Parshat Vayeshev -  פרשת וישב
Candle Lighting: 4:09pm
Havdalah: 5:10pm

כ' כסלו תשע"ח
20 Kislev 5778

December 8, 2017
Issue 4


Dear Parents and Students,


After hundreds of hours and many long nights of hard work and preparation, it has finally arrived! The SAR Drama Society will have two performances of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown this Sunday at 4pm and Monday at 7pm. Please make every effort to attend and show support for the cast and crew. You will love the show! Thank you to Ms. Katzenellenbogen, Dr Reich and team for making it happen.


Please mark Motzaei Shabbat, January 13 on your calendars when we will be gathering at the high school for the annual SAR Scholarship Dinner. It is a wonderful evening celebrating this very special institution. I look forward to seeing you there.

Wishing everyone a joyous Chanukah together with family and friends.

Shabbat shalom,


Rabbi Tully Harcsztark

 Important Dates



December 10 - 11

"You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown"

Dec. 10 - 4:00pm & Dec. 11 - 7:00pm

Watch the trailer!


December 12
First Night of Chanukah

December 18
Rosh Chodesh Tevet

December 25

Winter Break - No Sessions

January 2 

Classes Resume


January 13

SAR Dinner
Journal Ad Deadline: Dec. 29, 2017


We hope you can join us to celebrate!
Support the SAR Dinner Campaign!



Senior Shabbaton!!!


This past Shabbat, Parshat Vayishlach, the class of 2018 came together for our final grade shabbaton of high school. We kicked off our weekend together by going out into the community to do acts of chesed – chatting with the elderly and playing with children - before coming back to our favorite shabbaton location: SAR High School. By 4:00 on Friday, the 3rd and 5th floors were filled with sleeping bags and air mattresses, deli roll and all kinds of snacks. Music played over the loudspeaker as we prepared to greet the Shabbat. Shabbat was enhanced with beautiful, energetic and inspirational tefillot, with dancing, divrei Torah, zemirot, Human Apples to Apples, sessions, delicious food and meaningful conversations...and of course a competitive and tasty chulent cook off! The theme of the shabbaton focused on "Reflecting Back and Looking Forward - what does it mean to be an SAR graduate?" We delved into thinking about SAR's values and mission, how we fit into the Modern Orthodox world, how we want contribute to the communities in which we will engage, and how we can grow as committed Jews. On Shabbat morning we heard personal and thought provoking ideas from a panel of teachers who pushed us to think about how we define success. After we sang Shabbat away we gathered on the grade floor for pizza, french fries, popcorn and Ocean's 11. In SAR style we walked away with some fun swag (yellow SAR socks) and got ready to start the week. From beginning to end, the weekend was truly a special one and the class of 2018 really made it so. We look forward to carrying the spirit and energy created over the shabbaton throughout the rest of the year. Go Seniors 2018!


Click here to see a video from Havdalah.  


Mishmar & Pre-Chanukah Kumzitz


The second year of SAR High School's monthly Mishmar Madness program has been a huge success. Over 200 students participate in the monthly Torah study program featuring faculty and fellows. This past month, close to 250 students participated in the third Mishmar of the year; a special program featuring an inspiring pre-Chanukah Kumzitz with Eitan Katz. During the Kumzitz, Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Weinberg addressed the challenges and opportunities to uncover your personal, inner light. The evening was capped off with pizza and sufganiyot. Rosh Beit Midrash coordinates the Mishmar program in collaboration with the Student Activities team. 

The goals of the Mishmar Madness program are to increase extra-curricular learning opportunities and to promote Talmud Torah as a supreme value within the school. Mishmar also gives students the opportunity to learn from a variety of teachers with the choice of topic and faculty member at the students' discretion. An upcoming Mishmar program will also feature community leaders. 


