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VOLUME 7 ISSUE 10

GET IN THE KNOW!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Parshat Vayeishev

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Junior Jam

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Chess Team

 

 

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A Student's Opinion on Standardized Testing

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Ukulele Club

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Trump Appointed Israeli Ambassador

 

 

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Guess the Teacher

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Art of the Week: "Ophelia"

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Student Poetry: "The Great Blanket"

 

 

 

 

Parshat Vayeishev

by Aryeh Hajibay

 

Parshat Vayeishev(וישב יעקב בארץ מגורי אביו, בארץ כנען (ל״ז, א׳

If the assumption is that every word in the Torah comes to teach us something, this pasuk could have ended after the point that Yaakov dwelled in the land that his fathers have settled. We already know that Canaan was where Avraham and Yitzchak settled. Why does this pasuk add that the place in which Yaakov's fathers lived was Canaan?

The sages answer that living in the land of Canaan in and of itself is a mitzva, which is why it is specified here. The talmud in masechet ketubot discusses a scenario in which Israel is under siege and in ruins, and a person is living in a beautiful Jewish community in the galut. Is living in a warzone still preferable? The halacha is that the mitzva of living in Israel is almost equal to the totality of all of the other mitzvot. According to our tradition, every corner of the land of Israel is filled with light and holiness. The diaspora, on the other hand, is considered dark and devoid of meaning. Many religious supporters of Israel base their fundamental Zionism on this first pasuk in Parshat Vayeishev.

 

 

Junior Jam

by Ben Baruch 

 

Junior Jam

It was a fun filled day for the junior class of 2018 this past Tuesday. The day was planned by Rabbi David Beitler, Athletic Director, and Principal Rabbi Weinberg. About 60 kids participated and everyone had a very good time.

Our day started after breakfast. We boarded the buses and traveled to Indoor Extreme Sports in Long Island City. There, we were given options such as paintball, arcade games, and zombie laser tag. Paintball consisted of 20 players, 10 on each team, who fired rubber balls across a fairly small playing field. Effective strategy included peeking between obstacles for enemy targets and short, swift advances toward the other team. Another game we played was zombie laser tag. Each player was equipped with a vest as well as a laser gun. The teams would travel between both bases in attempt to collect as many kills as possible. In the event that a player was hit, they would have to return to the base to respawn. The team with the most points at the end of 15 minutes won. Those who did not find enjoyment in the various violent activities enjoyed the arcade games that were offered.

After three hours of shooting each other, we drove out to Pole Position Raceway in Melville. Our new objective was to drive a go kart around a track at the fastest speed in the shortest time. After a filling lunch, we began racing. Each student was given two races around the track, and each race was eight laps. The racers enjoyed.

After a two hour drive back to Brooklyn, our day ended at the Barclays Center. We saw a spirited hockey game between John Tavares' New York Islanders and Alexander Ovechkin's Washington Capitals. Both teams came into the game red hot. The Capitals had won their last four games in a row while the Islanders were 5-1-1 in their last seven games, including a 3-0 win against the Capitals less than two weeks before. The Islanders got out to a good start when forward Brock Nelson ripped one over the glove of Capitals' goalie, Braden Holtby, giving the Islanders a 1-0 lead. The second period did not start as well since Capitals' forwards Brett Connolly and Justin Williams gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead. But later in the period, a slap shot from the point was redirected to the back of the net by Nikolai Kulemin, tying the game at two. In the third period, however, Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen scored his first two goals of the season, giving the Capitals a 4-2 win. Many of us enjoyed the game nevertheless. During the first intermission, the boys' and girls' hockey teams got to high five the islanders as they skated out for the second period. Many of us moved down to the front rows for the best seat in the house. The favored team might have lost, but it was a night, and a day, to remember for all of us.

