Parshat Beshalach tells of Pharaoh attempting to pursue the Jews who had left Egypt. Pharaoh did not simply call for his chariot, rather the Torah tells us that following his change of heart, וַיֶּאְסֹ֖ר אֶת־רִכְבּ֑וֹ וְאֶת־עַמּ֖וֹ לָקַ֥ח עִמּֽוֹ  Pharoah harnessed his chariot and took his nation with him (Shemot 14:6). Clearly, Pharaoh had servants and workers who could easily ready the chariot for him, and yet he spent the time and exerted the effort to ready it himself. 

The Midrash Bereishit Rabbah tells of three other instances in the Torah where an individual readies their own means of transportation, highlighting their fervor and determination to accomplish a task. On the morning that Avraham embarked on the journey to Akeidat Yitzchak , the binding of Yitzchak, the Torah tells us וַיַּשְׁכֵּ֨ם אַבְרָהָ֜ם בַּבֹּ֗קֶר וַֽיַּחֲבֹשׁ֙ אֶת־חֲמֹר֔וֹ Avraham arose early in the morning and saddled his donkey (Bereishit 22:3). Avraham who was a wealthy man, surely had attendants and workers? Yet in his zeal to fulfill God's commandment, he saddled his own donkey. Yosef too readied his own chariot to greet Yaakov upon the latter’s arrival in Egypt. While one can imagine Yosef, the Egyptian Viceroy, replete with royal servants and maids to order the chariot, when it came to honoring his father, the Torah tell us וַיֶּאְסֹ֤ר יוֹסֵף֙ מֶרְכַּבְתּ֔וֹ וַיַּ֛עַל לִקְרַֽאת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֥ל אָבִ֖יו Yosef ordered his chariot and went to meet his father Israel (Bereishit 46:29). Finally, Bilaam the great seer sent by King Balak to curse the Jews, personally prepared his donkey. One can imagine that Balak gave Bilaam all means to hire a driver or a steward, yet in his passion to fulfill the task at hand, the Torah tells us וַיָּ֤קָם בִּלְעָם֙ בַּבֹּ֔קֶר וַֽיַּחֲבֹ֖שׁ אֶת־אֲתֹנ֑וֹ When he arose in the morning, Bilaam saddled his donkey (Bamidbar 22:21).   

Pharaoh, Avraham, Yosef, and Bilaam, were passionate individuals who were so determined to accomplish their mission that they involved themselves in the minor, even tedious details. Steve Jobs, the late co-founder and CEO of Apple was known to be involved in every detail of his company. Lee Clow, his ad partner attests that when Apple was starting to open new retail stores, "Steve made us spend a half hour deciding what hue of gray the restroom signs should be." 
While we may not have to harness chariots, saddle donkeys nor determine the gray of a restroom sign, there are details in our lives that beg our attention. May we dedicate and commit ourselves to perfecting them in order to achieve our larger missions.

Shabbat Shalom,
Mrs. Allie Goldenberg

Devastating Loss Ends Season
Storm Come Up Just Short in District Finals, Finishing Off a Dominant Season
Graphic by Naomi Reichemberg ('22)

The KYHS boys soccer team accomplished a lot this season. We played with heart and courage. Led by captains Binny Krawatski, Benny Frank, and Dovid Lanner, the soccer team fought to an undefeated record of 12-0-1, with the sole tie coming against Highlands Christian. We had an amazing goalkeeper, shutdown defense, explosive attack, and a reliable bench who came in every game to help close out our opponents. But in the most important game of the season, we fell short. A brutal 0-0 (4-2) loss in penalty kicks ultimately ended our bid to become the first KYHS boys soccer team to win district champions. An amazing season marred by a single loss, unfortunately in the district finals. Junior Meir Schochet said afterwards, “I hope you guys are as proud of us as I am. We fought a war. We have so much ahead of us.” While we lost in the district finals, not all hope is lost. Next Monday, we will find out if we continue on to regionals or not. Hopefully, we made it, but if not, there is much to look forward to next year.

Article by Judah Berman ('21)

Senior "Final Journey" Program Kicks Off
Seminars By Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, Mrs. Rochel Berman, and Rabbi Ben Sugerman Introduce Seniors to the Jewish Death Process
Graphic by Abby Rosenthal ('23)

This week KYHS seniors embarked on “The Final Journey” program. The Final Journey is a program which demystifies the Jewish view on death. While many people find the topic of death scary and depressing, the process of tahara and the Jewish view on death can actually be uplifting.

This Tuesday, Rabbi Goldberg came to speak about the Jewish view of souls and the afterlife. He emphasized that, in Judaism, a body is just a body, and is temporary, but without the body, a soul cannot have free will. However, we need to choose between our physical desires and spiritual ones. The “afterlife” is actually not mentioned explicitly in the Torah at all because it is not something we are supposed to focus on in this world. Instead we are supposed to focus on using our free will to choose the spiritual over the physical.