Click here to see the video


Healthy Living Speaker - Jacy Good



On Tuesday, November 28, the senior class heard from the second speaker in our "Healthy Living" curriculum - Ms. Jacy Good. They sat silently and were inspired by Jacy's story and her important message. In 2008, on the way home from her college graduation, Jacy and her family were in a tragic car accident caused by an 18-year old driver on a cell phone. Jacy's parents did not survive the accident and while Jacy was initially given only a 10% chance of survival, after multiple surgeries and rehab, many of Jacy's injuries have healed. But, due to traumatic brain injury, Jacy is unable to use her left arm, her lower leg and she has minor cognitive issues. Jacy's personal experience and inspirational strength has led her to become a national advocate for cellphone-free roads. Jacy shared both her story as well as some of the national research and statistics on accidents caused by driving and cellphone usage. She asked the students to hold each other accountable and to make safer choices when they, their friends, and their family members get behind the wheel of a car. To learn more about Jacy and her mission please go to



100 Years Since The Balfor Declaration, 70th Anniversary of the  UN Resolution  


2017 is a year of significant Jewish anniversaries.  Last year, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem school-wide.  Over the past month, we have marked two other important milestones in Israel's history-- the 100th anniversary of the issuance of the Balfour Declaration and the 70th anniversary of the UN vote to partition Palestine and create a Jewish state.  On November 2nd, students in history classes in every grade, spent the period learning about the Balfour Declaration and how it was received by Jews around the world.  Students examined of a variety of documents including a photo of Ms. Shoulson's grandmother, a young girl living in New York in 1917, letters from Hemda and Eliezer Ben Yehudah, a letter from members of the Yishuv to King George of England, and a New York Times article from 1919 expressing the views of many prominent US Jews.  Through their study, students learned about the excitement that greeted the declaration, and were surprised to see the negative reaction from some Jews who feared its implications for American Jewry.  Thanks to Keren Benillouche who created a beautiful display for the lobby.

On Thursday, November 29th, the 70th anniversary of the UN vote to partition Palestine and give the Jews a state, the Hebrew department ran a multifaceted program that included  different activities.  One Hebrew class from each grade studied about the historic day a week before, and on Thursday they presented to the other classes in their grade.  They highlighted the importance of the vote and its ongoing repercussions to the future of the Hebrew state.  One senior class researched the event and created a buzz around the building.  They created a beautiful bulletin board, posted eye-catching slogans around the schools, and wrote an informative newspaper announcing the UN vote and handed it out to students at the school's door dressed as newsies. Odelia Fried and Joey Yudelson conducted a humorous and enlightening interview with David Ben Gurion over the loudspeaker in which the Prime Minister reacted to the vote. 

We hope the students came away with a new appreciation of the many steps that led to the creation of the State of Israel and we look forward to celebrating Israel's 70th anniversary in May!


Adina Shoulson and Merav Zuriel


Dr. Edward Reichman Addresses our Ninth Grade Biology Students on Stem Cell Research, Cloning and Jewish Law


On Friday December 1, Dr. Ed Reichman spoke to the entire 9th grade on the topic of  Stem Cell Research, Cloning and Jewish Law.  He addressed them at the culmination of our unit on cells and our discussions of stem cells and cloning.  The students had learned that the 2012 Nobel Prize was awarded to Dr. John Gurdon who first cloned a frog, and to Dr. Shinya Yamanaka who developed a method for producing Induced Pluripotent stem cells.


Dr. Reichman began by discussing with the students cases in history in which a new medical advance raised halachic questions, and emphasized that the relationship between science and Torah did not begin in the 20th century, but rather hundreds of years ago.  The students were intrigued to hear the she'elot that were asked when smallpox inoculations first began, and about the life and death decisions that were made by the Rabanim.   Dr. Reichman then brought the students to the present day, showed a picture of himself suited up to treat Ebola patients and discussed with them Halachic questions that arise in situations today when a patient has a deadly disease or even a highly damaging virus such as the Zika virus during pregnancy.  The students were fascinated and asked many questions of their own.


