|A Message from Mrs. Spirn
The last two weeks have been busy and exciting!
We've been preparing for Rosh Hashana with chesed
programs, mishmar evenings, Tzemach, trips and our
yearly T'shuvathon, while
getting into more of a routine of learning, Tefila and
Tryouts have been taking place for our
Volleyball, Softball and Tennis teams, and for Debate,
Math Team, Mock Trial and Torah Bowl. Production
tryouts for choir, dance and drama have been filling
up our evenings too!
Tov to our forty one students who were inducted
week into our Re'ut Chapter of the National Honor
Society! Mazal Tov to our students who
were selected for our various Sports Teams! Mazal
Tov to our three National Merit
Commendees and two Semi-Finalists! Mazal Tov to
our many AP Scholars! We are proud of all of your
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all
members of our SKA family a Ketiva V'chatima Tova
happy and healthy New Year. May Hashem hear our
this Rosh Hashana as we strive for kavana and
the sound of the shofar spur us all to reach our
spiritual potential as we develop closer relationships
with our families and each other.
Shana Tova U'metuka!
|11th Grade Cemetery Trip
On Thursday, September 22nd, in
preparation for the
Yomim Noraim, the eleventh graders went on their
annual trip to
help the Hebrew Free Burial Association clean up its
cemetery and perform their chesed shel emet. Rabbi
Dovid Weinberger, SKA Faculty member and Rav of
Congregation Shaaray Tefila, delivered an inspiring
shiur to the eleventh graders before their departure,
emphasizing the importance of kavod hamet and the
appropriate kedusha at a cemetery.
The juniors did various jobs to help
honor the deceased, including pruning, raking,
weeding and cleaning garbage or graffiti from the
graves. SKA is proud that as a
result of its support for the Hebrew Free Burial
Association, so many other schools have volunteered
their time on behalf of this worthy cause.
The Hebrew Free Burial Association is an
organization that was founded in 1888 that has
facilitated the burial of more than 50,000 people.
They raise money and care for Jewish people who
cannot afford the expenses of a proper Jewish burial,
as well as people who don’t have relatives or friends
to handle their affairs when they pass away. The
Hebrew Free Burial Association is a nonprofit
organization run by donations. As a result, they rely
on volunteers to help with the upkeep of their
The girls hope that they can go back themselves,
and also encourage others
to fulfill this true act of kindness.
Hakarat Hatov to grade advisors Miss. Blisko and
|12th Grade Gymnasia Experience
Each year, our 12th graders have several
opportunities to visit a school in Queens populated
primarily by Russian children with limited Judaic
knowledge. Last week, this year’s Seniors made their
first trip to Gymnasia. It was inspiring before the
Yomim Noraim to be able to share a sense of the
Chagim with the children. Through the projects that
they made, Shana Tova cards and mobiles for
Sukkot, the SKA girls taught the Gymnasia students
about each of the Yomim Tovim. In addition, many of
the Seniors filled the atmosphere with ruach by
handing out “shtick” and dancing with the older
students. It was an amazing experience – not only
for the Gymnasia students, but for the SKA girls as
|National Honor Society Inductions
On Monday evening, September 26th, seven Seniors
and thirty–four Juniors were inducted into Re'ut, the
SKA chapter of the National Honor Society. Re’ut
recognizes those students who have demonstrated
excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership,
service and character.
The theme of the evening, chosen by the student
inductees, was “Reflections on Jewish Women.” Using
PowerPoint and oral presentations, the students paid
tribute to seven women in Jewish History who they
selected as role models and sources of inspiration.
included women from Tanach, Mishnah and
The audience, which included family and friends of
the students, was privileged to be addressed by Mrs.
Marjorie Kellner, Principal of Harvest Management, a
hedge fund. Mrs. Kellner, a HALB parent, spoke about
the challenges faced by frum women today as they
strive to juggle responsibilities as mothers, wives and
Special thanks to Mrs. Lavner, Honor Society
and to Dr. Meier, for all of their help in planning the
special evening! We wish our 41 inductees much
hatzlacha now, as they pursue their studies here at
SKA, and in the future as mothers, wives
On Thursday, we experienced the first installment of
T'shuvathon. We were privileged to hear an
inspirational speaker, Rabbi Jonathon
Feldman is a baal teshuva, who is very involved
kiruv and is the Assistant Director of the Manhattan
Experience. He shared his personal story in his
presentation, "From Khartoum to
Jerusalem- Confessions of an Ivy League Dropout."
Starting off as an extremely secular Jew, Rabbi
"almost everywhere" and seen "almost everything,
before he found his way back to Judaism. His
and moving to us all.
