Before leaving Egypt, Hashem tells Moshe to דבר נא באזני העם— “Please speak to the nation” and tell them to ask their Egyptian neighbors for gold and silver to take with them on their journey.

The Midrash explains that this commandment was necessary before they left because of Hashem’s promise to Avraham Avinu. Hashem foretold Avraham that his descendants would be slaves in a foreign land and that they would leave with great wealth. If Bnei Yisrael left without taking the riches, Avraham would have a valid claim to lodge against Hashem.

Why the need for an excuse? Of course Hashem would keep His word. Moreover, of all the commandments in the Torah, why did Hashem have to instruct Moshe to “Please” talk to the nation? Shouldn’t this be something they were excited about?

Sefat Emet and Hatam Sofer explain that Bnei Yisrael were eager to leave. They felt closely connected to Hashem and experienced a sublime spiritual level. They wanted a relationship with Hashem built upon spirituality and did not care for the money.

Taking the wealth of Egypt fulfilled a particular mystical need. There were elements of kedushah hidden throughout Egypt and taking these riches symbolized redeeming those hidden sparks. Bnei Yisrael felt that even though they were promised riches, they reached a higher level than where that promise would have been needed. Nonetheless, Hashem wanted Bnei Yisrael to experience the added level of kedushah and therefore commanded that it be done. Even when commanding something that was for our benefit and that was ultimately a fulfillment of a promise that He had made, Hashem insisted that the request begin with “Please.”

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi David Shabtai, MD

Women Who Code
Fantastic Female Alumni Return to Discuss their
Pursuits in STEM
Graphic by Penina Kahane ('22) and Abby Rosenthal ('23)

Before winter vacation, the Girls Who Code Club put together an alumni engineering panel, an incredible and motivational event for KYHS girls interested in STEM. Students were able to hear from four alumni who spoke about their experiences with STEM in college. They spoke about what college life is like as a coding major and a woman involved in STEM. Students had the opportunity to ask them any questions about college -- many were interested in hearing from them specifically about being a woman in the engineering field. The alumni shared stories about their experiences balancing school with their social lives, and they encouraged club members to join the STEM field. Students learned and saw firsthand that women can be successful in STEM even though it is a male-dominated industry. The alumni are great role models for the Girls Who Code Club! We’re so grateful they gave us a glimpse into their experiences in STEM.

Article by Talia Shapiro ('21)
Jewish Schools Unite Around STEM at Hackathon
Add “Athon” to Anything and it Makes it Innovative
Graphic by Rebecca Adler ('23)

Two weeks ago, students ranging from freshmen to juniors in Dr. Wolf’s engineering elective took part in CIJE’s hackathon. The hackathon was a one-day event in which our teams competed against rival schools’ teams to design, build, and test an app or a website for remote monitoring. At the end of the day, the final products were presented. Our students received a crash course in HTML, website design, internet protocol, and more. The participants worked so hard on their projects, and when the winners were announced, we were thrilled to learn that our team won second place with their idea of an electric keypad that can notify nurses of any emergency. 

Article by Mishael Sommers ('23)
KYHS Hosts and Dominates Robotics Competition
Storm Robotics Team Takes Home the Gold
Graphic by Ariella Mayer ('23)

On January 13th, four local Florida schools participated in a VEX Robotics “scrimmage” aimed to test their robots’ capabilities and strategies to ultimately prepare them for the mid-season competitions. After months of hard work, patience, and reconfiguration in designing and programming their robots, each team got to portray the best of their individual and customized robots and showed their strengths during each match of the event. 

After the qualification rounds, which serve to determine the seats, the highest-ranking teams choose their alliance. This continues down the list until each team is paired up. Afterwards, the teams compete in a bracket where they battle until one alliance becomes the victor. This exciting event not only shows the team's accomplishments but it also highlights key weaknesses between the robots. This allows the teams the ability to write down notes in order to fix their robots for future competitions. For example, a method used by many teams from KYHS was shown to be faulty; the robot would break after a couple of uses which hurt the robot’s performance. Only by playing in an actual match were the teams exposed to this weakness. They used this opportunity to prevent this weakness from interfering with their performance in later matches.

Not only were the individual teams aided by the other teams in helping future design methods and strategies, but this competition also allowed the schools to bond over a common goal of giving their students the greatest exposure to engineering. This interaction between schools allowed schools to share techniques in building design and allowed each school to benefit as a result. There were some ideas that our top robotics teams hadn’t considered that the other schools introduced to us and vice versa. This exchange of ideas between the competing teams during the scrimmage was crucial to the reworking of many designs after the competition. This first KYHS-hosted scrimmage paves the way for future engineering students to experience greater exposure between schools.

