Weekly Newsletter – March 19, 2021

March 19, 2021 / 6 Nisan 5781

Shabbat Begins: 7:07 p.m.  Shabbat Ends: 8:13 p.m.  
Parsha: Vayikra: Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26
STUDENT PERSPECTIVES ON PESACH
Grade 12 students in Rabbi Berger’s Judaic Studies classes have been writing about their own perspectives, explorations, and traditions of the Pesach story. Below are excerpts from these projects. To read each in their entirety, please click here.
Bibhilu: Jordana Stern

“Bibhilu yatṣanu mi–miṣrayim” translates to “With haste we left Egypt.” Bibhilu is a Moroccan tradition that my family does at every Passover seder. Some people use a seder plate; however, my family uses a vase with flowers in it. My parents buy flowers before Passover, and we bring them to my grandparents’ house, where the seders take place. The ritual takes place right before we start reading from the Haggadah.
250 Plagues: Noam Guralnick

Would you believe that there were 250 plagues in Egypt? Everyone knows about the ten plagues in Egypt; Blood, Frogs, Lice, Wild Animals, Pestilence, Boils, Fiery Hail, Locusts, Darkness, and Death of the First Born. But unknown to people are the aspects of each plague. In the Haggadah, we read Rabbi Akiva’s interpretation of Psalms 78:49, a verse which reads, “He sent upon [the Egyptians] the fierceness of His anger, wrath, and fury, and trouble, a sending of messengers of evil.”
Dayenu: Vida Sussman
 
Dayenu literally means “It would have been enough.” The structure of Dayenu is 15 stanzas, referencing different events the Jewish people experienced, from slavery in Egypt to the building of the temple in Jerusalem. We sing the chorus after every stanza, signifying that if this was the total of G-d’s intervention in the lives of the Israelites, it would have been adequate. But G-d has repeatedly stuck with us, and the only reason why we are here today is because of G-d’s intervention. 
Chad Gadya: Amy Aginsky
 
Though Chad Gadya does not identify as one, it is very similar to a nursery rhyme. On the surface, the song is a fun and festive way to end the seder, but the song is filled with paradoxes and odd images that are made to represent our Jewish History.
 
Chad Gadya means one little goat or one kid. The song is 11 verses long and each verse alludes to one person or event in our Jewish history.
A PESACH MESSAGE FROM RABBI BERGER
Everybody knows why we eat matzah at the Seder: the Jews left Egypt to freedom in such a hurry they had no time to let their dough rise. So, they ended up with flat matzahs. We eat matzah at the Seders to re-live, re-experience, and literally taste the freedom. So, that explains why we eat matzah – but that does not explain why we are commanded not to eat bread for the entire seven days. Why can’t we have both?
 
The difference between matzah and bread is very minimal. Both share the same ingredients: flour and water. However, one is filled with hot air and puffed up and much bigger than its original size. Our sages say that chometz/bread symbolizes the character trait of arrogance and conceit. Flat, unleavened matzah represents total humility. But why do we eat this lowly bread now? Were we not slaves? Were we not already humbled by years of servitude? Perhaps. But we didn’t just leave Egypt. We left on top. Egypt was humiliated, and we were now starting a new era as God’s chosen servants. History has demonstrated time and time again how corrupting power can be. So, we eat only matzah right at the start to remind us that we must not allow our newly found power to turn into arrogance.

MONSTERS WE CREATE
Ms. Ripley’s English 11 class worked on their “Monsters We Create” project, based on concepts from Mary Shelley’s classic Romantic novel, Frankenstein. This project takes the story of Victor Frankenstein’s monstrous creation, and asks students to apply the novel’s lessons to their real lives. Students used their understandings of the novel to create both a written and a visual piece to symbolize what they believe to be societal monsters today. Common monsters included topics such as prejudice, climate change, and corruption. The visual creations represent the societal problems that allow these monsters to continue existing, as well as thoughtful critiques on how we can best heal the world.

Thank you to Grade 10 student, Ori Haber, for taking these pictures!
PARENTING, THE INTERNET, SOCIAL MEDIA, AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES
Jesse Miller provided much food for thought during his presentation on Tuesday evening! Thank you to the 42 participants who joined the presentation!

Jesse stated that part of the guidance role in the 21st century isn’t preparing kids for a reality of the past; it is to help children make sense of their on-demand media and online experiences. Adults need to teach and guide them on how to uphold enduring values and set up their communications expectations based on the reality they live in, not the one many of us grew up in. He also discussed the importance of a child having a trusted adult they can talk to about online experiences and the need to develop a family understanding of expectations for internet and social media use.

Jesse went on to explore how 2020 changed how we approach the concept of our online and offline world, emphasizing that we cannot ignore the values that have been tested over the past year and encouraging us to consider how we used technology to weather the storm.

Thank you to our phenomenal PAC Co-Chairs, Diane Friedman and Michelle Guez, for organizing this very informative presentation!
GRADE 12 STUDENTS HEAR FROM ALUMNI
On Tuesday, we were visited by some familiar faces! Our Grade 12 students got to meet with King David alumni to hear about their experiences since graduating from high school. It was a diverse group and they were able to share their journeys at different schools, studying in different programs, and living in different cities. We heard about gap years, post-secondary transfers, different ways to get involved on campus and so much more.

Thank you Gabe Israel (Class of 2019), Noga Goldman (Class of 2016), Dina Ferera (Class of 2019), Talia Ocean (Class of 2016), Nathan Guez (Class of 2019), Adam Swartz (Class of 2017), Ava Katz (Class of 2019), Tal Tanne (Class of 2015), Aaron Casseres (Class of 2018) and Talia Buchman (Class of 2017) for your time and for sharing your stories and your insight. 
HAPPENINGS THIS WEEK
Madi Barnett, Yaara Levin, Brooklyn Israels, and Tamir Gini practiced a song for Yom Ha’atzmaut in Ms. Neuman’s Hebrew 8 class
This week, the Senior Foods students (pictured: Mattea Lewis, Grade 12, Maxwell Aknin and Eitan Sasky, both Grade 11) made mozzarella from scratch. Looks delicious!
The King David Garden Program finally got outside and into the dirt! Their first task was to get the garden beds cleared of the wood chip mulch. It was a tough job, but they cleared off as “mulch” as they could (thank you Grade 11 student Erica Forman for that pun). Club members were pretty delighted to find healthy, worm-populated soil underneath and even harvested some long forgotten garlic!
Igal Raich, King David Class of 2009, was part of King David’s relaunched Israel Trip in Grade 12 (which is now a Grade 8 trip). He was one of the seven students in his graduation year to travel to Israel. He attended IDC Herzliya for his undergraduate studies, and has been accepted to do an MBA program at Harvard Business School in the coming fall.

Igal was recently featured in this article in The Jerusalem Post, which details his hard work organizing the vaccinations for international students at IDC Herzliya.

As the article says, “To date Igal and his team have successfully reached almost every single higher education campus and are now leading the vaccination drive in high schools across the country so as to vaccinate children 16 years and older as well as focusing on increasing vaccination rates amongst teaching staff.”

Kol Hakavod on your incredible work, Igal!
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for our Golden Thread Gala!
Chag Pesach Kasher V’Sameach!
COMMUNITY EVENTS
Hillel College Fair

April 5 – April 7

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Yom HaShaoh Memorial Service

Thursday, April 8
3:30 p.m.

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Youth Power Hour
at the JCC

Tuesdays and Thursdays
April 6 – June 17

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Yom Hazikaron Memorial Service

Tuesday, April 13
7:30 p.m.

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Celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut

Wednesday, April 14
7:30 p.m.

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