal, I work endlessly to accomplish it.
Cohen: That theory does not relate to me. Time is money and money never sleeps. I take my job very seriously and failure is never an option! What two words start with the letter ‘M’? Money and motivation. Money is my motivation. My mind is on Ramaz’s money and Ramaz’s money is on my mind. C.R.E.A.M. Cash rules everything around me.
Rampage: What do you plan on changing in the school?
e any specific plans for next year?
an: Next e to get the a discount at other neighborl as organize more pportunities such tral Park. My last ors to have days e Friday before rdized test
Cohen: Many people say money cannot buy happiness. However, those people are usually poor. To the people who aren’t so happy, I will make sure that money will be there for you. I recently learned a very important lesson. “Mula ain’t anything, homie it’s the only thing.” Ramaz needs a guy like me in control of the GO budget.
Levine: I want to create a coffee cart in the lobby each morning. I plan on selling ordered pizza once a week during lunch, so freshmen and sophomores can enjoy outside food. I plan on making holiday-themed boutiques n order to help students save time buying gifts. The biggest fundraiser I hope to plan is a school dance in the Gym.
Cohen: I will sell croissants during homeroom. I will also make ‘package deals’ for the food that is sold. Additionally, I’d like to sell ‘Mazza’ after school on Fridays, before Shabbat. Mazza is a collection of delicious Syrian appetizers (Lachmageen, chicken nuggets, kibe, mini hotdogs…) that appeals to any human being with taste buds.
The RamPage News
May 2014/Iyar 5774
Getting to Know your GO Candidates Senior Vice President
Rampage: What makes you the best candidate for the position of Senior Vice President?
Harary: I am passionate about bettering the school and being an active member of the student body. I am extremely patient and ethical; I treat everyone equally, never condescending in my speech or manner. One of my favorite things to do is converse with my peers and learn about their lives and goals.
Missry: I think I am the candidate that would work the hardest and listen to the students the most. I would then covey students’ requests to the administration. I would push the hardest to help fix the things that kids care about.
Liesman: I am a dedicated leader who knows how to make this school super sparkling and fun! I have felt the hardships of the dual curriculum and I know how to ease the work-load and incorporate actvities to brighten the spirits of students. I feel like I can make a difference. I am committed to this school and am willing to put in the time.
Major: I am really committed to improving the school. Ramaz is great, but let’s be honest, there are also a lot of problems. Ramaz students get really overwhelmed with work and co-curriculars. If elected Vice President, I will try to ease that burden by having more fun programs.
Rampage: Senior year is often called the most “chill” year. What motivates you to commit so much of your time to the GO?
Harary: Regardless of whether senior year is the most ‘chill’ year, I am devoted in giving 100% of my effort to aid the amazing school we go to. I’m highly motivated because Ramaz has come to hold a special place in my heart, and I would be honored to represent the beliefs and concerns of other students.
Missry: Since I will have so much time, I will be best suited to help the school. I will devote all my free time to help the environment. The more time I have free, the more time I will have to help the students, from fixing up the lounges to reinventing the vending machines.
Liesman: Junior year showed me that if I can get through the SAT’s and the hard tests that were given, along with the history paper, I can do just about anything. That’s why I think that instead of wasting my time just chilling in the senior lounge, I can use my free time productively and try to help out student life here at Ramaz.
Major: I think senior year is the perfect time to be on GO because it is such a chill year. This way I will actually have the time to work on GO projects.
Rampage: What do you plan on changing in the school?
Harary: I want to make Ramaz a more enjoyable place for everyone. I want everyone to feel a part of the Ramaz community, and be able to voice their opinions. Therefore, I’d want to create GO meetings solely for students to express themselves to their leaders.
Missry: My first objective would be to help fix up the lounges and the vending machines in the school. I would love to introduce an entertainment system to help the students relax after a hard test or a hard days work. I would also like a to add new vending machines WITH credit card swipes.
Liesman: I plan on revamping the test schedule in order to avoid having 4 tests one week, and 1 test the next. Another issue that needs to be addressed is the lack of exposure to the City. I plan to schedule many more field trips in order to get the students out of the classroom and into more direct learning experiences.
Major: I want to work on making Ramaz a less stressful environment. This would mean more trips, assemblies, and early days. I would also like to work on improving the breakfast and making snacks available throughout the school day. In addition, I want to give the students more say in deciding their test schedules.
The RamPage Arts
May 2014/Iyar 5774
Draft Day: A Movie to Live Your Life By By Skyler Levine ’15
Draft Day written by Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph and directed by Ivan Reitman is on face value the typical sports movie seeking to do for football what Moneyball did for baseball. However, on instant replay it becomes abundantly clear that this movie is about life with football as the writer’s medium. The movie focuses on Sonny Weaver (Kevin Costner), the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns, as he navigates the twelve hours prior to the NFL Draft. In the movie, Cleveland is a struggling franchise run by a General Manger who is at a crossroads in his career. He must prove himself now or run the risk of not living up to his father’s legacy. At the same time, the owner of the team is pressuring Weaver, who has just found out that his girlfriend and co-worker (Jennifer Garner) is pregnant. Early in the movie, Weaver and the team owner walk through a
Game of Thrones Returns By Sam Reich ’17
Over the course of the past three years, Game Of Thrones has been becoming an increasingly popular television series. The show finally returned to television on April 6. Game of Thrones is about the different views on five kingdoms that all fight for power and try to win over the throne. There are gory battles; amazing adventures, and of course sexual tension between the characters. This show has honestly had a personal effect on my life as I instantly became addicted, watching all of the first three seasons in less than two weeks. In the third season, the show has a dramatic twist in the second to last episode, called the “Red Wedding”. Although I would love to talk about it, it would be nicer if I didn’t ruin the show for those who have not yet seen it. The upcoming fourth season, which I have been looking forward to these past few months, is supposed to be on a whole other level. New characters have gained prominence, and alliances between veteran characters have dramatically shifted. Sources say this season will be the most heartbreaking, which is hard to believe considering what happened towards the end of season three. People will die unexpectedly, and others will gain power by any means necessary. Game of Thrones is a nail-biting, exciting, and spectacular show, which brings happiness and joy into peoples lives, especially mine. People should sit on their couches, pick up their remotes, and catch up to season four before it’s to late.
