The Yoni Jesner Award

The Yoni Jesner Foundation also came into the Girls’ School on the 17th December to speak to the Year 7 and 8’s about celebrating their volunteering work. With so much activity happening around the Bat Mitzvahs, the opportunity to log hours and recognise achievements is something we hope to build on throughout the year.

How many hours can Hasmonean girls give back?

On Sunday 22nd December, the Foundation is running a present wrapping event in Golders Green. Information is below and they would love people to join them.

Year 7 Wellbeing Programme

The Year 7 girls had a very busy day on Tuesday 17th December. Mrs Canoville, Mrs Naylor, Miss Gelley and Mrs Rand delivered ‘Heads Up’ sessions as part of our commitment to the girls’ wellbeing. They discussed the highs and lows of friendship, which is always an important issue for teenage girls. Thank you to the amazing team who made this possible.

Jack Petchey Speak Out competition

Tuesday morning saw the semi-finals of the Jack Petchey Speak Out competition at the Girls’ School. The semi-finalists were: Abi, Dalya, Levana, Ariella and Rivki. All the Year 10 students came to the hall to support their friends as they gave their speeches.

The topics presented included: the legality of abortion, phobias and fears, role models, a vivid experience of anti-Semitism, and how we learn from the past.

The standard was very high, and it was very hard to choose between the candidates. Our winner was Levana, who will represent the school in January, and the runner up was Rivki.

Well done to everyone and thank you to Mrs Jacobson for organising the competition. All the girls from the year group have learned a lot about public speaking this term, a skill which will serve them well.

Year 13 Shabbaton

Our Year 13 students returned from their Shabbaton at Skeet House in Kent late on Saturday night. They all had a fantastic time: they ate, sang, danced, bowled and were a real credit to Hasmonean.

A special thank you to Racheli for organising the trip so efficiently, Hodaya and Shira for accompanying us, Shalvi Freidman and whole family for coming, and Mrs Hamer for leaving her family to join us.

These Shabbatonim enrich our girls’ experience of Hasmonean and we are so grateful to everyone who made it happen. This was, of course, their last Shabbaton together and the last time this incredible group of girls will all be together at a school event. The atmosphere was exceptional as the girls discussed a wide range of topics late into the night.

Editorial 19/12/19

Dear Parent,

The darkest days of the year are upon us and the weather has done nothing to improve our spirits, so it is a good thing that at the Girls’ School we have been uplifted by the magic of Peter Pan in the school musical, and soon the lights of Chanukah will be a reminder of the importance of keeping the faith.

In the same way that the Chanukah lights illuminate the darkness, we need to think about how our actions can lighten the world around us. Scientists have discovered (as if it was not common sense) that carrying out a kind action not only makes the giver and recipient feel better, but also lifts the spirits of everyone who hears about it. When we do good deeds it restores hope in the human condition, which is very necessary because the news is often full of darkness and despair.

So as we go to celebrate Chanukah and look forward to 2020, we can all take the opportunity to brighten the lives of those around us with acts of kindness. This is a key message which we promote at all times of year. Chesed runs through the school and we are proud of our students reaching out to help others who are less fortunate.

I hope you all have a very happy holiday and good wishes for the year ahead,


Mrs K Brice


Rewards Trip to Flip Out

On Tuesday 17th December, 57 well deserving boys from Years 7 and 8 were treated to an afternoon out at Flip Out, Brent Cross, as a reward for attending the early Shacharit Minyan every morning this entire term.

Together with three very capable Madrichim, Rabbi Fachler and the boys had an incredible time: jumping, flipping and gaming to their hearts’ content.

Pre-Chanukah Yom Lyun

Tuesday 17th December saw a fantastic day of learning and inspiration for all students from Years 7-10 when they enjoyed a number of different sessions throughout the morning.

There were classroom based sessions with Kodesh teachers which were centred on understanding Chanukah as a day of הודאה – examining the centrality of gratitude and giving thanks in the Torah. The students examined sources to discover the theme of thanking and praising Hashem in the days of Chanukah. They also wrote letters of thanks to people who have helped, supported and encouraged them in life.

