Trip to Imperial War Museum

The Year 10 Hasmonean girls visited a new temporary exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, which was curated by Mrs A Abecasis.

Students took part in specially created learning sessions developed for the IWM which focus on the efforts of Rabbi Dr. Solomon Schonfeld and Sir Nicholas Winton to rescue children and bring them to Britain prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.

The workshop included testimony and clips of Kinder who came to England during the years of 1938-1940.  The temporary display also included several personal items belonging to Rabbi Dr. Schonfeld and Sir Nicholas, kindly lent by their families for this partnership work.

The children were under severe threat from the Third Reich and sadly 1.5million children were killed due to the atrocities of the Nazi regime. The heroism of these two men, along with other members of the CBF/CCJR and the British Government, enabled 10,000 children to find a safe place and access to housing and education in Britain.

While visiting IWM, students also had the opportunity to explore the highly respected Holocaust Exhibition which includes powerful survivor testimony. The girls found the exhibition both informative and very moving – indeed the whole day was a very valuable learning experience for them.

Thank you to Mrs Abecasis for organising this event.

Girl’s Chanukah Fair

To conclude the very busy autumn term, HIPE along with Year 12 created a fabulous Chanukah Fair on Friday 20th December.

The girls enjoyed making photo keyrings, biscuit decorating, apple bobbing and hair styling. Food was on offer: doughnuts, popcorn and candy floss. Everyone had a simply marvellous time and it was wonderful to go into Chanukah in such a joyous way. Our Hasmo girls were certainly full of the Chanukah spirit!

Year 7-10 End of Term Concert

On the final day of term, Friday 20th December, our Year 7-10 boys were treated to an exclusive concert with world famous singer and Hasmonean alumnus, Eitan Freilich. He entertained the boys with a medley of Chanukah songs. There was lots of audience participation and the odd impromptu rekidah!

Thank you to Benji Shebson for organising and to Eitan for giving his time.

Rewards Trip for the Chesed House

Each term, the house with the highest attendance and highest number of net positives will be rewarded with an afternoon out of school for some fun. The winning House from term 1 was Chesed and they were rewarded with an afternoon at Hollywood Bowl. Chesed have set the early benchmark.

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.

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.