Graphic by Ariella Mayer ('23) and Chana Schendelson ('22)
Are You Floating in Ha’azinu Valley?

The Seder HaDoros tells an incredible story from the life of the Ramban:

The Ramban once had a student, Rav Avner, who converted to Catholicism and assimilated into Spanish society. Soon he rose to the highest ranks of the nobility. Once he summoned his former teacher to appear before him on Yom Kippur. Fearful of the possible negative consequences that could arise from not heeding the order and hopeful that the influence of the holy day would enable him to spur his former student to repentance, the Ramban made his way to Avner’s palace. When he entered, he was ushered into his student’s chamber. Avner had been waiting for him. He took a knife, approached a pig that he had prepared, slaughtered it, cut it up, roasted its meat on a fire, and ate it with relish.

“How many transgressions involving the serious punishment of Kerais did I just commit?” he asked the Ramban.

“Four,” the sage answered.

“No, five,” Avner replied, and with erudition, he proceeded to prove the correctness of his assertion.

“If your knowledge is so great,” the Ramban asked, “why did you forsake the Torah?”

“You are at fault,” Avner replied.

“What did I do?”

“Once at a public lecture, you stated that everything that will ever transpire is alluded in the Song Haazinu. I considered that a most preposterous statement and decided that I want no part of a religion whose teachers would utter such absurdities.”

“What I said is absolutely true,” replied the Ramban.

“Prove it to me,” responded Avner. “Show me where my name is alluded to in Haazinu. ”

The Ramban retreated to a corner to daven, and after a moment he answered:
“It is written: אמרתי אפאיהם אשביתה מאנוש זכרם (Haazinu 32:26), “I said: ‘I will scatter them; I will obliterate their memory from among mankind.’ T

he third letters of each of the words of the verse spells out , Rav Avner.”

“What can I do to correct my error?” Avner asked in awe.

“Follow the directive of the verse,” the Ramban replied.
Indeed, the Ramban on his commentary to this Pasuk explains:
אשביתה מאנוש זכרם – גלותנו בין העמים - To be exiled amongst the nations of the world.

Shortly afterwards, a black-masted ship set off from a Spanish harbor to a destination unknown.

The Gemara in Rosh Hashana (30b) tells us that the aliyos of parshas ha'azinu are quite specific. in fact, ha'azinu is the only Parsha in Chumash whose Aliyos are listed in the Talmud.
במוספי דשבתא מה היו אומרים אמר רב ענן בר רבא אמר רב הזי"ו ל"ך
Rav Anan bar Rava said that Rav said: They would recite in accordance with the mnemonic hei, zayin, yod, vav, lamed, kaf. They would divide the song of Ha’azinu into six sections, each of which began with a letter of the mnemonic: “Give ear [ha’azinu], you heavens” (Deuteronomy 32:1); “Remember [zekhor] the days of old” (Deuteronomy 32:7); “He made him ride [yarkivehu] on the high places of the earth” (Deuteronomy 32:13); “The Lord saw it [vayar] and spurned” (Deuteronomy 32:19); “Were it not [lulei] that I dread the enemy’s provocation” (Deuteronomy 32:27); “For [ki] the Lord will judge His people” (Deuteronomy 32:36).

But what is the story of Ha'azinu? What is this prophetic poem of Moshe Rabbeinu about? Rav Saadya Gaon (אמונות ודעות מאמר ז א) explains: The song of Ha'azinu is the story of the Jewish people. In the beginning, Hashem chose us (זכור ימות עולם - Remember the days of old...). Second, He looked after us in the desert (ימצאהו בארץ מדבר - He found him in a desert...) Third, we rebelled (וישמן ישרון ויבעט - Yeshrun grew fat and kicked). Fourth, Hashem punished us (וירא ה' וינאץ - Hashem saw and was angry). Fifth, Hashem punished our enemies (כי מגפן סדום גפנם - The vine for them is from Sodom). Sixth, we were (will be) redeemed (ראו עתה כי אני אני הוא - See that I am Hashem...). And just like a body that is healed from sickness is still the same body, so too, the body that dies will be the body that arrises at the time of resurrection.
The Ramban writes (לב:מ):

והנה אין בשירה הזאת תנאי בתשובה ועבודה, רק היא שטר עדות שנעשה הרעות ונוכל, ושהוא יתברך יעשה בנו בתוכחות חימה אבל לא ישבית זכרנו, וישוב ויתנחם ויפרע מן האויבים בחרבו הקשה והגדולה והחזקה, ויכפר על חטאתינו למען שמו. אם כן השירה הזאת הבטחה מבוארת בגאולה העתידה על כרחן של מינין.