water park owned by the Brown’s owner. Weaver is told to make a splash because just like during a water ride, in life, people want to get wet. Later in the movie, Weaver tells his girlfriend that the great ones in sports can slow the game down. The Joe Montana’s of the world can stay composed and make time move slower, allowing for the greatest chance of success. These two themes dominate the movie in the same way that they dominate life in general. There are those that want immediate gratification and excitement now,
ignoring prudence and common sense. Others seek to slow down life enough to make it predictable and guaranteed even at the expense of excitement. The football draft, Weaver’s re-
lationship with his girlfriend, and his relationship with his mom and co-workers all serve as backdrops to the internal debate that Weaver is facing. He is at a turning point in his life and must decide what
Silicon Valley By Yale Buchwald ’15
Silicon Valley, HBO’s new sitcom, has emerged as a surprisingly popular show as part of this spring’s television season. This new comedy is centered around six computer programmers who are living together and trying to make it big in Silicon Valley, a section of Northern California known for its advancement in technology and other startups. The show’s main character is Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch), who creates an algorithm that has the potential to change the technology industry. Richard’s friends, who include notables such as Jared Dunn (Zach Woods, The Office) and Bertram Gilfoyle (Martin Starr, Freaks and Geeks), as well as four others, form a company and assist Richard with his potentially revolutionary algorithm.
will drive him and help define who he is and how he will be remembered. Who is Sonny Weaver Jr. not just in football, not just in his relationships, but his entire being and ultimately his legacy? And the movie answers this important life decision emphatically. If your heart is what motivates you and your integrity drives you, then you can have it all in life. You can make a splash and live with excitement and at the same time control the situation and create opportunities that maximize your chance of success. This message is a message that speaks to me on multiple levels.
As a sports fan, I can completely relate to this. My favorite football franchise, the three time Super Bowl winning New England Patriots, are the epitome of excitement and entertainment and at the same time they are the golden team of consistency and winning. They do it because they have the drive and determination to grab all that life and football has to offerexcitement today and winning always. In addition, as a teenager the message guides me in my daily life. As a young adult, one is almost obligated to think about excitement and awesomeness and at the same time be aware that making the right decisions one is the pathway to success. To have a successful draft day and to have a successful high school career, one must be prepared to live life to the fullest while staying grounded enough to build not just for today, but for the future as well.
Divergent By Jasmine Levine ’17
Based on the show’s first couple of episodes, Silicon Valley has proven itself as a pretty entertaining series. However, the show’s humor focuses around many topics regarding technology and computer programming, which may be boring to some viewers. Additionally, the cast primarily consists of male actors. The show’s almost entirely male cast may possibly be a comment on the fact that the Silicon Valley tech scene primarily consists of males, however, it wouldn’t hurt to have some humorous leading female actresses. Silicon Valley is definitely a recommended watch for those interested in the subject matter. For those who aren’t that interested in computer programming, the show might seem tedious.
On March 21, 2014 the movie Divergent, based on the best-selling novel by Veronica Roth, came to theaters nationwide. The movie takes place in a dystopian world in which life is divided into five factions. At the age of 16, one has to take the aptitude test, which shows which faction each person is best suited to pursue. Each young adult then has to choose which faction they want to spend the rest of their life in, even if it means leaving their parents and their faction. The five factions are: Abnegation, which believe in modesty and devoting themselves to helping others, Amity, which are happy and peaceful, Candor, the faction that thinks that honesty is the best policy, Erudite, which is the smart and knowledgeable faction, and Dauntless, which is the fearless, brave, and sometimes scary faction. The story focuses on a girl named Beatrice (nicknamed Tris) who is 16 and has to take her aptitude test, along with her brother Caleb. She belongs to the faction Abnegation, and her whole life she has struggled because she doesn’t feel that she is selfless enough to fit in among everyone else in Abnegation. When it comes time to take her aptitude test, her results show that she does not fit into any specific faction and she is actually part Abnegation, part Erudite, and part Dauntless, which is called Divergent. Tris ends up choosing Dauntless, and while she initially second guesses her decision because of the crazy lessons and actions Dauntless requires, she ends up thriving because of her ability to think as a person with more than one aspect of life programmed into her brain. With the help of her instructor from Dauntless that ultimately becomes her boyfriend, Tobias (nicknamed Four), she is able to
survive the harsh Dauntless training. Even though Tris’s life seems to be calming down as she passes the Dauntless training, it is just getting started, and all the aspects of fighting and surviving that she learned in her new faction will come into play as she, with the help of Four, attempt to save the world from the mind-controlling Jeanine Mathews of the Erudite faction. The Divergent storyline is often compared to that of The Hunger Games. Both stories take place in an imaginary dystopian worlds. Both stories also have small, yet powerful and brave girls as the main characters and focus on young love within a violent and terrifying plot. The actress Shailene Woodley, who plays Tris in Divergent, is specifically compared to Jennifer Lawrence, who plays the main character Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games. Even though Lawrence is considered to be a more skilled and powerful actress, Woodley cultivates a very believable romance with Theo James, the actor who plays Four in Divergent. She was able to connect with her love better than Lawrence with Josh Hucherson, the actor who plays Peeta Melark in The Hunger Games. While the story lacks the power contained in the Hunger Games, the outstanding acting makes the movie extremely compelling and keeps the viewer’s interest throughout. However, the movie does not explain the plot very well, so one should read the books before watching the movie. On a more postivitve note, the combination of great acting and chemistry, as well as an interesting story, leave the viewer longing for the next installment of this riveting trilogy.
