January 9, 2020 /12th of Tevet 5780 /  Parashat V ayechi/Candle Lighting: 4:31 pm
Early Childhood/Lower School
Nursery 3 at JKHA was introduced to an Art Appreciation Unit encouraging exploration, self-expression, imagination and creativity. Art exposure helps develop visual literacy, a pre-reading skill, and grants each child the opportunity to express their thoughts and listen to others. Over the course of the unit, the N-3 students will work on their fine and gross motor development using various mediums as they study each artist. They will draw their own still life pictures, like Paul Cézanne, splatter paint like Jackson Pollock, and create collages like Henri Matisse. To kick off the unit, students painted their own masterpieces by working upside-down like Michelangelo.
The students in fourth grade enjoyed an engaging game of Chumash Dominoes to practice the story of Dina and Shechem where they were able to sequence and connect the details. 
Kitah Alef has been worked extremely hard to get ready for their siddur play. Both first grade classes had a chance to perform on stage this week and to receive their siddurim. The students sang songs from the Tal Am curriculum, together with new songs they learned, well-choreographed dances and hand motions. They sang songs about the tefillot from the siddur and were very excited to show off what they had learned for their parents and grandparents. They cannot wait to use their siddurim! 
In connection to the weekly parsha session that Rabbi Mintz's eleventh grade girls class has each week, they prepared a parsha lesson about the parsha and then taught it to the third grade class. They discussed with the kids Yaakov's wishes that his sons remain united after his death and the importance of getting along with your siblings. 
The reading buddies program offers an opportunity for different grades to build relationships and instills a sense of community. Our older learners in fourth grade had an opportunity to support their nursery 3 buddies in reading books to them this week.
Middle School
The seventh graders had an opportunity to bond with each other and their faculty outside the classroom last shabbat and a boys shabbaton in Passaic and a girls shabbaton in Springfield. Both groups had a meaningful shabbat experience with delicious food, singing, Torah, and fun. Following shabbat the boys went bowling and the girls enjoyed a fun and creative "Chopped" competition, with Mrs. Levenson and Morah Gantz's husband having the special opportunity to be judges! A great time was had by all. Thank you to all of the Rebbeim and Morot who came to spend shabbat with the students!
The student council mobile snack cart is up and running! Every Friday, members of student council sell snacks and drinks to raise money for new Middle School initiatives and programming.
Morah Shamsian’s Ivrit 6th grade class hosted a PBLL fair (Project Based Learning in Language) about Tel Aviv. This fair is a culmination of two months of learning and research regarding the city of Tel Aviv in Israel. The interactive fair was shared with other classes and included a video tour of Tel Aviv highlights where highlights were narrated by the students and could be triggered by QR codes that were displayed throughout the room. Also, visitors played an interactive game using Augmented Reality to reveal clues hidden in the displays, which when put together, created a phrase about Tel Aviv. This interdisciplinary program was enabled by our Educational Technologist, Miri Rubin.
The sixth grade participated in a cross-curricular program connecting topics from Language Arts and Judaic Studies with Rabbi Sukenik and Mrs. Zeif. The springboard for the program was a scene from The Breadwinner, the current sixth grade novel that is set in Afghanistan during the tumultuous period under the Taliban rule. As Parvana, a young girl and the main character, is forced, under duress, to dress as a boy and dig in a graveyard in order to provide for her family, we engaged in an exploration and discussion about Judaism's value of  kavod ha'met . We started our program with a probing question eliciting explanations for why Judaism places high importance on the treatment of those who have passed away. Among the valuable responses, we concluded that our creation in the image of Hashem, imbued with a divine spark, gives inherent value to every human being. Throughout the program, we drew on historical examples including an international controversy over the proposed removal of a centuries-old Jewish cemetery in Egypt in order to build a new highway and the 37 year search and return of Zecharia Baumel's body for proper burial in Israel. Students emerged with a deeper understanding of the myriad ways Jewish practices reflect our commitment to honoring and respecting others. Throughout the discussion, this very meaningful lesson was extended to encourage students to deepen their respect, sensitivity, and kindness to everyone in all areas of life as a reflection of the lesson of each human having a divine spark. 
As part of the Middle School's ongoing effort to teach students about being responsible in the fast-paced, digital world, 5th - 8th grades participated in an interactive program about teenagers and technology with Detective Edward DeLafuente of the Millburn Police department. Drawing on his experience in law enforcement, Detective DeLafuente highlighted the importance of safe and appropriate digital communication. He spoke about the use of different online apps, emphasized the importance of ensuring proper privacy settings on all digital communication, and talked about the challenges inherent in the anonymity of the internet. He encouraged our students to consider the permanency of the internet when they post things online, and gave them suggestions of how to make good decisions about what to post.  He also shared with our students how different apps retain users' information and the importance of students not sharing information with people they don't personally know.
Parents of Middle School students gathered on Wednesday evening for their own session on Digital Citizenship with Detective DeLafuente. Detective DeLafuenta spoke to the parent body about some of the dangers they may encounter on social media and with smartphones and how we can each proactively support our children. 
Students in Rabbi Feit's class studying the description of the מן in Sefer Bamidbar were trying to figure out why the Torah praises the מן by comparing it to a coriander seed. After passing around a bottle of coriander seeds students quickly realized that it couldn't be the size and it certainly wasn't the taste! What could it be? Students enjoyed this engaging exercise which encouraged them to analyze every word in a passuk and brought the subject to life in a visual way. Can you figure out the answer? 
