Graphic by Ariella Mayer ('23)

While we know that Noach was chosen by Hashem because he was “a righteous man, perfect in his generation,” the Torah is silent when it comes to a description of Avraham’s background. The midrash, perceiving this gap, tries to fill in the stories of Avraham’s early years in order to provide us with insight into how Avraham found God and why, as a result, Hashem chose him. While we are quite familiar with the midrashim that illustrate Avraham as an iconoclast who destroyed Terach’s idols and who was willing to be cast into the fiery furnace as a testament to his deep and profound faith in God, we are less familiar with the midrash that explains how Avraham stumbled upon monotheism in the first place. This midrash compares Avraham’s journey to that of a traveler walking along a desolate path. The man chances upon a palace that is lit up and asks, “Will you say this palace has no governor (“manhig)? In response, the master of the palace looks out at him and says, “I am the master of the palace.” The midrash concludes by saying that in a similar vein, when Avraham said, “Will you say this world has no governor?” Hashem looked out at him and said to him, “I am the Master of the world.”

There are a variety of approaches to this midrash that each provide insight into how Avraham discovered God in this world. The Rambam (Hilchot Avodah Zara) explained that Avraham used a rational and intellectual approach to infer the existence of God. He maintained that Avraham looked at the natural world and concluded that, just like a palace that has been illuminated must have an owner who lit the lamps, so too a world that is so ordered and detailed must have a creator who designed it. Rambam therefore concluded that Avraham discovered the existence of God by studying the natural world and that we, too, should use the scientific world as the basis for proof of the existence of God.

In contrast to the Rambam, Hasdai ibn Crescas, a student of the Ran, believed that the midrash was emphasizing the idea that man can only know God through experience and can not ever know him through reason alone. To him, the turning point in the midrash occurs during the interaction between the traveler and the owner of the palace. He suggests that the traveler assumed that the palace had an owner but that he only felt comfortable knowing that the owner existed once that owner responded to his question. Avraham asked questions and looked for the answers to his questions until God revealed Himself to him. Crescas says that one can only find God when one asks questions and wants to hear the answers and when one seeks a relationship with Him by trying to experience Him. To Crescas, the issue is not one of proof of God’s existence but about experiencing Him, seeing His care, and emulating His ways. Avraham first sought out God and only then did God reveal Himself to him. 

Although diametrically opposed, both the Rambam and Hasdai ibn Crescas offer approaches to how man can find God in a world of uncertainty and chaos. The Rambam suggests that it is through rational inquiry and scientific discovery that man can prove the existence of God beyond a shadow of a doubt. He maintains that for those seeking absolute proof of God, engaging in an Aristotelian, philosophical debate will lead them to find God in the natural world. To Hasdai ibn Crescas, man and God exist on such different planes that the human mind can’t ever prove the existence of God. Crescas therefore suggests that man will grow close to God only when he interacts with Him and experiences His goodness in this world through prophecy, Torah study, or tefillah. Regardless of which approach one takes, the commonality between them is that it is only the person who searches for and seeks out God that can properly respond to the call of “lech lecha” when summoned. 

So many of us are looking to find meaning in our lives. But whether we are the person who engages in intellectual inquiry or the person who learns through the experiential, we must challenge ourselves to use our mind, body, and spirit to seek God. If we genuinely open ourselves up to this journey, we may be surprised by the depth of the connection and the profound meaning that we discover along the way. 

Good Shabbos,
Mrs. Perl
Rebbe, You Mamish Changed My Life
Seniors Hear from KHDS Head of School Rabbi Sadigh about his Judaism Journey

Graphic by Aaron Newman ('24)
This past Friday, the seniors had the honor of hearing from the esteemed Rav Yaakov Sadigh, Head of School at KHDS. Rav Sadigh began his speech by sharing the journey that he made from Iran to America, both physically and religiously. He shared that until he was nine years old, he attended an Islamic school and knew nothing about Hebrew or Judaism. Due to political unrest in Iran, his family relocated to Greece and then eventually to New York, where his once-affluent father worked as a watch handyman for three dollars an hour and he braced the halls of P.S 99, with no idea of the language or culture. Eventually, Rabbi Sadigh switched into a yeshiva for boys with no Jewish background and began his learning. 

