Parashat Vayigash - פרשת ויגש
Candle Lighting: 4:13pm
Havdalah: 5:14pm

  ד' טבת
4 Tevet 5778

December 22, 2017
Issue 5

Dear Parents and Students,


As we begin our December break, I want to take the opportunity to wish all of you a relaxing and enjoyable week. I want to restate my pre-vacation message because it is so important to me.


As committed b'nai and b'not mitzvah, it is so important that each day be shaped by Tefilla and Torah. Students, please make sure to daven three times a day and to learn Torah each day. I encourage both boys and girls to daven with a minyan as often as you are able. Participating each day in tefilla b'tzibbur is a strong statement of our commitment to the power of prayer and to the Jewish people. Vacation time is also a great opportunity for wonderful cultural experiences. Read a good book, see a play, enjoy quality time with family and friends.


Since vacation is an opportunity for our students to congregate outside of school, I would like to encourage parents to speak with your children and help them make safe and healthy choices as they plan how they will use their time. Please be vigilant and take an active interest in where your children are spending their time when they are away from home. I encourage you to communicate with other parents as well to ensure that your children have the proper supervision and oversight in all of their activities. Open communication between teens and parents, with clear expectations and limits, helps them make positive choices.

Have a relaxing and enjoyable winter break!

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Tully Harcsztark

 Important Dates



December 25 - 1

Winter Break

December 28
Asarah B'Tevet
Fast begins 6:08am & ends at 5:10pm


January 2

Classes Resume


January 12

End of First Semester 

Grades 9-12


January 13

SAR Dinner
Journal Ad Deadline: Dec. 29, 2017


January 15

Martin Luther King Day

No Sessions


January 16

10th Grade Parent PACT Program


January 17

Rosh Chodesh Sh'vat


January 18

Blood Drive 


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


MAC-A-BEE 5778


From our incredible Mac-A-Bee breakout, to a remarkable and incredible victory for the senior class, this year's Mac-A-BEE was definitely one for the record books. The energy and excitement that filled the auditorium as captains were announced was a sign of things to come as the students competed in two days of intense competition filled with ruach and sportsmanship. Continuing our year long theme of Tikkun Hamiddot, each team's theme embodied one of Rav Salanter's middot. Freshman were team Anava, Sophomores- Kavod, Juniors- Menucha, and Seniors- Emet. After our epic breakout, the school divided for team meetings, where students planned for our traditional tug of war competition. Each team won at least one round of tug-of-war!

Day #2 kicked off with tefillah, followed by 45 minutes of beit midrash learning. Each team focused more intently on the their specific middah, taking an in depth look at the various sources in the torah describing each middah. After our theme learning, the competitions began!

Many of last year's new Mac-A-BEE competitions were back again, including Hungry Hungry Hippos, Dodgeball , Hebrew Song, Logo Design, and Torah Scavenger Hunt along with our school wide Panoply and our redesigned Amazing Race. They were joined by more new competitions for 5778, including: Knee Hockey, Project Runway, Spikeball, Bitmoji Competitions (each team was responsible to make a Bitmoji representing each administrator) , Codenames, Instagram Story (each grade created an instagram story, capturing all the excitement of Mac-A-Bee), Chopped (pronounced Chap't), Door Decorating, Game Theory, and Classroom Transformation (students had to transform a classroom to reflect their theme).

There were 3 chesed-based competitions. First, we ran a "Baking For Pots" competition, where students spent the morning baking chocolate chip cookies. The cookies were brought to POTS soup kitchen on Tuesday afternoon. Additionally, we ran our annual Chanukah Toy Drive. And lastly, many of our students spent time writing chanukah cards for chayalim in Israel.

Together with the classic potpourri of events, ranging from Game Show style competitions (Geography Bee, Ivrit Pitgamim, Jeopardy, Chidon and the always popular Name That Tune) to board games (Codenames, Candy Land, Scrabble, and Speed Chess), our Social Media competition across many popular platforms (including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), to multimedia tasks (team commercials), the revamped Iron Chef cooking challenges, to drama improv and the full gamut of fine and performing arts (art relay, banner, song, etc.), an amazing Torah Scavenger Hunt, and of course, a multitude of sports, this year Mac-A-BEE truly had something for everyone.

As Mac-A-BEE began to wind down, just before the finale performances in the auditorium, the entire school gathered in the gym for a special Mac-A-BEE Kumsitz. To quote a senior, "the kumsitz is when we were unified as one school". Students from different backgrounds, in different grades, representing different teams, with varied interests and talents, came together to sing and support each other in a beautiful show of achdut. While the main focus of Mac-A-BEE is often on the competition, these moments spent together in song reminded all of us that while we may compete on the court, stage, canvas, or screen, at the end of the day we are really building one SAR High School community.


Click here to see pictures from breakout and tug of war.

Click here to see pictures from both days of color war.

