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VOLUME 5 ISSUE 21

GET IN THE KNOW!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Parashat Shmini

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A Message from the Headmaster

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Freshman Letter

 

 

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Sophomore Letter

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Junior Letter

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A Final Farewell

 

 

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Yom HaShoah Program

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March Madness

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Summer Plans

 

 

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Class Review: AP Euro

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Get to Know...Mr. Nagel!

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Special Staff Edition! Get to Know...Arielle Rothman!

 

 

 

 

Parashat Shmini

by Shani Kahan

 

Parashat ShminiLast week's parsha, Parshat Shmini, discusses all the non-Kosher birds. Vultures, ravens, falcons and magpies are all primary examples of birds that, as Jews, we are forbidden to consume. Among the prohibited birds is the chasida bird. The Talmud teaches that the name "Chasida" is derived from the Hebrew word chesed, which means performing acts of kindness.

One's name is an important concept in Judaism; the name of something reveals its essential components. According to the Midrash, Adam, the first man, examined the true nature of every animal and named it accordingly. For example, the donkey is known for always carrying a heavy, physical burden. In Hebrew, the donkey is named "chamor" which comes from the same root of the word "chomer," which is defined as physicality. This comes to convey that a "chamor" epitomizes physicality, "chomer".

However, if the chasida bird is so called because it does chesed, how come it is listed as a non-kosher bird in the Torah? The Rambam explains that it would make sense for the raven and vulture to be classified as non-kosher; they're cruel predators, which doesn't correspond with the traits that, as humans, we should internalize. Yet, the Chasida bird seems to embody the desirable trait of chesed, so how come it is not kosher?

The Talmud provides an answer to this question. It explains that this bird does chesed "by giving food to its companions." The chasida's kindness is restricted to its own circle of friends and excludes others. This factional generosity is not what the Torah aspires for us to practice. Thus, the chasida bird is classified as non-kosher.

We can apply this lesson to our everyday lives by acknowledging that righteous acts, chesed, cannot be asserted with the intention of receiving benefit in return. A real relationship is not identified with an expectation of return of favors. A true friend sometimes gives and sometimes takes, but never keeps score.

 

 

A Message from the Headmaster

by Dr. Daniel Vitow 

 

A Message from the Headmaster

2014-15 has been a spectacularly successful school year. Many people deserve the credit for that. Like in every complicated institution, there is no one person or even group of people whom I can point to as the sole or even the main reason for the success of our school, but if I had to make a list, the first thing on that list would be our terrific student body. We are very proud that this year, we have expanded our demographics to many different communities. What this means is that students at NSHAHS have the opportunity to expand their horizons through contact and friendships with people they wouldn't ordinarily meet on a daily basis.

The more varied and diverse our student body, the more likely it is that new and exciting ideas for programs, trips, clubs, etc. will be generated. Even in a world of cross-community communication made feasible by social media, there is no substitute for studying, discussing, and eating lunch with people whose backgrounds and experiences are quite different. This feature of our school has given it the reputation of being a very interesting place.

As we go to press, a new group of students are enrolling for the 2015-16 school year, and the trend towards expanded demographics is strengthening. The young eighth grade students who come to apply to our school always speak about the students they know who are NSHAHS kids. We have the reputation of being a school whose students are cosmopolitan, rather than insular, as well as open-minded and interesting because they are interested in learning about and feeling comfortable with different cultures and people.

It turns out that we're hot because we are so cool!

I wish everyone a happy and healthy summer, one filled with adventure and opportunity for growth. And congratulations to the staff of NSN on a job well done.

 

 

Freshman Letter

by Yaakov Spraragen

 

Freshman LetterIn September of 2014, eighty plus eighth grade graduates, each with his or her strengths, weaknesses, talents, and fears, embarked upon their secondary educational career at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School. The class of 2018 is comprised of first and second-generation students from Persian, Ashkenazi, Israeli, Syrian, Russian and other communities in the greater New York metropolitan area. There is a wide-range of religious tradition and practice throughout the grade. Despite these differences and diverse backgrounds, each member of this class shares a hope and a goal to achieve success in their fields of interest.

