Most people have completely forgotten that 2020 is a census year and the U.S. is trying, as it does once every ten years, to count the population. The impact the census has on the House of Representatives, funding for schools, and other fiscally important elements of society usually means lots of news articles about the undercount of the homeless and how to handle illegal immigrants. But the news right now is focused on the morbid counting of COVID-19 deaths (just over 91,000 in the U.S. as of this writing) and the slightly less worrisome number of those infected with Corona Virus. 

In Parashat Bamidbar, Moshe organizes a census of Bnei Yisrael. Actually, he enumerates the men of fighting age and this is the first answer to the question “Why a census now?” Since Bnei Yisrael are on the cusp of entering Canaan/Yisrael, they need a headcount of their fighting force. Another pragmatic reason for the count is to determine the heads of households along which lines the land will be divided into inheritance properties. A third reason, as mentioned in the first Rashi of the sefer, Hashem counts his people because He loves them and He looks out for each and every individual in the group. Counting, then, is also an act of caring.

The root word פ.ק.ד , count, is used in modern Hebrew in the context of an army commander, a  mefaked . His job is to count his soldiers, but also to hold them to account. He commands them and demands from them, and admonishes them when they don’t match the standard he sets. Even in English, the idea of holding one to account relates to the enumerating or at least listing of one’s actions to determine if you accomplished the mission or the goal. 

Elsewhere in Tanach we see the root word in the context of Sarah and how Hashem took her into account in the introduction to the narrative about Yitzchak’s birth. Once again, even the English translation shows the relationship between counting and taking someone into account, remembering Sarah and the promise He made to provide her with a child. I hope that the parshiyot of the Akeida are well-remembered by my Chumash class as the last section we studied formally together at the end of high school.
We arrive at the end of a very unusual school year, one that opened with Dorian, and closes with Covid-19. Wisely (!) we ran Color War long before Purim, and who would have predicted that the week of Purim would be the last in the building? We should take into account the wonderful events that we were able to run this year and the parts of relationships we miss by not being together in the building as we count our way down to the last few days of instruction. 

Our Rabbis make much of the counting we do during Sefirat HaOmer and provide numerous answers as to why we count up and not down towards Chag HaShavuot and Matan Torah. The Ramban, perhaps familiar with student end-of-year countdowns, has a whimsical phrase describing Bnei Yisrael leaving the Matan Torah experience as “ tinok haboreach mibeit hasefer ” — like young children running from school! How apt that Shavuot regularly falls towards the end of our school year. As we come soon to the end and to the last Highlites of the season, keep in mind that davening, learning, and chesed are still incumbent upon us once we go on “break”. Hold yourselves to account and be your own best  mefakdim  during the summer.
We count on seeing you, the underclassmen, in the fall. We take into account you, the seniors, who have had such a jumbled end-of-high-school experience, and we send you off to various adventures with many  berachot  for success. We pray for health and recovery for our community and our country as we hope that the memory of the year impacted by Corona Virus swiftly moves into the rearview mirror and we start the optimistic countdown to a great school opening in the fall and many wonderful events to come in the next school year.

Shabbat Shalom, 
Rabbi Avi Levitt

The 33rd Day
Finding joy in sadness
Graphic by Olivia Kahane ('23)

In honor of Lag Baomer, KYHS enjoyed a fun and inspirational virtual bonfire. Students were fortunate to hear inspirational divrei torah from Rabbi Nachbar, who spoke about how we can use this time in quarantine to change our perspective on the world and gain a deeper appreciation for Judaism and mitzvot. Students also listened to inspiring words from KYHS graduate Jonah Tripp, who discussed the importance of treating others kindly and improving ourselves, and KYHS senior Shmuel Belizon, who spoke about the importance of second chances and the similarities between Lag Baomer and Pesach Sheni.
Another highlight of the event was beautiful singing, which was led by Rabbi Blumenthal. Although we all wish we could have sat next to our friends as we sang and spread ruach , we were happy to have an opportunity to do so virtually. Especially at a time like this when we feel so distant, it is so important to find times to come together! Overall it was an amazing, touching event, and hopefully we can celebrate our next simcha together in person.

Article by Zohara Lam ('23)
Shavuot Delight
Fill your mind with Torah, while filling your stomach with food
Graphic by Chana Schandelson ('22)
Mrs. Zisquit's Oreo Crumble extravaganza:
1 package (8 oz.) brick cream cheese
36 Oreo Cookies, finely crushed,divided
4 pkg. (4 oz. each) semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
  1. Mix cream cheese and 3 cups Oreos until well blended
  2. Shape into 48 (1-inch) balls. Dip in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.
  3. Refrigerate 1hour or until firm. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.
Chas V'Shalom Rabbi Nachbar should eat cold pizza:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Place the pizza on a piece of foil and put it directly on the rack for even heating on the top and bottom. Alternatively, preheat a sheet pan as the oven heats up for a crisp crust. ...
  3. Bake for about 10 minutes or until warmed through and the cheese is melted.
Rebbetzin Levitt's remarkably renowned cream of mushroom soup:
4 Tbsp butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs mushrooms (any but I like portobello)
3 cups water
2 tsp pareve chicken bouillon powder
3-4 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Slice mushrooms and saute with butter in a soup pot on medium-high for a few minutes.
  2. Add garlic and continue to cook for a couple more minutes until mushrooms are wilted. 
  3. Remove half of mushrooms and process in a dairy food processor or blender and pour back into soup pot.
  4. Add water, bouillon powder. 
  5. Add 3-4 cups of milk depending on desired consistency. 
  6. Season with salt and pepper and stir through. Serve warm but do not boil as this is milk-based. 
The Red Carpet
A who’s who of KYHS celebrities

Graphic by Chana Schandelson ('22)

On Thursday night, May 21, Yom Yerushalayim, KYHS Tribute Committee members participated in an informative conversation with Danny Danon, Israeli Ambassador to the UN. Ambassador Danon had been scheduled to be the honoree and address us in person at our annual journal dinner, which unfortunately had to be cancelled.