Finally, Dr. Reichman explored with the students the halachic questions raised by stem cell research and the way in which the Jewish laws in this area have been developed.  Dr. Reichman pointed out to the students the major role that Israel has played in advances in stem cell research, the fascinating piskei halacha that relate to the permissibility of doing stem cell research with particular embryos, and finally, he discussed the great potential that stem cell research offers.


Dr. Reichman used a wonderful power point presentation he had prepared, and engaged the students by asking them questions throughout his talk, often referring to our class discussions and to the work we had asked the students to do at the University of Utah interactive stem cell and cloning internet sites.  He gave the students a real sense that what they are learning about in biology is being carried out actively in research labs and being grappled with in halachic discussions.  The 9th graders seemed to feel pride in being able to understand the science, and to see how it is applied by scientists and physicians in the real world, and that Dr. Reichman took them seriously in speaking to them as educated young men and women.


Dr. Reichman's presentation was a true example of the Grand Conversation in which students saw how their Judaism and their secular studies intersect in this very cutting edge area of science.  Dr. Reichman loved the excellent questions that the students asked and told them how much he enjoys coming to speak to the SAR students each year because of how knowledgeable they are and the insightful questions they ask.


Dr. Reichman is Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he teaches Jewish medical ethics. Dr. Reichman received Smicha from Yeshiva University and writes and lectures internationally in the field of Jewish medical ethics. His area of research is the interface of medical history and Jewish law. 


Tobie Brandriss

Bob Goodman


Marking Honor Day with El-Ami El-Atzmi 


The Junior class held a program in conjunction with the Israeli organization El-Ami El-Atzmi marking Honor Day, established four years ago by the Knesset to honor wounded IDF veterans and survivors of terror attacks. Students were spellbound by the inspirational stories of Elyosef Malkieli and Elad Horowitz who were seriously wounded during Operation Protective Edge. The Class of 2019 presented the soldiers with certificates of appreciation and made a donation to further Honor Day educational programs in Israel.


Future Global Ambassadors Meet Hussein Bani Hani from the

Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan



On November 16th, the Future Global Ambassadors (FGA) club enjoyed an engrossing exchange with Hussein Bani Hani, a native Jordanian.  Hussein came to the U.S. three years ago to complete an MBA in New Hampshire, and now works as an official tour guide at the United Nations.  Last April, SAR students toured the U.N. with Hussein and were so impressed with his warmth and vitality that he was invited to visit SAR – and he accepted!  

Taly Kronish, Abigail Nelkin and Gavi Kaplan, showed Hussein around SAR, as they explained the school's mission and curriculum. After the tour, students gathered for a pizza dinner exchange around the theme of  "Identity, Immigration and Globalization". FGA emphasizes the importance of personal stories to give a human face to global affairs. Hussein's willingness to share his story, and do so with openness and ease, proved a special experience.  Hussein spoke about his identity as a reflection of both his parent's heritage. His father, from northern Jordan, belongs to the Bani Hani tribe.  His mother is from Circassian ancestry, a minority Muslim group originally from the Caucuses, (now in Russia) which migrated to the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 19th century. There are now Circassian communities throughout the Middle East including Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and even Israel. He attended Circassian schools, and has remained immersed in both his parent's cultures. He described the extensive tribal structure of Bani Hani that number above 20,000. Even broken into smaller clans Bani Hani is a significant Jordanian tribe. He believes that loyalty to tribe has positive and negative effects. Tribe assures a sense of belonging, rootedness and identity – tribal affinity also helps in terms of connections for jobs, schools, and more. Yet, this tribal allegiance may impede the development of national political and social cohesion and impact negatively on Jordanian politics.  