Carpools, busing, shared classes and extracurricular activities have collectively developed these eighty-plus individuals into a spirited student body. The freshmen were fortunate in that they had the opportunity to take part in many activities and grade-wide events. Freshmen Eric Katan stated that the highlight of his freshmen year was the barbecue at the park. "A day in the park with some good food and a ball to throw around was the perfect opportunity to get to know my fellow classmates," Eric explained. Leeal Kahen shared that what she enjoyed most about her freshmen year was the fun-filled and action-packed week of Shiriyah. Leeal explained that, "The school-wide competition unified the grade, and showed us how much we can all accomplish when we work together."

There is a general esprit-de-corps in the freshmen grade. Peer-tutoring, joint study groups, and grade-wide group chats until all hours are common methods used to help each other out. Time management, fitting in, and staying out of trouble are some of the many challenges freshmen face. However, the fact that the freshmen grade took on the challenges together made the experience enjoyable and successful.

 

 

Sophomore Letter

by Shani Kahan 

 

Sophomore Letter

As the school year nears an end, a reflection of the sophomore class includes the many memorable moments we experienced; including all of the happy laughs we have laughed and the unity and development that contributed to bringing us closer to one another. Even through the rough times that have struck us, we stood by the sides of our fellow peers and helped each other overcome the challenges.

Our grade is famous for its large size and its diversity. We have students coming from all over: Great Neck, Queens, the Five Towns, Roslyn and Brooklyn serve as only a fraction of the mix. Moreover, our grade is also diverse in regards to the different cultural backgrounds we have originated from. This is one of the things that make our high school experience all the more special. This year, we were lucky to have several new students join our large grade. We happily welcomed them and the "new kids" immediately adjusted to North Shore's friendly atmosphere.

Over the course of the year, we have all matured and grown intellectually. In fact, this year we had the opportunity to take our first AP course: AP European History. Even though this class may have been intimidating initially, we are thankful to our instructor, Mr. David Miles, for guiding us through the year and for putting in a rigorous effort to prepare us well for the AP exam we will be taking for the first time in our lives. Also, Mr. William Muir and Dr. Marilyn Maxwell exposed us to classics in English literature such as Voltaire's satire, Candide, and Charles Dickens' Great Expectations; these classics allowed us to learn about significant English topics such as Romanticism and the Enlightenment. Furthermore, towards the beginning of the year, we took our first PSAT to get a taste of what to expect next year. Even though the long and tedious testing period required much concentration and effort, the PSAT showed us what we will, G-d willing, be successful in our junior year.

We are really thankful for all the activities our school organized for us, which served to provide us with even more of an opportunity to bond with one another. During Sophomore Seminar, we got to spend time together as a grade outside of school, and not just any time; we were privileged to spend an entire Shabbat all together. We feasted on a delicious Shabbat Dinner, and enjoyed singing Shabbat songs at the Oneg afterwards. This weekend of fun and celebrating Shabbat simultaneously gave us more than just another chance to unite, it also gave us a chance to embrace what connects us all: our Jewish roots. This meaningful Shabbat is one that we will appreciate forever. Spirit day is an addition to the list of things that we enjoyed all together as a grade. We got to play against each other, laugh at each other and compete with each other as we expressed our spirit and love for the school. Even though this is our second year of high school, this year was the first year we "observed" Spirit day, and we can all agree that we are eager to celebrate it next year as well. Furthermore, one of this year's highlights was, of course, Shiriyah! Our anticipation for this week of frenzy was so great, and we rejoiced in the arms of each other upon its arrival. Every member of our grade exerted all of his or her might to help one another. Even though there were some barriers pulling us apart, we managed to overcome them through our teamwork and collective desire to make our grade victorious. We did not come in first place, but we tried our best together, as a grade, which is what matters most. We are confident that this tight unity will lead us to victory next year, so all you other classes better beware!

It's hard to imagine that even though we only experienced high school together for two years, we have already become so close to each other. In simply two years, we have grown and accomplished so much and are lucky to have been there for each other through these achievements. Even though the burdensome Junior year stands before us, we will continue standing by each other and we know that because of this unity, nothing can ever bring us down.

