The Season: Connecting Families, Alumni, and Community - Spring 2019
Message from the Head of School
Spring is full of activities at Yavneh - from our lower school class milestones and middle school journeys, including the eighth grade Israel experience - to West Bay Opera, model seders, Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut ceremonies, the Art Walk, the annual meeting, Lag Ba’Omer Field Day, Walkathon, the School Musical, Tzofim Caravan, and more. In recent years we have really worked hard to make our ceremonies and celebrations increasingly student conceived, led and driven. It is gratifying to see how these events have become even more authentic, and yet, have retained much of the polish of a teacher scripted performance.

This evolution in approach is a result of a shift in philosophy that focuses on the “why” or the intention behind everything that we do as a school. One of the school’s fundamental beliefs is that learning is more effective when it is purposeful and relevant. In order for our students to truly benefit from these events, we make every attempt to allow students to create their own meaning and purpose by their involvement in the creation and execution of these ceremonies. Read more
Highlights of the Season
Kol Hakavod to Kitah Zayin student Eden. Her poem was picked to be the opening poem in the winners poem book of a Hebrew Poetry Competition for Middle School and High School students in Israel. Eden was the only student outside of Israel to be among the winners. The competition was in collaboration with The Hebrew Writers Association and The Center for Creative Writing. A recording of Eden reading her poem will be projected during the ceremony in Israel this month.
Yavneh welcomed special guest Gil Hovav, Israel’s leading culinary journalist, author and TV personality for Yom HaAtzmaut. Parents and students learned about the story of Gil's great grandfather, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, and the real story of the revival of Hebrew, from a personal point of view. Students interviewed Gil on Kol Yavneh (Yavneh's Hebrew radio station), Gil gave a hummus demonstration, and he hosted our Hebrew Spelling Bee.
Kitah Chet journeyed to Israel this spring exploring all of the major cities and historical sites, taking in Israeli culture, biking through the countryside, swimming in hot springs and the Dead Sea. They even visited our sister school, Shimoni in Givatayim. Read this article by Nathan, Kitah Chet student as he reflects on his journey to Israel.

Read the entire Israel Journey Blog here.
This year's Gan students have been learning about marine life and actively working to spread the news about reducing, reusing and recycling plastics. For the Annual Art Walk, the class helped create an ocean scene from reused plastics. While families came to view the art piece, we played this video of our children sharing the devastating information of how long plastics can last, and how harmful they are to the environment.
Yavneh's Spring Benefit
This years Spring Benefit, A Night of Magic honored Rebecca and Arnnon Geshuri. Find out why they invest in Yavneh by watching the video above. It was wonderful to see so many Yavneh families -- past, present, and future -- as well as members of our greater community, join us in celebration.
The evening began with a mezuzah dedication in honor of the Wolff family in the school’s recently completed Beit Kehillah - community room, home to Yavneh’s services and assemblies.
Alumni Spotlights
Alumna Carmel Moyal, 1998-2004
Alumna Carmel Moyal is a UC Santa Barbara graduate and is currently working as a Business Operations and Workplace Strategy Manager at Palantir Technologies. Carmel was a Yavneh student from 1998 until her fifth grade graduation in 2004.

Having created fond lifelong memories and friendships, Carmel attributes much of her success to those early years. Since attending Yavneh, Carmel is glad to have been able to work at great Bay Area companies including Tesla and Palantir. She also worked at the APJCC camp for a few summers, and then for two years at Yavneh's Hamoadon program. Carmel is proud to say she can still read, write, and speak Hebrew and looks back with nostalgia on many Yavneh experiences. “I loved our Shabbat services in the old wood amphitheater with friends (before it was remodeled) and playing with our Tamagotchis,” she says.

Yavneh helped Carmel in ways she didn't realize at the time. Educationally and emotionally, her Yavneh experiences were pivotal to her success. This includes the top-tier education as well as the interpersonal relationships she experienced. “Allowing myself to just be me and be accepted for it, having great friends that have supported me, a great Jewish community that always has my back,” she says. “I feel like I'm a part of something.” Carmel says Yavneh made a big difference in her life. “I had the most incredible teachers.”
Alumna Michelle Agroskin, 2000-2004
Now working in Field Marketing Events at a cybersecurity company called HackerOne, Michelle Agroskin attended Yavneh from 2000-2004. A graduate from the University of Southern California (USC) where Michelle was class president, she also served an active role in Jewish life on the USC campus as Hillel’s VP of Events and Programming. Michelle says she has amazing memories during her time at Yavneh, “from the incredible staff to the awesome holiday events and fun classroom activities, Yavneh gave me a great foundation for the rest of my education,” she says. “I will never forget Morah Shulah from Kindergarten, and how she sang songs with us after lunch every day, and how loving and kind she was.”

Warm educational memories like these inspired her to help others in the community, too. While at Kehillah Jewish High School, Michelle started a club where student volunteers worked at an East Palo Alto charter school, helping students with math or reading. “I also volunteered for Friendship Circle for a few years and became a board member to help develop the events,” Michelle adds. While in college, Michelle continued her work as a volunteer with Troy Camp, an organization serving school districts in Los Angeles. Active in Jewish life at USC, Michelle did a lot of Israel advocacy work including participating in Birthright, a summer internship in Israel, and helping guide the creation of the Jewish leadership board at Hillel as part of the Greek community life on campus.

Because her Yavneh experience was an integral part of her development, Michelle sought out events and activities that created the same feeling of community. “Yavneh is a true community and one that I have always looked to find over and over again in my life; a place where I can truly feel at home.”
Click here to submit your alumni spotlight
Alumni Simchas
Mazal tov to Almnus Zach Ellenberg ’08 on his marriage to Ruth Ferguson. The couple was married on May 5, 2019 at The Holly Farm in Carmel Valley. Zach and Ruth met on Birthright Israel while both were students at University of Washington. Many of Zach’s Yavneh classmates were part of festivities: Siavash Zohoori (2008) served as best man and Jacob Goldberg (2008) was a signing witness on the ketubah. The groom's sisters, Molly Ellenberg (2009) and Naava Ellenberg (2013), were bridesmaids. The couple lives in Menlo Park, CA. Zach is a Senior Support Engineer at Radius Intelligence in SF. Ruth is a Communications Aide to Assembly member Marc Berman. 
Click here to submit your alumni simcha
Share Your College Decisions
Attention Graduating High School Seniors:
We want to know what your plans are for next year. Please fill out the survey below by Sunday, June 2nd to receive a graduation gift at the alumni reception. The survey and gifts are for ALL Class of 2015 Alumni and will be mailed to you if you cannot attend, even if you live outside the US.
Save the Date - Alumni and Yavneh Community Welcome
Wed. June 5th
Alumni Reception Honoring the Class of 2015, 12:00pm-1:15pm
8th Grade Graduation, 1:30pm
(all alumni and alumni parents invited) RSVP
Advertise in Yavneh's Print Calendar
New! There is a limited amount of space for advertisements that will be printed in the 2019-2020 Yavneh School Calendar. Contact Lauren for more information and to purchase an ad for your business.