Panther Post January 2019 | Shevat 5779
VOL. III NO. 2
Multi-Million Dollar Gift Announced at YULA Boys’ Dedication Ceremony Yonah Berenson (‘20), Executive Editor
A Publication of YULA High Schools
Kohanim and Cadavers Can a kohen go to medical school?
Yaakov Willner (‘20)
L.A. City Councilman Paul Kortez presents Gitta Nagel with a certificate of recogniton for her and her husband Jack’s (z”l) leadership in the community. At YULA Boys’ Dedication Ceremony December 9, which celebrated the opening of the completed Nagel Family Campus, President of the Board David Nagel announced Dawn Arnall’s multi-million dollar gift to the school. The money will fund campus expansion and upgrades to the existing building. YULA has named its existing building the Ambassador Roland E. Arnall Pavillion in gratitude for the gift. Mr. Arnall was a philanthropist who co-founded the Simon Wiesenthal Center and served as ambassador to the Netherlands under President George W. Bush. The donation was announced at an event that celebrated all gifts
given toward completion of the Nagel Family Campus, which includes Gelman Hall, Kestenbaum Commons, the Samson Center, and the Robin Family Plaza. Several existing structures were also rededicated, including the Emil and Gail Kestenbaum Beit Midrash and the Sassoon Family Sephardic Beit Midrash. Classes in the new building had begun several weeks before, on November 2. Over 400 parents, faculty, students, and alumni attended the event. In the Samson Center, the attendees heard speeches by Head of School Rabbi Arye Sufrin, Mr. Nagel, and L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz, among others.
Rabbi Sufrin opened the event by praising donors not only for their contributions, but also for their commitment to Jewish education in Los Angeles. The event symbolized the fruition of the efforts made by all donors, some of whom dedicated their gifts to loved ones they had lost. Mr. Nagel was visibly moved when he described his parents’ contribution to the campus, particularly when he spoke of his father Jack, z”l, who had passed away several weeks earlier. Lee Samson, a parent and grandparent of current YULA students and YULA alumni, said he and his late wife Anne, z”l, “never considered our funding of Jewish
education as charity; we believed it was an investment in the Jewish future.” He added, “Anne and I would be thrilled to know that future generations would be able to play sports of all kinds in this wonderful facility.” Mr. Koretz presented donors with certificates of recognition from the city for their “profound leadership, civic patriotism, community activism, and … tireless dedication.” Rabbi Sufrin called the ceremony a “celebration of YULA’s past, present, and exciting future, none of which could have been realized without the vision and efforts of David and the entire Nagel family.”
How YULA Girls Celebrates Chanukah: Making Memories That Last a Lifetime
We learn in the Torah that a person who is a kohen (someone of priestly descent) is generally not allowed to become tamei (ritually impure). There are a few exceptions, however: a kohen may become tamei to attend the funerals of his seven closest relatives (father, mother, brother, unmarried sister, son, daughter, and wife) as well as to bury a meit mitzvah (a person who is found dead and has no one to bury him). There are a few ways that a kohen can become tamei. A kohen may not directly touch a dead body or something that is attached to the dead body. Also, a kohen may not violate the law of tumat ohel, being under the same roof as a dead body. Based on all this, the question arises whether a kohen may go to medical school if he will encounter cadavers throughout his training. The Rambam’s rulings may assist those kohanim who hope to attend medical school. The Rambam says that a non-Jewish dead body does not have the same level of tumah (ritual contamination) as that of a Jewish dead body. The Rambam says that a kohen still may not come into direct contact with a non-Jewish dead body, but tumat ohel would not apply. Therefore, we may be able to use the principle of rov: the majority of the medical-school cadavers are usually not those of Jews, so a kohen would be able to attend medical school if he would not
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Hanna Gootin (‘19), Editor-in-Chief YULA Girls got into the festive spirit of Chanukah with acts of Chessed, festive meals, and Chagigot. Director of Student Life, Jordana Wertheimer, and STUCO planned exciting activities throughout the week of December 3rd-7th, elevating the energy of the eight-day holiday for the entire school. Leading into the weekend, YULA Girls hosted its annual Chanukah Yom Iyun on Friday, November 30th in order to relay inspiring and enlightening information regarding the upcoming holiday. Seniors, prepared with beautiful presentations filled with sources and ideas about different aspects of Chanukah, moved from one class of underclass-
men to the next in an insightful round-robin. Listening to various topics spanning from Hallel to Persumei D’Nissa (publicizing the miracle), students engaged in the lessons and left school with a refreshed mindset to start off the holiday. On Monday, December 3rd, the school was treated to an elaborate school-wide breakfast, following communal davening. Students mingled with friends and teachers while enjoying delicious goodies. On Tuesday, December 4th, after a powerful communal davening, YULA Girls kick-started its second Chessedpalooza Day, led by Chessed Director, Sarah Proops, and Jordana. Each grade
went on a different Chessed trip, where they each contributed acts of kindness in various settings: Freshmen went to the Union Rescue Mission in Downtown LA, Sophomores went to Tomchei Shabbos, Juniors went to Yachad at the NCSY office, and Seniors went to Garden of Palms Nursing Home. As the Mission provides shelter for those in need, the Freshmen girls helped clean the sleeping areas from any trash. After completing their cleaning duties, the students went to the roof of the building and spent time with children from families suffering from financial crisis; here, the kids can play in a safe environment where they are not
exposed to the trauma of Skid Row. Reflecting on the eye-opening experience, Daniella Zisblatt (‘22) states, “this was a very incredible learning experience and we all realized how much we need to appreciate everything we have in our lives.” Upon arriving at Tomchei Shabbos, the Sophomores helped with wrapping and sorting donated gifts to be sent to children from disadvantaged families in the Jewish community. Sophomore Sarah Nachimson reflects on the day, saying, “it was really amazing to go and help our own community”. During the Yachad program, Juniors enjoyed a nice breakfast with Jewish youth that have spe-
cial needs. The girls spent quality-time with the kids, wrapping Chanukah gifts to be sent to Jewish kids in American army-base camps. Junior Dana Evan fondly recalls that, “it was so heartwarming to spend time with Liora (my friend with special needs), in addition to wrapping gifts for children at army base camps.” At Garden of Palms Nursing Home, Seniors decked the halls with Chanukah decor. Afterwards, with English teacher, Mr. Crossman, playing the piano, the girls sang Jewish songs with the elderly. With arms linked among young and old alike, the uplifting atmosphere of the room was pal-
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School Upgrades You’ve Noticed and Some You Haven’t
Daniel Tarko (‘20)
Head of School Rabbi Arye Sufrin has instituted several changes to the YULA Boys campus this year––some more noticeable than others––which have made a subtle but powerful impact on student behavior and the aesthetic of the campus. These changes include everything from refurbishing the bathrooms on the ground floor and upgrading the custodial staff to ensure a cleaner campus, to adding the YULA logo to doors of the old building and shtenders (lecterns). The reason behind many of these changes is to counteract the broken-windows theory, proposed by James Q. Wilson and George
ther destruction. For example, “If for whatever reason the pingpong net is missing,” Rabbi Sufrin explained, “the facilities team knows the ping-pong table has to be put away until a new net is delivered.” The renovation of school bathrooms is also largely meant to prevent the effects of the broken-windows theory. With new stalls and toilets and with classical music playing, Rabbi Sufrin believes students will be more respectful to school property: “The way you flush a toilet is all part of character development. The way you throw out your paper towel is all part of character development.
“It’s important that everyone knows our school pillars, so they know what our values are, so that they know what a successful YULA graduate will look like, so they understand the end goal of becoming a true ben Torah [student of Torah] and pursuing your passion in the 21st century.” - Rabbi Arye Sufrin, Head of School
Kelling in 1982, which states that “if a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken.” This theory is the result of a psychological principle that when people see destruction, they are more likely to contribute to fur-
So I felt the school had a responsibility to enhance the entire environment.” So far, only the bathrooms on the ground floor have been remodeled, while the second-floor bathroom has been left as is. Rabbi Sufrin is in the process of collecting data from bathrooms up-
School shtenders have been updated with the YULA logo. stairs and downstairs to compare them and see if the broken-windows theory holds up. He hopes to determine whether the renovation has positively contributed to students’ treatment of the bathrooms. He plans to similarly upgrade the second-floor bathroom and to continue the renovation of the ground-floor bathrooms. These plans include putting up student artwork in the bathrooms and renovating the sinks. Another improvement, according to Rabbi Sufrin, is the administation’s change of Character Development from an idea that is thrown into a speech every once in a while to a part of the school curriculum like the other two pillars, Primacy and Relevancy of Torah and Uncompromising General Studies. All, in Rabbi Sufrin’s words, are “foundational pieces of what YULA is all about,” and Character Development is no less important to the school. YULA Boys has partnered this year with various organizations, including Yachad, which gives sensitivity training; YPLA, which facilitates chaburot (group learning) with upperclassmen on middot (char-
acter); and the Project SAFE curriculum, sponsored by the Gindi family, through which students are educated about safe driving. Rabbi Sufrin has put up the school mission statement and three pillars in every office and classroom of the campus, as well as in the Kestenbaum Commons, Student Lounge, and throughout the hallways. “Everywhere you go, you are going to see it because for every rebbe, faculty member, student, stakeholder, parent, anyone who walks into YULA, it has to be clear what we stand for,” Rabbi Sufrin said. “It’s important that everyone knows our school pillars, so they know what our values are, so that they know what a successful YULA graduate will look like, so they understand the end goal of becoming a true ben Torah [student of Torah] and pursuing your passion in the 21st century.”
Gap Year Fair Danya Parker (‘19)
On Thursday November 15, YULA Girls hosted the sixth annual American Israel Gap Year Fair. This was the largest Israel Gap Year fair on the west coast; the event was attended by students and parents from many different high schools in Los Angeles, as well as several Jewish Schools students from outside of California. In attendance boasted more than 40 diverse GAP year programs ranging from co-ed programs to yeshivot and seminaries, ensuring a program fit for each student. Exclusively available for students in attendance, was the Rosina Korda Israel Gap Year Scholarship. The Scholarship of 5,000 will be awarded to 3 students attending one of each participating boys, girls and co-ed program. The fair also provided workshops for students and parents addressing issues regarding the gap year. The following workshops were included: issues regarding the Sephardic community, safety and health concerns, and alumni experiences. In addition to workshops provided by the American Israel Gap Year Association (AIGYA), Individual Seminaries, Yeshivot, and Programs had intimate info sessions in classrooms with opportunities for parents and students to ask questions and express concerns directly to the representative of their desired programs. The fair was very successful, well attended, and informative for students and parents in attendance.
YULA Girls Open House Tali Gershov (‘19), Executive Editor This year’s Open House, welcoming the class of 2023, was truly a blast! With prospective students from a wide range of schools, the school was bustling with intrigued eighth-graders, parents, YULA Girls faculty and staff, and many YULA Girls student ambassadors. The night began with incoming eighth graders and their parents receiving folders and gift bags. In the folders were schedules for to provide insight on how the classes are taught. The prospective students also attended mock lessons. From chemistry to calculus, and from government to gemara, the 8th graders had a great sense of how some of the incredible YULA Girls classes are run. The entire crowd was then gathered into the auditorium for
some beautiful speeches to commence the evening. First, the student council presidents welcomed Rabbi Spodek, Head of School, who shared a few words of inspiration to the future YULA Girls generation. Rabbi Spodek then welcomed Julia Levkowitz (‘19), a YULA Girls student, to share a D’var Torah. Next, a short film featuring a few seniors was shown to everyone to illustrate how much these students had accomplished during their time at YULA Girls. Finally, two current YULA Girls parents shared their experience of how they chose the school and why it was a perfect fit for their daughters. Subsequently, the girls and parents broke out into their preassigned groups. An expo was set up in the gym for the parents and students to recognize the extent
to which the YULA Girls faculty and staff help each and every student explore her path and passions - both while in YULA Girls and once she graduates from high school. In the foyer, a club fair was arranged, representing over 40 clubs and their contributions to the YULA Girls culture. From Women in Science, to Newspaper, to Bnei Akiva and YULA Israel Advocacy Club, all the prospects had a real sense of what YULA Girls stands for the the endless possibilities that await their daughters, who are the future of YULA Girls High School. To capture all the memories that were created on that night there was a photobooth set up in the gym along with a booth highlighting the sports that are offered at school. Of course, there was no lack of delicious hors d’oeuvres:
Students warmly greet parents of prospective students with swag bags at the annual YULA Girls Open House. a hot pretzel stand, fruit man, sushi, cappuccinos and more. The girls putting on a play and those participating in the choir gave a small sneak peak performance. The talented girls performed the first scene so beautifully. The choir then sang Hatik-
vah, the Israeli national anthem. These two performances were truly spectacular. The entire night was such a success and all the 8th grade students and parents saw how incredible YULA Girls High school truly is.
