Official Newspaper of SAR High School
March 2013 — Vol. 8, No. 6
Assessing Our Loyalties
Balancing Commitments to America and Israel By Anna Ballan
Divrei Dani Page 2
Fellows on a Mission Page 4
After School Learning Opportunity Page 7
this idea a step further. Despite feeling “con-
As members of the Modern Orthodox community, students at SAR feel that their identities are shaped by loyalties to both America and Israel. While some feel a strong connection to both countries, others feel more affiliated with one country than the other. Tova Goldstein (’14) is among those students whose stronger bond is to Israel. She states: “I feel much more of a connection to Israel and the politics that happen there… it’s more important to who I am. My loyalty [to America] is only because I live here, not because I believe in the country.” Hilla Katz (’14) articulates a similar sentiment: “I am more interested in issues in the Israeli community because of my religious and familial connection to Israel. I am interested in American affairs because it is the country I live in.” However, Aryeh Zapinsky (’14) takes
SAR marching in the Solute To Israel Parade
nected more to Israel than…to America,” he notes, “It is important to follow up on what’s going on with America, to make sure that it’s a safe place for me to live in.” He continues, “SAR’s emphasis might be a little skewed towards Israel.” Zapinsky finds this skewing appropriate because “You’re more likely to find out about American news from
the paper than you are about Israel news so it’s more important to tell us about the Israeli news.” Zapinsky’s reflection helps to raise the following question: As a Modern Orthodox educational institution, how much attention and focus should SAR ideally give to Israeli and American loyalties? And does the school fulfill this ideal on an educational level? Goldstein explains, “The school that I went to for a few years was very strongly Zionist, but I think that here, they’ve kind of found this middle ground. They believe in Zionism and that’s a very important part of the school’s identity, but I don’t think that our school is really veering more in one direction. The school has to keep in mind both sides.” Other students do not believe that SAR strikes such a balance. Some students express a connection and interest primarily in American affairs, believing that SAR Continued on page 11
Spilling the Statistics Public College Admission Profiles
By Chanan Heisler On an average December evening, parents of 8th grade students across the tristate area received an email from the Frisch School. After an extremely successful season in the early admissions of the college process, Frisch sent a report to all prospective parents, informing them of their recent successes. This email included the number of students admitted to, deferred from, and rejected by a number of competitive colleges and universities. Perhaps Frisch believed that advertising its new and improved college guidance department would help attract many more prospective students, stimulating growth in the school. JEC and Bruriah have utilized similar advertising techniques, including sending out an email listing names of students who had gained admission into the YU Honors program. This email, whether being a proud statement of pride for the accomplishments of students, or an attempt to attract more admitted students, seemed to go a step further
by naming individual students who had gotten in. Though they sent out an email with ad-
missions results, some authorities in Frisch agree that college admissions should not be a major factor in deciding a high school. Laura Miller, director of Frisch’s new college guidance staff, states: “Personally, I am against using college admissions to attract prospec-
tive 8th grade students. I don’t think college admission statistics should be the report card for a school remotely. Whether students are applying to Harvard or Hartford, what’s important in the process is how we serve our students and their college guidance needs.” SAR, unlike many other yeshivas in the New York area, does not send annual reports to prospective students. Instead, at the end of every year, SAR places an advertisement in The Jewish Week, including a list of all the colleges graduating seniors will be attending. Although both the advertising techniques of Frisch and SAR serve a similar purpose, SAR seems to have taken on an actively different approach than other schools in displaying its successful college guidance department. Mr. Courtney explains, “However [other schools] want to recruit is certainly up to them, and I am sure they thought long and hard about how they want to promote themselves to prospective families, but SAR does not believe that it is necessary nor in line with the mission Continued on page 15
The Buzz, March 2013
Advice Editorial Column
What We Talk About When We Talk About God assessing dveykut
By Danielle Pitkoff The Schoolwide Shabbaton discussions about this year’s religious theme, Dveykut, left students feeling unsettled by their aimless conversation. Faculty were quick to respond to the student dissatisfaction, claiming that those aimless discussions about God and spirituality actually fulfilled the purpose of this year’s religious theme of Dveykut, or “God-awareness.” By doing so, the faculty assigned a clear goal of Dveykut: to have the student body thoughtfully engaged in discourse about the place of spirituality and God in our lives, despite any conclusions that may or may not result from that conversation. According to this goal, it seems for the 700 people (at least the ones who showed up to their sessions) on the Shabbaton, Dveykut was a success. However, when assessing the successful implementation of a school theme, it would be foolish to disregard how it was first introduced. School themes are entirely chosen by the administration as a specific area of religious life that needs work in the entire school. There-
STAFF Editors in Chief Ricki Heicklen Judith Kepecs Danielle Pitkoff
fore, it is hard to believe that the original goal of instituting a school-wide, year long theme of “God-awareness,” was to divide us into groups on a Shabbaton to merely discuss existential questions. By regarding this as its success, our school has accepted defeat.
It is hard to believe that the original goal of instituting a schoolwide, year long theme of “God-awareness,” was to divide us into groups on a Shabbaton to merely discuss existential questions. To most of the student body and faculty, the goals of Dveykut have been relatively unclear from the start. By March, every teacher who ran my session on the Shabbaton still admitted to not exactly knowing what the school’s idea of Dveykut was. Therefore, because of the
vague definition and lack of communicating a specific goal or direction, Dveykut received pushback from students who assigned the goal themselves as the need to force spiritual medicine down students’ throats. There is only one way to deal with this pushback; to emphasize a separation of the personal God from the communal God. The difference is about empowerment versus submission. A personal perception of God is different based on the individual, and if one tries to make students connect to their own internal, individualized beliefs, there will always be push back. A communal God is an acknowledgment that the community has a belief and a standard and that, as a willing member of the community, we submit ourselves to that standard. When framed in this way, it makes it easier for students to accept the idea of connection to God because it is framed within the context of connection to the Jewish people and our religion. Therefore, developing the personal belief in God should be altogether left out of the Dveykut theme. Not only is it an almost impossible endeavor to implement as a school, but it has proven to be counterproductive as it causes students to feel that something of such private nature is being forced upon them. However, that is not to say that there is no place for a Dveykut theme in our school. By admitting that this is not the goal of Dveykut, we can move past the endless Shabba-
ton discussion about whether or not one personally believes in God, and fully acknowledge that Dveykut is rather the awareness of a God of the Jewish people.
A communal God is an acknowledgment that the community has a belief and a standard and that, as a willing member of the community, we submit ourselves to that standard. Within the next three months of school, if we can separate the two and clearly say despite one’s personal belief or disbelief in God, that at the forefront of our faith community is a communal humility in the belief in something greater, then I believe we will have accomplished a noteworthy goal.
Layout Editors Rose Frankel Harry Varon Associate Editor Anna Ballan Features Editors Hilla Katz Miriam Lichtenberg Rebecca Siegel Editor-at-Large Avidan Grossman Copy Editor Zachary Nelkin Online Editors Chanan Heisler Shalhevet Schwartz Photography Editor Andrew Frenkel Research Manager Elana Rosenthal Faculty Advisor Dr. Rivka P. Schwartz Faculty Supervisor Rabbi Jonathan Kroll
Staff Writers Isaac Breslow Gilad Fortgang Ariella Gentin Rebecca Harris Liat Katz
Melissa Lavine Ronit Morris Deena Nerwen Maya Pretsfelder Olivia Rosenzweig
Dalia Scheiner Harry Scheiner Lilly Scherban Samantha Schnall
Online Correspondents Gavriel SteinmetzSilber Toba Stern Rachel Weintraub
Emma Cantor Alon Futter Jessica Kane
Jennifer Kleiman Arly Mintz Benjamin Perla
The Buzz, March 2013
Advice School Column Life
Learning About the Student Learning Center the slc
By Hilla Katz As seniors, or the ‘occasional’ sneaky freshmen, sophomores, or juniors make their way to the elevator on the second floor, they inevitably pass by an open room full of desks and computers. There will often be a teacher working closely with a student on whatever he has been assigned for the week. What is this mysterious, enigmatic room hidden at the back of the second floor? As with many things at SAR, we have an acronym for it: the SLC. According to Dr. Gumora, the head of the SLC, about 22% of the student body comes to the SLC at least once a week. SLC time is distributed according to the amount of help a student may need. “It’s part of kids’ schedules. Students come anywhere between 3-6 times a week,” says Ms. Katz, one of the learning specialists who works in
The SLC is not a dumping ground for whatever homework a student needs to get done. It is a place in which students build skills rather than work off of a homework checklist. the SLC. She continues, “There are some students that come in for once a week checkins. SLC is built into their schedule, it is not a freebie. They have to come to SLC just like they have to go to all of their other classes.” These once a week “check-ins” will happen during a student’s study period. However, the majority of students who come to the SLC come three times a week, sometimes as a substitute for a Foreign Language or Hebrew class. The basic mission and goal of the SLC is to “help those students who have been identified with certain learning differences,” Dr. Gumora explains, “and to help maximize their academic potential. It’s a combination of providing a setting of skills development support for their ongoing work and inspiration,” she adds.