The RamPage News
German Students Visit Ramaz
By Skyler Levine ’15
On Wednesday, April 2, a group of students from Berlin, accompanied by their Head of School and their pastor, came to Ramaz. The group spent a week in America as part of an exchange program between Germany and America. Rabbi Rosenbaum, the Rabbi of Temple Israel in the Five Towns, has been conducting this program for eleven years. Fourteen years ago, the American Board of Rabbis met with the German Foreign Minister to organize an exchange program between New York and Berlin and Philadelphia and Frankfurt. The intentions of the program are, as Rabbi Rosenbaum explained, “to promote a better understanding between Jews and Germans, because German students do not know a lot about Jews. In order to form good relationships with the Germans, which will benefit Israel, it is important for their future leaders to know who we are and what we believe in. It is crucial for the students to be educated about what the state of Israel is and how we connect to it.” Rabbi Rosenbaum wants to prevent Germans from being negatively influenced by anti-Israel propaganda. In order to accomplish this goal, the German students were taken to important Jewish institutions in New York. The students visited Ramaz and the Jewish Heritage Museum, finishing the week by spending Shabbat in the Five Towns with the congregants of Temple Israel. Rabbi Rosenbaum
felt that visiting Ramaz, a Modern-Orthodox School and Temple Israel, a Reformed synagogue, was a perfect combination, because it showed the students the diversity that exists within Judaism. The program wanted to add to the Jewish edification by exposing these students to the immense culture that exists in New York City. The group toured the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Time Square, and many other tourist attractions. When the students first arrived at Ramaz, they attended the Tanach classes of Mr. Krupka, Rabbi Wallach, and Ms. Mitnick. Regarding the class discussion, Ms. Krupka said, “Nothing controversial came up. We opened up our home and school to show them who we are with pride and I think they appreciated it greatly.” The German students were very curious and asked many questions. Ramaz students explained to the Germans some aspects of the curriculum, such as the difference between Chumash and Navi. Although these students are from a religious Protestant school, their school has a weaker focus on religion than Ramaz. They only have religious courses twice a week and
prayer services are optional. After the classes, the Germans ate lunch with a group of junior students. The students got along well with each other and found that they had more in common then they had expected. Rachel Aboodi ’15 said, “It was relatively easy to find things to talk to them
about because we’re more similar than we think and they were really friendly.” Other students appreciated the opportunity to expand beyond their every-day social circles. Esther Douer ’15 said, “It was nice to have the opportunity to broaden our view and talk to international people as opposed to those within our traditional Jewish Yeshiva League bubble.” After the lunch was over, the students exchanged emails with each other. A few of the Ramaz students are still in touch with the Germans they met. The German students enjoyed their time at Ramaz so much that Rabbi Rosenbaum asked Ramaz to host future foreign exchange students.
Freshman Trip To Brooklyn By Gabriel Klapholz ’17 On Tuesday, March 25, the freshmen went on a trip to Brooklyn. After leaving Ramaz, the freshmen split into groups that alternated between four main activities. Students enjoyed a host of experiences that added a different dimension to their school lives. One activity was traveling to a Judaica called Tiferes Stam, a place that produces Sifrei Torah and Tefillin. Freshmen heard about the long process of making Tefillin and about how Torah scrolls are meticulously written and organized. They were then allowed into the room where Tefillin are made in an elaborate pressing machine and cut into perfect squares using powerful saws. They visited where the Tefillin are painted, and even got to meet the man who scans all of the letters of a finished Torah scroll in order to find mistakes and correct them. The ninth grade also got to hear from Rabbi Yona Weinrib in the adjacent building. Rabbi Weinrib works for Judaica Illuminations. He creates beautiful works of art out of Jewish books and texts, including Haggadot, Tanachim and Ketubot. Rabbi Weinrib gave some insightful philosophical words, speaking
about what he does for a living and showing us his completed four-year project of his illuminated Classic Edition Sefer Shemot. Mikaela Abergel ’17, who received one of Rabbi Weinrib’s books for her Bat Mitzvah, said, “the way he portrays Judaism through his illustrations is beautiful.” After finishing their second activity, freshmen took a stroll down Avenue J for lunch. Freshmen were completely tantalized by the never-ending row of Kosher restaurants and the culture of Jewish Brooklyn that was new to many of them. Megan Herskowitz ’17 said that it “was really nice of [the] school to let us go out for lunch.” Herskowitz continued that “a [woman] come up to me and asked me what school we were from because apparently she was in one of the restaurants and the [Ramaz students] were really nice to her.” The day also included a trip to the Living Torah Museum, which contained some of the most precious ancient artifacts in the world. Some freshmen were shocked when they were allowed to wear Ancient Egyptian jewelry and hold ancient weapons. Rachel Wahba ’17 held a fish that had been mummified for thousands
of years. “The fact that they still have this ancient fish is crazy,” said Wahba. Coins that were used in the times of the Beit Hamikdash and that had the faces of significant ancient figures, including Antiochus IV from the Channukah story, were passed around the room. Some freshmen questioned the authenticity of the artifacts, but the museum maintained that everything had been checked and tested by professional archaeologists. Daniel Cahn ’17 said, in reference to the artifacts, that the way the museum staff “was holding them, handing them to [students], and storing them may lead one to doubt their true value.” Another showroom in the Living Torah Museum displayed dozens of real animals that had been stuffed. The freshmen were allowed to hold and interact with them. The collection included giraffes, elephants, lions, wolves, deer and many more exotic and domestic creatures. Because no Ramaz event lacks chesed, the freshmen packed food that they had brought into school that morning for Oneg Shabbos, an organization that offers less-fortunate families food for Shabbat. Daniel Jaspan ’17 said that the experience “enhanced the meaning of tzedakah and giving” and that he “enjoyed knowing that a family will eat because of our actions.”
