North Shore Hebrew Academy High School Where Dreams Become Accomplishments

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Student of the Month

Each month North Shore Hebrew Academy High School's Headmaster Dr. Daniel J. Vitow
selects one student as Student of the Month. This student is featured, because he/she
achieved a level of excellence that is exceptionally noteworthy.

June 2020 Student of the Month - MICHELLE MALAKOV


Michelle Malakov loves science and politics and economics and business. Anything else you ask? Why yes. She loves her culture and traveling and helping others. She loves the cold and cooking and music. She loves that she decided when she started at North Shore to “do well”. And doing well she has done very well, because Michelle is the June 2020 Student of the Month.

Michelle is the youngest of five kids and commutes (well – she used to before school became an online endeavor) to North Shore every day from Queens. That hasn’t stopped her from fulfilling her intention to achieve excellence. In fact, she willingly shares her smarts with her fellow students as a peer tutor in Bio, Chem, Math, Physics, AP Macro, Hebrew and Psych! However, truth be told, her favorite subjects are Chemistry winning the first ever Chuck Westfall award for a perfect score and Macro Economics.

For most of her life Michelle wanted to be a doctor, but she says she doesn’t feel the pull towards a career in medicine. She has come to realize she is great with abstract ideas, thinking way outside the proverbial box and always enjoying getting the extra points for the bonus life questions offered in Dr. Chandhok’s Physics class. Having four older sibs has caused her to be a keen observer and mature on her toes to keep up. She is passionate and wise beyond her teens.

North Shore is replete with all the co-curriculars that spark Michelle’s vast interests. Since ninth grade she has been a member of Creative Writing Club and Medical Minds. In the past two years she added Anti-bias, Investing and Real Estate. She’s also been part of both the Track and Soccer teams. Then there’s the Choir. Yes, she also sings. Apparently, singing goes far back in her family tree. Her last name Malakov, roughly translated, means “tall men who sing.” She says her whole family sings well.

Last September, at a family gathering, her grandmother asked if anyone wanted to go with her to visit Uzbekistan. She hadn’t been back in over thirty years since emigrating to America to live the American Dream. Michelle said yes not thinking her grandmother was serious. Grandma was serious, and a short time later she found herself in the country of her heritage. Michelle loved the culturally rich country with the massive bazaars, outdoor markets and all the spices and aromas. She says the two highlights were riding a donkey through the villages and visiting a museum dedicated to her great uncle. He was the pop star of his era and so popular that the museum was built to preserve his story! She says it struck her that preserving family history and culture is very important to her.

In addition to Uzbekistan, Michelle has traveled to Israel, the Caribbean and her favorite – Alaska. She is a cold weather and snow person. Seeing a bear catching fish and dolphins swimming next to the boat were her memorable moments. She says the best thing about traveling the world is seeing the beauty that G-d created and learning about all the many cultures and appreciating all of it.

Michelle is not only a scholar and a traveler but a worker as well. She is a group leader and a special event organizer in her Shul and volunteers for Friendship Circle and the Masbia soup kitchen. She worked as a camp counselor for the past three years and has had a couple of paid jobs as well.

Cooking is one of Michelle’s hobbies. She says her mom insisted everyone learn to cook and rather than seeing it as a chore, Michelle took it on it as something fun and creative. She is a salad specialist. There are seven different salads prepared every day. Her top three are Salad Olivieh with eggs and potatoes and other delicious ingredients, Beet Salad with apples and honey and a Basic with lemon and olive oil. Yum. Her other more active hobbies include skiing, ice skating and gymnastics.

Now the section on fast fun facts you didn’t know about Michelle: She doesn’t care for shopping or movies. Michelle loves taking random Buzzfeed quizzes online and seriously loves music. Her favorite color is Turquoise Blue.

Michelle is someone who likes having things ready on time – early is even better. She prefers not to have things hanging over her head. She is responsible, fun, a creative thinker and someone who would much rather talk or facetime than text preferring a real conversation. Michelle is the keeper of the wonderful culture in her family. Michelle can’t wait to take engineering next year and spread her academic wings even further to find a way to combine it with her other passion of world economics. All of it done with her infectious laugh, kind demeanor and genuine caring. We look forward to see where she soars 

Great job and good luck Michelle! See you in September...


May 2020 Student of the Month - ASHLEY GORDON
Have you ever heard of a chocolate-loving architect who makes portraits out of jellybeans and is also a really great girl? Other than the fact that chocolate, jellybean, architect and great girl all have nine letters, the common denominator and possessor of those wonderful gifts is May Student of the Month – Senior Class of 2020 - Ashley Gordon!

