Trip to Oxford

A number of Year 11 and 12 girls were given the chance to attend a talk at Christ Church College Oxford on the 13th March. Ana Hastoy provided the girls with a personalised event which started with a talk about admissions and access to Oxford. Ana explained the College system and gave us an excellent run through of the dos and don’ts for Personal Statements for Oxbridge.

We had a tour of Christ Church where we were shown the Hogwarts stairs and dining hall. Later we were able to talk to the Oxford Rabbi and a Jewish student who gave the girls an insight into Jewish life in Christ Church and beyond. It was great to hear how well the Jewish students are provided for and how far the Colleges have gone to provide Kosher meals and facilities.

We met with a panel of First Year female students, including students from the Physics, Maths, Philosophy, Medicine and Music departments. They were able to provide us with a better understanding about what student life involves, including their personal application process, the work-life balance, and interesting events which the students get to partake in. Our Hasmonean girls asked pertinent and interesting questions which enabled us to better understand how STEM subjects are taught, as well as the options available in the Humanities and joint degrees.

Before we left we were able to tour the smaller College of Corpus Christi with its incredibly ancient library which was a highlight for some of our girls. Ana will be coming in later in the year to talk to a larger number of students as part of our Oxbridge programme.

Raffi Berg

Last week, Hasmonean had the privilege of welcoming Raffi Berg back to the school to talk to our Year 11 students. Raffi Berg is 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!

Space and STEM Summer School: Mission Discovery

In 2018, one of our Year 10 students was part of the Space and STEM Summer School called Mission Discovery held at Kings College London (KCL). Students were competing to launch an experiment of their own design to the International Space Station (ISS).

Our student, Shiri, was in the team TITAN pHive and they had to present their idea in front of 250 people, as well as the board of judges. TITAN pHive won the competition! NASA is now preparing her experiment and it will be launched into space on Saturday 7th March where the ISS astronauts will conduct Shiri’s experiment! Her experiment will be handed over to SpaceX to be launched on SpaceX20, where astronauts aboard the ISS will conduct her experiment and send the recordings down to earth.

Shiri’s experiment is called ‘Planarian Flatworm Regeneration in Microgravity’, and will measure the rate of cell division in space using GFP.

Equine Therapy

Hasmonean High School for Girls have recently collaborated with the non-profit charitable organisation called Strength in Horses (SIH). Strength in Horses provides equine assisted therapy to children in order to promote personal growth and development, as well as improve their mental wellbeing.

On Wednesday 12th February, some of our girls attended their first session. They were introduced to the horses and had a very enjoyable afternoon, spending time in a rural environment and reconnecting with a more natural way of life.

Our programme will run for 6 to 8 weeks and is designed around the needs and challenges of our students. Our students will learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses, and then processing (or discussing) feelings, behaviours, and patterns. Our pupils work on the following targets:

  • Relational difficulties including building effective communication and trust
  • Problem solving, team work and developing more helpful interactions with others
  • Specific skills development including supporting engagement in education and work settings (e.g. listening, persistence, and patience)
  • Engagement with the therapeutic process
  • Confidence building, assertiveness and increased self-awareness
  • Emotional difficulties in particular aggression, emotional volatility, low mood and anxiety

This provision is a very rewarding and stimulating therapeutic experience for our pupils and is organised by our school’s SEN Department.

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.

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.