Recognising your generous support

Dear Parents,

Throughout this year, I have been keeping you informed of progress against our plans to ensure Hasmonean remains the very best place for our children to grow and learn.  Of course, we’ve had to adapt our plans along the way in the light of the Covid pandemic but that has not changed our continued focus and investment in three key areas:

Building Jewish Identity – providing powerful, positive experiences and a social and emotional lifeline

21st Century Teaching and Learning – harnessing education technology for the good of our students

Personal Spiritual Growth – supporting students as they develop into young adults

To understand how these initiatives have been making an impact during this year of unprecedented challenges, who better to hear it from than our own students?  Please click on the link here to watch the video:

I’d like to thank each and every one of you who has contributed to our Chiyuv Chinuch appeal which makes all this work possible.  The Hasmonean High School Charitable Trust (HHSCT) will formally celebrate your support of the school with an online supporter board from September 2021.  We look forward to recognising your generous contributions to the HHSCT.

That said, we remain behind where we need to be by £270k to meet our target of £4.1m for this year.  We can only continue to invest in your children if you make your contributions.

If you can pay your CCs in full and have yet to do so, please do it now. If you can’t pay in full, please pay what you can and prioritise the investment in your children’s education.  You can now make payments via our dedicated webpage here:

With sincere thanks for your help and best wishes,

Gary Swabel

Chair of Hasmonean Multi-Academy Trust Board


Y13 Graduation Girls

This year our Year 13 students were able to enjoy an almost normal graduation celebration. The planning was led by the Head Girl team who were keen to create a mix between formal and informal. The aim was to celebrate togetherness after having spent so much time apart in the past 14 months.

The evening began with the parents joining on zoom to hear Mrs Brice, Rabbi Golker, Tova Sharman (our Head Girl), Ms Valencia, and Mr McClusky celebrate the class of 2021. The themes of resilience, friendship and Hasmonean creating a foundation to build on were all touched upon. Ms Valencia managed to hold back the tears but it was a close call.

The HIPE team stepped up to organise the food with pizza, sushi and salads galore. They also had warm chocolatey crepes and our very own mocktail barman with a spectacular array of glass throwing tricks, as well as a superb range of mocktails.

Being Hasmo girls, there was plenty of impromptu singing and dancing. It was a very special evening, one which will be remembered by our girls for years to come.

Thank you to Ms Valencia for spearheading this year’s graduation.

Twitter: An Interfaith Workshop

Twitter – the multimillion-dollar, microblogging, social network famous for its tweets – has almost 353 million active users per month and almost 6,000 tweets are posted every second. But, just how was Twitter created and run? How did it all begin? This is what some Year 8 girls found out on Monday 24th May during an online Interfaith Twitter Coding Workshop.

Every year, a group of Year 8 girls are selected to go and take part in a workshop at the Twitter HQ, however this year, being the strange year it is, the workshop was online. After a few technical difficulties, we – the eager partakers – logged on to Zoom, eager to participate and begin. To start off the workshop, Twitter coders showed us a sneaky trick of how to individually edit any website (only on our individual screen though, – don’t worry, we didn’t actually hack any websites!) We learnt that even though this is a fun tool, we should also be wary of this ability as it can be used in negative ways too. For example, someone could edit a tweet on their screen, screenshot it and post it on another social platform, like Instagram or Facebook. Before you know it, hundreds, if not thousands, of people could have viewed this fake tweet, so it is always best to check the actual source, in this case, Twitter.

As it was an interfaith workshop, we were put into groups with girls from an interfaith school alongside a Twitter coder. Within the groups, we began to learn the basics of creating a website using HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and basic CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). HTML is the skeleton of the website and CSS is the clothing and decoration on top. We created our website using an online coding website (called using these two programming languages. We could choose any subject we wanted – animals and food were particularly popular! Our allocated Twitter coders provided us with a website with useful information about HTML and how to add to your website. To begin with, we learnt how to add a basic title and body of text. Then, we added images and were taught how to change the size of them. The next step was the beginning of using CSS to make the website look better overall. We altered the background colour, text colour and font, and even added borders to text and images.

By the end of the first half of the workshop, most of us were close to finishing our websites, so after adding a few final touches, we ‘gathered’ back together and shared our finished creations. It was amazing just how much we learnt in the one session!

