Wednesday, September 28, 2016

FAU, Local Academy Affiliate for Medical Studies Program

Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine has entered into an agreement with the Donna Klein Jewish Academy (DKJA) to create a Medical Studies Program.

BY KELSIE WEEKES | 9/27/2016
Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine has entered into an agreement with the Donna Klein Jewish Academy (DKJA) to permit DKJA high school students who are interested in the fields of medicine and science to participate in educational tours and visits to the University campus.
The DKJA Medical Studies Program, which began in August, is offered to students enrolled in a science-based curriculum at DKJA’s Claire and Emanuel G. Rosenblatt High School.  The affiliation with FAU’s College of Medicine will allow these students the opportunity to visit with medical school faculty, researchers and students during the school year.
“FAU is committed to providing opportunities for young people in our area to become exposed to the healthcare professions,” said Arthur J. Ross, III, M.D., M.B.A., interim dean and professor in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. “We see this investment of our time as paying future dividends in terms of inspiring and retaining the next generation of healthcare providers for Palm Beach and Broward counties.”
Participants in the DKJA Medical Studies Program will be able to visit research laboratories, spend an afternoon in a clinical simulation laboratory, listen to a lecture on medical ethics, meet with an admissions officer and talk to current students about their experience in medical school. They are encouraged to pursue internships in the medical field and conduct independent research in the fields of medicine and science under the guidance of a DKJA faculty mentor.
To successfully complete the program, DKJA students also must take biology, chemistry, physics and an additional science course during their academic career at Rosenblatt High School. They also are required to participate in the school’s Pre-Med Club for at least two years. Those who meet the requirements of the program will be awarded a Certificate of Completion and Academic Excellence in the Medical Studies Program.
“This new affiliation will greatly enhance programming at Rosenblatt High School,” said Helena Levine, head of school at DKJA. “After completing the Medical Studies Program, our students will have a great advantage and be better prepared as they embark on their post-secondary education.”


Friday, September 23, 2016

High and Holy

Ahhh...the High Holy Days. These are the days that rabbis and cantors stress most about. After all - we will have our largest crowds and the most pomp and circumstance. But what is it that makes these days so high and so holy.

Truth be told, Rosh Hashanah isn’t nearly as intrinsically “high” or “holy” as Sukkot, Passover or even Shabbat. Yom Kippur is technically more sacred than Rosh Hashanah but mostly because it is a Shabbat - the Shabbat of all Shabbats. So if Rosh Hashanah is less “important” than Passover and Yom Kippur is merely a Shabbat, why is it that so much time and energy is spent on these “High Holy Days”? Why are we all going to flock to shul on these days? Why are we so stressed?!

Let’s begin our answer with a question. Why do we kiss the Torah when it comes around the sanctuary? Do we kiss the Torah because it is holy? Are we recognizing something intrinsic about this scroll that makes it worthy of our affection? Or is it actually our affection that imbues the Torah with holiness?

There are, of course, two answers. Some will argue that the Torah is holy in and unto itself. Others would say that the Torah, and in fact everything in life, only becomes holy when we make it holy. And the truth probably lies somewhere in between. But contemplate for a moment the immense power that we have just been given in this teaching - we have the power and capacity to create holiness. God has given us the power to bring holiness to space and time - and even to the Torah, simply by giving it a little kiss.

The same is true with the High Holy Days. These days may not have any unique intrinsic holiness but because we all come together to sing, celebrate and recreate ourselves on these days - we make them holy. We imbue these days with sanctity by our very presence. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are as important as they are because we make them important and that is something worth celebrating.

The real challenge comes after the final shofar blast is heard. When these holy days are gone and we are back to our everyday routines - that’s when our power to create holiness really becomes evident. It is easy to feel Jewish and holy when we are all together praying - it is far more challenging to bring holiness to every other day of the year.

Perhaps that is the lesson of these High Holy Days. If we can make these days sacred and special then we can make any day and every day sacred and special.

Rabbi David Paskin

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"Linking our school community through Google Apps for Education"

 "Linking our school community through Google Apps for Education"

The school year is five weeks in, and everything is rolling along smoothly on Rosenblatt High School’s educational technology front.  This year we’re continuing the one-to-one Chromebook program that began in 2015; all the students in the high school have received their Chromebooks, and are using them to access and submit their assignments through Google Classroom, communicate with teachers, keep track of their work, read textbooks, and work with their peers through the Google Apps for Education.
Google Classroom, your child’s hub for each of their classes, has been steadily improving its features since last year.  In addition to allowing teachers to share resources with the students, it now enables them to schedule announcement postings so that students can see instructions at specific class times.  Teachers can now post questions to their students through an “Ask A Question” posting, which lets the students respond to each other as part of a group conversation.  The program is constantly rolling out features that will further the students’ abilities to interact with their teachers and peers, and to help keep them on track.
But Classroom isn’t all that’s offered through Google.  Students can keep themselves on track through several different organizing extensions offered through Google Chrome, such as Pocket, which allows them to save important web pages in an easily accessible folder.  They can also create Google Presentations as a way to help themselves prepare for a test, or easily create mini-quizzes for themselves and their friends through Google Forms.
All in all, the adoption of the Chromebook program has helped Rosenblatt High School to bring ourselves together as an academic community, and has moved us toward better organization and a unified communication standard.  It’s exciting to see think of how far it will take us.