May 2014/Iyar 5774
Color War at Seneca
Continued from front cover
“We thought it would be worthwhile to combine the Seneca trip with color war. Presented the circumstances that we would not be able to have both, we thought combining the two would really give the students the most fun time,” said Mr. Miller. The administration approached the GO with the idea and after much deliberation they decided that combining the two events was the best option for the students. According to Hillel Rapp, “The GO had three options. Either we could not go on the overnight trip and have a color war. We could go on the overnight trip and not have a color war. Or we could have both. Initially the GO was split on the issue but in the end we decided that having both was the best way to go.” Rachel Kastner ’17 said, “I think it’s cool that its together and that it will be fun to not only do stuff inside but also to be able to do sports and other activities outside.” Student Activites Coordinator, Dov Pianko, said that “the trip has the potential to be an awesome time. The facilities allow us
to run so many more events at the same time. Instead of having one basketball game going on, there can be twenty.” Furthermore he noted that the GO will be taking a much more active role this year. They will be working in conjunction with Dov to help plan the events and make Seneca and color war, “a really incredible time for everyone.” Many students were upset that color war would not be happening in school. “I was really frustrated at the administration for not giving us a full in school color war. It was always an opportunity to bond with our grade. Seneca gave us a different opportunity to bond with different grades,” said Josh Sach ’16. Junior Vice- President, Kelly Sterman ’15 said, “I think that it’s definitely a big change and some people have the right to be upset, but it has the potential to be an amazing experience because there’s so much more that can be done in Seneca than in school. I’m personally pretty excited and I hope others can recognize the potential good.”
Juniors Surprised With Scavenger Hunt
By Skyler Levine ’15
On Thursday, May 8, the juniors were called to the auditorium during their lunch period. Rabbi Stochel announced a surprise he had been planning with the help of Dov Pianko and the class presidents. The juniors were told that instead of attending their afternoon classes, they would be participating in a scavenger hunt throughout Central Park. The junior grade was split up into groups of approximately ten students, and given maps of Central Park, cameras, and lists of tasks to perform. Each task was given a certain point value, depending on its difficulty. Each group was given the task of running around Central Park finding each thing on the scavenger hunt list and taking a picture of it. There was a wide range of tasks and the hunt required juniors to travel through all parts of the park, from Wolman Rink, to the Alice in Wonderland statue, to Belvedere’s castle. While some of the tasks were more focused on the people in the Park, like for example, serenading a stranger, others were more focused on visiting certain places, like taking a picture on top of the beautiful stone bridge that can be used to cross over the ‘Pond.’ At 3:30 p.m., all teams were required to return to Ramaz to look at each groups’ pictures and find a winner. Many enjoyed the surprise scavenger hunt. Cameron Vilinsky ’15 said, “It was a lot of fun
and a nice break from school. I especially appreciated that we were doing this in the Park. I feel like this is the first time Ramaz truly took advantage of its location in the city.” Nate Fessel ’15 agreed and said, “It was fun and it’s great that our presidents planned it for us. The scavenger hunt was both exciting and interesting, and I’m glad we had the freedom to walk around the Park ourselves. I wish we had more stuff like that during the year.” Although many enjoyed, the rainy weather did put a slight damper on the trip. Margo Oshry ’15 said, “It was really fun, but I so wasn’t down for the rain. And a little warning would’ve been nice because I would’ve worn sneakers.” Others said that they would have preferred to have chosen their own groups rather than have them chosen by the presidents in advance. Vicky Spero ’15 said, “I think we’re old enough to handle chosing our own groups for an activity like this at this point.” Overall, the class presidents were content with the way the trip resulted and happy they were able to help their classmates. President Esther Douer ’15 said, “It was definitely a success. Everyone was really surprised and it was a relief we all needed. A lot of people participated and for those who didn’t it was still a nice half a day off from school just to bond with the grade.”
The RamPage Opinions
Let’s Keep Ramaz Healthy By Alex Leibowitz ’15 Health Education is the most important subject to learn in school. You can learn science, math, or english, but all would be worthless if you don’t know how to take care of your body. The importance of learning about the human body cannot be overstated. Plenty of brilliant careers have been cut short because people did not understand how to live healthy lifestyles. Yet, Ramaz seems to give little to no value to the subject. Classes meet just once a week, hardly enough time to learn. Furthermore, when they do meet, they are oftentimes cut short by an irregular Ramaz schedule. In the end, Ramaz deprives its students of the education necessary to live healthy lifestyles. If you don’t believe me, you should have seen the number of students panicking about a quiz in human anatomy. If health were treated as a critical subject, sixteen-year-olds wouldn’t
Does Ramaz Successfully Place Students? By Nicole Aboodi ’17
have trouble identifying body parts. While it may be unrealistic to incorporate more health periods into the schedule, there are other ways to work around this issue. Take gym for example. In gym class, students should learn about keeping their bodies physically healthy. Students should be taught how to properly lift weights, eat the right foods, and exercise, so that the health teacher can focus on other topics. If the administration truly prioritizes our growth as people, they should change the schedule and allow us more time to learn about our own health. We shouldn’t have to use Google when faced with questions about exercise, depression, or eating disorders. We should have learned most of the answers in school!
