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VOLUME 5 ISSUE 3

GET IN THE KNOW!

Monday, October 6, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sukkot: Why Now?

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Don't Be A Muggle*, Stand Up for Women's Rights!

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The Shabbos Project: A Global Connection

 

 

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Say Nín hǎo to Mandarin

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The Goldfinch

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Ebola

 

 

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Bioengineers or High School Students?

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Advice to the Freshman Class

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48 killed in Japanese Volcano Eruption

 

 

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The Interview Controversy

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Netanyahu Speech to the UN

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Big Brother Big Sister Program

 

 

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Get to Know: Reese Berman!

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Art of the Week

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Obama's National Address

 

 

 

 

Sukkot: Why Now?

by Sarah Baumgarten

 

Sukkot: Why Now?Why do the chaggim fall as they do? Why is Sukkot just two weeks after Rosh Hashana and under a week after Yom Kippur, two of the most awesome and solemn days of the year? It's no coincidence that these chaggim fall one after another. Sukkot is referred to as Zman Simchateinu, the time of our happiness, but of all of the times throughout the year during which Sukkot could fall, why is it most fitting that it fall so close to the Yamim Noraim? Why would we choose to read Kohelet, whose message is that all of life is empty and meaningless, on the day in which we celebrate both Sukkot and Shabbat? A possible answer can be found in our attempts to achieve balance in our lives. On the happiest days of the year, we choose to remember the sadness that remains in this world. Even when reading the words of Kohelet, exclaiming that life is devoid of meaning, we proclaim at the end, "The end of matter, everything having been heard, fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the entire man." As Jews, we strive to create a balance between celebration and mourning, always recognizing that we have not reached our ultimate goal and that there is still work to do. The paradigm for this balance is given through these holidays, reminding us that, although there is a necessity for serious moments of judgment, we must always keep in mind the words of Ivdu et Hashem B'Simcha.

 

 

Don't Be A Muggle*, Stand Up for Women's Rights!

by Avraham Spraragen 

 

Don't Be A Muggle*, Stand Up for Women's Rights!

Expalliarmus, Wingradium Levios, and Petrificus Totalus are the powerful witchcraft spells that most of us are used to hearing from actress Emma Watson, who played the character Hermione Jean Granger in the very popular Harry Potter films. This past weekend, the world heard powerful words of a completely different nature from this famous actress. Her speech did not take place in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but rather in the United Nations headquarters in New York. In addition, her strong and stinging words were not aimed at decimating Voldemort, but rather at destroying global gender inequality.

Earlier this summer, after having graduated from Brown University, Emma Watson was named a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador. Prior to her appointment, Watson was known for her public acts of feminism both on the internet and in person. She was outspoken on Twitter denouncing a sexist politician in Turkey and most recently repudiated the gender politics of the celebrity nude photo hack. The once timid and innocent-seeming actress who starred as one of Harry Potter's best friends and fellow wizards, has grown up to become an active feminist. Before U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon and hundreds of other esteemed delegates, Watson delivered a speech on behalf of oppressed women around the world.

As part of her speech, Watson announced the official launch of her "HeForShe" campaign, which aims to galvanize one billion men and boys as advocates for ending the inequalities that women and girls face globally. Emma Watson discussed certain misconceptions about feminism in general, expressed distaste for other feminist campaigns, and urged the abolishment of the "us versus them" mentality that portrays feminists as "man-hating." Having played the popular character of a teenage girl, Watson has been a role model for young women and now hopes to influence her peers to adopt these new humanitarian initiatives.

Following her speech, Ban Ki-moon commented, "She's been waving a magic wand. I hope you use your magic wand to end violence against women!" Emma Watson took the stage to raise awareness, as well as to seek help in combating this prevalent issue. As much as Watson wishes that she could cast a spell to end this worldwide conflict, the wizardry that must be performed is very real and includes us all in a unified effort. Hats off, or should we say, "sorting hats" off to Emma Watson on her bravery, leadership, and perseverance.

* In the Harry Potter book series, a "muggle" is a person who lacks any sort of magical ability.

