Divrei means words in Hebrew. In each edition of Divrei GHA, we will be providing our constituents with words: of Torah, of Ruach, and of Information. We hope that you will find each week's edition insightful and helpful.
By Jonathan Vainer
In my parsha, Vayishlach, meaning “and he sent,” Yakov rejoices with his brother and wrestles with an angel while receiving his new name, Yisrael. Two things from this parsha relate to me. One, which happens nowadays, is arguing with my sister a lot. In the childhood of Yakov and Esav, the two brothers fought a lot. However, after many years, the two brothers come together and rejoice. However, they only were happy with each other for a short time, unlike my sister and me. This reminds me of me and my sister. Everyday my sister annoys me, and I yell at her to stop annoying me. This usually results in us both getting mad at each other. And so we argue. But at the end of each day, we forgive each other, just like Yakov and Esav.
The second thing is putting money aside. When Yakov splits up his group, he does it so that if one group is attacked, then he will still have the other group. In the future, when I hopefully get a job, I will need to put money aside every now and then, so that I will still have money if I hachs ve hachlila get robbed, or need money for retirement. I think that Yakov was doing the same thing, just cross out the retirement part.
By Rabbi Lee Buckman
One of the rare customs observed on Chanukah is that we recite a special blessing over miracles. The only other time we do that is on Purim. What's strange about this is that we don't recite the blessing on holidays such as Passover when G-d brought the ten plagues or split the Sea. It's not recited on Shavuot when G-d miraculously communicated with Moshe.
The miracle blessing is recited only on the two holidays where G-d seems to be least present. The Purim Megillah doesn't even mention G-d's name. Rather, the story focuses on Mordechai and Esther's bravery. Likewise, on Chanukah, G-d isn't making the sun stand still. G-d isn't splitting seas. The story focuses on the Macabees' victory over the Greeks. Yet, for some reason, we recite a blessing over miracles.
One reason may be that for God to do the supernatural is part of G-d's job description; it's natural. However, for human beings to muster the courage to take on a people mightier than they, that is supernatural. For the Macabees to hold onto their Jewish practices despite being threatened with their lives, that is a miracle. For Jews to hold onto their identity when they are threatened with the stick to abandon their Judaism or enticed by some carrot to do the same, that's worthy of saying a blessing. For someone to have every reason to lose faith in G-d and emerge as a practicing Jew, that's a miracle.
This Chanukah we celebrate the miracle of human courage. We honor men and women who stood up for high ideals in the face of great danger. They are walking miracles whom we salute. They are the Macabees of today.
By Evie Weinreich
GHA is going green! In the spring and summer of 2011, GHA began the initiative of moving our facility to a greener environment. Programmable thermostats were installed throughout the building, a new roof was installed on part of the building and a white reflective surface was painted on the existing roof. All existing light fixtures in the building were updated to more energy efficient models. As the winter season starts we are beginning to see our energy savings come to fruition. In our most recent billing cycles of natural gas and power, we have seen a significant reduction of usage. The natural gas therm usage compared to last years' usage, in the same billing cycle, dropped by almost 30%. We saw a reduction in our kilowatt usage of almost 40% compared to the same time period in 2010. GHA is doing its part for the school and the environment.
GHA cannot go green by just saving on energy alone. Our next move is to transition to more environmentally sound cleaning products. Thanks to the facilities committee, chaired by Adam Slutzky, going green has become a reality.
GHA students Shannan Berzack, Zoe Bagel, Quinn Rabinowitz and Rose and Dov Karlin recently took part in a 5K walk for PanCan, an organization raising money and awareness for pancreatic cancer.
Rose and Dov's grandmother, Lala, was diagnosed February 1, 2011 with pancreatic cancer. In honor of their grandmother and in support of finding a cure, Rose and Dov created Team Lala, and entered the walk along with 1800 other supporters. With the support of Rose's friends, Rose raised $2,500 for PanCan. Anne Karlin, parent of Rose and Dov said, "I am so proud of theses GHA students for supporting both this unbelievable cause and Rose and Dov's Saffi who continues to fight to beat this cancer!" Way to go Team Lala!
Last week two disabled athletes from the Israel Sports Center for the Disabled came to GHA. Patrons of the center wanted to inform GHA students of the purpose of the center, which is rehabilitation through sports, and how the center helps people with disabilities flourish.
Asayel, an eighteen year old swimmer, spoke of his hopes to be in the Olympics someday. Asayel's home was attacked a little over two years ago and during the attack he was shot and lost his leg. Asayel said, "The center has given me the ability to pursue my dreams and has made me realize that even losing a leg cannot detour me from what I am capable of doing in my life."
Three GHA alumni, Joeli Alpern, Eytan Palte and Jessica Glass, also spoke about their experiences having visited the center on their eight grade Israel Trip. Eytan said, "Having a disability does not mean you are helpless. I played ping pong with the disabled athletes and they beat me and my friends. Practice and athleticism was how they won." Joeli said, "My classmates and I sat in wheelchairs and tried to play basketball with the athletes. It was not easy maneuvering a wheelchair. They have such upper body strength and more determination to persevere than I ever imagined."
Middle School Principal Ms. Sarif said that this year's eighth grade will also visit the center on their Israel trip in April.
All the World's a Journey
By Noah Jones
Life is a journey and it begins in your mother's arms,
Too weak to travel out unprotected from harm.
As a kid my journey starts one state away,
Florida, with the sand between my toes, wishing I could stay.
Now I'm a teen tryin' to rap like them stars,
Then I realize all of them go to jail and get carried away in police cars.
But on I go to Las Vegas as a young adult,
I am the coolest of the cool too independent to join a cult.
Then I move on to New York and realize my true call,
Business! Not partying and slamming alcohol.
Then I settle down in Atlanta to raise a family of my own,
And I even have a dog with a new shiny white bone.
My final destination is Israel to pray,
To see what I have and be grateful every day.
Life is Like a Flower
By Nicole Nooriel
Life is like a flower…
In the beginning it is a see
A baby in the mother's womb
Sometimes it's a wild weed, being pulled out of a garden
A toddler being nurtured
But then it grows its first petal
And the childhood starts fading away
Then it grows to be a full flower
The child is now a man
Just like people,
Flowers have their own personalities
A flower with thorns
Is someone mean and grumpy
A flower with a pleasant scent
Is someone who is nice and caring
A flower with many colors
May be someone bubbly and fun
Getting married is the first step
In becoming a full grown flower
Then comes the fall, petals wither
The flower stoops over, not able to balance itself
Once the last petal falls
It's time is done and mans' time is too
After every flower dies
A new birth occurs to replace it,
The new birth is you.