Now really, who doesn’t enjoy some chocolate now and then (or every day)? The difference is that Ashley enjoys her delicious confections (milk chocolate) from a higher perspective. She fully appreciates the art, science and technology behind being a master chocolatier. As in her true love – architecture - perfecting the art of working with chocolate by understanding its physical and chemical aspects, as well as the technical aspects of design needed to create skillfully crafted pieces that disappear in mere seconds, is what makes the savoring worthwhile. However, Ashley wants to use those same skills to create something that will last longer. Buildings. Ashley is going to be an architect.  

Ashley’s home away from home while at school is (was before the current situation) in the art department. At any given time, she could be found at one of the tables drawing, painting, building and creating. Ashley has taken advantage of the full breadth of art department offerings including fashion design, drawing and painting, display and exhibit to name a few. The evidence of her passion can be found in many places around the school. There are beautiful artful blessings, that she created, in the Beit Midrash and Rabbi Weinberg’s office, abstract color designs on the first floor near the art department and even on Mrs. Dammacco’s white board!

Architects not only need a highly creative mind but a mathematical and logical one as well. Plus, they need to be able to play well with others, because it takes a huge team to put up a building and design the interiors. Luckily Ashley has all those bases covered. She is a terrific artist, a stellar math student, has been a peer tutor for college accounting, helps friends and family with their décor, is an editor on the senior yearbook team, and loves being organized.

Ashley is a worker. She does not shy away from extra effort as illustrated by her participation in a number of activities both in and out of school. At North Shore, Ashley is a member of the JLC (Jewish Life Committee) working to spread awareness of Jewish life; she organized a baking competition for a school-wide spirit event; is her grade representative for the Blood Drive committee; as a School Event Planner designed flyers and created programs for school events; and prepared and organized displays for open houses. That’s not all – Ashley worked on the Freshman Orientation Handbook and helped Mrs. Laura Cohen with the Alumni Association. Currently, Ashley is working with Rabbi Chinskey and Mrs. Solarsh on a special digital book of short essays, poems, and any related artwork to spread some light and serve as an outlet for students, as well as faculty and staff, to express themselves during these times. Ashley is thrilled to have been selected to be the student editor.

Outside of school, volunteering is something Ashley considers a joyful endeavor. As a volunteer, she helped raise over $30,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), and just for fun is an Assistant Director and curator for the Playbills for her middle school theater department.

The summer before her junior year, Ashley participated in an architecture program at the prestigious Cooper Union in New York City for five days a week for six weeks. The focus of this amazing experience was exploring architectural concepts through the study of umbrellas. Have you ever had to consider how your body and the environment interact with an umbrella with regard to physical space and movement? Ashley has. In fact, at the end of each of the six weeks, she and her fellow program students had a twelve-hour critique class facilitated by Cooper professors. Note – not only did this not deter her from her chosen path, but it further enhanced her resolve for her choice. In fact, with her indomitable spirit and outgoing personality she met a professor who is now a mentor. Just for the challenge, during this lockdown, Ashley decided to take advantage of Dr. Vitow’s free college classes email and enrolled in a fifty-hour online Concepts of Architecture course at Harvard! Go Ash!

So, you’re wondering what Ashley does for fun! She cooks. And bakes. She enjoys taking a somewhat unpopular food item (cauliflower) and turning it into something everyone loves (spicy roasted cauliflower). Ashley says she is known for her unusual box lunches and loves cooking for friends and family. As a true creative person, she will take a standard recipe but doctor it up giving it her special touch. She has an intuitive feel for food and flavors, which is probably why she and her friend won last year’s Shiriyah Chopped Competition! Sweet and Sour Meatballs anyone?

Ashley also loves studying the architectural designs of Dame Zaha Hadid – the first woman to be awarded the international Pritzker Architecture Prize (often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture) and was made a “Dame” by Queen Elizabeth for her contributions to the field of architecture. Then there’s also her love of photography and taking nature photos and doing photo shoots with her friends.

A few fun facts about Ashley…she has a pet guinea pig named Lilli and two calico cats named Sophie and Bella. Her family has raised ducks that now live in a no-kill shelter in Massachusetts and continue to foster ducks until they’re old enough or well enough to move to the shelter. Her favorite color is Lavender and she likes to have fun with fashion by upcycling clothing using paint, dye and whatever else strikes her.

By now you’re asking “what about those jellybeans?” Here it is.

jkl      For her sister’s candy-themed Bat Mitzvah, Ashley “painted” a portrait of her using thousands of jellybeans used in a combination of mosaic and pointillist art. How inventive and amazing! That’s the story of Ashley. She sees way past what others view as the mundane to create the unique and unusual. Sort of like her.

