Why Do We Fast on Yom Kippur? By Gabriella Kahen
As we sit in our homes or synagogues, stomachs growling, looking at our prayer books with kavanah, one cannot help but ask themselves, why do we even fast? Usually, when we try to connect ourselves with G-d, we can do so using food or drinks, such as wine or meat. We celebrate holidays by making extensive meals and celebrating with family. However, Yom Kippur is different, as we try to do Teshuva, we need to deprive ourselves from everything that isn’t related to G-d. This is why we deprive ourselves from food, don’t shower, and can’t take care of ourselves like we usually would on a normal day or even a normal holiday. We don’t do anything cosmetically and aren’t allowed to apply cream or makeup. On Yom Kippur, our only focus should be Hashem. We want to take the focus away from anything that might seem to distract us such as how we look, what to eat for our next meal, and more. Our only focus should be what we want to communicate with G-d about. We want to show G-d that we are willing to discipline ourselves and that we are serious about conducting our own personal repentance. We live in a world where it’s easy to get caught up with things that may seem relevant at the time, but really aren’t. Many small things tend to take up a lot of our attention that at the end of the day, don’t really matter at all. May this year give us the clarity to focus on things that are important and bring us closer to Hashem.
One Step Closer to Peace in the Middle East By Abigail Mottahedeh
On September 15th 2020, President Trump presided over the signing of a Middle East peace agreement between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. The deal promises to normalize relations in business, tourism, scientific cooperation, and create full diplomatic ties between the countries. The treaty is also the foundation for a broader alignment against regional threats, especially from Iran.
The leaders from each country expressed positive remarks during the signing of the agreement. President Trump cast it as a historic deal, and believes that the treaty will set a precedent for other countries to join.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the day, “heralds a new dawn of peace.” He believes that the agreements would have been unimaginable a few years ago and that the countries will now be able to cooperate.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan, the minister for foreign affairs and international cooperation for the united emirates, mentions that the deal will bring hope around the world. He also mentions that the agreement will enable them to support the Palestinian people. Similarily, Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, the minister of foreign affairs of Bahrain, also mentions efforts to bring peace to the palestinian people and believes this is “an important first step in bringing about lasting peace and secuirty.”
It is important to note the Palestinian reaction to the signing of the agreement between the countries. The Palestinians felt betrayed because they have been relying on Gulf Arab states to pressure Israel into giving them independence. During the signing of the agreement, rockets were being fired from Gaza into the southern cities of Israel, Ashdod and Ashkelon.
May we continue to see peace amongst Israel and its surrounding countries!
Opinion Piece: The Fight Over RBG's Seat By Tamir Cohen
For the past few weeks, our country has been mourning the passing of Supreme court justice Ruth Bater Ginsberg. Beloved by many, “The Notorious RBG” was an iconic figure in the fight for women's rights, starting out as a little girl in Brooklyn and working her way up to the top of the judicial sphere. However, while the country deals with the late justice’s passing, we must come to an agreement on what to do with her now vacant seat on the court. Senator Mitch McConell has already voiced his intent to appoint a conservative justice in her place, which is very much within his rights as senate majority leader. However, many political figures have come out in opposition to this, reminding the American people of Mcconell’s words just four years ago, when conservative justice Antonin Scalia passed away 9 months before the end of President Obama’s second term in office. “Remember that the Senate has not filled a vacancy arising in an election year when there was a divided government since 1888, almost 130 years ago,″ McConell argued, declaring that the senate would not consider a replacement justice until after the next president took office.
Now, many are criticizing him as changing his views to line up with his personal agenda. While this might be a valid argument, one must recognize that unlike in 2016, Republicans nowadays have control both in the house and senate. Furthermore, times have changed, and ever since the horrible mistreatment of Justice Kavanaugh back in 2018 by Senate democrats, conservatives have taken up a more aggressive strategy. They recognize that democratic politicians aren’t always the most just, and that it’s up to Republicans to appoint justices who will interpret the constitution the way our country’s founders intended. These include interpretations on issues such as reproductive rights, healthcare, immigration, and more. However, whether or not you one agrees morally with McConell’s stance, it’s clear that he is acting within his rights to do what he believes is best for the country.
