HAFTR Happenings Dvar Torah Parshat Shemot

HAFTR Happenings
Issue 2 Volume 13
Mazal Tov
Mazal tov to Kiki
and Steven Goldgrab
and to big brother
Oliver on the birth
of a baby boy.
Candle Lighting 4:12 PM
Dvar Torah
Parshat Shemot
by Rabbi
I recently googled "The Top 10 Crazy Celebrity Baby
Names." To my surprise some of the names given were
quite astonishing.
and Lower
Sylvester Stallone (Rocky) and Sasha Czack named their
child Sage Moonblood. Mia Farrow and Andre Previn chose
the name Lark Song for their child. Who can forget the
amazing name Frank Zappa chose for his child ... Moon
If you have any
friends who would
like to learn more
about HAFTR and
may be interested
in joining us for a
tour or parlor
meeting, please
contact Leslie Gang
at [email protected]
Can you imagine Moshe's first day in school, when his
Egyptian teacher asks him his first name?
I would like to add another to this infamous list: "For I
drew you from water." Shemot, Perek Bet, Posuk
Yud. "The boy grew up ... and she brought him to the
daughter of Pharaoh and he was a son to her. She called
him Moses, as she said, 'For I drew him from the water.' "
What is the depth behind this name? What is the message
the daughter of Pharaoh, Batya, is sending to Moshe and
the world? May I suggest: Batya knew Moshe was special
and was destined for great leadership. She was a great
woman in the process of conversion to Judaism and she
knew "Moshe was the future of Am Yisrael."
Water is a symbol of peace. It flows undisturbed.
Batya understood leadership, especially that this new
emerging nation would be anything but peaceful. Moshe
will need to be the antithesis of water. His life will be filled
with great upheaval. He will have to be ready to devote
his life to sacrifice. Things will not run smoothly all the
time, and he will be responsible to lead.
"Drew him from water" means that his life, in many ways,
will be the opposite of water. Perhaps that is the way
Hashem appears to Moshe as "fire" in a burning bush.
Moshe's life will be similar to a fire. His life will be filled
with a burning passion. He will need to burn through his
adversaries with determination, to lead with guts and
strength. It will not always be peaceful.
Moshe can never forget this.
As Jews, we will be called upon to emulate this fierce
determination of Moshe as we involve ourselves in this
world. To help make a difference we will need guts and
confidence like Moshe.
We need to learn from Batya. This is what we teach our
Shabbat Shalom!
Sponsorships Available!
Early Childhood:
Birthday Gift $25
Book-of-the-Month - $18
Shabbat Onegs $18
Lower School:
Healthy Snack, Grades K-5 - $18 for one day
Mishamar, Grade 5 Boys - $36 per week
Book of the Month, Grades K-5 - $18 per class
Chagigat Siddur, Grade 1 - $180
Evening of the Arts, Grade 4 - $100
Middle School:
Mishmar Sponsorship: please contact Rabbi Klapper
at [email protected]
Va"ani Tefilliti- Siddur Sponsorship ranging from $250 and
up. Please contact Rabbi Kupchik at [email protected]
Tree Leaf for Etz Hachayim. Please contact Candice
[email protected]
If you are interested in sponsoring the above
activities or learning about additional opportunities,
please [email protected]
Early Childhood
Our two year olds have begun their unit on manners. Manners
are more than just saying "please" and "thank-you". They are
an important way of teaching children to be respectful and to
show consideration of others. At school, the children learn to
be polite as part of their everyday classroom experience. Our
Morot are also making a point of noticing and commenting when
the yeladim are polite, kind, and helpful toward their pers. By
giving your child a foundation in basic
manners, we are helping to ease his/her way, not just in the
classroom, but in the wider world as well.
No matter how small he or she is, a child can be
mensch. Mensch is the Yiddish word that has come to mean a
very good person, someone we admire because of his/her
character. When we create opportunities for us and our
children to do good, we are creating a better world. Beginning the conversation
of what it means to be a mensch may be a difficult concept for a young child,
nevertheless, it s incumbent upon all of us to plant the seeds so that we can grow
a garden of truly lovely people.
Our budding three year old artists have been busy at
the easel. It is wonderful to watch the children as
they create their very own masterpieces. Did you
know that easel painting is a first step in the writing
process? Perhaps there are no words on the paper,
but your child is experiencing what it means to
express him/herself on paper. He/she grasps the
brush clumsily at first, trying one way and then
another, until he/she develops control over its movement. As your child
continues to paint, he/she gains a sense of him/herself as an explorer
discovering subtle differentiations in color and texture.