While the student body is generally aware of the basic purposes of the SLC, many do not understand the intense handson approach that is used to enhance the program. The learning specialists in the SLC are in constant communication with teachers of their students. They are aware and knowledgeable of the units being taught and upcoming assignments and tests, and address the skills that will be most helpful and ap-
school or the family lets us know that the student has been receiving support already, or that they have been struggling academically and would need more support in high school. You cannot be in the Support Program just because you have difficulty in a specific subject or even in all of them - there has to be a documented reason.” Neither the SLC nor the SP is a permanent arrangement for students. “Once a
plicable for the students. Furthermore, they help them process and understand the information being taught, when necessary. To facilitate this, the learning specialists will sometimes sit in on different classes, such as English and History. “We want to get a sense of how different teachers teach so we can figure out how to help our students better understand that style of teaching and, if necessary, also make suggestions to the teachers of how they might be able to incorporate certain strategies to help our students,” Ms. Katz explains. Sometimes the SLC learning specialists will meet with teachers from different departments for mini-lessons to better understand their topics. These are only a few examples of the intense hands-on approach of the SLC program. Another program, related to the SLC, is the Support Program or SP Program. “Students who receive support in the Support Program have all been identified as needing more significant support before they enter SAR,” Ms. Silvera, the head of the SP program, articulates. “Either the elementary
student is in the Support Program, we constantly evaluate whether we are ready to reduce the level of support,” says Ms. Silvera. “Some students ‘graduate’ out after a year, and some stay with us for all four years. The standard is nine periods of SLC per week, but it can be three or six as well. Usually, students begin with nine, and as they learn strategies to compensate for areas of challenge, they are reduced to the six and then three.” The SLC and SP employ various strategies and workshops to help reduce the amount of support that students may need. “In 9th grade, two of the periods are a skills course. In all grades, the periods are a mix of what the teachers tell us the students need to work on, what we have identified the students need to work on, and what the students feel they need to work on,” says Ms. Silvera. Most of the students who come to the SLC are aware that the time allotted to them is a privilege. However, there are several students who do not take advantage of their time properly. “SLC is great because I can
get all of my homework done there, so I have to do less at home,” says an anonymous sophomore and his/her friends. “Sometimes
Overall, the SLC is an incredible program in which students not only develop important skills, but also form deep connections with their mentors. Overall, the SLC is an incredible program in which students not only develop important skills, but also form deep connections with their mentors. my SLC person will basically do my homework for me,” he concludes. In response to this type of attitude, Dr. Gumora notes: “I think that when a student gets help and they see how something can be done, even if initially we model something, when they say ‘my SLC person did it for me’ maybe they mean ‘did it with me,’ but they’re excited about the fact that they got the work done.” Ms. Katz further explains that “we try to teach kids skills and strategies. The best way to do that is through their work and their assignments and their readings. If I bring an outside exercise then that stresses them out. When we teach them strategies through their assignments, it feels more relevant and applicable to them. But SLC is not homework club. So sometimes a student will come in and say ‘I’m just going to do my math homework.’ If I know that math is someContinued on page 14
Special thanks to Andy Wolff and the Riverdale Review for printing this issue of The Buzz.
The Buzz, March 2013
School Life Advice Column
Meetings with the Rav
grade meetings with rabbi harcsztark By Maya Pretsfelder Every so often, the traditional advisory buzz is silenced as Rabbi Harcsztark gathers a grade to the middle of their floor, initiating a grade-wide conversation. This new addition to the advisory agenda has stimulated discussions about topics that the school feels are especially relevant and important to the student body. Rabbi Harcsztark explains that his goal for these meetings is “communication. I want to be able to talk to you [the students] and you to talk to me.” He adds, “I like providing a context to basically open up a forum about specific topics so it’s not only you communicating with me, but it’s you communicating with one and other.” As we are now in the depths of March, it is important to reflect back on these goals and assess whether or not they have been achieved. There are many students who feel that the meetings are extremely helpful and significant. “The subjects that Rabbi Harcsztark brings up are
important and it’s important for us to see that the administration wants to know our side and present their thought process to us,” explains Tova Goldstein (‘14). She specifically notes the recent Kol Isha discussion, reflecting on how important it was that the school addressed it. Others feel that these meetings, still in their early stages, do have some obvious flaws. “I do enjoy the meetings, but I don’t think it makes me feel closer to the administration,” explains Aviva Lidagoster (’16). Shai Katz (’14) also expresses concern that perhaps these meetings have not been establishing the correct platform for the direct communication that Rabbi Harcsztark was originally seeking. “I think that they can be interesting, but they are often a little too long. I do get things out of it, but sometimes it takes a while,” voices Katz. To allow for a more interactive discussion, students propose that the administration reach out to students prior to the meeting. “If they did something like talk about the topic in the advisory before to have background, it would be more of a
conversation,” suggests Goldstein. Though Rabbi Harcsztark chooses to discuss relevant subjects that come up throughout the year and are on his own agenda, he does want student feedback as well. “What hasn’t happened yet is kids reaching out so that some of the meetings could be about things they want to talk about. I think if this would happen that would be great,” he explains. But Rabbi Harcsztark is not only initiating these discussions to create a forum between the student body and the administration. “There are also things that I want to make sure that I push for because I think they are important.” Recently, Rabbi Harcsztark sat the Junior grade down and discussed the importance of keeping Judaism in their lives after leaving SAR. He informed them that he had always stressed this, but had never sat a grade down to have a discussion about it. Through these meetings, Rabbi Harcsztark is able to voice his own opinions, but hear the students’ voices and converse as well. Although Rabbi Harcsztark does
love these new meetings, there are some drawbacks. This is the first year that he is not an advisor. Though he misses developing a close relationship with the small group, he does not regret his decision. His goal is to address the student body with issues and topics that are relevant to their lives, and he was not accomplishing this to the fullest extent as an advisor. This new meeting system allows him to do just that, and on the side perhaps build connections with the grades as a whole. It is too soon to tell whether these meetings have reached their full potential, but it is evident that the student body has greatly appreciated the new additions to the advisory periods. Rabbi Harcsztark’s hope is for ultimate success, and he is on a clear path towards it, but as he rightfully explained: “In education you never know whether you are achieving things at the moment, but I am really glad that we are doing this. I like it a lot.”
Fellows on a Mission fellows bring their bnei akiva spirit to sar By Ariella Gentin We all know and love the two Israeli fellows, Sara and Orit. Every Israeli fellow who walks into our school receives a warm welcome and continues on to form tight and lasting bonds with students. However, many students do not understand that these fellows are here on a special mission for Bnei Akiva, a Zionist youth movement. For our Israeli friends, Bnei Akiva is much more than just a fantastic excuse to get to work at SAR High School. Sara and Orit live together in a Riverdale apartment, regularly attending the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. They are responsible for starting a Bnei Akiva branch for all of Riverdale. Orit Ne’eman notes that “it is hard [to form a Bnei Akiva branch (snif) ] because it is a very big community. We have to find a way to combine all the different shuls and work with everybody.” While it is hard to coordinate because of this issue, Sara and Orit are happy to be working with people who “know a lot about Bnei Akiva.” SAR is also very happy to have the Bnei Akiva fellows. “It is one thing to talk about Israel, but quite another to interact with Israelis who have chosen to give a year of their lives to learning and spending time with American teenagers. They have put together meaningful programs related to Israel, but, perhaps more important is just the day to day interaction with Israelis
in our building,” states Ms. Schlaff. Many students continue to interact with their fellows even after they graduate or after their fellows move back to Israel. Interestingly enough, neither Sara nor Orit had positive experiences with
It is one thing to talk about Israel, but quite another to interact with Israelis who have chosen to give a year of their lives to learning and spending time with American teenagers. Bnei Akiva when they were younger. Orit was not really involved until she became older, while Sara only reluctantly joined Bnei Akiva as a teen. “I was in third grade. I was part of a snif (branch of Bnei Akiva) where I was the only.... ‘black girl’, and the kids were snobby and rich.” This pushed Sara not to want anything more to do with the program. But when she reached tenth
grade, she was introduced to a special Bnei Akiva program called “HaShachar.” The goal of this group was to reach out to Ethiopian kids and help them integrate into society and become community leaders. After attending a few meetings, Sara began to connect with the group. Even after that, though, she did not affiliate herself with Bnei Akiva. Sara explains that during this time period, “I would be so proud to say that I’m part of HaShachar, but not part of Bnei Akiva.” HaShachar, though part of Bnei Akiva, has different objectives, leaving Sara with no attachment to Bnei Akiva itself. However, when Sara learned more about Bnei Akiva’s ideas and philosophies, she became interested in one of its fundamental tasks, connecting Jewish people globally, and she is now an active member. Similarly, some SAR students who did not want to join Bnei Akiva initially now find themselves becoming active participants in the worthwhile program. Danielle Plaue (‘16), a member of Bnei Akiva Snif Scarsdale, only joined Bnei Akiva Snif after much persistence from her local shlichot (Bnei Akiva women). She eventually began going and became more involved. “I don’t know much [about Bnei Akiva], but as I am going to events.....I am learning more and more,” she explains. Some other SAR students asked to participate in Bnei Akiva Snif decided not to, mainly because of its time commit-
ment. Doria Leibowitz (‘16) notes: “It’s a huge time commitment and with work and sports teams, it would be hard to balance everything out and I just don’t have time for it.” As Bnei Akiva madrichim, many students work to shape the values of the children in their respective communities. Similarly, our shlichim may be trying to educate us. Though many understand that local Bnei Akiva shlichim work to unite Jews and teach kids about Israel, many do not realize that these shlichim have a greater goal as well. If you have ever been to a Bnei Akiva camp or Shabbaton, you have heard chants, songs, or somebody just saying “make aliyah.” An anonymous shlicha for Snif said, “I would say that the overall agenda would be to promote making aliyah. Despite this agenda, some shlichim may never achieve influencing someone to make aliyah simply because once they reach their shlichut destination they see how things are, and may view aliyah in a different light... As much as I believe in Israel as being the only country for the Jews to live in, and as much as my love for Israel burns in my heart, I understand people’s fear of making the move.”
