Girls’ School Choir

The first Jewish secondary inter-school choir festival was hosted by Hasmonean School for Girls on the evening on Wednesday 12th February. Girls from schools such as Tiferes, Beit Jacob and Menorah High joined a rousing chorus of united young women’s voices to create a wonderful atmosphere of achdut. Hasmonean Girls’ sang two songs: ‘One Day’ and ‘Esa Einai’ with vigour and enthusiasm.

Thank you to Miss Simmonson and all of the informal education team for organising the festival and for training our girls.

Yom Iyun

As winter fades into spring, it’s time for a superbly planned Yom Iyun focusing on the Torah and the Environment.

Rabbi Bennett created 6 different tracks for the girls to follow, bringing insights, inspiration and illumination with authentic Torah learning to brighten up the end of this half term. He gave a superb shiur about looking after the world Hashem gave us, integrating words of Torah with clips from Greta Thunberg’s speeches. This was followed by chabura based learning about the Jewish view of ecology and the environment, using sources from Midrash Tanchuma, Rav Shimsom Raphael Hirsch and Talmud Bavli Shabbat 77b.

Around the classrooms, students used a source sheet to investigate the Torah sources on friendship, such as the saying in Kohelet that ‘two are better than one’. There was a wonderful atmosphere of collaborative learning as the girls discovered that wellbeing began in the Torah. The sessions concluded with a short cartoon about ways to create friendships which nurture and support.

Up in the library, GIFT ran sessions about the GIFT of giving back with humour, magic and a lot of fun. Magician Martin Rees demonstrated his skills and explained how he uses those skills to break the ice when he visits families. The message for the students was to take your talents out into the world to do good!

Rabbi Silverman ran the sem track of more intensive learning, weaving Shackleton’s tale of endurance with sources about perseverance and effort. This text based approach proved very stimulating and very popular!

Year 7 also enjoyed a session about Jewish History. Lively discussion showed that this is a topic which really engages the girls, as they all contributed ideas to the class. They were given a timeline task to test their knowledge of Jewish History and to guide them to further study.

All of these sessions took place in a three lesson window, minimising disruption to the regular timetable and certainly maximising authentic Torah learning.

Table Tennis

On Friday 7th February, the Sixth Form leadership team organised a table tennis tournament for the school in order to raise money for One Child Ghana. Hasmonean has built up its relationship with this wonderful charity over the years and we are proud to have raised almost £300 for them to spend on good causes for school children in rural Ghana.

Raffi Berg, Guest Speaker

On Tuesday 11th February, students in the Sixth Form had the honour of attending a fascinating speech by Raffi Berg, an author of an amazing new book about the Mossad secret operation. To evacuate thousands of Ethiopian Jews who had been languishing in refugee camps and the spiriting of them to Israel, the Mossad opened a new luxury holiday resort. Catering for divers, it attracted guests from around the world. Little did the holidaymakers know that the staff were undercover spies!

Raffi wrote this book in collaboration with operatives involved in the mission, endorsed as the definitive account and including the commander who went on to become the Head of the Mossad.

Our Sixth Formers were thoroughly mesmerised by this remarkable event!

Visit from Bar Ilan University

Some of our Year 12 and 13 girls attended a talk from a representative of Bar Ilan University on Thursday 6th February.

Miriam Blum spoke to our girls about the university and how they cater to international students. The girls who attended asked insightful questions about the courses available and the modes of study.

Miriam was able to speak to the girls about how the university offers a comprehensive religious education, alongside a rigorous academic curriculum. It was a good opportunity for our students to gain insight into the options available to them after Seminary and ways of doing Aliya.

Tu BiShvat

The Year 7-11 girls enjoyed a very successful Tu BiShvat event on Monday morning. Each year group participated in a fruit platter competition, which was followed by the girls cycling on a bike to blend their own smoothie. The energy in the hall was really vibrant as pedal power created a fantastic range of bright, healthy, fruity smoothies.

At the Boys’ School, they had a Tu BiShvat fruit stall in the main hall, as well as organic honey jars to promote Climate Change Awareness, which was implemented by Mr Sommers. The stall was ably manned by Rabbi Fachler’s Year 10 Gemoro class and all proceeds went to the Wellbeing Fund.

Thank you very much to all the staff who helped throughout the sessions.

Girls’ School Football Fixture

Our Year 8, 9 and 10 girls are to all be congratulated on their outstanding performance in the football fixture against Copthall last week. Hasmonean Girls had a runaway victory against Copthall last week, with the final score being 13-3 to Hasmonean! Congratulations to all our players for their excellent result and superb sportswomanship!

Medical Society event at Cambridge University

Announcements are regularly made on the Show My Homework noticeboard which include: open days, courses and special events, like Career Fairs. One such opportunity that two of our girls took up was to attend the Medical Society event at Cambridge University.

One of our Year 12 students wrote the following about the event: “I wanted to write about my experience at the Gonville and Caius Medical Society event this week. During the event, the heads and officers from the Medicine Society spoke to us about the course and studying at Cambridge University; the application process and the examinations we would need to take before applying. Then we went on a tour around the campus, looking at the halls, the courtyards, the libraries and the common areas. This part gave us all an insight into what life would be like if we were studying in the college and the residential and community side was very appealing. These tours were led by the third year medical students and, therefore, we had the opportunity to ask any questions that we had about the course, the college and just university in general.

Following this, we were split into groups for a supervision (tutorial) session, where we spend 15 minutes in small groups learning briefly about parts of the anatomy, physiology and immunology aspects of the course. It was very useful for me to experience the style of learning used so often in the university and see if this learning style was suitable for me, especially as everyone learns in different ways.

Finally, we were given a lecture in the auditorium about why nerves are so slow, which is a topic taught when students first arrive on the course. The lecture was very interesting, both in style and topic, and so it was very beneficial for us to experience.

Overall, going to this event was very helpful for me when thinking about where to apply for university to do medicine next year. I personally always thought I would stay in London, seeing as the course is so long. However, seeing the campus life and the different teaching styles there, as well as the answers to the questions I asked about how the course is split, has made me reconsider and want to look further into universities outside London for my degree.”

Rebecca Hilsenrath, Chief Executive of the Human Rights and Equality Commission

We had the honour of hosting Rebecca Hilsenrath, the Chief Executive of the Human Rights and Equality Commission. She is an inspiring speaker who was able to give the girls an insight into careers in Law and the wide variety of job opportunities it opens. Rebecca went on to explain the important work that the commission conducts and gave interesting statistics about the challenges the UK faces. The students were able to ask insightful questions about the gender pay gap and the challenges of balancing family with work. Rebecca spoke eloquently about the joys of having a family of 4 boys and a foster daughter, whilst pursuing a rewarding and challenging career in the Law.

Mark Evison Foundation

The Mark Evison Foundation is an incredible organisation which provides students with funding to embark on a challenging project which takes students out of their comfort zone. Lots of girls signed up and we look forward to finding out more about their projects. Two of our Year 13 students came to inspire our Year 12’s by presenting their projects.