Editorial 06/06/2019

Dear Parents,

We would like to highlight to any members of the Chomesh L’Chinuch kehillohs (GGBH, Hendon Adass, Beis Yisroel, Beis Shmuel and Edgware Adass) that we have been informed by the community funding for school’s charity – Chomesh L’Chinuch, that there is a special Shavous sign-up bonus worth up to £1,250 per donor. This bonus amount is triggered by each new Chomesh L’Chinuch standing order and the donor selects which school receives the sign-up bonus. If you (or your family/friends) join Chomesh L’Chinuch and select our school as the sign-up bonus beneficiary, this could be worth many £10,000s for our school and will make an important contribution to the schools financing.

We therefore encourage all parents, grandparents and alumni who are members of these kehillohs to sign up to Chomesh L’Chinuch and to please select OUR school for the Shavous sign-up bonus. Please click here to view the attached poster which provides further information regarding this special Shavous bonus.

Regards,

Eli Katz & Emanuel Meyer
Trustees
www.chinuch20.org

Dear Parents,

I would like to share an electrifying idea that pertains to Megilas Rus and contains, in my very humble opinion, a key ingredient to successful parenting and chinuch.

Towards the end of the first perek, the Megila shares the famous dialogue between Naomi and Rus where Rus is adamant that she will cleave to her mother in law and join the Jewish people. On a personal note, these pesukim are poignant, as my father הריני כפרת משכבו, made me and my siblings learn them by heart when we were young!

Rashi, citing the Gemara in Yevamos 47b, teaches us the principle that if someone wants to convert to Judaism, we attempt to dissuade them. This is derived from these pesukim.

Naomi tells Rus about the restriction of techum Shabbos, that it is prohibited on Shabbos for Jews to go 2,000 amos beyond the boundaries of his domain. To this restriction, Rus replies “כִּי אֶל אֲשֶׁר תֵּלְכִי אֵלֵךְ – wherever you go, I will go”, accepting on herself this restriction.

Naomi then tells Rus about the prohibition of yichud, seclusion with a man other than one’s husband. To this restriction, Rus responded “וּבַאֲשֶׁר תָּלִינִי אָלִין – wherever you lodge, I will lodge”. Again, Rus accepted this prohibition on herself. And so it continued.

Rav Moshe Bamberger, in his sefer Shiras HaLevi, asks a striking question. Would it not have been more accurate for Rus to have responded “Wherever you may not go, I will not go” and “wherever you do not lodge, I will not lodge”.

Rav Bamberger’s answer is spectacular.

Our relationship to Torah and mitzvos should be rooted with a feeling of how beautiful and pleasant they are and how privileged and fortunate we are – אשרינו מה טוב חלקנו.

This explains Rus’ answer to Naomi. Rus did not see Yiddishkeit as a burden, full of restrictions but as a glorious way of life, an opportunity being presented to her to keep a life of Torah and mitzvos.

This explains her positive response. “כִּי אֶל אֲשֶׁר תֵּלְכִי אֵלֵךְ – wherever you go, I will go”,
“וּבַאֲשֶׁר תָּלִינִי אָלִין – wherever you lodge, I will lodge”. You can now sense her excitement and enthusiasm.

A friend once told me of a conversation he overheard in the barber’s shop. Someone was moaning about a two-day yom tov (what would he say about this year’s three-day Shabbos and Shavuos!). Another person in the barber’s shop told him “for some, one day is too long and for others two days is not enough”. How true; it is all matter of perspective.

Rus teaches us אשרינו מה טוב חלקנו, how good is our portion, ומה יפה ירושתנו and how beautiful is our inheritance. The feeling of good fortune and excitement is a powerful and beautiful message to internalise as we enter the yom tov of Kabbolas HaTorah. As we renew our commitment to Torah once again, let us model and convey this message to our children and students. Let our Shabbos tables be places of song and simcha where our children want to be. Let us live with a simchas hachaim that a life of Torah learning and mitzva performance can bring.

Wishing you all a wonderful Shabbos and Yom Tov,

Rabbi J Golker
Menahel

Editorial 23/5/2019

We are now deep into exam season. The Year 7s have nearly completed their first set of exams while the Year 11 and 13 are facing the rigours of GCSEs and A Levels. At school there is always a delicate balancing act about the message to be sent out about the importance of exams. On the one hand they need to be taken seriously and should be prepared for properly. On the other, they do not matter that much in the grand scheme of things and should not be causing sleepless nights.

Perhaps the main thing, as with many other areas of life, is to maintain a sense of perspective. Exams are useful in telling you what you can do (and sometimes what you can’t). They can validate effort made during the year and most importantly for the public exams, they can allow access to the next stage of education.

What exams don’t do is to provide any kind of judgement on the character of those taking them. Some students will have worked very hard, others seem to breeze through on minimal effort. In addition, exams will not measure kindness, generosity, loyalty, compassion, empathy or a host of other attributes which in the end will be far more important.

So, by all means see exams as significant and worthy of effort but don’t let them become the consuming focus of life to the detriment of all else. Help your children to see that putting exams in context will be the best thing for everyone in the long run.

Wishing you a very good half term break,

Mrs K Brice
Headteacher
Hasmonean High School for Girls

Editorial 16/05/2019

Dear Parents,

Please find below links to letters relating to proposed changes to the school day from September 2019 for the Girls’ and the Boys’ schools.

The letter relating to the Boys’ School can be found here

The letter relating to the Girls’ School can be found here

Please note that the content of the two letters is not the same, and hence parents who have children at both the Boys’ and Girls’ Schools are advised to please read both letters.

As the letters explain, all comments or questions about the proposed changes should be emailed to: consultation@hasmonean.co.uk

Once the consultation period has ended, the outcome will be communicated to parents together with a response to the comments and questions raised.

With kind regards,

Mr A McClusky
CEO – Hasmonean Multi-Academy Trust

Editorial 09/05/19

Dear Parents,

Re: A Personal Thank You and Request for Ongoing Support

It was just over a month ago that the entire community came together in such a powerful way, for the Matched Funding Telethon, to help our major annual fundraiser achieve more than we ever envisaged. I therefore personally want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all those that supported the campaign, whether that be through donations, joining us in the call centre on the day (including our outstanding Sixth Formers) or ensuring our message was shared as widely as possible.

Thank you.

Sadly, although possibly not surprising, the focus on the Telethon and the timing of Pesach meant that the amount raised through Voluntary Contributions dropped off in April, leaving the Charity below its target for the year. The financial reality for the School is that it cannot sustain an ongoing shortfall and needs the charity to succeed in raising sufficient VC donations. Please can every family make a concerted push between now and the end of the academic year to ensure that you donate as much of the Voluntary Contribution pledge as possible; £5,750 for the boys’ school and £4,950 for the girls’ school. Every extra £1 will make a difference.

Yours sincerely,

Mr J Feinmesser
Hasmonean Charity Trustee Chairman

 

Dear Parents,

We have experienced a range of emotions this week: it started with real concern about the safety of the residents of Israel, spanned the very moving Yom Hazikaron ceremony at the two schools presented by Rabbi Shaw and Rabbi Kenigsburg and ended with the excitement of celebrating Yom Haatzmaut.

This feeling of national identity was palpable at both schools this week and, with it, a real sense of achdus within our school community. This was very special to witness and experience.

The opening Perek of the Parsha reminds us of the supreme importance of looking after each other: our friends, our families, strangers within the community. It is only when this is paramount within a community that a true, balanced social order can be maintained. And it is only then that we are able to be a truly holy people.

Wishing you a peaceful Shabbos,

Mrs D Lebrett
Headteacher
Hasmonean High School for Boys

 

 

Editorial 02/05/2019

Dear Parents,

Sefer Vayikra is a book of two halves and the abrupt change takes place in the middle of our sedra, Achrei Mos.

The first 17 chapters of Sefer Vayikra all relate to the Mishkan. It covers topics such as korbonos, rules of kohanim, tumah and taharah, the dedication ceremony of the Mishkan and the avodah of the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur.

Then, halfway in to our sedra, from chapter 18 onwards, Sefer Vayikra deals with a litany of miscellaneous topics starting with prohibited relationships and then “kedoshim tihiyu” to shemittah, erechin vows and much in between.

Notably, the phrase “Ani Hashem Elokeichem” appears over fifty times from chapter 18 onwards and only once in the first 17 chapters of Vayikra.

Rav Menachem Leibtag gives the following wonderful explanation.

Some people may mistakenly think that the Shechina, the Divine Presence of Hashem, is limited to the Mishkan, Beis HaMikdash or even just our own shuls. This is not true. Hashem’s Presence and message must be disseminated into everyday life. Judaism is 24/7, 365 days a year. Judaism is less of a theology and more of a way of life.

To convey this idea, the phrase “Ani Hashem Elokeichem” is not needed in the first half of Sefer Vayikra as that primarily deals with the Mishkan. Even the one time it does appear in the first 17 chapters of Vayikra is in relation to Kashrus and not the Mishkan per se.

But when Sefer Vayikra moves on to cover a host of miscellaneous topics, the phrase “Ani Hashem Elokeichem” needs to repeated over and over to remind us to bring Hashem in to every aspect of our lives.

This is a message we need to convey and model to our children and students. To live a life of Torah, recognising that Hashem’s Presence goes beyond the walls of shul, and adhere carefully to Halacha which demonstrates that HKBH is wholly integrated in to our daily lives.

Good Shabbos,

Rabbi J Golker
Menahel