SKAppenings Parshat Netzavim
26 Elul 5765
September 30, 2005

in this issue
  • "Let's Go, Mrs. Leibtag!"
  • A Message from Mrs. Spirn
  • 11th Grade Cemetery Trip
  • 12th Grade Gymnasia Experience
  • National Honor Society Inductions
  • T'shuvathon
  • National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists and Commendees
  • Chesed Update: Soup Kitchen, Nursing Home, Gush Katif
  • The Freshmen Go Apple Picking
  • Colleges Visit SKA
  • TZEMACH I: 9th and 10th Graders Learn About Responsibility
  • Senior Mishmar
  • Tryout Fever
  • Coming Attractions

  • 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 classes.

    Tryouts have been taking place for our Basketball, 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!

    Mazal Tov to our forty one students who were inducted this 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 accomplishments.

    I would like to take this opportunity to wish all members of our SKA family a Ketiva V'chatima Tova and a happy and healthy New Year. May Hashem hear our Tefilot this Rosh Hashana as we strive for kavana and meaningful tefila. May 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 cemetery.

    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 Miss. Fragin.

    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 well!

    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. These included women from Tanach, Mishnah and contemporary times.
    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 professionals.

    Special thanks to Mrs. Lavner, Honor Society Advisor, and to Dr. Meier, for all of their help in planning the special evening! We wish our 41 inductees much bracha and hatzlacha now, as they pursue their studies here at SKA, and in the future as mothers, wives and professionals.


    On Thursday, we experienced the first installment of our T'shuvathon. We were privileged to hear an inspirational speaker, Rabbi Jonathon Feldman. Rabbi Feldman is a baal teshuva, who is very involved in kiruv and is the Assistant Director of the Manhattan Jewish 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 Feldman has been "almost everywhere" and seen "almost everything, before he found his way back to Judaism. His personal journey was inspiring and moving to us all. After Rabbi Feldman's speech, we then moved on to our grade workshops. We were broken up into groups to discuss the topics of being dan l'kaf zechut, hakarat hatov and personal teshuva. The workshops were conducted by our teachers, and we really got to elaborate on the various topics and hear from each other. As always, the T'shuvathon was really meaningful and helped get 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 reflects 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 families!

    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 over).

    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 prouder!

    The Freshmen Go Apple Picking

    On a beautiful day in the early fall, our eighty four 9th graders hopped onto the bus and travelled to Wickham Farms to experience apple picking, hay rides and good old classic fun. 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 have met with college representatives in order to find out what is happening on the "college scene."

    The deans or representatives of Barnard College, Columbia Unviersity, Cooper Union, New York University, Stern College and Touro College came to 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 in 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 video. Our 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!

    Senior Mishmar

    On Thursday night, the Senior grade was invited to the home of Carrie Rabinowitz for their first Mishmar program and 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 not understand at the time, but as time went on they better 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.

    Tryout Fever

    Tryouts, tryouts everywhere! Sports, academic teams, 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 running for 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 easier!”

    Her “can do” attitude makes Mrs. Leibtag a wonderful 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 and dedication of the girls on my team!”), Mrs. Leibtag also helps her 9th graders produce SKA’s acclaimed annual Holocaust Journal – her students note that “she is devoted to helping each girl reach her fullest potential.”

    Ok, ladies, TGIF,” Mrs. Leibtag is known to say, but her involvement with SKA doesn’t end on Fridays. Her 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 started 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 day!”

    SKA salutes Mrs. Sheila Leibtag, a teacher who is not 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, a"h.

    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 sister Devora!

    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

    Quick Links...

    Updated October Test Schedule

    Parasha Press

    Senior College Update #1

    Click here for 2005-2006 Sonics Basketball Team Roster

    Click here for 2005-2006 Tennis Team Roster

    Click here for 2005-2006 Softball Team Roster

    Click here for 2005-2006 Sonics Varsity Volleyball Team Roster

    Click here for 2005-2006 JV Volleyball Team Roster

    Israel Highway

    phone: 516-374-7195 x111