After Rabbi Feldman's speech, we then moved on
to our grade workshops. We were broken up
discuss the topics of being dan l'kaf zechut,
hatov and personal teshuva. The workshops
were conducted by our teachers, and we really got
elaborate on the various topics and hear from each
other. As always,
the T'shuvathon was really meaningful and helped
us into the appropriate pre-Rosh Hashana mode.
|National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists and Commendees
SKA is pleased to present our two National Merit
Scholarship Competition Semi-Finalists,
Batya Herzberg and Aviva Schiffmiller,
and our three Commendees,
Michal Jager, Gittel Klein and Elkie Spitzer.
Of the over one million students who take the SATs,
only 16,000 are designated as Semi Finalists and
34,000 are designated as Commendees. We wish
all five awardees mazal tov for this recognition which
their academic success.
But we are also impressed with the involvement that
the girls have shown, often as leaders, in SKA
activities: from the Senior Yearbook, to Torah Bowl ,
from Parasha Press to the Matrix, from the SKA
Production to the Science Olympiad and Science
Research, from the Chidon Tanach to Mock Trial.
And all have all been involved in so many beautiful
and meaningful chesed opportunities.
We are so proud of the young women that they have
become!! Once again, mazal tov to them and to their
|Chesed Update: Soup Kitchen, Nursing Home, Gush Katif
As part of our ongoing effort to help the families that
were displaced from Gush Katif, the 10th and 11th
grades have successfully completed their projects –
and what a good feeling it is to know that we’ve
helped in our own little way.
Mrs. Kaspi, one of the Shaalvim representatives who
spoke to us last week, suggested that since high
school aged girls in Israel always appreciate American
sweatshirts, it would certainly cheer them up to
receive such a package from SKA. “Say no more,”
was our reply and within days the 11th graders had
each brought in a sweatshirt to donate. We spent a
period writing personal notes to our Israeli
counterparts, hoping to convey our empathy for their
plight. We attached our notes to the sweatshirts,
tied them up with a ribbon and are eagerly awaiting
their arrival in Israel (many have already been flown
The 10th grade chose to show their solidarity and
give strength to the people of Atzmona by creating
something that would show them how much we truly
care for them. To that end, they put together a
magnificent “Chizuk Quilt.” Each girl spent time filling
her individual square with words and drawings that
expressed her feelings to the people of Atzmona. The
individual sentiments were mounted on nice paper
and then sewn together with ribbons, resulting in a
very special present that so obviously comes straight
from the hearts of our 10th graders.
Our weekly lunches at the Woodmere Rehabilitation
Center have begun and the first week was a huge
success. More than 20 girls availed themselves of the
opportunity to visit with senior citizens during their
Wednesday lunch period. These visits really make a
difference in the lives of the nursing home residents,
many of whom don’t get any other visitors, and the
relationships that can be built – just by going for a
short visit on a weekly basis – are remarkable. We
hope that everyone with 6th period lunch will take
advantage of this amazing opportunity!
The first Soup Kitchen trip of the year was
memorable not only for the fun that we had, but also
for the tremendous act of chesed we performed. On
Tuesday, twenty-five Freshmen and Seniors traveled
to Manhattan to serve a hot lunch and to provide a
warm smile and some friendly conversation to Jewish
homeless men and women. Thank you to Deena Klein,
Frayde Leifer, Mindy Koren and Rebecca Mendlowitz
who spent much time organizing the trip.
A special yasher koach to Chesed Coordinator, Mrs.
Yafa Storch, who did an amazing job managing all of
the special efforts this month. SKA couldn’t be
|The Freshmen Go Apple Picking
On a beautiful day in the early fall, our eighty four
hopped onto the bus and travelled to Wickham Farms
experience apple picking, hay rides and good old
This program allowed our freshmen to bond and start
forming friendships that will last a lifetime. Special
thanks to Grade Level Advisors, Mrs. Sheila Leibtag
and Mrs. Rivka Gross, for all their hard work.
|Colleges Visit SKA
Over the past few weeks, juniors and seniors
met with college representatives in order to find out
what is happening on the "college
The deans or representatives of Barnard College,
Columbia Unviersity, Cooper Union, New York
University, Stern College and Touro College
SKA to meet with our students. Special thanks to
Mrs. Elsant for coordinating all of these visits.