It seems as though a day in “Ashley-time” has more than twenty-four hours. Somehow, she manages to do her schoolwork, win awards for her art, become a member of several honor societies, take extra classes, cook, bake, have fun with friends, do interior decorating, work as a camp counselor and a café manager, spend quality time with her family, dance, help others, and that’s just the tip of the chocolate bar.

This future architect has all the skills needed for success in her chosen field (or any other for that matter). With her level of passion and incredible talent, she may be the first American woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Mazel Tov and Build it Ashley!


April 2020 Student of the Month - AIDEN DILMANIAN

They say, “there’s a first time for everything.”  It might be great, it might be good, it might be funny, sometimes – well – it might be unexpected. That’s the case with North Shore’s April Student of the Month. Aiden Dilmanian is the first SOTM selected during a worldwide quarantine (and we hope the only one).  It’s one for the books, that’s for sure! There’s always a silver lining, and Aiden is one who looks for and finds it.

Aiden is a seeker. He is a puzzle person and enjoys looking for and analyzing clues. One of his favorite classes this year is Forensics with Mrs. Hennelly. Aiden came up with the idea of a creating a murder mystery lab in class and took the initiative to work with Mrs. Hennelly to tie it into the curriculum. He developed his “out of the box” idea of a scavenger hunt of sorts, to include teachers giving clues, to solve a murder (hmmm – who will the victim be?) using fingerprinting and other types of forensic analyses. Very cool idea.

Even though solving crime is his hobby, his true passion is construction management and development. Although, there are some common threads between the two…

Aiden is great at being the idea guy and has keen observation skills. He grew up going with his dad to construction sites, and his interest was ignited. His powers of observation and attention to detail (definitely important in crime detection) developed from learning how a structure is conceived from an idea in someone’s imagination, studying how to read a blueprint and watching the actual building coming to fruition. Aiden loves how all the trades work together as a team (also imperative in cracking cases) to solve the problem of making a sound, useful three-dimensional structure from the mind’s eye to create a masterpiece for generations to come.

One of his favorite things to do is driving around and looking for all kinds of construction projects. Aiden and a friend, who share a common interest in construction and real estate, go all over to see what catches their eye in terms of structure, materials, height and scale and assess their opinions. Of course there’s the creative aspect of the finishes as well to be considered. The Gestalt of the project – how the total picture looks – is the most satisfying aspect.

Although Aiden doesn’t consider himself to be artistic, he does describe himself as creative and open-minded. He does his best to keep preconceived notions out and instead keeps positive expectation in mind. Last summer Aiden went on a teen tour to Poland and Israel. When asked about his favorite part of the trip, he said he fully expected the trip to be fun and an all around good time, but instead described the surprising experience of bonding with everyone in his group. He says it made him feel a sense of being completed, as he didn’t think he needed these other people in his life. “How did I not meet you until now” was his question about kids he has seen in passing in school and in Shul.

In addition to his travels last summer, Aiden also worked at an amazing internship in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, just under the bridge. It was a perfect example of his personal esthetic of preservation and innovative building. The landmarked (both the inside and outside), over 100-year old neo-classical Dime Savings Bank building is the being made into a mixed-use structure that will rise to 1,066 feet. The tower being built behind it will be the tallest in Brooklyn and the first in the borough to cap 1,000 feet. It will be fused to the landmarked bank, converting what had been a savings institution into a space meant for retail. Wow!

In his time at North Shore, Aiden has been a four-year veteran of the Varsity Volleyball team and was a member of the Track team. He became a Certified Lifeguard and works at a camp over summers. He satisfied his other interests in various NSHAHS clubs such as DECA and Investing to expand his business knowledge and enjoyment of negotiating a deal, and Israel Awareness for his concern and deep interest and familial connections in Israel. In addition, Aiden feels it’s important to be involved in community affairs and regularly volunteers with the Masbia Organization and does fundraising for pediatric cancer awareness with 4K4Kids.

On the fun side, Aiden’s favorite color is Green – the perfect shade being North Shore Green Machine Green. He enjoys a great steak and since being quarantined, for the first time has been helping his mom in the kitchen and learning some cooking skills. With a little more spare time than usual, he’s been enjoying detective shows on Netflix. BQ (before quarantine) Aiden spent time playing very active outdoors sports with friends.