There are no conditions in this song. It is a promissory note that we will do evil and be consumed. And that He will punish us, but never destroy us. And He will exact justice on our enemies... and forgive our sins. And thus this song is a promise that redemption will come, despite the protests of the heretics. (Referencing his debates with the Christians who claimed that we would never again be redeemed.) But there is something strange about this song, in that it is written with an empty space in between. Like two towers of pesukim, leaving a vast gap in the middle. That gap is our capacity to live in the middle of the song of Jewish History and feel nothing, see nothing, live as if nothing is happening around us. It's the world of "I guess so... I suppose I could..." It's the world of cold, uncommitted Jewish life.
The Shinnover quotes from Reb Mendel of Rimanov:

כשהייתי אברך ורציתי לידע האיך אני עומד בדרך העבודה חפשתי בשירת האזינו בשורה הימנית מצות עשה ובשורה השמאלית מצוות ל"ת

When I was young, I wanted to know where I stand regarding my service of Hashem. So I searched in Haazinu on the right hand side to find the positive mitzvos I should work on, and on the left hand side to know the negative mitzvos I should work on.
The Sefer Pi Tzadik (עמ׳ קנ"ה) quotes from the Shinnover himself:

יודע אני באיזה מקום אנוכי מרומז בשירת האזינו - I know where I am in the song of Haazinu

Personally, I am not zocheh to know where I am mentioned in this song of Moshe. But I think we know we are... I think it's clear that we’re somewhere near the very end.But that's where Jewish history as a whole is holding. The script is rolling up on the screen. The question that Ha'azinu asks of each of us is if we tethered to the text and the story, or just floating idly and inconsequentially in the middle? Hashem should help each of us, our families and communities to Exit Ha'azinu Valley. To take our place in Jewish history and anchor ourselves to the future of our people.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Blumenthal
Meet KYHS's Newest PhD From D.C to Cambodia to Boca,
Doctor Leonhardt is One of the
Most Fascinating New Hires
Graphic by Orly Dimont ('23)

Sofia Hoffman: Where are you from?

Dr. Leonhardt: I was born and raised in Rockford, Illinois—a few hours outside of Chicago.
 
What do you like to do during your free time? Do you have any hobbies? 

I am big into sports—I’m a Cubs, Bulls, Packers, and Blackhawks fan. In my free time, I am working on an open-access database that will give Cambodians the opportunity to work with primary and secondary historical materials. Libraries and archives in Cambodia are currently difficult places to work, but digital collections can help mitigate these issues. I am also in the early stages of writing an article on Cambodian-Israeli relations during the Cold War, which I am really enjoying working on right now!
 
What is your biggest accomplishment? 

My grandmother had very few educational opportunities growing up, so my biggest accomplishment is probably being able to complete my PhD in History and dedicate my dissertation to her.
 
What inspired you to go into education? 

The public schools I attended as a kid did not have strong academic programs. When I started college, I was amazed at everything I had missed out on and all that had been kept from me. One of the major reasons I decided to go into education was to help make learning as inclusive and as accessible as possible. I believe every student deserves a quality education and I strive to make that a reality for as many students as I can.
 
What's your favorite time period in history and why?

My favorite time period in history is probably the Cold War era (1945-1989). As a specialist in modern Asian history, I have had the chance to study this period from a variety of different vantage points, including Cold War sports, tourism, politics, and protests. I think being able to focus on so many different topics—from basketball in Burma to tourism in Takéo—helps make this period so interesting and exciting to study.  
 
How has your experience been teaching on Zoom so far? What are the pros and cons?

I have really enjoyed teaching on Zoom so far! It can definitely be challenging to replicate the classroom experience on Zoom, but I have been really impressed with class participation and feedback over the last three weeks. Some features—like organizing breakout rooms—have helped me get to know my students better, but it will also be nice to get back into the classroom eventually!  
 
