Friday, January 20, 2017

Noah’s Ark Mosaic Project Will Soon Grace The Entrance of DKJA

Come visit us in the ceramic studio (room 107 CA) to see our students’ mosaic panel creation in progress. As part of our TIAarts Legacy Heritage Project, nn Monday, January 9th, 2017, students in grades five through twelve started working on two beautiful mosaic panels about the story of Noah’s Ark. Under the direction and guidance of Holly Odess, Diane Fried, Terri Hamilton and Anita Schwartz. Odess and Fried have worked on mosaic projects at many schools in South Florida.

“I’m amazed at the progress the students are making." said Odess, a mosaic artist since 2001. “I’m very pleased.”

  The first panel is a depiction of the animals entering the ark, as a menacing storm brews. The second panel shows the dove and olive branch, one of the most ancient symbols of peace.
The story of the dove and the olive branch first appeared in the story of Noah's Ark.  After the great flood, Noah sends out a dove to see if the waters have subsided. The dove returns with a fresh olive leaf in her beak as proof of land.

  The works will adorn both sides of the main stairwell, just outside of our new prayer space. These mosaic panels will be enjoyed by all for many years to come!
Writing Workshop for 9th Grade
January 24-26

The 2nd annual Minimester is proud to offer the freshman class an intensive 3-day writing workshop. Led by DKJA English department instructors, the mandatory workshop will take place TuesdayWednesday, and Thursday from 2:10pm - 3:00pm.  

Tuesday session - Mr. Davis:          Decoding writing prompts to create effective thesis statements
Wednesday session - Mr. Laub:     Structuring  - Organization beyond the thesis and into the development of ideas
Thursday session - Ms. Restivo:     Taking it to the next level - Revising your writing for grammar and syntax 

We look forward to working with the 9th Grade Class!

The English Department

Friday, January 13, 2017

Student Art Field Trip

Footwear Art by Kobi Levi
A Visit to the Nathan D. Rosen Gallery at the Sandler Center

On January 13, 2017 Mrs. Anita Schwartz’s High School Studio Art Elective class was treated to a very special field trip to The Sandler Center. Israeli artist and shoe designer Kobi Levi personally welcomed them to see his exhibition of handmade, highly creative shoes. Kobi Levi generously encouraged our students to try on any shoes in the exhibit. It was so much fun to try on shoes that had been designed for Madonna, Lady Gaga and Whoopi Goldberg!

Kobi Levi has said:”In my artistic footwear design the shoe is my canvas. The trigger to create a new piece comes when an idea, a concept and/or an image comes to mind. The combination of the image and footwear creates a new hybrid and the design/concept comes to life. The piece is a wearable sculpture. Most of the inspirations are out of the "shoe-world", and give the footwear an extreme transformation. The result is usually humoristic with a unique point of view about footwear. All the pieces are hand-made in my studio."

Special Thanks to Sue Harrington and The Sandler Center for giving us this wonderful and enriching opportunity.

Anita Schwartz

Guest Speakers Build Jewish identity

January 11, 2017
13 Tevet 5777
Dear Parents,
We bring in outside speakers on a regular basis to expose our students to the larger world, to the many opportunities and possibilities available to them, and to help strengthen their Jewish identity.

This week, our students had the opportunity to listen to two unique speakers on two very different topics that focused on all three items.
On Tuesday, 11th and 12th grade students met and heard from former MK Rabbi Dov Lipman. Rabbi Lipman, an American who made aliyah to Israel and served in the previous government as a member of the Yesh Atid party, shared with the students his story of aliyah, his experience as a member of Israel's Knesset, and his hopes and dreams for Israel's future. He was engaging, thoughtful and honest, meeting with students afterwards who had additional questions for him. He shared with the group stories and experiences of his 10 plus years in Israel, while letting them know that while Israel needs their continued support, he is very optimistic about Israel's future.
This morning, about 60 students packed the bleachers in the gym to hear from Art Shamsky. Mr. Shamsky  played for the 1969 "Miracle Mets" and spoke to the students about his life, being Jewish and playing baseball at the highest levels. He showed off his world series ring to all the students and spoke of missing a key double header against the Pirates due to a Jewish holiday and that he was shocked that his manager was understanding of his decision. Mr. Shamsky reminded our students to always do their best, as one never knows when their big break will come.  
These are just two of the many different types of speakers that our students get to meet during a school year, and to hear from them words of insight, information and inspiration. Together, these diverse speakers help us educate our students and strengthen their Jewish identity today and for the future.
Rabbi Marshall Lesack

