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Why is Sukkot Referred to as the Time of Happiness? By Ella Shusterman

Sukkot is commonly referred to as זמן שמחתינו, or “The time of our happiness”. It is not rare for the Jewish holidays to have additional names that help describe the significance of the holiday. For example, Pesach is also called זמן חרותינו, or “The time of our freedom”, signifying the commemoration of our freedom from Egypt. However, one may ask, what is the connection between Sukkot and happiness? Why is this time specifically called a time of joy- shouldn’t feel joyful on every holiday?

An opinion in the Talmud (Sukkah 11b) states that a Sukkah represents the protective ענני הכבוד, the Clouds of Glory, that surrounded the nation of Israel as they traveled through the desert, and Chag Sukkot is meant to commemorate this gift. This raises the following question, asked by the Vilna Gaon: if the nation of Israel first became protected in the month of Nissan, then why are we celebrating this gift on Sukkot, in the month of Tishrei? He answers that these protective clouds were removed as the nation of Israel’s punishment for committing the sin of constructing the עגל הזהב, the Golden Calf. Moshe atoned for the nation, which he did on Yom Kippur, the 10th of Tishrei. The Clouds of Glory were returned after Bnei Yisrael began building the Mishkan on the 15th of Tishrei, which is the day that we celebrate Sukkot.

From this, we can understand that we are not just celebrating the gift of the protective clouds, but the fact that Hashem had the compassion to return them to us after we had sinned. The miraculous protection that had once been revoked was now returned. We can also learn why we celebrate Sukkot at the time we do- just days after we have been forgiven for our sins on Yom Kippur- we celebrate the gift which was returned to Israel after their atonement.

Wishing everyone a Chag Sameach!

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North Shore Students’ Takes on the Presidential Debates By Lior Edrich

2020 has really been quite the year- we not only had to endure the stress of a global pandemic, but another presidential election, which means debates. As people watched the first debate on September 29th, a series of differing opinions were generated. We therefore asked the students of North Shore to give their thoughts on the debate. Senior Rebeka Nissan states, “In my opinion, the debate was unprofessional and chaotic. Both candidates constantly interrupted their opponent and spoke more about their personal triumphs rather than actual policy.” Junior Abigail Mottahedeh offers, “I didn’t feel like they were speaking to the American people; they were mostly just bickering at each other.” Claudia Tawil adds, “This debate was degrading to our country.” However, many students took a different approach. One student anonymously submitted a response stating that they believe Biden was wearing a wire. Others claim that the former Vice President exceeded their expectations, and spoke relatively eloquently. As students are approaching adulthood, they have come to realize the importance of voting for the president. This debate has given them an example of what each candidate could lead us towards, as a country.

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Opinion Piece: Modifying The Presidential Debates By Kayla Hutt

If you’ve ever been on a debate team, or simply possess basic common decency, then you know it is rude to interrupt someone. Something tells me, and many Americans, that Trump didn’t get this memo during the presidential debate on Tuesday night.

The commission that oversees US presidential debates says it will change the format to ensure the remaining two encounters between Donald Trump and Joe Biden are more orderly. Following this announcement, President Trump tweeted, “Why would I allow the Debate Commission to change the rules for the second and third Debates when I easily won last time?” However, surveys show that the general consensus is that Biden won the debate. President Trump interrupted former Vice President Joe Biden 73 times. The longest topic of conversation was the coronavirus, with a staggering 20 minute discussion.

Not much was spoken about during the presidential debate; it was mere chaos. Therefore, from a manners and behavior standpoint, Biden won. It is evident that alterations must be made for the next debates. The commission on Wednesday said, “the first debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.” They are also considering cutting off a candidate’s microphone if they violate the rules. Additional changes would include allowing each candidate to make opening and closing statements at the debates and limiting the discussion phase during which the candidates can talk to each other.

President Trump takes the stance that the debates would be fixed with a new moderator, specifically a Republican one. Meanwhile, Biden is open to these changes, as his administration proposed some of them. Changes are clearly needed to be made. If Trump is unwilling to see that, then that is an issue because there is no denying that not enough topics were actually covered during the debate. President Trump interrupted so much, yet so little was said. I hope for the sake of our country that the rules for the debates are changed and order is put into place.

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Reaching The NBA Finals By Steven Sabbagh

Recently, basketball fans around the world have been rejoicing over the return of the NBA season. Back when the season was abruptly suspended in March, fans were left with a lot of uncertainty as to whether the season was going to be resumed or not. Luckily, for NBA fans, the league was able to continue their season and create a “bubble” in Disney World; this worked because the players were being tested constantly and anyone entering the bubble had to quarantine before. 