Cory Laub
English Teacher, Technology Educator

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

DKJA Student Abraham Waserstein Meets With Israeli Author Etgar Keret

    Many inquire as to why the study of Hebrew beyond weekly Hebrew school classes is valuable. In addition to the religious and traditional rationales to teach Hebrew, Donna Klein Jewish Academy goes to great lengths to demonstrate how this ancient language can equip Jewish Americans with applicable aptitudes to truly understand and interact with the modern Israeli culture of today.
    This past summer, I was selected as one of 26 North American Jews who had the privilege of becoming part of the Bronfman Youth Fellowship. In this five week summer escapade in Israel, many of the lessons I received in Hebrew class in Boca Raton, Florida, showcased their applicability to real world situations. One of the many instances in which this occurred happened in the city of Jaffa when I met the author Etgar Keret.
    Keret is one of the most renowned writers in Israel for the myriad of fictional short stories, novels, and script writes for television he has contributed to the modern Israeli culture. As a child, Keret’s mother shared fictional narratives told to her during her youth in Warsaw while his father told him bedtime stories based upon adaptations of occurrences in his life. Keret cleverly explained the distinction between typical children books and the original stories he received as the difference between ordering pizza or having a homemade meal.
    The beauty to Keret’s writing is found in his usage of humor accompanied with his literary focus on uncovering the humanity in situations that most would characterize as despicable. Finding this peculiar, I asked him how he goes about to achieve this difficult literary aim. Keret stated that he utilizes fiction in order to foster a connection between the reader and the character in order to depict the similarities between both parties. This enables the reader to understand how he or she could become said character and create an opportunity to unearth insight into the underlying causes of a character’s apparent malignant action. Keret said that by trying to understand why someone may have acted in a certain fashion and putting oneself into their shoes, human beings, “work out their weak muscle of sympathy.” Keret humorously explained his goal by saying that if aliens were to come to earth and would see all the negativity and hatred man has against man they would destroy earth, but possibly if they would read his short stories and see the ability man has to humanize the negative they would spare the world.
    In Donna Klein, we were taught one of Keret’s short stories called Lishbor Et Ha-Chazir (Breaking the Pig). Having had this exposure to Keret’s writing helped me gain greater intuition from the information he shared about himself and his writing. It was truly incredible to experience the amalgamation of Hebrew learning at my school with what Keret was delivering to us in his discourse. Keret shared with us that when he wrote Lishbor Et Ha-Chazir, he intended that the pig would represent himself, not the boy. The reason for this was in order to parallel the silence he subjected himself to in order to not trouble his holocaust surviving parents who were scarred by the horrors they experienced in Poland. When I received this wisdom from Keret, the first thing that I thought of was how incredible it would be to share this information with my school and community. The applicability of knowledge truly has no barriers and could be found in all corners of the world from the suburbs of Boca Raton to the city of Jaffa.

Abraham Waserstein

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Jewish Philosophy

A Jewish Philosophy:  

The appreciation of one’s legacy is crucial for one’s dignified survival.  As a Jewish educator I prefer to point to Judaism as a priceless gift rather than a heavy burden.  I prefer to point out its benefits rather than focus on its requirements.  I believe we must offer the students at DKJA strong reasons to be inspired about Jewish life.  They should come to realize that Jewish life offers so much for our own benefit, our own spiritual enrichment and our own personal destiny.  Below are seven crucial factors for educating our children and building a vibrant DKJA Jewish community.    
1.       Sense of a shared destiny which subsumes Jewish self-esteem, pride in being human and pride in being Jewish.
2.       Sense of self-reliance which incorporates aiming for excellence and success.  We must cultivate an enterprising spirit; ingenuity, perseverance in coping with social and economic demands.
3.       Faithfulness to our community, that comprises loyalty, hope and a conviction of our peoples Divinely promised indestructibility and ultimate redemption.
4.       A sense of solidarity, community responsibility, based on the idea that all Jews are responsible for each other.
5.       An appreciation of Israel, Hebrew language and Hebrew culture.  Recognizing the gift of the State of Israel and its contributions, and its unique ability to offer the Jewish people the right to self-determination as a Nation and a People.   
6.       A sense of duty and commitment which includes dedication to Torah study and practice, respect for law and morality.
7.       An appreciation of Judaism as a gift; recognizing the joy and excitement of Jewish living, and realizing the contribution of Judaism, viewing it as a religion vital to the other nations of the world.

Shabbat Shalom and Good Shabbos!
Rabbi Baruch Plotkin, MJEd. 
Rabbi in Residence, Donna Klein Jewish Academy

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Welcome back to the DKJA HS Science Blog for the 2016 - 2017 Academic Year.
This post highlights our Seniors, and welcomes our newest member of the Science Department, William Bowman. Mr. Bowman teaches our Seniors AP Physics, Honors Physics, and Physics. He comes to us from a Private Preparatory school in Tampa FL. We are thrilled he has joined the Rosenblatt High School faculty.
The AP class has already been submerged into the world of Kinematic Physics, as they are challenged in an inquiry lab.  Senior Dana Lipson is carrying out the experiment.
Ask your AP Physics student to explain this lab to you.

We look forward to an exciting Science Year.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


The senior year expectations meeting, held on September 6th was an important beginning to the senior year for seniors and their parents. The program included presentations from Rabbi Lesack and Mrs. Joseph on the important dates for the senior year, senior privileges and the critical role that seniors play as the leaders and role models of the school.  Ms. Rockman discussed the important dates and deadlines of the college application process as well as specific information about Florida public colleges and changes in the financial aid programs and dates beginning this fall.  Finally, Jack Rosenbaum shared a moving video on the March of the Living and then talked about the meaningful experiences that our seniors will have when they take part in the March.