Friday, May 26, 2017

You Do Your Part

You Do You’ll Part, I’ll Do Mine
Rabbi David Paskin

In Numbers 3:15-16 we read, “And HASHEM spoke unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, saying: ‘Number the children of Levi by their fathers’ houses, by their families; every male from a month old and upward you shall number them.’ And Moses numbered them according to the word of the HASHEM, as he was commanded.”

Rashi wonders aloud what the Torah means when it says, “according to the word of HASHEM”. Wouldn’t it have been enough to say Moses counted the children “as he was commanded”? Why the extra phrase?

In answer to his own question, Rashi imagines a conversation between Moses and God. Upon being commanded to count the children Moses argued, “How can I enter their tents to count? Isn’t that a violation of their privacy?” God responds, “okay, tell you what - you go around to each tent, stand outside and a voice from heaven will tell you how many children are in that tent.” To which Moses replies, “If you are going to tell me how many children are inside then why do I have to shlep around to stand outside of each tent?! Just tell me now and save me the trouble.” God answers, “You do your part and I’ll do mine.”

Throughout the Torah, God relies upon us to be partners in creating the world we seek. God commands Noah to build an Ark to save his family and the creatures of the earth from the impending flood; God challenges Abraham and Sarah to leave everything behind, journey to a new land and become the parents of a new nation; God calls Moses and Aaron to return to Egypt and serve as God’s voice to free that nation and guide them to God’s mountain; and God calls on Moses to do his part by going to each tent, standing outside, and listening for God’s voice.

Like Moses at the Sea of Reeds we very often beg for God’s intervention forgetting that God will do God’s part if only we would do ours. The midrash teaches this when it suggests that it was not Moses who brought about the parting of the sea, but Nachshon ben Aminadav who was brave enough to walk into the waters and risk drowning all because he understood that it is not enough to have faith in God - we must also have faith in ourselves. We must see our own capacity to part the waters of injustice, battle the forces of evil and to repair the world.

There are indeed times when it would seem easier to just wait for God to tell us how many children are in each tent. It may be more convenient to wait for God’s “justice to well up as waters, and (God’s) righteousness as a mighty stream.” (Amos 5:24) But as Father Mulcahy from M*A*S*H taught us, “A faith of convenience is a hollow faith.”

We are not a people convenience but a people of commandment. God commands us to do our part. Only when we heed this call will every person in our world be counted, respected and loved.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Technology Blog 5-24


The school year is winding down, but our technology use in the high school is ramping up.  After two years of using Chromebooks, the school is continuing into next year with gusto!  We’re finding new and exciting ways to streamline the classroom process.

This year, room 126 piloted the Idea Paint program, which gives the students the ability to fully utilize wall space by turning it into one giant whiteboard that they can write on.  The Idea Paint was paired with an interactive projector, which along with specially designed styluses, turns the wall into a smartboard, and engages the students with the material on a more personal, tactile level.

Finally, on Monday 5/23/17, junior Robert Shinder and Spanish teacher Silvana Delbo launched the inaugural broadcast of the Donna Klein Jewish Academy morning announcements, which was filmed in the main building’s digital video studio.  Hosted by anchor Noah Rubin and his fellow 8th graders, sports analyst Levi Stein and meteorologist Dana Levine, the cross-division broadcast was livestreamed to the entire school.  The replay link is available here:  DKJA live announcements

Cory Laub
English Teacher, Technology Educator

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Interview Preparation Program

Interview Preparation Program

Last week our junior class participated in a two-part Interview Preparation Program.  The program covered interview preparation and strategies for different types of interviews (college, internships and employment), as well as opportunities to practice interview skills. 

On Tuesday, May 16th, the students began the educational process through videos, worksheets and small group discussion, all facilitated by our wonderful community volunteers.  Additionally, two of our graduating seniors were interviewed in front of the group and participated in the subsequent feedback discussion for the benefit of the juniors.  We thank Aaron Fils and Abraham Waserstein for volunteering for this program and showing some of the skills they have learned after having multiple interviews this year.

Session 2, held on Wednesday, May 17th, was the individual implementation of what our students had already learned the day before; primarily through a thorough one-on-one mock interview with feedback. The students gained beneficial skills and experience; they learned how to effectively talk about themselves, how to prepare for some of the most common interview questions, and what questions to ask the interviewer(s).

