New Activities and Programs Underway for New HAFTR School Year

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By Stacy Schlesinger

While some students engaged in research, travel or camp programs this past summer, three junior girls, Jordana Alpert, Lara Decter, and Rebecca Jedwab, played for the JCC Maccabiah girls basketball team in Kiryat Shemonah, Israel. Under the guidance of their coach, HAFTR parent Mr. Michael Alon, the team came home with the silver medal. In addition, freshman Ruthie Hoffman was a ball girl at the U.S. Tennis Open in Forest Hills.

The school year kicked off on August 31, when seniors stepped into the building all dressed up to take their individual yearbook pictures. After Labor Day, on September 6, the freshmen took their first official steps into the building as high school students, when they came to the school for orientation.  Rabbi Steve Moskowitz, our Director of Student Activities, Ms. Andi Koppelman, Assistant Director of Student Life, and a group of seniors organized a special scavenger hunt around the school to help the freshmen become familiar with their new surroundings and faculty.  The next day, freshmen attended classes while sophomores, juniors, and seniors had their individual grade orientations, led by general studies principal, Ms. Naomi Lippman, and Judaic Studies Principal, Rabbi Gedaliah Oppen. The seniors also took their grade picture for the yearbook.

At orientation, the principals informed students that HAFTR High School is inaugurating a wonderful new program in Judaic Studies this term.  The new Hatmadah program will offer students the opportunity for further enrichment in Judaic Studies, with a deeper understanding of Talmud, Jewish Law, Jewish Philosophy and other topics. Students will select the areas of learning in which they wish to engage more intensively. This learning program, which will take place during breakfast, during lunch and after school, will foster a close connection between students and their teacher and will prepare students for rigorous yeshivot and seminaries in Israel. Students in the Hatmadah program will be formally recognized for their commitment and dedication to Torah learning.  Course credit will be granted for participation in Hatmadah, which will be listed on students’ transcripts, and Hatmadah participants will also be acknowledged at the annual Celebration of Excellence award ceremonies.

On Friday, September 9, HAFTR conducted a tenth anniversary commemoration of 9-11 throughout the school. Rather than conducting a traditional assembly about the tragedies of September 11, 2001, all social studies teachers prepared special activities for their classes. These individualized programs had a stronger impact on the students, because the classroom settings and small-group discussions allowed the students to truly process the pain and horror that swept through our nation on that tragic day. Many Judaic Studies teachers and English teachers also devoted their lessons to 9-11. In my 12th grade Advanced Placement English Literature class, taught by Dr. Rena Bonne, we first listened to the song “With God on Our Side,” by Bob Dylan. We spoke about the message of the song, and it gave us the opportunity to view 9-11 in a much deeper and more profound way. These class discussions provided students with time to reflect, and gave them the chance to have a dialogue with their teachers and classmates in a smaller, more personal setting.

On Wednesday, September 14, the annual Club Fair took place. Students from all grades were able to travel from classroom to classroom to hear about the different clubs that they could join. In HAFTR High School, there is a club for every type of student. There are many scholastic clubs such as Math Club, Science Institute, Mock Trial, Debate, College Bowl and Torah Bowl. In addition, HAFTR offers clubs focusing on chesed (community service), art, drama, dance, photography, chess, Scrabble, animal rescue, political films, cooking, Israel action, choir, and student publications, just to name a few. These clubs give students the opportunity to participate in activities that they are passionate about, as well as to meet other students who share their same interests.

The ninth graders participated in our Freshman Retreat, which took place on September 23-25 at Camp Seneca Lake in Honesdale, PA. This retreat allowed freshmen to truly get to know each other and to get to know their principals and teachers. The freshmen will be joined by a number of seniors, who will share their experiences and serve as role models for their younger schoolmates.  The start of the 2011-2012 school year is going beautifully, and HAFTR High School students cannot wait to experience the great things to come!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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