The program started with a Q&A session between KYHS President Daniel Katz and Ambassador Danon, and was followed by an open Q&A session with Tribute Committee members. Topics that were discussed included Israel's response to Covid19, the new unity government in Israel, why more countries are not moving their embassy to Jerusalem, the threat from Iran, as well as personal reflections of Ambassador Danon’s experiences at the UN.

Although we would have much preferred being together in person, all attendees enjoyed the opportunity to meet Ambassador Danon and were inspired by his words in honor of Yom Yerushalayim. Thank you to Mr. Daniel Katz for arranging for Ambassador Danon to address us.

Special thanks to our Tribute Committee members for their generous support:
Daniel & Liora Adler
David & Miriam Attias
Tsachi & Jessica Baitner
Phil & Lisa Baratz
Billy & Batzi Berman
Ben & Cara Freedman
David & Monica Genet
Grove Koshermarket
Chanoch & Rachel Harow
Shimmie & Beth Kaminetsky
Michael & Ora Lee Kanner
Daniel & Caroline Katz
Mark & Crissy Kogan
David & Amy Lasko
Josh & Andrea Leibowitz
Rabbi Avi & Debby Levitt
Joey & Seema Loskove
Alex & Chava Mann
David & Suri Markowitz
Alex & Yocheved Mitchell
David & Joyce Muller
Michael & Jill Rose
Chaim & Leah Rosen
Sam & Heather Sered
Eric & Loren Stein
Yitz Stern
Ted & Linda Struhl
Ashi & Chava Weisstuch
Hedy & Dori Zaghi
Michael & Risa Zimmerman

Article by Shimmie Kaminetsky
הר הבית בידינו
  Returning to the Eternal Capital

Graphic by Highlites Staff
This morning, students and staff commemorated Yom Yerushalayim. The program started with inspiring words from Rabbi Kimche, who spoke about the importance of Yerushalayim to the Jewish people. This was followed by ruach-filled singing with musician Eli Beer. After the beautiful songs, we had the opportunity to hear from Josh Hartuv, a virtual tour guide. He showed us around Yerushalayim and pointed out key historical sites, including buildings, mountains, gates, and graves, and provided a brief summary of the city’s history. “This program was a great way to celebrate Yom Yerushalayim, especially since we can’t celebrate together in person. The virtual tour was such a cool way to experience Yerushalayim, even though I’m so far away,” Donie Zak (‘21) remarked. This was a great opportunity for KYHS to experience Yom Yerushalayim from the comfort of our homes.

Article by Talia Shapiro ('21)
A Time for Choosing
The most important political showdown of 2020
Graphic by Penina Kahane ('22)

As this school year comes to a close, and the end of classes is in sight, we can look forward to one exciting beginning: 2020 - 2021 Student Council! In the past, our student council has brought fantastic activities and incredible events to the entire student body and faculty at KYHS. At weekly meetings, our student council never stops brainstorming new and fun ideas to bring to the school, whether it's raffles, concerts, or town hall meetings.
The upcoming election and campaigns began with a truly inspiring video from Rabbi Nachbar. Although a live speech was not possible, his video did not stop students from getting the motivation they need to run as class representatives. Many students from different classes joined in the campaigning process.
On Friday, May 15, at 6 pm sharp, students submitted applications, which Rabbi Nachbar closely and intensely reviewed to see if they met the rigorous criteria needed to become a member of student council. The next step was a one-on-one zoom interview with Rabbi Nachbar to ensure that only the most qualified students were left in the running. On Wednesday, Rabbi Nachbar granted these students approval to run, along with permission to begin campaigning. The campaigning process will continue until May 25, and, during that week, Zoom speeches with an opportunity for Q and A will take place. Voting will end on May 27 at 8 pm, and the votes will be tallied and released on Thursday, May 28.
Being a part of student council is such a great way to be a leader and role model and help make the KYHS experience amazing for everyone. Thank you to all our past members and good luck to all the incoming candidates!

Article by Gabriel Melnitsky ('23)
Summer Time
Saphira's Solutions
Saphira Helps You Stay Connected in More Ways Than You Can Count
Graphic by Rebecca Adler ('23)
Dear Saphira,
My summer camp was cancelled and I am beside myself. What am I going to do this summer stuck at home?
Crestfallen Camper

Dear Crestfallen Camper,

I am so incredibly sorry. Most of us did not expect this whole ordeal to continue through the summer, and it is absolutely devastating. However, you are most definitely not “stuck” at home. We live in the great, glorious state of Florida! There is so much to do right in your own backyard—quite literally for some!

As summer approaches, social distancing guidelines are being relaxed. While close contact with others will not be permitted in the foreseeable future, that doesn’t mean that you can’t hang out with friends! Beaches all over Florida are now opening; why don’t you gather a couple of friends and chill on the beach one day, six feet apart of course? Or, with parks now open, why don’t you have a socially-distanced picnic with your friends, or go on a hike? Bored one summer night? Get a couple of friends together and have a socially-distanced bonfire with s’mores. Have a blank wall on the side of your house? Ask around if one of your friends or parents’ friends has a projector. Then you can have an outdoor movie night with friends or family. Also, if at any point you are really camp-sick and miss sleeping on the ground, get a couple of friends and pitch tents in your backyard!
While your summer plans may have been derailed, your summer is most certainly not destroyed. There are so many fun things to do right here in Florida.

I hope this helps!
Highlites Staff