 

 

Chess Team

by Benjamin Pagovich

 

Chess TeamThis year at NSHAHS, there are two different opportunities for the chess program. The school has a chess team and a chess club, both run by Rabbi David Rabinowitz. The chess team competes against other schools with seven boards. At each board, there is one player and one advisor. This setup limits the team to 14 students. Tryouts for the team were held in September. Any student who did not make the team could opt for the chess club, which is open to everybody and practices with the chess team. Regular attendance and participation are required in order to be considered part of the chess club. Last year, the chess team won their division and advanced to the championship. In the Yeshiva chess league, there are 3-4 divisions. Last year, NSHAHS faced off against other division champions in the final rounds of the playoffs. They faced off against Ramaz, Frisch, and MTA and unfortunately, they did not win. This year the chess team won its first two matches against HANC, who they beat 8-6, and Rambam, 10-4. We would like to wish the chess team the very best of luck and hope to see them this year in the championship again.

 

 

A Student's Opinion on Standardized Testing

by Ben Baruch 

 

A Student's Opinion on Standardized Testing

I was on my phone last night and I saw a youtube ad for a new show titled "The Thinning". The show depicts a version of our country where we are deprived of our natural resources. The government needs to make a decision as to how to combat this issue. They decide to decrease population size by administering a knowledge test. The results of the test determine whether you live or die. Although that is not what is literally happening in today's society, many students are feeling this sort of pressure when it comes to ACTs and SATs. It seems as though it is the decider of whether or not you get into a good college, which in turn determines the extent of your career options.

Standardized exams test core subjects that are taught in all high schools in order to be fair to all students. These subjects include math, science, reading comprehension, and grammar. The ACT is the only test that includes a science section, while the SAT has two math sections instead. The tests also focus on different elements of grammar and reading comprehension. The ACT is also more time constraining as students have an average of approximately one minute per question. Almost every college accepts both tests equally, and students take whichever exam they feel is best for them. Still, many are upset about the test.

Firstly, there is a large amount of stress that is associated with taking such a test. Many students prepare for this test for months. They must recall all that they have learned over the past many years and be able to spew it out for four hours on test day. Kids spend long sessions with tutors multiple times a week and then perform more problems independently, in addition to daily homework. Granted, for those who wish to become math or English majors in college, or if it is an interest, there may not be as much stress, but for those who do not, it ends up being very stressful and time consuming.

Many students are interested in subjects not tested on the ACT and SAT. I, for example, wish to go into a career in communications and broadcasting. The only test that directly corresponds to that interest is the grammar section. Yes, the other sections may be important core subjects, but will they really have an effect on my future? I think not.

The test is also financially burdensome for some students. The ACT with writing costs about $52, and the SAT with writing costs $57. Many students work with tutors, who charge anywhere from $50-$400 per hour. This requires money that some poverty-stricken students do not have. The test claims to be fair for all students, but how can it be fair to those who cannot afford it?

Lastly, there are countries without standardized tests who are more successful. Many countries and colleges abroad accept on the basis of interviews and mere GPA. There are those who may not have the best grades in school but have tons of character and an interest in a certain topic. There are also those who absolutely excel in school who otherwise wouldn't be able to replicate that on a standardized test. The colleges see these qualities and are able to cultivate it. Meanwhile in America, our tests discourage a niche and instead focus on standardizing education.

What makes the human race so special is our individuality. Every person has a mission as to why they were put on this earth and they should be given the opportunity to express that. Unfortunately, standardized tests do not allow for that individuality and instead focus on conformity and common knowledge. Even though the topics tested are important, it is not what should determine our future. As the next generation, we should make our lives as we want them to be. We should be free to pursue our dreams in a way that is tailored to our unique interests. That is how our society will better accommodate the talents and specialties of all human beings. If I can offer any advice to those taking the test or feeling discouraged by it, I would tell them to do their best to stay focused on the task at hand and to think of the test as a mere barrier they need to overcome to reach their ultimate goal.

 

 

Ukulele Club

by Yaakov Spraragen

 

Ukulele ClubNSHAHS is notorious for its variety of extracurricular activities and clubs. Whether you are a singer, athlete, film lover, coder, chess player, or are interested in almost anything, NSHAHS will give you the opportunity to pursue that interest. You can find students carrying drumsticks in the band, an athlete wearing his or her jersey, or an artist with paint covered hands, and they are all given equal respect and opportunity to express their talents.

The school even introduced a brand new club for those interested in playing the ukulele! Led by Ms. Patricia Yale, Music Instructor, this unique offering will enable students to master this interesting instrument. Although the "uke" only has four strings, when one learns how to play it correctly, it produces beautiful music. The ukulele sounds even better when accompanied by a good singing voice. As we all know from North Shore's Got Talent, our school definitely has talented singers who could eventually sing along with the ukulele players. If you want to learn how to strum your favorite tunes, act fast, because the awesome ukulele club has limited spots!

 

 

Trump Appointed Israeli Ambassador

by Shani Hashemi 

 

Trump Appointed Israeli Ambassador

Another name was added to the questionable cabinet of president-elect Donald Trump this past week with his choice of New York attorney and Orthodox Jew David Friedman as the United States representative to Israel. He is known for hardline views that challenge decades of established American policy and in some cases are to the right of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Friedman's immense devotion to the state of Israel shows strongly through his arguments and he will prove that Trump is a true friend of Israel. However, his ideas are highly controversial. Friedman argues that Israeli settlement construction in Palestinian areas should be legal, and he has called the effort to find a two-state solution an "illusion." The biggest problem with Trump's appointment is the bankruptcy lawyer's approval of the idea of moving the embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel's real capital, which Palestinians also claim as their capital. There is likely turbulence ahead. A US shift in the status quo of Jerusalem (home to the third-holiest site in Islam as well as the holiest in Judaism) and away from forging a state for the Palestinians, long seen as an important cause by other Arabs, could revive regional tensions. The reactions have been mixed. The Trump team is arguing that this choice will help improve the US-Israel relationship, which has been strained by differences between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama. The Palestinian Liberation Organization completely disapproves of the Friedman choice, claiming that he will go against previous US promises by denying the Palestinians a state. Prime Minister Netanyahu has yet to respond.

 

 

Guess the Teacher

by Arielle Sarraf

 

Guess the Teacher1. I love skiing
2. I did not study philosophy or literature in college, but I am fond of both
3. I captained my high school mock trial and debate teams
4. I am an avid Lord of the Rings fan
5. I have been to over 10 US National Parks
6. At my height, I spent over 15 hours a day studying Torah
7. My musical preference is rock
8. I won a (small) number of Tae Kwon Do tournaments
9. I live in a medical school but have never studied medicine
10. I have students whose siblings are older than I am

Answer: Rabbi Elliot Schrier - Instructor of Judaic Studies, Director Beit Midrash Program

 

 

Art of the Week: "Ophelia"

by Alex Iskhakov  

 

Art of the Week: "Ophelia"

 

 

Student Poetry: "The Great Blanket"

by Justin Zion

 

Student Poetry: "The Great Blanket"The night of the world is so deep, dark, and cold
And the people are laid out from young onto old
For exposed they should be to the cold of the night
But as always the Blanket is there with its light

While the evil dark winds try to the nip at their heads
The Great Blanket encloses them into its threads
And so all are protected from shivers and chills
And are wrapped up in pleasuring warmth on the hills

Yet despite this I lie in the cold and the dark
With the empty black sky staring down at me stark
So I lift myself up and discover with dread
That the Blanket has thousands of holes in its thread

So while many are graced by its loving embrace
And are warm and content in its silvery lace
The Great Blanket does not pleasure me with its gifts
So alone I lie down; through my sorrows I sift

 

 

Editor-in-Chief: Arielle Rothman
Assistant Editors: Lia Berger, Shani Kahan, Yaakov Spraragen
Social Media: Alana Pearl
Writing Staff: Yair Atlas, Ben Baruch, Dalia Etessami, Anna Glasman, Sophie Goldman, Aryeh Hajibay, Ariella Hajibay, Shani Hashemi, Alexandra Iskhakov, Elan Itschakov, Leeal Kahen, Shaina Lavi, Stacy Okin, Ben Pagovich, Alana Pearl, Josh Peyser, Arielle Sarraf, Yaakov Spraragen, Ian Terzi, Caylie Tuerack
Faculty Advisor: Mrs. April Zabinsky