SKAppenings Parshat Acharei-Kedoshim
10 Iyar 5767
April 27, 2007

A Message from Mrs. Spirn

I am thrilled to be back at SKA with my "second family," working with my students and faculty and feeling stronger each and every day. I want to thank all of you for your tefilot, emails, cards, calls, visits and food which provided chizuk and sustenance for me and my family during a challenging time. I am grateful to Hashem that I am back in school and daven that my difficulties are behind me. Your chesed and concern have inspired me to a higher level of sensitivity when dealing with illness. May we always be there for each other!

There's so much to do, accomplish and experience. We had an inspiring program on Yom Hashoah which made us all reflect deeply and grieve for what we have lost as a people. On Yom Haatzmaut, we recited Hallel, paid tribute to our soldiers, past and present, and heard from our graduates who have chosen to live in Israel. And we danced, and danced and danced at our Chagiga, with the Israeli flag symbolizing Medinat Yisrael, while expressing our appreciation to Hashem for the miracles of its establishment and continuing existence. The joy, pride and achdut we felt were exhilirating!

It's hard to believe that our Seniors have only one week of classes remaining before they begin their Work Study internships in various workplaces. A group of students have decided to stay at SKA and participate in our Beit Midrash program where they will study b'chavruta and learn with our senior faculty. Before you know it, Senior Night, Senior Trip, and even Senior Graduation will be upon us. How we will miss the Class of 2007!

This Sunday we will welcome the incoming Class of 2011 at our annual Yom Chaverut program. We know the 8th grade girls enjoy the opportunity to meet one another and to get more acquainted with the SKA staff and facility.

Next week, we will all be preparing for the Salute to Israel Parade next Sunday. We look forward to seeing our parents along Fifth Avenue, cheering us on!

I wish everyone a Shabbat Shalom and a restful weekend!

In this issue
  • Rebbetzin Chani Juravel Delivers Community Lecture For Women
  • Commemorating Yom Hazikaron;
    Celebrating Yom Haatzmaut
  • Yom Hashoah at SKA
  • College Night at SKA
  • Senior Programs
  • Refuah Shelaimah Learning Program
  • SHAC Conference
  • Debate Team Wins Second Place Best School
  • Moreshet Aviva Melave Malka
  • Juniors Visit New Orleans
  • National Merit Scholarship Program
  • Student Awards
  • Sophomores Visit the Museum of Jewish Heritage
  • SKA Publications
  • Rebbetzin Tzipora Heller Speaks at SKA

  • Commemorating Yom Hazikaron;
    Celebrating Yom Haatzmaut

    Rabbi Brander started off the Yom Haazmaut preparations with a powerful speech about "Reishit Tzmichat Geulatenu" being personified through the State of Israel. Encouragement for the celebration of this special day was drawn from the many sources he brought down, which showed how the Geulah is meant to come "bit by bit," our State of Israel being a part of the process. Hallways decorated, and girls dressed from head to toe, our school proudly celebrated Yom Haatzmaut, in addition to Yom Hazikaron, this past Monday. The program began with a beautiful video on soldiers, leading into a presentation by two juniors of a letter, written by a soldier who had been killed in war, to his girlfriend. As they read, we all felt the emotion of his words and the strength of his conviction in them. Then SKA showed a video, made by Michal Zlotnick and Atara Feinberg ('06), featuring SKA graduates and teachers who have made aliyah. In this video, the young women explained the importance of Eretz Yisrael to them and what made them move there; it was beautiful. After all the moving presentations, the girls expressed their love for Israel in their celebration of the State with a chagiga with music by Chaim Dovid. All the way from the Holy Land himself, the musician who lives in the Old City brought the spirit of the homeland to SKA as the girls danced b'simcha. The blue and white cookies served as the "cherry on the pie" and titled the program a hit.