Aiden’s desire to study real estate with engineering, construction and business added in has been expanding since childhood. His enjoyment of face-to-face deal making will only expand his horizons. Clearly his lives his motto of “the more you know, the better.” With his innate curiosity, passion and ability to visualize a building in his mind as a hologram, how high can he build? Seems the sky’s the limit! 


Great Work and Best of Luck Aiden!


March 2020 Student of the Month - REBECCA SCHATZ


Do you know junior Rebecca Schatz? Well you should. She is the March Student of the Month. Rebecca is the “girl next door” – the one with the sweet smile for everyone she passes in the hallway – the one with the good grades in the Honor Society, a ton of school involvement, and a kind word for everyone.

That’s the one - the girl with the long curly brown hair who makes everything in her success repertoire look easy. You’ve cheered her on in her many sporting events. Rebecca is a very sporty gal. She is super-athletic and has been an avid member of three girls’ teams here at North Shore. First there’s the Basketball team, second is the Volleyball team, and then there’s the Soccer team, all Junior Varsity in her freshman and sophomore years. This year, as a junior, Rebecca is playing on the same three teams at the Varsity level! A fierce competitor, she was also on the girl’s Softball team and actually played on the Intramural Football team!

Rebecca’s interests for her future lie in two ends of the academic spectrum. She loves psychology and finance and could be that gal who finds a way to combine the two into a successful career path. Right now she is taking A.P. Macroeconomics with Mrs. Goldschmidt and A.P. Psychology with Mrs. Zelka and loves them equally. She is fascinated by learning how we think and the way the brain works. Rebecca is also interested in classic science and is a Peer Tutor in Chemistry. She also enjoys being a member of the new Climate Change club and looks forward to increasing her knowledge on the topic ever since she wrote an essay on extinct species for an ACT exam. Being a member of Mr. Wykes’ Science Society has also been on her roster of co-curriculars.

Since ninth grade, Rebecca has been a member of the Headmaster’s Council. The council consists of twelve students, selected by Dr. Vitow, to have monthly meetings to discuss various student and school related issues ranging from upcoming events to dilemmas that face students on a daily basis. The group works hard by bouncing ideas back and forth among its members and by focusing on issues that will have a positive impact on the school. Rebecca was part of the team responsible for getting mirrors installed in the girls’ bathrooms, having hand sanitizers placed around the school and is working on the possibility of replacing the furniture on the third floor outside the Shul.

Like many North Shore students, Rebecca feels acts of Chesed are a priority in life. She has braved the early morning cold to participate Breast Cancer Walks at Jones Beach with friends and Mrs. Gold, distributed socks to the homeless for Knock Knock, Give a Sock , assembled Shabbat packages for Jewish patients at North Shore University Hospital Mitzvah Day, packaged and delivered food to families in need, and ran a 4K to support 4K 4 Kids. In addition, as a member of Young Israel of Great Neck, Rebecca is a group leader for pre-school kids during services. She enjoys supervising and interacting with them during play, reading the weekly Parshah and of course snack time.

Rebecca loves to travel. She feels very fortunate and grateful that she has been to Alaska, Italy, Hawaii and Israel with her family. The summer after ninth grade, she went on a Teen Tour to the West coast and visited a multitude of states including California and Wyoming. Last summer she went to Israel with Kol Hanearim for five weeks (along with fellow students Aaron Baruch and Ellie Ginsberg) where she made relationships with at-risk youth in Israel by providing them with support and tools to relieve their distress. She says it was an amazing experience to witness, be a part of and learn from people making a difference in the lives of these children who don’t get to have a lot of fun or happiness. It made such an impact that she will be returning this coming summer.

On the fun side, Rebecca loves to bake sweet stuff especially cinnamon buns (she loooves cinnamon). Yum. Her favorite things include the color Royal Blue (because it’s a little bit more purple and richer in color than regular blue), being organized, classic pizza, and most of all her family. How great is that?

Rebecca feels her time at North Shore so far has been wonderful, welcoming and supportive. She has made great friends and has had great experiences. As her junior year is winding down with her senior year and college on the horizon, Rebecca, in her classic style is sure to finish with a flourish and start her new adventures with the same competitive edge and excitement she brings to North Shore every day.

We’re excited for you! Great job Rebecca!

February 2020 Student of the Month - AARON BARUCH

February has 29 days this year.  Even though it’s the shortest month, it’s got a lot going for it.  The area known as Hollywood was founded.  Thomas Edison built the first motion picture studio and filmed the first 'close up' of someone sneezing. It has Groundhog Day with its own movie. was launched.  The Rolling Stones performed in front of the largest public show attended by 1.3 Million people.  George Washington became President.  Junior, Aaron Baruch is Student of the Month.