After beginning to become more religious on his own in twelfth grade, Rabbi Sadigh spent three years learning in Israel, followed by continued learning in a joint program with Touro College in New York City. As a 22-year-old college student, Rabbi Sadigh received a phone call from his high school rebbe asking him to be the new tenth grade rebbe in his former high school. Rabbi Sadigh accepted this offer, and his career in education began. 

Rabbi Sadigh shared his courageous journey from his childhood as a boy who knew nothing about Judaism to a father raising his children with a love of Hashem and Torah. His story inspired the senior class tremendously. Gavi Kahn remarked that,  “not only did he achieve so much in life coming from such a low place, but he talked about his life-changing decisions that we as students have in our life or will have in the near future.” Rabbi Sadigh expressed relatable, thought-provoking questions that the senior class was lucky and grateful to hear.

Article by Emma Schenker ('22)
Missing Memes Found
You Made Memes and College Board Found Them and Did Not Approve
Graphic by Olivia Kahane ('23)
This past Wednesday looked slightly different from the regular school day at KYHS. Instead, the freshman, sophomore, and junior classes participated in the PSAT exam. The PSAT is a standardized test that stands for Practice Scholastic Aptitude Test. Taking the PSAT benefits students by preparing them for their future SAT exam. 

Scores of this national test are for personal growth, and improvement. Colleges will not view the grades the students achieve. However, high school juniors are eligible to receive a National Merit Scholarship if they have the score qualifications. In the upcoming months, eleventh graders will discuss their PSAT scores with their academic advisors, which will help with the college advising process. The expected release date of the PSAT scores is early December.

On test day this Wednesday, the three grades were split up into groups alphabetically and every room had teachers proctoring the exam.The PSAT was divided up into three sections, which included reading, writing/language, and math skills. For many, the PSAT is the first exciting step on the journey towards the college process. 

Article by Gabriella Asher ('25)
Student Standoff
KYHS Students Molly Seghi (‘22) and Michali Herman (‘22) Discuss the Pros and Cons of a Split Shabbaton
Graphic by Chantal Newman ('22) and Eitan Kaminetzky ('25)
The KYHS Shabbaton has finally been announced and the students are ecstatic. We have been waiting for over a year to experience one of the best aspects of school that was sadly missed last year due to the pandemic. I talked to two seniors who have experienced both a school-wide version of the shabbaton and a split (by grade) shabbaton, and I asked them what the pros and cons are of each. Michali Herman (‘22) said that she favors the school-wide Shabbaton that she loved experiencing as a freshman. She loved the Simcha Leiner concert and going to Universal with friends for the day. She knows that these experiences are not exclusive to a school-wide Shabbaton but the experience of spending time outside of school with all of your peers from every grade unites everyone in an extremely unique way. That kind of feeling cannot be replicated in any other setting. 

Molly Seghi (‘22) agreed with Michali that it is an extremely unique experience to have the entire school be together at a hotel for a Shabbat, but she still favors the split shabbaton. Molly feels that the smaller environment of a split shabbaton creates room for closer relationships to be built. With the more intimate setting of a split Shabbaton, she feels that it is easier to become close with people in your grade with whom you might not usually be close. This is because, on a split shabbaton, there are not so many people that someone might feel the need to spend their time with 400 different people. 

Both Michali and Molly raised great points about their personal favorite aspects of past shabbatons. We all know that no matter who goes on the shabbaton, it will be an amazing experience to spend time with staff and students outside of the classroom. I, along with my fellow peers, have no doubt that this year’s shabbaton will be even more incredible than the fabulous ones of years past. 

Article by Kira Jacoby ('22)
Mrs. Perfect Perl
Get to Know Mrs. Perl, She’s Pretty Perfect

Graphic by Rebecca Adler ('23)
Eilat: Where are you from? 