Many of our children love to do puzzles. Whether it is a giant floor puzzle or a
table-top toy, our children are learning the difference between shapes as they
match each piece to the space where it fits. They continue to do the puzzle even
after it has been mastered. The sense of accomplishment and the fun of
cooperating with their friends do wonders for everyone's self-esteem.
This week, our four year old children
studied the letter "O". Morah Perri's
children had an especially yummy time
learning how a certain word can begin
and end with the letter O. Can you
guess what word that is...hint: the word comes with a
creamy filling? Morah Alissa's children had a tasting party with - you guessed it
- olives! Next week, it is the letter Q's turn to be studied. The children will
learn that Q always comes with a partner - the letter U. They also love to
practice what they have learned in the writing center. They love to write their
names and the names of their friends. They also love playing with the letter
puzzles and matching letter games. During center time, all the children have a
chance to practice their writing skills on the white boards. They love identifying
letters and words on each day's morning message. You can catch them making
letters with play-dough, craft sticks, blocks, and pretzel rods. They are very
Another skill that our four year old children are covering
is in making and interpreting graphs. Yes, you read that
correctly. A question is posed. For example: "how many
types of leaves did we collect on our fall walk?" or "what
kind of candle burns the quickest?" Once the question is
formulated, the children get busy collecting, organizing,
and displaying the relevant data to answer the
question. By reading the information on the graph, the children develop and
evaluate answers that are based on the data. We are also working on our
measurement skills - how many unifix cubes does it take to be the same height as
me?; how many paper clips laid end to end does it take to be the same size as my
knapsack?; how many steps is it from my classroom to the music room? Our
three year olds are also getting in on the math class. They are learning about
big, bigger, biggest and its opposite: small, smaller, smallest. Comparing and
contrasting is one very big grown-up skill! And speaking of opposites, the three's
also playing lots of games while they learn all about opposites.
This week, we started Sefer Shemot. All of the children
know about Baby Moshe and can even sing you the special
song. We learned about Moshe's upbringing and how he
becomes destined to do great things. We are just as sure
that all of our yeladim will grow up to be tzadikim like
Moshe and will be destined for great things as well. Thank
you to all of the Morot who instill a love of Torah in each and every child.
Shabbat Shalom
Cyndy Goldberg
Early Childhood Director
Lower School Highlights
The Kindergarten students continued their Shabbat unit this week. They
discussed what is done on ‫ליל שבת‬, and created beautiful candlesticks and a
Kiddush cup. They learned that the candles represent our commitment to the
"‫שמור‬," keeping the laws of Shabbat, and the"‫ "רוכז‬remembering
that Shabbat is a sign between
'‫ה‬and the Jewish nation. Students were
interested in knowing that there are different customs people have when washing
hands for Hamotzei. We are proud of our Kindergarten children who are
connecting to Shabbat in so many beautiful ways.
In support of our "All About Writing" in first grade, students
read a non-fiction book. As a group, they wrote down all the
new facts they learned. Then, students received a book and
took turns reading aloud to their friends at their designated
table. Each student had a chance to share with their friends
something they learned. In the coming weeks students will
have the opportunity to create books on a variety of topics
and will select one for publication as a nonfiction chapter
Third grade students are always doingchesed. However,
since they are learning about the kindness
that ‫רבקה‬bestowed
of ‫ אליעזר‬in Chumash, they
performing acts of kindness as never before. Talia
Muehlgay of class 3A explains that students are keeping
a diary of their ‫חסדים‬for one week. They even bring in
notes from family members to share with classmates. "Matanel helped bring
shopping bags into the house," "Jack played with his
brothers," and Rachel walked her babysitter to the
door," were some examples of kind acts children
displayed proudly. There was even a note from a Zaidy
that read, "Abbey helped her Bubby clean up after
dinner. She put away the silverware into the drawer."
Keep up the good work.
This past week, the international correspondents of
Class 3-4E experienced an "out of this world" special activity. They had the
opportunity to Skype with some very special friends in Israel. Since last spring,
the students in 3-4E have corresponded with pen pals who attend
the Shalhevet school in Nof Ayalon, Israel. The correspondence was initiated by
Mrs. Bonnie Wienberg, a teacher in Shalhevet Banot who designed this creative
project to encourage her students to improve their English writing skills while
having fun. It has been amazing to see how much the girls have in common with
their pen-pals. The girls have made friends from abroad, while improving their
writing. Class 3-4E recently mailed out their latest batch of letters and can't
wait to hear from their pen-pals in return!