The Buzz, March 2013
Advice Op-EdColumn Debate
Should Shacharit in School be Optional? AFFIRMATIVE By Zachary Nelkin On the night of the Academy Awards, Daniel Day Lewis won Best Actor for his riveting portrayal of a pragmatic yet ultimately heroic President Lincoln. The message of the movie was that while it’s great to have ideals, achieving them often requires uncomfortable compromises and sacrifices. I believe that I am being uncontroversial when I say that the school’s goals for davening are and should remain creating the best possible tefillah experience for the maximum number of students. The problem is that the status quo results in the exact opposite: a few students davening in an environment that leaves everyone involved unsatisfied. However nice it may sound to say that davening should be mandatory, anyone who cares about tefillah should wish to see it become optional. As opposed to determining the school’s policy based on what sounds nice in a slogan, we should discuss how well a policy achieves its goals. By forcing students to come to davening when they don’t want to, the school is creating a whole class of students who continue not to pray, while becoming frustrated with the school and davening in general because they feel that tefillah is being stuffed down their throats. The students who do wish to daven are confronted by the not particularly inspiring sight of their limp and unconscious peers, while the teachers are forced to act like human alarm clocks instead of focusing on their own prayers. This only creates more students who do not wish to daven, and upsets those for whom davening is an important component of their day. Because attendance is mandatory, the school has no reason to try to make tefillah a more involved and inspiring component of the school’s mission. The end result is a tiny fraction of the student body praying in an uncomfortable environment, while the rest of the students become alienated from the school and tefillah in general. Saying that prayer should be mandatory is in itself an incoherent statement. Davening is a deeply personal action; people pray when they are joyful, when
RESPONSE BY OLIVIA ROSENZWEIG While I can understand some of Zachary’s logic on the whole, I disagree with some of his fundamental points. While I agree that davening should be made to create the best tefillah experience for the greatest number of students, I stress that the school should have different options for davening experiences, but should not forgo prayer for some students altogether. Students should have an opportunity to daven in whichever way they want, but not davening at all doesn’t fit into the code of
they are melancholy, when they are in grief, and when it is just a normal day, because that is what it means to have a relationship with God. While it is true that the school can make students attend davening, open a siddur, and even say the words of the tefillah, it still means nothing if it’s done without any conscious thought or feeling. I would like to be clear about exactly what I think the school’s policy should be changed to. The four things I would like to see are: the choice to pray being a free, personal decision; more options for tefillah; increased involvement by the students; and an attempt by the school to make davening more attractive. I also believe that if davening were to be made optional, its position on the schedule should be switched with our first period class, so that the issues of attendance and prayer are permanently separated, and so people would make the decision of whether or not to daven independent of their feelings about an 8AM starting time. I am not arguing that davening is in any way undesirable; I am merely saying that while it may feel comfortable to live in a world of moral absolutes, if the school truly wants its students to pray and have a meaningful and
While it is true that the school can make students attend davening . . . it still means nothing if it’s done without any conscious thought or feeling. pleasant tefillah, it should make davening optional. To quote another President, “the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” a Jewish institution. Also, the logic that the majority of students are just being forced to do something they otherwise don’t want to do can be applied to other factions of religion, such as Kashrut. At home, a student may have a different belief system and practice Kashrut in a different way than in school, but in school he must abide by the school’s standard. When it comes to these types of policies, the school should try to go by the greatest common denominator in terms of religious standard. This will ensure that everyone is comfortable and that the school maintains a measure of religious decorum.
NEGATIVE By Olivia Rosenzweig Many people make the case that davening at school should be optional. I disagree. By enrolling in SAR, you agree to abide by the school rules, which include basic adherence to Modern Orthodox values. Like Shabbat or Kashrut, davening three times a day is one of those expectations, and though an individual student may not follow these halachot at home, the policies are required during school hours. Whether or not a student enjoys davening, prayer is a school rule that needs to be upheld. Mandatory prayer isn’t unique to SAR, or even to Jewish day schools in general; rather, it is standard in any religiously affiliated school. The same policy is true at SAR. Teachers aren’t supposed to force students to say the words in the siddur; rather, their job is to quiet the kids who are detracting from other peoples’ experiences. Although at SAR davening is mandatory, the school understands that some students may have different beliefs at home. Unlike many other Jewish institutions, I don’t feel that SAR tries to shove prayer, or any other aspect of Judaism, down students’ throats. Environments where educators try to press their own beliefs on their pupils are stifling, allowing no room for growth. This kind of path will ultimately lead students to be either thoughtlessly submissive or outwardly rebellious. Luckily, most students at SAR are not in situations where they have to decide between these two positions. SAR students are given more leeway to discover and mold their own religiosity than most other Orthodox youths today. The administration encourages students to question within religion in order to find personal meaning. This attitude was evident in the week of alternative davening options that took place a few months ago. Few institutions are willing to expose young adults to such unique types of prayer. By instituting mandatory davening, the school is not trying to punish students, or force them to believe or practice in a certain way. Rather, the school is aiming to give students an opportunity to exercise personal expression within the framework of halacha.
RESPONSE BY ZACHARY NELKIN By enrolling you in SAR, the school promises that it will create graduates who “continuously develop their relationship with G-d, opening themselves to the mystery and wonder of the world.” Yes, students should follow the rules the school creates, but SAR also has an obligation to write policies that achieve its stated goals. The school falls short of creating meaningful, non-coerced prayer. It shouldn’t matter what other schools do when tefillah is such a failure here. As long as davening is mandatory, SAR will continue to have a
Though those who are “forced” to go to davening may cause disturbances in their minyanim, I don’t feel this gives them the right to be excused from tefillah. If students truly have significant issues with prayer, I feel that they should brainstorm with the administration to find a proper alternative, such as learning or making artwork. If that doesn’t work, they should take into consideration whether SAR is the right school for them, since they seem to oppose some of the school’s basic ideals. If tefillah were to become optional, the sad truth is that many students, even those who do not strongly oppose davening, would not show up. Minyanim would be reduced to a few dedicated individuals whose relationship with prayer exceeds their need to sleep late or fold to peer pressure. The lack of at-
Teachers aren’t supposed to force students to say the words in the siddur; rather, their job is to quiet the kids who are detracting from other peoples’ experiences. tendance would not only affect SAR’s religious atmosphere, but would also take away opportunities from those who would want to connect to God, but now don’t want to since none of their friends are. Likewise, it may inhibit those who might have been able to have a meaningful tefillah experience had they attended davening, but now have no more incentive to wake up on time. In an ideal situation, everyone would go to davening because of their own desire, not because they have to, but sadly, this is not realistic. In order for everyone to have equal opportunity to deepen their connection to God and religion, davening must be mandatory at SAR.
“captive” audience and will therefore have little reason to make davening more attractive and personal. I agree that making tefillah optional would initially result in lower attendance, but, since I propose switching tefillah and first period, this would not be because people would choose to wake up later. The difference is that I think the ultimate result of making davening optional will be positive; in the long run, it would force SAR to improve and create graduates who will daven meaningfully throughout their lives.
