Kol Echad sings at Jewish Federation General Assembly
The Kol Echad recently had the honor of singing at the General Assembly of The Jewish Federations of North America. They sang the anthems “Hatikvah,” “O Canada,” and the “Star Spangled Banner,” to start the Closing Plenary. Their performance was met with enthusiastic applause from a receptive audience who also sang along. “It was an exciting day for all of us involved,” said Kol Echad Director Sarah Shapiro. “A lot of preparation went into learning the Canadian national anthem and making sure all three anthems were performance ready for this size audience. We even had our own French teacher, Maxim Gibert, coach us on our French. It was an honor to represent Milken in a performance for such a high profile event.”
Watch their stirring renditions of “Hatikvah,” “O Canada,” and “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Honors History Class holds Zionist Conference
Ingrid Guth’s Modern World History II Honors class recently held a Zionist Conference during the class period. They presented and debated the ideas of several historical European Jewish thinkers from the 1860s about establishing a new national homeland for Jews. Aaron David Gordon, Devora Finkelstein, Kaufmann Kohler, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, Theodor Herzl, Nachman Syrkin, and Ahad Ha’am were the historical figures they represented.
Students had been studying Nationalism in the course, beginning with a look at a document issued by Frederick the Great of Prussia regarding the “Jewry” of his kingdom. In 1750, the year of Frederick’s edict, the Jews of Prussia lived as nearly all Jews did throughout Europe—under laws that applied exclusively to them as a group, with a limited sense of national allegiance as subjects of a monarch— and perhaps, dreaming of Zion but with no real hope or even desire to establish a Jewish state. Over one hundred years later, several European Jewish thinkers called for the development of a new Jewish nation. Students studied what factors led to the emergence of Zionism, and why it emerged when it did and not earlier.
Middle School Students Attend Drug Education Program
Middle School students recently participated in a drug education program called Miles To Go. Speaker Jonathan Scott spoke to the seventh and eighth graders separately about such topics as tobacco, addiction, marijuana, classifications for abused drugs, and alcohol and the teen brain. The program featured three days of one-hour lectures for students, and one evening for the parent education program.
Using science, stories, and humor in a multi-sensory approach to resonate with students, Scott informed them about the dangers of drugs. During the tobacco lecture, he reeled off a number of celebrities who had died of cancer that were smokers, and even noted that his own mother, a smoker, had perished from lung cancer.
This is the fifth year that the Middle School has held this program that is designed especially for teenagers. Students were impressed with the presentations and came away with valuable information.
Shoshie Nagibi ’22 noted, after the presentation on the danger of marijuana, “I thought it was very informational. A lot of parents don’t teach their kids about it because they don’t know about it. It is becoming mainstream and people don’t know the consequences and the danger it could really affect people negatively.”
“The whole program is fascinating. How he put humor into his teaching really drew the audience in and made them pay attention and learn,” said Jake Thompson ’22.
Middle School Counselor Nicol Katzir LMFT emphasized the importance of the program to teach students how to make informed and healthy decisions and help parents have conversations with their kids. She explained that the goal of the program is to “integrate the science of drugs into biology, psychology, pop culture, lifelong learning, and our emotional and social lives. We want to encourage healthy and informed choices for families. Drug education is not just about drugs, it’s about communication, building relationships and connections and developing life skills—so while the program discusses information about drugs and alcohol, it also provides students with information and strategies to help them make healthy decisions.”