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VOLUME 5 ISSUE 8

GET IN THE KNOW!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Parashat Vayeitze

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Preparation for Yale Model Congress

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Get To Know: NSHAHS' Math Department

 

 

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Inside Google

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NSHAHS' Model UN Team

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Vaccinations: Healthy or Risky?

 

 

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The Terrorists' Double Masks

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The Anti-Defamation's Condemnation

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Terror Attack in Jerusalem

 

 

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Get To Know: Deeba Abirshamchi

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Art of The Week

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NSHAHS' Italian students head to NYC

 

 

 

 

Parashat Vayeitze

by Hannah Baumgarten

 

Parashat Vayeitze"He encountered the place [Vayifga Bamakom] and spent the night there because the sun has set..." (Bereshit 28:11).

In the opening verses of this week's parasha, Vayeitze, the Torah discusses Yaakov's dream on his journey from Beer-Sheva to Charan. As the sun sets, Yaakov "encounters" a place to rest for the night. Many understand these words to mean that Yaakov instituted Maariv, following in the footsteps of Avraham and Yitzchak, who implemented Shacharit and Mincha. However, this is problematic because if Maariv was implemented by Yaakov, how is it possible that Maariv is not obligatory? A possible answer may be that Yaakov's prayer is different than that of Avraham and Yitzchak. Regarding Yaakov, the word "encountered" shows that Yaakov's religious experience is different in that he did not initiate his "conversation" with God. This meeting becomes the paradigm for the way one should approach his religious life. As in all other areas of life, there are certain events that will be beyond our control. There will, inevitably, be moments in which we are forced to face the unexpected, the unplanned, and the unscheduled. This is why Maariv could not become an obligatory service; it was to be a reminder for Yaakov's descendants that an encounter with God may happen when we least expect it. In addition, though we may not be aware in the moment of its significance, we will later look back and see the transformation that occurred.

 

 

Preparation for Yale Model Congress

by Leeal Kahen 

 

Preparation for Yale Model Congress

NSHAHS' young "congressmen" are currently hard at work, preparing for the upcoming Model Congress that will take place on December 4th and 5th at Yale University. Each year, members of the Model Congress team have the opportunity to learn about and experience the United Sates legislative system first hand. Led by NSHAHS' Chairperson of the History Department, Instructor of History and Debate Coach Mr. David Miles, students research avant-garde legislation that culminates into a concise one-page bill. At the Model Congress Conference, students use their bills as a basis for their arguments, as they debate important issues ranging from the legalization of marijuana to the funding of medical research. Students are usually given the opportunity to select which committee they will be a part of; Foreign Affairs, Judiciary, Narcotics, Science, Space, and Technology, and Finance are just a few examples of the many areas that cater to a diverse set of driven students.

Being a member of this team, however, is definitely not a breeze. Participants must commit to rigorous hours of hard work and research in preparation for the conference. Sophomore, Reese Berman mentioned: "This is my first Model Congress, and I'm really excited. I really had to put a lot of time and effort into writing my bill. I'm sure all my hard work will pay off when I'm at Yale." To ease the experience for the lowerclassmen, Mr. Miles has chosen various seniors to serve as captains, who are responsible for helping the rookies conduct research and familiarize themselves with the parliamentary procedures. Writing a short speech, creating a research binder, and practicing their arguments in group settings are all part of the preparation process. In the spring, the students hope to head off to the University of Pennsylvania for a second conference. Last year, several students brought home honorable mentions; we hope that this year will be no different if not better.

 

 

Get To Know: NSHAHS' Math Department

by Rachel Dynkin

 

Get To Know: NSHAHS' Math DepartmentThe students of NSHAHS are very lucky to have access to the five brilliant mathematical minds that make up our math department. This year, we would like to welcome two new members to the math department: Mrs. Denice Halpern and Mrs. Nora Greene who each challenge their students and have contributed their enthusiasm for teaching to our school environment.

The math department prides itself on stressing critical thinking and problem solving skills, and there is a course available for students of every level. "I think we work very well as a team, and share ideas, resources and strategies to help reach every student," explains Ms. Greene. Each teacher in the department has something unique to bring to the classroom and to the school as a whole. "Where you are depends on two things: where you started plus where you went from there," explains Mr. Dennis Nagel, the head of the department and Dean of Students at NSHAHS. Mr. Nagel is also a Harry Potter enthusiast, coaches the school's Quiditch Team and Travelling Math Team, and is the faculty advisor for the senior yearbook. Mrs. Greene likes to use songs in class to reinforce her examples. "I sing 'Don't Stop At X' to the tune of 'Don't Stop Believing,'" she explains. Mrs. Jodi Mondi, another member of the department, is famous for her impeccable fashion sense and emphasis on proper etiquette. Mrs. Thorgersen, another great math teacher, has a unique ability to teach the material in a way that is clear and understandable to each student.

