Editorial 16/7/2021

Dear Parents/Carers,

 

This is an important letter about the arrangements for this term and next – please read this all the way to the end.

 

Information regarding provision for GIRLS SCHOOL students

YEARS 7,8,9,10,11,12 on Monday 19th July and Tuesday 20th July

 

There has been a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases at the Boys’ school and we are concerned that we may not be aware of other Covid-19 cases in the school community due to the absence of compulsory testing in schools and a lack of clarity about contacts out of school. We feel that, to support our students’ and staff’s physical and mental wellbeing during the run-up to a long-awaited holiday, we should move to delivering our educational provision online for the last two days of term which were already planned to be short days.

 

Monday 19th July: Lessons for Years 7-10 and 12 starting at 11.30am.

Tuesday 20th July: Lessons for Years 7-10 and 12 starting at 9am and finishing at 12.15pm.

 

If you need your child to attend school on Monday or Tuesday, please email admin_requests@hasmonean.co.uk by 4pm today.  Students will need to bring their Chromebook, headphones and a packed lunch. Students who receive free school meals will be provided with lunch.

This is not a decision which we have taken lightly but we think this provide the best educational experience for everyone. With a great rise in the number of cases amongst Hasmonean families infection levels could be rising at a rapid rate and this seems the most prudent course of action. Online provision will mean that every student will receive the same teaching including those who are having to isolate.

Students have been asked to clear their lockers today and it is important that all lockers are empty. If your child is absent, she may come into school (providing she is not isolating) between 3:30 and 5:30 on Monday or from 12:30-3pm on Tuesday.

Information regarding arrangements for the beginning of the Autumn term

This information concerns arrangements for the beginning of next term.  We are looking forward to seeing all of your daughters relaxed and rested!

COVID19 asymptomatic testing arrangements for the Autumn term.

As children and young people return to the classroom following the summer holidays and the further easing of restrictions, we need to be sure that potential Covid-19 cases are found as quickly as possible and measures put in place to prevent the virus spreading throughout the school community. From 16th August, if step 4 of the roadmap goes ahead, these measures will no longer include the self-isolation of close contacts if they are under age 18 or have had both doses of the vaccine. This makes regular testing even more important.

Incoming Year 7 students will be offered two tests onsite at school to ensure they are confidently and correctly administering the tests, which have not been offered to them at primary school. All of other students in the incoming Years 8-13 should complete two tests at home before they return to school one on the morning of Sunday 29th August and one on the morning of Wednesday 1st September.    Year 7 parents will be receiving a separate communication about the plans for this.

It remains very important that students and staff continue to test at home, twice a week. From September we will continue to provide test kits, but if you find you do not have sufficient supply to cover the summer holiday period, test kits can be ordered online or collected locally. More information is available at: https://www.barnet.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-latest-information-and-advice/covid-testing-nhs-test-and-trace-service/free#title-0 .

One in three people who test positive for Covid-19 do not have symptoms and so regular asymptomatic testing continues to be a vital part of our response to managing the virus. This new testing approach is designed to minimise the spread of Covid-19 and support more learners to remain in face-to-face education, which is our top priority.

 

Start dates and times for the new term

Year 7 Wednesday 1st September for Covid testing before returning home.

Thursday 2nd September  9:00 start until 3.30

Year 8-11 Thursday 2nd September  1:30 start until 3.30
Year 12 Wednesday 1st September  1:00-2:45 Photos, subject and midrasha choices

Thursday 9:30 Introduction  to the sixth form

10:30 Lessons begin

 

Year 13 Thursday 2nd September    10:30 start, lessons begin at 11:30

We are hopeful that the canteen will be open on Thursday 2nd September.  We are moving to a new provider for lunches from September and this is still being finalised.  More information will be sent to you when details are confirmed.

 

Key Diary Information for the Beginning of Term

Friday 3rd September  School ends at 1.00pm

Monday 6th September (Erev Rosh Hashana)   School ends at 12.15pm

 

Health and Safety Issues

The Student Services Officer, Mrs Palmer, will take care of any students who feel unwell during school and, if she suspects that they may be suffering from Covid-like symptoms, the student will be isolated, parents will be immediately informed and asked to collect their child and test.

We will no longer be responsible for contact tracing of Covid cases; NHS Test and Trace will now be conducting contact tracing should there be a Covid case in school. Students will no longer need to automatically isolate if they are identified as a positive contact but will be expected to take a PCR test.

Pupils are not expected to wear facemasks in school but they must wear them on public transport.

The school’s Risk Assessment document will be available on the Hasmonean MAT website before the start of the new term.

There will no longer be staggered starts or endings to the day.

 

Reminder about Quarantine rules

We have been asked by Barnet to remind you that, if you are planning on travelling abroad, you should be mindful of any quarantine rules which could impact on the students returning to school on time for the new term.  Please ensure that you factor this consideration into the planning of your holidays.

 

New Timetable

The lesson times are changing slightly next year and we will be moving to a 2-week timetable.  The students will be provided with their new timetables in the new academic year.

 

Results Days: A Level, BTEC and GCSE

A Level and BTEC Level 3 Results Day            Tuesday 10th August

GCSE and BTEC Level 2 Results Day              Thursday 12th August

 

More information about these days can be found on our website.

Wishing you all a wonderful and well-deserved holiday.

Kind regards,

 

Mrs K Brice

Headteacher

 

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Dear Parents/Carers,

This is an important letter about the arrangements for this term and next – please read this all the way to the end.

Information regarding provision for BOYS SCHOOL students YEARS 7,8,9,10,11,12

for Sunday 18th July, Monday 19th July and Tuesday 20th July

 

We have experienced a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases at the Boys’ school and, consequently, the number of students who are then required to isolate.  We are also becoming increasingly concerned that we may not be aware of the other Covid-19 cases in the school community due to the absence of compulsory testing in schools and a lack of clarity regarding contacts out of school. We feel that, to support our students’ and staff’s physical and mental wellbeing during the run-up to a long-awaited and long-deserved holiday, we should move to delivering our educational provision online. As a result, our provision will move online from Sunday.  School will still be open for students on Monday and Tuesday: if you would like to send your son into school on Monday and Tuesday please email admin_requests@hasmonean.co.uk by this afternoon at 4pm.  They will need to bring their chromebook, headphones and a packed lunch.  Students in receipt of Free School Meals who attend school will be provided with lunch.

 

This is not a decision which we have taken lightly but we think that this will provide the best education for everyone during this period. With an exponential rise of cases within Hasmonean’s families, and with a lack of clarity regarding contact tracing of positive cases outside of school, levels of infection could be rising at a rapid rate.   Online learning enables all of our students to access their education, including our students who need to isolate.

 

Sunday 18th July: Online Tisha B’av programme for all students – Rabbi Golker will send out more information in a separate email.

Monday 19th July: Lessons for Years 7-10 and 12 starting at 11.30am.

Tuesday 20th July: Lessons for Years 7-10 and 12 starting at 8.55am and finishing at 12.15pm.

 

Students in school today have been given bags to take home their belongings from their lockers.  We need all of the lockers empty at the start of the summer holidays. If a student is absent, they are welcome to come into school from Monday at 3.45pm-6.00pm or Tuesday from 12.30pm-4.00pm.  If a student is isolating, please ensure that another Hasmonean student comes into school during this time to collect their belongings.  If this is not possible, please email me (d.lebrett@hasmonean.co.uk).

 

Information regarding arrangements for the beginning of the Autumn term

This information concerns arrangements for the beginning of next term.  We are looking forward to seeing all of your sons relaxed and rested!

 

COVID19 asymptomatic testing arrangements for the Autumn term.

As children and young people return to the classroom following the summer holidays and the further easing of restrictions, we need to be sure that potential Covid-19 cases are found as quickly as possible and measures put in place to prevent the virus spreading throughout the school community. From 16th August, if step 4 of the roadmap goes ahead, these measures will no longer include the self-isolation of close contacts if they are under age 18 or have had both doses of the vaccine. This makes regular testing even more important.

Incoming Year 7 students will be offered two tests onsite at school in the gym to ensure they are confidently and correctly administering the tests, which have not been offered to them at primary school. All of other students in the incoming Years 8-13 should complete two tests at home before they return to school one on the morning of Sunday 29th August and one on the morning of Wednesday 1st September.    Year 7 parents will be receiving a separate communication about the plans for this.

It remains very important that students and staff continue to test at home, twice a week. From September we will continue to provide test kits, but if you find you do not have sufficient supply to cover the summer holiday period, test kits can be ordered online or collected locally. More information is available at: https://www.barnet.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-latest-information-and-advice/covid-testing-nhs-test-and-trace-service/free#title-0 .

One in three people who test positive for Covid-19 do not have symptoms and so regular asymptomatic testing continues to be a vital part of our response to managing the virus. This new testing approach is designed to minimise the spread of Covid-19 and support more learners to remain in face-to-face education, which is our top priority.

 

Start dates and times for the new term

Year 7 Wednesday 1st September for Covid testing before returning home.

Thursday 2nd September  8.40am start until 3.30pm

Year 8 Thursday 2nd September  1.45pm start until 3.30pm
Year 9 Thursday 2nd September  1.45pm start until 3.30pm
Year 10 Thursday 2nd September  1.45pm start until 3.30pm
Year 11 Thursday 2nd September    Day starts with Beis at usual time
Year 12 Wednesday 1st September  12.30pm Assembly, 1pm Beis Introduction, 1.15pm subject confirmation, 1.30pm photographs for new lanyards
Year 13 Thursday 2nd September    Day starts with Beis at usual time

We are hopeful that the canteen will be open on Thursday 2nd September.  We are moving to a new provider for lunches from September and this is still being finalised.  More information will be sent to you when details are confirmed.

 

Key Diary Information for the Beginning of Term

Friday 3rd September School ends at 1.00pm

Sunday 5th September  Sunday School

Monday 6th September (Erev Rosh Hashana)   School ends at 12.15pm

 

Health and Safety Issues

The Student Services Officer, Mrs Fine, will take care of any students who feel unwell during school and, if she suspects that they may be suffering from Covid-like symptoms, the student will be isolated, parents will be immediately informed and asked to collect their child and test.

We will no longer be responsible for contact tracing of Covid cases; NHS Test and Trace will now be conducting contact tracing should there be a Covid case in school. Students will no longer need to automatically isolate if they are identified as a positive contact but will be expected to take a PCR test.

Pupils are not expected to wear facemasks in school but they must wear them on public transport.

The school’s Risk Assessment document will be available on the Hasmonean MAT website before the start of the new term.

There will no longer be staggered starts to the day but we will endeavour to allow the Year 7 and 8 students to leave a few minutes early after form time to stagger the end of the day rush.

 

Reminder about Quarantine rules

We have been asked by Barnet to remind you that, if you are planning on travelling abroad, you should be mindful of any quarantine rules which could impact on the students returning to school on time for the new term.  Please ensure that you factor this consideration into the planning of your holidays.

 

New Timetable

The lesson times are changing slightly next year and we will be moving to a 2-week timetable.  The students will be provided with their new timetables in the new academic year.

 

Results Days: A Level, BTEC and GCSE

A Level and BTEC Level 3 Results Day  Tuesday 10th August

GCSE and BTEC Level 2 Results Day    Thursday 12th August

 

More information about these days can be found on our website.

Wishing you a safe and relaxing summer

With best wishes,

Mrs D Lebrett

Headteacher

 

 

 

 

Editorial 9/7/2021

As the Jewish people prepare to enter the Land of Israel, the tribes of Reuven and Gad drop a bombshell on Moshe Rabbeinu. After forty years of journeying in the desert with the final destination to go to Eretz Yisrael, they tell him that they want to stay on the east side of the River Jordan and not settle in the holy land.

“We want to build sheep pens for our livestock here and towns for our children.” (Bamidbar 32,16)

In his response, Moshe Rabbeinu makes a subtle change and conveys an important and timeless message.

“Build towns for your children and pens for your sheep.” Moshe reverses the order and gently rebukes them for prioritising their livestock and assets over their children. Moshe tells them to first build towns for their children and then worry about their wealth.

Whilst we may scoff at the blatant warped priorities displayed the tribes of Reuven and Gad, is our society different? Building a business and pushing for partnership is all too often at the expense of spending time with our families.

We are approaching the summer holidays and often have more opportunities to share quality time with our loved ones. The message of this week’s sedra is a timely reminder that we should invest in our most precious assets.

We also have more opportunity to show our children what our real values are. Try asking your children to articulate what they think your three most important life principles are. Whilst we may know what is important to us, we often forget to convey this to our children.

Wishing you all a wonderful Shabbos.