It was wonderful meeting our parents at this week's
Parent/Teacher Conferences. Ongoing communication between
home and school is a most positive week to facilitate successful
growth and achievement for our students. The Student
Council's "HAFTR Gram" fundraiser was a huge success.
Parents wrote letters to their children attached to a "goodie
bag" and left it for their children. Students were pleasantly
surprised to receive a "HAFTR gram" from their parents the
very next morning when arriving in their classrooms. The Student Council will be
selling their HAFTR Grams for $1.00 on Monday evening when additional
conferences will take place.
HAFTR students truly love to engage in reading
independently, in partnerships or with a small group of
friends. As teachers encourage students to think more
deeply about a text, they facilitate conversations which
nurture students' higher level skills. This week, Ms.
Hammer's first grade book club discussed the
book, Horrible Harry and the Purple People. Students learned that the narrator
in the story is Harry's best friend, Doug. This lead to a discussion about point of
view. Ms. Hammer admits this is one of her favorite
times of the day and is excited to begin a kindergarten
book club next week.
At HAFTR, we enjoy every Friday because of our favorite
M.I. Time session, Science! We conduct all kids of
experiments. We learn a lot from this M.I. Time, and have lots of fun. Some of
our experiments included: Ooblek, Glow in the dark silly putty, Colorful bubbles,
Snow globes, Crystals, Instant snow and more. Thank you Morah Jen Stein! We
recommend this M.I. Time to anyone in the future.
-Grade 5 M.I. Time Scientists
Mentsch in the Moment...
As in many sports games, there is usually one team playing against the other. At
the end of the game, there is a winning team and then there is the team that
comes in last. Gavi Elkin, a K2 student, was on the winning team in a gym class this
week. Gavi wanted to make his classmates on the other team feel good. Without
any prodding from Mr. W., his gym coach, he gave each of them a "high five" as if
to say, "You did a great job!" Kol HaKavod to Gavi for terrific sportsmanship.
Congratulations to Ava Windholz on trading in her HAFTR Miles to call classes to
the busses at dismissal time.
Shabbat Shalom!
Mon., 12/23-Parent/Teacher Conferences
Wed., 12/25-No Transportation
Thurs., 12/26-5A, 5B Trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Motzei Shabbat, 12/28-5th Grade Girls Melave Malkah
Middle School Highlights
Mock Bar Mitzvah
Our number one goal in educating our students, in
addition to book knowledge and skills, is for the boys and
girls to behave like proper young men and women. As
such we walk the students through a "bar mitzvah"
celebration - pointing out to them how to enter a social
situation, how to politely listen to speeches, how to
behave in a Beit Knesset, how to do simcha dancing, how
to sit at a table. Through a fun-filled experience the boys were taken through the
paces as Shai Laniado, president of the GO, acted out the role of Bar Mitzvah boy,
complete with speech and being hoisted up in a chair. Rabbi Kupchik was the "Abba"
and Dr. Brand the "Ima". A really inspiring speech was offered by Rabbi Siff. Mock
Brothers, Ben Austin and Joseph Stern, made the appropriately humorous sibling
speeches. Thank you to Rabbi Klapper for organizing the logistics of the program and
to Einat, our bat ami, for putting together an adorable montage of our boys growing
Yediat Ha'aretz
In Mrs. Rabinovich's sixth grade Ivrit class the students are doing
research into different places in Israel. The students are creating
poster board displays with the history and highlights of the various
towns and cities.
We feel the earth move under our feet:
Mrs. Shteingart's sixth grade science classes learned about the movement of the
earth's mantle and built models of tectonic plates as they studied all about
Earthquakes. In class the students built simulated seismographs from shoe boxes,
markers and paper cups and a great deal of imagination. Students were able to
'measure" the movement of the earth as it quaked around them.
And the Genie is out of the Bottle...
Playing the role of Aladdin will be Drew Korn, Jasmine is Lea Karasanti, Jafar- Itzik
Rauchwerger and the Genie is Arieh Chaikin. Our actors are supported by a full array
of dancers, townspeople, skeltons and acrobats. Thank you to Ms. Jen Winkler for
including all of the students who tried out ...we look forward to seeing the incredible
production presented by The HAFTR Jr. Players. Additional roles are the Sultan
(Elijah Gurvitch), Iago (Rachaeli Gottesman), the Lamp Salesman (Mikayla Schein),
The Belly Dancer (Suzanne Horowitz), the Juggler (Gabriel Gononsky) The Magic
Carpet (Emily Zrihen), The Head Guard (Kenny Rosenfeld, Tiger God (Jonathan
Boxer), Guard I (Tamar Vandervelde and Guard II (Zachary Kaufman). The
performance is scheduled for May.