The Buzz, March 2013
Advice Column School Life
Discussing the Realities sexual education at sar
By Rebecca Harris Health class has been instituted in many schools to prepare students for encounters with sexual situations in the world of social expectations and media. While achieving this goal, health class simultaneously creates an open environment for teenagers to speak with adults or health professionals at their respective schools. At SAR, sexual education is split up into two components. In 10th grade, every student is required to take health class, where anatomy, body image, and societal influences are discussed. Though Dr. Schwartz’s elaborate arm gestures, outlining an image of fallopian tubes, are helpful and entertaining, some SAR students feel that there are other important details in sexual education that aren’t discussed thoroughly enough. “In terms of missing stuff, I’m sure 85% of SAR students have never seen a condom, which is ridiculously unsafe,” states an anonymous junior boy on the matter. The second component of sexual education in the school is religious; discussion takes place as part of a unit on sexuality in the Beit Midrash curriculum. The Beit Midrash sexuality unit focuses on the halachot related to sexuality, such as the halachot of nidah and marriage. SAR’s health curriculum is not only designed to inform students, but also to create a comfortable environment for students
to ask questions they may not feel comfortable asking in a different setting. Dr. Hoffman feels that “the school administration has been very open about allowing us to create a curriculum that really addresses the very important developmental issues that teenagers have to face, even stuff that doesn’t apply as much to our student population as much as public schools.” Many students feel that the class has been successful in accomplishing this goal. “I feel like it’s really good and I don’t feel like the teachers are embarrassed to say anything,” remarks Yona Feit (’15). Yona Benjamin (’15) agrees: “I think that it’s better than anything we’ve ever had before. We actually talk about sex and STD’s. All the other curriculums find a way to skip that.” Though some may object to the open discussion of the topics Benjamin refers to, Ethan Freilich (’15) explains, “I think people are already exposed to or have heard about things so they are not being guided in the wrong direction, but rather being protected and understanding the repercussions of drugs, alcohol or being sexually active too early in life.” Though many students are content with the current health curriculum, others are not as fond of it. An anonymous junior explains that health class is a joke, and Alexander Haberman (’15) agrees: “I do think it is a waste of time. We could be learning real subjects and this sort of stuff [sexual education] is already accessible.” Ethan Freilich
(’15) disagrees, “Even though we are in a yeshiva, we live in the modern world, which means kids are exposed to many things. Teaching them what to stay away from may affect their decision making in situations
SAR’s health curriculum is not only designed to inform students, but also to create a comfortable environment for students to ask questions they may not feel comfortable asking in a different setting. they may encounter in the near future. Based on that I do not believe anything should be removed from the curriculum because kids
are exposed to these types of things.” Others find some flaws in the current health curriculum because they feel that some important information is being left out. “I think certain things like birth control and homosexuality are being slightly skimmed over, so they aren’t focusing on it as much as perhaps they could and should,” remarks Rachel Abrams (’15). Benjamin affirms, “I think the school is avoiding sexuality in their courses, that is the actual act of sex. While they tell us about what sex is and all the risks, they have not yet really told us how to put on a condom, or how other contraceptives work, or any dangerous things about actually having sex. It would appear as if they are avoiding it.” Benjamin adds that though this avoidance is understandable because SAR is a religious institution, “if they are going to claim that they want to educate us about this so that we can be safe, then they have to put their money where their mouths are.” Students at other schools also comment on the deficiencies in their curriculums. A student at Maayanot thinks, “We[Maayanot] have a good curriculum, but it should definitely be more extensive. We should learn about sex ed and aids, etc.” At Frisch, the health curriculum is spread over all four years. Each year they focus on something different, in a 10 week course. Though Frisch seems to have a more elaboContinued on page 14
Rationalizing the Ratio sexism in the buzz
By Gavriel Steinmetz-Silber “Hell of a ratio,” Avidan Grossman (’14) dryly remarked as he entered The Buzz staff meeting. Indeed, out of the approximately twenty or so students at the meeting, there were just two other boys. While Grossman talked about the gender disparity in a burlesque fashion, the topic is a serious one; many students have expressed real concern over it. Upon hearing of my investigation, a sophomore who requested to remain anonymous stated: “The Buzz is the pinnacle of what is right and just. The Buzz constantly calls people out on things that they are doing wrong. And so, while I don’t know much about the specifics, if it turns out that The Buzz is sexist, it would be crazy.” While perhaps it is “crazy” for The Buzz to be sexist, this allegation is supported by much evidence. When one looks at the bottom of the front page of The Buzz, one can see a list of all the students that work for The Buzz. Of these students, 71% are female, while 29% are male. The editing and writing staff itself is 26.5% male and 73.5%
female. When many students heard these statistics, they immediately began to view The
“I find it hard to believe that the majority of girls are more talented writers or are more ambitious than guys because I really don’t believe that gender decides your quality of writing.” Buzz as “sexist.” Max Slepian (‘14) states: “It is black and white. When you have that
number of female staff versus that number of male staff, it is sexist.” Similarly, Amram Saad (‘14) comments, “As an AP Biologist, I look at numbers. If there are so many more girls in high positions, it is sexist, plain and simple. Boys and girls obviously do not have equal roles in The Buzz.” Saad and Slepian represent a large portion of the school, particularly male students, who think that this is as clear as the debate gets. They claim that these numbers cannot merely be a coincidence; discrimination against boys must exist in The Buzz. Other students who claim that sexism exists express bitter attitudes. An anonymous senior claims, “If this exact situation was the reverse, girls would right away call it sexist, and the situation would not persist. This is a double standard.” However, not all students think that the gender disparity in The Buzz staff has discriminatory roots. Adina Noble (‘16) states: “It is possible that girls happen to be more qualified... I don’t think that this is sexist on The Buzz’s part.” Noble says that she thinks that both genders do have talented writers, mentioning that she “loved the clock arti-
cle.” Yet, Noble thinks that more girls happen to be qualified than boys. Contrary to Noble’s opinion, Chanan Heisler (‘13) explains, “I find it hard to believe that the majority of girls are more talented writers or are more ambitious than guys because I really don’t believe that gender decides your quality of writing.” Heisler feels that The Buzz is not sexist for a different reason. He explains that he doesn’t think “that an equal amount of girls and boys tried out for The Buzz.” Heisler justifies his theory with a statement about social norms in the school in general. “If I had to guess, I’d look at our school and see that there is a culture where it is not the social norm for guys to try out for academic teams, maybe even due to peer pressure. I don’t know the balance of genders on other academic teams, but of those that I am a part of, girls tend to dominate in numbers,” he explains. Dalia Scheiner (‘14), on the other hand, reinforces what Noble opines, articuContinued on page 14
The Buzz, March 2013
Advice Column School Life
Unison in Voice
the annual nashir festival By Ronit Morris On an ordinary school day in February, the choirs from Ramaz Upper School, Yeshiva of Flatbush, North Shore Hebrew Academy, and The Heschel High School joined the SAR choir for a day of singing and learning. During the annual Nashir festival, participants spend most of the day learning together in workshops, and then each choir performs for the SAR student body and the other school choirs. Nashir helps strengthen the relationships among the choirs of the different schools. Rabbi Birnbaum explains that for communities of “singers who participate in the same activity and are passionate about the same activity, there’s value in meeting each other. Too often we’re isolated. We think about our own repertoire, our own style, whatever we’re doing in our own choir.” With each choir working on its own music, there are not many opportunities to interact with other groups. “Nashir [brings] together all different kinds of people who have one thing in common: singing,” says Shira Ronen (‘13). “I love Nashir because I enjoy singing and having a day where I get to be a part of different workshops with different people who share a common talent.” This year, the workshops were a power sing led by Nick Page, acapella singing with Blue Jupiter, a Yiddish workshop led by Zalmen Mlotek, and a Gospel singing with expert Frankco Harris. The goal of these workshops is to expose the choir members to different genres, styles of music, and ideas. Nashir participants choose to go to the three of these workshops that interest them most,
and this groups together students who want to learn the same thing. “The workshops allow us to branch out and meet students who not only love to sing, but also share the same
like choral singing, choral music, and fine arts performances in general.” Many students enjoy the concert, and would attend even if they did not have to.
interests judging by the workshops they chose,” says Julie Koeningsberg, a senior in the Heschel Harmonizers. She reflects that the “most amazing thing is after each school returns to their seats after performing [at the afternoon concert], the other schools always congratulate them.” The concert, which all of the SAR student body is required to attend, is important in establishing “singing and choral activities [as] part of the school culture,” says Rabbi Birnbaum. “We have to educate the SAR student body to appreciate and enjoy and
Seth Wisotsky (‘15) explains that even if Nashir wasn’t mandatory he would go. “The whole experience was nice,” he admits. Others, however, disagree. “I didn’t like it so much to be honest. I think it’s nice that the whole school had to go, because it could have been a nice experience, but it just wasn’t good. Some of the schools were good, but some were just awful,” voices Toba Stern (‘15). Some students even admit to playing on their phones during the performance. “For a lot of the student body, Nashir has be-
come somewhat of a tweeting or social media-fest. Instead of just enjoying the performances, people turn them into somewhat of a game of “who can post the funniest tweet,” says SAR choir member Olivia Rosenzweig (‘14). “Although it may be humorous, some of their jokes [are] inappropriate or offensive, as they oftentimes tweet about other performers from other schools they see on stage,” Rosenzweig concludes. Rabbi Birnbaum responds, explaining that he would “condemn any negative tweet about any school. That is not the goal, it goes against everything that we’re trying to do,[and] the creative, constructive environment we create as a school. It violates the school culture terribly to post negative things about another group or another person.” Some of the tweets are about which groups are “better” than others. While Nashir is not an organized competition, there is always some aspect of competition involved. “My choir sees it as a chance to show off what we have done and what we can do, and not make a fool of ourselves,” says Jordana Offer, a sophomore at Ramaz Upper School. However, this competition is not always a bad thing; the friendly competition pushes the choirs to improve their performances each year. “There’s a certain amount of drive, of push, that competitions give, and I think that there’s value to that,” comments Rabbi Birnbaum. “If by looking over each other’s shoulders, we’re pushed to a higher level of performance, I think that there can be something positive about that.”
Initiating Outside Learning the new itim program
By Alon Futter This past summer, while we were all enjoying our free time, Rabbi Kroll, Ms. Schlaff, Rabbi Harczstark, and Rabbi Hain were busy planning a new program that would, as Rabbi Hain described, “increase learning opportunities for serious students who want to learn more than they do in a typical day at school.” They decided on a program called ITIM, which Rabbi Hain translates as “times, [which] come from the idea of being ‘Kovea Itim,’ setting aside time for torah study.” The next challenge, as Rabbi Hain describes, was to make it “a program that we thought would be realistic given the demands of everyone’s schedule in high school,” but would also be “rigorous, substantive and entail a real commitment from [the] kids.” The administration decided that ITIM would
take place for two hours each week, once on Tuesday in school and once a week at home via a virtual classroom called Blackboard Collaborate. Rabbi Hain elaborates: “We realized doing two hours as opposed to one hour is really knocking out a lot of students, but we wanted it to be a real commitment. [If ITIM were] one hour a week, if you miss a week then you go a whole week without it. This way it’s a really firm and high-level commitment.” Once they were set on the basics, Rabbi Kroll, Rabbi Hain, Rabbi Harczstark and Ms. Schlaff had to decide what the focus of the learning should be. Rabbi Hain explains that “we decided that we wanted the content to be something different than what they [the students] study in school. So instead of more Gemara and more Tanakh we chose two things, which we don’t normally learn in school. We decided that one element
Though designing the program was a challenge, the biggest challenge facing the Judaic Studies faculty was convincing students to sign up for ITIM. should be to study Teshuvot. This year we’re looking at Rabbi Feinstein’s Teshuvot, Igrot Moshe. The second area of study is Ramban Al HaTorah, which we do sometimes
in school, but [we wanted] to do it in a way where we can get a sense of the worldview of the Ramban. We also often compare and contrast his views with the Rambam’s and other prominent Rishonim on major Jewish philosophical issues.” Though designing the program was a challenge, the biggest challenge facing the Judaic Studies faculty was convincing students to sign up for ITIM. In the beginning of the school year, they collectively went around to every class to speak about ITIM, explaining the new program. Though one of the benefits of ITIM presented to students was that all those who chose to participate would be exempt from taking their gemara finals at the end of the year, this was never meant to be the main reason for anyone to Continued on page 14
The Buzz, March 2013
Advice Features Column
Sports Corner Goodbye, Sports
By Harry Scheiner Leaving SAR is difficult. For many of the seniors graduating, SAR has been their home for anywhere between two and 15 years. Even if it has only been a home to them for high school, it’s been tough. Countless “lasts” are encountered throughout the year. Last shabbaton. Last color war. Last Purim shpiel. But perhaps the most poignant of those lasts, for many of us, are our last sport games. Sports have been a huge part of our lives for years- they are something that we put every last effort into; something that we’d practice during lunch and after school. We would fail tests for them, and would say ‘no’ to other tempting plans because of our dedication to the team. It was what we did, and to a certain extent, it defined us. It was, and still is, frightening for me to not be on
Sports have been a huge part of our lives for years- they are something that we put every last effort into; something that we’d practice during lunch and after school.
