Inside Heschel High
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The Heschel School commemorated Yom HaZikaron with two moving ceremonies. The High School gathered for a program conceived by the Hebrew department, and run by the students. The community recited prayers, sang songs, and heard from Rabbi Benji Schiller, who told the story of Demitri Grojdensky (Z"L), a fallen Israel soldier. The Middle School gathered and told the stories of several soldiers who lost their lives defending the country, heard from Head of School Ariela Dubler, and sang songs and prayers hoping for peace.
Heschel students from the Grade 10 Maker Engineering class exhibited their inventions at CS Fair, a city-wide exposition in the Armory at Washington Heights. Thousands of New York City students came to the CS Fair to learn about computer science. Heschel's booth displayed projects from the Maker Engineering class, which focuses on inventing new physical user interfaces for computers. Examples of the work shown are a sensor-based controller for interactive gaming, a custom game controller for a racing game which has a steering wheel, and foot control and a piano made from aluminum foil and cardboard.
The Lower School gathered for Tefillah B'yachad in the morning and Howard Pianko, grandfather to Bella, Noah and Ethan Pianko told the story of his parents, who survived in hiding in Poland. Howard was the first Jewish child born in the village of Wysokie after the war and he spoke about the importance of names and how his name, Hayyim, represented his parents' hopes for rebuilding their lives after the Holocaust.
The Middle School heard from Dorothy Denburg (Director of College Counseling), who presented the story of her parents Felix Urman and Michelle Golubczyk Urman, and Andrzej and Józefa Siek, the righteous gentiles who hid them. In March 2013, Andrzej and Józefa Siek were posthumously recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations at a ceremony in Warsaw organized by the Israeli Ambassador. Boleslawa Seik accepted the medal and certificate on behalf of her parents and Dorothy was in attendance with her family.
High School students broke out into groups for Passover learning workshops. Teachers from a range of disciplines and students led a variety of sessions. The workshops offered the chance for students to study the different themes of the haggadah, explore new ways to make the seder meaningful, find contemporary parallels to the story of the exodus, and more.