Mrs. Perl: I grew up in Bergen County, New Jersey.  

Eilat: What was your childhood like? 

Mrs. Perl: I am an only child so it was pretty boring. 

Eilat: What college did you attend and what seminary did you go to in Israel?

Mrs. Perl: I went to MMY for two years and then attended Stern College. I also have a Master’s Degree in Tanach and have finished my doctoral coursework in Administration and Supervision.  

Eilat: Tell us about your family. How many kids do you have? How old are they and what are they up to?

Mrs. Perl: I have four children. Shmuel is 21 and he is studying law at Tel Aviv University. He married Hila Karol in June and they live in Givat Shmuel. Racheli is 19 and is shana bet at Sha’alvim for Women. Binny is a sophomore at KYHS, and Eitan is a 6th grader at Hillel. 

Eilat: Why did you decide to study education? Did you ever have any other careers in mind?

Mrs. Perl: Originally I actually wanted to be a neurosurgeon but then I decided to become an educator. I often say that anyone can be a neurosurgeon but not anyone can be a teacher!  

Eilat: So far, what is your favorite part of KYHS?

Mrs. Perl: The students!!!! They are warm, embracing, welcoming, and so much fun.  

Eilat: What is your favorite subject to teach or learn? 

Mrs. Perl: Tanach. I hope that I can expose my students to the depth of thought and profound relevance that can be discovered when learning Tanach.

Article by Eilat Berger ('22)
Seniors had a Blast at Senior Pictures
Graphic by Rivka Reich ('24)
Senior pictures are always a rite of passage for KYHS seniors. Every year, as freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, we would sit in awe and watch the seniors get all dressed up to take their pictures and we awaited the moment when it would be our turn. Our Senior Picture Day always felt so far away. High school has gone by in the blink of an eye and finally it is our grade’s turn to take senior pictures. After the hours spent doing hair and makeup and shopping for the perfect jewelry, ties, and black shirts, we were ready to take our portraits this Wednesday.

For a few hours, we put aside the stress of impending college, seminary, and yeshiva applications. Before taking pictures, many seniors had their Stern and Yeshiva University interviews, during which each student was interviewed by a Yeshiva University student and questioned about what we each want out of our college experience. Right after the easy and friendly interview, the seniors headed downstairs for the moment we have been looking forward to all throughout high school: senior pictures!

The cameraman directed us to the gray background while calling out: ‘’turn your head to the left’’ and ‘’stand straight’’. We took photos in many different poses, some holding objects that said “Seniors” or “2022”. The camera clicked and our bright smiles carried on for the rest of the day. Then the seniors walked outside and took group pictures in the great lighting (thank you Sunshine State!). The day was an absolute success and we cannot wait to see how the pictures turn out!

Article by Shayla Saida ('22)
Yeshiva University Tells Students YU Should
Come to Their School
Students Heard from YU Representatives in Preparation for College
Graphic by Dan Himelstein ('24)
I am the eldest child in my family and therefore the first to go to college. The college process can be harrowing for parents as they help their children through it. I sat down to ask my dad about sending a child to college for the first time. 

Avigail: What is it like sending your first (and favorite!) child off to college?

Mr. Levine: Honestly, it’s difficult because you are, appropriately, moving away mentally, and because you are focused on your future it feels like you are halfway out the door. It’s nerve-wracking because there are so many deadlines and things to get right, but with the help of college guidance we are excited for your future!

Avigail: What aspects of a college do you prioritize while making college decisions?

Mr. Levine: I don’t! I feel very lucky that I think you are going to make a good decision. 

Avigail: Do you feel properly informed and equipped by the college guidance team in the college process? 

Mr. Levine: College guidance has made what is typically a disorienting and overwhelming process feel methodical and straightforward. Especially since we are unfamiliar with the college guidance as parents, we are so grateful to KYHS’s college guidance team for all of the help and support. We really appreciate the work that they do and are happy with how they hold our hands.

Article by Avigail Levine ('22)
Highlites Staff