Sincerely,
The Class of 2017

 

 

Junior Letter

by Avraham Spraragen

 

Junior LetterAs many are well aware, junior year is the most dreaded of the four years of high school. It is the year that students have to balance numerous advanced placement courses with preparing for the notorious college entry exam, the SAT. While this may sound like too hard of a feat to accomplish, the Class of 2016 conducted themselves throughout their junior year with poise and good deportment. This has truly been a year during which the members of our grade have shined academically, athletically, artistically, etc. Furthermore, my classmates have begun to get a sense of their true passions and future ambitions.

11th grade is also the time in which students begin their road to college. For my classmates and me, this has already meant numerous meetings with college advisors and mentors as well as the putting together of transcripts, resumes, and other necessary data. We have already begun to feel the pressure and strains of the college application process, and it is only the start! Based on how my grade has conducted itself thus far, I have no doubt in my mind that we will surely be successful during the remainder of this strenuous, yet exciting journey.

A highlight of our third year together as a North Shore Hebrew Academy class was Shiriyah. This year's battle of the grades was nothing short of spectacular. Our grade delivered its usual tremendous performance that wowed Dr. Daniel Vitow and the rest of the faculty. More so than years past, our grade truly came together during Shiriyah.

On behalf of my grade I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude towards all the incredible teachers that we have had this year. In our third year at the school, we have come to realize how unique and inspiring our teaching staff is. We have learned a great deal this year in both secular and judaic studies. Furthermore, the Class of 2016 would like to thank headmaster Dr. Daniel Vitow for another amazing year at his school. We look forward to making you proud once again as seniors.

As we near the end of our year I would like to congratulate the Class of 2016 for successfully completing their junior year of high school. While it was at times a bumpy road, we as a grade overcame the adversities and have ended the year on a high note. In the words of junior Dovi Weinberg, "It was a good run...see you all next year!"

-The Class of 2016

 

 

A Final Farewell

by Alexandra Levian and Rebecca Rosen 

 

A Final Farewell

Dear Readers,

As both of us enjoy our last few moments at NSHAHS, we reminisce on the journey that led us both to editing this publication. With a wide array of exciting club opportunities that came our way, North Shore Notes surely stood out to both of us as a way of expressing ourselves creatively and sharing our insights with others. As freshmen, we began to familiarize ourselves with the ins and outs of the paper as we each looked at the upperclassmen writers as role models. As sophomores, we were able to contribute our ideas for articles and weekly columns, understanding how we could improve the paper. By junior year, after reviewing our revision history week after week, we saw drastic improvements in our writing and were promoted to become Editors-in-Chief. This past year, as seniors, it was a privilege to be charged with compiling and editing this publication and sharing with the whole NSHAHS community many school events, current events, and our opinions. We encourage any underclassmen interested in honing in on their creative spirits to reach out to our incoming editors, Neda Shokrian and Avraham Spraragen for a possible position. We are always on the lookout for another creative voice. We congratulate Yaakov Spraragen and Arielle Rothman on gaining the title of Assistant Editors for next year. It was a privilege to have Mrs. April Zabinsky as a mentor to us all along and for guide us as we grew as writers and ultimately editors. We value the skills that we gained over the years and will take with us to college all that we learned here. From freshmen retreat to Shiriyah, we hope that we highlighted for all of you the many exciting events that occurred this year at NSHAHS. To our dear readers, thank you for your feedback and for your readership; we hope that you've enjoyed and benefited from our contributions. We are both confident that the paper will only become bigger and better from here onward and will be taken to a whole new level.

Much love and all the best,
Alexandra Levian and Rebecca Rosen

 

 

Yom HaShoah Program

by Leeal Kahen

 

Yom HaShoah ProgramEach Holocaust survivor has a unique and individual story. Being the last generation to have the opportunity to hear live testimony from Holocaust survivors, it is imperative that we learn from their stories and pass on the lessons they teach us to our descendants. This past Thursday, a school-wide assembly was held to honor the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Rabbi Benjamin Skydell started off the assembly by giving a brief speech about the gravity and importance of such a day like this. Then Mrs. Lisa Septimus welcomed to the stage a Polish Holocaust survivor.

The survivor told the school about how although she was torn from her parents at a young age, she still dreams about them and can feel their presence with her. She also told the story of how she survived the Death March. The speaker also mentioned how she survived thanks to the strong hand of God and all of his miracles. She explained how her whole life was destroyed after one night, and she vividly remembers all of her last moments with her loved ones. Although the speaker had suffered tremendously, she left students with a happy note. She mentioned that we should cherish each day like our last, and never take any moment for granted.

 

 

March Madness

by Joshua Peyser 

 

March Madness

This year's March Madness was one for the record books. It started with two number three seeds losing to number fourteen seeds. After two weeks of grueling basketball, we came down to the final four that consisted of number one seeds, Duke, Kentucky and Wisconsin and a number seven seed, Michigan State.

The first game was Duke vs. Michigan State. Duke cruised by Michigan State and gained a spot in the championship game. Duke was led by Freshman Jahlil Okafor, who had 18 points and Justice Winslow, who had 19 points. In the second game, undefeated Kentucky played against Wisconsin. In a close game, Wisconsin lead by senior Frank Kamitsky beat Kentucky 71-64.

In the championship game, Duke came back from a nine point deficit with seven minutes left. Their comeback was led by forgotten member of the Duke freshman class Grayson Allen, who came off the bench and scored 16 points, and Tyus Jones, who had 23. Duke won its 5th championship under esteemed coach Mike Krzyzewski.

 

 

Summer Plans

by Arielle Rothman

 

Summer PlansAfter working diligently throughout the school year, students are looking forward to summer break. Students will be spending the vacation in a variety of ways, including sleepaway camps, travel programs, and talent/academic endeavors.

Freshman Caylie Tuerack will be attending a sleepaway camp named Chipinaw, which is located in the Catskill Mountains of New York. She is particularly looking forward to water skiing, creating stained glass, and being a waitress at camp. Afterwards, she will be traveling to California with her family on their annual end-of-the-summer baseball trip, during which they travel to a different state each year to visit its baseball stadiums.

Sophomore Natalie Freilich will be traveling to Hungary to attend Camp Szarvas, a camp that unites Jewish students from around the world. She will have the unique experience of spending weeks interacting with teens from diverse backgrounds. Sophomore Arielle Goldschmidt is also participating in a travel program, and will be traveling to Israel on Mach Hach Ba'aretz. She will be touring Israel for five weeks with teens from throughout the United States and Canada. During one of those weeks, she will participate in a special program called Yam L'Yam, which entails hiking across Israel from the Kinneret to the Mediterranean Sea.

Sophomore Reese Berman will be enhancing her artistic abilities by attending a prestigious art program called RISD Precollege Summer Program, located in Rhode Island. She will be learning from experts in the field and working in impressive college studios. Yair Atlas plans to spend his summer conducting valuable science research on the most fatal type of brain cancer, glioblastoma. He will test the effect of specific drugs as potential therapies to cure the devastating disease.

Senior Rachelle David has spent recent summers conducting science research. However, this summer is unique; she will be going through Cadet Basic Training in order to attend the US Military Academy at West Point.

As the school year is winding down, students are finalizing their summer plans and anticipating vacation. They are looking forward to relaxing, catching up on sleep, and having lots of fun.

 

 

Class Review: AP Euro

by Ariel Fox 

 

Class Review: AP Euro

In high school, students are compelled to take as many AP classes as possible to achieve the college credits that are needed. Here at North Shore Hebrew Academy, the first AP offered to students is 10th grade AP European History. The subject of European history is not an easy one, but with help from the textbook and the instructor, Mr. David Miles, scoring a five on the AP is possible. The class is tough due to the extensive memorization of dates, key people and events, and details about important topics that is required. Learning hundreds of years of history in only a few months sounds grueling and slightly frightening, but Mr. Miles explains the material very well. European history consists of the history of countries such as Italy, France, England, Germany, and others. The course begins with the study of the Renaissance. Some other important topics include the formation of the monarchies, industrialism of England, and finally World War II. Towards the end of the year, the class picks up the pace on trying to learn all the topics in preparation for the AP exam. Therefore, it is highly recommended to invest in several practice AP books in order to keep up. As a sophomore in AP Euro, the class has been really hard but extremely interesting. Learning about the past and how it has shaped our world today has been truly enlightening.