SAR HS Drama Society Presents...You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Revised)


Last week the SAR High School Drama Society staged two superb performances of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Revised), Clark M. Gesner's charming musical adaption of Charles M. Schultz's groundbreaking, enduringly popular Peanuts comic strip.


Peanuts, which began in 1950 and ran through 2000, gave life to a cast of characters who became household names. Gesner brought the crew to the stage, including the lovable loser who refuses to give up, the cultured piano prodigy, the insightful intellectual gripping his security blanket, the vain and bossy crab who intends to be queen, the sassy yet creative slacker, and the canine with an abundance of wit and imagination. SAR's unique spin on the production also incorporated many additional characters from the original comic strip.

Although the world has changed dramatically since the Peanuts kids were first introduced, their reflections, experiences, and relationships are as relevant as ever. The gang still reminds us that, while growing up is often fraught with humiliation and disappointment, life can be joyful and full of wonder. When happiness is "anyone and anything at all that's loved by you," there is always "reason for hope." 

The cast and crew invested a tremendous amount of time, energy, and talent into mounting a production that was sweet, funny, and visually striking. The audiences laughed, aww-ed, and gave standing ovations at curtain call. Their energy and positive feedback was extremely gratifying and the cast and crew felt unbelievably proud to delight old fans and inspire new ones in the process.

Click here to watch the performance

Click here to see the photo gallery

Click here to see the play buzz

Chanukah Candle Lighting


Last wednesday we ended the day celebrating Chanukah together as a school. We all gathered in the auditorium, lit Chanukah candles and davened Maariv to celebrate the spirit of Chanukah as a community.


Click here to watch the video.


Music Vs. Club Performs at Montefiore Children's Hospital


For members of the Music Vs. club, the holiday season didn't end with the eighth day of Chanukah. On Thursday morning, December 21st, the Music Vs. club performed at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) for the parents of hospitalized children.  Last summer, Meghan Kelly, director of CHAM's Child Life Program, requested that the music club perform at CHAM's Holiday Shopping Experience. The Shopping Experience was designed to enable the parents of pediatric inpatients to select and wrap gifts for their children. One of the hospital rooms is transformed into a toy store, grouped by ages. Parents can take their time reviewing various options to identify the most desired gifts. Then, they select from festive boxes, ribbons and paper to wrap these gifts.

Abby Ebrahimoff and Dr. Michelle Humi helped the parents and Child Life Specialists wrap the presents. Jessie Gronowitz, Abby Saltzman, Eden Barak, Ella Osen, Reed Leibowitz, Libby Bergier-Pesin and Batya Sarna performed their holiday favorites and took song requests from the parents while they wrapped the gifts.


SAR students visit the Immunology Research Lab of Dr. Steven Reiner at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons 


Dr. Reiner spoke to the students for about 45 minutes about his research in cell signaling, specifically focusing on lymphocyte (a type of white blood cell) fate and metabolism.   He described lymphocyte cell division and propagation, in which some lymphocytes differentiate and some remain stem cells.  He explained how this process may have arisen in early evolution, as well as the link to cancer and autophagy.  He referred to the research of Craig Thompson, president of Memorial Sloan Kettering with whom Dr. Reiner worked and whom some of our students heard speak last month.


Soon after hearing his lecture, our AP Bio students studied cell signaling and the role of kinases including, cyclin dependent kinases (cdk's), a topic that beautifully overlapped with topics covered during Dr. Reiner's presentation.  The 9th graders who participated in the trip had just completed a unit in which they studied cell division and stem cells and Dr. Reiner's talk built well on that unit.


We really appreciate the time that Dr. Reiner took to present to our students, as well as the opportunity he gave them to see science in action in the real world in his laboratory where his graduate student showed them the equipment used in their research.  Lab research visits such as this one are a real gift to our students and we believe helps them imagine doing science research themselves some day.


We are so appreciative that Mr. James Lapin, father of 9th grader Gavriella, arranged the presentation by Dr. Reiner and the tour of his lab.


Tobie Brandriss

Bob Goodman

SAR Students Attend A Yeshiva University Medical Ethics Conference


On Sunday, December 10th, a small group of SAR students attended the 11th Annual Medical Ethics Society Conference at Yeshiva University entitled "Breaking Down the Firewall". The Conference was given in honor of Rabbi Dr. Moshe D. Tendler. Presenters at the conference considered both biomedical advances and their bioethical and halachic implications. The opening remarks were made by Dr. Ed Reichman, (advisor to Medical Ethics Society) who recently addressed our SAR students on the halachot of Stem Cell Research and Cloning.

Dr. Ana Maria Cuervo's presentation entitled "The Anti-Aging Revolution", reviewed advances made in the field of cell biology as they relate to Alzheimers, Huntingtons and Parkinsons Diseases, all neurodegenerative disorders with age related correlations. She discussed lysosomes and their role in autophagy. In a discussion following her presentation she expressed a willingness to allow a small group of our students to visit her laboratory.

