Editorial 29/10/2020

Dear Parents,

The relentless nature of the bad news which surrounds us is like the autumn storms which seem to buffet us from all sides. It can be hard to keep cheerful in such circumstances and to show the resilience which we try to inculcate in our children. So this week I thought we should concentrate on the little things: smiling above the mask, stopping for an extra moment to see how someone else is, sharing in the joy of a new baby or an engagement. We all need to live more in the moment and to take pleasure and sustenance from what is happening now and not to worry too much about what the future may bring. The Year 7’s took huge pleasure from their achdus trips and the chance to do fun activities together.

Undoubtedly this is a stressful time and the older students who have exams coming are understandably anxious about how they are doing and what might happen. Encourage them to keep a sense of perspective. If nothing else, this pandemic has taught us that the important thing is the love of our family and friends and the way we treat other people. Academic work and achievement has a place – and an important one – but in the end it is not what defines us. I draw solace from Psalm 103 and this verse in particular:

“Bless Hashem, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name!”

Wishing you a very good Shabbos.


Mrs K Brice
Hasmonean High for Girls

Editorial 22/10/2020

Dear Parents,

If every child in a class self-isolates, their live lessons can be delivered live relatively easily as was the case during lockdown. However, if some remain in school and others have to self-isolate at home – which is the more likely scenario – delivering live lessons to both groups simultaneously is more challenging.  We are working hard to identify the optimal solution to deliver live lessons at home in this scenario however we are not quite there yet. For this to happen smoothly, students need to have Chromebooks which they can use both at home and in school, and all staff need to have the appropriate equipment (and training) to deliver lessons in school that are simultaneously streamed home.

Our Chromebook supplier has advised that these will arrive in November and, once delivered, they will then be configured for deployment. When we receive a precise date, we will let you know when your children will receive a device if you have ordered one. Additionally, teachers need to be provided with equipment to enable them to teach students in the class and at home concurrently. This involves identifying the optimal Bluetooth headsets, webcams and graphic tablets and, as you would expect, we are currently trialling a variety of equipment prior to placing bulk orders.

Once all of these elements are in place, staff will have the facility to give those at home access to live classroom lessons. Until then work will be uploaded onto Google classroom which will include live/recorded lessons wherever possible.

Please bear with us while we work through this process – we know that it will cause some frustration – and we are sincerely grateful for your patience while we go through the steps we need to take to increase live lessons for those who are isolating at home. We will get there.

To help us minimise the number of students who are having to self-isolate, please ensure that your children observe social distancing outside of school when socialising with their friends.

Please also check that your child has a clean face covering to bring to school each day to minimise the risk of infection (this is now mandatory in London).

Students must stay at home if they have any Covid symptoms and get tested. If they have had a Covid test for any reason, they should wait at home until they receive the results.​

We continue to follow Public Health Guidelines and take advice from Barnet Public Health in regard to all Covid-related matters.

With best wishes,


Mr Andrew McClusky, CEO

HIPE Event – Rollerblading at the Girls’ School

On Tuesday night of Chol Hamoed, the HIPE team created a fantastic event for Years 10-13.

Each year group bubble arrived at an allotted time and were excited to find the hall transformed into a rollerblading rink. They skated the night away to a range of Israeli and Jewish music. Over 300 students thoroughly enjoyed this brilliant event!

No activity would be complete without education and each group had the opportunity to listen to either Mrs Wechsler, Mrs Friedman or Rabbi Schiff, whilst enjoying individual pre-packed suppers.

Thank you to the HIPE team: Shira, Hodaya and Racheli, who saw this idea through from start to finish and left no detail undone. It is no surprise that our community is feeling the positive effects of HIPE at the Girls’ School. Thank you also to Mrs Brice for her unwavering support for all of HIPE’s crazy ideas and to Kevin who is always there to ensure these events run smoothly.

Roll on the next event!

Editorial 15/10/2020

Dear Parents,

It has been a pleasure to welcome the students back to school after the break and to see them embracing the opportunity to learn in real classrooms. There is a real buzz in school and the students really want to be here. We have also managed to run an outstanding Year 7 Achdut trip for the boys which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Now that London is moving to Covid Tier 2 over this weekend, I am writing to remind you about the importance of following the Government advice in order to try to slow the spread of the virus. Our aim is to keep the schools open to the very best of our ability. This means that we are asking for parents and students to play their part in minimising infection spread: if you attend or promote gatherings indoors where households are mixing, you are putting your family and others at serious risk. Please help us to keep the schools open and to keep the community safe.

As we start again with Sefer Beraishit, it is worth noting that the entire sefer is replete with examples of our Avot behaving in an altruistic fashion and thinking about others. This must be our mantra during these very challenging times.

Wishing you a safe and peaceful Shabbat,


Mrs D Lebrett
Hasmonean High School for Boys

Erev Yom Kippur Event

Erev Yom Kippur, and once again the indefatigable Rabbi Bennett and the JS team swung into action with an inspirational event. Using the JS lesson time, Year 9 enjoyed a presentation from Rabbi Avrohom Zeidman of GIFT understanding how to say ‘sorry’ and mean it. Year 10 learned the tricks of easy fasting from Rabbi DovBer Cowan of the JLE and Year 11 heard words of inspiration from Rabbi Yitsy David of Chazak. Finally, Years 7 and 8 were thrilled to participate in a Yom Kippur session that combined in-depth Torah learning alongside a creative craft activity focusing on appreciating the gift of Teshuvah.

Thank you to all of the JS team for such an exciting and inspirational way to go into the holiest day of the year.

Editorial 1/10/2020

Dear Parents,

As soon as we finish reading the Torah on Simchas Torah, we immediately begin leining parshas Bereishis. And when we make a siyum, the minhag is to start the beginning of the next masechta at the very same celebration.

What is behind this?
The Torah begins with a ב and ends with a ל. This is strange as it spells בל which has negative associations. Think of words with these two letters in this order and it is invariably a negative connotation. A few examples: בעל, בלי, הבל, נבל, בלק, בלעם.

It gets worse. Torah she’baal peh begins with a מand ends with a ת. This of course spells מת – dead.

I once heard an explanation in the name of Rabbi Joseph Pearlman. We never simply complete Torah, we always start again. As soon as we finished the last words of V’Zos Habracha, we start Bereishis. So too at a siyum, as soon as we finish one masechta, we begin a new one.

In this light, the last letter of Torah she’bichsav and the first letter now spells לב (heart – suggesting our full emotional involvement) and Torah she’baal peh spells תם – perfection.

Even the word ש”ס (shas) has a gematria of 360 suggesting a circle of 360 degrees with no linear start or end point, just a continuous, ongoing circle.

The concept of continuity resonates with me in two, quite different ways.

Firstly, my wife and I are thrilled to have become grandparents this week. A Yom Kippur grandson! We feel very blessed and grateful and wish everyone to enjoy much simcha and nachas from their families.

Continuity also features in school too. For a start, thankfully school is still open! That is no small feat and it is has taken many people and much work to achieve this. Please G-d, we should continue to stay open and safe in the months ahead.

As we again begin a new Jewish year and a new cycle of Torah, may we absorb the above ideas and engage in Torah with all our לב and with an appreciation of its perfection.

Wishing you all a wonderful yom tov.

Yours sincerely,

Rabbi J Golker