Before you know it, the Israel schools will be arriving
too! Look for the schedule of Israeli school visits
the next SKAppenings.
|TZEMACH I: 9th and 10th Graders Learn About Responsibility
Tzemach, as always, is a great opportunity for SKA
students to explore a topic not covered in our day-
to-day curriculum. Under the leadership of Mrs. Sara
Leah Haber, the topic of "achrayut" was presented to
the Freshmen and Sophomores through a variety of
media – workshops, student skits, sourcebooks and
students learned that "responsibility" has different
connotations: responsibility towards oneself, towards
one's family, towards friends, and towards G-d.
The opening Tzemach program was a winner and
helped everyone be more thoughtful about the Yomim
Noraim. Our 9th and 10th graders anxiously look
forward to Tzemach II! Thanks, Mrs. Haber!
On Thursday night, the Senior grade was
Carrie Rabinowitz for their first Mishmar
an inspiring pre-Rosh Hashana
Shiur. Rabbi Aryeh Yudin, the guest
speaker, told us
the miraculous story of the survival of his
grandparents through the Holocaust and the
Hashgacha Pratis of how they met. He shared the
terrible things that happened to them which they did
understand at the time, but as time went on they
understood. Hashem has a plan for everything; if it
weren’t for the horrible things that happened to them
during the Holocaust, they would not have met each
other. Sometimes we see the reasons and sometimes
we don’t! There are many tragic things that are
happening now for reasons we don’t understand and
therefore we must do Teshuva in order that we see
the Geula B’Mhera B’Yamenu.
Special thanks to the Rabinowitz family for their
hachnasat orchim and to Grade Level Advisors Mrs.
Kraft and Mrs. Yudin for all of their efforts.
Tryouts, tryouts everywhere! Sports, academic
Production – our girls have been filling their free
periods, club periods and even evenings with tryouts
for the myriad of co-curricular activities offered at
SKA. The teams for Basketball, Volleyball, Softball
and Tennis have already been selected. Debate,
Math Team, Mock Trial and Torah Bowl members will
be posted after Yom Tov, and Production tryouts for
choir, dance and drama have yet to be completed!
Mazal Tov to all who will be participating in SKA
Sports this year. To see the practice schedule for
your team, click the link below. You can click the
SKAppenings "Quick Links" to view the rosters of all
the 2005-2006 Sports Teams.
"Let's Go, Mrs. Leibtag!"
“She’s the sweetest person ever!”
With her boundless energy and sparkling enthusiasm
(she’s been with SKA since its first year!), Mrs.
Sheila Leibtag is an inspiration to both her fellow
teachers and her students. Could all that
exercise be that beneficial? It must be one of the
contributing factors to Mrs. Leibtag’s calm and
soothing manner. As SKA’s 9th and 10th grade
Global Studies teacher and one of our two Freshman
Grade Level Advisors, Mrs. Leibtag’s warmth and
wisdom is certainly appreciated by her students (and
novice and seasoned faculty members alike). All
observe “She made my transition here so much
Her “can do” attitude makes Mrs. Leibtag a
sounding board for many of the new ideas and
projects that SKA’s administration would like to
implement. In addition to her responsibility as our
Debate Coach (“I am awed by the intellect
dedication of the girls on my team!”), Mrs. Leibtag
also helps her 9th graders produce SKA’s
annual Holocaust Journal – her students note
that “she is devoted to helping each girl reach
“Ok, ladies, TGIF,” Mrs. Leibtag is known to
her involvement with SKA doesn’t end on Fridays.
home is always open – hachnosot orchim is very
important in the Leibtag household – and her
students know there is “always room for one more.”
With two SKA alumnae and a Senior at DRS, Mrs.
Leibtag’s family shares her satisfaction with HALB’s
philosophy. “Twelve years ago, when I first
teaching in SKA, I felt I found my niche. This
institution is committed to the ‘whole’ student; I
myself feel that I’ve grown in so many directions just
from working here. I look forward to coming in every
SKA salutes Mrs. Sheila Leibtag, a teacher who is
only cherished by her fellow faculty members, but by
her students as well!
Our heartfelt condolences to Chedva (Herskovics)
Auman '01 on the tragic loss of her husband Shmuel,
Lilmod Ule'lamed for Mothers:
The next shiur will take place on Tuesday, October
11th at 12:15, Room 110, and will be taught by Mrs.
Kaminetsky. The shiur is being sponsored by Lynn
and Joel Mael.
Mazel Tov to Executive Director Richie Hagler and
his wife Sheri on the engagement of their son Tzvi
to Lauren Kirshenbaum. Mazel Tov to 11th grade
Mazel Tov to 9th grader Melissa Kirschner and
family on the
birth of a baby brother
Mazel Tov to Mrs. Atara Segal and husband Ari
on the birth of a baby girl