You know when you meet someone who has “the thing” - that X factor that is not completely identifiable or tangible, that quality you only know when you see it? Well, Aaron has it. He is a true individual. Very imaginative, creative and thoughtful, he is solid with his feet planted firmly and his mind laser focused. Aaron balances his academic and other pursuits in a calm relaxed way and excels in all. It is very easy to be around him. He smiles a lot.

Aaron finds enjoyment in everything he does. He smiles whether he talks about his classes, school co-curriculars or teen tours in Israel. Here at North Shore, he participates in a vast array of activities. This year he is enjoying working on his second Rube Goldberg Machine Contest team, with Mr. Suchmann, preparing for the competition next spring. He loves the tasks of building and designing and knowing he is an integral part of the team of ten. Last year, his team won First Place in their division by building a machine, to pour a bowl of cereal, using at least 20 steps. He and his teammates exceeded the requirement and used 24 steps! As a seasoned member of both Yale and Penn Model Congress (his favorite event), Aaron particularly enjoys improving his public speaking skills and the coordinated teamwork with students from the many attending schools coming together for the common goal of getting their bills passed. He fully embraces the synergistic coming together of his teammates to create a winning whole from the seemingly disparate sum of its parts.

Aaron feels strongly about the history of Israel, the threat of BDS, and being a defender of Israel both out in the world and on college campuses. This topic of Zionism is a true passion for Aaron. He applied for and was accepted into the Write On For Israel program run by Jewish Week; an Israel advocacy journalism program where he writes pertinent articles and submits them to Judaic publications. He is very excited about his involvement in this organization.

Even with his rigorous academic load this year of AP Chemistry, AP American History, AP Macroeconomics, Accelerated Tanach and Hebrew Bechina, he makes the time for membership in the Israel Awareness club with Mrs. Amir, for going deeper into learning about both the historical and current events in Israel. Last summer, Aaron was a volunteer at a Kol HaNearim summer camp program in Israel for at-risk and orphaned children. He says it was a difficult but rewarding experience.

Being a well-rounded individual is paramount to Aaron. A three-year member of the Broadcasting Club, he has been working closely with senior Scott Mayer learning to use live-streaming camera equipment and software for school events. In the process he discovered he enjoys computer science and is now taking an independent study coding class viewing this new language as the future of business and the world in general. He likes the entrepreneurial nature of the creative end uses, such as games and apps.

In the fun realm, Aaron competes on the varsity hockey team and plays tennis regularly outside of school. He is a big fan of “Ultimate” Frisbee and is negotiating with Mr. Muir to start a league here at North Shore. In addition to the challenge of the game, he likes the idea that play relies on the sportsmanship of players, rather than reliance on referees, and invokes "Spirit of the Game" to maintain fair play. In his downtime, Aaron enjoys playing his guitar and is a huge action, adventure and sci fi movie buff. He sees his future in film and computer science, dreams of cinematography and someday, directing films. Inspired by music, he pictures scenes from the movies he imagines creating. Judging by the mini movies he does for the school Shiriyah event each year, this could definitely be his path. Steven Spielberg is his hero.

Some fun facts about Aaron – he loves sushi especially spicy tuna, any kind of pizza does the trick, sky blue is his favorite color, and he is the idea guy for plans with friends. Aaron has blue eyes and is the only one with red hair in his entire family. The likelihood of this pairing happening is quite rare, especially if neither parent has red hair or blue eyes and is the rarest genetic combo on the planet!

Knowing Aaron, this makes perfect sense. He has that rare combination of smarts, talent, creativity, intuitiveness and sensitivity. Sounds like he could make a great movie. Keep his name on your radar. Down the road, you might be watching the Oscars on TV and see him at the podium with that golden statue in his hand!

Awesome work Aaron!


January 2020 Student of the Month - GABRIELLA NASSIMIHA

She likes to be called Gaby.  Gaby likes to be called a great student, a caring and trustworthy friend, and a determined and hardworking young woman.  We’re calling Gabriella Nassimiha the January 2020 Student of the Month.  What a great way to start a new year and a new decade!


Gaby is a very unique person.  She really has her feet planted firmly but also has that intangible quality of an internal knowing.  She doesn’t see just what is in front of her but seems to be able to view things from a higher perspective.  She is like a young sage who views life in a way beyond her years.


A perfect example of this is the way she has zeroed in on her future path.  Gaby wants to study nutrition and dietetics.  She says her choice is based upon many personal health struggles that have been improved through dietary intervention.  Through these experiences, she learned not only the value of proper food but how food can change a life.  It changed hers, and now she wants to be that catalyst for others.


This past summer Gaby wanted to do an internship with a professional dietitian in private practice.  She independently researched and contacted twenty-five people and was not deterred by the “no, we don’t accept high school students” response.  Instead, she paid attention to the maybes, decided she needed just one right one, and found exactly what she was looking for – that one “yes”!  Gaby traveled to the upper west side every day to work with a woman who is a dietitian, nutritionist and personal trainer and had an amazing experience.  Gaby, a self-proclaimed fitness junkie, loved sitting in on client meetings, observing and taking notes, and even being asked for suggestions.  The excitement of seeing progress in the many clients was palpable and only served to solidify her goals.  For her Work Study this coming spring, she re-contacted one of the previous “no” people and is trying to create another “yes”.


In addition to her internship, Gaby spent three weeks on a teen tour through her Shul.  They started in Poland and went on to Israel.  She says there is such a profound difference between seeing and experiencing the camps in Poland and reading or hearing about it.  Walking the paths and seeing the evidence of the atrocities took her breath away.  She describes the difference between the start and the end of the trip as a sort of Yin and Yang of bad and good, dark and light. 


Gaby is passionate about using her influence to make the world a better place.  She is an active member of the Women’s Leadership Club dedicated to empowering young women, participates in the Anti-Bias Club for the open discussions about current events and social issues, and volunteers for a number of organizations including Masbia soup kitchen, walks to raise money for people with cancer, spends time with elderly in nursing homes, and currently is training for a 10K and Spartan race (with obstacles and a lot of mud) to raise money for a charity for children with disabilities.  Last year her team raised about $35 thousand.  With Gaby’s high energy, no doubt they will beat their record.


Determination and focus is how Gaby has approached her high school career as well, and it shows.  She a member of National Honor Society and six subject honor societies.  In addition, Gaby is a four-year member of the school choir, the girls’ varsity basketball team (captain), and the tennis team.  This year, she is assistant editor of the Yearbook team working on details and decision making.  She is very comfortable making decisions, she says, because she just knows it right when she feels it.  Gaby is very intuitive.


On a lighter note, as a staff writer for the school electronic newsletter, North Shore Notes, Gaby enjoys writing about school eventsIn the business realm, Gaby is a long-standing member of DECA, a national business-focused competition and likes the fast, creative thinking needed to come up with on-the-spot marketing plans for business scenarios presented by the judges. 


Being a very academically focused person, Gaby found that she needed to learn about the balance between work and play to keep her in top form.  She says she is diligent about making time for family and keeping a secure network of friends who all support one another and have similar priorities and feels these are the secrets to her success at school and as a person.  Gaby makes sure to set aside time for her hobbies including a passion for fashion, the gym and Soul Cycle.  Of course, cooking is at the top of her leisure enjoyment list.  Cooking new foods for her family, making her weekly lunch meals and most of all – preparing Shabbat dinner with her grandmother.  The fave food she could eat every day?  Salmon.      


Gaby’s food-love hobby morphed into a passion and now is her calling. She has been able to get her entire family on her food bus and loves being the driver.  Not to mention, they are all into her great cooking as well.  Good food, exercise and taking fun time for herself are all important parts of being happy and being a good role model for her sibs and friends.  She says the two main rules of life she lives by are:

1 - When you feel good you become a better person and bring that out into the world.

2 – “She believed she could, so she did.”


Gaby did, does, and will definitely do!  We look forward to hearing what’s going to be on her future menu!


Go for it Gaby!

 (Yes - you guessed it - Light Pink is her favorite color!)


December 2019 Student of the Month - RACHEL SARRAF
Rachel Sarraf is the December Student of the Month.  You may know her as the Hebrew Editor of the Yearbook, or as a player on the Varsity Girls Soccer Team, or as an active participant in one of the many North Shore co-curriculars she enjoys.  However, most of all, the thing you may not know about her is how she loves doing things to help others.  Aside from being a stellar student in seven honor societies, Rachel is someone who derives great joy from acts of Chesed, by doing whatever she can to enrich and better life for others.  She does this without a lot of fanfare – just quietly engaging in these great acts of kindness.

When asked, Rachel’s eyes light up when she tells of going to Israel to run for Shalva; an organization that supports and empowers individuals with disabilities and their families in Israel.  She raised over $3000 with an online campaign to friends and family, which she truly enjoyed - but the best part for her was running a second race with some of the Shalva children.  She loved that she was able to put faces and emotions to those that benefitted from her fund-raising efforts.

While in Israel, Rachel also volunteered for Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli humanitarian organization with a mission to improve the quality of pediatric cardiac care for children who suffer from heart disease and cannot get adequate medical care in their home countries.  She organized games and activities for children who were either waiting for open-heart surgery or recovering.  Rachel appreciates the idea that care is provided to children from birth to teens regardless of their country of origin or religious affiliation.

Not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get into the hard work, Rachel has prepared bags of pasta and barley and packed food into boxes to send out to families in need at Pantry Packers, peeled and chopped veggies at Masbia Soup Kitchen, and organized books at Book Fairies.  She also volunteered to speak to prospective students and their families at NSHAHS Sunday Open House.

The concept of going to a school that promotes Jewish ideals is of great value to Rachel.  She is a very active member of Anti-Bias for the discussions of current events, learning of different acts of bias and considering unique methods to respond to bias.  Rachel doesn’t miss the chance to attend monthly Israel Awareness meetings to discuss the importance of the existence of the State of Israel.  In this light, she will be in attendance at the A.I.P.A.C. 2020 conference (a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies to the Congress and Executive Branch of the United States) in March.  This year, she was interviewed and selected to be Vice President of the Women’s Leadership Council representing the female body of the school.   They will be organizing events, such as last year’s Challah Bake with Mrs. Septimus where they donated their Challah to a local women’s shelter, and inviting speakers to serve as role models of women’s empowerment.

Medicine is of great interest to Rachel.  She is considering a future in dentistry or medicine.  In addition to her full plate of AP classes, Rachel enjoys Medical Minds, a fairly new club for students interested in the medical field for the guest medical professionals that speak and teach about their respective fields, Mr. Wykes’ Science Society for the different non-traditional science-related events, and Medical Explorers for the sort of real-life doctor-patient diagnostic experience.  Rachel is also a Peer Drug Educator having been selected as one of 10 students for the program.  Trained on drug education, this year she will be working with middle school students on the negative effects of drugs.

Rachel likes to be organized.  She is one of those lucky people who is adept at keeping her work space uncluttered.  She says she functions best this way.  That is probably how she negotiates all of her co-curriculars, volunteer work, schoolwork and leisure activities!  That type of thinking serves her well in Mrs. Wilensky’s Girls Who Code where she and Sofie Mor teamed up to create an app called “Fruit Game” to help children learn about healthy food selection.  This year she hopes to expand it and put it into the Apple App Store.  Rachel has enjoyed learning to use Python and creating different games and apps in a supportive all-girl environment.  Supporting other classmates is important to Rachel.  She has been a Peer Tutor for several years “specializing” in AP Macroeconomics and Physics.  She may want to add math to her repertoire since she is on Mr. Nagel’s Traveling Math Team.  There’s that orderly mind again!

Not to be all about that fabulous left-brain, Rachel possesses a wide creative streak.  As part of North Shore Notes, she has written articles on school, sports, and current events.  You may not know she is also an accomplished doodler, lover of art supplies, and bubble letter expert.  She loves shopping and people watching around Soho in NYC.  Rachel loves cobblestones and old NYC because she likes character and things that are different.  She also loves fashion, because she says that ‘the way you dress is how you feel.”

How does Rachel feel…like the future holds happiness, success, lots of giving, and excitement for all the new chapters.   

Great job and Good Luck Rachel!

P.S. – Her fave food is Twizzlers and fave color is Blue!


November 2019 Student of the Month - MENACHEM RABIZADEH

Every now and then you meet a student whose high expectations for success is just business as usual. They just are who they are, and a high level of achievement is just how they are. Menachem Rabizadeh is like that. Doing great is just what he does…well – very well. Menachem is the November Student of the Month and with good reason.

Menachem has a two-page, single spaced resume replete with science research, sports, community service, and awards and honors. He doesn’t play favorites. They’re all important to him, so when he talks about his activities and accomplishments, it is with equal levels of passion.

One of the multiple award winning highlights is his science research (with Dr. Runco and Mr. Weinberg) invention called The Smart Glove. While at the gym, he and his research partner Yoni Khakshoor, observed that people were working out with weights and had poor form. They developed a biofeedback type of technology that detects 3 axes of movement and attached it to a weight-lifting glove. When used, it lets the lifter know how and where to make the necessary positional corrections. They also envision it being used during physical therapy for a more effective and faster recovery by allowing the patient to receive feedback during therapeutic exercise. They won $500 in the NSPC Health Science Competition and were finalists at LISEF (Long Island Science and Engineering Fair) and LISC (Long Island Science Congress). Another one of his inventions is what he calls the “Safety Bear”. He installed a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm and camera inside the bear. Both inventions were Conrad Spirit of Innovation semi-finalist entries.  This is a perfect example of his natural thinking to just simply combine science and helping to solve a problem.