YULA Girls Annual Shabbaton, a Smashing Success
Rachel Simon (‘19), Academics Editor Just a few weeks ago, YULA Girls High School hosted its annual school-wide Shabbaton at Camp Ramah, Ojai. From Friday morning until Sunday afternoon, students enjoyed a multitude of Ruach-filled activities, meaningful tefilah, and inspiration from guest speaker, Michal Horowitz, and guest singer, Mordechai Shapiro. Leading up to the Shabbaton, the school projected the theme of “It’s the climb. Don’t back down!”, emphasizing the spiritual growth facilitated by the YULA Girls journey and the upcoming Shabbaton experience. That Friday morning, girls davened, took pictures, and ate a school-sponsored breakfast in the courtyard before loading their luggage and boarding the buses to the campsite. Upon arrival, the girls settled in their respective bunks, divided by grade, and shortly afterwards headed down the grassy hill to the dining hall for lunch. As the girls gathered at the tables and enjoyed their lunch, guest speaker Michal Horowitz gave her first drasha of the Shabbaton, full of meaning and inspiration about overcoming challenges in order to achieve one’s ultimate goals. Subsequently, the girls di-
vided into groups for activities: Inside the dining hall, the girls made challah, put together beautiful white and golden flower arrangements, and hung up decorations. Outside, Athletics Director, Ms. Novak, led sports activities, including volleyball, basketball, and kickball. Amidst the activities, STUCO handed out YULA Girls Shabbaton sweatshirts. In the last few hours before Shabbat, the girls headed to their bunks to get ready and take scenic pictures surrounded by the mountain-view. At last, the students and faculty headed down to the dining hall for candle lighting, Mincha, Kabbalat Shabbat, and Maariv. Kabbalat Shabbat was beautiful; lead by Mordechai Shapiro, there was beautiful singing, dancing, and kavanah to welcome Shabbat. Michal Horowitz and YULA Girls Judaic Studies Principal, Mrs. Racheli Luftglass, gave divrei Torah to help set the tone of Shabbat. Afterwards, everyone headed to the dining hall for Kiddush, Hamotzi, and Seudat Leil Shabbat. YULA Girls Senior, Rachel Simon (19’), shared a d’var Torah about Yaakov and the importance of unity. After birkat hamazon, the YULA girls and faculty again headed to the tefillah space for a
game of “newlyweds” with five couples of our YULA Girls faculty, which brought lots of fun and laughter to the YULA Girls students. As the final event of the evening, Mordechai Shapiro led a beautiful school-wide Oneg, singing many types of Jewish songs and z’mirot. The girls went to bed tired, but full of energy for Shabbat. In the morning, a relaxing breakfast was followed by Tefillah and Kiddush. The food was plentiful and delicious, and girls had a chance to shmooze again before Shabbat lunch. At lunch, as the girls sat and enjoyed the Shabbat atmosphere, YULA Girls Sophomore, Sarah Nachimson (21’), shared a dvar Torah about the Parsha. The afternoon was menucha (rest) time. Girls could rest, relax, or learn with each other and Mechanchot in the main hall. Later in the afternoon, YULA Girls were split into their respective Mechanechet groups to discuss the topic of Michal Horowitz’s shiur: withstanding distractions of technology to make time for tefilah and our relationships with Hashem and each other. Next, everyone entered the dining hall again for seu-
‘93Queen’: A Film for the Entire Community Sasha E. Astrof (‘19), Feature Editor In a world riddled with a negative perception of the Chassidish Jewish community, recently released film, ‘93Queen,’ offers a fresh view of the influence of Hasidic women in Borough Park. Directed by Paula Eiselt, ‘93Queen’ follows Rachel ‘Ruchie’ Freier as she creates and operates an all-female medical service called Ezras Nashim. We were first introduced to Freier when she was appointed the first Hasidic woman judge with the support of her entire family, including her husband, portrayed as a rare occurrence in the Hasidic community. However, she found a new necessity within her community: an all-female medical unit that assists women too embarrassed or uncomfortable to call the all-male organization, Hatzolah. Because these women didn’t want the men in their community seeing them in compromising situations, Freier called together a group of Hasidic women in her community and they learned how to take care of medical needs themselves, so women can assist women.
At first, Freier was hesitant to agree to have a movie made documenting the success of Ezras Nashim; however, when Eiselt encouraged her further, Freier consented to doing the film because she wanted to show other women and girls that they could be proud of their religion, while also following their passions. Freier was insistent that the film portray Hasidut not as something suppressive, as is so often done in films, but as something of which the Jewish community could be proud. While the women involved received hateful backlash from many of the men in their community, they also receive much appreciation from the women, who know they have a safe unit to call when they encounter any medical emergency. ‘93Queen’ is the ultimate example of what can be accomplished as a Jewish feminist, though Freier continues to disassociate herself from the political movement. A line that emphasizes this idea of overcoming gender-based challenges is when Freier states, “I sometimes won-
der why God created me a woman. If I’d have been born a Hasidic man, I don’t think I would have half the problems I have. So much of the things that I want to do are that much harder because I’m a woman.” Yet, the entirety of the Jewish community is grateful that she is a woman, for if she wasn’t, Hasidic women would still be too embarrassed to get the help that they need, little girls and women wouldn’t have the inspiration to set lofty goals for themselves, and there wouldn’t be 50 women helping other women in the Hasidic community. This is a highly recommended film, not only to the Jewish community, but to anyone with access to a television, because it showcases what the Hasidic community can accomplish when a firecracker like Ruchie Freier comes along.
Students enjoy the energetic Mordechai Shapiro concert on Satuday night at the schoolwide Shabbaton. dat shlishit. YULA Girls Freshman, Miriam Well (‘22), shared a beautiful d’var Torah about a Mashal and Nimshal of Yaakov’s encounter with the malach. Afterwards, the girls departed on a hike that would encompass some of the most meaningful moments of the Shabbaton. Walking up a steep hill, watching the setting sun, the girls approached a broad canopied wooden patio where they sat around and sang heartfelt z’mirot through the end of Shabbat. YULA Girls Senior, Rachelle Kelman (19’), gave a beautiful d’var Torah about her journey and gave encouragement to everyone to overcome their struggles together. After hiking downhill, the girls went to an engaging and uplifting havdalah, led by Mordechai Shapiro, accompanied by guitar music and dancing. Next the girls went inside for a dairy
melava malka- pizza, macaroni and cheese, and lasagna! After dinner, the girls went into the main hall for a Mordechai Shapiro concert! Over an hour of singing, dancing, and taking pictures at a photo booth infused the girls with excitement and inspiration. The night did not end there! Each grade headed off on buses to bowling, singing all the way. By the time they got back to Camp Ramah, smores, ice cream and hot chocolate were served as a midnight snack before bed. The next morning, the girls packed their luggage, davened, ate a beautiful and plentiful breakfast, and departed back to school. Exhausted from the eventful Shabbaton, the girls were left inspired and uplifted, ready to continue the climb of spiritual growth back at YULA Girls.
Koretz, Beverly Hills Want Airbnb Boycott Avi Etshalom (‘21) and Ethan Frankel (‘22) Airbnb, a short-term homerental platform, released a statement November 19 announcing that it has decided to retract its approximately 200 listings in the West Bank, prompting the Beverly Hills City Council to adopt a resolution that condemned Airbnb’s actions and called for a boycott against the company, a call Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz echoed. The listings removed by Airbnb were exclusively in Jewish settlements; the decision does not affect Palestinian listings. Furthermore, Airbnb has not acted to remove listings in other disputed territories. This distinction has been noted by many who have argued that the action was politically motivated and even anti-Semitic. Airbnb wrote in a blog post, “We know that people will disagree with this decision and appreciate their perspective. This is a controversial issue. There are many strong views as it relates to lands that have been the subject of historic and intense disputes between Israelis and Palestinians
in the West Bank.” In response, the Beverly Hills City Council passed a resolution November 21 that condemned Airbnb’s actions. The resolution encouraged people to boycott Airbnb and instead use other booking sites. The resolution also states that Airbnb’s actions “demonstrate hatred, prejudice, ignorance and hypocrisy.” The resolution then calls on Airbnb to “correct this act of disrespect to the land of Israel and restore its original services immediately.” Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz agreed. His letter to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said that the decision “demonstrates prejudice, ignorance and hypocrisy. Simply put, this is an act of anti-Semitism and sets a double standard.” He said he has called on L.A.’s city attorney to research options for municipal retaliation against Airbnb “until they have suspended their policy of singling out Jewish settlements for delisting from their platform.”
First Person: Poland Trip Inspires Students Akiva Alter (‘20)
As we stand in the gas chambers of Majdanek with our hands around each other’s shoulders, our feelings are indescribable. Rabbi Eli Skaist yells the first line of the Shema at the top of his lungs. The echoes reverberate against the walls and cause a shiver in each Jew standing in the chamber, for we know that just over 70 years ago hundreds of thousands of Jews yelled this line in this very spot, their last words before being suffocated to death. *** The YULA bus pulls into the parking lot outside Birkenau, and right away every student’s eyes are wide with amazement at the sheer size of the death complex. Rabbis Arye Sufrin and Skaist take the first steps onto the famous train tracks. They begin playing the most emotional, melancholy melodies of the trip. We walk behind them, locked arm-in-arm in rows of four. They continue the “train” until they reach the famous arch above the tracks, which signals the entrance to Birkenau. Then, as if we have practiced multiple times, we form a circle with our arms around one another and begin jumping, while ecstatically singing in unison, “Am Yisrael chai!” (The Nation of Israel lives!). The curiosity and surprise of the surrounding visitors make Birkenau memorable for the victory it symbolizes for all visiting Jews. The Nazis failed. After Birkenau, the group takes a short bus ride to the Auschwitz work camp. It does not elicit the same emotional response that Birkenau does. The Auschwitz work camp was set up by the Polish government as a museum that gives the same
attention to the small number of Poles who were interned there as it gives to the many more Jews who were. We enter and are required by Polish law to use a non-Jewish, Polish tour guide instead of Rabbi Eli Marcus, our personal tour guide. When walking through Auschwitz, some in our group attempt to sing by Auschwitz’s Wall of Death, where even babies were executed. The Polish tour guide quickly quiets the group down, explaining that Polish police would arrest the singers if they did not cease. Rabbi Sufrin then points out that few signs in the camp actually say the word “Jew.” Much more focus is placed here on the Polish inmates, who made up only a small minority of prisoners. Natan Rose (‘20) expresses how the emotional impact of Birkenau changed his life forever. He “felt” the death there, while the emotion he feels at Auschwitz is anger, anger at the Polish government for turning
museum promotes knowledge of the Holocaust to the world. ***
Besides the death and concentration camps we visit, the YULA Poland trip educates those on the trip about pre-war Jewish life in Europe, including visits to pray at the kevarim (graves) of tzadikim (righteous individuals). The Kotzker Rebbe’s kever stands out the most to our group. Mendy Sacks (‘19), a direct descendent of the Kotzker Rebbe on his mother’s side, has come on the trip with his father, David Sacks. Mr. Sacks gives an emotional speech that reveals that Mendy is named after the Kotzker Rebbe (they share the name Menachem Mendel). Mr. Sacks runs seven times around the grave and creates quite a commotion in the serene, snowy surroundings. Mr. Sacks’s marathon around the holy grave and the younger Sacks’s personal connection to it make the Kotzker Rebbe’s kever particularly memorable and meaningful
The YULA Poland trip spits in the Nazis’ faces and proclaims that the Jewish people are thriving while the Nazis are gone. That is our revenge. Auschwitz into a tourist trap. He is angry that we are pushed away from each site more quickly than we are comfortable with because more groups have arrived. Others in the group voice similar frustrations, but it is Rose’s father who dissents by speaking positively about what the Polish people have done with Auschwitz. He argues that the style of the Auschwitz
to our group. Additionally, the grave of Rav Moshe Isserles, the Rama, resonates with the group. Every day at YULA we have Halacha class at 7:30, and the Rama’s work, along with that of the Sephardic Rav Yosef Karo, is a major focus of the class. Visiting this kever is another inspiring part of the group’s trip.