After this, the workers had set aside time for a detailed Q&A on any questions we had about the culture or what it is like to work at Twitter. Extremely interesting questions were answered giving us a direct, elaborate insight on having a job at Twitter. It was extremely fascinating to hear the workers’ views on what responsibilities their job held.

To end off this phenomenal day, we had a talk on safety in the company and how you can block any unwanted hashtags or usernames coming up in your feed. The session was enjoyed thoroughly; even though it was via zoom, the workers along with the teachers from Hasmonean and the other interfaith school that joined us really made the most out of it being online. It really was an unforgettable day and an incredible experience. Thank you to those who helped make it possible for us to join – we are grateful that we had the opportunity to take part in the workshop.

By Ariella Masters and Sara Benaim

Girls’ School – Kodesh Extra

On Wednesday, girls from Years 7-10 went on their Kodesh EXTRA reward trip of ice-skating at Alexandra Palace. This is a reward that the Kodesh department run annually for high-level attendance at the optional Kodesh EXTRA lunchtime programme. They had an amazing time, swirling on the ice and enjoying the freedom of movement.

Thank you to Miss Simonsson, Mrs Waugh and Mrs Canoville for organising and supervising.

Royal Academy of Arts Young Artists’ Summer Show

Sophia Goldman’s artwork has been selected for the Royal Academy of Arts Young Artists’ Summer Show. Her piece, entitled ‘One Body, One Soul’, has been selected from thousands of applicants to be included in the gallery display at the Royal Academy of Arts in London (in addition to the online gallery), running from 13th July to 8th August:

Editorial 21/5/2021

Dear Parents and Carers,

The current tensions in the Middle East are clearly of great concern to the whole Hasmonean community. Many staff, students and parents have family who are directly affected by them and all of us – either by virtue of working here or because of our family and friendships – have an indirect connection with people who are directly affected by them.

We are asking all students and staff to be sensitive to the fact that there are a range of opinions on these matters and that this is a Jewish school with a diverse staff body.

What is of paramount importance is that we keep students and staff as safe as possible during this time.

We have:
• Been informed by PaJeS that the police are conducting more frequent patrols of the school
• Asked the police to make frequent visits to the schools/ local bus stops at the beginning and end of the day and been assured there will be more police presence by them
• Received guidance from the CST and our own security company about how they are stepping up their security measures
• Reviewed and improved our own security measures (both recently and in terms of our security infrastructure in recent years)

Further information about how students can protect themselves and respond to anti-Semitic abuse can be found below this editorial.
Wishing everyone a safe and peaceful Shabbos,

Andrew McClusky
CEO, Hasmonean MAT

Dear Parents/Carers,

Unfortunately, many of our students are reporting that they are worried for their personal safety, especially whilst travelling to and from school, and during the weekend when out and about.
We wanted to remind you of some key tips to discuss with your children about keeping themselves safe whilst on the streets.

• stay alert, and when using headphones, they should be sure to look up and pay extra attention and remove the headphones when crossing the street.
• stick to busy, well-lit roads, and avoid short cuts through alleyways
• if your child thinks someone is following them, they should cross the road or go to a place with lots of people around, like a bus stop or shop
• your child could carry a whistle or shrill alarm around their neck or on a key chain to warn off suspicious strangers
• when travelling by bus, your child should try to use bus stops on busy roads
• if someone tries to take something from your child, tell them never to fight back
• tell them to keep mobile phones and other valuables out of sight, and to turn off their mobile phone ringer to avoid attracting attention
• don’t let your child carry weapons because they are more likely to be used against them, and it’s illegal
• encourage your child to speak to you or the school if they are being bullied or feel they might be in danger

We have also included the CST bulletin CST Security Bulletin – May 2021 to remind you how to approach the rise in anti-Semitic incidents and below is an important message from CST.

With kind regards,

Ms R Benarroch
Interim Assistant Headteacher – Pastoral
Hasmonean High School for Boys

Mrs L Waugh
Assistant Headteacher – Pastoral
Hasmonean High School for Girls


Dear Community

I am writing to tell you what Community Security Trust is doing to protect our community at this difficult time, and how you and your family can help.