On Thursday, Mrs. Rochel Berman, who wrote a book about chevra kadisha, and Rabbi Sugerman, a member of the chevra kadisha himself, spoke to seniors about the technicalities of burial and tahara and how this process is derived.

There are three main parts of burial, washing, purifying, and dressing. First the body is washed to remove the smell to enable people to partake in the burial. Then the body is dipped in a mikvah, even though the body itself is tameh, and will still be tameh after the dipping. Rabbi Sugerman suggested this is to remind us that this is not the end. The body will be revived and reborn with techiyat hametim. Then the body is dressed in white like cohanim to give honor to the deceased. The garment is even permitted to have shatnez, as the Kohanims’ garments had.

On Friday, KYHS seniors will be visiting a funeral home to learn more about this process. Overall, this program has been really inspiring and informative, and we really appreciate all the people who came to speak to us!

Article by Ma'ayan Tzur ('20)
Teacher Spotlight:
The Kimches
We Spill the Tea on the Kimches
Graphic by Penina Kahane ('22)
AH: Hi Rabbi. Thanks so much for sitting down with me.

RK: It’s my pleasure. What would you like to know?

AH: What was it like growing up in London?

RK: My childhood in London was fantastic. The city is an amazing place with many amazing qualities. Personally, my favorite thing about it is the history. There are buildings on virtually every street that are older than the United States. So many monumental events have taken place there and so many important people have lived there. The people of London are different from Americans, with their country being relatively young, in the obligation to carry on the tradition of the city and of Britain as a whole. We grew up immersed in history, hearing stories about kings and queens from hundreds of years ago. In 2011, I went downtown to attend the royal wedding. The monarchy is something that every Brit takes pride in. Do they have any power? No. Do they do anything significant for us? Not really. But are they worth our tax money. No question.

AH: How did you end up in Florida, and more specifically, teaching at KYHS?

RK: After I graduated high school, I attended yeshiva for a couple years. Then, I met my wife in 2012. We got married soon after and lived in Yerushalayim for three years. It was truly an amazing time of life. We then moved to Columbus where we both taught at the local school while also working with NCSY. After a couple years, I got an email from Rabbi Kroll asking me if I would come down for an interview. I happily took him up on his offer, and here I am.

AH: What do you like about living in Florida?

RK: I love being able to be outdoors all year round. I very much enjoy biking - I bike to school almost every day - and hiking, although the terrain in Florida is rather boring. The community down here is very beautiful. Everyone is always eager to help those in need and the spirit of Judaism can be felt everywhere.

AH: Speaking of Judaism, as a Judaics teacher, what is your favorite subject matter to teach? 

RK: I take great pleasure in teaching Tanach, but not just the translation and commentaries. To me, it’s important to teach teenagers how to extract meaningful and relevant messages from our holy texts. Stoking the Jewish spirit is one of my main objectives as an educator, and I strive to make every single one of my students feel like they are actively involved in Judaism. The Jewish spirit is living and growing within each and every one of us, and helping young people get in touch with it is crucial to the Jewish future. The Jewish lifestyle is uniquely intellectual and fulfilling, and can provide answers to many of life’s deepest questions. But, it has to be embraced wholeheartedly. If you do that, it will give back more than you can possibly imagine.

Interview by Aiden Harrow ('21)
Jed Talk: The Future of Modern Orthodoxy
Rabbi Wieder Shares His Jewish Perspective
with the Senior Class
Graphic by Rebecca Adler ('23) and Ariella Mayer ('23)

On Friday, the seniors heard a JED talk from Rabbi Jeremy Wieder. Rabbi Weider is a Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University, has about 2,000 recorded shiurim on, and is a professor of Talmud and Torah. He addressed hot topics about Modern Orthodoxy such as: Does Modern Orthodoxy exist? How does Modern Orthodoxy view secular education? What distinguishes Modern Orthodoxy from Haredi Judaism? What are the greatest threats to Modern Orthodoxy today? What can we do to maintain Modern Orthodox values in a secular world?

Rabbi Weider stated that there is a wide range of ideology in Modern Orthodoxy which added important nuance to his presentation. He emphasized the importance of viewing secular studies as a means to grow in our relationship with Hashem. Too often, Rabbi Weider noted, some Modern Orthodox Jews only study secular subjects for parnasa. He believes that everything we do should serve as a vehicle to bring us closer to God. Rabbi Weider closed with encouragement to the seniors to continue their religious growth next year and beyond. 

Article by Moriah Rosenthal ('20)
The Blind Judge
Justice Richard Bernstein Receives Standing Ovation for His Inspiring Speech
Graphic by Leanne Mizrahi Mann ('23)

On Wednesday, the entire KYHS student body had the privilege of hearing from Justice Scott Bernstein. He is a blind man that serves on the Michigan Supreme Court and has completed 24 marathons, including the Iron Man.