Mrs. Swanson’s seventh grade pre-algebra class has been solving proportions to learn the relationship between time, speed and distance. Using their knowledge of scale drawings, the students have designed cities. They are now working with Eduational Technologist Mrs. Rubin to code and maneuver Sphero robots to accurately travel to different locations on their maps. 
High School
To help ease them into their first midterms, the guidance department offered an opportunity for support (and donuts!) for the freshmen.
Students from RKYHS had the privilege to hear from Mr. Ed Mosberg, who spoke to them about his harrowing experiences as a survivor of the Holocaust. Students listened with rapt attention as Mr. Mosberg emotionally described some of the horrors he experienced during the Holocaust.  Mr. Mosberg is the sole survivor out of 16 members of his family and survived the Krakow Ghetto, Plaszow, Mauthausen and Linz Concentration Camps.  Mr. Mosberg brought with him some of the many Holocaust-related articles and personal items he has amassed including his and his wife’s striped concentration camp uniforms, pieces of a barbed wire fence, items from concentration camps and Synagogues in Poland, among others including a torah he rescued from Poland like the one that he donated to JKHA/RKYHS. Students had the chance to view these items up close after the lecture.  
Students comprehended the necessity to own Mr. Mosberg's experiences and history, and understood the special opportunity to hear him speak today, as they are the last generation that will be able to hear first-hand accounts from survivors.
After participating in the Siyum HaShas at MetLife stadium kast Wednesday, RKYHS history teacher Mr. Daniel Cipriani completed his 7 1/2 year daf yomi learning cycle with the RKYHS community in school after davening. View his inspiring message and the completion of his learning and siyum here or click on the image. RKYHS was privileged to be a part of this tremendous accomplishment - Yashar Koach!  
In advance of Martin Luther King Jr day, RKYHS students heard from Mr. Lawrence Hamm who spoke about the life and legacy of Dr. King. Mr. Hamm has been an active advocate for civil rights for over 30 years. Now based in Newark he served as a district leader and president of the 24th District Assembly and is the chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress (POP). As chairman, Mr. Hamm has consistently worked towards building unity among community organizations and advocates for equality and rights. Mr. Hamm is also challenging Cory Booker in the 2020 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. In his inspirational remarks, Mr. Hamm provided an understanding for students as to what Martin Luther King Jr stood for and how he fought for justice. Adding his own personal experiences growing up African American in the 1950’s and 60’s, he impressed upon the students that no matter your age, everyone can take a stand, get involved and participate in civil rights. He concluded that the best way to celebrate the life of MLK Jr is to fight against injustice.  Today's SEED session brought special meaning to the upcoming national holiday.
The senior boys held a barbecue to celebrate Rabbi Sharbat beginning the daf yomi cycle.
Cobra Corner
Congratulations to Joey Dresdner on placing first in his weight class at a recent tournament in Randolph. RKYHS was the only Jewish Day School that competed.  
Mazal tov to Abby Goldzal and to Michelle and Jeremy Goldzal on the occasion of Abby's bat mitzvah!
Divrei Torah
The Power of Community
At the end of perek 48, Yaakov avinu mentions that he got cities from the Emori with his sword and arrows. The Targum Onkeles as well as the Gemara say that sword and arrow are a reference to davening. The sword corresponds to formal established tefila which we daven with the tzibbur (community). The arrow corresponds to bakashos which are personal requests, added on to the standard text of prayer.
R. Meir Simcha from Dvinsk, the Meshech Chochma, explains why the Torah refers to these prayers as sword and arrow. He explains that a sword is inherently dangerous. Even if the person wielding the sword is not so strong or quick the sword can still cause damage just due to its sharpness. The arrow on the other hand can only hurt if it is shot with force and aimed directly at the target.
This is reflective of the two types of tefila referred to earlier. Tefila which happens in Shul with a minyan is like a sword. It is inherently powerful, even if the person davening doesn’t have proper kavana. On the other hand, a personal request is only as powerful as the kavana and sincerity with which it is prayed.
This teaches us the importance of communal tefila. While it is very difficult to completely focus on our tefila and properly concentrate throughout, tefila with a minyan is like a sword. Even if we don’t swing it so powerfully its inherent power can make it effective.
Shabbat Shalom!
- Rabbi Dovid Sukenik
Events and Programs
Don't forget to Sign up for Lower School Clubs. Click here to View.
Mazal tov to Kirk Berger (JKHA '04/RKYHS '08) on his marriage to Allison Mann.
Mazal tov to Leora (levitan JKHA '08) and Michael Berkowitz on the birth of a son. 
Mazal Tov to Lauren (Bloom '99/'03) and Daniel Silverman on the birth of a daughter.  
Members of the RKYHS Class of 2019 currently studying at Midreshet Lindenbaum had the opportunity to attend the Women's Hadran gathering celebrating the Siyum HaShas for women in Israel 
Rabbi Kirsch met up with alumni, left to right Michael Lefkovits JKHA '08/RKYHS '12, Alexi Gotlieb JKHA '08/RKYHS '12, and David Zuckerman JKHA '09/RKYHS '13, at the No Hate No Fear March in New York City on Sunday.  
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Children's Torah Learning 
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If you are interested in dedicating a mezuzah, please contact Lauren Shapiro, Director of Development at  lshapiro@jkha.org  or 
(862) 437-8192