Later, a panel discussion involving Dr. Neville Sanjana, Dr. Edward Burns and Rabbi Dr. J. David Bleich discussed bioethical questions arising out of a relatively new procedure called CRISPR, a technique in which scientists could make highly directed edits of our genome.

Finally, Rabbi Ozer Glickman questioned Dr. Matthew Liao on the application of several related neurotechnologies. Both of these speakers demonstrated a sensitivity to the complicated issues that have arisen from advances in this field.

Arguably, the most striking thing about these presentations was not just the degree to which scientists are moving forward with advances in medicine, but also the bioethical and halachic questions that arise from applying these new technologies. It was an amazing, enlightening and thought provoking conference.


Bob Goodman

Yad b'Yad Visit 


Students had the unique opportunity to hear from Sara Dena Drelich (our own Rabbi Moshe Drelich's daughter) who spoke about the organization she works for in Israel, Yad b'Yad.  Yad b'Yad, or Hand In Hand, runs a network of integrated bilingual schools throughout Israel for Jewish and Arab Israeli citizens.  The classes are co-taught by a Jewish teacher and an Arab teacher, and the culture, holidays, religions, and languages of both groups are part of the curriculum.  The mission is to create a "strong, inclusive and shared society" in Israel that protects the human and civil rights of all its citizens.  The first school opened 20 years ago and now there are 6 schools all together.  In the Q&A portion of her talk, Sara Dena answered questions about how the schools deals with the celebration of Yom Hashoah and Yom Hazikaron, as well as how they navigate political issues such as the future of the peace process.  She emphasized the importance of building relationship over the years that enable the students and faculty to engage in these difficult conversations with mutual respect and understanding.  


Thanks to Acheinu, Global Diplomats and the Interfaith Club for co-sponsoring this event. Special thanks to Rabbi Drelich and Sara Dena for their time!



The College Counseling Team has been hard at work before winter break, putting together the finishing touches on Regular Decision applications for many seniors. Students found out from their Early Decision schools and also from many Early Action schools. Some of our acceptances include places like NYU, Yeshiva University Honors, Barnard, Binghamton, Brandeis, Penn, Chicago, Harvard, Brown, WashU, Johns Hopkins, Michigan, UMass, Rutgers, Cornell, Columbia, Cooper Union, Emory, Oberlin, Albany, and more. With the new year comes closer connections with the junior class, with whom we'll have several smaller group advisory meetings and individual college conferences. At the same time, we are getting to know the sophomore class through one-on-one introductory meetings. 



Upcoming Games:

Sports Update - Upcoming Games

Jan. 2 Girls Varsity Basketball vs Hillel at SAR .7:45pm
Jan. 3 Wrestling vs Leonia @ SAR 6:45pm
Jan. 4 Girls Varsity Basketball vs Bruriah @ SAR 7:45pm
Jan. 4 Girls JV Basketball vs Bruriah @ SAR 9:45pm
Jan. 8 Wrestling @ Frisch 6:45pm
Jan. 8 Boys JV Basketball @ JEC 7:15pm
Jan. 8 Boys Varsity Hockey @ Hillel 7:30pm
Jan. 8 Boys Varsity Basketball vs Ramaz @ SAR 8pm
Jan. 9 Girls JV Basketball @ Maayanot 6:30pm
Jan. 9 Girls Varsity Basketball @ Maayanot 7:45pm
Jan. 9 Girls JV Volleyball @ Ramaz 7:00pm
Jan. 9 Girls Varsity Volleyball @ Ramaz 8:15pm
Jan. 10 Wrestling @ Emerson Park Ridge 7:00pm





On December 10, Frisch hosted our first yeshivah girls swim meet of the season, where teams from SAR, ישיבת פריש The Frisch School, Maayanot Yeshiva HS and Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School competed. Congratulations to Ariella Bulman for placing in the 50M backstroke race and to Kayla Bellin for placing in the 25M freestyle and 25M breast stroke races!! Special thanks to Coach Nicole Zweiter!



The SAR Poetry Slam team competed at Kushner High School on December 21. The team of eight poets all performed beautifully with two poems each: a free verse poem on the theme "Habits," and a rubaiyat (a rhymed couplet form) about "What Lies Beneath." Four of SAR's poets were chosen, from among over 60 poets total, to compete in the final round of 12, and, of five total awards, three of SAR's poets won: Duly Rosenberg for Best Rubaiyat, Shira Michaeli as runner up for Best Poet, and Ruthie Yudelson as Best Poet. Our thanks to our amazing faculty advisor Dr. Steinberg!

Environmental Corner


Environmental Tip of the Week

Truly turn off electronics. Plug your devices — the TV and DVD player, or the computer and printer — into a UL-certified power strip; switch the whole group off for the evening to prevent phantom electrical draw. Learn more here.

!שבת שלום
Enjoy winter break!!!



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