the wrestling team anymore. It was a huge part of my life: waking up early to run, starving myself to make weight, and practicing technique for hours on end. What now? It’s almost a feeling of abandonment. For Josh Gurin (‘13), it goes all the way back to his childhood. For as long as he can remember, every day he would go outside and play basketball. It was a part of his childhood, and now, to a certain extent, it’s over. Just one of the many curses of growing up. Yael Smolar (‘13) points out how much fun she’s had being on the volleyball team, and how much she is going to miss the quality time spent with her teammates. Many also experience the unfortunate feeling of having never accomplished what they set out to. Dvir Ofer (‘13) explains that, along with the loss of the fun and unity he has had as a member of the SAR hockey
team, he is never going to get that chance to win a championship, a huge goal that was so close to fruition last year. My point is simple. To the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors: Seize the moment, don’t take your sport team for granted because being part of a sport team is actually invaluable. And leave on top, don’t graduate with regrets of what could have been. To seniors: It’s been a hell of a ride, and I know we’re all going to find that next driving force that will make us work hard, get our blood pumping, and give us that sense of camaraderie we know and love from our teams. Whether it be intramural sports, our careers, or the army, I look forward to hearing about how our grade has spread throughout the world and conquered wherever it is we go.
Sexuality Poll To survey opinions on sexuality and its place in a school and modern orthodox environment, the following polls were taken. The last two polls on the Beit Midrash unit were taken by 11th and 12th graders only. Elana Rosenthal obtained the following results, polling over 250 students.
The Buzz, March 2013
Advice Column Features
SWITCHED at BIRTH
The Buzzer How many League Championship games has SAR won in its history? The first person to tweet or email us the correct answer will be featured in our next issue’s Pop Culture Grid. You can reach us at @TheSarBuzz or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top 5 Objects that are used in SAR for something else: 5. Chairs - Mincha Mechitzas 4. Desks - Gum Disposers 3. Siddurs - Radiator covers 2. Davening Room - RPT
Nicole Wohlberg (‘16)
Lilly Scherban (‘15)
1. Technology Room - Rabbi Bloom residence
STATEMENT FROM STUDENT COUNCIL
It’s been an exciting few weeks. We recently got elected to Student Council, and we have already been working on our great ideas. Here are just a few of them: 1. When students receive RPT, their parents are notified. However, if these students get excused from RPT, their parents still think that they are troublemakers. We want the school to start emailing parents when their children get excused from RPT, thus ending the ‘troublemaker phenomenon.’ 2. Another thing that we are working on is arranging for student-teacher meetings before parent teacher conferences. 3. We are also in the middle of considering additional davening options. 4. Lastly, we are in the process of making a Student Government website, which will tell you what we are up to, and will have detailed information about these great ideas, and other ideas as well. Get excited… For more updates please follow us on Twitter @StingSG. Gavriel Steinmetz- Silber, Speaker of the Slate
Each issue, The Buzz features an interview with a faculty member at or around SAR High School. Buzz Correspondent Lilly Scherban sat down with Ms. Freda Kleinburd, the school librarian. Lilly Scherban: Can you tell me erature with something practical. Ms. K: Although I was able just wanted it to look like a lito take off for Jewish holidays brary when school opened. This a little about your childhood? LS: How did you get to SAR without any problems when I was the fall of 2005. So, that was was working in secular schools, when I began ordering books, Ms. Kleinburd: I grew up in High School? it’s certainly easier to work in magazines, and other reading Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and I went to Simmons College in Ms. K: I had worked at differ- a school with a calendar that materials. Boston. I then went to Columbia ent library jobs; public schools in matches my personal life! I do University for Library School, South Jersey, and private schools enjoy working in an atmosphere LS: What is your favorite book? and pursued a Masters in Library in the city. And then my husband where my Jewish values are more went on sabbatical and we had in sync with the values of the Ms. K: Well, my favorite book Sciences. the opportunity to go to Israel for school. in high school was Gone With the Wind, which I read way too LS: Did you always know that the semester. So I left my library job and we went to Israel. When LS: What was the library like many times. I read it cover to you wanted to be a librarian? we came back, I was looking for when you came to SAR? cover three times, and whole sections other times. For classics, Ms. K: No, not at all. I thought another job and ran into Ms. Lethat I was going to be a special rea, who I had known for many Ms. K: The library was one vast my favorites are War and Peace Name: Ms. Freda Kleinburd ed teacher until my senior year of years. She told me that SAR was completely empty room. There and Bleak House. And right now, Position: Librarian was not one book in here. Fur- I can’t say what a total favorite college. Then, I took a children’s looking for a librarian. Family: Married to Rich- literature course and I really liked niture had been ordered, so that is. It’s often the last thing I read. ard Kalmin; One son, one that. I began thinking that maybe LS: How does working in a Jew- was put into place, and then Rab- Two books that I’ve enjoyed latedaughter I wanted to do something that in- ish school compare to working in bi Harcsztark said, “Order some ly are The Tigers Wife and The books!” This was about a month Piano Teacher. volved that, so I went to library non-Jewish schools? before school was to open; he school. I wanted to combine lit-
The Buzz, March 2013
Advice Column Student Life
Holiday Celebrations: a break from routine By Deena Nerwen On a typical school day in September, you may casually flip through your Student Planner calendar, checking out your vacation days for the year. While doing so, you’ll notice quite a few federal holidays sticking out: Veteran’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Columbus Day... Then there are the plethora of Jewish holidays: Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Chanukah, Purim, Pesach, etc. You see the names, you know their significance. But mostly, you realize that many of them mean a day of freedom from school. SAR’s job is to remind you to go beyond this; to think about the origin of the holiday, the practices involved, and it’s application to your own life. Holidays are meant to be commemorated and celebrated, not merely to exist. How can this be done amidst our busy daily schedules? What is the most effective way of discussing holidays in a school setting? Ms. Shoulson, a teacher who is involved in the planning of secular holiday commemorations, shares: “When it comes to things like Veteran’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Columbus Day, Pearl Harbor... I think an idea that we had is to do a rotation. So this year we had a big assembly for Vet-
eran’s Day, and next year we’ll have one for MLK day. So over the course of four years, we will, in a significant way, have commemorated all of those holidays. And in the off years, they will be mentioned.” Mr. Lannik agrees that SAR “tries to strike something of a balance,” but notes that “the problem the school faces is that there are a lot of holidays, both secular and religious, and if you really do something serious for every one of them every year, you end up with very little time for school and a lot of time for holidays.” Mr. Lannik describes the dilemma the administration faces while deciding how to celebrate or commemorate a holiday in school: “We spend a whole day on Yom Haatzmaut, we spend a number of periods for Yom Hazikaron and Yom Hashoah, but they’re not all treated the same in a certain year because if you actually took three days out of the calendar throughout the course of a few weeks, that’s very disruptive to learning.” Often on holidays, speakers come in to talk to large groups of students or to the entire student body. For many, large assemblies are always positive experiences. However, some students feel that smaller, more personal conversations about holidays are most meaningful. Jessica Kane (‘15) states: “I feel that sometimes the assemblies don’t have the ef-
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fect they should because a lot of kids lose focus, and kids might benefit more from a more conversational program.” Rabbi Friedman agrees with this sentiment. “I think that in general, with anything you’re doing with students, the smaller the groups are, the more effective any message will be,” he explains. Perhaps this logic is the basis for the holiday-related programs incorporated into history classes, fellows presentations, and sometimes even TSBP. Often, in history classes, students will watch a video related to the holiday and then will have a discussion about it. Fellows often design presentations related to jewish holidays, in which students split into small groups to explore different texts and ideas. In TSBP classes, students might learn texts or halachot that apply to the day. On the other hand, some feel that the larger ceremonies lend the most significance to the holiday. Molly Leifer (‘16) discloses: “I feel like having the assemblies is better than only having a day off. I feel like I really commemorate the day. But I don’t think discussing the holiday in history is as good because sometimes teachers leave a lot out, and just give us bits and pieces.” Clara Helwaser (‘13) concurs with this view: “Sometimes we have fellow pro-
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grams, and those are usually more fun and chill,” she proclaims. “Not that meaningful, but you kind of get the idea of what the holiday’s about. Then there are bigger ones in the auditorium, and those are usually the more meaningful.” Others view the breaks from school work that some holidays bring with them to be the best way to celebrate and appreciate a holiday’s full import. Gabe Santoriello (‘13) observes: “I think that Chanukah is the most meaningful time for me because we get that break off from school in the same time period.” Perhaps changes in our daily schedules, such as color war or chagigahs, allow for a shift of focus and a certain level of relaxation, ultimately leading to a greater sense of connection to the holiday. Hannah Saltzman (‘16) certainly feels this way, declaring: “The most fun way to celebrate the Jewish holidays are with chagigahs, and we should definitely have more.” Though students favor different methods of celebrating holidays, the school undoubtedly works to ensure that the entire student body learns to appreciate holidays for their historical or religious magnitude, and understands their relevance to our lives today.
