Editorial 25.11.2021

eNews has been reissued to include all students who have reached the National Chidon Hatanach.  Sincere apologies to Tsofia for not including her in the first publication.

Dear Parents and Carers,

We are delighted to announce that out of 93 students from 13 UK Jewish schools, the following students were successful in getting through to the National Chidon Hatanach from Hasmonean:

Beginner Stream

Yehuda Leib G.– Year 7

Junior Stream

Shira S. – Year 9

Noa S. – Year 9

Tsofia K. – Year 9

Mazel tov to all of those who competed and especially well done to those who will progress to the next round.

The National Chidon will take place in London at 1pm on Sunday 9 January 2022 in the presence of Rabbis, teachers, parents and dignitaries.

In other news, we were delighted to welcome Jonathan Hellewell LVO, the Prime Minister’s Special Adviser for Faith, and Rory Gribbell, his Special Adviser for Education, to the Boys’ School today on a visit arranged by Rabbi Meyer OBE, Executive Director of PaJeS. It was a pleasure to take them around the school, hear their warm words of praise about what they saw and discuss issues relating to educational policy and faith schools in general.

With best wishes,


Mr A McClusky
CEO, Hasmonean MAT


Maccabiah Games

Hasmonean student Gilad G. has been selected to represent Great Britain in the upcoming Maccabiah Games to be held in Israel next year (July 2022). He is playing as the keeper in the Team GB under 16 Football. It was a very competitive selection process against many other great keepers, so it is a real achievement to be selected and we are, of course, very proud of him having got this far.

Gilad will be attending the Maccabi GB training sessions, which includes a game against Everton’s Academy in January 2022. The Team GB coaches will be doing their utmost to give the players every advantage in winning a medal.

Good Luck to Gilad and all of the U16 football team!

Editorial – 17.11.2021

Dear Parents and Carers,

The absence of the Queen at this year’s Remembrance Sunday event hit all of the headlines earlier this week. At the age of 95, it is incredible that is her temporary absence from royal duties that is causing comment rather than the fact that she is still committed to carrying them out.

G-d willing, the country and indeed the wider world will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee to commemorate the 70th anniversary of her accession later this year; it will be the first time any British monarch has celebrated a platinum jubilee.

To celebrate the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, we are encouraging all students to create short videos of no more than two minutes, artworks, articles or events to encapsulate and celebrate aspects of it.

Students can work on their entries individually or in groups. There will be prizes for the winning entries and a montage of the best entries will be displayed on the school’s website and around the two schools. Please encourage your children to enter this competition. All entries should be handed in to Mrs Fine at the Boys’ School and Mrs Palmer at the Girls’ School by 6th February 2022 (the date the Queen ascended the throne in 1952). Entries should be clearly labelled with the student(s) names and year groups on them.

Best wishes,

Mr A McClusky
CEO, Hasmonean MAT

Remembrance Day

On Armistice Day both Schools observed the two minute silence, many listening to the haunting sounds of ‘The Last Post’. On the following day, Sixth Form students led an assembly, reminding younger students of the need to remember that ‘for our tomorrows they gave their today.’ To add brightness to the memories, it was Wear-Red-to-School day at the Girls’ School and a non-school uniform day at the Boys’ School, with donations going to AJEX, the Poppy Appeal, and the NHS.

Hasmonean Predators Football

Huge congratulations to the Girls’ School Football Team – the Hasmonean Predators – for qualifying in the first round of the Spurs series at White Hart Lane on Friday.

In the qualifying game, the team were leading 2-1 then SUDDENLY in the follow-through of saving a goal, Ayelet B. fell out of the area and Fortismere were awarded a penalty and scored. All roads led to a penalty shoot-out! Unfazed by the penalties, ALL the Hasmonean Predators penalty-takers scored. Our legendary goalie saved a Fortismere goal securing our place in the Grand Final on the 1st July.

Editorial 11.11.2021

Dear Parent,

How do we know if we are doing something well? It helps to be self-reflective and to look with an open mind at our actions but it is easy to spin a false narrative, either that we are doing really well, or, if we lack confidence, that things are terrible and we are hopeless. You may have noticed the latter in your children. As a school, we like to think that we are constantly evaluating how we are doing and governor meetings certainly help with that process. However, it is important for us to hear from the wider parent and student body as well.

We sent out surveys to parents and students last week. Thanks to those who have already completed them but it would be great to have more responses. This is the only way we can find out whether you think we are doing a good job or if there are areas we should be working on. Otherwise we rely on anecdotal evidence from casual comments be they compliments or complaints. This can lead us to make changes when they are not warranted or we can be unduly complacent that all is well.

We intend to send a survey out each year so we can track if we are making progress on areas of concern. We will share the results with you in a few weeks together with our plan of action when necessary. I hope that everyone will take the few minutes needed to complete the surveys so we have as complete a picture as possible.

The links are below:
• GIRLS’ SCHOOL: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/

• BOYS’ SCHOOL: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1N

Wishing you all a good Shabbos.

Mrs K Brice
Hasmonean High School for Girls

Imperial War Museum Trip

Mrs Abecasis organised two brilliant trips to the Holocaust Galleries at the Imperial War Museum. Hasmonean was invited as a pilot school for their new education programme. They will be using their feedback to run the same programme for other schools. The museum was really impressed with our students. In turn, our students found the visits very rewarding.

We must bear in mind that our students will be the lead Holocaust educators in the future.

We have had so some lovely feedback from our students:

‘I learnt a lot about many personal experiences of the holocaust in great detail which really resided with me as a great grandson of survivors. Also, the pictures and facts they had were unbelievable and really boosted my knowledge. Lastly the mix of technology and data moulded together worked perfectly to make it an easy, interesting and worthwhile experience.’
By Zacharia B.