It is a privilege for NSHAHS to have such an interesting group of people running the school's math department. Without a doubt, we can all benefit from their extensive knowledge of various mathematical principles as well as their personal skillful teaching.

 

 

Inside Google

by Arielle Rothman 

 

Inside Google

There are few workplaces with a gym, cafe, massage room and a Lego room on campus, but google is an excpetion. Approximately three-dozen NSHAHS' students had the opportunity to witness this first-hand on a trip to Google NYC coordinated by Ms. Wilensky, Director of Educational Technology.

Students were escorted on a tour by Micah Lemonik, founder of Google Docs and an alumni of North Shore Hebrew Academy. Following the tour, NSHAHS' AP Computer Science students sat down with Lemonik in a conference room to ask him questions about being in the computer science field and working at Google. Members of the school club FiCS-IT (Females in Computer Science and Information Technology) met with two female engineers to learn about gender equality issues in the field and to learn how to become successful computer programmers. Students also saw and tried on some of Google's products, including the Google Glass and the Google Cardboard. Google Glass is worn like pair of glasses and has a display in the corner of the wearer's visual field. Google Cardboard is a visor made primarily of cardboard that can provide a virtual reality experience for the surprisingly low cost of about $25. All of the students who participated learned a tremendous amount and had fun on this valuable trip. Attendee Ariel Fox remarked, "I thought Google was an amazing experience and it is truly not like any other trip."

 

 

NSHAHS' Model UN Team

by Mark Steiner

 

NSHAHS' Model UN TeamMost students would be stumped if you asked them to find Lithuania on a map. Thankfully, NSHAHS' Model UN team is not comprised of average students. Every year, NSHAHS Director of Library and Media Services, Mrs. Joyce Levine, recruits a team of around eight delegates to attend the annual Yeshiva University Model United Nations conference, or YUNMUN for short.

The club includes a few representatives from each grade, with four seniors at the helm this year. Each delegate is assigned a nation and a committee. I, for example, will be representing Turkey on the Counter-Terrorism Committee. The school is also representing Lithuania this year. Each delegate must thoroughly research their nation and its background, and then tackle specific issues and write position papers for the nations they represent.

The actual conference takes place in February. The students are bused to Stanford, Connecticut, where they settle in and find their committees. They then spend the next whole day in session, deliberating and arguing while hammering out resolutions with their counterparts from other schools. The conference concludes with an awards ceremony.

Keeping up with the Model UN team is not easy. Delegates must have knowledge of the nations, and must keep up with current events. Once they do arrive at the conference, however, months of hard work do finally pay off.

 

 

Vaccinations: Healthy or Risky?

by Lia Berger 

 

Vaccinations: Healthy or Risky?

Vaccinations were once seen by many as a healthy way to avoid getting specific diseases, but nowadays, there has emerged a sense of doubt regarding their safety. On one hand, those who are pro-vaccination believe that shots can protect people from unnecessary viruses, but others see vaccines simply as injecting germs into your bloodstream.

Vaccines contain a weakened part of a germ that is responsible for sickness and infection. However, they cannot make someone sick because the strain of the virus is weakened, making it easy for antibodies to fight against the virus. If a person is exposed to the virus afterward, their body will already be immune to the virus and will not get sick. People who support vaccination argue that vaccine-preventable diseases have not been eliminated from our society, and they can be passed on to those who have not been vaccinated. They reason that it is safer to get vaccinated than to leave yourself exposed to viruses.

However, others believe that vaccines are dangerous and that pharmaceutical companies cannot be trusted because some drugs that have been deemed unsafe are still available to the public. Another argument is that vaccines are only used for temporary immunization against viruses because the body is already programmed to defend itself against germs that enter through our noses and mouths, so vaccinations are not necessary.

Most common vaccinations, such as flu shots, have not been proven to be harmful in any way. If you are nervous and just want to make sure that the vaccine you are getting is safe, talk to your doctor before receiving it.