Two months into the restored NBA season and there are only two teams left in the last round of the playoffs. The heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers are facing off against the surprise story of the playoffs— the Miami Heat. The Lakers, led by Lebron James and Anthony Davis, entered the season with lofty expectations, and they met those standards with a dominant performance in the playoffs. They steam-rolled past their opponents, knocking each of them out of the playoffs in just five games (in a best of seven series). The Heat on the other hand, were not expected to make a meaningful run from the start of the season, but have continued to prove their doubters wrong. The Heat consist of a young core of ascending players led by their new acquisition of Jimmy Butler, an elite two-way player.

After the Lakers took a commanding 2-0 lead over Heat, many believed that the series was over. On Sunday night, Butler had a 40-point, triple double performance that helped the Heat in defeating the mighty Lakers. This win might’ve shifted the tide in the series by prolonging it and giving more time for two of their key players to return back from injuries. The Lakers are currently leading the Heat 2-1 in their series and Game 4 will be played on Tuesday, October 6th. No matter who wins this series, I’m sure all basketball fans will be glad that they were able to watch playoff basketball again.

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Do the Risks of a COVID Vaccine Outweigh the Benefits? By Josh Kreinik

March 2020 feels like an eternity ago. From school being shut down for six months to having a hybrid system permitting only half of the students to come in each day, it seems like there will be no end to the Coronavirus. Fortunately, there are multiple companies working on a vaccine that is already in their phase three trials. Moderna and Pfizer are two of the four American companies that have begun testing their vaccine on participants. Although this may seem like optimistic news, the side effects will make you wonder if it is worth taking the vaccine. Participants of receiving vaccines from both Moderna and Pfizer have reported a series of side effects that should be taken into serious consideration before it is distributed to the public. After receiving the vaccine, participants reported few minor side effects. After the second dose however, participants reported having very extreme side effects. Some of these symptoms included shortness of breath, severe shoulder pain, excruciating headaches lasting eight hours, high grade fevers, and extreme chills. Although these symptoms were acute, it is also important to note that they typically lasted a day. A spokeswoman from Pfizer reported that they will not let these side effects stop them from working on a vaccine to end this deadly virus. It is expected that one of the four United States companies will make an effective and safe vaccine by the end of the year. In the meantime, it is important for everyone, both in and out of school, to wear a mask and maintain social distancing.

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Club of the Week- Mock Trial By Leanna Hakakian

North Shore Hebrew Academy High School emphasizes the importance of school clubs and extracurricular activities. Being involved in extracurricular activities can enhance and broaden your experience in high school. There are a multitude of clubs to choose from, ensuring that there is an activity for every kind of student. One that specifically stands out to me is Mock Trial.

The Mock Trial team is centered around two key interests: law and acting. Mock Trial is a great club to sharpen your skills of law and public speaking. Also, this club offers the ability to train in public speaking, critical thinking, persuasive writing, and logical reasoning. Led by Mr. Muir, lawyer advisor Ms. Ben-Sorek, and capitan Talia Dror, the Mock Trial team is enjoyable, interesting, and extremely friendly.

In order to be ready to compete, the team is given a case and a side to argue. The process begins by the lawyers of the team preparing a direct and cross-examination for the opposing team and their witness. Next, the witnesses must memorize or rehearse their direct examinations, and study the affidavit of their role to be ready for any questions that may be asked by the opposing team. The team competes both locally and state-wide. This year, the Mock Trial team is planning to have both intramural and interscholastic trials which will take place on Zoom, due to COVID-19 restrictions. If you might be interested in participating in Mock Trial, please email Mr. Muir.

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Advice Column: What can you do to help your community while staying safe? By Ella Hakimian

Over the past few months, we haven’t been able to support and engage with our communities the same way we used to. Because we are all working to keep our loved ones healthy and safe, the communities of North Shore Hebrew Academy have drastically changed the ways in which we go about our duties. A very common and generous approach towards holding Shabbat services without mass indoor gatherings has been backyard minyans. By hosting social distant minyans in the backyards of the homes of community leaders, we have been able to allow everyone to participate in the religious ceremonies while still staying safe. In addition, by donating food for the holidays and Shabbat to some of our elders, while wearing masks and staying socially distant, we are able to make them feel loved and appreciated. This kind gesture brings more joy to our grandparent and great grandparent then we even realize. Lastly, donating to charities in this time of economic need is a great way to give back to those who the virus has had an effect on financially. This mitzvah of Tzedakah, or giving charity, is a beautiful way to support those less fortunate, particularly during this challenging time. There is truly no telling what’s to come in this ever changing world, but by staying positive and safe we will be able to maintain an optimistic outlook on anything Hashem throws our way.

I hope that everyone had an easy and meaningful Chag, wishing a Shanah Tova to all!

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