Weekly Newsletter – March 1, 2019

March 1, 2019  / 24 Adar 5779

Shabbat Begins: 5:37 p.m.   Shabbat Ends: 6:44 p.m.   
Parsha: Vayak’hel: Exodus 35:1-38:20

On Wednesday, 43 Grade 10 students and 6 staff headed off to sunny Los Angeles, California. Our Deputy Head of School, Alex Monchamp, has been keeping us up-to-date with all the fun the group has been having!

Day 1

After an early morning flight, we were out in the fresh air at Venice Beach, where we embarked on an extensive and colourful walk down the beach toward the Santa Monica Pier. There are very few words to accurately depict what one can find, see, or buy as you make your way down this area. A few hats, some sunglasses, and a t-shirt or two have magically transformed our teen-aged travelers to full-on tourists.

Erin Vaida, Aelan Rosner, Mattea Lewis, Ella Michaeli, Jacob Weidman, 
Benjy Kraft, Noam Guralnick, and Judd Beron

After some time at the pier, it was off to the Getty Villa, which is a lovely, quiet, and simply picturesque spot. The Villa is a museum ensconced in beautiful gardens, fountains, greenery, and spectacular views. Within, there is an extensive display of Roman sculptures, busts, and artwork dating back centuries. As part of our stop here, Rabbi Berger, who is the best LA tour guide one could hope for, led the students in some historical context to consider as they explored the many Roman features of the museum.

Now our trip is built on one overriding philosophical maxim: feed the students. The best meal so far was dinner in the Pico/ Robertson area. Rabbi Berger handed us each a crisp 20-dollar bill, directed us to the many kosher restaurants in the area, and we all easily found our favourite food choices. 

Ella Michaeli, Benjy Kraft, Josh Schecter, Abbey Kape, Micah Shiff, and Ophir Gini

After dinner, it was back on the bus and off to the Griffith Observatory. Arriving in darkness, we were treated to an amazing panorama of LA at night. Within the observatory, there are many exhibits that explore space, science, and the elements that make up our universe, including an interactive Periodic Table of Elements which I think would make a great addition to our science labs if it weren’t for the Plutonium and Polonium. To cap off the evening, we were able to see a live demonstration of an actual working Tesla Coil.

The fun starts tomorrow again with a nice early 7:00 a.m. start! 

Day 2

After breakfast, we set out for another full day of activities. Our first stop was the Nethercutt museum, an enormous warehouse (though elegantly carpeted) full of vintage and rare cars dating from the first half of the 20th century. It is an impressive collection with a little something for everyone.

Benjy Kraft, Aviv David, Micah Shiff, Tomer Berko-Gabay, 
Jacob Weidman, and Jared Kushner

Next, we went to a different sort of car collection – the bumper to bumper traffic of the LA freeways as we slowly inched our way to Hollywood. Once there, we spent some time exploring some of the quintessential entertainment historical sites like Grauman’s (now TCL) Chinese Theatre and the Walk of Fame. 

Next up, we took in a spectacular lunch at Pizza World where, not surprisingly, we had generous helpings of pizza, pasta and salad. Once fully carb-loaded, we took a quick 10-minute walk over to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. Founded in 1961 by Holocaust survivors, the museum provides an emotive experience that immerses visitors into the history of the Holocaust from the rise of Nazism to liberation and beyond. Our students carefully and thoughtfully made their way through the displays using the museum’s self-guided audio tour and through discussions with the museum docents.

Our students and teachers then had the incredible privilege to hear from Betty Cohen, a 98-year-old Holocaust survivor. Her story is an unbelievable one that starts in Holland with her and family trying to hide from the Nazis through countless ordeals including the horrors of Birkenau, death marches, and her eventual liberation by the Russian army. Betty’s story tremendously impacted our students, as did her resilience and warmth.

From the museum, we met up with a group of students at Shalhevet High School, a Jewish day school similar to ours in size. Our students spent about an hour connecting with kids their age over some snacks and songs. 

Keren Katz, Aelan Rosner, Isabel Wiseman, Jessica Vertlib, and Moselle Levy

We ended the day with some downtime at the Grove, a large outdoor shopping mall with all the requisite attractions for today’s teenagers (including some down time after a day of both fun and learning). 

Isaac Leidemann, Johnny Seguin, Noam Guralnick, Yoel Sasky, Roi Talmaciu, Maaor Rozen, Max Laskin, Izzy Freedman, Ophir Gini, Ethan Doctor, and Lu Winters

Tomorrow is a full day at the Museum of Tolerance, which will build on much of what we saw and learned at the Holocaust museum today. Then, We’re asking the kids to fully embrace the Shabbat experience by leaving their electronics alone and enjoying their time with their host families. 