 

 

The Terrorists' Double Masks

by Yaakov Spraragen

 

The Terrorists' Double MasksTerrorists mask their faces to hide their identities, but the media frequently masks their crimes against humanity as well. The latest, and possibly most brutal, attack occurred this past week in Kehilat Bnei Torah Synagogue, in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem, Israel. Two Palestinian men from East Jerusalem barged into the synagogue and attacked the praying congregants using axes, knives, and a gun. One would expect the media's initial reactions to be of pure outrage. Sadly, the wording of many headlines and reports imply that these barbaric actions were justified. Hamas and other Palestinian groups welcomed such actions as a "natural response to Israeli crimes." In other headlines, the deaths of the murdering terrorists were not differentiated from their victims. "Four Israelis and two Palestinians killed in what Israeli police call a terrorist attack." (CNN) and "Jerusalem Police Fatally Shoot Two in Apparent Synagogue Attack" (CBC) are just two examples of recent headlines regarding the attack.

"Apparent?" What Israeli police "call" a terrorist attack? Is this contrived blindness, or is it blunt anti-Israel propaganda? What question or doubt could there be in the wake of such crimes? In too many cases we find that the media hesitates or prefers not to identify such monstrous attacks on innocent civilians as the pure acts of terrorism that they are, especially when Jewish blood has been shed. When such tragedies occur in Israel, misleading headlines such as these abound. Ill-informed readers of these skewed articles obviously conclude that Israelis are deserving of hate crimes and even deserve to be murdered. In these perverse reports, the victims become known as the supposed maniacs. It is for these reasons that fair and fact-based journalism is critical for the struggle to balance world opinion. Ultimately, Israel's survival depends on the truth.

 

 

The Anti-Defamation's Condemnation

by Avraham Spraragen  

 

The Anti-Defamation's Condemnation

What connection does Trinidadian-American rapper and singer, Nicki Minaj, have to Hitler and the Nazi party? The answer is absolutely none. Nonetheless, Minaj and her ill-advised management and directors chose to depict Nazi imagery in a racy music video for her new single, "Only." Whereas music videos are supposed to complement the lyrics of a song with footage that relates to and builds upon the tune, this award-winning pop star's new video evokes the style of Nazi propaganda films and portrays Minaj as a military dictator surrounded by red banners resembling those used by the Nazi Party during World War II. In addition, ranks of soldiers are shown with red armbands mirroring those worn by Nazi soldiers. Other popular figures in the music industry - Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Drake - are also featured as planes drop bombs from the air.

Critics reached out to director and visual artist, Jeff Osbourne, to discuss these issues. Osbourne, who collaborated with Minaj on previous assignments commented, "First, I'm not apologizing for my work, nor will I dodge the immediate question. The flags, armbands, and gas masks are all representative of Nazism. But a majority of the recognizable models/symbols are American." To explain his use of a delicate historical event in his art, he said, "As far as an explanation, I think it is actually important to remind younger generations of atrocities that occurred in the past as a way to prevent them from happening in the future, and the most effective way of connecting with people today is through social media and pop culture. So if my work is misinterpreted because it's not a sappy tearjerker, sorry I'm not sorry." Despite this justification and reasoning, many were not satisfied with the director's words and condemned the video for glorifying Nazism.

Particularly enraged was the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), whose mission it is to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all citizens alike. Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and Holocaust survivor, issued the following statement, "Nicki Minaj's new video disturbingly evokes Third Reich propaganda and constitutes a new low for pop culture's exploitation of Nazi symbolism. The irony should be lost on no one that this video debuted on the 76th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the "Night of Broken Glass" pogrom that signaled the beginning of the Final Solution and the Holocaust."

Truly puzzling is the fact that no one among Minaj's group of producers, publicists and managers raised a red flag about the use of such imagery before ushering the video into public release. Occurrences such as these leads one to question the state of American culture and values in the 21st century.

 

 

Terror Attack in Jerusalem

by Shani Kahan

 

Terror Attack in JerusalemIn contrast to the usual refreshing feeling that a new week brings upon us, last week started on a poor note. On Tuesday morning, more murder was added to the series of terror attacks in Jerusalem. During Shacharit, two Arab terrorists entered the Kehillat Bnai Torah Yeshiva Synagogue bearing guns, knives and axes and butchered innocent Jewish men who were reciting their daily prayers. Five people were killed and seven were severely wounded by these barbarians that were proudly shouting, "Allahu Akhbar!" as they attacked and stabbed the men to death. Among the wounded were two Israeli police officers that arrived at the horrific scene shortly after it began. The terrorists have been identified as Ghassan and Uday Abu al Gama, who were both residents of Jerusalem. Reports indicate that one of the terrorists worked at a grocery store near the synagogue and that both possessed Israeli identity cards. After the incident, Hamas outwardly adulated the attacks and handed out sweets to children while rejoicing. Those who fell victim to the attack have been identified as Rabbi Moshe Twersky, who held the title of ‘Rosh Kollel' for the Torat Moshe Yeshiva, Rabbi Kalman Levine, Aryeh Kupinsky and Avraham Shmuel Goldberg. The fifth victim, police officer, Zidan Seyf, died from his injuries late Tuesday night. The wounded were treated at the scene by medics before being rushed to Shaarei Tzedek and Hadassah hospitals.