    Yom Hashoah at SKA

    The girls were inspired recently by our moving Yom Hashoah program. As a slide show presentation was running, the choir beautifully sang songs that moved everyone to tears. Holocaust survivors were invited to light memorial candles for those that perished and for those who were able to survive and continue the Jewish nation. Then each grade split up to hear the first-hand accounts of survivors. Each of the speakers' moving stories illustrated the horrific tortures they faced by the hands of the Nazis and at the same time gave chizuk to everyone in the sense that their stories being retold were a clear indication that the Germans did not prevail in their mission to completely eradicate the Jewish nation. The program concluded with a source booklet of different halachic questions posed to Rav Ephraim Oshry by people in the concentration camps, and the rulings he gave them, which demonstrated the unfaltering emunah the Jewish people faced even while they were struggling to survive.

    College Night at SKA

    Students from the tenth and eleventh grades and their parents attended the SKA College Night. Representatives from six local colleges spoke to an audience of over 100 people about the "ins" and" outs" of college applications. Included in the panel were admissions officers from Barnard, Columbia, Cooper Union, Queens College, Stern College and Touro. Eleventh graders are just starting their college application experience and tenth graders received a preview of things to come. Many thanks to Michael Fiedler and Susan Sachs for this wonderfully informative evening.

    Senior Programs

    The Twelfth Graders spent time with women from the Shalom Task Force who spoke about conflicts within marriage and the problem of spousal abuse. They also attended a lecture by Rav Mordechai Willig, Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University, on prenuptial agreements. These two programs have become annual events at SKA in our attempt to present our students with a broad, "real life" education.

    We cannot believe that next week is the last full week of school for the Seniors! They will then be off to take AP exams and to participate in Work Study internships. We will miss you, Seniors, in the halls of SKA!!

    Refuah Shelaimah Learning Program

    This past Thursday, Rosh Chodesh Iyar, SKA participated in an inter-school learning program. The learning went on in schools throughout the Metropolitan area for a refuah sheleima for the cholim in our communties, particularly for the sick children and teenagers. The program was organized through the Board of Jewish Education, and was a huge success. The grades split up into different rooms where there were sourcebooks prepared for twenty minutes of intense learning. We hope that the learning that was done in such a united fashion, by so many schools at the same time, reached Shamayim and will help the cholim in our communities, and all over.

    SHAC Conference

    Haven't heard of SHAC yet? Well, you haven't visited SKA lately! On Wednesday, April 18th, 24 SKA girls piled on to a bus heading to a SHAC Yom Iyun. SHAC, a new program started this year, stands for Shmirat Halashon Action Committee. Its aim is to keep our lips sweet and lashon hara free. Last week, girls involved in SHAC traveled to Brooklyn, meeting other students from schools all over the the Tri-State area (and other states throughout the US via live- hookup) who are involved in SHAC as well. At the Yom Iyun, we heard from the founder, Ilana Jacobson, who provided us with insights. We got a special treat in hearing from our very own senior, Aliza Zombek, who spoke to the group on recognizing our tremendous gift of koach hadibur. Following that was an inspiring talk given by Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein on the essence of shtika and the tremendous power it holds. To wrap it up, we enjoyed a thought-provoking workshop about gossip, led by Mr. Rothchild, the creator of the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation. Finally, school heads recieved rewards; kudos to seniors Chanita Engelberg, Simone Nussbaum, Tzippy Wiesenfeld, and Aliza Zombek, and all grade SHAC heads, for bringing SHAC to SKA and helping to make it a success! Special thanks to Mrs. Segal for helping SKA be part of the incredible Yom Iyun.

    Debate Team Wins Second Place Best School

    The final debate of the year for the SKA debate team was yet another success! This time, the girls researched the topic of the Kyoto Protocol (a United Nations agreement on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions, which the US is now being asked to ratify.) The girls came to the debate at DRS well prepared, and they took home the trophy for second place best school. Congratulations to Hadas Fried, Becca Glikman, Julia Levine, and Samantha Selesny who did an excellent job and made us proud.

