Weekly Newsletter – December 7, 2018

December 7, 2018  / 29 Kislev 5779

Shabbat Begins: 3:56 p.m.   Shabbat Ends: 5:09 p.m.   
Parsha: Mikeitz: Genesis 41:1-44:17

On Wednesday evening, our 20 friends from Har Vagai School boarded a plane back to Israel. The King David students were excited to be able to spend the last week sharing their school and city, reciprocating the warm hospitality and exciting learning experiences they loved in Israel when we visited last year.

The days have flown by, with the Israeli students learning about Canada and how different it is to be a Jew in the Diaspora. The weekend was spent with their host families and from what we heard from the students they did a lot! Group trips were taken to see the lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden, up Grouse Mountain, across the Capilano Suspension Bridge, skating, and bowling, then on Sunday evening, the Grade 9 parents organized a gathering for everyone to light the first Hanukkah candle together.

The Israeli delegation also spent time touring beautiful Vancouver on cold but sunny days. They visited local synagogues, Jewish community organizations, Stanley Park, the aquarium, the Museum of Anthropology, Gastown, Granville Island, and many more fun West Coast locations! The students will return home with a greater understanding of the context and country in which their Canadian peers live. A new addition this year was a cross-curricular collaboration where Ms. Keselman’s Hebrew class worked with Mr. Dichter to research the places the Israeli students would visit each day. Our students then prepared an informational brochure in Hebrew that they used when serving as tour guides for the day. Click here to see some examples.

An added benefit of the timing of this trip was being able to celebrate a few days of Hanukkah together. At the end of each school day, we lit candles together and our guests showed us how it is done in Israel! They certainly brought the spirit of Hanukkah alive for us through their songs and ruach!

To all our Grade 9 families, thank you for the significant role you play in ensuring the success of the mifgash. A special thank you to the group of parents who arranged the gathering, finding a venue, ordering food, and keeping the group entertained!

We are grateful to the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver and the Gesher Chai Committee for their ongoing support, and we will continue to work diligently to ensure that we maximize the potential of this amazing opportunity for students, faculty, and families. 

Maxwell Aknin, Barak Lapid, Rachel Seguin, India Harris, and Adeena Rosenblatt, all Grade 9, take part in lighting the Hanukkiah

Hanukkah has been a delicious holiday! From the Krispy Kreme Donuts that Rabbi Berger brought all the way from Seattle to Hilit’s Foods Classes’ yummy sufganiyot and latkes, we have been so lucky and very well fed! There are wonderful decorations around the school created by Grade 12 students Yael Toyber, Hannah Marliss, and Rebecca Laskin. Each day we have had musical performances both at lunch and at the end of the day, presentations by Hebrew classes, Brachot from representatives in each grade and, to wrap up the week, a special video presentation from Or and Ofir, our wonderful Shinshinim.
Our Grade 9 Israeli visitors participated in our daily candle-lighting ceremonies. The Israeli students commented on how participating in our Hanukkah celebrations made them feel at home and realize how connected we are. In addition to the special events, students took part in experiential learning with an in-class "Escape Room" Hanukkah activity and a Hanukkah Jeopardy game with our Shinshinim on Friday.

The Annual General Meeting of the King David Board of Directors provided an opportunity for us to extend our sincere appreciation to outgoing Co-President, Natalie Rosengarten, who has worked tirelessly on behalf of the school for so long – Natalie first took the reins in 2011! Natalie’s support of, and commitment to, King David has contributed to its growth. She will remain on the Board as Past President. Thank you Natalie for 7 great years as a Co-President!
Our thanks as well to Brian Levinkind for his contributions to the school as he steps down. Brian will remain a valued member of the Finance Committee.
Thanks also to Neville Israel, who will be leaving his role as Treasurer to take on a new challenge as Co-President alongside Jackie Cristall Morris, and to Alain Guez, our new Vice President. 
We extend a warm welcome to incoming Board member Diane Friedman, who will take on the role as Treasurer. To learn more about our Board, click here.

In November, King David Grade 9 student, Olivia Levsky, presented alongside her father at the 25th annual Private and Public, Scientific, Academic, and Consumer Food Policy Group (PAPSAC) conference at Harvard University to discuss how teens make their choices about their diets and what shapes their perceptions about our food system. Here’s what she had to say about her experience:

"My father has been working with dairy and agriculture for many years and has been invited to the PAPSAC by Professor Ray Goldberg for the past three years. I spoke about about how teenagers choose their diet and misconceptions about the food industry within Gen Z. The people that attended the conference work in all fields of the food industry including dairy, production, agriculture, technology, and science. They had a lot of information about their generation and how they view food, but they needed a source of information on the future generation. After my presentation, I received good feedback and was told that I really helped many of them take a new approach to their advertising so that they could appeal to the younger generation. Speaking at Harvard was an extremely cool experience because it gave me insight into the food industry and also allowed me to present my own opinion. I also got the experience and practice of public speaking in front of a larger audience and I received professional opinions on the things that I was talking about. I think that this was an extremely eye-opening and good experience to have and I’m very grateful to have been a part of it."

There are those who say that a person should spend a few minutes each night meditating on the Hanukkah lights because in the flame of the candle is the true message of the day. Usually, we are too busy playing dreidel and eating donuts. A friend mentioned to me just the other day how she felt the focus of all the holidays has been taken over by children’s activities. We do often spend our time playing games with children, but do not take any time for our own spiritual growth.

Hanukkah is from the word chinuch and yes, we often refer to chinuch as children’s education. But unlike Trix cereal, this silly rabbi believes education is not just for kids. Real chinuch is the idea of hitchadshut, of making things new. On Hanukkah the Maccabees renewed the Temple, made a new altar, and relit the Menorah. So chinuch means renewal, and we cannot renew ourselves through playing dreidel. Renewal is to perceive something as if we are seeing it for the first time.

Click here to read the full message.

Shabbat Shalom!


Chanukah Carnival
Congregation Schara Tzedeck

Sunday, December 9
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Click on image for more information

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King David High School, 5718 Willow Street, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4S9 Canada

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