As a Zionist yeshiva day school, our school made sure to address this tragedy and raise awareness of the situation in Israel among students. On Tuesday, there was a call for a collective Mincha in the synagogue followed by a moving speech delivered by Rabbi Yechezkel Lehrer. Rabbi Lehrer spoke about the intensity of the incident and how one should react to what has happened. He then compared the situation to a video game, saying that both encompass winners and losers. He explained that even though it may seem to us that the Jewish nation are the losers, we have ways of combating such a notion. Rabbi Lehrer suggested that an increase in spirituality is the ideal form of what we can consider "revenge." The goal of the Arabs is to break our spirits and destroy our faith in God, therefore, by doing the exact opposite we transform ourselves into the winners of the "game." Rabbi Leherer's speech was truly thought-provoking and had a great impact on all that heard it. Lastly, the school commemorated the lives that had been lost by listening to Mr. Yussie Sonnenblick recite the prayer of commemoration, "Kel Maleh Rahcamim", which really allowed everyone to take a moment to reflect on the gravity of the situation.

The school was successful in conveying the message to its students because the following day many students took it upon themselves to wear blue and white to express their support for the state of Israel, which holds a special place in each of our lives. May we only come to hear good news from now on.

 

 

Get To Know: Deeba Abirshamchi

by Neda Shokrian  

 

Get To Know: Deeba Abirshamchi

Senior? Check. Love for law? Check. Artistically talented? Check. Over-the-top obsession with Drake? CHECK! In case you haven't been able to guess exactly who I'm describing yet, I think it's time for you to meet Deeba Abrishmachi. The best way to describe Deeba may be found in her response to my email telling her that she had been chosen for this week's GTK article: "THANKS FOR MAKING MY DREAM COME TRUE!!!!!!"

Deeba enjoys having a great time just as much as she loves law. As a loyal member of NSHAHS' Mock Trial Team, she has been exposed to court cases, has learned to analyze minutiae details, and has seen presentations of mock scenarios in a real court. "I have improved my public speaking and have learned how to think on my feet," Deeba reflects. "I hope to pursue a career in the law field some day." As a fellow member of mock trial, I can attest to her dedication and valuable contributions that have helped us succeed in past seasons.

When Deeba is not working on becoming DA, she enjoys spending time with her family and her puppy, Bella. She is also on the Varsity soccer team, choir, and takes AP Art. Deeba is extremely sad that its her last year at NSHAHS, but she is excited to see what the next chapter in her life will bring. In the meantime she says, "You can always catch me with a pack of Oreos and a cup of milk."

 

 

Art of The Week

 

Art of The Week Sophomore Reese Berman created this piece in her Pre-AP Art Course.

 

 

NSHAHS' Italian students head to NYC

by Rachel Schecter 

 

NSHAHS' Italian students head to NYC

NSHAHS Italian language students went into the city this past Tuesday, November 18th. The class started off their journey at Raffaello Kosher Pizza and were treated to dessert after their delicious pizza and soda. After their feast at Raffaello's, the students headed downtown to the heart of Little Italy to visit The Italian American Museum. There, the students were able to meet the founder of the museum and listen to his story as he explained why he wanted build a museum. NSHAHS Instructor of Italian, Professore Rosella Perrone said, "I was so happy to be able to be with my students on their first trip to an Italian museum. I had an amazing time and it was overall a great and memorable time!" The students walked through different exhibitions at the museum. Senior Benjamin Nitzani reflected on the experience, "I learned a lot and had a blast with my peers." To top the day off, the students were able to practice their Italian with the founder of the museum!

 

 

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, Aryeh Hajibay, Shani Kahan, Leeal Kahen, Stacy Okin, Alana Pearl, Arielle Rothman, Rachel Schecter, Steven Schwartz Aaron Silverman, Avraham Spraragen, Yaakov Spraragen, Mark Steiner
Featuring contributions by: Hannah Baumgarten
Faculty Advisor: Mrs. April Zabinsky