With the help of our experienced community volunteers, we achieved our goals of providing a comprehensive skill-building experience and concrete practice opportunity to our students!  This will certainly benefit those who will interview for the most competitive colleges, and/or who plan to pursue a job or internship in the future. It was truly a life-skill experience, not just an interview preparation program.  Our volunteer facilitators included the following members of our greater community:
Mandee Heller Adler:  President, International College Counselors; University of Pennsylvania Alumni Interviewer
Lindsey Maharaj:  International College Counselors; experienced professional interviewer
Melissa Orlen:  Attorney; University of Pennsylvania Alumni Interviewer
Jackie Rockman: DKJA Director of College Counseling; former Brandeis University Admissions Officer/Interviewer
Brenda Rudman: International College Counselors; Brown University Alumni Interviewer
Julie Simons:  International College Counselors; teaches public speaking and communications skills
Bridget Varisco: Nova Southeastern University Admissions Officer; Scholarship and special program interviewer
Lesley Zafran:  Board Member (Past President); manager of personnel consulting firm

We are so excited that this wonderful program is an addition to our DKJA College Counseling Program!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

CIJE Conference

CIJE Conference

12 young engineers (Jordan Berger, Ilan Crane, Hannah Appleton, Abigail Goodman, Zachary Klein, Samuel Kraft, Sarah Louis, Liann Rozenberg, Noah Rubin, Levi Stein, Tali Tirosh, and Yakov  Wahnich) from Donna Klein presented their projects alongside other students from Jewish schools across the country. Participants showcased their projects and though there was no formal judging, the students felt a sense of personal accomplishment at the praise and admiration bestowed on them. Pictured are the young engineers in front of their posters. Standing with them are their proud teachers Mr. DeLandsheer and Mr. Bowman as well as Justin Petersen of the Centers for Initiatives in Jewish Education. A special thanks to Mr. Petersen for all the help throughout the year, encouraging these amazing young people to reach their potential.

Monday, May 8, 2017

No Place For Hate

No Place for Hate

The Anti-Defamation League, No Place for Hate at DKJA received their 5th year banner for being a “No Place For Hate” school.  The vision for this program was started five years ago by current senior, Joseph Zeuner.

The ADL’s No Place for Hate® initiative provides schools and communities with an organizing framework for combating bias, bullying and hatred, leading to long-term solutions for creating and maintaining a positive climate. In 1913, ADL was founded on "Jewish values that inform our work and the change we seek in the world". It has always meant stopping anti-Semitism and defending the Jewish people. Today, it also means fighting threats to our very democracy, including cyber-hate, bullying, bias in schools and in the criminal justice system, terrorism, hate crimes, coercion of religious minorities, and contempt for anyone who is different.

We look forward to continuing this successful program at DKJA for years to come.

Rosenblatt High School Artist Receives Honor

Rosenblatt High School Artist
Receives Honor for her Outstanding Work

Mazal Tov to junior, Yael Pshemish, who was selected to create an original art work for the cover of “Reflections” from the Class of 2017. This Rosenblatt High School publication is a collection of essays that were written by the graduating class. The book contains memories from our seniors, who will cherish them for years to come. Yael is the latest to be honored, in what has become an RHS tradition! Here is the list of the honorees from years past:
Brenda Berez  Class of  2012
Liana Greenberg Class of  2013
Maya Greenberg Class of  2014
Rebecca Fisher Class of  2015
Cayla Horowitz  Class of  2016

Brenda Berez 2012
Liana Greenberg 2013

Maya Greenberg 2014

Rebecca Fisher 2015
Cayla Horowitz 2016

Yael Pshemish

Friday, May 5, 2017

Yom Ha'atzmaut Activity

Yom Ha'atzmaut Celebration with JARC

This Yom Ha'atzmaut, as part of the celebrations and in collaboration with the Jewish Federation’s Marilyn Nachman, Morah Lydia and Morah Eilat embarked on a new activity including JARC residents. High school students and Hebrew Honors Society members - Olivia Galel, Rebecca Wirtschafter, Jessica Siegel, Eden Leder,and freshmen -  Rennie Alvarez, Danielle Chaham, and Shaina Goodis, along with their teachers Morah Eilat Asseo and Ms. Lauren Jordan, were privileged to join members of JARC (Jewish Association for Residential Care)  and interact with them by taking part in a variety of activities.  The students  helped the residents decorate baseball caps with the colors of the Israeli flag, as well as teach and lead them in singing the song “Am Yisrael Chai.”  It was a great experience as we all sang, danced and waved our flags in sharing our pride of Israel on her 69th birthday.  

This was an incredibly touching experience felt by all the participants.  10th grader Olivia Galel describes her visit as, “an incredibly meaningful experience to engage with the members of JARC, knowing that we all share Israeli pride. It was a day that I will never forget and will always cherish.”