Torah Bowl: The Boys teams and the Girls Teams both won one of their meets
at HANCon Thursday. Kol Hakavod, keep the Momentum going.
Mazal Tov to:
Elliot Ottensosser on his Bar Mitzvah
Ben Waxman on his becoming a Bar Mitzvah.
Rebecca Wenger celebrating her becoming a Bat Mitzvah.
Mark Your Calendars
December 25th - No Transportation - Dismissal for MS is at 4:00 pm
January 1st - No Sessions
January 8th - 7 pm - Science Fair - projects presented by the sixth and seventh grade
January 15th - Last day of Fall semester!
High School Highlights
Being David Senesh: Hannah Senesh's Nephew Reflects his Aunt's
by Sara Scheidlinger
"It's not a simple story, there are many ways to look at it,"
began Dr. David Senesh, as he addressed the girls' senior
Zionism class of HAFTR High School this week at the offices of
the Jewish Agency for Israel in Manhattan. Dr. Senesh is the
nephew of inspirational Zionist role model and hero Hannah
Senesh z"l. He is a world-renowned clinical psychologist, based
in Israel, specializing in trauma therapy.
For those who are not familiar with his aunt, Hannah
Senesh, here is a little background. She was born into a
Hungarian-Jewish family in 1921 in Budapest. Surrounded
by anti-Semitism, Hannah discovered a fervor for Zionism.
She was adamant in her beliefs, and she ultimately decided
to leave her family to help cultivate a land in Palestine to
continue the Jewish legacy. After living on a kibbutz where
she epitomized the typical Israeli "Sabra," Hannah realized she wanted to be
of greater assistance to the Jewish People left behind in Europe. She accepted
an invitation to join an elite unit to parachute into Europe, her essential goal to
rescue her family and others. Her courage continued when she parachuted into
Yugoslavia, but she was eventually stopped by Hungarian authorities who
incarcerated her. As a true hero, she never faltered. She was tried for treason
and unfortunately executed.
It was fascinating to hear raw personal anecdotes from inside this famous family.
On the subject of his famous aunt, he questioned what qualities made her so
inspirational. "Her diaries weren't meant to be published," observed Dr. Senesh,
"but were a way for Hannah to let her passions and desires come to life through
poetry and prose." Thankfully they were published and widely taught and
circulated, so we, as the next generation, can get a feel for what she was going
through before and during the Holocaust. "Hannah was a gift after the
Holocaust," he asserted. Her spiritual and stirring poetry has been translated into
over twenty different languages, even Japanese!
"One is thrown into situations one cannot predict," Dr. Senesh declared, as he
described the mental, physical and emotional roller coaster that he and Hannah
shared. He too joined the army, where, during the Yom Kippur War he was
captured as a prisoner of war and spent forty days incarcerated in Cairo. No one
in his family was informed about his whereabouts. He kept himself sane by
thinking about his family, specifically the courage and fortitude of his aunt, and
thinking about what the future would hold.
Movingly, Dr. Senesh talked about what psychologists refer to as the
"complicated bereavement" of both his father and grandmother. He mentioned
that the tragedy for his grandmother Catherine was that, not only did she have to
undergo the trauma of a "reverse-order death," but she lived to a ripe old age in
the shadow and light of her daughter. She was never able to overcome the
tragedy and focus on the world around her. Dr. Senesh's father, Giora, also lived
to be a nonogenarian and was deeply affected by the early death of his beloved
sister. He spent the rest of his life lecturing about her in the many languages in
which he was conversant, and building an archive to preserve her legacy. When
David was captured during the Yom Kippur War and his whereabouts were
unknown, his father was deeply distressed. Giora remarked that he had already
lost his sister to the Zionist dream and now his son was MIA. He asked how
much one family could bear.
Hannah Senesh was a "person of many colors," stated Dr. Senesh, and will surely
be remembered as one of the most faithful and daring advocates of Zionism for
many years to come. We thank Dr. David Senesh for dedicating his time to come
speak to us, as well as Mr. Tuvia Book, our Zionism teacher, for organizing and
coordinating this event for us.