Thursday, December 22, 2016


“Every individual is a tiny light but together we are a mighty light”
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One of my favorite Hanukkah song is “Banu Choshech Legaresh” - We came to drive away the darkness- In its lyrics there is a line that says: “Kol echad hu ohr katan v’kulanu hor eitan”  -  Every individual is a tiny light but together we are a mighty light
This is true, with a multi-wicked candle versus a regular candle; while a Shabbat candle is a relatively tiny light, a Havdalah candle could be considered a medura, a bonfire, a very mighty light.
Every individual is a tiny light but together we are a mighty light. We see that in the story of Hanukkah as well as in this week’s Torah portion “Miketz” that the ohr katan, the small tiny light can make just as much of a difference. Joseph single-handedly saved the world. The tiny group of Maccabees quelled the Hellenists and the Greek-Assyrians, and ensured the survival of other Jewish way of life.
Maybe we are not a Joseph or a Judah Maccabeus, but I feel that everyone can make a difference.  Everyone has the potential to do anything, and if not, has the option to mobilize.  One can rally others and reinforce that tiny but powerful light and add wicks to become a mighty flame.
Don’t feel that you are unable to make a difference in the world. You can be a mighty flame on your own.
Shabbat Shalom, and may your Menorah candles shine strong and bright on this Festival of Lights.
Chag Urim Sameach

Morah Miriam

Friday, December 16, 2016

Respect, Universal peace and Self-awareness
The Jewish attitude of tolerance, respect and appreciation for other religions and people from diverse backgrounds is based both on historical-sociological as well as theological-ideological reasons and is sourced in our Biblical tradition, "Be kind to the strangers amongst you, as you were strangers in the Land of Egypt."  
Ideologically, Judaism has never claimed monopoly on wisdom or piety, and has always embraced the pious amongst the non-Jewish and their non-Jewish beliefs as long as they follow the universal rules of moral conduct.  There was never an expectation to convert and/or embrace Judaism.  The highest attainment of human religious perfection, i.e. ‘Ruach HaKodesh’ (Divine Inspiration) is not denied any human being.  (Tana D’vei Eliyahu - 7th Century)
Judaism has never considered itself purely a ‘religion’ but basically a social entity, a 'People.'  As such, there is no room for feelings of competition or antagonism towards other religions.  As a people, Judaism strives to establish itself as a vital entity among other nations of the world. "A light amongst the nations."  Isaiah 42:6
There are three basic concepts in handling the interfaith issue:
  1. Human respect
  2. Universal Peace
  3. Self-Awareness
Human Respect:  The rabbis taught (Pirke Avot 4:1) “Who is respected?  The one that respects others.”  Human respect and dignity is reciprocal.  Your chances to be respected and honored as an individual, as well as a group, depend on your behavior and attitude towards others.  One who has no respect for his fellow man, can hardly expect respect in return.
Universal Peace:  ‘Darche Shalom’ (ways of peace) is an important idea in rabbinic law.  “The ways of Torah are ways of pleasantness and they lead to peace.”  (Proverbs 3:17)  This is a biblical motto and a guide in developing human relationships.    

Self-Awareness: Genuine respect and friendliness towards others stem from self-appreciation and self-dignity.  This self-awareness stems from attitudinal and behavioral qualities rather than from any mythical, mystical or theological notions.  By developing a positive approach to one-self, to one’s own dignity and integrity, one fosters a positive attitude of respect and friendship towards all men and women.  A respect for one’s own heritage and faith should be built not on belittling others, but rather on enlarging the scope of understanding of, and openness towards, human beings in general and appreciation of their rich divergence.  
Rabbi Baruch Plotkin 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


This afternoon, members of the Pre-Med club participated in their third medical experience as part of our partnership with the Charles E. Shcmidt School of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University. For this experience, students gained hands-on experience as they interacted with life-like mannequins under the supervision of trained medical professionals. Mr. Mark Goldstein and Dr. Randi Sperling facilitated this trip's activities and graciously offered to our students a wealth of information regarding the medical school application process as well as diversity within the medical community.
With regard to the simulation, our students were able to examine and conduct patient histories. Students learned to ask appropriate questions and refine possible diagnoses based on patient responses and physical assessment. These assessments included monitoring vitals such as respiratory and heart rates, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation.
Equipped with these newly acquired skills, we hope to enhance student interest in medical professions as several of our Juniors and Seniors hold aspirations to one day practice medicine. We are excited to continue these experiences into second semester with even more fun, and educational programs.

Reginald DeLandsheer