Justice Bernstein opened the floor to questions, and students began by asking him about his experiences navigating the courtroom as blind man. He described how he needs to memorize 26 different cases per week so he can make the best possible decision as a judge. Justice Bernstein recognizes that is dealing with high-stakes cases and needs to understand every detail of the situation before making a final decision.

Also, students asked our speaker about his life in high school, how he experiences dreams, and how he is able to complete so many marathons. Notably, Justice Bernstein acknowledged that his high school years were far from perfect. But, he told the students that it’s important to find people who support you and want to see you go far. With your determination, hard work, and help from others, anything is achievable. He taught us that if he was able to have a successful, fulfilling life even with his struggles, then we would be able to do the same if we really devoted ourselves. Aiden Harow (‘21) highlights this idea, saying that “even though he was dealt an unfair hand in life, he was able to succeed, and he inspired me to believe that I could succeed, regardless of my struggles.”

Article by Alec Lurie ('21)
Mad Libs: The History of Groundhog Day
Al Dimont Explains This Wacky America Tradition
Graphic by Chana Schandelson ('22)

Every year, on February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog, is awakened to predict America’s weather. The lore is that if Phil sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter but if no shadow is seen then spring is imminent . When Phil has seen or not seen his shadow, he speaks to the Groundhog Club’s president in Groundhogese , relating to the president his decision. The president then carries him to one of two scrolls which say either “early spring ” or “ six more weeks of winter .” In the end, Phil picks and the public learns its weatherly fate. 

Groundhog’s Day stems from the primary Catholic and Lutheran festival of Candlemas, the day when Jesus supposedly was inducted into Judaism at the Beit HaMikdash. Due to Candlemas’s (Feb. 2) proximity to the start of spring, many traditions/superstitions relating to weather, more specifically to predicting the start of spring, were linked to the holiday. Originally, the lore was that “if Candlemas is fair and clear / There'll be twa winters in the year.” This was expanded to “weather-predicting animals,” such as the badger. In Germany, general knowledge was that, “if the badger sunbathes during Candlemas-week, for four more weeks he will be back in his hole.” Meaning, if the badger came out on a sunny day then winter would last for another four weeks. Due to similar practices nearby, the four weeks would eventually become six weeks. 

In the 18th and 19th centuries, when many Germans began immigrating to Pennsylvania, they brought their badger custom with them. Instead of using the badger, however, they used the native groundhog. The first mentions of Groundhog’s Day showed up in James Morris’s diary in 1840 and the first report of the holiday was by the Punxsutawney Spirit in 1886. Since then people have come for the sagely wisdom of Phil on February 2nd in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. However, Groundhog’s Day was largely popularized by Harold Ramis’s film, Groundhog Day , which centered around the Punxsutawney festivities. 

Phil is currently about 134 years old, due to a special “groundhog punch” he drinks at the annual Groundhog Picnic in the fall. Phil has predicted a longer winter 103 times and an early spring just 17. According to Weather Underground , Phil has an accuracy rating of about 36%. Recently, Groundhog’s Day has spilled over to other cities and states who oftentimes use their own native animals. For example, Staten Island Chuck, a New York woodchuck, predicts New York City’s weather each year. 

Not only is Phil a prophet, he is also an important part of our American culture. Without him how could we possibly know when it’s okay to start wearing white? Although many may be skeptical of Phil’s powers, it’s important to note the impact he has had on the US.

Article by Al Dimont ('20)
Inside Shtick:
Sem Signing Day
Entire Nation Watches in Anticipation As KYHS Senior Girls Declare Their Seminary Decisions
Graphic by Highlites Staff

This week was a big one for us senior girls! Thursday was the deadline to commit to a seminary program in Israel, which is a huge deal. To celebrate this exciting milestone, we instituted KYHS’s first ever Sem Signing Day! Some of our amazing seniors put together a whole program where hats were labeled with names of all the seminaries. While teachers watched, Claudia photographed, and friends cheered, each girl went up to the hat table. One by one, we read and signed a schticky declaration written by our very own Highlites editor, Mayrav Saketkhou, and made our decisions official by putting on the seminary hats. Girls from KYHS will be attending Amit, Amudim, Baer Miriam, Bar Ilan, Eshel, MMY, Shaalvim, TVA, MidMo, Migdal Oz, Midreshet Torat Chessed, and Tiferet next year. A few girls will also be going straight to college! This signing day was part of a greater international event. That Thursday, schools across the U.S., England, and Canada filmed and posted their signings on a communal Signing Day Instagram account. It was so great to be a part of this amazing idea- all of us got to feel special and excited about our Israel plans surrounded by supportive friends. Congratulations to all senior girls who are officially signed up to have the best year ever in seminary next year!

Article by Avigail Greenberg ('20)

Our Story: This Week in Pictures
Week-in-Review Video
Video by Avi Aharoni ('20)
Highlites Staff