Mrs. Parmet Attends Advisory Meeting at Hofstra University
Mrs. Joan Parmet, Director of College Guidance, recently
attended the School Counselor Advisory Committee meeting at
Hofstra University. Hofstra has many new programs, internships
and career opportunities available for students, including a medical school as well
as business and engineering programs. An interesting fact is that 95% of
graduates have secured jobs and the connections students make at Hofstra have
enabled them to find employment in their respective fields. The university will
also be helping to develop a new college town with stores as well as housing
above those establishments. Finally, there was considerable discussion about the
Honors College as well as signature events to take place in the near future.
Technology Take-Over
by Dena Gershkovich
Let's face it - technology has become a crucial part of our lives. I'm not just
talking about the typical, "Hi, how are you?" texts you send to your mother on a
daily basis, or the continuous Facebook chat you have going with your camp
friend from California. Making its way from Smartboards to online newspapers,
technology has quickly invaded HAFTR High School.
After a typical day, I come home to multiple HAFTR emails; some are about
reminders for upcoming events, such as coat drives, school games, or volunteer
work, and others are about summaries of lessons or due dates for assignments.
Even report cards were recently moved to online-only files! Most textbooks come
with online video tutorial codes, and everyone is expected to be registered with
either Edline.net or Edmodo.com, websites that quiz students regularly on
vocabulary, provide personalized testing calendars, and list contact information
for teachers.
Technology is an integral part of the school day for both
students and teachers. My Biblical Literature class is based
on videos narrated by Rabbi David Fohrman. After
completing the block of videos on the Garden of Eden, my
teacher, Mrs. Sori Teitelbaum, invited Rabbi Fohrman to
come last Thursday, to answer any lingering questions. As
a class, we were intrigued by Rabbi Fohrman's superior
wisdom and accuracy, as well as his lengthy answers to
our questions. Rabbi Fohrman encouraged us to analyze the text in a new way
and question everything, including the obvious.
The videos are designed to be entertaining, filled with graphics and real life
analogies to hold the attention of students. "It was great to hear Rabbi
Fohrman's ideas even though he wasn't there physically," said Aliza Lifshitz. "It's
much easier to learn when it's interactive."
Mrs. Teitelbaum also enjoys teaching the videos. "I truly enjoy teaching Rabbi
Fohrman's program and it is definitely a different experience using the video
technology. It took some adjustment and flexibility on my part, but it was well
worth it!" said Mrs. Teitelbaum.
Rabbi Fohrman's videos encouraged our class to be technologically creative as
well. A few weeks ago, Mrs. Teitelbaum assigned groups of three girls to work on
Glogs (online interactive posters) highlighting key concepts from the videos. "It
was fun to see each group present their Glog. Each one was creative and
original," said Renee Frenkel.
After interviewing several students, I am confident in saying that new technology
has been an overall boon to HAFTR High School. Although school can be stressful,
the easy accessibility of assignments and test dates through online programs
such as Edline.net help students organize themselves by getting ahead of their
schedules. Students are fascinated by the attention-grasping Smartboards, and
many have better focus in class as a result. Yonina Keschner, junior, along with
several other students, believes technology is great as an in-class tool, however it
should only be used at home as a supplement to the information taught in class.
"I do not believe that Edline alone is a good way of informing students of
upcoming events or information. Teachers should not fully rely on students
remembering to check the website all the time to see the new updates," said
Keschner. "However, in situations where students are initially informed of the
information, and then it is posted online, it can be a good system."
Despite the few doubts about technology, almost everyone can find something
positive to say, students and teachers alike. I hope that as technology expands, it
will continue to enhance the lives of HAFTR students.
College Acceptances
Congratulations to the following students on their
recent college acceptances:
Barnard College: Samantha Lish
Columbia University: Yael Waxman
Harvard College: Isaak Garber
Hofstra University: Jacob Brickman (Scholarship),
David Hirsch (Scholarship), Jake Levine
(scholarship), and Olivia Rudensky (Scholarship)
New York University: Justin Levy, Riva Neumann,
Jason Sulzberger, and Matthew Sulzberger
Parsons School of Design: Alexandra Feder
Rutgers University: Haim Assaraf
University of Massachusetts-Amherst: Joanna Greenberg (Scholarship), Max
Grossman (Scholarship), Kevin Kramer (Scholarship), and David Stein
University of Vermont: Joanna Greenberg
Yeshiva University: Lauren Pianko
Shabbat Shalom!
Visit the HAFTR Tattler Online at
The new HAFTR Kippah's are here!
See Sharon Fried in the business office to purchase one today.
Don't miss out on the Early Bird Special
now through December 1st.
Click here for the application.
Please call Sharon Fried 516-569-3370 xt. 101 with any questions.
Lower School Sponsorship Opportunities: