Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Student Accepted to Prestigious Summer Program

11th grader, Alyssa Wruble was recently accepted into the prestigious Tikvah Summer Institute at Yale University.  The Tikvah program selects a small number of the country's most talented 11th and 12th graders and brings them together for two weeks to delve deeply into some of the biggest questions that face us as American Jews.  This year's Institute is entitled "Politics, Economics, and the Jewish Person" and features world class faculty such as Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveitchik, Dr. Kimberly Kagan (founder and president of the Institute for the Study of War), Dr. James Otteson (director of the Center for the Study of Capitalism at Wake Forest University), and takes place on the Yale University Campus in New Haven, Connecticut.

We have no doubt Alyssa will find the experience enriching and enlightening and we have no doubt that the Tikvah group will be similarly enlightened and enriched by the sharp wit and penetrating insight we've all come to know and expect from Alyssa.  

Macs Head to Sarachek

Guest post by Coach Richard Lewis
Macs fans and supporters,
Circle your calendar...Tomorrow, Thursday, March 27th at 3:00pm CST the Cooper Macs will face Yeshiva Atlanta in the first round of YU's Sarachek tournament in NYC. The game can be watched online in HD at Keep an eye on as we will also play Friday, Sunday, and Monday with times, opponents, and location depending on how we fare.
The team has worked very hard over the past few weeks to prepare, including practices in four different local gyms, film sessions, studying scouting reports, and even a special pre-Shabbos practice at the FedEx Forum in the Grizzlies practice facility. All of this while a majority of the team is on the Dean's List or Honor Roll and participates in many other extracurriculars/leadership roles...pretty amazing. 
This will be the last hurrah for the team's 7 seniors. While this is a different team after losing two-time Jewish Hoops All-American Eli Osdoba to graduation, it's one of the deepest squads our school has ever taken to Sarachek. And, the Macs have arguably one of the most exciting players in the tournament in Bryan Itkowitz.
We hope to continue to build on the Sarachek success we've had the past two years, including a Tier 2 championship in 2012 and our school's first ever Tier 1 appearance last year. Regardless, we will have fun being in NYC together, visiting with alumni, and exploring YU's campus.
Thanks for everyone's support throughout the year and we hope to end the season with a bang this coming weekend.

Game Preview Here.  Team Roster Here.

Go Macs.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Girls Shine in Annual GMSG Gala

Our Girls High School took center stage last as they community came out for their annual fundraising dinner.  As always, the entire event - from purchasing and cooking the food, to setting up the hall, to providing the night's entertainment, divrei Torah, food service, and clean up - was done entirely by the girls.  They certainly had help and guidance from adults such as Rabbi Stein, Mrs. Amy Stein, and Mrs. Sara Plotitsa, and learned some tricks of the culinary trade behind the scenes from the talented Ostrow family, but the night itself belonged to our girls.

On a personal level, this dinner was made all the more special due to the girls decision to use this opportunity to pay tribute to their Tanakh teacher, AP Psych teacher, mechanechet, and assistant principal, Mrs. Melissa Perl.  From the moving video they created (which is posted below), to the tree in Israel they planted "in memory of all the paper they used" over the years in her class, to the beautiful book of personal letters from the entire student body, one couldn't help but be touched by their genuine and deep-seated demonstration of admiration and affection for an educator who has clearly made an indelible impact on their lives.

Of course, the very fact that students could put such an event together and express themselves the way that they did, is a reflection more on them then on anyone else.  They should be incredibly proud of what they did and know that we, the school community, are incredibly proud of them.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Adar Lives On

This year Purim was just a prelude to the real Adar excitement here at the MHA.  Picking up where the the 3rd graders left off with their incredible Purim play on Friday (click here for more pictures!), the Kollel and Bat Ami had an exciting Purim Carnival waiting for all of the elementary school students when they returned on Monday, Shushan Purim.

The carnival was followed by a video which the shlichim prepared and which the Junior High was invited to attend.  Ask a 7th or 8th grader and they'll tell you that was a dead giveaway.  Inviting the Junior High to a Lower School assembly could only mean one thing: COLOR WAR!

And so it was.  Starting Monday afternoon the school was a sea of blue and red as the students competed in what was widely regarded to have been the best - and most IKaRR filled - Color War our school has ever seen.  From athletics to the all-new Cardboard Challenge, and from songs and cheers to skits and banners, these two spirit-filled days gave every child a chance to shine.

Have a look at the videos to get a glimpse of what it was like and be sure to let Mrs. Gersten know what an incredible job she did putting it all together!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Unprecedented Results in National Bible Contest

The results for the qualifying test for Chidon HaTanach (the International Bible Contest) are in and the success of our students is unprecedented. Tani Finkelstein and Ariel Kampf, both of whom are 9th graders and were up against 10th and 11th graders throughout the country, qualified to move on to the national finals in New York in May.  Perhaps more startling, though, is that all seven of our Junior High students who participated in the program, also ranked high enough to move on to the national finals.  8th graders Shlomo Bosin, Batya Bosin, Chaya Klein, and Shmuel Perl, as well as 7th graders Akiva Finkelstein, Ezra Cooper, and Yisrael Weiner all prepared for the exams by putting in hours of extra study outside of school under the guidance of Moreh Shimshon Solemon.  Their hard work paid off as all of them now have a chance to compete for the national title, a prize that includes an expense paid trip to Israel next year to represent the USA in the international finals.

Given that last year's high school winner (Asher Finkelstein, pictured above) was an MHA graduate, I have no doubt that the competition will be shaking in their boots when nine MHA students show up to the competition this year!  We wish them and Moreh Shimshon a heartfelt מזל טוב on their impressive accomplishment and, win or lose, we hope that this experience and their success to date will inspire them to reach higher and higher in their Torah study in the years to come.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Academic All-Star

Congratulations to Isaac Graber who was named an Academic All-Star by the Commercial Appeal today.  The award confirms what we all knew to be true already - that Isaac ranks amongst the truly exceptional students in our region both for his accomplishments inside and outside the classroom.

Here is their write-up that appeared in the Sunday paper:

Isaac, a senior, exemplifies the Renaissance Man. By his involvement in and contributions to a variety of social, cultural and educational organizations, he has been exposed to diverse communities. He holds a 5.19 weighted grade point average and scored 2240 on the SAT. Currently slated to be the valedictorian of his class, Isaac is a National Merit Commended Student and member of the National Honor Society. He has taken seven AP courses and 25 Honors classes. As a junior, he received the Yale Book Award for outstanding potential. As president of the Student Council, Isaac plans many school events. He also leads the engineering team as they compete in the TEAMS competition at the University of Arkansas. After attending the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) High School Summit in Washington in 2011, Isaac discovered a passion for Israel and Israel advocacy. He has made it his mission to educate his peers and the community about Israel. After Isaac attended the BridgeBuilder’s Summer Leadership Conference, he became very involved and now collaborates with other young Memphians committed to diversity.