GIFT also ran a number of activities based on multi-sensory learning and inspiration sessions for Chanukah, including making Chanukah cards for people who may be lonely in care homes. One group shared their experiences of what they had done for GIFT and other Chesed organisations and it was really impressive listening to the girls and learning about how much they have done. The group making cards explored the idea that something small, like a match, can spread so much light.

Rabbi Zeidman looked at the Hebrew word ‘Yavan’, which is made up of three unlinked lines, and linked this to how one uses physical beauty.  If beauty is directed toward Chesed, such as presenting a meal for a family beautifully, then it has a value, but physical beauty for its own sake is an attribute of Yavan.

The fourth group had fun with dreidels and a Chanuka quiz.

The centrepiece of the event was the Chavrusa Extravaganza – with over 350 young women learning together in the hall; younger years learning with older years, examining the battle between Greek ideas and the Torah at the time of Chanukah. They worked through a detailed source sheet with extracts from the Mishna and Gemara.

Rabbi Bennett ended the morning with the closing words of inspiration. Other speakers included: Rabbi Moshe Levy, Executive Director of Chazak who addressed Year 10, and Rabbi Eli Birnbaum, Director of Aish, London, who spoke to Year 9.  His dynamic presentation began with Pepsi adverts and ended with ideas about developing intuition. Even though most people preferred the taste of Pepsi, when it came to shopping, they bought Coca Cola. Coca Cola held the market because of its intuitive associations with family, togetherness and distinctive branding. Miracles are also intuitive. We just seem to know when something is a miracle.

Rabbi Levy spoke to Year 10 about proof. How do you prove that there is a G-d? How do you prove that Shabbat is Shabbat? How do you prove that the oil is holy? This was how the Greeks challenged the Jews …and many fell to that challenge. This was the threat that the Hashmonaim faced at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (Epipanes!) Yet the Hashmonaim fought against the Greeks, even though certain death against a vast, well equipped army was likely…and they won. A miracle. G-d made the miracle of Chanuka to remind Am Yisrael why we exist. When the impossible happens, when things are not mathematically or scientifically provable, they are a miracle and this reminds us that there is a G-d and we should believe in Him. This was a very powerful message for the Year 10 girls and they were certainly impressed and inspired.

Thank you to Rabbi Bennett for his superb organisation of this Yom Iyun. Chanuka is so much more than doughnuts and latkes and Tuesday’s event certainly helped our students to go into Chanuka as informed young women.

Mock Election at Hasmonean

As the nation went to the polls last Thursday, so did Hasmonean!

The Boys’ School organised a mock election and students were provided with an insight into the electoral system and how their own constituencies play a role in the bigger picture.

At the Girls’ School, students were introduced to the process of voting through an entertaining, informal video. Afterwards, nine Sixth Formers (pictured below) presented the manifestos of the various political parties, with the idea that the students would vote for the most convincing campaign speech. Students were asked to vote secretly and the ballots were counted!

Peter Pan

The lights were dimmed, the hall fell silent and once again, Hasmonean Girls triumphed on stage with a performance of Peter Pan which hooked every member of the audience. It was a production which celebrates the inner child in all of us; beautifully cast with slick dances and crafted stage sets.

Well done to the Sixth Form production team who learned to manage their A-level studies with choreography, production, ticket sales and brochure creation. Putting a show together is so much more than the sum of its parts, and everyone who participated was integral in making the two performances such a resounding success. For two nights, it was pure Neverland in Mill Hill.

Thank you to all of our generous sponsors, to the site team and to all the parents for your patience. The profits from Peter Pan will be used to support the Poland Trip and the school’s wellbeing fund.

The annual show really pulls the entire school together. Just like the lights of the Chanuka candles; the glimmering light of Tinkerbell lifts the dark nights.

Avos U’Bonim

On Sunday 15th December, a fabulous Avos U’Bonim (fathers and sons learning programme) took place in school.  The programme was for boys in Years 7-10 and their fathers.  The hall was packed and the learning and atmosphere was excellent.

Thanks to Benji Shebson for organising the programme, Rabbi Muster and all the Jewish Studies staff for overseeing and running the programme, and to Rabbi Hartman for his powerful presentation.