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.

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!

Yom Ha’Atzamaut at Hasmonean Girls’ School

Israel’s 73rd birthday was celebrated with a difference at Hasmonean. After a heartfelt Hallel, HIPE and the Sixth Form turned the Hall into our own Machane Yehuda. There were food stands reminding us of our Israeli favourites: ice coffee, choco and orange juice from Café Aroma; croissants and muffins from Café Ne’eman; Catzefet cereal and whipped cream, pick and mix sweets and a watermelon stand.

Mizrachi came to provide a quiz and letter writing to Israeli soldiers. GIFT and Shalva also came in with activities and there was even an appearance from Na Na Nachman Ne’eman!

To keep everyone safe, the girls came into the decorated hall in year group bubbles during Thursday morning’s lessons.

After school, the Sixth Form celebrated with the traditional Israeli activity of a barbecue- on the hill rather than Tel Aviv beach!

While we all missed the dancing which is an integral part of our celebrations, the blue and white festivities certainly gave a feel of Israel to our corner of Mill Hill.

Yom HaZikaron

HIPE ran this year’s Yom HaZikaron programme with a powerful film created by Mizrachi UK. The students found the presentation both moving and informative, as Batsheva A said: ‘It was really sad’ – but also inspiring as she has been nurturing an ambition to serve in the IDF.

 

British Biology Olympiad

Well done to all our students who participated in the British Biology Olympiad.

Chayale R and Izzy A-P were awarded a gold and a highly commended respectively. The boys Nafatali U, Alon H, Yehoshua S and Noam E all did well with silver, highly commended and commended certificates.

The Olympiad is a competition which challenges and stimulates students with an interest in Biology to expand and extend their talents. They had to sit two 45-minute multiple-choice papers under supervised exam conditions, being presented with both familiar and unfamiliar topics. This demonstrated that they could adapt and apply their knowledge, show understanding of core principles and use problem-solving skills.

It is a nationwide event in which over 8000 students participate, so their achievement is quite remarkable.

Year 7 Bat MItzva

After school on Wednesday 17th March, Year 7 enjoyed a fabulous Bat Mitzva party. Nina LeBlanc spoke to them about Havdala, linking it to becoming Bat Mitzva. In keeping with the Havdala theme, they also made Havdala candles. The special activity was ‘jump shoes’, so the girls had a whale of a time leaping about the hall!

These parties have been a really popular and inclusive way of enjoying the Bat Mitzva year in different circumstances.

Mrs Brice, Mrs Canoville, Miss Gelley, Mrs Waugh, Mrs Epton, and the phenomenal HIPE team were all on hand to ensure the party ran smoothly. Thank you all for giving your time to our lovely Year 7 girls.

Girls’ School – Virtual Music Concert

On the evening of Monday 15th March, the Music Department hosted a virtual concert with our talented girls. The concert opened with a serene performance simply called ‘Sarah’, followed by a spirited rendition of Mashiach!

There were two singers featured on the concert: one performed “This is Me” from the Greatest Showman and the other singer provided her own humorous lyrics to post-Covid based on Post Malone.

Five GCSE compositions were performed, ranging from piano solo pieces to full orchestral scores, with the standard being very high and offering a huge variety of styles and musical ideas. We were also taken on a virtual “holiday” after hearing a piano piece called Persian Holiday and then we “danced” to Disco Baroque and Twilight Tango, which was performed on the keyboard!

Many thanks go to our wonderful performers who did themselves proud, performing under such strange conditions. Thanks also go to Mr Michael Hattingh, for his coaching of so many of the students who performed, Mr M Tutty for his technical support and being the champion of Zoom, and to all those who supported the concert.

 

Rabbi Dov Birnbaum

Rabbi Dov Birnbaum of the SEED Shul in Edgware has just been appointed Director of the Midrasha at Hasmonean Girls’ School. He brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the role, having previously run the annual SEED trip to Israel, worked with Rabbi Grunfeld and taught in Reb Zvi’s Yeshiva. Teaching in a girls’ school will be a new challenge, as he said ‘the most exciting part is the ability to lead the Midrasha into a new era of growth. The leadership of the school is very ambitious for what the Midrasha can achieve’. The Midrasha is designed to give students a wide knowledge of Jewish texts and the skills to look up sources and think about answers independently. Rabbi Birnbaum very much hopes that girls will come out of Hasmonean’s Midrasha with pride, excitement and confidence in their Judaism.

Chemistry Olympiad

Congratulations to Year 13 students Yoel (Gold), Zara (Silver) and Naftali (Bronze). They all achieved amazing success in January’s Chemistry Olympiad. This is a voluntary competition, which is performed under exam conditions.
Their achievement is phenomenal, especially as this took place during the stress of lockdown.