Every Ramaz student remembers waking up early on a Sunday morning to take the placement tests before freshman year. In addition to the classes students took in midle school and the grades they received, their scroes on the placement tests carry a certain weight in determining their tracks. But how much weight is given to tests, for which students do not have to study? And if students are placed in the wrong tracks, how difficult is it for them to switch? The departments that tend to misplace the most people are science and math. A lot of students feel they were placed in classes that did not reflect their abilities. A large issue, which causes students to hesitate to move up or down in classes, is that “it takes a while to move and by the time you do, you fall behind in the new class,” said Ethan Abraham ’17. Another reason students delay changing their classes is because by switching
tracks, they often have to switch another class. Yaffa Kornsgold ’17 said, “By switching biology classes, I sadly had to switch out of my English class, because my new biology class was at the same time as my English class.” In fact, some even intentionally did not switch classes. “I really wanted to move down the whole year but never did, because my entire schedule would have been changed,” said Raquel Betesh ’17. Many students in the current freshman grade believe that being placed in higher classes than they were accustomed to actually pushed them to succeed. Jonah Sobel ’17, a student who wanted to move down from Honors Gemara towards the beginning of the year, said that he now feels he “adjusted to the learning atmosphere of the class.” On the other hand, other students feel that they weren’t given the opportunity to push them-
selves in higher-level classes. This sentiment is often felt regarding Hebrew language classes. Ilan Kogan ’17 said that since he was originally put in a class that he felt was too easy, he “didn’t feel any motivation to do well in that class.” Is Ramaz’s placement system adequate? Should more weight be given to the class levels and grades a student received in middle school? Or should placement primarily be based upon the placement tests, which no one can prepare for? And while the Ramaz administration tries its hardest to make everyone happy, many feel that it is too difficult and in the end, not worth it to switch classes. Perhaps a new system should be put into place based on asking incoming students how comfortable they feel in certain levels, and then trying to accommodate them as well as possible.
Response to: “Is Ramaz Getting Soft”, By Eddie Mattout ’15, March 2014 By Akiva Gold ’16 In the most recent Rampage published, Eddie Mattout, ’15, laments the fact that “the strictness of [Ramaz] as an institution has significantly decreased”, and although Mattout concedes that Ramaz is still an “excellent school with a high academic standard”, he claims that “the academic quality has gone down.” What has led Mattout to this idea, he says, are four main changes that have been instituted this school year. Mattout argues that due to the removal of JupiterGrades from one classroom, the spread out and balanced schedule that the school has worked so hard to create, the new history paper for freshmen and sophomore students, and finally, because Ramaz is giving their students a “voice, Ramaz academics have been watered down to an unacceptable level.” I would like to counter Mattout’s points, as I do not believe that these four changes have had as drastic effects as Mattout seems to believe. The first point Mattout makes in his argument is that because of the removal of the Jupiter grades system, his class is less “stressful”, and therefore it is lesser than the same class the previous year. JupiterGrades is a system used by many teachers in Ramaz, that based on certain weights and calculations specified by the teacher, shows the student, teacher, or parent a student’s exact numerical grade. Often, after an assessment, a student can log onto JupiterGrades, and see exactly how much their grade has been affected. For a long time now, students have been complaining that the ability to constantly check their grades causes extreme stress. Therefore, in order to combat this unnecessary stress, the teacher Mattout discusses in his article ceased to
use JupiterGrades. According to Mattout, the class has become less rigid and strict than it was in previous years. Sadly, it seems he missed the point of the entire JupiterGrades change, as it is not as debilitating as he makes it seem. I believe it is better to have taken down the open JupiterGrades system. First off, students can often calculate out a rough version of what their semester grade is by themselves, without the need for exact numbers. Secondly, as grades are so volatile, I believe that it is not imperative for the student to know how many decimal places their grade is, or how close to their desired grade they are. Often, if arranged, teachers will be open to meeting with a student to discuss the student’s grades, and how they are doing in that semester. This meeting, a face-to-face discussion, doesn’t just show numbers; it gives the student a more complete view of how they are doing in the class, and where they need to work, something that is not practical on JupiterGrades. Truthfully, how important is it for a student to constantly reload a site that can only tell them an out of context number? Even though the student feels a sense of security by seeing their grade, it adds a level of stress to the class that is not needed, as JupiterGrades merely offers a number that fails to take in every factor of the class. The removal of JupiterGrades does not remove the rigidity of the class, or even the level of the class; it merely removes a useless and undue stress. Clearly, even though Mattout decries the removal of JupiterGrades, it is not as horrible as it seems. The second point Mattout makes is that because Ramaz is now striving to create a more balanced and fair schedule, some
of the excellence of the school has been lost. Recently, in an attempt to create a more balanced schedule, Ramaz has begun to space schoolwork out. Instead of having an essay, two tests, and a quiz in three days, this year, the school has merely tried to spread the work out. Mattout laments this as a sad development. Why? Because suddenly Ramaz is soft! Instead of going to sleep at 3 A.M, after having written essays and studied for tests for the following day, suddenly students can go to sleep at a more normal hour! Mattout doesn’t say that Ramaz has been giving less work, or easier work; he is just upset that work is now spread out. This year, Ramaz hasn’t dumbed down the work, or canceled tests-they have merely spread these assessments out for a more balanced schedule. Although Mattout should be celebrating this accomplishment, something that can have massively positive effects on both a student’s social and educational life, Mattout mourns this change as something that is drastically ruining the school. The third issue Mattout takes with the new changes at Ramaz is the revamping of the freshman and sophomore history papers. Previously, the freshman and sophomore grades were required to create and argue a thesis about a certain topic, in a five page and 1500-word paper. But, a recurring issue that came up every year was that students came into Ramaz not knowing how to write proper papers. So, this year, the history department changed how the paper worked. Between the revamped freshman paper, where students are required to learn how to use proper sources, and are then required to write a 1200 word, four page paper on a