Game Time By Yoni Hourizadeh
Sports are back! The NFL is now just 2 weeks into its new season and the fans are loving it. While some teams have 25% fan capacity at their stadiums’, others have none. After their week one matchup with the Houston Texans, the Kansas City Chiefs have announced that a fan in attendance had tested positive for COVID-19, which may not be a good sign for future games. The league has been hit with what seems to be an injury bug. Several stars such as Saquon Barkley, Nick Bosa, and Courtland Sutton have been ruled out for the season, and Panthers superstar running back Christian McCaffrey has been ruled out for 4-6 weeks. The NBA is now in its Conference Finals have the Los Angeles Lakers advanced to the NBA Finals after beating the Denver Nuggets in 5 games in the West, while in the East the Miami Heat lead the Boston Celtics 3-2. For Knicks fans looking ahead to the draft, as of now, it is scheduled for November 18, but it is subject to change. In the MLB, the New York Yankees have clinched a playoff spot with a record of 33-26 with 1 game to go in the season. On the contrary, the Mets are likely to miss the playoffs with a record of 26-33. The NHL is having the Stanley Cup now as the Tampa Bay Lightning lead the Dallas Stars 3-2 in the series.
The Effects of COVID By Chloe Ganjian
Covid-19 has definitely taken our world by storm and altered our everyday lives. Wearing masks all day, sitting at desks 6 feet apart, and constantly sanitizing our hands has become the new norm. We’ve been grappling with the effects of the Coronavirus in school, and as the holidays approach, we must be cautious and safe in our communities as well. Outside of our North Shore community, most of us once planned to go to shul with our family and friends for the holidays. Now, those plans may no longer exist.
Due to the pandemic, many synagogues are not opening for the high holidays. Some are not opening their indoor sanctuaries, but have tents outside for congregants who still must wear masks and follow strict protocols. Some synagogue are staying completely open and enforcing strict guidelines that their members must follow.
No matter what your synagogue decides, it is still going to feel different. Even though we can no longer sit close to our friends, there are still things that we can do to make the holidays feel as “normal” as possible. One of these is to continue praying to G-d. COVID-19 can not take away our ability to pray to Hashem, so no matter where you are sitting in the synagogue, make sure to open your siddur and daven!
COVID-19 has affected our community in several other ways as well. Restaurants are at limited capacity, communal gatherings are no longer taking place and masks are required wherever you go. In addition to wearing masks and limiting our contact with others, the best thing we can do during this uncertain time is to stay positive and engage in communal activity through Zoom.
Wishing you all a Chag Sameach, remember to wear a mask, and stay optimistic for what the future holds!
A Teacher's Take on the New Norm By Emma Hematian
While returning to school may have been a rough transition for students, it is difficult to imagine the kind of changes teachers have been forced to acclimate to. We, therefore, asked Mrs. Zabinsky, 12th grade english teacher and staff advisor of North Shore Notes, to elaborate on how she is handling the “new norm”. “My initial reaction to the school's new covid-based rules was a mixture of relief and fear,” she says. She then elaborates, explaining that she felt a sense of relief that the school was doing a great job instituting policies, but also fear that not everyone would follow the news rules, putting others at risk. She also spoke about how the new rules have affected her teaching, as she is now using online amenities such as Google Classroom, and is making sure to have all materials available in digital format for those Zooming. She is also working hard to split her attention between the "zoomers" and her in-person students. She is also assisting students by remaining available for both online and in-person meetings. A rule that Mrs. Zabinsky believes to be absolutely crucial to ensure the safety of our students and faculty is the rule enforcing masks. While she understands it's hard to wear a mask all day, she also sees the importance in following the rules to keep ourselves and one another safe. Her advice to everyone is to remember that everything is temporary. It can be difficult to stay motivated, but being busy is what can help the time to pass more quickly and what can help to give us a sense of stability and purpose.
Club of the Week- DECA By Rachel Hanan
DECA is an international organization that simulates the business community for high school students. Students who participate in the DECA competitions are advised by Mr. Doug Garfinkel, the Chairman of the Business Department at North Shore. This year, DECA is led by co-presidents Sarah Brisman, Aaron Kahen and Jacob Aldad. Participants can choose from a wide range of categories such as hospitality, entrepreneurship, tourism, sports management, business law, apparel and accessories, and more. DECA offers students the opportunity to compete in a role play, in which club members are given a real life business scenario and must compose a plan using the information given by judges in a limited amount of time. In addition to the role play category, there is an option to formulate a full business or innovative plan based on a good or service of one’s choice. The plan includes the costs to produce the goods, target markets, and more. Competitions are held at the regional level, state level and international level. DECA not only allows students to learn about the business field and the process of creating a business plan, but also gives students opportunities for networking, social interactions, and to meet guest speakers. DECA is an amazing learning experience for all students, and I hope to see you at the next meeting!