*** Overall the trip is moving and complex for all of us. Many have come on the trip wondering how they would respond to places where entire Jewish communities were exterminated. These terrible sites do incite anger and a desire for revenge. But not the violent sort. Singing as a group in the gas chambers is our revenge. Visiting the intact holy graves and surviving synagogues is our revenge. Our walking freely in and out of the death camps without any Nazis around to stop us is our revenge. The YULA Poland trip spits in the Nazis’ faces and proclaims that the Jewish people are thriving while the Nazis are gone. That is our revenge. *** Many on the trip were not the same age or even close friends when they touched down in Poland. But after experiencing the sites where our brethren were murdered, all the students, fa-
thers, and rebbeim on this trip have formed a unifying, unbreakable bond. *** Rabbi Sufrin delivers the final speech of the trip at 2:13 a.m. by the graves of the Sfat Emet and the Chiddushei Harim. Rabbi Sufrin then challenges everyone to pick one aspect of his religious connection and to focus on it and thereby grow step by step in his Judaism. As Mr. Sacks says, when a seed is planted, it must rot before it grows. The Holocaust was our rotting, and now it is time for the Jewish nation to thrive in its Judaism. The YULA Poland trip has been an invaluable experience that has encouraged everyone in our group to better understand the atrocities of the Holocaust and has inspired us all to strive to achieve sincere religious growth.
YULA Girls Blood Drive
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Leah Tabibi (‘21)
pable. Many of the women were emotional as they reminisced about their youth and the meaning behind the words of the songs. Returning back to school for lunch, the girls enjoyed churro treats as a “thank you” for their participation in the events of the day. On Wednesday, December 5th, each grade went off campus to the houses of their Mechanchot to have lunch and engage in Chanukah-themed activities and Divrei Torah. They had the chance to escape from the busy school schedule and eat a delicious meal in a festive ambiance, surrounded by friends and teachers. On Thursday, December 6th, the school day was a Friday schedule with a fun-filled Cha-
One of YULA’s five core values, and an important one within the Jewish faith, is Chessed. At YULA, our service and giving back to our community comes in many forms -- such as, food and toy drives and helping out the less fortunate. On Thursday, December 13th, from 12 - 5pm, YULA girls hosted a blood drive with Bikur Cholim for the Children’s Hospital LA, in the Beit Midrash. Bikur Cholim, a leading Jewish healthcare and social support organization on the West Coast, has co-hosted many blood drives with YULA Girls. This year’s blood drive was coordinated by Hadaya Fried, a junior who runs YULA’s Chessed Committee and who had been advocating for a blood drive for months. Fried was excited to bring the blood drive to YULA
nukah Chagiga. The girls were treated to a dairy lunch while the school choir performed Chanukah zemirot. Afterwards, the students participated in fun activities such as playing on inflatables, getting glitter tattoos, competing in laser tag, and posing with friends in the photo booth. After sampling all the games, the girls were called into the Beit Midrash for dancing, with music lead by renowned DJ, Yoav. To start off the dancing, the YULA Girls Dance Team, lead by captain Batya Tropper (‘19), made a grand entrance with a special dance performance to pump up the girls. Overall, Chanukah at YULA Girls was a smashing hit with festive events, bonding experiences, inspiring Torah insight, and Chessed galore!
YULA students walk toward Birkenau during their Poland trip.
Girls this year and mentioned that, “...since I was young, on TV, I would always see an episode of a show with a blood drive and it saving peoples lives”. A blood drive can save many lives and it is said that one blood donation can save three lives. Additionally, each year, 4.5 million lives are saved in the United States due to blood donations. Ms. Jordana Wertheimer, Director of Student Life and Leadership, stated that, “it’s such a great mitzvah and we’re so excited to bring the blood drive back to YULA Girls”. In accordance with FDA requirements, only students who are 17 years or older, were able to donate blood. For senior, Hanna Gootin, donating blood is especially meaningful because she is a universal blood donor and
as she put it is, “not squeamish about blood”. Since many of our students are too young to donate and were not able to participate, it was their parents, community members, and YULA faculty who stepped up to donate. Due to the combined efforts of our community, YULA’s blood drive was a success and a huge blood donation was made to Bikur Cholim.
Faculty Focus: Mr. Zeno Yoni Merkin (‘21)
Mr. Mustafa Zeno teaches two Arabic classes and a film class at YULA Boys. Mr. Zeno was born in the U.S. and raised in Syria until he moved to Los Angeles for his education. Outside of school, Mr. Zeno is a filmmaker who has produced several films, including one about his family called “Dalya’s Other Country.” The Panther Post: What is it like teaching at YULA Boys, which has a completely different culture and religion from yours? Mr. Mustafa Zeno: I personally love it and really enjoy it. I love being in communities that are different from mine. And it’s such a great opportunity for me to learn so much about the boys and their culture, their religion, where they come from, and for them to learn some of mine. And it has its challenges, of course, [as there are] any time people come from different cultural backgrounds. But I really enjoy it. PP: How did you come to teach at YULA? MZ: A friend of mine who went to YULA as a high-school kid. He grew up and learned Arabic in the Middle East. His name is Tzvi Smith [‘03]. He wanted to start the [Arabic] program here. He started it and asked me if I wanted to join. I said, “Absolute-
ly, I would love that,” and then we taught together one year, both here and at the girls school. He went to Israel for higher education, and I am still here. PP: How does YULA differ from your schooling as a child? MZ: Well, I went to an all-boys high school, so it’s similar in that way. My school did not have this much emphasis on religion, though. We just had a few periods a week for religion. Also, it was in Syria, so there [was] a lot more emphasis on science and math [than on the] arts. Here you have a lot more awesome resources. PP: What is your job outside of school? MZ: I am a filmmaker. I work on documentaries and narrative fictional films. PP: Which films have you made or have been a part of helping to make? MZ: I have worked on many films. The last one that came out was called “Dalya’s Other Country.” It’s about my mom and sister’s experience moving here from Syria after the war, and that was on PBS last year. PP: You teach Arabic at YULA. What’s it like teaching a language to kids who would most likely
Mr. Mustafa Zeno teaches his Arabic I class. never learn it otherwise? MZ: It’s really great. It’s really such a special program because of that, and the fact that most of them know Hebrew makes teaching another Semitic language really fun because I’m able to pull from the similarities from Hebrew and also help them learn the language faster.
when you came to America? MZ: I was born in America, I was born in Santa Monica, and I moved to Syria when I was five, so by the time I moved to Syria, I already spoke English. And we used to visit the U.S. in the summers when we lived in Syria, and also my dad used to speak English at home.
PP: What do you teach in your film class? MZ: I teach both the theory and history of film and also the practice and production of film.
PP: Did you have any teaching experiences before YULA? MZ: Yes. I used to teach Arabic to adults at a Middle Eastern cultural center called the Levantine Center. Now it’s called The Markaz and I taught there for a
PP: How did you learn English
few years. PP: So how does teaching adults differ from teaching high school students the same language? MZ: It’s different because adults come to learning with their own experience, which changes things. It makes teaching them harder in some things and easier in others, and for high-school students you are working more with ... a clean slate.
New Podcast Prepares High-School Listeners for Life ‘Beyond the Test’ Daniel Tarko (‘20)
As part of YULA Boys’ Entrepreneurship Studio class, Ariel Mansano (‘20), along with co-host Rabbi Michael Cohen, Director of Innovation at YULA Boys, created a podcast called “Beyond the Test,” in which the two interview successful people in all fields who share advice designed to help listeners succeed in many aspects of life other than school. Mansano “noticed that you
November 1, when Mansano and Rabbi Cohen interviewed Dave Isbitski, the Chief Evangelist for Alexa and Echo at Amazon. Forbes defines a tech evangelist as “a person who builds up support for a given technology, and then establishes it as a standard in the given industry,” and, according to his webpage, Mr. Ibitski is responsible for “introducing the world to the power of Voice.” Rabbi Cohen has been key in
“If I get 10 listens throughout the whole series, and one person is affected by the advice that these people are giving, then in my mind that’s a success.” - Ariel Mansano (‘20)
can find podcasts if you work in industries like marketing, real-estate or finance, but what about if you don’t know what you want to do?” That’s why the podcast is aimed at high-school students: it will give them the opportunity to learn about a wide array of career paths. “Beyond the Test” premiered
getting the podcast up and running with his social media connections and his previous experience with his own podcast, “Educated by Design.” In his introduction to the podcast, Rabbi Cohen explains the goal of “Beyond the Test”: “Whether you are a highschool student or someone still searching for that dream profes-
sion, we hope the conversations here with our amazing guests will inspire you to think beyond the test.” Mansano and Rabbi Cohen have now interviewed several guests. Their second guest was Andy Miller, CEO and founder of NRG eSports, co-owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, and former vice president of mobile advertising at Apple. Mr. Miller attributed his success to his ability to tell stories. Mr. Miller said that the best thing he ever did was write a sports column for a newspaper in junior high, where he first learned to tell stories. In the podcast, he emphasized the importance of telling an idea or product’s story in a compelling way. Another successful person whom the pair interviewed is Andy Weir, who received the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2016 for his award-winning novel, “The Martian.” Other successful people whom Mansano and Rabbi Cohen interviewed include the vice president of development at Twitch;
Ariel Mansano (left) and Rabbi Michael Cohen prepare for an episode of “Beyond the Test.” the CMO of a company that makes virtual reality software; a technology evangelist who has a podcast and has given over 80 keynote speeches; and a writer for DC Comics. “If I get 10 listens throughout the whole series, and one person is affected by the advice that these people are giving, then in
my mind that’s a success,” said Mansano. With “Beyond the Test,” Mansano is filling a gap in the education system by giving listeners a leg up in the world after school. “Beyond the Test” is available for free from Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
YULA Boys Robotics Team Undefeated After Three Matches
YULA Girls First Debate Tournament
The YULA Boys varsity robotics team won its third consecutive meet December 2 to remain undefeated in the 2018-19 season. The junior varsity team also placed well: 4th and 3rd in the first two of this season’s three meets. Each team’s robot completes various tasks to earn points. In each round of the competition, robots from competing teams are paired up to form alliances. The alliance that scores the most points wins that round. The varsity team has not only won all of its meets, but it has also won each round. The team has even won in rounds in which the other robot in the alliance was unable to move, meaning that YULA Boys was responsible for all points in that round. During the competition, the robots move both autonomously––pre-programmed by the team––and with driver controls. During the autonomous phase, the robots drop themselves to the ground from a lander in the middle of the playing field. Afterward, the robots scan their surroundings in order to maneuver. “It was particularly difficult to have the robot controller auton-
French essayist, Joseph Joubert, once said, “It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.” The YULA Girls were excited for their first debate tournament on Monday evening, November 19! Fourteen girls on the YULA Girls Debate team competed against the students from Beverly Hills High School. The YULA Girls Debate Team, led by seniors Tali Gershov, Ayelet Topp, and Penina Waghalter, have been practicing every Monday night since the beginning of the school year. The practices last about an hour as the girls exchange ideas, express diverging views, and assert their opinions. The girls debate various topics ranging from banning the death penalty to what the appropriate drinking age should be. Discussions are lively,
Akiva Brookler (‘21), Layout Editor
Daniel Tarko (‘20) works on the YULA Boys varsity team’s robot. omously find the yellow cube,” said varsity Captain Daniel Tarko (‘20). “We are the only team in our competition to do this consistently, giving us a big leg up on the competition.” When the robots are moved by remote control, it is easier to score points. The YULA Boys robotics teams have been working since the start of the school year on their robots. The teams are constantly tinkering to improve their
robots even though they have consistently won meets by wide margins. “We’re always trying to improve our robot so that we can learn more and be prepared for harder competition,” team member Yoni Merkin (‘21) said. Many team members agree with Merkin and see each team’s continued improvement as a major factor in its success. There are three students on the varsity team and nine on the
Aliza Nissanoff (‘22)
JV team. Varsity is led by Tarko; JV, by Moshe Epstein (‘21). Mr. Alec Gomez, a former engineer, mentors the teams. This year the robotics meets have been held in YULA Boys’ new Samson Center, so in addition to a strong coach, the team enjoys the benefits of a home-
heated, and everyone has a chance to refine their public speaking skills. To prepare for the tournament, the students were told to address whether or not the electoral college should be abolished and create a speech based on their perspective. The three hour tournament consisted of three rounds in total: two rounds to determine the students with the highest score and a final round where the winner would be determined. The panel of voluntary judges were comprised of students’ parents. Many girls from the YULA team made it to the final round and although defeated, the YULA Girls performed amazingly! For those who were wondering, the winner chose to keep the electoral college intact. The tournament was a great way to kick off the season!
court advantage. Each robotics team’s goal is to advance to the regional competition, but the teams are unsure if they will be able to compete in later competitons because many competitions outside of YULA’s league are held on Saturdays.