certain grade-wide topic, and the sophomore paper, where students study not only the “normal” facts on the topic, but also the historiography of the topic, and write an 1800 word, six page paper, the history department has attempted to teach the new students how to properly write so they can write a “classic” Ramaz paper in 11th grade. Mattout laments this, as he believes that by actually teaching students how to write a paper, Ramaz has become soft, as the new 9th and 10th grade papers are now “easier”. Apparently, actual education now is equal to softness, and instead of fulfilling a school’s duty to educating its students, Mattout believes that Ramaz should just throw its students into the fire and cross their fingers that they will come out writing ten page papers. Mattout’s idea of Ramaz’s commitment to “intellectual rigor” is clearly not so much intellectual as it is rigor. The fourth, and most ridiculous statement Mattout makes is that by “giving the students [a] voice…the school is in fact getting soft”. Because of the following changes mentioned above, and other changes Ramaz has made as an institution to allow students a more vocal choice in how the school operates, Mattout claims that Ramaz is now softer. Mattout believes that if given the power, students will automatically try to make their education easy and simple. Rather than believing that students and teachers can together make the school the best it can possibly be, Mattout believes that if you give students a voice, they will run the school into the ground, and make it “soft”. Mattout seems to believe that there can only be one school, either a school controlled by the
teacher that slowly destroys its students, or a funhouse controlled by the students. Nowhere can it ever be fathomed that if the students and the teachers work together, they can create an even better school where the academics are just as rigorous, and students don’t break down from stress on the weekends. Mattout laments the fact that students could possibly have a voice, as according to him, this “voice” has, and will continue to weaken the school, an idea as preposperous as it sounds. In the opening of his piece, Mattout quotes the Ramaz mission statement, in which it is stated that Ramaz has a “commitment to the pursuit of knowledge, to intellectual rigor, to scholarship…”. In his article, Mattout makes clear that it is not so important to have the “intellectual”, as it is to have the “rigor”, that it is not so imperative to have “knowledge”, it is all about the “pursuit”. Throughout his article, the point Mattout makes is not that Ramaz is getting soft, weak, or is stooping to unprecedented levels, but that Ramaz is now truly committing itself to giving its students the ability to fulfill the last clause of the mission statement, “a life-long love of learning.” Mattout fails to see the beauty of the aforementioned changes, from the removal of skewed information, to the creation of not a lesser, but a more balanced schedule, to the beauty of a student actually learning how to write a paper, and finally, to the student actually working with the teacher to strive for some greater good. All Eddie Mattout sees is “soft”ness, something that he is really confusing with Ramaz actually educating its students.
The RamPage News
May 2014/Iyar 5774
Yom Hashoah Commemoration Continued from front cover On Monday April 28, Yom Hashoah was commemorated in the Upper School. The junior class went downtown to the Museum of Jewish Heritage to learn a bit more about the Holocaust. The juniors visited several exhibits pertaining to the events of the Holocaust, including the Core Exhibition, which tells the story of modern Jewish history from the perspective of those who lived it. It is organized into three chronological sections: Jewish Life A Century Ago; The War Against the Jews; and Jewish Renewal. It places the Holocaust in a larger context— telling stories of Holocaust survivors through photographs, artifacts, and videos. The class also visited Against the Odds: American Jews & the Rescue of Europe’s Refugees, 1933-1941.” Against the Odds tells the story of American Jews who answered Eastern European Jews’ calls for help. At the museum, the juniors also met several survivors from the war. Each of the survivors told their story to a group of students. “The museum was absolutely amazing. It was so nice to read the history of the Jews in Eastern Europe and see actual artifacts they used and then meet the people which were actually there,” said Amanda Haimm ’15. While the junior class was at
the museum, the rest of the school was sent to breakout sessions in which they heard the stories of individual survivors. Many of the survivors were grandparents of current Ramaz students such as Ms. Roth, Gabe Roth’s grandmother, Mrs. Gorlin Lassner, Adam Lassner’s grandmother and Ms Major, David Major and Elianna Schwartz’s grandmother. “It was unbelievable to hear my own friend’s grandmother speak. It made me fully aware of how recent the Shoah really was,” said Julia Krevet ’17. In the afternoon, the entire school gathered in the auditorium for the general program. Rachel Kastner ’14 and Jessica Gruenstein ’14 spoke about their experiences in Poland and the impact that the trip had on them. Following this was a performance by the Ramaz Upper School Choir and KJ Cantor Mayer David and then a candle lighting ceremony and a show-
ing of the memorial scroll. The cornerstone of this year’s Yom HaShoah program was the performance by Ramaz Upper School students of Barbara Lebow’s powerful play, A Shayna Maidel, under the direction of Caroll Goldberg, Director of Theatre. The term “a shayna maidel” is Yiddish for “a pretty girl.” The play tells the story of two sisters, one who as a young girl escaped
to America with her father, and the other who had scarlet fever and had to stay behind in Poland with her mother. After the Holocaust, the two young women are reunited and awkwardly renew their relationship. Rose (Rayzel) has become Americanized and accustomed to the modern world, while her sister Lusia is still entrenched in the old world. It is the story of two people who have little in common yet find the common ground that makes them family. It’s about forgiveness and hope. “The play meant a lot to me and I hope it impacted everyone else in a meaningful way,” said Gaby Stemp ’15. The assembly concluded with a recitation of the “Av Harachamim” prayer by Rabbi Kleinberg. “The day went well and was extremely moving. We tried our best to give the kids something they can relate to and I hope we succeeded in that,” said Ms. Benel. In an email to Ms. Benel
Rachel Wahba ’17 shared her personal feelings about the day. “I just wanted to tell you how amazing the programs last night and today were. Being Sephardic, I don’t really have a personal connection to the Holocaust that the majority of the students in school have. In Flatbush, we would always have assemblies on Yom HaShoah, but again none of us had personal stories to connect the speakers’ experiences to. But today was the first time I’ve ever cried on Yom HaShoah. Singing in the choir in front of the list of names of my friends’ ancestors who perished in the Holocaust was too sad to even bare. Some of the names listed were: Kastner, Katz, Gruen, Mitz, Emmerich - all of them singing in the choir with me. The songs meant something really personal to them and their families. Today for the first time ever, thanks to this program I got to feel what it was like to fully understand what it means for a friend to have a personal connection to the Holocaust. For the first time, I had a connection to the stories that I’ve heard every year in school. I just want to thank you for having arranged this program.”
