Monday, May 5, 2014










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Parashat Behar

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A Message from Dr. Daniel J. Vitow, Headmaster

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Farewell from the Editor



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After 9-Months, Israel/PA Talks Stillborn

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How Do We Say Goodbye?

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Yom Hazikaron: A Day of Rememberance



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Happy 66th Birthday, Israel!

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Just One More Year

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Let the Second Year Begin!



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What a Time to be Alive

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New York Tech Day

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Don't Forget to Remember



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March of the Living

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Get to Know the Editor... Anna Hardcastle

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Art of the Week





Parashat Behar

by Hadar Douek


<i>Parashat Behar</i>This week's parasha, Parashat Behar, details the practices of Shmitah and Yovel. A Shmitah year occurs every seven years and is a year in which all the farmers in the land of Israel are prohibited from partaking in any agricultural activity. Also called a sabbatical year, the Shmitah is a year of "rest" for the land. Many mefarshim say that the Shmitah was instated to instill a sense of emunah, belief in Hashem. There is, however, a more practical idea behind the year of Shmitah. During such a year, any produce that grows of its own accord (without the help of the farmer) is considered public property and cannot be sold by the owner of the farm. Thus, this year provides relief for the poor living in Israel who can collect the free produce from the farms. It is a form of tzdakah.

The Yovel year, also known as Jubliee, is no longer applicable in our modern day lives. Yovel occurred every fifty years, at the end of seven Shmitah cycles. On this year, all slaves were set free, the land once again lay fallow, all debts were waived and all land that had been purchased had to be returned to its original owner. This year provided for social equality and justice. It also stabilized the economy, ensuring that everybody had equal portions of land.

In this parasha, the Torah also mentions specific rules pertaining to slaves who, at that time, were volunteers. A slave-owner was obligated to feed his slave the same food that he himself ate, as well as provide a comfortable bed for him. In fact, if a slave-owner had only one pillow on which to sleep, he was obligated to give this pillow to his slave. This parasha provides insight as to what society was like in ancient Israel.



A Message from Dr. Daniel J. Vitow, Headmaster

by Dr. Daniel J. Vitow 


A Message from Dr. Daniel J.  Vitow, Headmaster

We at NSHAHS are blessed with a student body that has no peer. Other schools have great teachers and wonderful programs, as do we. However, we have a student body that is unequaled in its level of commitment to the well-being of the school as a whole. That means that in the classroom there are very few discipline problems and very little time is wasted. The emphasis is on cooperation, not on selfish acts of individual egoism. Our hallways are clean and empty of students during class time. Everyone is busy learning. The spirit in the school is one to be proud of. We have a reputation for having wonderful kids. And when a school has that, it attracts more wonderful kids.

As we come to the end of each school year, I am asked to reflect on the events of the year past. I am happy to say that this year was an extremely successful one. If you ask me to list the reasons for this, I would have to say that they are very numerous. A school is a complicated organism that needs a great deal of nourishment to thrive. However, one of the main reasons is our student attitude. Teachers always tell me how great their students are and how easy they are to teach (most of the time). They wouldn't say that if it were not true. They are sometimes amazed at how their students are in the habit of doing the right thing. What our students have learned is that doing the right thing is much easier than doing the wrong thing. Wrong behavior requires a level of cunning and self-disrespect. Our students know their teachers are on their side, and they work with their teachers to make every day of learning a day of discovery and satisfaction. The students make the school what it is: a happy and comfortable, but exciting and challenging, learning environment in which everyone is respected.

I'd like to take this opportunity to tell the staff of North Shore Notes how much I enjoyed reading their work this year. Congratulations and good luck to our retiring editor. I look forward to seeing our electronic paper continue its excellent coverage of school events.

I wish everyone a great summer!



Farewell from the Editor

by Anna Hardcastle


Farewell from the EditorDear Readers,

As I look back on the last two years of North Shore Notes, I am filled with pride at what we have accomplished as a team. When my NSN career began four years ago, the paper was a publication read mainly by parents and faculty. It has since evolved into an entity spread to the entire NSHAHS community with its own website that features not only school news but also opinion pieces and articles about pop culture. As a writer on a large staff, it was my dream as a freshman to one day lead North Shore Notes and further transform it into a publication that caught the attention of students and parents alike. I can safely say that NSN has improved greatly and today is a source of North Shore's public relations.

Although a complicated process, compiling new issues of North Shore Notes every week has taught me patience along with other invaluable skills. It has been a true privilege to work with the talented writers on staff, to see them pitch ideas over donuts in the conference room and to take the initiative when the occasion arises. I am confident that NSN will be in good hands over the next few years under the guidance of these gifted students.

I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to my partner and Assistant Editor Cayla Gold, without whom creating each issue would be a chaotic and unorganized mess. Thank you also to Web Developer Benny Khakshoor for the easy-to-manage website which you all use to read our issues every week and which saves me a great deal of frustration. Thanks also to Shoshana Sternstein; school events are documented on our site with her talented photography skills. The most important thank you, however, must go out to faculty advisor, Director of the Writing Center, English Instructor and overall amazing person Mrs. April Zabinsky for her constant dedication to NSN, her help and her guidance. If it were not for Mrs. Z., NSN would be mismanaged and have a lot more grammatical errors!

It has been an honour to edit and compile North Shore Notes for the North Shore family over the last two years. I look forward to seeing how our next Editors-in-Chief, soon-to-be-seniors Alexandra Levian and Rebecca Rosen, improve the publication for all of you, and I wish them the best of luck. I hope you all continue to read and enjoy North Shore Notes and have a wonderful summer.

Anna Hardcastle



After 9-Months, Israel/PA Talks Stillborn

by Avraham Spraragen 


After 9-Months, Israel/PA Talks Stillborn

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the ongoing struggle between Israelis and Palestinians which began in the mid-20th century, has led to hundreds of casualties, political turmoil, distress amongst the societies in that geographical area and friction between the nations of the world. Throughout Israel's history, countless numbers of peace talks have been conducted. These many attempts to come to some sort of bilateral agreement have all failed. Newly appointed US Secretary of State, John Kerry, sought to make a change in the status quo. His first plan of action was to revive roundtable discussion whereby the two sides would once again begin to negotiate. After decades of conflict, on-and-off negotiation for the past 20 years and the efforts of countless presidents, secretaries of state and special envoys, Kerry was confident that this time was really going to be different. Thus, on August 14, 2013, representatives from both the Palestinian and Israeli sides came together in Jerusalem and began the deliberation.

At these initial talks were Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and United States Secretary of State John Kerry, who together agreed upon a nine-month deadline for these confabulations. After three years of stalemate in the peace process, this meeting was hailed as a breakthrough. Unfortunately, its outcome was not nearly as riveting. A few days ago, on April 29, nine months of continuous backlash came to an end with nothing to show for it. In fact, in the last hours of the talks, Erekat wasn't dealing with the issue of peace, but rather was accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for having taken advantage of this lengthy period of reconciliation conferences to "consolidate Israel's apartheid regime."

One can make the argument that the situation today between the Israelis and Palestinians is no different than it was nine months ago. The only change that was brought about by these talks was the worsening of Kerry's credibility with the Israeli public. If the Secretary of State decides to make another run for the money, the diplomatic process involved will be a lot more difficult. Netanyahu had drawn out of the peace talks a few days prior to the deadline following an announcement that a unity agreement had been formed between Palestinian president Abbas' Fatah movement and Hamas. When questioned about his decision Prime Minister Netanyahu stated, "What has happened is a great reverse for peace, because we had hoped the Palestinian Authority president Abbas would embrace the Jewish state, the idea of two nation states, Palestinian one and a Jewish one." A final analysis of the nine-month-long negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians demonstrates that the two sides have moved even further apart over prisoner releases, PA moves to join UN bodies and Israeli settlement expansion.



How Do We Say Goodbye?

by B


How Do We Say Goodbye?"Don't leave" might very well be the saddest sentence in the English dictionary. Goodbyes carry weight with them, a knowing that nothing will be the same once you walk away. I'm certain that the walls of airports have seen more meaningful kisses then those of wedding halls. So what is it about goodbye that gets to us? Is it that we're stepping into a cold, unfamiliar world once we close the door behind us, or is it that we're just not quite ready to go?

Whatever the reason, it is certain that the seniors will face a bittersweet moment when they say goodbye this year. You have all worked so hard to get to where you are at this moment and now is the time to relish in the glory of a successful, meaningful and fun four years. You did it. You showed the rest of us that it is possible to achieve the goals you have set forth for yourself, and you have taught us that when things don't turn out the way we planned, we must hold our heads high and keep trying. We all sigh to ourselves and complain, saying we can't wait for this to be over, but you all know as well as I do, that when the time comes to say goodbye, all we will want to do is hold on tight. So how do you say goodbye? You live in the now. Do not take anything for granted and internalize as much as you can. Instead of focusing on the farewell, remember all the amazing memories you have built here over the last four years - the tears of joy and sadness, friends becoming a family and experiences you wouldn't trade for the world. Thank you for being there for us and for being our friends and our role models over the last several years. We wish you luck and will miss you dearly.

Much love,



Yom Hazikaron: A Day of Rememberance

by Shani Kahan 


<i>Yom Hazikaron</i>: A Day of Rememberance

Yom Hazikaron, the Day of Remembrance, is observed in honor of all the soldiers that lost their lives fighting in battle and defending Israel. It transpires on the fourth of Iyar, which happens to fall on May 5 this year, and it proceeds Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day. Yom Hazikaron is the equivalent of Memorial Day in the U.S, a holiday for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorist attacks. However, as opposed to memorial day in America, Yom Hazikaron is a sad and depressing day, not simply one on which sales and barbecues are held. In addition to Yom Hashoa, Yom Ha'atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim, Yom Hazikaron is one of the four holidays added to the Hebrew calendar after the establishment of the state of Israel.

Perhaps because of Israel's low population and size, almost everyone in Israel knows someone who died fighting for Israel or fell victim in a terror attack. This is one of the countless reasons that this day is very meaningful to Israelis. Yom Hazikaron is commemorated all over Israel by everyone aside from most Arabs and non-Zionist haredi Jews. All stores, restaurants and places of entertainment are closed during this somber occasion. Also, all over Israel, public ceremonies are held with special literary pieces and poems that are read. Radio stations play patriotic music, stories about the wars in Israel and other programs that bear the day's theme.

Just like on Yom Hashoa, an important part of Yom Hazikaron is the air-raid siren that is blasted. The siren is sounded twice throughout the day. During the duration of the sirens, all activity ceases immediately. Whether it be traffic on highways or students in classrooms, the entire nation stops what it is doing and rises to show respect for those who gave up their life in honor of the state of Israel. Even though many consider Yom Hazikaron to be a secular national holiday, it has several religious elements. For example, during the ceremony, several memorial prayers are recited including Yizkor, El Maleh Rachamim and often the Mourner's Kaddish in honor of all the brave soldiers of the Israel Defense Force and other innocent people who died.

In order to commemorate Yom Hazikaron, the school will accommodate students with programs to engender a heavy mood on the school. There will be presentations from students and a film about soldiers who have fallen in battle. Yom Hazikaron is truly a significant day that should be looked upon with sympathy and respect. This day shall forever stand in history and never be forgotten.



Happy 66th Birthday, Israel!

by Rachel Schecter


Happy 66th Birthday, Israel!Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day, is the day that former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. Every year, Israel celebrates this joyous event on the fifth day of Iyar. Every year on Yom Ha'atzmaut, the President of Israel speaks in honor of 120 Israel Defense Force soldiers. This event always takes place in the President's official home in Jerusalem. There is also an International Bible Contest, Israel Prize Ceremony and the opening of the IDF. The day is filled with exciting activities to celebrate the birthday of Israel.

The celebration continues into the night, when there is a huge festival. Every year, to close the happy day there is a ceremony held on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. During this ceremony, the nation hears from a speaker from the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, who is followed by performances by some of the most popular Israeli artists. The ceremony is then concluded with a lighting ceremony. They light twelve torches each year to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. There are also other Judaic symbols of Israel shown throughout the night. To wrap up the night, fireworks are blasted off amidst singing and dancing. Yom Ha'atzmaut is an exciting day packed with activities and speakers. Happy 66th birthday, Israel!



Just One More Year

by Alexandra Levian 


Just One More Year

APs, SATs, ACTs, various extra-curriculars and the beginning of the college process all at once; quite a lot for seventeen-year-olds to handle in one year. Nonetheless, NSHAHS students have persevered. All have endured the majority of the monumental junior year and have made the best use of their time.

This year, for the first time, my grade became part of the larger group dubbed the 'upperclassmen.' Serving as role models for the freshmen and sophomores, we have used our knowledge to encourage others to reach their fullest potential. Each and every one of us has honed in on their own individual skills-- the artists have polished their portfolios, the musicians have mastered the most challenging of notes, the writers have begun writing their own novels and the athletes have made it to the championships. Everyone is leaving their mark here in some way or another.

While we were once followers, we are now finally able to call ourselves leaders and mentors to the younger students. Be it through peer tutoring, Chesed projects, or student council, our grade now holds the responsibility of setting a good example for all. Though mastering all the classes included in our school's dual curriculum can be a challenging feat, we have managed to excel despite the pressure. We all have had our ups and downs, but with the support of all our teachers, we have passed a huge milestone. We are no longer the ones dashing through the hallways in fear of the other students. We are approaching the infamous senior year. It feels as though it was just yesterday when we walked through the double doors of NSHAHS wondering what the next four years would bring. The last three years have certainly surpassed my own expectations, and I can't wait to see what the fourth, and final, year has in store for us.



Let the Second Year Begin!

by Lia Berger


Let the Second Year Begin!The first year of high school is always scary for freshmen. They move from the familiarity of middle school into the unknown, and often intimidating, realm of high school. At first, high school seemed daunting. However, in just a few weeks, the freshmen settled in nicely and became comfortable with the school, thanks to the welcoming community of the students and faculty at NSHAHS.

The freshmen experienced a lot within their first year at NSHAHS, starting with the Freshman Retreat, during which we were all able to get to know each other better. The Big Brother/Big Sister Program at NSHAHS facilitated the transition from middle school to high school. We also experienced our first Shiriyah, in which we competed and worked hard despite the fact that we ultimately ended up in last place. Now that we are more experienced, we will work even harder during our competitions next year. We partook in many extracurricular activities, including the various clubs and sports teams that NSHAHS has to offer, and we will continue to excel in those activities next year. We made it through our first week devoted entirely to midterms, and we are now preparing to brave through finals week, too.

Overall, it was a good first year at NSHAHS and the entire freshman class looks forward to spending the next three years here and experiencing many more great things.



What a Time to be Alive

by Neda Shokrian 


What a Time to be Alive

Freshmen are unaccustomed and welcomed, juniors are stressed and pressured and seniors are free and graduating, but what identifies the sophomores? What makes a tenth grade class unique enough to stand out? The sophomore class (which is finally up to 72!) has created a meaningful experience in 10 short months, as well as countless memories that can be seen plastered on the walls of the school. Even though we are already halfway through high school, it seems like we have yet to reach our peak.

In September, the sophomore class met together as a whole for the first time in three months. There were a couple of new students and we were all eager to welcome them to our home. Classmates bonded and shared their summer stories and it seems that over the course of the year, the walls of the cliques, which used to keep others out, have broken down to gradually create a grade-wide family. The same ties that kept us together last year have finally broken down to create glue that will stick us together permanently.

When winter break rolled around and midterms arrived, the atmosphere was so different than that of final exams' week in ninth grade. Every student was occupied with helping another pass his or her exam, and last minute tutoring was offered, by the students themselves, to anyone who needed it. There was an extreme effort from each student, not only to pass the final, but to make sure that everyone else would pass, too, even if it meant that he or she would lose last minute study time.

Finally, March came and brought with it Shiriyah. The participation and effort this year doesn't compare to that of last year's endeavor! The passion and willingness to succeed was priceless; there was nothing else like it. Seeing the way the grade worked together to prepare each element of Shiriyah gave our generals an indescribable sense of pride. The grade was never closer than they were upon hearing that we had won second place. The students were never so inseparable and a sensation was never as spectacular as it was on Shiriyah night.

Now, the sophomore class has come to realize that these precious moments will not last forever. Yes, there are still another two years to finger paint the walls and vandalize the classrooms, but at the same time, the fact that we will eventually go our separate ways hangs over us. Our amazing experience this year could not have been complete without our teachers constantly challenging us and pushing our limits beyond what we believed was possible. As we say goodbye to sophomore year, we welcome our troublesome junior year with just a bit more knowledge than we had when we started this year.



New York Tech Day

by Arielle Rothman


New York Tech DayThe NSHAHS students who participate in the Science Research elective class attended the world's largest startup event last week in New York City. This event, known as "Tech Day", consists of many different startup technology companies displaying their products and explaining their companies' missions. It boasts over 400 exhibitors and 10,000 attendees annually. Attendees included professional businessmen and engineers, among whom was the NSHAHS contingency. This unique experience provided students with the opportunity to explore technological devices and learn about the process of developing and selling products. This trip was truly extraordinary and inspiring to all who attended. As participant Bryan Lavi proclaimed, "We had the opportunity to explore the newest startups in technology. It was an unbelievable experience and I hope we can come back next year."

The NSHAHS participants are grateful to Isaac Ariel, the ninth grader who brought Tech Day to the school's attention, and to Mrs. Phyllis Serfaty, Instructor of Science and Engineering, who organized and chaperoned the trip.



Don't Forget to Remember

by Emma Greszes 


Don't Forget to Remember

This past Monday, the entire school gathered together for a special assembly headed by Rabbi Benjamin Skydell, Instructor of Judaic Studies, in honor of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Rabbi Skydell introduced a couple of students from each grade that spoke about an assignment which was given to every student before Pesach. The assignment was to read "The Sunflower" by Simon Wiesenthal. In the book, Mr. Wiesenthal tells a short, yet mind-boggling story about his experience during the Holocaust when a dying Nazi SS soldier begged him for his forgiveness for the horrific crimes that he had committed. All NSHAHS students were given the task to write a paragraph discussing one of the commentaries in the back of the book that discussed Wiesenthal's decision and comment on whether or not they agreed with the commenter's opinion. Among the students who expressed their opinions during the assembly, there were many mixed emotions about this delicate topic. A majority agreed that the Nazi soldier was not to be forgiven and deserved to die with the guilt of what he had done to innocent people. A few students, however, believed that if the soldier was truly sorry for what he had done, he deserved to be forgiven because it can be argued that he didn't give the orders but simply obeyed them out of fear. This program truly made everyone think about what they personally would have done if they were faced with this type of situation. It can be unanimously said that this assembly was a great success and a meaningful and engaging way to commemorate all of the innocent Jewish victims of the Shoah.



March of the Living

by Rebecca Ashkenazy


March of the LivingEvery year, North Shore Hebrew Academy High School seniors get the chance of a lifetime to visit Poland and Israel in conjunction with March of the Living in memory of the Holocaust. The purpose is for them to come as close as possible to understanding what the victims endured during the Holocaust and pay respect to lost relatives. Around half of the graduating class of 2014 signed up to experience this and is currently in Israel on the second half of their trip.

It is truly amazing that these students can experience this eye-opening trip at such a vital age. Whether they are Ashkenaz students who had relatives in the Holocaust or Sephardis, every student feels a personal connection in Poland. Being exposed to the camps leaves students with a more mature outlook and greater appreciation for being a Jew. Mariel Setton, a senior at NSHAHS who is on the March, reflects, "Actually seeing what the Jews went through during the Holocaust is extremely hard. I've never seen the camps firsthand before and it is really different than learning it in class." Sarah Silverstein, another senior at NSHAHS on the trip, said, "It has been one of the most unbelievable experiences of my life. I have never felt more like a member of Am Yisrael and I have never been so proud."



Get to Know the Editor... Anna Hardcastle

by Mark Steiner 


Get to Know the Editor... Anna Hardcastle

Behind every great paper, is a great editor. After two years of writing this column, it is my honor to profile the person who has been fine-tuning my work all along. It's time to get to know Anna Hardcastle, Editor-in-Chief of North Shore Notes.

Anna's done a lot here over the past four years. This year, her favorite classes were AP English and AP Psychology. English is her perennial favorite, and she says she's enjoyed it the most over the past four years thanks to her great teachers, including Mrs. Newborn and Mr. Muir. She's also had Rabbi Skydell for four years straight and said that his class can be especially entertaining and exciting. Anna's favorite commitments outside of class include Latin with Senora Coron, University of Pennsylvania Model Congress (the reason she first fell in love with her future college) and, of course, this very newspaper. "Being editor has been such a great experience," she said. "I've been working with a lot of great writers that have taught me a lot and I've picked up skills that I'll keep with me during college and beyond." It's been a rewarding experience for Anna, and I can personally attest that she was the right person for the job.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that Anna is an avid writer. Her passion, in school and out, is creative writing; it's Anna's way of conveying thoughts, feelings and ideas in a way that is also cathartic and relaxing. So far, she's completed one novel, and currently, as she tries to get it published, she is working on a second one.

When she's not writing, studying or working evenings at TestTakers SAT Prep, Anna likes to indulge herself and watch some British reality television. "It's a guilty pleasure," she says. She's also an avid traveler and takes several trips to London each year to see her family. Graduating means leaving NSHAHS behind, but Anna has a lot to look forward to. "I'll be attending the University of Pennsylvania in the Fall," she told me. "Where I hope to major in English with a focus on Communications." She mentioned that she's looking forward to meeting new people and becoming more independent. From everyone at North Shore Notes, we wish Anna the best of luck in college and beyond.



Art of the Week

by Micol Livian


Art of the Week
This piece was created by AP Studio Art student Micol Livian using pastels.



Editor-in-Chief: Anna Hardcastle
Assistant Editor: Cayla Gold
Copy Editor: Stephanie Gottlieb
Web Developer: Benjamin Khakshoor
Photography: Shoshana Sternstein
Writing Staff: Rebecca Ashkenazy, Lia Berger, Hadar Douek, Rachel Dynkin, Emma Greszes, Ariela Hecht, Shani Kahan, Alexandra Levian, Joshua Rabanipour, Rebecca Rosen, Arielle Rothman, Rachel Schecter, Steven Schwartz, Neda Shokrian, Avraham Spraragen, Mark Steiner, Samuel Tavakoli
Faculty Advisors: Mrs. April Zabinsky
Featuring Contributions By: Dr. Daniel J. Vitow