When we read Parshat Vayeishev, we often focus on the lessons about interpersonal relationships. The parsha discusses the relationships between Yaakov and Yosef, Yosef and his brothers, and Yosef and his Egyptian masters. However, when we analyze the pesukim on a deeper level, we also find many lessons about intrapersonal relationships. I would like to focus specifically on Reuven and Yehuda.

When Reuven initially takes a stand and tells the brothers not to kill Yosef, he makes it seem as though it has nothing to do with Yosef himself, but rather “לא נכנו נפש” — we shouldn’t kill any person, murdering is beneath us. Ramban explains that Reuven is phrasing it this way only to try and persuade the brothers not to kill Yosef. In fact, Ramban argues that Reuven had made previous attempts to try and stop the brothers but he was ignored. In contrast, when Yehuda decides to alter their mission to kill Yosef, he states “מה בצע כי נהרג את אחינו” — what do we gain from killing our brother. The brothers immediately listen to Yehuda’s suggestion. What is it about these two brothers that causes people to react to them so differently?

Perhaps the difference between these brothers lies in their levels of self-confidence. When Reuven attempts to convince the brothers, he himself is not sure what to say or how he feels. He ultimately abandons a confrontational route and adopts a passive-aggressive approach. However, Yehuda directly confronts the brothers and tells them how he really feels, and as a result, they acquiesce. In general, people typically respond better to confident people or confident statements.

The importance of self-confidence is even more pressing in our current society. Self-confidence is acquired through experiencing challenges and rising to the occasion. It is born from knowing yourself, understanding your flaws and limitations, yet attempting to push yourself past them nonetheless. Even failures can then be interpreted as growth opportunities. Unfortunately, in our generation we spend less time getting to know ourselves. We avoid situations that make us uncomfortable. We have technology that eases most of our everyday burdens. As a result, the levels of true self-confidence have plummeted. We don’t get to realize how capable we really are. I hope we can learn this very important message from Yehuda and remember how crucial self-confidence is to being successful. Let us spend more time learning about ourselves, accepting our flaws, yet trying to improve them as well. Let us interpret failure and challenges as the growth opportunities that they are. Hopefully we can then be true leaders like Yehuda, and confront situations appropriately when necessary.  

Shabbat Shalom,
Mrs. Dina Dobkowski

Internet Safety For a New Decade
Mr. Greg Schiller Teaches Students How to Navigate
Dangers of Online World
Graphic by Penina Kahane ('22)

On Monday, students learned about internet safety from Mr. Greg Schiller. Mr. Schiller is an Assistant US Attorney, working for the federal government to prosecute cyber-criminals. Students were informed that many of us have likely engaged in some illegal online activity and that there are more cyber-criminals than we may have thought. While this may depict crimes online as negligible and normalized, criminal activity can lead to life sentences in prison. Mr. Schiller advised us to be careful online. He recommended writing all passwords and accounts down in case parents or law enforcement need access to online information. The assembly closed with the story of how a speaker, like Mr. Schiller, taught an audience, like us, to report cyber crimes. When audience members reported a crime they witnessed, they ended up saving a three year old girl from harm. We’re so grateful he shared the wisdom of his experiences, teaching us to be cautious online and to report criminal activity.

Article by Moriah Rosenthal ('20)
Baking Challah and
Making Memories
Freshmen Girls and Their Mentors Bake Challah Together

Graphic by Abby Rosenthal ('23) and Ariella Mayer ('23)

On Wednesday, the freshman girls and their mentors came together for a challah bake. It was an evening full of fun and inspiration. The girls had the hands-on opportunity to bake their very own challah from scratch. While waiting for the challah to rise, they enjoyed a barbecue prepared by Terry. Sivan Mussaffi and Ms. Horowitz shared beautiful Divrei Torah about the mitzvah of baking challah. The girls then braided challahs and even had a couple of flour fights. Everybody had a moment of deep thought as they did Hafrashat Challah . The challah bake was a huge success and an amazing bonding moment for the freshman and their mentors!
Article by Zohara Lam ('23)
Emotional Speech Closes With Hope
Seniors Inspired by Chaim Silberstein's Deep Messages
and Life Story

Graphic by Sydney Freedman ('20)

Last Friday, Chaim Silberstein, father of Shira Silberstein, spoke to the seniors. On December 9th, 2019, Chaim's son in law and pregnant daughter were shot by a hamas terrorist at a bus stop in the West Bank in Israel. Chaim's daughter was critically injured and underwent emergency surgery. While the baby had to be delivered right away and unfortunately passed away soon after, Chaim's daughter miraculously survived. He explained multiple miracles that took place throughout this terrifying incident. First, the bus stop was located in close proximity to a Magen David Adom station so the paramedics were able to get to her immediately, which was crucial because she was bleeding profusely. Then, the paramedics were able to take an army path, which the driver knew about and the army quickly opened, as a shortcut of the otherwise long route to the hospital. In addition, while Shira’s baby didn't live long, she was able to come out of her coma to hold him for ten minutes before he died. While this attack is really traumatic, Chaim is extremely grateful his daughter and son in law are alive and is not letting this change who he is. Chaim grew up in South Africa and courageously decided to make aliyah after high school. Forty years later, he, and now his family, are still living in Israel. His daughter and son in law remain living in the West bank. After this incident, his incredible daughter, who's womb, a centimeter away from being hit by the bullet, is miraculously undamaged, said that she hopes to have more children. Chaim's story gives us a lot of strength and we really appreciate that he was able to speak to us! 

Article by Maayan Tzur ('20)
Storm Speaks
Business is Boomin' with Ben Blaine, Aaron Katz, and David Mann's Entrepreneurship Club
Graphic by Leeane Mizrahi Mann ('23) and Rebecca Adler ('23)
Ariella's Angle
Don't Sleep on This Hot Take
Graphic by Sivan Mussaffi ('20) and Aerin Tripp ('22)

Sleep is vital for concentration, productivity, and health, yet many people, especially teenagers, do not get the amount of sleep they need. According to the National Sleep Foundation, only 15% of teenagers sleep for at least eight and a half hours on school nights, even though they need at least eight hours to optimally function. Why are a majority of students vastly sleep deprived? And how can they alleviate this problem?

Students often delay sleep due to school assignments, extracurricular activities, or simply scrolling through social media. Adolescents naturally become tired at around 11 p.m. so going to sleep before then is particularly challenging. Additionally, many teenagers use their phones, computers, or other electronic devices before bed, which further inhibs sleep. Not only do these screens emit a blue light that restrains the production of melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone), but they keep your brain alert, which tricks your body into staying awake. Moreover, according to sleep.org, 72% of children sleep with at least one electronic device within reach. Even if they avoid using it before going to sleep, incoming texts, calls, and messages that ding or buzz can keep them awake. 

So what can teengaers do to help them go to sleep early? For starters, do homework in advance. Avoid cramming for tests and writing essays the night before they are due in order to ensure enough time for sleep. Additionally, stay away from coffee, tea, soda, juice, and any other food or drink with caffeine or a high sugar content which will keep you awake. And, most importantly, turn off electronic devices and put them away to avoid getting distracted by them. 

Sleep is crucial for boosting the immune system and increasing concentration and has even been linked to healthier eating, better school performance, and improved decision-making. So, especially for students who wake up early to drive to school from Hollywood or further south, start going to sleep earlier to ensure you get the full eight hours of sleep you need!

Article by Ariella Gross ('21)
This Week in Pictures
Highlites Staff