Yom Hazikaron Observed at Ramaz By Layla Malamut ’14 This year, Yom Hazikaron was commemorated with Ramaz’s annual traditions: a flag ceremony honoring every fighting unit in the Israeli army, a recitation of the names of fallen Israeli soldiers, a csndle lighting ceremony to remember the wars in which soldiers fell, and heartfelt speeches. The ceremony opened with a speech from Sarah Ascherman ’16. “In a sense, we are all mourners,” Ascherman said as she asked the entire school to stand in silence for two minutes, mimicking the custom in Israel to stop everything for the sound of the siren memorializing the fallen soldiers. Following the siren, Ascherman read a poem interspersed with the reading of only some of the 22,000 names of chayalei Tzahal who fell in defense of Israel. The last names read aloud were: Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel Moreno and Lieutenant First Class Thom Farkash, because these two chayalim were personally remembered by their friends and comrades, Mr. Jacques Rothschild and Captain Amir Telem. Mr. Rothschild, father of tenth
grader, Arianne ’16, served as a chayal boded, “a lone soldier,” after studying for two years in a Yeshivat Hesder in Ma’ale Adumim. It was there that Rothschild, a teen from Belgium first met Emmanuel, from Paris, and their friendship began. Emmanuel, served as a commander in Sayeret Matkal, the most elite unit of the IDF, and he is considered to be one of Israel’s most courageous soldiers. Until this day, Emmanuel’s covert missions are shrouded in secrecy. Emmanuel Moreno fell while leading a dangerous mission during the
Second Lebanon War in 2006. Mr. Rothschild asked rhetorically, “What was Emmanuel doing deep
inside Lebanon at that time? Will we ever know?” And concluded passionately, “In the dark of night,
Emmanuel’s funeral was attended by thousands at Har Herzl. We will never be able to quantify how many lives were saved by his actions.” Next Captain Telem shared personal anecdotes about his close friend, Lieutenant Thom Farkash.Captain Telem introduced the song that was written in Thom’s memory, “A Million Stars,” whose lyrics articulate the memories of Thom. Ben Emmerich ’15 played guitar as Jessica Gruenstein ’14 and
Talia Menche ’14 sang a beautiful rendition of this moving song. Orly Mintz ’15 read the names of Tzahal forces, as seventeen students proudly responded to her call, and “raised the flags” of these units. Andrew Lobel ’15 and Gabe Low ’15 lit memorial candles, one for each major war that was fought to defend and secure Medinat Yisrael. Navy Commander David Yosef recited the Yizkor for Israel’s heroes who are no longer with us. Students and teachers alike were touched by the ceremony. Tal Ullmann ’17 said, “I liked the candle lighting ceremony and the fact that a lot of people shared their own experiences was very nice. Personally, I could really relate to it because I know some people who have died in the Israeli Defense Forces.” “It was very moving and it is important for us to connect to the atmosphere of the day in Israel,” said Dr. Aharon. She continued to say, “I thought that people really shared very personal, emotional stories with us, and the audience definitely felt it.”
May 2014/Iyar 5774
The RamPage News
Idan Raichel Performs at Ramaz By Eddie Mattout ’15 In 2003, an unusual song began airing on Israeli’s popular radio stations. With its haunting chorus in the Ethiopian language of Amharic and an exotic, global fusion sound, “Bo’ee” became an instant crossover hit that catapulted The Idan Raichel Project to the top of Israeli pop charts and turned a young dreadlocked keyboardist and producer into a household name in his native land. Soon, The Idan Raichel Project became known around the world for its ambitious cross-cultural collaborations that changed the face of Israeli popular music and offered “a fascinating window into the young, tolerant, multi-ethnic Israel taking shape away from the headlines” (Boston Globe). The Idan Raichel Project achieved fame across the world for
its ambitious cross-cultural collaborations that changed Israeli music forever more. Idan has released four albums and has performed for President Barack Obama and on-stage with American pop artist Alicia Keys. On Tuesday May 6, Yom Ha’atzmaut, Idan Raichel stopped by at Ramaz. The event was organized by the GO, in particular Junior Vice President, Kelly Sterman ’15. “My mom’s cousin is very good school friends with Idan so we were able to get connected to him. I knew he would be in New York so I thought it would be a great idea to get him to perform in school,” said Sterman. The school anxiously awaited his arrival for weeks. Almost all Hebrew classes learned about his biography and listened to a few
of his songs. “I’ve seen Idan many times in my life and every time he sounds better. I couldn’t wait to see him perform at school,” said Alex Agus ’15. “I love his music and I couldn’t wait to hear such a talented singer live!” said Aliza Schub ’16. The world-acclaimed artist arrived at school very casually, wearing a light sweatshirt, his typical head covering, and earphones in his ears. “If I would’ve seen him on the street I would’ve thought he was just an average guy. Only Israelis are that casual,” said Gabriel Low ’15. Before he began singing, he stood in the front and many students took pictures with him. Kelly Sterman introduced him and Idan Raichel hit the stage. The student body was ecstatic. “I really felt the excitement
in the air,” said Natan Tauber ’14. Idan played several of his hit songs including, “Boee”, “In Stiller Nacht”, and “Mi’Ma’Makim” with guest performer Yossi Yadid ’14. During the concert, Idan mentioned that he knew that Yossi played guitar and invited him to play on stage with him. “It was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had. I will forever remember that moment and cherish the opportunity I had to play with such a talented person” said Yadid. During the show, Idan told us a little bit about himself. He mentioned how he only shaved his dread locks for “his lady.” He also said that, “these are the type of shows that give me energy. Playing in a school like this, to people that know his songs on the other side of the world, is the most reward-
ing experience.” At the end of his performance the crowd thanked him with a standing ovation. Following the concert, the school headed outside for outdoor rikudim. “Idan really focused the kids and gave them a sense of how happy the day really is. This hyped everyone up and most people let out this excitement outdoors,” said Hillel Rapp. Students and teachers danced to Israeli music. “It was one of those moments where you just felt the ruach,” said Rachel Aboodi ’15. Following an exciting set of dancing and a fantastic concert, students headed to sessions and learned something relating to Israel. “It was an unbelievable day,” said Nathan Shams ’16.