Article by Yehudah Marcus ('20)
Rockin’ Rosh
Chodesh Shvat
School Celebrates Rosh Chodesh with Epic Performance from KYHS Band "Chazak"
Graphic by Chana Schandelson ('22) and Aerin Tripp ('22)
Israel Advocacy Adventure
Seniors Lobby Congressional Staff On Road Trip Around South Florida
Graphic by Sivan Mussaffi ('20)

Eleven KYHS seniors, along with 30 other Jewish teens in south Florida, went on a lobbying road trip with the goal of strengthening the US-Israel relationship. The trip started in Miami where we met with Senator Marco Rubio’s Regional Director, who spoke to us about the importance of bipartisanship in the Senate. In a fascinating visit to the Israeli consulate, we learned about the role of the Consul General and how he prioritizes connecting Americans to Israeli culture. The Deputy Consul General, an Ethiopian Jew, explained her role at the Consulate and how she loves to meet with American teens advocating for Israel. The next stop on the trip was to the regional AIPAC office, where we spoke to the Regional Director about our role as teenagers. Finally, we lobbied two staff members at Congressman Deutch and Congresswomen Frankel’s office, speaking to them about our various concerns as Zionist Jews living in America and how we hope that through Congress, our elected officials can help strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship. This trip was productive in many ways -- we saw the effects of our lobbying immediately! The congressional staff spoke directly to our elected officials and discussed the issues we brought up in our meeting. This trip taught me and my peers about the importance of lobbying and the effect we have on lawmakers. We left inspired to voice our values and help spark change in the United States and for Israel. 

Article by Leora Cohn ('20)
Jed Talk: From Soviet Oppression to Life in Israel
Seniors Hear Inspirational JED talk from
Rabbi Yossi Mendelevich
Graphic by Highlites Chevra

A few weeks ago, the senior class had the privilege of listening to Rabbi Yosef Mendelevitch's story of living as a Jew in Soviet Russia. Originally, Rabbi Mendelevitch wasn’t a very observant Jew and looked down on those who were. However, when Rabbi Mendelevitch saw the lengths that other Jews would go to preserve their Judaism, during such a difficult time in a place full of antisemitism, he was inspired. He became Orthodox and wanted to emigrate to Israel, but was cursed at and eventually thrown into a Russian prison. He held on to his Judaism no matter the pressure or situation. In prison he would save his meager portions of bread just to have two challahs for Shabbat. At one point, when they took away his Siddur, he fasted for two months in protest. In the end, Rabbi Mendelevitch's determination and faith ended up saving his life because it garnered so much attention from the media. Soviet Russia came under so much pressure to free Rabbi Mendelevitch that they flew him to Israel where he was able to live happily and freely as a Jew. Rabbi Mendelevitch taught the senior class an important lesson: the value of fighting for our Judaism.

Article by Al Diamont ('22)
Storm Speaks
And Storm Robotics Collaborates, Builds, and Programs!
Graphic by Leora Cohn ('20)
Ariella's Angle
STEM Education Matters: Heres Why
Graphic by Leanne Mizrahi Mann ('23)

The STEM industry is expanding dramatically throughout the United States, and employment in STEM occupations increased 8.8% in 2018, compared with a 5.2% increase in non-STEM occupations ( But why is the STEM industry growing more rapidly than other fields? And why is it so important?

STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, is fundamental to life. Science, for example, is everywhere and is needed to understand ourselves and the world around us. Technology is ubiquitous and is seen in computers, airplanes, microwaves, and everything in between. ​Engineers design our roads and bridges and mathematicians are critical for global problem-solving. The STEM industry is responsible for countless advancements in our society, including space travel and cancer research, and therefore is a crucial subject that should be taught in school.

STEM education allows students to be innovative and creative, and it empowers them to concoct solutions to global issues. Despite large technological advancements in recent years, many people around the world are still ill, starving, or homeless. Education in STEM fields better positions people to discover cures for illnesses, improve ways to distribute food to the hungry, and provide shelter for the underprivileged. However, STEM education should be integrated into schools today in order to continue these advancements in the future. By exposing students to STEM at a young age, schools are more likely to inspire them to later pursue a career in the industry. Students will become more appreciative of STEM and recognize how it has impacted all of our lives.

Additionally, STEM education fosters creativity by allowing people to experiment with new ideas to benefit​ society or improve technologies that already exist. It encourages them to think outside of the box, which helps them devise solutions to complex global issues.
The STEM industry is growing for a reason. Not only does it further students' creativity, but it improves the world through scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical advancements.

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