YULA Boys Hires New Physics Teacher
YULA Girls Robotics Team Competes in FTC
The sudden decision of YULA Boys math and science teacher Cody Staves to relocate to Vermont prompted a frenetic search for a replacement. YULA believes that Mr. Daniel Haiem, a former YULA student (‘11), is their man. In early November, Mr. Staves, who taught several science and math classes here at YULA, including one Advanced Placement (AP) course, decided to pursue his passion for coaching hockey and currently serves as the head coach of the hockey team and as a member of the science department at The Vermont Academy, a boarding school in Saxtons River, Vt. YULA was able to find a replacement almost immediately in Mr. Haiem, who began teaching the AP and at-grade-level physics courses to 11th and 12th graders. “The transition was as fluid as one could ask for given the circumstances,” said Mr. Haiem. “The staff was supportive, and I’m lucky to have such a scientifically curious and intelligent class. Personally, I love physics and I hope to help
This past quarter school year, the YULA Girls Robotics team competed in the First Tech Challenge (FTC) competition taking place at YULA Boys High School. YULA Girls is just one out of many schools that compete in this tournament from all over the state. So far the competitions have went fairly well and the team is very pleased with their work. In one of our many competitions (November 18), we started off in 11th place and moved up 5 places to 6th by the end of the competition. Everyone on the robotics team has been working very hard these past few weeks, staying multiple days a week after school for hours just working on our robot to perfection. At this rate, we will be heading off to regionals and finals in no time!
Gavriel Gershov (‘20), Israel and Photo Editor
my students experience that passion as well.” Between his graduation and his return to YULA, Mr. Haiem created an app called ClassCalc, which offers an alternative to expensive Texas Instruments graphing calculators. Students can use the app during tests by turning on a special mode that notifies teachers if students have left the app. “Although YULA undergoes many changes, its core never changes. I treat my students the same way my best teachers treated me,” said Mr. Haiem. Despite a generally smooth transition, the replacement forced some rescheduling. The AP and at-level physics classes merged. Due to these changes in the students’ schedules, students in the at-level class were offered the chance to move up to the AP level through testing. None has done so, primarily because AP Physics C, the course Mr. Haiem teaches, is calculus based, and those in the at-level class are not enrolled in a calculus class. “We have … already found a liking for Mr. Haiem and are ex-
Mr. Daniel Haiem lectures his AP Physics class on kinematics. cited for the remainder of the year with him,” Menachem Kornreich (‘19), an AP student, said. “He interacts really well with the students because he was in our shoes just a few years ago.” ClassCalc, Mr. Haiem’s app, is available on the App Store and on Google Play.
Ada Gindin (‘20)
How the competition works: The way the competitions work is that in each round, there are 2 sides, red and blue, and 2 teams on each side. The arrangement of teams and sides switch with each round so that each school is paired with a new
group and is on a different color each round. Every year there is a new goal to accomplish with the robots in each round; this year the goal is to move specific objects into a designated spot in the competing area and to be able to have your robot lower itself from an elevated position autonomously (meaning by itself) with its coding/programing. For each object correctly placed, points are awarded to that side (meaning that both teams on that side benefit from the points). Each time that a robot is able to lower itself from its elevated point, that side also receives additional points. At the end of each competition, each team’s points are tallied and at the end of all the local competitions, the teams with the highest scores can qualify to go to the final tournament. This year’s final tournament takes place February 18, 2019 at the ILT - Interleague tournament at the Aerospace Academy
Highlights of the 2018-19 Mock Trial Competitions Faculty Ayelet Topp (‘19), Academics Editor Focus: The Mock Trial season has as the court-house clerk and time Mr. come to a close for the 2018-2019 keeper). The attorneys gave openschool year. This year, the co-ed ing and closing remarks, along Pulitzer team was led by co-captains, Li- with directing and crossing witana Seidenfeld (‘19) and Ari Wilner (‘19). The team practiced at weekly meetings under the guidance of school professors and a professional attorney, in preparation for two competitions at the Los Angeles Courthouse. The Mock Trial team has the opportunity of experiencing an authentic simulation of a court case, so for students interested in law, Mock Trial is the best way to pursue and explore this passion. This year’s case, People v. Klein, saw defendant Reagan Klein facing prosecution on two counts: a criminal threat and a false report of an emergency. The YULA Girls and Boys teams attended the court house twice to represent both the defense and prosecution of Klein. Students acted as prosecuting and defense attorneys, pre-trial lawyers, and witnesses (as well
nesses on stand. YULA Lawyers defended the client, Reagan Klein, and proved that she did not send a criminal threat nor send a false report of an emergency, thus declaring her as not-guilty. Reflecting on her time in Mock Trial, Liana Seidenfeld, team captain and winner of the MVP Award on the side of prosecution says, “being a prosecution lawyer on YULA’s Mock Trial team means that I can develop powerful arguments to convince a real judge of a certain claim. It empowers me to step outside my comfort zone and become enveloped in the language of the law, which is both challenging and exciting”. Additionally, the youngest lawyer on the team, Leila Fishman (‘22), won the MVP Award during her court case, on the side of the defense.
Ezra Rosenbaum (‘20)
YULA Mock Trial Team poses with Judge Tony L. Richardson at the Stanley S. Mosk courthouse, celebrating the success of their trial. At both court hearings, the YULA team, whether acting as defense or prosecution, won on one account but not the other. Although they did not make it into
the second round of competitions, they are very proud of how they did as a team and the skills gained during the season.
YULA Girls Compete in Ulpaniada Competition Adiel Nourmand (‘22)
On October 23rd, 2018 the first round of the highly anticipated math competition took place. The test consisted of challenging questions, requiring the girls to truly think outside the box and test her knowledge. The Ulpaniada competition is a project directed towards high school girls in Israel and all around the globe, all of whom compete to take home the win. Throughout their eight years of the tournament taking place, there have been eight thousand high school students who have partaken in this challenging tournament.
There are three rounds to the competition; the first two take place in the students’ school while the final round will take place in Michlalah, a Jerusalem College, in February 2019. The winner for the Ulpaniada will receive various valuable prizes: Certificates of Excellence from the Israeli Ministry of Education, a scholarship from the Jerusalem College, and other beneficial rewards. The heads of the competition highly encouraged as many girls to apply, for the first part is more straightforward and is a good way for the students to quiz their
knowledge. The second round gets progressively harder and is more demanding than the first round. Finally, the third part is extremely difficult and requires the students to use the full capacity of their knowledge. The competition is geared towards girls who enjoy solving logical problems, difficult math puzzles, and number games. There were five daring girls who decided to enter this year’s competition. Eliana Sisman (‘20), Jennifer Peled (‘20), Ada Gindin (‘20), Alana Bess (‘20), and Elisheva Zisblatt (‘19) all competed in the first round of the compe-
tition. Later, the results came in naming two students from YULA Girls who would advance in the competition: Eliana Sisman and Jennifer Peled, who took the second test on December 19th. Mrs. Green, YULA’s math department chair stated, “ I am so proud of all the girls who participated in the math competition. Having two of these girls qualify to move on to the next round is a great accomplishment. As each round gets more challenging we are eager to see what happens next. Whatever the outcome, they all deserve a round of applause!”
Learning in the New Campus Menachem Korenreich (‘19), Academics Editor YULA Boys’ new campus finally opened November 2. Students are now able to take full advantage of the entire campus expansion, from Gemara and Calculus in Gelman Hall and individual and group study in Kestenbaum Commons to a true physical education experience in the Samson Center. Several teachers, including Math Co-Chair Mrs. Layla Bayramova and Rabbi Nachum Sauer, have moved into Gelman Hall. Although the students took a while to get used to the moving chairs and electronic equipment,
they are now able to take full advantage of what the new building has to offer. Art teacher Mrs. Lisa Utrata is pleased with her new classroom because it gives more space for students to explore their creativity. She is also making use
and engineering teacher Mr. Alec Gomez both teach in the Schlesinger STEAM & Entrepreneurship Center. Rabbi Cohen is now able to make use of innovative technology, including a laser cutter and additional 3D printers.
Students and teachers have been able to take full advantage of what the new building has to offer. of the new supplies she has received, such as a pottery wheel. Rabbi Michael Cohen, Director of Innovation, and math
Mr. Gomez is also able to utilize the new campus’s technological offerings. He has moved his engineering classes into Gelman
Hall, where he has more space to teach his students. Mr. Gomez also coaches the robotics team, which now practices and builds its robots in a space far more comfortable than in its old room in the basement. The new campus provides students with innovative spaces to advance their learning and has inspired teachers to help their students explore the campus’s full potential.
Mr. David Pulitzer references the periodic table during a chemistry class. Mr. David Pulitzer is a new science teacher at YULA Boys. So far, Mr. Pulitzer is impressed by YULA because he feels that “the administration and staff here are phenomenal––very supportive and very eager to help.” He also feels that students are “overall very respectful and polite.” Mr. Pulitzer teaches Chemistry, Honors Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, Informal Geometry, and Statistics. In his 12th grade Anatomy and Physiology class, he delves into the structure of living things and how the mechanisms in the body work to keep us alive. According to Leo Tasslit (‘21), a student in Mr. Pulitzer’s 10th-grade Honors Chemistry class, “Mr. Pulitzer is a great teacher.” Mr. Pulitzer graduated from California Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. He attended Oregon State University for graduate school, where he studied cellular and molecular biology and researched “aging-related dysfunction based on the mitochondria.” He intended to learn how to minimize chromosome cutting, which is common in old age. If successful, the study could help people live longer and healthier lives. Mr. Pulitzer grew up in Santa Monica, but he has lived and worked all over the world: he taught biology and chemistry in England for 13 years. Jewish, Mr. Pulitzer initially wanted to become a rabbi but eventually found his passion in teaching science. Mr. Pulitzer has also lived in Seattle and he has worked in quality assurance for a confection company. In his free time, he likes to hike and hang out with his family, and he loves that in L.A., “you’re not too far from the beach, but not the slopes either.”
YULA Students Attend AIPAC Seminars Hayden Klein (‘20) and Yoni Merkin (‘21) Over the course of the year, YULA sends students to various AIPAC seminars and conferences to educate them about advocating for Israel. The first conference this year took place October 14-15, when several students from both YULA Boys and YULA Girls attended the Saban AIPAC Regional Training Seminar (ARTS), which focused on educating students about Israel, so they can become advocates for Israel in high school, college, and beyond. Akiva Brookler (‘21), one of the students who attended, thought the Saban seminar “was a great opportunity to meet people who share the same pro-Israel agenda as I do.” The seminar featured speakers who educated the students about Israel and the many challenges it faces. Speakers also delivered seminars on how to advocate for and teach about Israel effectively. The conference was mostly led by AIPAC staffers, but it also included speakers such as Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez.
Another conference that YULA students attended was AIPAC’s Schusterman Advocacy Institute High School Summit, which was held October 27-30 in Washington, D.C. Seven YULA delegates attended, along with 400 teenagers from all over the country. During the conference, students listened to sessions given by AIPAC staffers and college students involved with AIPAC. From these sessions, teens learned how to advocate for Israel after graduating from high school and heard college students speak about their experiences advocating for Israel. “The sessions were incredibly informative when it came to all the issues regarding Israel,” Jake Fishman (‘20) said. On the last night of the conference, the AIPAC staff put together a college fair and carnival for all of the students. During the fair, representatives from colleges all over the country pitched reasons that high-schoolers should consider their universities. The representatives also informed the teens about pro-Israel and Jewish life on campus.
YULA’s delegation to AIPAC’s Schusterman Advocacy Institute High School Summit poses outside of Rep. Karen Bass’s (D-Calif.) office. Afterward, a carnival was set up with games and food for all the teens to enjoy, which “was a great way to connect with the other students in a less high-strung environment, with amazing food,
activities, and people,” said Batya Tropper (‘19). After the conference, delegates from both YULA and Shalhevet went to the Capitol to lobby a staffer of Rep. Karen Bass
(D-Calif.), who represents YULA and Shalhevet’s district.