Rabbi J Golker
Menahel

Editorial 2/7/2021

Dear Parents and Carers,

I am not a sports fan, but I do enjoy watching Wimbledon and so it was that at 9:30 last night I started watching an enthralling match with Andy Murray which was already in its fourth set. Murray is an interesting character having gone from being reviled for his on-court outbursts to being the darling of the crowds for winning a gold medal in the London Olympics and then Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016.

Murray is now so popular that my son said ‘I love Murray, he’s such a legend!’ I think this has less to do with his sporting prowess than with other aspects of his story with which we can all empathise. We are impressed that he has been in the finals of 11 major tournaments, which is highly unusual for a British tennis player, but what we all relate to much more is the human emotions which he has displayed. There were the tears of relief and joy when he won Wimbledon and then the tears when he broke down having had to pull out of the Australian Open in 2018 because of serious problems with his hip which seemed to put an end to his career.

Since then Murray had undergone various bouts of surgery which have given him a metal hip and he has shown remarkable resilience in fighting to regain some of his former glory. This story of battling against the odds is one which resonates with us and we want it to succeed. It helps that Murray has other admirable traits. He has done a lot of work raising money for charity and he is a champion of the women’s game arguing that women should receive the same prize money as men. Murray has been asked why he doesn’t just retire and stop punishing his body which has been through so much. His reply in a recent article was:

‘Don’t be sad for me! I like doing this, and I’m choosing to do it. No one’s forcing me.’

Murray is exemplifying a growth mindset which we try to promote in school. He is not letting setbacks stop him from trying but instead he redoubles his efforts to find a way round the problem. He may never be number one in the world again but he has made it through to the third round of Wimbledon (as he has done every time he has entered the tournament) and that in itself feels like a victory.

Shabbat Shalom.
Best wishes,

Katherine Brice

Editorial 25/6/2021

An Attitude for Gratitude

The Mishna in Pirkei Avos (5,19) contrasts the talmidim of Avrohom Avinu and those of Bila’am. Whilst the talmidim of Avrohom Avinu have עין טובה ורוח נמוכה ונפש שפלה, a good eye, a meek spirit and a humble soul, the talmidim of Bila’am have עין רעה ורוח גבוה ונפש רחבה, an evil eye, a haughty spirit and an arrogant soul.

After the mishna lists the three differences, it then continues to ask a seemingly strange question: what is the difference between these students?

מה בין תלמידיו של אברהם אבינו לתלמידיו של בלעם הרשע
תלמידיו של אברהם אבינו אוכלין בעולם הזה ונוחלין בעולם הבא…

But haven’t we just listed the differences? And what is the meaning of the answer “the students of Avrohom Avinu enjoy this world and also inherit the world to come”?

The Gemoro in Arachin (16b) speaks of the importance of not changing your travel lodgings. This is learned from Avrohom Avinu. Despite becoming wealthy in Mitzrayim, he stayed at the same lodging as he did on the way down to Mitzrayim.

And how far does this go? Take a look at the Gemoro – very far! According to Rav, only after the host attacks you can you move elsewhere. According to Shmuel, only when he throws your cases out.

Why should a guest have to endure torment from his host rather than move his lodgings elsewhere?

The answer is that the Gemoro is teaching us the importance of הכרת הטוב. Gratitude is critical. Avrohom Avinu felt so grateful to those who hosted him on his descent to Mitzrayim that the last thing he wanted to do was to offend them by staying elsewhere on his return. He could have afforded a five star hotel, but his desire to show gratitude was more important.

Bila’am was the opposite. He focused on the here and now and ignored the past. He therefore lashed out at his donkey and ignored years of prior service.

The difference between someone who has הכרת הטוב and someone who doesn’t is אוכלין בעולם הזה ונוחלין בעולם הבא. Aside from the spiritual rewards that await, it makes life in this world more pleasant.

Interestingly, academic studies show that gratitude is a key to happiness. And the good news is that gratitude is a trait that can be learned and developed. You can cultivate gratitude and happiness by consciously focusing on being appreciative for what you have.

In addition, the more you express gratitude—through reminding yourself of all you can appreciate, by writing down what you are grateful for or by sharing your thanks with someone else—the more happiness you’ll feel.

Chasing happiness is elusive and unlikely to succeed, but focusing on others, contributing to the community, being appreciative for what you have and expressing this appreciation, all create significant positivity and contentment.

One of the first Midrashim in the Torah says that the world was created for the mitzvah of bikkurim. The Alshich explains that this is to highlight the centrality of hakoras hatov – the message of bikkurim – in our avodas Hashem.

Perhaps this is what Chazal mean in Pirkei Avos. The difference between someone who has הכרת הטוב and someone who doesn’t is אוכלין בעולם הזה ונוחלין בעולם הבא. Gratitude is the key to happiness in this world and the next and is another timely and timeless lesson from our parsha.

Rabbi Golker
Menahel

Editorial 17/6/2021

Dear Parents,

The last few months have been a mystery to all of us and it is certainly the case that we are a long way from feeling confident about how the world will surface from this pandemic. We have all been faced with unforeseen events which have taken us out of our comfort zone. This week’s parsha, also looks at laws which are chukim: a law without understanding or rational explanation.

In essence, what we think we understand is still not fully understood by all of us. Rabbi Berel Wein writes that, actually, the nature of all life is a chok. Every layer of scientific discovery and advance unearths more mysteries and facts on which we are unaware. The wonders of the world are infinite and mysterious.

On a positive note, as a result of the pandemic, we have been treated to four wonderful virtual Music concerts over recent months courtesy of Mrs Algranati and the music concert. It has been an inspiration to see our students cope with a whole new way of performing, out of their comfort zones and in an uncertain world. The talent and resilience of our students has been both inspirational and heart-warming. Nevertheless, we are obviously very much looking forward to hosting live concerts again in the near future.
Wishing you a peaceful Shabbos.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs D Lebrett
Headteacher – Boys’ School

Editorial 11/6/2021

I once heard the following anecdote which is no doubt more fiction than fact, but the message is certainly relevant to this week’s sedra of Korach.

The President of the United States of America and his wife, the First Lady, received a rapturous welcome when they returned to the First lady’s home town. As the presidential state car made its way down the main road, hundreds of locals were enthusiastically waving their national flags; nostalgia filled the air as old and young wanted to catch a glimpse of “their” little girl who had become so famous.

The presidential convoy passed a building site and a builder wearing his hard hat and florescent jacket waved from the top of a scaffolding. The First Lady looked up and, recognising the builder, waved back.

“Who’s that?” asked the President.

“That’s a childhood friend. We grew up together and our families were close friends. Our parents always thought we were going to marry each other. I haven’t seen him for years!”

The President felt a little uncomfortable and sitting up straight said to his wife: “Aren’t you pleased you didn’t end up marrying him and instead married the President of the United States of America!?”

Without missing a beat, the First lady replied: ”You fool! Had I married him, he would have been the President of the United States of America!”

The Gemoro in Sanhedrin (109b) tells us that it was Korach’s wife who instigated his rebellion against Moshe and contrasts her with the wife of On ben Peles who saved her husband’s life by preventing him from becoming involved in the rebellion.

The Gemoro cites the possuk in Mishlei (14:1):

חַכְמוֹת נָשִׁים בָּנְתָה בֵיתָהּ וְאִוֶּלֶת בְּיָדֶיהָ תֶהֶרְסֶנּוּ
The wisdom of women can establish the home
And the foolish woman destroys it with her own hands.

Throughout our history it has always been the Jewish women who have guided us on the right path. It was in their merit that we were redeemed from Egypt, they knew not to participate in the sin of the Eigel Hazahav (the Golden Calf) or that of the Meraglim (the Spies).

The Gerrer Rebbe once told Rav Yecheskel Sarna, the Chevron Rosh Yeshiva, that the greatest Torah personality in the previous generation was not the Chafetz Chaim or the previous Gerrer Rebbe but Sarah Schenirer, the founder of Beis Yaakov and the mother of Jewish education for women today.

As this week’s parsha tells us, the role of the Jewish woman is critical.

Good Shabbos.

Rabbi J Golker
Menahel

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Message to all members of the Chomesh L’Chinuch (‘CLC’) kehillohs :- GGBH, Hendon Adass, Beis Yisroel (“Dayan’s”), Beis Shmuel, Edgware Adass and Beis Yissochor Dov (“Hagers”)

Chomesh L’Chinuch is a NW London kehilloh-based project encouraging Shul members to prioritise and allocate one-fifth (a ‘Chomesh’) of their Tzedokah distributions to the local schools their children attend.

Chomesh L’Chinuch members can either allocate their donations to specific schools or towards the general CLC fund. Over the years, Chomesh L’Chinuch has raised over £1,000,000 for our NW London Schools.

Chomesh L’Chinuch have informed us of two important events taking place this coming July:

a. CLC is now conducting their annual shul survey to assess the schools attended by the members’ children and grandchildren. This survey directly impacts the amount of money that our school will receive. The funds allocated to our school from each shul depend on how many children in that shul attend our school. We therefore strongly encourage you (as parent or grandparent) to fill out the Chomesh L’Chinuch survey for us to receive these much-needed funds. The survey response date has been extended to 6th June.

b. CLC are offering each new CLC member a special sign-up bonus worth up to £1,000. If you (or your family/friends) set up a standing order with Chomesh L’Chinuch and select our school as the sign-up bonus beneficiary, you will be making an important contribution to our school’s financing. Therefore, we encourage all parents, grandparents, and alumni, to sign up to Chomesh L’Chinuch and to please select OUR school for the sign-up bonus. Please find a poster below which provides further information regarding this special sign-up bonus.

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Dear Parent,

PaJeS, the go-to organisation in the community for supporting Jewish Schools, is launching their Power of Partnerships Matched Funding campaign. Whilst we ask our parents to always prioritise donations to the school, PaJeS works very closely with our school and we are happy to endorse this campaign.

Around 60% of children in our community attend Jewish Day Schools. PaJeS plays a critical role in representing our schools at government level and meeting the range of needs of the Headteachers, teachers and governors who lead Jewish schools. PaJeS has been at the forefront of developing our best school leaders, helping our children face the challenges of this past year and been a powerful advocate for Jewish schools at local and national government level. A partnership with PaJeS means greater collaboration between schools, excellence in school leadership and schools being more financially efficient and sustainable.

Please help to raise much needed funds and help ensure that Jewish schools continue to provide the best possible education for our children. Every donation is doubled so whatever you can give will have twice the impact.

Click here to donate.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs K Brice Headteacher
Hasmonean High School for Girls

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Recognising your generous support

Dear Parents,

Throughout this year, I have been keeping you informed of progress against our plans to ensure Hasmonean remains the very best place for our children to grow and learn.  Of course, we’ve had to adapt our plans along the way in the light of the Covid pandemic but that has not changed our continued focus and investment in three key areas:

Building Jewish Identity – providing powerful, positive experiences and a social and emotional lifeline

21st Century Teaching and Learning – harnessing education technology for the good of our students

Personal Spiritual Growth – supporting students as they develop into young adults

To understand how these initiatives have been making an impact during this year of unprecedented challenges, who better to hear it from than our own students?  Please click on the link here to watch the video: https://bit.ly/34nx5xF

I’d like to thank each and every one of you who has contributed to our Chiyuv Chinuch appeal which makes all this work possible.  The Hasmonean High School Charitable Trust (HHSCT) will formally celebrate your support of the school with an online supporter board from September 2021.  We look forward to recognising your generous contributions to the HHSCT.

That said, we remain behind where we need to be by £270k to meet our target of £4.1m for this year.  We can only continue to invest in your children if you make your contributions.

If you can pay your CCs in full and have yet to do so, please do it now. If you can’t pay in full, please pay what you can and prioritise the investment in your children’s education.  You can now make payments via our dedicated webpage here: https://bit.ly/3ftcmi7

With sincere thanks for your help and best wishes,

Gary Swabel

Chair of Hasmonean Multi-Academy Trust Board

 

Editorial 21/5/2021

Dear Parents and Carers,

The current tensions in the Middle East are clearly of great concern to the whole Hasmonean community. Many staff, students and parents have family who are directly affected by them and all of us – either by virtue of working here or because of our family and friendships – have an indirect connection with people who are directly affected by them.

We are asking all students and staff to be sensitive to the fact that there are a range of opinions on these matters and that this is a Jewish school with a diverse staff body.

What is of paramount importance is that we keep students and staff as safe as possible during this time.

We have:
• Been informed by PaJeS that the police are conducting more frequent patrols of the school
• Asked the police to make frequent visits to the schools/ local bus stops at the beginning and end of the day and been assured there will be more police presence by them
• Received guidance from the CST and our own security company about how they are stepping up their security measures
• Reviewed and improved our own security measures (both recently and in terms of our security infrastructure in recent years)

Further information about how students can protect themselves and respond to anti-Semitic abuse can be found below this editorial.
Wishing everyone a safe and peaceful Shabbos,

Andrew McClusky
CEO, Hasmonean MAT

Dear Parents/Carers,

Unfortunately, many of our students are reporting that they are worried for their personal safety, especially whilst travelling to and from school, and during the weekend when out and about.
We wanted to remind you of some key tips to discuss with your children about keeping themselves safe whilst on the streets.

• stay alert, and when using headphones, they should be sure to look up and pay extra attention and remove the headphones when crossing the street.
• stick to busy, well-lit roads, and avoid short cuts through alleyways
• if your child thinks someone is following them, they should cross the road or go to a place with lots of people around, like a bus stop or shop
• your child could carry a whistle or shrill alarm around their neck or on a key chain to warn off suspicious strangers
• when travelling by bus, your child should try to use bus stops on busy roads
• if someone tries to take something from your child, tell them never to fight back
• tell them to keep mobile phones and other valuables out of sight, and to turn off their mobile phone ringer to avoid attracting attention
• don’t let your child carry weapons because they are more likely to be used against them, and it’s illegal
• encourage your child to speak to you or the school if they are being bullied or feel they might be in danger

We have also included the CST bulletin CST Security Bulletin – May 2021 to remind you how to approach the rise in anti-Semitic incidents and below is an important message from CST.

With kind regards,

Ms R Benarroch
Interim Assistant Headteacher – Pastoral
Hasmonean High School for Boys
r.benarroch@hasmonean.co.uk

Mrs L Waugh
Assistant Headteacher – Pastoral
Hasmonean High School for Girls
l.waugh@hasmonean.co.uk

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Dear Community

I am writing to tell you what Community Security Trust is doing to protect our community at this difficult time, and how you and your family can help.

All of our work is done in partnership with schools, synagogues and communal groups across the country. We thank them all and we thank you also for cooperating with our united effort. If you are going to synagogue or to any other Jewish location, please comply with all the security procedures and follow the instructions of the security guards and volunteers on site. Please read our latest Security Notice.

What we are all going through right now is something that happens whenever there is conflict around Israel. It is a disgrace that there should be such antisemitism here (and in other countries), but the reality is well known to CST, schools, synagogues and other communal bodies. It is why our security measures are in place. We have been through similar times before, we plan for them and we focus on the job of protecting our Jewish community. The antisemitism began to really worsen almost two weeks ago and our staff, volunteers and those assisting in security rotas have worked exceptionally hard since then.

Our security operations have increased greatly and we will keep pushing through until this hopefully comes to an end. CST’s 24/7 National Security Control Centre is connected by CCTV and radio to over 450 sites across the country has been especially busy, including all through each night. Our non-operational staff are helping with the flood of calls from our community so we can give every caller what they need.

The number of antisemitic incidents reported to CST has risen by 500% in the past two weeks, which is consistent with previous conflict situations. We have also received a rise in reports of suspicious activity near to Jewish locations. We need these reports so that we can help you and protect our community. Please report all antisemitic incidents or suspicious activity to CST and to the police – please see details of how to report an incident. In an emergency call 999 and the CST 24/7 emergency number 0800 032 3263. Our specialist incident support staff can help and advise you.

Our role is to support people affected by antisemitism, to act wherever possible against antisemites and to give a sober, reliable picture to our community, police, politicians and media of what is happening. CST is professional, calm and determined, giving physical and moral support that we hope helps make our community less nervous and more robust. Police, government and media are receiving daily updates from CST of antisemitic incidents, extremist incitement and our security needs. If you report antisemitism to us, it makes CST’s briefings to police, government and media more comprehensive and more accurate: meaning we all get better protection. It means our concerns are heard and acted upon. For example, the Jewish community and CST received support from the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer, and the Speaker of the House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday.

This week I have discussed our concerns with the Home Secretary and one of the most senior Metropolitan Police operational commanders. The police response is a strong one, with officers stationed in our 24/7 control centre as necessary and much strengthened visible policing in Jewish neighbourhoods. I stressed that we cannot have another situation where a large convoy of cars is driven through Jewish neighbourhoods with the clear intent of intimidating and threatening Jewish people.