On globalization - Hussein's father works for Jordanian Airlines, which gave him the opportunity to live abroad, exposed him to different cultures, and piqued his interests in exploring the world. He said that he is not a religious Muslim, and was asked about his view of how Muslims are viewed outside of the Middle East.  He said that he does not understand how and where terror is derived in Islam and must study this further, but he understands how the rash of horrific terrorist attacks perpetratedin the name of Islam would give rise to the stereotype of the Muslim terrorist. He qualified this saying that what is missing from the conversation is that most Arabs and Muslims live normal, respectful lives and hopes that this can become part of the news stories.

He realizes that most people he has met know very little about the Middle East. In New Hampshire, few if any in his school had ever heard of Jordan, much less know where it is.  He said that the same can be said of Jordan where, because of the Arab/Israel conflict, Israel's image is negative, and little is known about Jews and Judaism. His own views have changed since he met Jewish and Israeli colleagues at the U.N. and stressed the importance of personal exchanges such as the one taking place at SAR. He believes that it is important that people keep an open mind when discussing the very complex issues surrounding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, though he knows that feelings run high and emotional.  He thinks that the larger Middle East issues are troubling and disappointing including the failure of the Arab Spring to bring much change, and the terrible war in Syria.

Hussein said that he loves living in New York for its diversity and excitement, and enjoys working in the United Nations, where his exposure to global affairs and people from around the world is unmatched. When asked, he said that he could well see himself returning to live in Jordan, a good place to live and where he feels very comfortable and at home.

Global Ambassador responses to meeting Hussein Bani Hani sums up this remarkable exchange. Hopefully such experiences give students greater insights into their own narratives as they remain open to others experiences and points of view.

David Dinkevich -  thought that "Meeting with Hussein Bani Hani really opened my eyes and forced me to view the Arab community in a completely new light".

Liana Weinberger -  believes "that dialogue like this could really benefit the world in huge ways."

Gabriel Storfer  - was impressed that once Hussein "moved to America and started working in the UN with Jewish co workers he learned a lot about Israel."

Gavi Kaplan thinks that Mr. Bani Hani helped students understand others view…..and is very important in fulfilling our responsibilities as Modern Orthodox Jews"


Thanks to Harriet Mandel for arranging for this incredible experience!



Senior Students Make an Impact: 12th Grade Chesed Day 2017 


On the morning of Friday December 1st, students in the senior class volunteered at ten different sites throughout New York City and Yonkers, as part of the Senior Chesed Day.  Between leading a shabbat party for Holocaust survivors through Selfhelp and engaging Vietnam Hospital veterans with games and activities, our twelfth grade students shared their vibrancy and knowledge with the greater community.  Other twelfth graders served as scribes in a creative writing class at Jewish Home Lifecare and delivered challot to homebound Bronx elders through Bronx Jewish Community Council (BJCC).  Students also assisted the Part of the Solution (POTS) chef with meal preparations, helped to sort and package food for distribution at the Foodbank of New York and at the New York Common Pantry, as well as packed and sorted medicated supplies at the Afya warehouse.    

This year, we had a large number of options that related to children.  SAR students volunteered in pre-K through third grade classrooms at the Hostos school, interacted with autistic children at Manhattan Childrens Center and facilitated crafts and reading activities with pediatric inpatients and outpatients at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore.  Through these experiences, our seniors deepened their understanding of learning and playing with all kinds of children.  


Thank you to the senior advisors and fellows who made this event possible.  Special thanks to all the members of the senior class for their creativity and participation.


Literature and Film Elective Visit the Jewish Museum for a Film Screening

Ora Meier's Literature and Film class visited The Jewish Museum for a screening of The Rebound on Tuesday, December 5th. The Rebound is a documentary about the Miami Heat Wheels' basketball championship, and the film was shown as part of the museum's Movies that Matter film series.

Following the screening, adaptive athlete, Mario Moran answered questions from the crowd of high school students via Skype. Mario plays for the Miami Heat Wheels, and is featured in the film.