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The Buzz, March 2013
Advice Column School Life
Judean Hills Gets Into School Spirit chooses a over b By Toba Stern As you walk down the skyview mall, you may notice a streak of large “A” posters taped to the walls of every restaurant. Well, until recently, this streak was interrupted by the large green “B” taped to the door of Judean Hills. As many may know, Judean Hills received a “B” as their Sanitary Inspection grade last March. Although under many circumstances a “B” is perfectly acceptable, in the restaurant business it is less than satisfactory. Judean Hills earned this grade because of a deplorable 24 health violations. The violations ranged anywhere from tools to cleanliness, including improper temperature holding of food, evidence of mice in the restaurants’ food or non-food areas, and plumbing problems. In Judean Hills’ most recent inspection on January 23rd, they evidently showed great improvement. They brought their 24 health violation points down to a mere seven, putting them well within the “A” range, which spans anywhere from zero to thirteen violations. All of the other restaurants in Skyview have “A’s”and Carlos and Gabby’s also has exactly seven violation points. Many students were perturbed by the “B”, and some even stopped eating there America/Zionism Continued from front page
does not stress American events adequately. Samantha Hollenberg (’14) states: “I would definitely call myself an American before a Jew, and I don’t think what happens [in Israel] is as important as what happens in America, because it’s not directly affecting me as much. I think SAR focuses a little less about American issues, though they’ve gotten a little better at that since we started talking about it more in History. I still think it’s a little bit more Israel focused than America focused.” Though Aaron Liberman (’14) expresses more of a balance in his sense of identity and commitment, he still believes that SAR could go to greater lengths to focus on American issues: “I feel that my identity as an American blends very well into my identity as a Jew and a Zionist. America is a place where a person’s religious affiliation and strong connection to Israel is respected. I feel that SAR is extremely supportive of Israel – which I wholeheartedly support and agree with – but often neglects to teach an appreciation of America. I think that SAR has failed to make students understand how well American society treats Jews and how much America has done for Jews.” He continues in this vein: “I also think that SAR has not focused on educating students on [the fact that] both countries are based on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of
altogether. But a surprising amount seemed ambivalent. “I don’t really feel any different about eating there now,” explains Danielle Lebowitz (’15). Matthew Heisler (’16)
“But sometimes it was kind of inevitable.” A sophomore girl agrees, explaining that she does not particularly like Judean Hills pizza, but “it’s just so easy and convenient that I go
agrees: “I don’t think the grade makes any difference.” Even for those students who try to be wary of what they eat, Judean Hills was just too convenient to avoid. “I tried to go as little as possible,” elaborates Zach Smart (’14).
there anyway.” Judean Hills employees did not seem to notice a significant drop in business when the store had a “B”. Kurt Weinstein, a Judean Hills employee and Mashgiach, explains, “Three people came up to us in those
Happiness and therefore should always work together to achieve those goals.” Ronit Morris (‘15) articulates her concurrence with Liberman’s claim: “I think it is important to discuss and acknowledge is-
rounded by Jews. But I don’t feel that the school stresses loyalty to Israel so much in class. I think that American topics are actually addressed more, and leveling off is ideal.” Taking somewhat of a middle ground, students such as Adina Goldman (’13) believe that inadequate attention is given to both America and Israel. Goldman voices: “I feel that SAR emphasizes Zionist issues more than American issues; in truth, though, I don’t actually think it stresses either enough. I believe SAR should encourage its students to be more politically aware, as well as more engaged in both American and Israeli affairs.” She recommends that the school have the students “recite HaTikvah and the Pledge of Allegiance after shacharit every morning. This would emphasize our ‘dual citizenship’ and help us feel viscerally connected to each country.” Though Goldman feels that SAR emphasizes Zionism a bit more than American issues, she admits that “SAR is not to be blamed for emphasizing Zionism more” because “SAR has taken on the difficult task of inculcating in us love and concern for the state of Israel -- a country and culture thousands of miles away which we cannot experience on a daily basis.” There is undeniable discord amongst students as to what role SAR should play in shaping students’ loyalties, and whether the school is successful in doing this. However, Mrs. Schlaff notes that there is no inherent contradiction between the loyalties students
“I am more interested in issues in the Israeli community because of my religious and familial connection to Israel. I am interested in American affairs because it is the country I live in.” sues both in the U.S. and in Israel. I think that there should be slightly more acknowledgment of American issues at SAR.” Evidently, many students believe that SAR should devote itself more to awareness of American issues. However, Anna Peterman (‘14) demurs, stating that not enough attention is devoted to Israeli issues at SAR: “I think I’m more intact with my Jewish side just because I go to school every day sur-
months that we had the “B” and told us they wouldn’t come back because of the grade, but mostly it [business] stayed the same. We get a lot of business from the high school, and I don’t think teenagers really care so much.” Although the letter has changed, the restaurant seems to remain essentially the same. Mr. Weinstein blames the grade on a misunderstanding, and explains that the store did not have to change much to eventually earn an A. “I think the “B” was a mistake in the first place. There was a big mix up with the government… So then they came back again and decided we were good. We barely had to change anything,” he says. Students also do not notice any change. Gilad Fortgang (‘15) admits that when he went to Judean Hills after the grade was changed, he still did not like the pizza, but “the sushi is delicious though, and always has been.” Smart agrees that “nothing’s changed.” Although some students believe that the quality may not be of the highest caliber, the majority of students continue to eat at Judean Hills on a weekly, sometimes even daily, basis. Regardless of whether it has earned an “A” or a “B”, Judean Hills is a convenient, great place to eat lunch.
feel to America and Israel. She believes that students can feel equal identification with both countries, and that the school can respond to that with ‘equal coverage’. She explains, “I think ‘thank God we live in a society where you can feel a very strong loyalty to Israel, and also be a very strong and loyal American citizen.’ So we’re not talking about a contradiction, we’re talking about developing a sense of citizenship and loyalty to two different places. You can educate strongly towards American citizenship and also educate strongly towards Zionism.” She admits, “You have to make more of an effort to talk about Israel and bring Israel in. America’s right here and America’s our lives. America is all around us. You open up your computer and the news on your computer is going to be American. So it’s the Israel education I think that needs a lot of effort and consciousness. Now, that’s not to say that we can’t be more conscious and can’t do a better job of educating towards American citizenship -- we could -- I think there’s room to improve on what we do for sure. But I don’t think it is a question of either/or.” While the administration clearly hopes that it is striking the right balance, students themselves cannot agree about what this balance should be, nor can they agree on the type of balance they are currently experiencing in the classroom. Should there be more emphasis on Israel, or should there be more emphasis on America? Without any overall consensus, the debate will surely continue.
The Buzz, March 2013
Advice Column School Life
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The Buzz, March 2013
Advice School Column Life
Second Semester Slides In senior scheduling
By Melissa Lavine Senior year has a reputation for being the best year in high school. “It does feel different to be a senior because you know that you only have a couple of months left in school,” Maya Apfelbaum (‘13) shares. However, senior year does come with its perks. Many seniors felt that the first semester of senior year was only a continuation of the hard work and stress of junior year. Seniors faced pressure from college admissions, APs, and other responsibilities that were put before them. However, along with the first semester perks comes a tremendous feeling of relief when second semester begins. With an extra week added on due to Hurricane Sandy, most seniors were especially looking forward to seeing what second semester would bring. Many were excited to see that their new schedules contained more free periods for them to relax, spend time with their friends, and work on individual interests. Noam Spira (’13) explains that he has “a lot of free time.” He notes that “at first, I didn’t know what to do with all that time, then I realized I could bring in things I procrastinated at home. One day, I sat in a rolling chair the entire day. I can find things to do.” Spira’s example of sitting in a rolling chair the entire
Attention students and teachers! Turn the old Lego sitting in your basem Spira’s example of into Cash! sitting in a rolling
day and procrastinating is the attitude that is often developed during senior year. Though Apfelbaum agrees that there is less work and therefore more free time, she notes that “though there is not as much busy work, now
to the best of their ability in these months. When asked whether seniors seem to be caring less about their grades during second semester, Apfelbaum responds: “For most seniors, yes that might be true, but for some it is not.” Zachary Nelkin (‘13) is among the group of seniors who put just as much effort into their work this semester. Nelkin elaborated by saying that his actions “are the same this semester. If there is any [difference], it is because of the new classes.” Though seniors generally seem to be enjoying their second semester, students have mixed reactions to their identity and Modern Jewish History classes, which began second semester. When choosing their secular studies classes junior year, students choose four full year courses and one half year course. The half year course ended after first semester, and that time slot was filled with Jewish Identity, a class that addresses issues faced by Jews in the world outside of SAR. In this class, students read and discuss texts that examine what it means to be Jewish and how one’s Jewish Identity is expressed outside of high school. Judaic electives also dropped out and were replaced with Modern Jewish History, a course in which seniors learn about various issues, such as genocide, faced throughout Jewish history. Spira explains that he thinks that “Jew-
ish Identity is nice.” However, Spira notes that he would have “more interest if we talked about how to express Judaism and how to make your own identity. Talking about how to shape your own identity [would be helpful], instead of reading stuff on the Holocaust.” Others admit that they do not gain so much from these identity classes because they find it difficult to read texts and excerpts written in times when the situation regarding Israel and Jewish identity was very different. Many also argue that they have already learned and discussed similar topics in other classes. Zachary Nelkin (’13) explains that he does not feel that he is learning anything new in his Modern Jewish History or Jewish Identity class. Another anonymous student states that the class is “pointless and it is just the school’s chance to say that we care about being Jewish.” Though some feel that there are a few ways in which the second semester of senior year can be improved, there is no doubt that seniors seem to be enjoying their last few months at SAR. Whether it is free periods, riding in the elevator, or being sentimental about their last year as SAR students, seniors are 13inging it on and not letting their senioritis get in the way.
chair the entire day You probably like money, and you probably don’t like old junk l and procrastinating is the attitude that is around. So get the best of both worlds! often developed during senior“ year. I had no idea my old lego would be worth so mu
cash4lego paid top dollar for all my unwanted lego
you are more concerned with AP exams, and finals, and Senior Exploration.” Second semester senior year does not only feel relaxing because of the lesser workload that results in more free time; rather, an attitude known as “senioritis” also develops among seniors. Seniors understand that they only have a couple of months left in the school, and will want to enjoy themselves
But actually, If you want to make easy money by selling your old lego, co Yoni Rabinovitch (senior) at firstname.lastname@example.org
Attention students and teachers! Turn the old Lego sitting in your basement into Cash! You probably like money, and you probably don’t like old junk lying around. So get the best of both worlds!
“ I had no idea my old lego would be worth so much! cash4lego paid top dollar for all my unwanted lego!!! ” -fictional Customer
But actually, If you want to make easy money by selling your old lego, contact Yoni Rabinovitch (senior) at email@example.com
The Buzz, March 2013
Advice Column Advertisement SLC Continued from page 3
thing that they can do easily at home, while they struggle with concepts in history, then I will steer them away from doing their math homework.” It is for this same reason that the SLC does not do SAT or ACT work with students. The SLC is not a dumping ground for whatever homework a student needs to get done. It is a place in which students build skills
Sexual Education Continued from page 6
rate health curriculum, Frisch students comment that Frisch’s curriculum doesn’t talk as extensively about safe sex or contraceptives as SAR does. Frisch’s discussions are also largely influenced by student input.
Buzz Sexism Continued from page 6
lating: “It just happened to be that a lot of females were accepted onto The Buzz.” Scheiner’s point that ‘correlation does not imply causation’ is a valid one. If a relatively small group applies to The Buzz, it is quite probable that more boys or more girls will be accepted. Indeed, in other clubs there may be this same gender disparity. Daniel Estrugo (‘14) is a member of SARPAA and is part of the male majority in that
ITIM Continued from page 7
join ITIM. Rather as Rabbi Hain elaborates, “it was meant to be a ‘nice way to acknowledge them putting in all the extra effort, but you spend eight or ten hours studying for your Gemara final. The way the program is set up, its 75 to 80 extra hours during the course of the year of learning. So it’s not really a mathematical incentive to do it.”’ For some students, this type of commitment can sometimes be a challenge. Avi Siegal (’16) notes, “ITIM can definitely be a challenge on nights when I am bogged down with homework.” However, he thinks the challenge is worth it. “The experience is still rewarding,”
rather than work off of a homework checklist. As of now, the SLC is available to a limited number of students in the student body. However, Dr. Gumora notes that eventually the SLC would like to expand and offer its resources to the larger student body. She gave several examples of how the SLC already has and hopes to do this in the future. “I do the writing center, so any student during activity period can come to the writing center and get some help with their writing.
We also run these grade-wide study skill sessions during advisory, which we’ve done for 9th grade, 10th grade and 11th grade,” she says. She continues, “Now we are working on developing a workshop to help students with multiple choice questions on their AP exams. Our primary responsibilities are to the students who come to the SLC because they need the support on a regular basis, but we also want to offer support to the general population.” Overall, the SLC is an incredible pro-
gram in which students not only develop important skills, but also form deep connections with their mentors. “One of the most gratifying parts of our jobs is that we really form a connection with these students,” says Ms. Katz. “We get to know them in more than just an academic sense. They share with us their successes and disappointments, what goes on at home, with their friends and that feels special.”
Opinions on Frisch’s success, like SAR’s, are extremely diverse. One Frisch student explains that he is happy with the student-teacher learning based on students’ needs and questions. Another student, however, disagrees, explaining that the teachers “kind of make stuff up and try to ignore the
fact that they’re being unrealistic.” Though there are mixed reactions to the health curriculums at both SAR and Frisch, Frisch does seem to have a much more developed program because, while SAR only offers health to the 9th and 10th grade, and sexual education only to the
10th grade, Frisch offers health class every year. Dr. Hoffman, one of the school psychologists, admits that one of the issues with SAR’s health program is the lack of time.
club. He observes, “SARPAA is not sexist for two reasons. First of all, it makes sense that there would be more boys or girls, and in SARPAA there happens to be more boys. Secondly, anyone that wants to join can join, so how is this sexist?” Estrugo’s second point raises a key question for The Buzz. While many clubs may happen to have more boys or girls, The Buzz does conduct tryouts, and so it is possible that it favors girls in its selection process. However, Danielle Pitkoff (’13), an editorin-chief of The Buzz, rejects this notion,
stating: “The Buzz conducts tryouts to avoid any discrimination. This year it happened to be that the large majority of applicants were girls.” Ricki Heicklen (’14), another editor-inchief of The Buzz, reaffirms Pitkoff’s point. “Any statement that The Buzz is sexist blatantly overlooks the mathematics behind our decision. 32 students tried out for The Buzz in total. 22 were girls, of whom we accepted 9 (40.9%). 10 were boys, of whom we accepted 4 (40%). If you want to argue that the 0.9 percentage points difference was due to
sexism, fine, but I’ll have you know that a certain degree of affirmative action was employed in favor of the males. You want more boys on The Buzz? Tell more boys to try out for The Buzz.” The Buzz doesn’t have selection requirements similar to those of the new Student Council, which obligates slates to have five members from each gender. Why is it any different for The Buzz to allow equal opportunities to members of both genders? In other words… Gavriel Steinmetz-Silber for Editor-in-Chief 2013-2014!
he maintains. So far this year, ITIM has definitely been an overwhelming success. Avi Chefitz (‘14) shares, “the ITIM program is a wonderful program. It allows me to learn interesting pieces of Jewish texts without having the stress of being tested on the material... Learning [in ITIM] helps increase my knowledge of Jewish laws in general.” Binyamin Kaplan (’15) agrees with Chefitz, stating: “I love ITIM; it’s great to be able to learn extra after school. The material is always very interesting and relevant to today. I think the choice to learn Igrot Moshe was a great idea because Rav Moshe is commenting on modern day halachic issues. I really like the way the school makes it fun and en-
gaging.” However, for some the experience has not been fun at all. One anonymous ITIM student states, “having seen that if we participate in ITIM we don’t have to take our Gemara final, I decided to do it, but I find myself wanting it to end more and more each week.” Going forward, ITIM will be a solution for students who want to learn more than they do in class. However, as Rabbi Hain observes, “the question for us going forward is what is the optimal size of the group? Do we want to get a larger group involved? Would we lose some of the camaraderie if you have many more participants? We want as many students as possible to be learning, but we
want it to remain a cohesive group.” Rabbi Hain continues, “as the year winds down we’re going to talk both with students to get their input and amongst the faculty that has been involved and figure it out. Right now the number is really good, I like the number where it’s at. I don’t know if we would have the same kind of program if it was double in size.” And for Rabbi Hain, ITIM’s success goes beyond what only the ITIM students themselves gain. “Hopefully [ITIM] impacts the whole school too, as everyone sees there are these 20 students who are really dedicated and that’s a positive thing not just for them but for everyone in the school.”
Readers are invited to submit letters or responses to articles and editorials in The Buzz. Letters may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org (Submissions may be edited for length or content). Readers can read and respond to articles on The Buzz’s website, TheSARBuzz.org.
The Buzz, March 2013
Advice Student Column Life College Admissions Continued from front page
statement of our school to use this same approach.” Mr. Courtney further explains that SAR is careful “to protect our student’s identities. So for example, if people know that a student applied to a specific place and in the end they weren’t admitted, and the school subsequently wasn’t posted in the email, people will know that that specific student wasn’t admitted.” This conscious decision is justified by SAR’s desire to treat its students in a comfortable and accepting manner. Yet, even with SAR’s purposeful presentation of their admissions statistics, it is still a reality, even at SAR, that college admissions play a role in attracting prospective 8th grade students. Many current SAR students are uncomfortable with the idea of schools using their college admissions results as advertisements for 8th grade parents. Matt Landes (‘13) believes that sending out a report “puts the emphasis on the wrong thing, the emphasis should be on the experience of high school... if your focus is mainly on college
then you are very misguided and kids won’t have a fun time in high school.” David Izso (‘13) expresses a similar sentiment, explaining that “I wasn’t thinking about college when choosing which high school to go to,” and that no type of college admissions report should be used as an advertisement. Many other seniors, including Tamar Lindenbaum, Zoe Lindenfeld, and Rafi Bocarsly, felt similar sentiments toward the use of college admissions statistics as an advertising technique. Although utilizing college admission statistics to attract families is a successful advertising technique, if it makes students uncomfortable, perhaps even putting an ad in The Jewish Week is inappropriate. As a teacher at SAR High School and a mother of an 8th grade student, Ms. Pepper, having received the email from Frisch, is conflicted as to whether that system of advertising is proper. She explains, “the truth is that it’s nice to see, as a parent, that the end result of four years of high school is leading to results such as that [successful college admissions]. On the other hand, I think it’s kind of manipulative to put that out there because for all of those acceptances, there were stu-
dents who weren’t accepted into schools...” Ms. Pepper does not firmly side with one opinion, but does admit that “parents should be able to ask a school for that information [college admissions].” Even though some deem these advertisements as morally questionable, Ms. Pepper realizes that they are a necessary reality of our modern, college driven, culture; she understands the desires of parents to know that a high school institution has certain goals and priorities, including future successes. The realities of high schools’ advertising techniques are complicated. As Mr. Courtney stated, “Almost every Yeshiva high school does this [some sort of advertisement using college admissions].” It is impossible nowadays to attract Modern Orthodox students to attend a high school that does not accept that the pursuit of higher education is an important goal for all students and parents. It is therefore almost essential for all high schools to write up a report on college admissions, as to ensure parents that the goals of high schools are still to lead students onto higher education. Given the world we live in, it is very difficult for a school to
please both the students’ request for privacy and their contempt to the college culture in highschool, and the parents’ need for important information. It is hard for every school to find the right balance between the two. Frisch, along with some other yeshivas including JEC, has decided to place greater value on the requests and interests of prospective parents. While that may seem reprehensible to some SAR students, it is necessary to understand that, by doing this, Frisch is simply prioritizing its value in gaining the trust of parents and their strong belief in the importance of higher education. SAR, operating under a different mission statement and set of values, attempts to be more sensitive to students’ privacy and identities. However, because our society is so college driven, successfully achieving this is a difficult task. SAR, by publishing some form of report on college admissions, still seems to not fully live up to this ideal. Perhaps if we instead listened to the wise words of Matt Landes, these issues would be much less relevant.
new game plan for “halacha yomit” By Jenny Kleiman This year, the Judaic Studies faculty in charge of coordinating Halacha has spruced up the game plan. Instead of “Halacha Yomit,” the daily, five-minute lessons that were part of the Halacha routine in previous years, a new procedure has begun: week-long individual units. These week-long units focus on different elements of Kashrut, such as “Basar Vechalav”, “Tevilat Kelim”, and Kashering. Ms. Schlaff, who helped to develop the new Halacha program with Rabbi Lindenbaum, explains why the change was a necessary action. “Our sense of the Halacha Yomit format we followed in the past was that it felt a bit choppy for students and did not give teachers the opportunity to delve more deeply into a topic or really take the time to answer student questions.” Ms. Schlaff continues, “Setting aside 4 weeks in which the entire school is learning halakha at the same time allows us to dig a bit deeper, bring in sources, and have more meaningful classroom conversation.” Rabbi Bloom, a 10th grade TSBP teacher and SAR High School’s director of technology, agrees. “Educationally, it’s very hard to learn something for five minutes a day, in the context of something else.” Rabbi Bloom continues, “It’s not just the five minutes a day, it’s the fact that the five minutes a day [were] really in the context of the Gemara class. I always found that to be extremely challenging.” With random shpritzes of Halacha here
and there, information isn’t retained easily, and students don’t walk away with as much enlightenment from the learning as they should. By devoting several weeks solely to Halacha learning, the administration
“Learning in weekly units as opposed to brief daily segments makes it easier to remember the material from the previous class.” solved this dilemma. “When you dedicate a week to it, you’re giving students the opportunity to work with material on their own, in terms of being able to review, have guided practice, [and] have independent practice,” says Rabbi Bloom. “Students can really invest themselves in that material, more than they could if it was five minutes a day.” But there is a catch. In the words of Rabbi Bloom, “the obvious trade-off is that you’re not learning Halacha every day.” Rabbi Friedman, who teaches gemara to ninth and tenth graders, also sup-
ports the new Halacha system. He sees it as an improvement for both teachers and students, with regard to preparation, concentration, anxiety, and the general circulation of information. The new procedure “has allowed me to be able to focus on my own preparation for Halacha,” explains Rabbi Friedman. “Under the prior system... teachers needed to ensure efficient preparation for separate topics within the same class.” With regard to the reception of the new system, Rabbi Friedman notes that the students “see a flow of topics within Halacha, and not just details throughout the year. With the weekly unit, students recalled learning from the first days and were able to synthesize their learning and apply various details and concepts to allencompassing scenarios at the end of the week.” The advantages of this new system do not only concern the administers of information; students, too, are reaping the benefits of a week-long chunk of Halacha learning as opposed to daily bits and pieces. According to Rabbi Friedman, “It has alleviated students’ stress related to assessments. Instead of accumulating details of knowledge over a couple of months, and having a quiz or test within one week of another Gemara test, students can now focus on learning and assessments for a concentrated quantity and quality of learning.” Many SAR High School students agree with Rabbi Friedman’s assessment. As Ronit Morris (’15) confirms, “learning in weekly units as opposed to brief daily
segments makes it easier to remember the material from the previous class.” The topic of Hilchot Kashrut was also a focal point in 11th and 12th grade Beit Midrash classes at the beginning of the year. Ms. Schlaff explains the superfluity of this subject, saying that Beit Midrash is “meant to complement the unit in Gemara classes. The Halacha taught in Gemara classes focuses on the practicalities of what to do and how; the Beit Midrash unit explores the reasons behind the mitzvah of Kashrut and the ways it plays out in shaping identities of Modern Orthodox teenagers.” The main objective for Halacha learning is that students will become familiar with significant concepts in Halacha. “I think that Kashrut is an interesting halachic topic because a lot of the things we talk about actually [are] things that kids already do,” Rabbi Bloom states. “It will hopefully give them a better understanding of the underpinnings and the basis of what they are doing… which will further, hopefully, their observance and their practice.” Rabbi Friedman’s main goal is that the students will feel comfortable enough to ask Halachic questions “when those concepts arise in scenarios later in life.” Overall, it seems as though this new Halacha program has achieved an abundance of positive feedback. It wouldn’t be presumptuous to envision “Halacha Chodashit” going far.
The Buzz, March 2013
Advice Column Dear Knoam and J. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way Sydney, I got myself into a situation, and now I do not know what to do. My friend invited me to a party, and I told him I would come. However, recently, I heard that my best friend was not invited, and expects me not to go, but if I don’t go, the people at the party will think I’m a loser because I hang out with my friend. This got even more complicated when I learned there were going to be red M&Ms. I like red M&Ms because they are like the green ones, but with more flavor. Then I heard there was a dress code. I don’t want to be that person, but I think having a dress code at a party is a turn off. At least they should not put it on the invitation (that’s what RSVP stands for, right?). So at this point I was really conflicted, but then I heard some more news. I heard that my friend was only not invited because it was a surprise party for her.
I thought there was no problem in going, but then I realized that the surprise part was only a cover up so she would not feel bad about not being invited, and the place they were really leading her to was actually on the other side of the street, 5 miles in the opposite direction of the highway that you take to get to the party. So I figured I could just tell my friend where the actual party was, and I’d be finished. Then it turned out that I was only allowed to bring one person with me, and I really wanted to bring Marty. Marty is cool. He has a nerf gun that also functions as a pen, and he has a flip phone. I realized then that it was not worth it. I thought I should make my own party and invite everyone to my house. The problem was that I had no time to invite people. So I needed to find someone else to do it. I asked two friends. The first one said that he would help me out, but the second one would only do it if the first one did not. My question is: Should
I make them both do it, risking a friendship, or should I have only one person do the invites, risking that not everyone will come to the party. Which option should I choose? Sincerely, Panicking about Party Dear Panicking about Party, Cool. Sincerely, Knoam and J. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way Sydney
Knoam Spira and J. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way Sydney, our advice specialists
To submit a question to The Buzz, email TheBuzz@SARHighSchool.org. If you want a serious answer, please make it clear so we don’t embarrass you. Noam Lindenbaum
Leah Greenstein Fellow
We managed to pull together and give money to charity after the flowerstick inferno
Staff child flashmob
Pulling of the fire alarm
A good talent show
I thought Dr. Schwartz was going to take down Leah Slaten
The new chartered government will...
Be Miriam Lichtenberg’s stepping stone to complete and utter rulership of SAR
Hopefully come up with new excuses to give out free donuts
Save us all
Be probably the same as the old student government
Be compromised by the sequestering
The food on the shabbaton can best be described as...
I wouldn’t know....I recently started a Tamar Lindenbaum-esque regiment/diet. You know, “nothing less than five minutes old and organic is edible.”
I wouldn’t know since all I ate were those chocolate chip cookies
Not enough tofu
Chocolate chip cookies
The next world record that we will break will be..
Most locks of hair braided simultaneously
Most pushups by Kevin Danishefsky
Most pairs of dress pants folded at the same time
Most world records attempting to break on consecutive shabbatonim
Who is the most likely student to replace Rabbi Kroll?
Yoram (He’s a student, right?)
Rachel Weintraub... she already applied for the job
Rabbi Kroll is irreplaceable
After the last chagigah, I’d have to say Ilan Sasson
What was the coolest thing that didn’t happen on the shabbaton?