All of our work is done in partnership with schools, synagogues and communal groups across the country. We thank them all and we thank you also for cooperating with our united effort. If you are going to synagogue or to any other Jewish location, please comply with all the security procedures and follow the instructions of the security guards and volunteers on site. Please read our latest Security Notice.

What we are all going through right now is something that happens whenever there is conflict around Israel. It is a disgrace that there should be such antisemitism here (and in other countries), but the reality is well known to CST, schools, synagogues and other communal bodies. It is why our security measures are in place. We have been through similar times before, we plan for them and we focus on the job of protecting our Jewish community. The antisemitism began to really worsen almost two weeks ago and our staff, volunteers and those assisting in security rotas have worked exceptionally hard since then.

Our security operations have increased greatly and we will keep pushing through until this hopefully comes to an end. CST’s 24/7 National Security Control Centre is connected by CCTV and radio to over 450 sites across the country has been especially busy, including all through each night. Our non-operational staff are helping with the flood of calls from our community so we can give every caller what they need.

The number of antisemitic incidents reported to CST has risen by 500% in the past two weeks, which is consistent with previous conflict situations. We have also received a rise in reports of suspicious activity near to Jewish locations. We need these reports so that we can help you and protect our community. Please report all antisemitic incidents or suspicious activity to CST and to the police – please see details of how to report an incident. In an emergency call 999 and the CST 24/7 emergency number 0800 032 3263. Our specialist incident support staff can help and advise you.

Our role is to support people affected by antisemitism, to act wherever possible against antisemites and to give a sober, reliable picture to our community, police, politicians and media of what is happening. CST is professional, calm and determined, giving physical and moral support that we hope helps make our community less nervous and more robust. Police, government and media are receiving daily updates from CST of antisemitic incidents, extremist incitement and our security needs. If you report antisemitism to us, it makes CST’s briefings to police, government and media more comprehensive and more accurate: meaning we all get better protection. It means our concerns are heard and acted upon. For example, the Jewish community and CST received support from the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer, and the Speaker of the House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday.

This week I have discussed our concerns with the Home Secretary and one of the most senior Metropolitan Police operational commanders. The police response is a strong one, with officers stationed in our 24/7 control centre as necessary and much strengthened visible policing in Jewish neighbourhoods. I stressed that we cannot have another situation where a large convoy of cars is driven through Jewish neighbourhoods with the clear intent of intimidating and threatening Jewish people.

CST’s security work is visible and obvious, both the guards and the equipment that we have helped install at schools and shuls all over the country. All community locations and guarding companies have received regular updates from CST, seeking to ensure that the measures we have in place for these situations are fully implemented.

CST’s security work is intelligence based, but this happens behind the scenes. Our expert researchers are finding extremist incitement online and passing it to police and government on a daily basis. Some of the evidence we have gathered has contributed to important arrests in recent days for antisemitic hate crimes that we hope will result in prosecutions. Other investigations are ongoing. We want to ensure that there is always a cost for people who attack, threaten and harass our community. Your role in this is vital. If you see or hear something, take down the details and report it to CST. Please help to be our eyes and ears.

We know that all this antisemitism and extreme anti-Israel hatred is affecting our young people particularly badly. Jewish children and students are facing abuse and being singled out, in primary and secondary schools, online and on campus. For children, we have long partnered with Maccabi GB in running Streetwise. If you scroll down their website you will see educational materials that we hope will help keep children safe and enable them to better understand all of this. Streetwise has a specific programme for children in non-Jewish secondary schools, called Stand Up!, which provides education about antisemitism as part of a broader approach to discrimination. For students, we have a dedicated Student Security Coordinator who works closely with the Union of Jewish Students and Jewish Societies across the UK. There is more information about the support that is available for young people on the CST website.

We have also packaged a large amount of our own previous educational resources, now available on the CST website, to help teach people about antisemitism. The CST Blog has a strong public statement that analyses the situation and explains what we are doing.

One important difference now compared to previous difficulties is the amount of material being shared on communal Facebook and WhatsApp groups. It is right that we all stick together at this time, but some of the things being shared in these groups are exaggerated or simply incorrect. CST’s public statements seek to be accurate and sensible. Please follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Please appreciate that this email only scratches the surface of what we are doing, both publicly and privately. Obviously our work will continue for as long as it is needed, both in the current situation and beyond, but together we will get through this as we have done before. We all deserve to live proudly, confidently and safely as Jews in our country, and this is what CST is here to ensure.