    Moreshet Aviva Melave Malka

    This past Motzei Shabbos, many of our Seniors joined people all over the world for Moreshet Aviva, a learning program in memory of Aviva Aryeh, a"h. Graciously hosted this month by Dina Friedman's family, the girls were enlightened by Mrs. Yudin's explanation of the middah of the month, vatranut - giving in. The girls came out with a newfound understanding of the importance of vatranut, as well as practical applications to use throughout the course of this month. A melave malka of pizza and falafel topped off the night, as the girls were able to conclude the inspiring program doing a mitzvah they truly enjoyed.

    Juniors Visit New Orleans

    This week, 15 juniors visited New Orleans. They planned Yom Haatzmaut programs for the children in both the Torah Academy and the JCC. These schools lost many students after the hurricane and were very excited to have Jewish guests come and visit. The girls got a chance to interact with the children and explain to them the importance of Israel. The kids enjoyed themselves immensely and really gained an appreciation for their Jewish identities.

    In addition to visiting the schools, the girls volunteered at Common Ground, an organization that helps rebuild the communities that were destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. They were surprised to see how, even after two years, the houses were still completely destroyed and full of debris. They removed furniture, took nails out of ceilings, swept floors, and cleaned out the houses until the floors were visible. In one of the homes, the resident, who was living outside in her trailer, watched the girls clean out her house and continuously expressed her appreciation.

    The experience was truly rewarding and fulfilling and, although the victims think they were the lucky ones, the girls believe that, in fact, they were so lucky just to have been able to help. Special thanks to Mrs. Sheila Leibtag for chaperoning this most amazing trip.

    National Merit Scholarship Program

    Mazal Tov to Rebecca Krauss, Sarah Meira Rosenberg and Elisheva Zinberg for being invited to participate in the 2008 National Merit Scholarship Program's Reporting Service. They were among 50,000 students nationally whose scores on the PSAT Exam enabled them to enter this program. In the fall, 16,000 students will be named Semi-Finalists and will be able to compete for the Merit Scholarship.

    We wish our students and their families a Mazal Tov in achieving this prestigious milestone which reflects their academic success. May they have much hatzlacha in all their endeavors!

    Student Awards

    Mazal Tov to Leora Hefter for winning second place in the Good Deeds Award for Long Island Teenagers.

    Mazal Tov to Sheva Odzer who was awarded the Baco Boys Award for community service by the Five Towns Jewish Council.

    Mazal Tov to Mijal Bitton who was on the winning team in a recent New York City Jewish Scavenger Hunt sponsored by the Jewish National Fund. Members of the winning team won prizes of $500 towards a trip to Israel.

    Sophomores Visit the Museum of Jewish Heritage

    Throughout our lives, we have been told countless stories of the Holocaust and unbelievable legends of mesirat nefesh. However, we have not been fully informed of the astonishing attempts at resistance made by Jews during this time of persecution.

    This past Thursday, a group of Sophomores had a special opportunity to learn about a whole different aspect of the Holocaust - Jewish Resistance to the Nazis, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan. After receiving an exceptionally informative introduction, SKA Sophomores, as well as students from other yeshivas, had the opportunity to tour the museum's new exhibit, "Daring to Resist: Jewish Defiance in the Holocaust." The exhibit taught its viewers about the numerous desperate and courageous attempts of Jews against the Nazis. Films along the way provided personal accounts of survivors telling about intense action taken by Jews. In addition, students saw items such as a hand-crafted candelabra and tzitzit which alluded to inspirational stories of mesirat nefesh by their owners.

    One story that truly amazed the students was the story behind the tzitzit. When forced to give up his precious possessions, even his tzitzit, one admirable Jew risked his life to make and wear a belt designed to act as tzitzit, which included the fringes and helped him fulfill the mitzvah of wearing them. Although it was extremely dangerous to wear the tzitzit, he wore them so that he could preserve his yiddishkeit, despite the Nazis' brutal attempts to eradicate the Jewish race. An act such as this, although it may seem less courageous than fighting the Nazis face-on, demonstrates an act of defiance made by a Jew.