Israeli Innovations Hope Fatal Accident on Israeli Highway Yaelle Shaye (‘22) to Make World a Safer, Eight people erased in the on suspicion of manslaughter. proximately 300 miles long, into Cleaner Place blink of an eye. A family de- Laurent Ankri is believed to have a two-lane highway. This project Daniel Zarur (‘22)
The Mazor X system makes spinal surgery safer and more reliable. The Bloomberg Innovation Index lists Israel as the world’s tenth-most innovative country. Three companies illuminate this trend. Mazor Robotics, a company that has recently been acquired by MedTronic for $1.7 billion, is just one example of Israel’s innovation. The Mazor X, their product, is a robotic guidance system that allows for easy planning and performance of spinal surgery by integrating the surgical arm, workstation, and a 3D camera. Israel is
using Mazor X to help the world by making spinal surgery safer and more reliable. But Israel does not stop there. Safety is a top priority for Israel, which is why the Quadsight system was created. This obstacle-detecting camera was showcased in the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where it was awarded the 2019 CES Innovation Award in the vehicle intelligence and self-driving technology category. Under any weather or lighting condition,
stroyed by something as simple as a phone, a drink, and drugs. These are dangers that are prominent in our everyday lives, whose risks are greater than we can ever imagine. On October 30th, driving along Route 90, these dangers caused the deaths of the Atar family: a family of eight living in Psagot, Israel. The entire Atar family - Yariv Atar, 45, and his wife Shoshi, 47, and their children, Yaakov Yisrael, 12, Ateret, 11, Ayelet, 9, Moriah, 7, Yedid, 5, and Avigail, 3 - , off of school because of local elections, were killed when a driver coming from the opposite direction swerved into oncoming traffic and hit them. A few members of the family are believed to have died on impact, while others died trapped in the blazing car. Laurent Ankri, 52, from Giv’on Hahadasha, was driving an SUV when she hit the Atar’s minivan. Ankri was taken into custody by a Be’er Sheva court
been driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. The 52-year-old has 20 prior traffic offenses and was found in possession of cannabis. Following his arrest he was subjected to a blood test, the results of which have not been published. Ankri maintains that he was blinded by the sun, causing him to accidently swerve into the wrong lane. His wife and daughter were injured in the collision, and immediately after the crash, he was reportedly devastated and stated, “I killed them, I am never driving again.” This devastating tragedy was the last straw for Israelis. In these past few months alone, there have been three deadly collisions on Route 90. A couple and their 10 month old baby were killed when their vehicle collided with a bus, and six Palestinian men were killed when they crashed into a truck. Amongst other modifications, Transportation Minister, Israel Katz, has assembled a plan to widen Route 90, which is ap-
is set to cost around NIS 10-15 billion ($2.7-4 billion) and is expected to be carried out as a Public Private Partnership. Car accidents occur every minute of every day. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, 37,000 people die in car accidents each year, and around every 16 minutes a fatal car accident occurs. These numbers rise each time someone speeds, drives distracted, or under the influence. Driving safely is a pressing issue in society, and people suffer every day from the consequences of risky driving. Next time you’re driving and you get a text, don’t pick up your phone. Don’t get behind the wheel distracted or under the influence. The difference between life and death can be the simple decision of waiting to apply your lipstick, or calling an uber. We must all work together as a society to prevent these accidents and keep our roads safe.
the Quadsight system will detect semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles. By using this system, drivers will be safer on the road because of the extra set of eyes. The Israeli company Elya saw how terrible pollution has become in our world and could
not ignore it. Elya reuses plastic to create other plastic products by using a formula of all-natural ingredients. Elya strives to lead the polyethylene-based recycling industry all around the world and raise awareness of the growing issue. In the hopes of one day being able to eliminate the severity
of pollution, a large number of countries have passed legislation that requires the use of recycled materials, and Elya is leading the way in reusing these materials.
Torah & Israel
Analysis: AIPAC, the Lobby That Doesn’t Buy Votes Avi Schneider (‘20)
Lobbies are often seen as groups that seek to manipulate legislators and peddle influence, endangering the democratic system. But many of us support the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). So what really is lobbying, and why is AIPAC different? To “lobby” means to conduct activities designed to influence public officials, especially members of a legislative body, on legislation. On the surface, this method of activism seems ethically sound, but the involvement of powerful figures and lots of money creates some gray areas. Most organizations and companies spend gargantuan sums of cash on lobbying. In 2016 alone, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a pro-business lobby, spent $103 million on lobbying. The large amounts of money the Chamber of Commerce spends shows the influence private organizations can have on the supposedly public government. Many companies donate to campaigns that share their values. One of the most controversial lobbies, the National Rifle Assn.
(NRA), gives over $13 million annually to candidates, politicians, and organizations that support its agenda. Additionally, it spends $45 million on lobbying. With massive disagreement over gun policies, the NRA has earned a polarizing place in American politics. The NRA is one example of how lobbying has been a large factor in passing laws and effecting change within the government and has given a lot of power to corporate America. So how is AIPAC different? AIPAC lobbies politicians by attempting to convince them of the importance of supporting a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. AIPAC uses words, not dollars, to earn the votes of members of Congress. AIPAC does not endorse, condemn, or fund political campaigns or current members of Congress. Additionally, AIPAC is bipartisan, inviting both the majority and minority leaders of both houses of Congress––as well as the president or vice president, regardless of his political party–– to speak at its Policy Conference in March. In a presidential election year, AIPAC invites all can-
didates from both the Democratic and Republican parties to speak. AIPAC never endorses legislation unless it has strong bipartisan support in both houses. AIPAC believes that a strong Israel means a strong America, as do the 18,000 delegates of all religious, racial, and political backgrounds who attend Policy Conference. AIPAC’s diverse membership contrasts sharply with many other lobbies. Additionally, AIPAC relies on volunteer citizen-lobbyists more than on paid lobbyists. According to its website, over 100,000 Americans volunteer for AIPAC. Many YULA students volunteer, with about 40 heading to Washington each year for Policy Conference as part of the YULA Israel Advocacy Club (YIAC). AIPAC educates attendees on Israel-related issues and political activism in general. On its website, AIPAC explains that it “empowers pro-Israel activists across all ages, religions, races and political parties to be politically engaged and build relationships with members of Congress from both sides of
Sivan Rahav-Meir Brings a Religious Perspective to Israel’s News
Akiva Brookler (‘21), Layout Editor During the week of October 21, Sivan Rahav-Meir, an Israeli journalist for Israel’s Channel 2, spoke about her experiences as a religious journalist to numerous Los Angeles Jewish schools. Bnei Akiva flew her out from Israel to speak about her unique journalistic experiences at their annual Shvuat Gevura (Week of Heroism) fundraiser. In addition to speaking at both YULA Boys and YULA Girls about her work, Ms. Rahav-Meir sat down with members of The Panther Post staff to discuss journalism in a more intimate environment. Well-known in Israel (three Israeli political parties offered to
put her on their Knesset list in the last elections, but she declined because of her love for journalism), Ms. Rahav-Meir distinguishes herself from other members of the media by bringing a religious-Jewish perspective to her journalism. Her view is that reporters no longer bring the news to the public, since digital media make news instantly accessible to the world without reporters. Ms. Rahav-Meir feels that journalists must bring their unique perspectives to people who read their work, so she incorporates religion into her journalism. Ms. Rahav-Meir’s Orthodox views have interfered with the
Sivan Rahav-Meir addresses YULA Boys.
acceptance of her reportage in the news in the past, and she has received opposition as a result. Earlier this year, Ms. Rahav-Meir was scheduled to interview Israeli singer Tzvika Pick about the engagement of his daughter Daniella to movie producer Quentin Tarantino. Ms. Rahav-Meir refused to congratulate Mr. Pick on his daughter’s engagement to Mr. Tarantino, a non-Jew, because it would be a marriage prohibited by Jewish law. In response, some news personalities in Israel accused her of racism and xenophobia. Ms. Rahav-Meir’s views were seen as bigoted against non-Jews and even secular Jews. Ms. Rahav-Meir told The Post that despite the response, she does not regret her decision. She did not want to be put into a situation where she would have to decline an interview for religious reasons. Ms. Rahav-Meir also attempts to report positive news. She feels that in a world full of negativity, it is the duty of journalists to find the positivity in the news and bring that to the people. Ms. Rahav-Meir stands behind her work and wants to continue educating the public through journalism.
YULA’s 2018 AIPAC Policy Conference delegation lobbies Sen. Steven Daines (R-Mont.). the aisle to promote the U.S.-Israel relationship.” Policy Conference draws top government officials every year, whether Democrat or Republican. For the last two years, Vice President Mike Pence has been the top-ranking official at Policy Conference; before that, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke.
The last sitting president to address the conference was former President Barack Obama in 2012. Remaining bipartisan is so important, AIPAC says, because aid to Israel has to be approved every year, whether Congress is in Republican or Democratic control.
ted. Rav Feinstein says that the principle of pikuach nefesh would only apply for a kohen after he has already become a doctor, not while training to become a doctor. That is too far removed from pikuach nefesh. Only once he is a doctor, then pikuach nefesh would push aside the prohibition of becoming tamei, just as pikuach nefesh pushes aside the prohibition of doing melacha on Shabbat. Therefore, most halachic authorities prohibit kohanim from going to medical schools today. If one were to find a school where there is a virtual course on anatomy, where there would be no need to dissect a physical cadaver, there might be a possibility for a kohen to go to medical school. However, one would have to consult a competent posek (halachic decisor) before deciding to do so.
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come into direct contact with a cadaver. The vast majority of medical schools today, however, require students to dissect cadavers, so the students must come into direct contact with cadavers. Rav Moshe Feinstein, in a response to Rav Shimon Schwab, strongly maintains that a kohen is forbidden from going to medical school. He rejects the notion that perhaps because the kohen is attending medical school to ultimately save lives (pikuach nefesh, saving a life, generally permits one to violate halacha), it would be permit-
Chanukah Dvar Torah: The Power of Belief Mika Shalom (‘20)
One of the driving themes of Chanukah is miracles; but what is a miracle? If one would ask ten different people, she would find that in everyone’s answer lies a common denominator: the doing of the impossible. However, when one delves deeper into the concept, one finds a strong connection between miracles, Hashem, and Hashem’s spark within us. The Torah teaches that one’s thoughts are the seed level of the different experiences one goes through in life. The stronger one’s faith in Hashem, the stronger the faith in oneself, and therefore one’s thoughts are
driven by positivity and conviction. When one’s mindset is one of faith and positivity, she is then able to see the miracles in her lives. What others would never believe to be possible, become possible through belief and conviction. In the Jewish world, people live with the mindset of faith, knowing Hashem is their silent partner guiding them through life’s triumphs and challenges. This type of mindset, one of growth and self-empowerment, allows the Jewish community to manifest miracles in their lives.
So Who ‘Won’ the Midterms? Democrats’ gains in the House and at the state level give them the upper hand for 2020 Yonah Berenson (‘20), Executive Editor Everyone was claiming victory November 6. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), likely to resume her duties as Speaker of the House after an eight-year hiatus, hailed what she called the restoration of “the Constitution and checks and balances to the Trump administration” in her victory speech. President Donald Trump, meantime, called the midterms “very close to complete victory” for Republicans. So, with the 116th Congress officially sworn in January 3, who really won?
Democrats: Democrats took the House of Representatives, becoming the majority party there for the first time since 2010. They won 40 House seats, the most since Watergate. (Democrats could potentially pick up another seat depending on what happens in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, where the state election board won’t certify Republican Mark Harris’s 900-vote lead after alleged election fraud was discovered and where there will almost definitely be a special election.) It was a slow victory, with many elections being called weeks after Election Day, but a victory nonetheless for Democrats. What had been projected to be a blue wave was closer to a slowly rising tide. Democrats gained seats slowly, and the blue wave did not immediately materialize in election returns. Only after all ballots were counted did it become clear that these elections had ushered in real, visible change, visible especially right here in Southern California (see “California Republicans” under “Losers” for more on that). With control of the House, Democrats now have control of the legislative agenda, so they can block conservative legislation. They will also take control of House committees with the power to investigate Mr. Trump and subpoena records, including his tax returns, which Mr. Trump has been withholding. Finally, a House majority gives Democrats the ability to impeach Mr. Trump, should they find enough evidence of wrong-doing. Although Democrats did not flip the Senate, they met expectations there. The 2018 Senate map was just horrific for Democrats from the get-go. Twenty-five Democrats (including two Independents who caucus with Democrats) were up for reelection in the Senate this year, compared to eight Republicans. And many of those Democrats up for reelection were fighting to keep seats in red states where Trump won big two years ago. That any of them were able to keep their seats speaks to the powerful blue tide. And Democrats made two key pickups in Arizona and Nevada, which are seats they will actually be able to defend in 2024 because those states are close to the political center, unlike some of the Democrats’ pickups in 2012.
Control of the House gives Democrats the ability to impeach Mr. Trump if the evidence suggests wrongdoing. Nancy Pelosi: Having agreed to a term limit to gain rebel Democrats’ votes for speaker, Mrs. Pelosi took the speaker’s gavel January 3 for the first time since 2010. She will be subject to a caucus vote to reauthorize her speakership in 2020 and after that she will be ineligible to serve as speaker again under caucus rules. Democratic 2020 Chances: With control of the House, Democrats will hold high-profile investigations of the president, keeping excitement within the party high over the next two years. And at the same time, the American people will expect next to nothing of Democrats in terms of policy because they control only one house of Congress. Meanwhile, despite the fact that Republicans face the same challenge as Democrats to passing legislation, Americans see the GOP as the majority party, so the burden of passing legislation falls to them. Republicans are unlikely to live up the the expectation, and they will definitely not succeed in sweeping legislation like tax reform. Separately, Florida voters passed a state constitutional amendment that restores voting rights to released felons who were convicted of most crimes. An estimated one million ex-cons were enfranchised by the amendment. More voters usually translates to Democractic wins. Donald Trump: Mr. Trump’s handpicked candidates prevailed in most elections (Kansas gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach being a notable exception), providing an ego boost for the president. Mr. Trump also avoided the major rebuke that former President Barack Obama suffered in 2010, when 61 Democratic House seats flipped over to Republicans. That’s not to say the president got off easy. The new Democratic House ends Mr. Trump’s chance to enact broad policy and subjects him to constant scrutiny. Trump’s Judicial Nominees: With a more robust six-seat majority in the Senate, Mr. Trump can breathe a sigh of relief. Whether at the district, appellate, or Supreme Court level, Mr. Trump’s judicial nominees are very unlikely to face the intense scrutiny that Justice Brett Kavanaugh did. If Justice Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault in his teen years, was confirmed with a two-seat majority, Mr. Trump has nothing to worry about with a six-seat majority. Women: Well, Democratic women. Other minorities also had a successful night, many being the first of their minority group ever elected to Congress. Female candidates made history throughout the nation on Election Day, being elected to the House and Senate for the first time in many states. One-hundred-two representatives in the next House (all but 13 are Democrats) will be women, an all-time record in both houses of Congress. Still,
only about 24 percent of seats will be occupied by women, who make up 51 percent of the U.S. population. And there will be fewer Republican women in this Congress than in the previous one. Pollsters: Pollsters have still been smarting from Mr. Trump’s unexpected victory two years ago, but these midterms were a different story. While many pointed to individual races in mocking polls’ fallibility, pollsters’ overall predictions were vindicated: Democrats took the House by a large margin; Republicans kept the Senate in a year when many vulnerable Democratic incumbents faced an uphill battle in deep-red states; and Democrats picked up several governorships.
Republicans: Despite Mr. Trump’s insistence, Election Day was not “very close to a complete victory” for the GOP––not by a long shot. Republicans lost the House and a significant number of governorships. They kept the Senate, but Democrats had little chance there to begin with. And many Democratic senators who were up for reelection this year and lost were running in red states in which they had little chance. They had initially won those seats only as part of the excitement of Mr. Obama’s 2012 reelection, excitement that understandably fizzled out after six years. That the Republicans kept the Senate and even picked up a few seats in a non-election year is far from blocking a blue wave. In fact, they just barely met expectations, expectations that they needed to exceed. Perhaps more significantly, Republicans lost over 300 seats in state legislatures. That may not sound like a big deal, but state legislatures are responsible for redistricting, so if one party is in charge of both houses and the governor’s mansion, it can gerrymander districts to favor that party. Republicans won many so-called “trifectas” during the Obama administration, but on Election Day, they lost three and Democrats won six, meaning that Democrats will be in charge of more state legislatures over the next two years, which may allow them to increase possible congressional wins for 2020, or else give independent commissions control over redistricting. In terms of immediate impact, Republicans will not be able to pass the kind of budget they want in the House. Mr. Trump will have to compromise on a budget and end this shutdown sooner or later, and he has no chance of getting his wall anytime in the next two years. Progressives: Some progressives won (like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), but they did so in deep-blue districts. In the past, Democrats have run conservatives or moderates to try to flip red states. The main test for progressives this year was whether a charismatic progressive could win in a red state where a moderate Democrat could not. These progressive candidates came close in many instances, but alas, close doesn’t count for much. Georgia’s Stacey Abrams, Texas’s Beto O’Rourke, and Florida’s Andrew Gillum all came within percentage points of winning––Mr. Gillum within a half of a percentage point––but all lost. The question for the Democratic Party is simple: could a moderate have flipped these states? The answer, at least for Texas and Georgia, is probably no, so this was not a catastrophic defeat for progressives. But it was not encouraging either. The upshot is that a progressive Democrat would have a very hard time winning the electoral college. California Republicans: In addition to the general loss for Republicans, California Republicans were hit especially hard. They were not elected to any statewide offices (they haven’t been since 2006), and they lost Orange County––all of it––traditionally a Republican stronghold. Finally, Proposition 6, which would have repealed a recent tax on gas and was championed by Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox and retiring Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), failed, with 55 percent of voters rejecting the measure.
Mr. Trump will not be able to function with a Democratic House issuing subpoenas to him and his staff and holding hearings about his every move. President Trump: Yes, Donald Trump sees himself as a winner, but as president he will not be able to function with a Democratic House issuing subpoenas to him and his staff and holding hearings about his every move. It is unlikely that the president will be able to get any legislation through a divided Congress. He might be a dealmaker, but Republican senators are not. With prosecutors in the Southern District of New York announcing new investigations into the president’s business dealings and apparent conflicts of interest and into those around him, and with the release of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s report expected soon, Mr. Trump has a lot to fear with a Democratic House. There are enough moderate Democrats to stave off a frivolous impeachment, but if the evidence of wrongdoing in any of the several investigations becomes undeniable, they will not hesitate to impeach him. That’s a real fear that will persist through the two remaining years (or, if it’s up to the Democratic House, perhaps fewer) of the Trump administration.
First Person: Samson Center Opens Noam Meisels (‘19)
Opening night at the Samson Center was an incredible experience for the whole YULA Boys family. The anticipation was strong and it vibrated throughout the arena. This feeling of euphoria was as good as it gets for us as a team, but for me, it was the ultimate peak. This was a moment
faculty members all gathered to show their support for the Panthers. As usual, energy flowed through me and through everyone during the first possession of the game. But for me, a sense of pride dominated everything else. Hearing both “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Hatikvah,”
This was a moment I have dreamed of since elementary-school days, and here it was coming true right before my eyes. I have dreamed of since elementary-school days, and here it was coming true right before my eyes. As I ran onto the court to warm up for this historic event, I felt the excitement and buzz all around. Students, parents, and
Israel’s national anthem, in the Samson Center made me very emotional, and probably many others as well. To witness our flags hanging in our own home was a celebration of those who have made sacrifices for me and
Joseph Sassoon (‘19, left) and Noam Meisels (‘19) in the first game in the Samson Center. for our community at large. The player introductions and Head of School Rabbi Arye Sufrin’s opening remarks were magical, and all past and current Panthers will ap-
preciate them for years to come. So much effort and talent and so many resources went into the most beautiful night I have ever experienced at YULA. For that,
I’m eternally grateful. It was a moment I’ll never forget, and one I’ll forever cherish.
Steve Glouberman Tournament: The Games and Festivities Leah Tabibi (‘21)
During the afternoon of October 31st, all of YULA Girls gathered in the newly painted gym for the Soccer and Basketball Pep Rally. The Pep Rally pumped everyone up for the Steve Glouberman Basketball Tournament, in which YULA Girls was participating, and introduced the YULA Girls winter sports teams. As students and faculty members walked in, they each received a Panthers’ towel to cheer on teams, as well as an array of yummy snacks to enjoy. While the faculty and students stood waiting for the teams to emerge, fog machines sprayed into the air as the winter season teams were introduced and each team ripped though a nicely decorated team
banner as the crowd cheered. To wrap up the Pep Rally, there was a basketball dunk contest between Mr. Kruse (Science Department Chair) and Rabbi Hecht (Director of Israel Education) judged by the Varsity and JV captains, which resulted in a tied contest. The Panther spirit was palpable in the air and sent off the sports teams with a heightened feeling of confidence, especially the YULA Girls Varsity Basketball team who was planning to play against their rival team that evening. The Steve Glouberman Tournament is an annual five-day basketball tournament hosting teams from Jewish schools all over the US to compete in Los Angeles.
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YULA Girls Varsity Basketball team warming up for their game against the Shalhevet Firehawks during the opening night of the Steve Glouberman Tournament.
Soccer Team Looks Forward to Successful Season
Benjamin Rubin (‘22)
Rafael Meghnagi coaches the YULA Boys soccer team.
The YULA Boys soccer team are fine-tuning their skills in hopes of a successful season this year. In addition to the already-existing varsity team, a junior varsity practice squad has been added in order to supply a depth factor for the varsity squad and to sharpen the young talent into varsity-ready players by this time next year. After varsity’s first win against Trinity, YULA Boys soccer Coach Rafael Meghnagi said, “We have a really solid team this year. We have a shot to make a run in the playoffs.” That win was followed by
three consecutive ties against Windward, Environmental Charter, and Wildwood. Varsity’s first loss came to Buckley, but the team responded to that loss with another tie against a very strong Milken team. Wins against Valley Torah and Pacific Lutheran and losses to Vasquez and Heritage Christian placed varsity’s record at three wins, three losses, and four ties at press time. The varsity starting lineup includes a strong core of seniors and juniors and a healthy mix of underclassmen. Captains Moshe Fhima (’19) and Caleb Aranoff (’19) are varsity players in their fourth year who
hope to lead the team to further victory this year. The captains’ primary goal this season is to refine the abilities of the younger athletes to create YULA-caliber players. The team’s grueling schedule includes practice up to four times a week, along with an assortment of drills and workouts during practice––all to improve the team’s skills. The team enjoys using the Samson Center as a practice floor for futsal soccer, which is played on an indoor court.
Lady Panthers’ Soccer Games Leah Tabibi (‘21)
On the afternoon of October 14th, the Soccer team held their first of three tryouts at the Hollywood Recreation Center. Simulating the season’s upcoming soccer practices, the soccer coach tested each potential player’s dribbling, shooting, and passing techniques. With the hard work each day entailed, the girls faced each task with excitement and optimism. In the end, 15 girls made the team, with 7 returning from last season. The team is made up of Ariele Mahler (‘22), Ava Chernicoff (‘22), Bella Ferszt (’21), Ella Levkowitz (‘22), Jennie Peled (‘20), Molly Cate (‘19), Orelle Maghen (‘22), Pearel Goodman (‘22), Rachel Jian (‘22), Ruchama Benhamou (‘20), Simi Broner (’21), and Tamar Shriki (’21) - lead by co-captains Yael Spodek (‘20) and Kayla Cagan (‘19). This number of players, spanning from all four grades, sets the record as the biggest soccer team in YULA Girls history! The girls practice three times a week at the Hollywood Recreation Center and Rancho Park, with each practice lasting 2 hours. The team’s Winter season consists of 13 games (six away and
seven home). All of their home games are held at Santa Monica College, rather that last year’s home field, The Glendale Sports Complex. However, the team’s new home field is not the only new change to the soccer program this year: joining the YULA Girls Athletic Department is new soccer coach, Noga Wind. Coach Wind was born and raised in Jerusalem and played soccer professionally in the Women’s League and in Israel’s National Soccer Team. After suffering an injury, she was forced to quit and decided to pursue her dreams as an actor and educator. When asked what she hopes to bring to the program and the team, she states that her goal is to “grow a strong soccer program and make sure the girls are enjoying themselves. For the girls to grow both on and off the field, improving after every practice.” Furthermore, Coach Wind hopes to reinvent the program and plans to implement more hours of practice for the team. Many of the girls are looking forward to these new changes, including returning soccer player Jennie Peled (‘20). When asked what she is looking forward to this year, Peled stated,
Our Varsity Girls Soccer Team get ready to take on Le Lysee Francais de Los Angeles at our home field, Santa Monica College. “I’m looking forward to improving as a player alongside the incredible girls on our team”. After a few weeks of practice and unifying as a team, the girls were ready to kick off their season. On Monday, November 19th, the team, sporting their new Nike uniforms, boarded the bus to head to their first soccer game
at their home field, SMC, to compete against AGBU. The crowd was filled with fans from both schools, which kept spirits high throughout the thrilling match up. However, towards the end of the game, AGBU pushed ahead and defeated the Lady Panthers. Despite the loss, The YULA Girls team put on a great game
and according to Coach Novak, YULA Girls Athletic Director, they “excelled in communication, passing, and coordination. Though we still need to solidify which positions we each work best in, it was amazing to see how much everyone has improved in such a short amount of time.”
First Person: Learning From Our Losses The Panthers lost in their first game at Cooper, but it only brought them closer. Yaniv Silvera (‘20) To kick off our basketball season, the YULA Boys varsity team flew to Memphis to compete in the 12th-annual Cooper Yeshiva H.S. Invitational. Though YULA Boys usually participates in Shalhevet’s Glouberman Tournament, this year, due to scheduling conflicts, the team could only attend Cooper. Now, with this tournament under our belts, we are well equipped to take on the upcoming season’s challenges and victories together as a stronger unit. Cooper was the best way to start the basketball season.
put properly into words. There is something to be said about how much a team can bond by simply traveling together. The long plane rides, late nights, and early mornings forced us to communicate and work together at all times. Central to our experience was our chaperone, Rabbi Arye Sufrin, YULA Boys Head of School. From beginning to end, he told us he was there only for us, and he did not disappoint. Thanks to Rabbi Sufrin, stomachs were not empty for a second, tardiness was not an option, and we knew
ly in the tournament. Losing early after being seeded number two out of 16 teams was tough, not only because we let our school down, but also because we let ourselves down. Walking into the locker room after that game was something I will never forget. Everyone took a seat, and no one said a word––no one. The silence forced every one of us to look within ourselves and think about what we could have done better. Back at the hotel, our coach gathered all of us and told us that within an hour we had to send a
We went to the tournament as a team but really came back as brothers. Although it might sound like a cliché, we went to the tournament as a team but really came back as brothers. Playing in a tournament in a different state over 1,500 miles away really tightens the camaraderie between players, which is hard to
where to be at any given moment. Rabbi Sufrin went above and beyond: we picked up a little Yiddish, received pep talks, and had unforgettable van rides. And for that, we are thankful. As you may already know, the Panthers were eliminated ear-
picture of us smiling genuinely or we would have had to endure running next practice. We changed as a team that game, and we learned what to gain from a loss. Learning from our mistakes only makes us stronger as a team and brings us closer as a family.
Yaniv Silvera puts up a baseline floater during the Cooper Tournament.
New Fencing Team at YULA Boys Boaz Edidin (‘22) and Daniel Zarur (‘22) For the first time ever, YULA Boys has its own fencing team, founded by Yitzy Frankel, Director of Admissions. Mr. Frankel is an experienced, nationally ranked fencer. Fencing requires the ability to wield three distinct weapons: the épée, the foil, and the saber. The inaugural team, which comprises three freshmen, uses only the saber. “If there is a weapon, it is gonna be fun,” said team member Caleb Astrof (‘22). The fencing team practices
every Wednesday for an hour in the Student Lounge. Unlike most sports teams, the fencing team does not require an extensive time commitment, which allows its members time to pursue other extracurricular activities. The team competes in the Southern California Scholastic Fencing League and participated in the first-ever competition in school history December 2. Daniel Zarur (‘22), Boaz Edidin (‘22), and Astrof came out of pools with 3-1, 2-2, and 1-3 records, respec-
tively. Zarur and Edidin earned byes into the next round, while Astrof went 15-6 in his first direct elimination bout to move on to the next round before falling to the eventual winner of the tournament. Even though the team members compete individually, the fencing team requires that each team member be on his A-game in order to unify and bond this team of adventurous individuals.
Coach Yitzy Frankel and fencers Caleb Astrof, Daniel Zarur, and Boaz Edidin pose with their gear at the first meet of the season.
New Basketball Coach Looks to Take Panthers to the Next Level
Coby Karben (‘22)
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YULA Boys’ new varsity basketball coach, Vince Oliver, is a Clippers-loving, cliffhanger-TV-binge-watching father of two, who played in the NBA Development League. Before joining YULA, Coach Oliver coached at Sherman Oaks’ Notre Dame High School— part of the prestigious Mission League. He also coached at his own alma mater, Loyola High School in Los Angeles, where he played during high school and won a state championship. Prior to coaching, Oliver was drafted to the “D-League,” the NBA Development League, and played for the Idaho Stampede for one year. He attended UC Davis for college and had a great experience playing basketball there for four years. “We beat Stanford when I was there, and came within two games of getting to the NCAA tournament,” Coach Oliver said. Coach Oliver and his brother have been full-time Clippers fans and season-ticket holders dating back to 1991. He enjoys listening to music, especially J. Cole, whom he has seen in concert
Coach Vince Oliver calls a play.
several times, and binge-watching cliffhanger TV shows like “Breaking Bad” and “Game of Thrones.” In a recent interview, Coach Oliver discussed the challenges and rewards of coaching. The Panther Post: Do you think coaching a Jewish school with a dual curriculum will be different from your past experiences? Coach Vince Oliver: It already has been different [because of] the schedule that the players have, and in terms of their everyday responsibilities as students. They definitely have more than any of the other players that I’ve coached. A lot of their time is accounted for. For me the challenge is to keep practice competitive and also fun, with the amount of time that we have, and still get a lot accomplished. PP: How do you decide who makes the team? VO: The easy thing to look for is talent, and it doesn’t take long to tell which kids have natural ability. But then what I look at is:
What roles are we going to need to fill? It’s not necessarily the 12 best shooters or scorers. While that’s important, on the court you’re looking for a well-rounded team. It always helps to have a little bit of size. You also have guys that are going to play defense, get rebounds, making that their priority. And then I think [about] something that I find value in, which is chemistry. Noticing how guys interact with other guys, and which guys are easy to play with. Guys who seem to be good teammates. That would be intangible, and that you have to watch a little bit closer for. PP: How do you deal with people who have other commitments that may interfere with practice or even games? VO: Part of what I try to do during the tryouts process is paint a picture of what the time commitment and demands are going to be. It’s a balance, especially here at YULA. There are more things that students have on their plates. I am sensitive to that, but at the same time I also like to try to set a standard and let them know that they are making a commitment. What’s most important is that they show up for their teammates. The way I go about that is communication, and I think that’s something that transfers over to life [after school]. Once these guys get a job, you can’t let your boss know last minute: XYZ came up. You have to communicate beforehand and plan. It requires players to be responsible. PP: What would influence a player’s playing time? VO: Obviously, it starts with ability. And who we play in the matchup––that’s a factor. And then in terms of their being there. We’ll have plays that we are implementing and a lot of things that require you to be at practice. So it’s a combination of those fac-
The tournament, now in its 4th year, is in honor of athlete, community leader, and YULA alumni Steve Glouberman, who passed away in 2015. All games were held at the Westside JCC and Shalhevet High School. Games were all live streamed so that fans and loved ones across the nation could watch and cheer on their teams. The tournament kicked off with two games on Wednesday night at the Shalhevet gym: the first was Shalhevet vs Valley Torah Boys and the second was YULA Girls vs Shalhevet. The bleachers were packed with fans from all three schools cheering their teams on with posters, towels and school spirit. Shalhevet won both their games, despite the amazing effort put forth by Valley Torah and YULA Girls. On Thursday, teams from across the East Coast arrived in LA and competed in a few games and the day ended with a barbeque at Shalhevet for all the teams to mingle and celebrate the successes thus far. The games continued early Friday morning and ended by the early afternoon, with plen-
ty of time to prepare for Glouberman Tournament Shabbaton. Each team was hosted for a Shabbat dinner, with the Mankowitz family hosting the Lady Panthers. Afterwards, all the teams were invited to the Young Israel of Century City (YICC) to socialize and get to know each other off the court. The majority of Shabbat consisted of a service held at Beth Jacob Congregation followed by a combined lunch with all the participating teams. After Shabbat, the games continued. On Sunday, the tournament concluded with an award ceremony at Shalhevet High School. The winning teams were Shalhevet Firehawks for the boys basketball teams and SAR for the girls’ basketball teams. In addition to competing in exciiting games of basketball, the teams all bonded and created memories. The Panther Post congratulates all the YULA basketball players who participated in this year’s tournament and looks forward to covering this event again next year.
tors. And then from there I make my decision. And in terms of playing time, it’s not always absolute. There may be guys that don’t earn it early but that continue to progress and stay with it and earn playing time as the season goes. It’s something that’s very fluid.
just what happens in the game. It’s like baking a cake. If I just showed you the finished product, you’d go: “That was easy.” But you weren’t there in the kitchen, the two hours that were spent preparing and mixing. It’s hard to dispute someone who’s seen the whole experience, including practices. Ultimately, parents do want what’s best for their child; but as a coach you have a responsibility not just to one, but to the entire team. I like to be transparent with the guys and explain what their role is, and how roles can be honed. But also how roles should be accepted, which again is something in life. We all have roles.
PP: Do you ever get complaints from players or parents about playing time? VO: I have in the past, and I understand. I have two children: a five-year-old daughter and an almost-one-year-old son, so I understand from a parent’s point of view [that] in this short amount of time that you want the best for your child. But I like to remind people that playing time is something that’s earned, and it’s not
Editorial Airbnb’s West Bank Delisting Smacks of Anti-Semitism The YULA Boys Editorial Board According to its website, “Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where people can belong through healthy travel that is local, authentic, diverse, inclusive and sustainable.” Well, “inclusive” minus Jewish-owned homes in the West Bank. The short-term home-rental platform’s decision last month to cancel all listings in the region under Israeli control, which is alternatively referred to as Judea and Samaria, reveals a discriminatory bias that the company is attempting to claim is a neutral position. Airbnb explains that it “recognize[s] that each situation is unique and requires a case-by-
case approach.” So why did it feel it appropriate to remove all listings from an entire region, and only those listings by Jews? Any listings removed in other disputed territories––Crimea, occupied by Russia; Western Sahara, occupied by Morocco; northern Cyprus, occupied by Turkey––have been on a case-by-case basis. But not the West Bank. One must assume that this is because that territory is occupied by Jews. Airbnb claims that it has remained neutral by delisting Jewish West Bank offerings, but an agenda that deems Palestinian presence in the West Bank legal and Jewish presence illegitimate is not neutral. Airbnb’s policy
implies that Israeli settlements have met its criteria for removal because the settlements are “contributing to existing human suffering.” Any truly neutral observer can see that the issue of the West Bank and of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a whole are more complex than Airbnb’s position indicates. The claim that Israeli settlements are responsible for “contributing to existing human suffering” and are the sole obstacle to peace is disingenuous. Anyone who lambastes Israel for failing to make peace, while ignoring
the many offers the Palestinians haven’t missed the opportunity to miss, to paraphrase Israeli diplomat Abba Eban, demonstrates an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic bias. But Airbnb goes further. It has the audacity to call its position––that Jews have less of a right to the land than Palestinians––neutral. It supposes that Israel, and Israel alone, is to blame for the decades of bloodshed in the Middle East and ignores the Palestinian leadership’s patent indifference toward Israel’s offers of compromise. Any view of the conflict
that blames only Israel while ignoring Palestinian terrorism, the Palestinians’ stubborn refusal to recognize the Jewish people’s historical link to the land, and the Palestinians’ continuing refusal to even consider peace is either misinformed or anti-Semitic. Since Airbnb claims that it has consulted experts, it has forfeited the convienient excuse of ignorance, leaving anti-Semitism as the only possible explanation for its decision. Airbnb should immediately revisit its policy in the West Bank and address its bias.
Dear Panther Advice Column: What the Girls Would Do The
Dear Students and Members of the YULA Community, A vital part of The Panther Post is our extensive opinion section, which includes the Editorial Boards’ opinions as well as op-eds written by the student body. But these pieces should not be the end of the conversation; instead, they should catalyze a meaningful conversation within our community on important issues. So we want to hear your opinions. Any article you read––whether you agree, disagree, or have a relevant comment––we want to hear how you feel. Letters to the Editor are an essential part of all newspapers, and ours should be no different. We ask that you send your brief reactions (an edited 150 words) to email@example.com, so we and all our readers can hear our community’s diverse opinions. - The Panther Post Editorial Boards
The YULA Girls Editorial Board Dear Panther, My friend never texts me back, but whenever I see her in person she acts completely normal! Why does she act like this? - Confused Texter Let’s face it, we all have that one friend who doesn’t text back (I’ll admit, I may or may not be this friend on occasion), which leads to the awkward moment when you see her in person; do you greet her normally, or do you mention the lack of communication? Or worse, what do you do when she greets you normally? We’ve all been in this situation, but never know what to do with it. Do we act normal and greet her back, while wondering the reason they didn’t text back? Or should we be confrontational? Do we kindly assume that she’s lost or broken her phone despite the steady feed of Instagram pictures you’ve been receiving in
your message notifications? In my experience, when people don’t text back, it’s rarely an intentional diss. Most likely, they saw the text and made a mental note to answer it later, and we all know how that ends. Unless there’s a physical copy of what you need to do, it can be difficult to remember until it’s too late and awkward to text back. Now, unless that person lives out of town and the only method of communication you have is texting, it might be easier to talk to the person in person (especially if you see her daily) and explain what happened. However, if that person does live out of town, texting her back, even if it’s months later, is always a better option than running into her years later at a supermarket with her new friends. If what you texted her is a big deal and you feel like she’s ignoring you, tell her (in person) that you felt hurt that she didn’t respond and talk out your feelings.
It’s not a good idea to let these small incidents ruin a friendship, or cause you to resent someone. It’s your decision whether to talk to her or not; you know yourself and how it will affect you if you stew in anger for too long, but talk it out for your sake, if not to save a friendship. I would like to conclude by saying that my advice is not gold; it is exactly that: my advice, which means it’s relative to everyone. But if you, once again, come across this situation, I hope that my input is of some help. If you have any questions for the Panther, let us know by emailing the editors!