What is the most unique thing about KYHS that you've seen so far?
All of my students are so kind and courteous! Sometimes I accidently run a minute or two over our scheduled period, but no one ever stops me. Everyone is very eager to learn and to make the most of our class periods, which is really helpful for me as a first-year teacher!

Article by Sofia Hoffman ('21)
The Senior Kumzitz
Starting Selichot on the Right Note
Graphic by Olivia Kahane ('23) and Rebecca Adler ('23)
Due to the coronavirus, KYHS had to substitute the usual pre-Selichot concert with a Zoom kumzitz. While not in person, it was every bit as enjoyable and meaningful as past years’ programs.

School presidents Eliana Broide and Tans Rosen delivered beautiful speeches about the meaning of the night, and Rabbi Blumenthal led the amazing singing.

Additionally, the senior class, joined by teachers, had a live socially-distanced kumzitz after the program. Senior Class President Adam Dennis remarked, “it was so great to have the whole grade come together and partake in meaningful singing, something we have all missed during quarantine.” The KYHS student body is looking forward to more school events and kumzitzes in the future, whether over Zoom or in person!
Article by Saphira Samuels ('21)
Storm Speaks: What does Yom Kippur Mean to Me?
We asked, you answered
Graphic by Rivka Reich ('24)
You've Got it Dude
KYHS has a FULL HOUSE with all 4 grades in the building
Graphic by Naomi Reichenberg ('22)

Approximately seven months ago, KYHS students, together with students around the world, were forced to adapt to new circumstances resulting from the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many were excited to “home school” for the first time. School in your room, no hour-long drive, and no finals sounded quite ideal to many students. However, as days turned into weeks and months, the excitement of Zoom school faded, and both teachers and students yearned to return to the building.

With Hashem’s help, the administration worked with a medical advisory panel and devised a plan to open the building this fall. It has been so amazing to be back together with our friends and teachers while being safe. Every student is required to wear a mask at all times, except when drinking quickly, eating lunch, or taking advantage of a mask break outside. Each classroom is equipped with a hand-sanitizer station and sanitizing wipes to clean the desks. In the morning, we all show our entrance forms to confirm we haven’t been in contact with anyone symptomatic or awaiting test results. We then take our temperatures to ensure that no one in the building has a fever. Students are constantly learning to adapt to new situations, whether going back and forth between “Zoom days” or going outside when hungry.

Although school is different this year, it is nevertheless amazing. Being back in school gives students a new sense of excitement and happiness, and especially with all four grades in school, we feel greater achdut with our KYHS family.

Article by Rebecca Henner ('22)
Code With Klossy Alum, Creates Crazy Amazing New App Using Code
How Shoshana Stadlan ('22)
is Truly Making a Difference
Graphic by Abby Rosenthal ('23) and Adina Spodek ('23)
Marielle: Could you share a little about what you do?

Shoshana: I started taking engineering and coding in ninth grade and have continued learning both skills in addition to a separate computer science class. This summer, I decided to attend a coding program online called Kode with Klossy to learn a new coding language called Swift. This specific language is for creating Apple apps, and, at the end of the program, my group and I created a game called TravelQuest with the new skills we learned.

What do you most enjoy about coding?

Coding encompasses so much in our lives, and you can really do anything with it. All of our phones, computers, apps, and more are created by code. It's really incredible that, through code, you are able to break down a problem and subsequently come up with a solution. All around, it's such a fun experience and I encourage everyone to try it out.

What area of coding do you find most challenging?

Actually applying all the skills to solve a problem. Learning all the skills by itself isn't so difficult but most problems you face or ideas you want to create are multifaceted. You have to combine all the skills that you've learned previously. But it does get easier as you continue to code more and more!

Can you see yourself pursuing a career in coding? If so, what would it entail?

I can definitely see myself pursuing a career in coding. As the world becomes more and more digitized, many more careers incorporate some type of coding. I’m an avid sports fan and I’m interested in the field of sports statistics. This entails a working knowledge of coding as most of the data is tracked by technology. They use code to organize the data and create graphs and tables to see correlations. In whatever career I do end up pursuing, I imagine it will have some type of coding. But, if that’s not the case, I will always have these coding skills to create something on my own.


Article By Marielle Askenazi ('23)
ברוך דין אמת
We Remember First Female Jewish Justice
Graphic by Ariella Mayer ('23)
Highlites Staff