Teaching artist, Danielle Durschlag, also lead a film-making exercise with the SAR students.  The Lit and Film students discussed various themes from the documentary, and identified the message of "Get back up!" as essential to the film. The students directed Danielle how to shoot three film stills of Adir Landes, in order to convey the message: "Get back up!"  

The following shots are effective because of choices related to camera distance, camera angle and lighting:




The pre-Hanukkah period of time in the College Counseling Center is filled with excitement and tension as students await the results of Early Decision/Early Action applications. There will be a mix of admitted, deferred, and denied students and we wholeheartedly believe that every student should feel empowered through the college admission process. Please see the letter that we sent to our seniors and parents.

While seniors are waiting to hear back from colleges, we have begun meetings with juniors and their parents. We intend to meet with all 11th graders and their parents prior to the February break. Juniors, reminder to please submit your College Planning Questionnaires.

This past Tuesday, we turned our attention to the sophomore class through our orientation to the college admission process event with the 10th graders and their parents. Abby Davis, Assistant Director of Admissions at The Cooper Union, was the keynote speaker for the evening. She shared her insights and the audience was very receptive. Ms. Birnbaum played an admissions game with the students and Ms. Cohen shared sample transcripts for the audience so that they could see what a current sophomore's transcript may look like, alongside what that same student's transcript would look like two years later as a college applicant.

Finally, next week, we will be introducing our Senior Exploration program to the Class of 2018. This intensive fieldwork/creative project opportunity for the students will be taking place in May but there are important steps along the way that require the guidance of the Senior Exploration Committee and faculty mentors.




Upcoming Games:
Dec. 10 Girls JV Volleyball at Maayanot 12 noon
Dec. 11 Boys Varsity Hockey vs MTA at SAR 6:45 PM
Dec. 11 Boys JV Hockey vs MTA at SAR 8:15 PM
Dec. 11 Girls JV Volleyball vs Bruriah at SAR 7:30 PM
Dec. 11 Girls Varsity Volleyball vs Bruriah at SAR 8:30 PM
Dec 13 Girls Varsity Basketball at Flatbush 8:00 PM
Dec 13 Girls JV Basketball vs Elitzur Israel Basketball Team at SAR 5:30 PM
Dec 14 Boys Varsity Basketball vs Haftr at SAR 8:00 PM
Dec 18 Girls JV Volleyball vs Ramaz at SAR 6:45 PM
Dec 18 Girls Varsity Volleyball vs Ramaz ar SAR 7:45 PM
Dec 19 Wrestling at Hackley 6:00 PM
Dec 20 Boys JV Hockey vs Kushner at SAR 7:30 PM
Dec 20 Boys JV Basketball at Kushner at SAR 7:15 PM
Dec 20 Boys Varsity Basketball at Kushner 8:30 PMUpcoming Games




Our Physical education classes have been hard at work this semester. Click here to see the Phys ed update.




This week the SAR HS broadcasting club was hard at work producing a highlight video from our boys Varsity hockey team's win over Frisch! Students took the raw footage from the game and selected certain moments from the game to highlight. They cut the video and added background music, announcer audio and video transitions to compile a highlight video. Special thanks to our video editors Alex Augenbraun, Ezra Cohen, Ian Fuller, and Eitan Marks who worked on this fantastic project! We look forward to sharing more highlight videos throughout the year.



Kol Hakavod to all the members of our SAR Dance Team on all their hard work in preparation for their dance competition this past Saturday night! 


Environmental Corner

In Our Community


Authentic Syrian Cooking program for New Parents


More than 30 parents, new to SAR this year, attended an Authentic Syrian Cooking program taught by internet sensation Aliza Salem this week. Kol Hakavod to Beth & Kuty Shalev, hosts, and Tal Bouskila, Becca Schmidman, and Michelle Marom, chairs.
The class was highlighted with a visit from Rabbi "Chef" Harcsztark, who helped make Kenafe, a rich, creamy Syrian dessert!


!שבת שלום



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