 

 

The Shabbos Project: A Global Connection

by Alana Pearl

 

The Shabbos Project: A Global ConnectionThe Shabbos Project is a unique way to connect Jews across the world. For one Shabbat, Jews from different backgrounds will come together to celebrate the one thing they all have in common: Shabbat. With the problems that Israel is facing, the Shabbat Project is a way to show that Israel is not alone as well as an attempt to show people that Shabbat is a wonderful experience. Jews from Hong Kong to Buenos Aires have made pledges to take part in this program. "Shabbat is a blessing," says Tamir Goodman, who is joining the Shabbos Project, along with Paula Abdul. Abdul says, "The Shabbos Project brings everyone back to their inner happiness." The purpose of this is to bring Jews together from all around the world to bond over what they have in common. Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein started this program last year in Johannesburg, South Africa, and after just one year, the Shabbos Project has spread to over 340 cities around the world. Although not widely accepted at first, the Shabbos Project has captured the whole world's attention and reminds Jews everywhere that we are all not that different from one another. This year the Shabbos Project will take place on October 24-25.

 

 

Say Nín hǎo to Mandarin

by Stacy Okin 

 

Say Nín hǎo to Mandarin

Imagine speaking a language that has over 10 thousand characters and over ten different dialects. That English essay isn't looking too hard now, is it? This year, North Shore Hebrew Academy has offered Mandarin as a new language option. The teacher, Joy Yen, is teaching through fun and easy to pick-up methods such as, songs, rhyme, chants and illustrations. Ms. Yen has 12 highly motivated and eager students who are very excited to learn the language. Sophomore Natalie Freilich had nothing but positive things to say about the class, noting, "The teacher is very friendly, warm, open to questions and extremely understanding. The class is very comfortably paced and open to discussion". Though the goal of the class is to learn the language, students are honored with the privilege to experience the wonderful culture. "The background is important to know the language better," says Ms. Yen, "6,000 years of culture is rooted in the language and the way we present ourselves; there is an emphasis on manner". The value of knowing Mandarin is growing more and more each day. Learning Mandarin opens up communication to 1.5 billion people in the world today. This course leads the way to a new world and culture, an experience not soon to be forgotten.

 

 

The Goldfinch

by Rachel Dynkin

 

The Goldfinch Donna Tartt's New York Times bestselling novel, The Goldfinch, is one of the most brilliantly crafted books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Seven hundred seventy one pages may seem daunting, but once you start, you will never want it to end.

In the novel, the reader embarks on an enthralling journey with Theo Decker, the sensitive, mild-mannered narrator, as he tells the story of how one small painting changed his life forever.

The story begins with a thirteen year old Theo and his mother in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Suddenly, there is an explosion that kills Theo's mother along with many of the other museum visitors. Traumatized and confused, Theo lifts himself out of the wreckage to find an elderly man dying on the floor near the Goldfinch painting, beckoning him to come closer. The gentleman hands Theo a ring and makes an odd, enigmatic request. At this point, Theo is panicked, disturbed, and disoriented. Thinking that the old man was gesturing to the painting, Theo grabs it and escapes from the museum. Theo's struggle to keep the painting a secret, as well as the depression that is caused by his loss, burdens him heavily throughout his strange, surreal life.

The Goldfinch takes you from a beautifully morose and rainy New York City, to the scorching deserts of Las Vegas, and finally on a wild European escapade. Brimming with colorful characters and exquisitely enchanting language, this emotionally stirring coming-of-age tale is bound to fill all who read it with empathy and suspense. When you finally finish the novel, it will undoubtedly render you craving more. This is a story that engraves itself in the heart and the mind, and lingers in your thoughts in a way that only the most outstanding literature can.

 

 

Ebola

by Lia Berger 

 

Ebola

On Tuesday, September 30th, a patient in a Dallas hospital was the very first person in the United States to be diagnosed with the Ebola virus. Ebola is a virus that can cause severe illness in both humans and animals. It is infectious, but not extremely contagious because the virus is not transmitted through the air. For a person to get Ebola, he or she must come in contact with an infected person or an object contaminated by the infected person.

The patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, left Liberia on September 19th and came to the United States on September 20th to visit family members. At the time, he did not exhibit any symptoms, which include weakness, fevers, severe headaches, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and internal bleeding. About four or five days later, he began to experience these symptoms, and was hospitalized shortly thereafter. Health officials at the hospital declined to share any details about the treatment of the patient or comment on his condition in any sort of detail. One doctor said, "I can say he is ill. He is under extensive care."

Ebola outbreaks have occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, South Sudan, Ivory Coast, Uganda, the Republic of the Congo, Guinea and Liberia. There is no specific treatment or vaccine for Ebola, and the majority of cases have been fatal. The main concern of US doctors now is to keep the disease under control now that it has reached US soil.

 

 

Bioengineers or High School Students?

by Arielle Rothman

 

Bioengineers or High School Students?Heart rate sensors, pacemakers, prosthetic (artificial) limbs, and blood glucose monitors are typically designed by professionals in engineering and medical fields. However, at NSHAHS, students have the opportunity to develop such projects with a little help from a bioengineer himself!

Students are pursuing these studies in a new class called Bioengineering. The field of bioengineering uses principles of engineering for biological and medical purposes. This class is taught by biomedical engineer Mr. David Weinberg to sophomores who have completed the freshman year science and engineering class. Students began the school year with studying electrical circuits and are currently learning human biological processes. The course is unique in that it incorporates hands-on experiments and challenging problem solving, along with class lectures. Students are excited by their exposure to the advanced subject matter and its relevance in the world. Bryan Lavi, a student in the class, said: "This year's bioengineering class is advanced, yet we still have a lot of fun." The class will culminate with student development of a prototype for a biomedical device.

 

 

Advice to the Freshman Class

by Ariel Fox 

 

Advice to the Freshman Class

Completing middle school and entering high school is one of the most significant changes in a teenager's life. When entering high school as a freshman, it can be overwhelming to navigate through the always-crowded hallways, even here at North Shore Hebrew Academy. Between running from class to class, trying not to forget your binder from your locker, and the heavy homework load, things can get tough in high school. Since I myself was a freshman once, I too have dealt with these problems, but quickly learned to overcome them. One of the most crucial things to learn in freshman year that will help you throughout your high school career is this: organization is key! By being organized, you are well prepared and have the ability to manage your time when it comes to due dates and tests. When an assignment is given, get it done early and when a test date is scheduled, study in advance. Being organized will help deal with all of the stresses you will encounter in high school, especially in future AP classes. Another useful tip I learned as a freshman is to become a good note-taker. This will definitely help you not only in high school, but also afterwards as well. Lastly, always be on time for classes and do your homework. As easy as this sounds, these two things will show your teachers that you care about their classes, which will reflect in your grade in a positive way. Believe it or not, by actually doing your OWN homework, it will help you remember the class material, and will come in handy for surprise pop quizzes. Overall, you are only freshman once, and high school goes by quicker than you think. So make the most of your time and enjoy the rest of the years of high school.

 

 

48 killed in Japanese Volcano Eruption

by Mark Steiner

 

48 killed in Japanese Volcano EruptionThis past Saturday, Mount Ontake in Japan erupted violently. Mount Ontake is Japan's second most active volcano, although until this eruption there had been no major outbursts since 1979. There were no warning signs before the eruption on Saturday, which occurred at approximately 11:53 AM local time.

Reports indicate that Mt. Ontake erupted with a VEI (Volcanic Explosivity Index) of between 3 and 4. It was a phreatic eruption, meaning a large quantity of water was flashed into steam, causing pressure to build and break through the surface in the form of an eruption.

The damage was devastating. The mountain is a popular hiking area, so many recreational nature goers were caught unprepared by the eruption. Within moments of the eruption, scalding clouds of steam and ash were rushing outward. Officials said the causes of death could include inhalation of the gas, and any injuries from the massive amounts of rocks and debris that were sent skyward with the eruption. Additionally, clouds of ash were created with the volcanic activity, and soon shrouded the area in a thick, low-visibility pall.

Since Saturday, 69 people have been injured, and 48 have been declared dead. The Japanese Self Defense Force has been conducting air and ground rescue operations day and night, searching for and aiding survivors. Japan has proved its resilience through Tsunamis and earthquakes, but this recent tragedy will take some time to recover from.

 

 

The Interview Controversy

by Yaakov Spraragen 

 

The Interview Controversy

Recently, the regime of North Korea's supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, has been accusing the United States of warmongering. The North Koreans have issued warnings and even death threats due to "reckless provocative insanity." Furthermore, North Korea threatens to retaliate if the U.S. does not "correct" this situation immediately. You might be asking what the United States could have done to cause such a harsh rebuke. It turns out that, incredibly, the perceived U.S. "transgression" is based on nothing more than a Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy film called "The Interview." This popular comedic duo has worked together in other humorous films, such as "Pineapple Express" and "This Is The End." Now, the award-winning actors are starring side-by-side in this highly controversial comedy about North Korea that is set to come out in theaters this fall.

The premise of "The Interview" revolves around an interview conducted by a tabloid TV show host, Dave Skylark (Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapaport (Rogen), who land an exclusive meeting with the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un (Randall Park). Their plans change drastically when the C.I.A contacts the unqualified journalists and orders them to assassinate the dictator mid-interview. Sony pictures, the production company of this movie, apparently had to give in to forceful pressure from the North Koreans and as a result several contentious scenes were cut out of the film. Some consider this to be scandalous and politically incorrect; others believe it is just an edgy comedy and should not to be taken seriously. Whatever you choose to call the film, one should just hope that it does not lead to serious retribution by North Korean extremists.

 

 

Netanyahu Speech to the UN

by Aaron Silverman

 

Netanyahu Speech to the UNOn September 29th, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly. In the speech, Netanyahu principally spoke about the perils that Israel faces with the rise of militant Islam. It is to Israel's fortune that its prime minister can so eloquently and effectively convey the plight of Israel and its bravery in defiance of radical enemies. After listening to his speech, all Jews of the world should feel a sense of pride in the strength and morality of the Jewish state.

What was so great about Netanyahu's speech was that he equated Israel's perils with those of the rest of the world. He really got the delegates of many nations to sit up in their chairs and be attentive by expressing that radical Islam threatens the whole world, not just Israel. Netanyahu expressed emphatically that the uniform goal of all branches of Militant Islam is to dominate the world and impose on it an Islamic, non-democratic regime. The whole world is threatened by the rise of Militant Islam, not just Israel: "What is Israel's problem today is yours [the world's] tomorrow". Netanyahu's speech was clever and charismatic. He took advantage of the fact that there is a universal consensus that ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, is barbaric and medieval and horrible; He took advantage of this consensus by equating ISIS with both Iran and Hamas, so that people will understand the evilness and barbarism of Iran and Hamas relative to ISIS. Netanyahu provided proof that Iran, ISIS, and Hamas have all openly stated their goal to dominate the world. One of Netanyahu's opening contentions was that many of the world's nations rightly applauded President Obama for attacking ISIS in Syria, but condemned Israel for attacking Hamas this past summer. They are the same; ISIS and Hamas are "branches of the same poisonous tree". To thwart rumors that Iran's current leadership is moderate, Netanyahu exposed that Iran has sponsored attacks in two- dozen countries on five continents since 2011 alone. He then cleverly equated all of Militant Islam with the Nazis; the Nazis believed in a master race, and the Militant Islamists believe in a master faith. The only disagreement the Militant Islamists have is which branch should be the master of the master faith. Netanyahu's underlying contention here is that Iran, Hamas, and ISIS are all equally barbaric branches of Militant Islam that threaten not only Israel, but the whole world.

Netanyahu then focused on the crisis between Israel and Gaza this past summer. Netanyahu made a very compelling argument. Israel did what any responsible nation would do when attacked by another country; it defended itself. When Hamas-led Gaza shot rockets into Israel, Israel shot rockets at Gaza and invaded Gaza. Netanyahu also spoke about Israel's propaganda war. Israel received widespread criticism and condemnation for the large number of deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. This criticism is unjust. Israel surgically targeted Hamas rocket-launchers and militants, and provided warnings to Palestinian civilians telling them to evacuate certain areas that will be bombed. However, Hamas forced civilians to stay in areas that would be bombed and put rocket-launchers in residential areas. Netanyahu provided visual proof of this; he showed the audience a picture of Palestinian children playing in a playground near a Hamas rocket-launcher. This visual evidence spoke volumes; pictures can convey messages much more effectively than words, and Netanyahu seized that fact. Netanyahu concluded his speech by saying that Israel is willing to negotiate territorial compromises with the Palestinians, but only if Israel's safety and security is absolutely ensured.

 

 

Big Brother Big Sister Program

by Rachel Schecter 

 

Big Brother Big Sister Program

It was a perfect way to start of the school year and welcome the freshman class to the North Shore Hebrew Academy High School family. The senior class and the freshmen class spent September 22nd at Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn. When they arrived they were able to talk and get to know each other. At Christopher Morley, the students were able to play a game of soccer or baseball or to just walk around the park and enjoy the nature. Senior Maxine Wiesenfeld said, "There is always a unique bond between the oldest and youngest students in schools, so it was really cool to see that bond begin to form at the park." After a few hours of playing sports, talking, and walking, the students sat down and enjoyed a delicious pizza lunch. Freshman Adam Sonnenklar said, "It was a lot of fun playing sports with my big brother. I got a sense of what he likes to do and we have many similarities." The freshmen class can now have a big brother or sister to rely on or to have a good laugh with. Shout out to my little sister, Nevia Heskia!

 

 

Get to Know: Reese Berman!

by Neda Shokrian

 

Get to Know: Reese Berman!There are always those students who stand out in their class, who represent the grade overall, and have a tendency to keep those A's as straight as they come. Meet sophomore Reese Berman, a student who, much like her two graduated brothers, plans on making her mark at North Shore. Her bubbly personality and friendly demeanor define her. Reese always manages to keep her heavy workload and demanding schedule under control, a challenge that not everyone has yet mastered.

If there is one thing Reese can't get enough of, though, it's a little dabbling in the arts. "I love to do a little art whenever I see an open opportunity." Unlike most creative sophomores, Reese has the privilege of devoting two periods a day to art: pre-AP art, and architecture. "I get to use my creative abilities and I find these classes be very calming and thought-provoking." But that's not all. Always looking for a way to set the bar a bit higher, Reese is also part of the math club and the JV basketball team. On top of that, Reese will be visiting Adelphi University for the annual Al Kalfus Math Fair, as well as Yale University for its annual Model Congress. "I think it is important to have a divide between working and having fun," she says. Reese has her balance on point.

Challenging herself further, Reese is enrolled in AP European history, but she appreciates the task; "The class encourages us to think in different perspectives and to link the past to the present." Her interests extend beyond history to the foundational texts in English class, such as Shakespeare and Chaucer. Reese's mark in our school is sure to continue. "I am very persistent in everything I do and am determined to finish whatever I start."

 

 

Art of the Week

 

 

Art of the Week

This piece was created by junior Julianna Chalen in her AP art class!

 

 

Obama's National Address

by Emma Greszes

 

Obama's National AddressOn September 10th, Obama gave a National Address regarding the future plans to destroy the terror group known as ISIL (and/or ISIS). He began by recapping many military successes in recent years that have made America a safer place, such as the capture of Osama bin Laden, the destruction of much of al Queda's leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the return of the American troops from Iraq. However, terror is still a growing threat to the United States. One of the biggest threats comes from North Africa and the Middle East from a group known as ISIL, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Obama continued by explaining that ISIL, "is not Islamic; no religion condones the killing of innocents". In fact, most of the victims were Muslims. ISIL is also not formally a state. It was affiliated with al Queda, but has taken advantage of weaknesses to gain territory near the Iraq-Syrian border. There is not one government that recognizes it as anything other than a terrorist organization with no goal other than bloodshed and cruelty. President Obama then stated that if no one takes action to abolish them now, they could be a rising threat to many other countries outside of that region because ISIL leaders have already sent threats to America and their allies. Some Europeans and Americans have already joined them and could even try to return to their home countries for deadly outbreaks. Obama made it clear that his goal is to defeat ISIL using a "counter-terrorism strategy"; he will first organize many orderly campaigns with the help of the Iraqi government against the terrorists, then the forces fighting in a combat mission will be increased. The United States will also encourage Iraq's determination to set up National Guard Units to protect the freedom of Sunni communities from the control of ISIL. Furthermore, the United States will continue to offer humanitarian help to the innocent civilians who have been affected by these terrorists. It is clear that the attempt to defeat ISIL will take time and effort. However, with this counter terrorism strategy and determination, it is an ambition that can be attained in the near future.

 

 

Editors-in-Chief: Alexandra Levian, Rebecca Rosen
Assistant Editors: Avraham Spraragen, Neda Shokrian
Copy Editor: Stephanie Gottlieb
Photography: Shoshana Sternstein
Web Developer: Benjamin Khakshoor
Writing Staff: Lia Berger, Hadar Douek, Rachel Dynkin, Ariel Fox, Emma Greszes, Shani Kahan, Stacy Okin, Alana Pearl, Arielle Rothman, Rachel Schecter, Steven Schwartz, Aaron Silverman, Avraham Spraragen, Mark Steiner
Faculty Advisor: Mrs. April Zabinsky
Featuring Contributions By: Sarah Baumgarten