Shabbat shalom,

Mark Gardner
CST Chief Executive
Office 020 8457 9999

Editorial 14/5/2021

Dear Parent,

Whilst listening to the very worrying news this week from Israel, I was reflecting on how the world is in such an interconnected place. Events that take place in one part of the world have ramifications internationally. Additionally, if there is one fact that we all now accept as a result of the Covid pandemic, it is that we are all one world. One connected, unique and precious world. We have now come to the realisation that we are all members of society and we need to feel a responsibility for each other.

Shavuos is a time to think about social and communal responsibility. A time to think about each other and the wider world and our place within it. The image of the Jewish people gathered as a community at Har Sinai is a resonant one: it also reminds us that we are more likely to be successful if we work together.

Have a good Shabbos and a yom tov and PG may there be peace and healing in the world.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs D Lebrett

Girls’ School Mental Health Awareness Week

On Wednesday, the Year 7 and 8 girls enjoyed a wonderful mental health event, created by their Year Leader, Ms Liley. The focus was on the environment and our mental health. The two are intertwined as without the beautiful, green environment our mental health can suffer.

After Rosh Chodesh Tefilla and Tehillim for the situation in Israel, 14 groups of girls headed to the hill in order to build tents. They had great fun doing this, working in pre-selected teams, so that they could get to know different girls. The great outdoors featured prominently in the morning’s activities as they also went litter picking and watched a video about the impact of plastic on the environment.

There was a wellbeing session after lunch, followed by a creative moment of painting ceramic plates with emblems of nature. The final session was listening to the Dr Seuss’ tale of the Lorax, read by Rik Mayall.

In all, this was a fabulous day out of the classroom, in the fresh air and being able to focus on the world around us. It was a tonic for everyone: seeing the girls laughing as the wielded their litter pickers in the sunshine certainly showed the value of these events.

Editorial 6/5/2021

The Torah interrupts its discussion about shemitah and the related laws of resting the land in the seventh year to introduce the prohibition of ona’ah, wrongdoing. There are different types of ona’ah. One type is ona’as devarim – harming someone with words.

Why does the Torah place the prohibition of ona’as devorim in the middle of the laws about shemitah?

Rabbi Frand quotes Rav Yakov Weinberg ztl who explains that the motivation behind snide remarks is really a lack of satisfaction with one’s own portion in life. When somebody makes a hurtful remark about another person, he is trying to aggrandise himself by diminishing another. Ultimately, this reflects an insufficient faith in Hashem because it shows a lack of satisfaction with one’s own lot. If a person truly had emunah that he has what he needs, he would not need to make these remarks.

That is why the possuk concludes with “I am the L-rd, your G-d” in order to remind us that our life situations are given to us by Hashem and it is up to us to make the most of them.

Here at Hasmonean we aim to help each student develop their potential. We do this by offering a broad and exciting array of formal and informal educational experiences.

All of this exposes our students to a broad Yiddishkeit which will hopefully enable them to discover who they are and what their potential is. That is the surest way to avoid ona’as devorim and any form of hurtful speech as they embark on their journey in life

Wishing you all a wonderful Shabbos.

Rabbi J Golker

Lag B’Omer Girls

The HIPE team and Mrs Paster got the tone just right on this difficult Lag B’Omer, following the tragedy in Meron. Staff including Rabbi Golker, Rabbi Birnbaum and Mrs Paster spoke to the girls in the morning, letting them know what had happened, helping them to understand the serious and sad sequence of events. She also explained that it was still appropriate to celebrate and then proceeded to present an informative video featuring the HIPE team sharing Lag B’Omer messages and life lessons.

Outside, the school grounds had been transformed into a fairground which included a bungee jump run, inflatables and dodgems! Each bubble went out in turn to enjoy this Hasmo fairground in the glorious sunshine. Some Year 11 and Year 13 girls opted to join the fun, giving them a very welcome break from revision.

Many staff, including the intrepid English Department, also had a go on the dodgems, fearing for their safety with some dodgy Sixth Form drivers.

Thank you to the HIPE team – Racheli, Hodaya and Shira – it was a blast!