CST’s security work is visible and obvious, both the guards and the equipment that we have helped install at schools and shuls all over the country. All community locations and guarding companies have received regular updates from CST, seeking to ensure that the measures we have in place for these situations are fully implemented.

CST’s security work is intelligence based, but this happens behind the scenes. Our expert researchers are finding extremist incitement online and passing it to police and government on a daily basis. Some of the evidence we have gathered has contributed to important arrests in recent days for antisemitic hate crimes that we hope will result in prosecutions. Other investigations are ongoing. We want to ensure that there is always a cost for people who attack, threaten and harass our community. Your role in this is vital. If you see or hear something, take down the details and report it to CST. Please help to be our eyes and ears.

We know that all this antisemitism and extreme anti-Israel hatred is affecting our young people particularly badly. Jewish children and students are facing abuse and being singled out, in primary and secondary schools, online and on campus. For children, we have long partnered with Maccabi GB in running Streetwise. If you scroll down their website you will see educational materials that we hope will help keep children safe and enable them to better understand all of this. Streetwise has a specific programme for children in non-Jewish secondary schools, called Stand Up!, which provides education about antisemitism as part of a broader approach to discrimination. For students, we have a dedicated Student Security Coordinator who works closely with the Union of Jewish Students and Jewish Societies across the UK. There is more information about the support that is available for young people on the CST website.

We have also packaged a large amount of our own previous educational resources, now available on the CST website, to help teach people about antisemitism. The CST Blog has a strong public statement that analyses the situation and explains what we are doing.

One important difference now compared to previous difficulties is the amount of material being shared on communal Facebook and WhatsApp groups. It is right that we all stick together at this time, but some of the things being shared in these groups are exaggerated or simply incorrect. CST’s public statements seek to be accurate and sensible. Please follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Please appreciate that this email only scratches the surface of what we are doing, both publicly and privately. Obviously our work will continue for as long as it is needed, both in the current situation and beyond, but together we will get through this as we have done before. We all deserve to live proudly, confidently and safely as Jews in our country, and this is what CST is here to ensure.

Shabbat shalom,

Mark Gardner
CST Chief Executive

www.cst.org.uk
Office 020 8457 9999

Editorial 14/5/2021

Dear Parent,

Whilst listening to the very worrying news this week from Israel, I was reflecting on how the world is in such an interconnected place. Events that take place in one part of the world have ramifications internationally. Additionally, if there is one fact that we all now accept as a result of the Covid pandemic, it is that we are all one world. One connected, unique and precious world. We have now come to the realisation that we are all members of society and we need to feel a responsibility for each other.

Shavuos is a time to think about social and communal responsibility. A time to think about each other and the wider world and our place within it. The image of the Jewish people gathered as a community at Har Sinai is a resonant one: it also reminds us that we are more likely to be successful if we work together.

Have a good Shabbos and a yom tov and PG may there be peace and healing in the world.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs D Lebrett
Headteacher

Editorial 6/5/2021

The Torah interrupts its discussion about shemitah and the related laws of resting the land in the seventh year to introduce the prohibition of ona’ah, wrongdoing. There are different types of ona’ah. One type is ona’as devarim – harming someone with words.

Why does the Torah place the prohibition of ona’as devorim in the middle of the laws about shemitah?

Rabbi Frand quotes Rav Yakov Weinberg ztl who explains that the motivation behind snide remarks is really a lack of satisfaction with one’s own portion in life. When somebody makes a hurtful remark about another person, he is trying to aggrandise himself by diminishing another. Ultimately, this reflects an insufficient faith in Hashem because it shows a lack of satisfaction with one’s own lot. If a person truly had emunah that he has what he needs, he would not need to make these remarks.

That is why the possuk concludes with “I am the L-rd, your G-d” in order to remind us that our life situations are given to us by Hashem and it is up to us to make the most of them.

Here at Hasmonean we aim to help each student develop their potential. We do this by offering a broad and exciting array of formal and informal educational experiences.

All of this exposes our students to a broad Yiddishkeit which will hopefully enable them to discover who they are and what their potential is. That is the surest way to avoid ona’as devorim and any form of hurtful speech as they embark on their journey in life

Wishing you all a wonderful Shabbos.

Rabbi J Golker
Menahel