Senior Maths Challenge

Last week a number of our students participated in the Senior Mathematical Challenge aimed at students across the UK. Hasmonean did very well in the competition and produced some extraordinary performances.

One of our students achieved a score of 116 and qualified to the British Mathematics Olympiad 1, which makes him one of the top 1000 students in the country. Another student scored 95 and also managed to qualify to Senior Kangaroo.

A special mention is also due to two Year 11 students who were both awarded Silver certificates, which is a remarkable result.

Well done to all of our fabulous mathematicians!

Chidon HaTanach UK

Hasmonean Girls’ swept the board at the Chidon HaTanach.

Thursday 12th November saw the English rounds of the annual Bible Quiz, otherwise known as Chidon HaTanach. Being a year with a difference, it was zoomed from Rabbi Fachler’s office rather than a live event. Covid notwithstanding: this Bible Quiz continued regardless and what a quiz it was!

Jewish high school students from around the country applied and three schools were selected for this: Yavneh School in Manchester, Immanuel College in Bushey and Hasmonean High School for Girls.

The winners would be able to participate in the World Finals in Israel.

After nine rigorous rounds of intense questions, the winners were as follows:

• Junior winners – Shani J (1st), Rebecca R (2nd) and Maya D (3rd)

• Senior winners – Orly M (1st), Sara S (2nd) and Leah K (3rd)

ALL of the winners were from Hasmonean High School for Girls!

Well done and special thanks to Rabbi Silverman for his legendary coaching. This is a truly phenomenal achievement. It is not just the knowledge of Tanach that Rabbi Silverman imbues his students with- it is also a love of Tanach.

We are as always grateful to the Maerovits family for supporting this amazing event.

HIPE Bat Mitzvah event

Our first HIPE Bat Mitzvah event took place on Wednesday afternoon in a packed-out hall, recognising those who had had their bat mitzvahs in the first part of this year.

The evening began with an engaging talk from Shira Druin, followed by the Bat Mitzvah girls receiving a book from Rabbi Golker. These girls were given a large photo of themselves which the whole year group signed, feeling special on this important occasion of their lives.

This was followed by a painting activity, led step-by-step by the talented Suri Neufeld, and every single girl was fully engaged. The girls then enjoyed a surprise pizza delivery.

The importance of these celebrations at the moment are hugely significant, as restrictions prevent anything like this taking place outside of school. On both a wellbeing level and as part of their Jewish journey this was a tremendous success.

The laughter and fun was felt by all. Special thanks to the staff who stayed after school and supported this wonderful event and to Kevin, Michael and Carmel, our amazing site team.

It was so wonderfully organised, the girls were so engaged and really enjoyed the HIPE Bat Mitzvah celebration.

Bar Mitzvahs at the Boys’ School

As the shuls/synagogues are closed at the moment, we have hosted some beautiful Bar Mitzvahs at the Year 7 school minyan in the gym in order to offer the boys involved the opportunity to lein from the Torah.

Thanks to Rabbi Fachler and Rabbi Muster for enabling this to happen and to the HIPE team for injecting much joy into these mornings.

Black History Month

As part of Hasmonean High School’s commitment to life in the UK, we proudly celebrated Black History Month by dedicating lessons for an entire day to this important and special cause. Last month, students were taught about contributions made by Black people to British life, both past and present, in all of their lessons. Among other things, students learned about contributions made by Black people to the fields of literature and science, learned about the history of the Civil Rights movement, learned about the geographical displacement of Black people and about different Jewish African communities in Madagascar and Nigeria, and learned about the lives of Ethiopian Jews in Israel.

Rabbi Michael Pollack also spoke to the Year 10 boys on the subject of: ‘How should Jews react to the murder of George Floyd.’ He explored and discussed racism in the USA and the Jewish response to that racism.

The day was an incredible success with teachers planning outstanding lessons and students being fully engaged in the learning, discussions and debates that were held across their lessons. It was so wonderful to see the entire Hasmonean community come together to deal with such an important topic and we are confident this is just the beginning of our commitment to celebrating wider British society.

Thank you to Mr Kalley, Mrs Abecasis and all the staff who created this interesting, innovative event.

HIPE: Girls’ School Years 12 and 7 Events

Wednesday was a wonderful double bill of events. The day kicked off with a breakfast and speaker for Year 12. The common room was transformed thanks to the HIPE team and the girls really felt as if they were in a grander venue with small elegant tables with flowers and individual breakfast boxes for each student.

Psychologist Yaakov Bar was welcomed to the breakfast to speak to the students about accepting their individual life circumstances. The action continued with a range of team building activities out on the fields. The laughter echoing out of the school certainly showed that these games helped the girls to bond after what has been a very challenging few months. Thank you to the staff who gave up their lessons so the girls could let loose and bond with one another.

The second part of the day saw Year 7 enjoy an in-house Achdus Trip. They also completed a different set of team building activities, enjoyed a treasure hunt around the school followed by a social distanced dancing session and, of course, finished off with a pizza delivery!

Every part of the day was perfectly organised by the HIPE team: your energy and creativity are an inspiration to us all. We are blessed to have you in our school.

Thank you to our temporary site team who took care of all the logistics and furniture moving to make the day run smoothly.

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!

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.

Girls’ School – Erev Rosh Hashanah

Erev Rosh Hashanah, hours before the start of the Day of Judgement, the girls’ school was busy with spiritual preparations. The Year 11 students were inspired and challenged by the words of chizuk from the always popular Rabbi Moshe Levy, executive director of Chazak. Rabbi Jonny Hughes of Radlett United Synagogue spoke to our Year 10 students about how to take advantage of the power of Rosh Hashanah and took questions from the audience.

Years 7 – 9 took part in a dynamic classroom session with their Kodesh teachers, understanding how Rosh Hashanah can be part of the Eseres Y’Mei Teshuvah (10 days of Repentance), even though we do not do Teshuvah on Rosh Hashanah. Their session continued with a guide to the Matzo to assist the students in accessing the awesome Tefillos which we say on the day.

The HIPE team, with assistance from the student leadership team and Rabbi Bennett, created a beautiful Monopoly-themed Machzor guide, containing Divrei Torah and space for the students to write their own notes in preparation for the davening.

Girls’ School – Behind The Mask

HIPE was delighted to announce its newest initiative: #behindthemask

The idea of the programme is to open the girls’ eyes and enthuse them with an attitude of gratitude. Ultimately there is always someone “behind the mask” orchestrating every event in our lives, and someone who it is important to have gratitude towards.

This fits into this time of year in the Jewish calendar, which is very much focused on growth and reflection.

After these past few months at home, we feel all of our students can benefit from some out of classroom informal bonding and the JS department kindly allowed HIPE to use their class time for the sessions to take place.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, each year group had an exciting session in the hall which included a balloon release (please be reassured the balloons are biodegradable latex), tie dying masks, learning about gratitude, and some more exciting surprises. The HIPE team regaled the girls with stories, examples of how Hashem directs our world and lots of humour- always the best way of ensuring an important message remains.

At a time, when we cannot do so much of what we usually do, the HIPE event certainly helped the girls to focus on the significance of the Atzeret Yemei Teshuva and how we interact with each other.