    When the tour concluded, the students were privileged to hear the personal story of Sonia Oshman, a partisan who resisted the Nazis and saved the precious lives of many others. She amazed her listeners with her story and everyone walked away with a valuable lesson; violence and fighting is not the solution for everything. People should be more caring towards each other and strive to maintain peace in the world. Sonia Oshman strongly emphasized the power of unity and the greatness of what can be accomplished when we, as Jews, stand united.

    SKA Publications

    The SKA students have been writing again and the resulting publications have been wonderful. A beautiful Haggadah was distributed before Pesach which the girls could then use at their sedarim. On Yom Hashoah, the students were presented with the annual Holocaust Journal which always touches the hearts and minds of the readers. Upcoming publications are the Jerusalem Journal for Yom Yerushalayim, our literary journal, Matrix and, of course, The Looking Glass, the SKA Newspaper.

    Many thanks to Rabbi Bini Maryles, Mrs. Sheila Leibtag, Mrs. Tzippy Antman, Mrs. Brenda Mirsky, Mrs. Shira Manne, Mrs. Estie Bryk, Mrs. Chana Spielman, and all the editors and writers for making this all happen.

    Rebbetzin Tzipora Heller Speaks at SKA

    The twelfth grade, SKA mothers and the SKA faculty were treated to a special Pre Shavuot lecture presented by noted author and beloved teacher Rebbetzin Tzipora Heller of Nevei Yerushalayim. Using poignant stories, classical commentaries and wonderful humor, Rebbetzin Heller spoke about Ruth: A Woman Who Defined Her Own Destiny. This was followed by a special " question and answer" session about Jewish education for SKA Limudei Kodesh faculty.

    SKA was honored that Rebbetzin Heller was able to visit the school and the extraordinary experience left everyone feeling the warmth and wisdom of this very special woman. We look forward to welcoming Rebbetzin Heller to SKA once again in the future.


    Rebbetzin Chani Juravel Delivers Community Lecture For Women

    This past Thursday, Rosh Chodesh Iyar, SKA participated in an inter-school learning program. The learning went on in schools throughout the Metropolitan area for a refuah sheleima for the cholim in our communties, particularly for the sick children and teenagers. The program was organized through the Board of Jewish Education, and was a huge success. The grades split up into different rooms where there were sourcebooks prepared for twenty minutes of intense learning. We hope that the learning that was done in such a united fashion, by so many schools at the same time, reached Shamayim and will help the cholim in our communities, and all over.

    Lilmod Ule'lamed

    Our Lilmod Ule'lamed Program for HALB mothers will continue next Tuesday, May 1st, at 12:00 PM, with a shiur taught by Mrs. Beaty Menchel, veteran SKA Tanach Teacher. Her three shiurim are focusing on "Meraglim: What Went Wrong?"

    This Tuesday's shiur is being sponsored by the Schiffmiller family in memory of Chanoch ben Baruch Yaakov, a"h.

    If you would like to sponsor this Lilmod Ule'lamed shiur, please feel free to contact Mrs. Spirn at hspirn@skahalb.org or at 374-7195, ext. 155.

    We look forward to welcoming many of you once again for Torah, inspiration, and coffee.

    Aliza Blumenthal Davis '99 on the birth of a baby boy and to aunt Atara in the 10th grade

    Orit Wadler '05 on her marriage to Yisrael Herzberg and to 11th graders Temima and Davina on their siblings' simcha

    Atara Greenwald '04 on her engagement to

    Elana Beck '02 on her engagement to Danny Stahler and to sister Malka of the 9th grade


    Mrs. Raizy Stein on the loss of her mother and to granddaughter Daniella of the 10th grade

    Dr. Jacob Warman on the loss of his mother and to granddaughter Henna. of the 11th grade

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