 

 

Get to Know...Mr. Nagel!

by Ariel Fox

 

Get to Know...Mr. Nagel!At every school there is always that one teacher that brings order to the chaotic hallways of adolescent teenagers, and at North Shore Hebrew Academy that teacher is the Dean of Students, Mr. Dennis Nagel. Not only does he do the disciplining at school, be he also teaches pre-BC calculus, BC calculus, and multivariable calculus. Joshua Kratka, a junior in Mr. Nagel's pre-BC calc said that Mr. Nagel's course is, "A class that leaves you saying, 'Wait what,' but is intellectually stimulating nonetheless." Mr. Nagel is also the Chairperson of the Math Department and helps edit the other math classes' midterm and final exams. Other than teaching he also runs a number of extra-curriculars such as the senior trip, yearbook, and the math team.

As far as Mr. Nagel's background goes, he was born on Long Island, and grew up in North Babylon. He worked at HAFTR high school for fifteen years before switching to North Shore, and has been teaching for over twenty-nine years. Over the summer he enjoys playing golf in Pennsylvania, and he plays baseball, too. During his free time he enjoys watching the shows Gotham, Arrow, and Flash, and plays RPG video games. Mr. Nagel also likes to watch hockey and is indeed an Islander's fan. Also, his favorite book series is Harry Potter. Lastly, his favorite bands are Led Zepplin and Queen. Overall, Mr. Nagel is an amazing teacher and is deeply respected and liked by all the students and faculty.

 

 

Special Staff Edition! Get to Know...Arielle Rothman!

by Aryeh Hajibay 

 

Special Staff Edition! Get to Know...Arielle Rothman!

Here at NSHAHS, everyone would agree that it's hands down cool to be smart. In fact, every student is encouraged to find their true passion and excel in it. Meet Arielle Rothman, a sophomore who has certainly found that passion.

Arielle's enthusiasm for science and math seems to know no boundaries. She explained that she is captivated by scientific topics and loves the challenge of solving math problems. One of Arielle's favorite classes is bioengineering with Mr. David Weinberg, in which students learn about fascinating biological and technological advances. She noted, "Last week, we learned how the viruses for polio, HIV and the common cold are being used to treat cancer patients. In previous classes, we learned about electricity and circuits. Furthermore, even though we are still in high school, we students are inventing and creating our own technological advances!" With regard to math, Arielle is a member of both the Math Travel Team and the Math Research Club, and she participated in the prestigious Al Kalfus Math Fair last February. With the help of Mrs. Nora Greene, Arielle researched determinants and their applications, and will be advancing to the finals this month!

Among Arielle's favorite clubs are Model Congress and Model UN. Arielle had the privilege to attend the University of Pennsylvania Model Congress last month. She mentioned, "I had a great experience on Penn Model Congress because it was intellectually stimulating, educational, and enjoyable. I was a Representative on the Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee. The issues discussed were current concerns of universal significance, so it was great to learn about the topic extensively." Arielle proposed a bill to update US energy policies made obsolete by recent changes in energy availability and consumption. At the Yeshiva University Model UN, Arielle was a delegate in the World Health Organization, and she discussed the issues of Ebola and genetically modified organisms (GMO). While Model Congress and Model UN are among her favorite clubs, Arielle also participates in Medical Explorers, Headmaster's Council, Science Research, North Shore Notes, and plays the positions of guard and forward on the JV Girls Basketball Team.

During her free time, Arielle is a ballerina. She's been dancing ballet since she was three, and she currently dances multiple hours each week. She explained that she enjoys dancing on pointe, even though its extremely demanding physically.

After a long sit down with Arielle, her final remarks were, "North Shore has enabled me to pursue my many interests, from science and math to politics and writing. I have grown intellectually, and look forward to continuing to expand the depth of my knowledge."

 

 

Editors-in-Chief: Alexandra Levian, Rebecca Rosen
Assistant Editors: Avraham Spraragen, Neda Shokrian
Copy Editor: Stephanie Gottlieb
Web Developer: Benjamin Khakshoor, Shawn Wydra
Writing Staff: Hannah Baumgarten, Sarah Baumgarten, Lia Berger, Rachel Dynkin, Ariel Fox, Emma Greszes, Aryeh Hajibay, Shani Kahan, Leeal Kahen, Stacy Okin, Alana Pearl, Arielle Rothman, Yaakov Spraragen
Faculty Advisor: Mrs. April Zabinsky