Rising Anti-Semitism in the U.S. Demands a Response Jake Fishman (‘20), Managing Editor “You stupid pig of a Jew!” A man in a business suit screams this at me as I walk down Avenue of the Stars. I ignore him, but he chases me for three blocks, continuing to scream at me, as I run down the street toward school, narrowly avoiding traffic. I thought my experience was unique, that I had been the victim of some isolated incident of anti-Semitism. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Incidents like this are becoming a more common reality for American Jews. Just a few short weeks ago––a mere two weeks after the Pittsburgh shooting, which claimed the lives of 11 Jews who were sitting in shul on Shabbat––a group of Orthodox Jews on La Brea, right here in Los Angeles, were repeatedly harassed by a driver who later attempted to run them over with his car. Anti-Semitic attacks are not limited to the greater Los Angeles area. These incidents have been on the rise in general. The Anti-Defamation League released data that stated that 1.09 billion people in the world today hold anti-Semitic beliefs. The number of anti-Semitic attacks is up almost 60 percent from the end of 2016, according to the ADL, and
that includes bomb threats, harassment, vandalism, and physical assaults. The following is just a sampling of the anti-Semitic acts American Jews have faced in the past two months: • October 27: A shooting in Pittsburgh killed 11 Jewish worshipers. • October 31: An Irvine, Calif., synagogue was attacked by vandals who spray-painted anti-Semitic graffiti onto a wall. • November 7: A man attacked three Orthodox Jewish women in North Hollywood by grabbing or attempting to grab their sheitls (wigs). • November 8: Two 13-year-old teens were arrested for vandalizing a shul and harassing Jewish children in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. • November 19: Windows of the Chabad of Peabody, Mass., were shot with BB guns. • November 20: A Duke University wall commemorating the victims of Pittsburgh was vandalized with swastikas. • November 21: A man harassed and attempted to run over several Los Angeles Jews with his car on La Brea. • November 25: A Williamsburg
teen beat a nine-year-old Jewish child while he was walking home. November 29: Swastikas were found in the office of Jewish Columbia University professor Elizabeth Midlarsky. December 2: A Chasidic man was attacked and beaten in Williamsburg. December 4: A Miami police sergeant was suspended after a video came out of his throwing a Hebrew Bible and a box with a Star of David on it into a pickup truck, claiming he was “taking out the trash.” (The sergeant’s supporters claim that the video was taken out of context and that the “trash” really was contaminated with mold. Believe what you’d like.) December 6: A woman attacked multiple Jews with a glass bottle in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. December 9: A man was arrested for vandalizing Jewish businesses in Aventura, Fla. December 16: A man, whose face was covered with a headscarf, was seen wielding a machete outside the Chabad of North Hollywood. The rise in anti-Semitism this country can be attributed
to the recent rise in popularity of both extremes of the political spectrum: radical leftists who are committed to destroying the Jewish state and all who are associated with it, and right-wing American nationalists who consider Jews to be foreign invaders. Both often spew unbridled, classic anti-Semitism, like the man who harassed me. This is extremely concerning, especially considering the large number of young people who are associating with these factions. According to Jonathan Greenblatt, National Director and CEO of the ADL, “Campus anti-Semitism has come from across the political spectrum. For several years now, alt-right and neo-Nazi groups have targeted college campuses to spread their
hateful ideologies and recruit young people for their movements. The ADL found that white supremacist propaganda on college campuses nearly doubled in the 2017-18 school year from the year prior.” As Jews living and thriving in the U.S. a mere 70 years after the slaughter of six million Jews, it is imperative that we take action against and protect ourselves from the rising hate. Our community needs more neighborhood watch, more shul security officers trained to protect Jewish institutions, and more police involvement. The general public must be educated on the Holocaust and the positive works of the State of Israel. With the number of hate crimes rising rapidly, something has to be done.
Marvel Versus DC: A Topic Worth My Time
Zevi Gersten (‘19), Opinion Editor Let’s begin with some simple facts: Marvel Comics is NOT related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). If you bring up facts to me that pertain to the MCU and not Marvel Comics, I will laugh at you for thinking that they are the same (if you really think Peter Parker is forever 17, you’re sorely mistaken). If you don’t read comics and don’t want to gain priceless knowledge that will further your standing in social circles, the office, and beyond, skip this article right now; I have no time for your small-minded exclamations like “BUT WAIT DIDN’T IT”––No. I have been stewing in the great pot of comic books my whole life. You are but a sapling; I, a mighty oak, or some other cool tree like aspen or spruce. I’m going to be blunt and I’m not going to apologize for it: Marvel Comics is, in my opinion (and in the opinion of many others), superior to DC Comics. For those of you who cannot read more than 100 words without dying, here’s a very VERY simplified version of what I’m going to say later
on: Marvel has dynamic characters who are capable of change, whereas DC produces flat superheros, seemingly incapable of change and with almost no coping mechanisms of any sort. HOWEVER: DC produces the more iconic superheroes (not like any of you people would know the members of the original Justice League), and we need to recognize that. In short, people who are drawn to the interpersonal and intrapersonal workings of the world tend to prefer Marvel, while people who acknowledge the past and appreciate it (or just enjoy high-stakes plots like “END OF THE UNIVERSE OMIGOD” stories) prefer DC. True fans of comics like me read both Marvel and DC because, as Hannah Montana said, “It’s the best of both worlds.” Yes, that was the only quote that works here. Shut up. Marvel made the characters outside the costume as interesting or even more interesting than their costumed versions. It is not often you will see Clark Kent struggle with heartbreak. But Tony Stark and Dr. Stephen Strange frequently have to deal with their interper-
sonal issues and lack of social skills. True, most if not all DC superheroes have dark origins, but the main issue with DC characters is that they rarely develop and frequently return to their origins as their motivation. You will never find a time where Batman wasn’t brooding in the dark or moping about because his parents were murdered 30-plus years ago and he can’t move on. Personally, I hate Batman because: what’s his superpower? Crippling depression and too much money? I have no pity for him. Use that money for some therapy or maybe take up a safer hobby like woodworking. I don’t know. I would be remiss not to give DC any of the credit it deserves. Everyone will say that they can name more Marvel superheroes than DC superheroes (assuming you don’t mix up Marvel and DC like some uncultured boor), but the recognition of Marvel superheroes should be attributed to the glory of the MCU, WHICH, AGAIN, IS NOT RELATED TO MARVEL COMICS. If you were to remove the MCU from your troglodytic (look it up) minds,
the vast majority of you would struggle to name even three Marvel superheroes. Like seriously, I challenge you to name three superheroes who aren’t mentioned at all in the MCU….don’t bother trying. I know you’ll fail. Marvel simply relies on the MCU to do all its advertising and does not care if you don’t know who She Hulk or Nova are. DC, on the other hand, has produced some of the most iconic superheroes of
all time: Superman, Batman, the Flash, Wonder Woman (who almost undid the damage done by the “Batman vs. Superman” movie, I might add, but that’s off-topic). In the end, the choice is yours. Go ahead and prefer DC comics over Marvel; I won’t judge (this is obviously a lie as I will, and I already am heavily judging you).
Balancing School and a Social Life All Work and No Play Got Jack Into Harvard Boaz Edidin (‘22) Do you have straight A’s? Do some people say all you do is study or that you have no life? Concentrating on your academics is far more important than focusing on your social life because concentrating on academics sets you up for your future and helps you discover your interests, skills, and even your flaws. But completely neglecting your social life in favor of your academic success can be detrimental because that neglect deprives you of the social skills that are necessary for success outside of the classroom. The benefits of prioritizing your academics over your social life are not absolute, but they should
Daniel Sentchuk (‘22) gent person, in addition to all the knowledge you will have gained. If you are not going to study now, when will you be able to learn new things? In high school, your main job is to focus on your studies, get good grades, and develop the skills that will allow you to succeed in college and eventually the workplace. Additionally, if you don’t focus on your studies in high school, you’ll likely be unable to teach your kids properly. Similarly, workers who never focused on studying will not have the same opportunities as their better-educated coworkers. Studying is conducive to getting good grades, and getting
and it allows you to develop a healthy social life that might contribute to instead of distract from your academics. If you are focused on your popularity and social life in high school, however, your decisions will be affected by the opinions of others, and you’ll have a harder time understanding yourself. Although you should study often, studying excessively creates stress. It also deprives you of exercise and makes you lose perspective about what may be important to you because all you do is sit down and study. Studying all the time is also unrealistic and unsustainable. There are only
It’s important you study now because it sets you up for a successful future by helping you develop skills like time management, critical thinking, and discipline. good grades in high school is important for your future. If you get exceptional grades, there is a strong chance that you will get into an elite college, which makes it easier to get the job you want and make a decent living. Therefore, if you don’t study in high school, your future won’t be as bright. Studying and not focusing on your social life allows you to understand your strengths and weaknesses, your passions and interests, and you will better understand yourself. You will be able to find internships and volunteering opportunities that specifically fit you. More important, understanding your interests allows you to make like-minded friends, colleagues, and mentors;
YULA Boys Editor-in-Chief: Ilan Bocian Executive Editor: Yonah Berenson Managing Editor: Jake Fishman Faculty Adviser: Ms. Pam Felcher Community Editor: Michael Mankowitz Academics Editor: Menachem Kornreich Israel and Photo Editor: Gavriel Gershov Torah Editor: Ariel Mansano Sports Editor: Caleb Aranoff Opinion Editor: Zevi Gersten YULA Boys, 9760 Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035
so many hours in a day: out of the 24 hours in each day, around eight are for sleeping and 10 are spent in school. Also, many people have extracurricular activities for a couple hours every night. Let’s not forget that it takes some time to get ready for school and get ready for bed. That is an estimated 21 hours accounted for, leaving three hours of study time. So it is not just unhealthy to study all of the time; it is impossible. The skills you acquire from social interactions are somewhat important but must be kept in moderation because developing your own thoughts, without the stresses of too much peer pressure and too much distraction, should be your true high-school goal.
Focusing on your grades is not as important as focusing on your social life. Building your social life can help you with your religious development and knowledge of current events. It also allows you to spend time with your family and can make you a more wholesome person. Being a high-school student, it is not easy to find a balance between your social life and getting good grades, but leaning toward your social life can help you be very successful in ways not always measured in school. Grades are not the only indicator for being successful in life. Sure, good grades will help you get into a top college, which can lead to a good-paying job and an easy life, but good people-skills also contribute to a person’s success. In high school it is key to develop your social skills, which will not only help you in relationships, but also will give you an advantage in any career. If you want to be a doctor, you will be better at your job if you can explain things to patients, comfort them, and convince them to take action for their benefit. If you want to be a congressman or senator, you will have to be able to connect with people and understand their concerns. If you want to be a rabbi, you will have to be able to empathize with your congregants. In almost any job, you are more likely to get ahead if you know how to communicate well with your customers or clients and with the people in your workplace. If you spend too much time on your grades, you’ll fail to build these critical social skills, and that will put you at a disad-
be emphasized. It’s important you study now because it sets you up for a successful future by helping you develop skills like time management, critical thinking, and discipline. Focusing only your social life does not afford you the opportunity to develop these skills. Prioritizing your social life will leave you at a disadvantage in the future as you won’t have the same career skills as those who focused on academics. People who focus on their studies in high school are at an advantage in the long run because they will be able to take in information and get work done efficiently. Also, if you succeed in school and do well in your studies, you will gain a reputation for being a responsible, intelli-
Complete Social Life... Complete Person vantage in most jobs. Your social life includes your social, spiritual, and intellectual development. Being someone who makes time for social activities will help you more than becoming a straight-A student, whose world is usually limited to school studies. Social development includes such things as learning how to listen and interact with others, creating memories with your friends, watching television and movies to absorb the popular culture, enjoying the outdoors, playing sports, learning how to play an instrument, and many other special skills and hobbies. It can also mean taking a part-time job or caring for family members. Most important, it means learning to treat others as you would like to be treated. Spiritual development includes taking time to daven, taking time to do chessed (volunteer work), attending shabbatonim, and other spiritual activities. In the long term, focusing on your social life will build up your confidence, get you out of your “bubble,” and help you make new friends. In the short term, it will ensure that you have fun during your high-school years by not always burying your head in your studies. All the things that you do, not just studying, contribute to making yourself a whole person. As a high-school student, you should strive to find a balance between your developing the soft skills you learn in your social life and getting good grades, but if you have to lean toward one, your social life should take priority.
YULA Girls Editor-in-Chief: Hanna Gootin Executive Editor: Tali Gershov Faculty Adviser: Ms. Rachel Shandalov
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