The RamPage Sports
Daniel Berg ’14 Wins March Madness
By Alex Leibowitz ’15
This year’s March Madness was one of the craziest ever. A 7 and 8 seed matched up for the championship, the two lowest seeds ever to play for the finals. People around the country were shocked by Duke and Syracuse’s early exits. As a result of the “madness”, after the first two days, not one person in the country had a perfect bracket. The Ramaz bracket was no different. Daniel Berg ’14 won the bracket because he had the luck of picking Kentucky to win the championship. Aside from him, Ramaz students got crushed by all of the upsets, with some giving up on their brackets after Duke tragically lost in the first round. Elliot Beretz ’15 summed up the feelings of many students, “I picked the teams I knew stuff about and tried to have some fun with it, which is why I came in like 40th place. Some people know stuff, but not nearly enough to actually know what they’re doing. It’s all luck either way in the tourney.” DJ Press-
er ’16, the runner up, attributed his success to luck as well, “I came in second, but that’s because no one had UConn, and only Berg had Kentucky in the finals.” However, some students felt that they knew enough about college basketball to confidently pick winning teams. Alex Glaubach ’16, who finished in third place, said, “I attribute my fortune and success to not only fortuitousness but also having some knowledge to use as a springboard of the strengths and weaknesses of the teams, which proved to be helpful.” Everybody involved in the tournament agreed that it was a
great time participating in the challenges of March Madness. Josh Sarachek ’17, the head of the tournament, said, “It was great running March Madness. It was lots of fun getting to know new
people who joined. There were some twists and turns, but for the most part it ran smoothly.”
May 2014/Iyar 5774
Varsity vs. Alumni Hockey Game
By Elianna Doft ’16
The varsity-alumni hockey fun time roughing with the varsity game is an annual tradition that team but were unable to defeat has taken place since the mid-80’s. them.The game ended with a score Ramaz’s hockey team has been of 3-1. To everyone’s relief, there around for approximately 35 years were no injuries. and last won the championship After the game, the school in 1987. Alumni in attendance hosted a reception to welcome spanned so many decades that back the alumni, and give them an many barely even knew each opportunity to interact with this other. EJ Zgodny ’84 remarked in year’s varsity team. Conversation his digitally posted was aided by a summary, “There healthy amount “I can’t wait to play were a couple of of pizza accompain the alumni game Freilich brothers nied by decades myself!” and a guy named of alumni hockey -Andrew Lobel ’15 Stern.” war stories. Varsity This year’s players enjoyed game was held the opportunity on March 26, to bond with the and organized with the help of alumni. Andrew Lobel ’15 reflectalumnus Ilya Grozovsky ’89 and ed, “It was great playing against Lauren Katz, Director of Alumand talking to some of the guys ni Relations. Although more responsible for the banners that alumni showed up than last year, are in the gym. It served as great the crowd remained sparse. It motivation for next year. I can’t was a close game, with the score wait to play in the alumni game remaining 0-0 until the second myself!” period, when varsity pulled a 2-0 lead. The alumni, however, had a
Water for Water: Girls’ Swim-a-Thon By Elianna Doft ’16
GIRLS’ VARSITY SOCCER: The girls’ varsity soccer team has a season record of 7-1 so far.
On Thursday, March 20, the girls’ swim team held a swim-athon to raise money for Innovation:Africa, a non-profit organization that brings Israeli innovation to African villages. Founded in 2008, Innovation:Africa has provided light, clean water, food, and proper medical care to more than 450,000 people in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, and Uganda. At their event, the swim team raised $1,234. Eight people swam a total of 474 laps in one hour. One lap is there and back, so in
actuality that’s 948 lengths of the pool!
The RamPage Editorial Staff Editors-in-Chief Alex Ratzker Sydney Sarachek
Associate Editors Zach Klein Layla Malamut
Arts Editor Zev Prince
Photography Editors Jen Mammon Ariella Schochet
News Editor Zimi Sloyer
Opinions Editor Noah David
Junior Editors Skyler Levine Andrew Lobel Eddie Mattout
Faculty Advisor Dr. Steven Milowitz
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Sports Editor Russell Oppenheim