Stay tuned for more in next week’s newsletter!

Monday was Wellness Day! Students were given a non-uniform day and encouraged to put on their most comfortable clothes to participate in a bunch of Wellness activities planned throughout the day. They kicked the day off right with a some fun dance moves in the atrium before heading to their classes. Throughout the day students also went outside for a nice walk, had a meditation and stretching session, and enjoyed other fun activities!


Mrs. Freedman’s Jewish Film 12 class is engaging in a project-based learning assignment to re-create an episode of the popular Israeli TV show Fauda. The student’s episode will combine the style of Fauda with the story of Purim. In preparation for our production, the class had local filmmaker, Bram Cole, come speak to our class. Bram works as a production coordinator on major films and also has his own production company, Rolling Peaks Media. Bram spoke to the students about their roles on our production, gave advice for shooting action film, and answered questions about being an independent filmmaker.

On Thursday, our Senior Boys team won the Senior Boys Lower Mainland "A" Zone Basketball Championship. By winning, the team has automatically qualified for the BC Senior Boys Provincial Championships at the Langley Events Center on March 5-9.  Mazal Tov, boys! 

The Senior team, along with Coach Amram, were also featured this week in a wonderful article by Varsity Letters. Click here to read the article. 

We are excited to let you know of new programs that are in development at King David for next year. We are starting a Mentoring Program to provide our students the opportunity to meet with people who are passionate about their work in a specific area of interest for the student – so be prepared for us to reach out asking for volunteers to participate with us! We also want to better support students in non-traditional school activities so that we can facilitate learning in an area that a student is excited to discover more about, but that they typically could not investigate in a normal school setting. 

Leading both of these initiatives will be Jordana Corenblum, who will be moving from her current role as a Post-Secondary, Course, and Career Counsellor to this new role as our Community Connections and Special Programs Counsellor.
We are fortunate to be able to make a seamless staff transition into Jordana’s current role with the addition of Abby Remick, who worked with us as a Post-Secondary, Course, and Career Counsellor two years ago to cover a maternity leave.

Abby was born and raised in Los Angeles. She attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia where she majored in Psychology and minored in English. Abby then completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in experimental psychology at the University of Toronto, where she enjoyed teaching and mentoring undergraduate students.
After moving to Vancouver, Abby decided to switch directions and pursue a career in university and career counselling, allowing her to combine her love of higher education with her passion for working with students. For the past three years she worked with Rasul Learning Group, a private educational consulting group, specializing in undergraduate and graduate admissions. Abby aims to use her knowledge of academia and her expertise in psychology to help students make meaningful decisions about their post-secondary and career goals. Abby and her husband have two daughters who attend VTT, and she is very much looking forward to returning to King David, seeing familiar faces, and getting to know all the students and their families.

On February 27, King David participated in Pink Shirt Day, a nationwide event aimed towards ending bullying. Students wore pink shirts in solidarity, and were given a short assembly arranged by Student Council. 

Mr. Mymko’s Grade 8 Science class presented their edible cell projects – in the form of creative, colourful, and delicious cakes!

On Wednesday, Grade 8 Drama students put on DramaFest, inviting staff and students in to the class to watch them perform pieces they had created themselves. 

Senior students in our new Holocaust and Genocide Studies course went to the VTT Grade 7 classroom this week to give their presentations on the ten stages of genocide.

"It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again."
– Saturday, 15 July, 1944, The Diary of Anne Frank
Waiting to board a plane for LA early Wednesday morning, I received a timely reminder from the Air Canada flight attendant of why we run a trip to the Holocaust museums of LA. When I was explaining to her why we were going to LA she revealed to me that during the war her father was imprisoned in a concentration camp in Germany. He was a non-Jew who stuck his neck out to save Jews, and for his efforts he was sent to a camp. His daughter, the flight attendant, told me that what he experienced there shook him so much that when he got out he was never the same again, and it tore her family apart. He lost his hope in humanity and the world. She was pleased that we were going so we never forget and never allow others to forget what happened there.

Click here for the full message.

"Without the kindness, you don’t raise very many kind adults."
   ~ Trudy Pekarsky, Current Grandparent

Watch the full Annual Campaign video here.

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Shabbat Shalom!


JCC Purim Costume Party

Sunday, March 10
10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

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Babysitting Course
Schara Tzedeck

Sunday, March 10

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Stand With Us
Campus Crash Course

Sunday, March 10
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

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The Earl Parker Award for Jewish Film

Application Deadline April 8, 2019

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Click here for the application

JNF Negev Gala

Sunday, April 14

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Temple Sholom Dreamers and Builders Event
Honouring Susan Mendelson and Jack Lutsky

Sunday, May 5
6:00 p.m.

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

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