‘The Imperial War Museum Holocaust exhibition taught me a lot about the experiences of the unfortunate people in the Holocaust. I learnt a lot about how terrible the conditions were for minority groups targeted by the Nazi’s and how and why these disastrous events took place and how they developed into the Holocaust over time. I think the exhibition successfully conveyed important information very well and in an engaging way.’
Year 11 student

‘Our class trip to the Imperial War Museum was an experience that edified and enlightened us. Although many of us knew the raw dry facts about the tragic events of the holocaust, we had never experienced these with the raw and vivid detail with which they were presented to us in the exhibit. The sepia footage and images documenting the lives of Jews living ordinary lives in Europe were tinged with a subtle retrospective sadness. This was the general tone of the exhibit: one of connection with a past that is often disregarded to instead focus on the atrocities perpetrated, rather than the individual victims involved.
Saadya L.


Editorial 04.11.2021

Dear Parents,

Rabbi Lord Sacks z’’l, in his commentary on this week’s parsha, Toldos, quotes the Netziv who wrote about the relationship between Yitzchak and Rivka. He explained that they sometimes found it difficult to communicate with each other during critical moments and, as a result, there were times when there were unforeseen consequences as a result.

Communication is the key to ensuring that a society works and, as a famous Chinese proverb states, ‘a lot of problems in the world would be solved if we talked to each other instead of about each other.’

The Year 10 boys were involved in a day of communication last week when they went to Saracens Rugby Club for the day for a Wellbeing Immersive Experience. It was an inspirational day when the students were able to interact with a range of speakers about a number of important topics relevant to their lives, both currently and in the future. My thanks go to Ms Benarroch and the HIPE team for organising this event and ensuring that it was a truly successful day. We hope to offer more of these days to other year groups over the course of the academic year.

Wishing you all a safe and relaxing Shabbat,


Mrs D Lebrett
Hasmonean High School for Boys


Dear Parents,

Re: Chomesh L’Chinuch (CLC)

We are delighted to announce that we have received another very generous grant from Chomesh L’Chinuch (CLC) in their sixth allocation of funds to North West London schools to help towards our annual funding shortfall. This continues to be an incredible initiative within the community and we are hugely grateful to everyone involved.

Chomesh l’Chinuch is a shul based programme set up with a long term goal to cover the annual shortfall faced by NW London Jewish Schools. If you are a member of one of the CLC shuls (click here to see the list) please do join the scheme and encourage your family members to join. You may also join as an individual prior to your shul signing up. Details can be found here.

We would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to make your Chiyuv Chinuch contribution a priority in order that we hit the target of £4.1 million this year. Sincere thanks to those parents who have already paid or have set up regular payments.

Yours sincerely,


Mr A McClusky                          Mr G Swabel
CEO, Hasmonean MAT          Chair of Trustees, Hasmonean MAT

(Rabbi Bixenspanner presenting Gary Swabel with the cheque)

Year 10 Boys’ School Wellbeing Day

The Year 10 boys were treated to an incredible Wellbeing Immersive Experience at Saracens Rugby Club. They were offered PSHE sessions from Hope not Hate, JWA, the Clubhouse, and the Met Police. The students were also treated to a delicious lunch.

This experimental project was the brainchild of Ms Benarroch and it was amazing to see the boys engaged in some challenging topics in a positive way. Thanks to Ms Benarroch for organising an incredible day.

Thanks to Mr Simberg and Ms Ordman for accompanying the boys, and to Mr Tutty for helping to arrange the venue and to Kevin for arranging security.

We look forward to offering this experience to more students in the near future.

Black History Month

Our amazing Mrs Abecasis and Mrs Katz created a phenomenal cross-curricular programme of events for Black History Month (BHM). Staff from almost every part of the curriculum found a way to integrate the themes of BHM into their lessons.

In Art, the students explored the work of Yinka Shonibare MBE, who created ‘Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle’ for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. They looked at inspirational quotes from Black figures such as Shirley Chisholm, Michelle Obama and Martin Luther King.

Our Food Preparation and Nutrition department rose to the challenge of creating kosher-Covid compliant food tasting which was related to the African diaspora. This was certainly one of the most popular activities- thank you so much to Mrs Akintunde for bringing this all together.

Mrs Algranati had the students listening to Blues music, creating African drum rhythms, and absorbing the collaborations of Idan Raichel who has worked with Ethiopian Jews, Arabs, traditional Yemenite vocalists, a toaster and percussionist from Suriname, and a South African singer, among others.

In English, the students realised the danger of a single story. Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. In her TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talk, novelist Chimamanda Adichie told the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. They had to rewrite a story which had been studied in the past in relation to the African diaspora and try to write it from their point of view. There was a lot of lively discussion in the lessons about the ‘hidden’ Black icons of our time, and of the Jewish contribution to the Civil Rights movement in America and anti-apartheid in South Africa.

History, French, Maths, Economics, Science, Psychology, and Business Studies all had their part to play in creating awareness of the often hidden contribution of the Black community to every aspect of our lives.

The JS department began with a Dvar Torah on the origins of race after the fall of the Tower of Bavel. The students watched a YouTube clip about racism in modern Israel and examined the religious response to racism. Rabbi Lerer’s excellent speech about the recent protests in America was also used.
Naftali Aklum came to the school to speak about Ethiopian Jews, their culture, some of their struggles in Ethiopia and thereafter in Israel. He also spoke about the journey to Sudan, using the film “The Red Sea Diving Resort” where his own brother was the Mossad agent. He shared his own experiences and how he overcame any misconceptions and started to believe in himself and his abilities.

This month’s experiences have provoked discussion, raised awareness, and increased interest in Black History and the contribution of the Black community to every aspect of our lives.