Helping is something Menachem takes to heart. He is the current President of his local Chabad Friendship Circle; a volunteer organization for students to spend one-to-one time with special needs children and adults on weekly field trips. As President, one of his responsibilities is student recruitment, which has set a record this past year. In addition, he cooks for the children every Tuesday. As a champion for community service, Menachem also regularly enlists the services of fellow students to volunteer at the Masbia soup kitchen. In addition to all of this, he makes the time to volunteer tutor a middle school student twice a week across all subjects and coach him in basketball (his own favorite sport).

Speaking of sports, Menachem is on both the varsity basketball and volleyball teams. Along with local competition games, he has played in tournaments such as the Memphis Invitational, Boston Invitational and the Oren Grunbaum Montreal Tournament (was a 2018 All Star). He twice won the coach’s “Hustle” award for the “most dedicated and best work ethic” on the team. Just another example of how he 100 percent shows up.

How he “shows up” in the academic realm is by continuing to challenge himself in his senior year with A.P. U.S. Government, Physics, Micro Economics, Calculus, and the all-in-Hebrew Jerusalem Exam. Menachem received and AP Scholar Award and is a member of the National Honor Society.

Spiritual life is a priority for Menachem, as well. He is a Teen Youth Minyan Board Member of the Cherry Lane congregation where he reads from the Torah weekly, leads prayer services and helps the younger members read from the Torah. Here at North Shore, he is part of the JLC (Jewish Life Committee) where they focus on improving Jewish life at the school by creating a happy atmosphere by playing music and handing out candy each Friday prior to Shabbat. In addition, Menachem is an active member of the NCSY JUMP where he is team advisor. JUMP sends students from over twenty schools across the country to meet and come up with ideas to help the Jewish environments in their schools. Advisors had to present a business plan of how they were going to solve problems and gain fundraising to implement their plans.

Menachem’s future interests lie in the business/technology/engineering sector. This past summer he was a full-time intern at a real estate office in New York where he did cold calling to locate interested sellers of properties. This is probably the most challenging aspect in the real estate business, and he not only succeeded, but thrived in the environment. He is a current President of DECA, a competition-based business club where he most enjoys the “on the spot” scenarios given by the judges. The marketing aspects and extemporaneous speaking with judges gets his adrenaline going. In addition, he is a member of the Investing Club where he enjoyed learning about bonds, real estate investing and using a virtual stock market. He ended up being the class winner of the NSHAHS virtual stock investing game.

Whether spending time playing his guitar, eating his favorite pizza, advising fellow Chess Team players on best-play strategies, enjoying the discovery of all sides of issues as an avid member of Israel Awareness, Menachem exhibits that thoughtful brilliance that inspires others. Menachem is a modern-day throwback to the kind of person who exudes a warmth, excellence and generosity of self not often seen today. He sees himself as doing “business as usual”, but we see him as doing the “unusual in business.”


Great job Menachem!


October 2019 Student of the Month - TALIA DROR

What is a sparkler? You know – the firework stick you wave around on the Fourth of July that throws sparks, colored flames, bright light, or perhaps, a well-cut diamond? Well, if you think of a person who has her picture in the sparkler dictionary, that would be the October Student of the Month – junior Talia Dror. She is aflame with brightness, a colorful personality, an intense intellect and throws sparks of creativity and warmth to all around her.

Talia has been a North Shore student since pre-K. She loves the vibe here, and it shows. She says she enjoys the process of learning new things, and she spreads the wealth across a wide variety of subjects. Right now, her favorite subject is math…history…Bechina…you get the idea. She is passionate about all of it. If it’s learning-driven, she’s on board.

With her first language having been Hebrew, Talia chose to enroll in the Bechina program as a sophomore and plans to take the Bechina Yerushalmit Exam, administered by Hebrew University of Jerusalem, later this year. She particularly enjoys the Hebrew literature aspects of the course, because “with Mrs. Rosanski, you feel like you’re actually in the story.” She is studying both classical and modern Hebrew literature which makes her feel an even deeper connection to Israel. To further enhance her experience, Talia was accepted into the Sephardic Education Center Hamsa Israel program this past summer. She was one of sixteen teens in the country accepted for the three-week trip that focused on historical perspectives using new Israeli literature. The group’s home base was located in the Sephardic House; the only hotel located in Jerusalem’s old city. She says that the view of the Kotel from her room was both beautiful and surreal. Her eyes light up explaining she went on the trip not knowing what to expect but returned fulfilled and the happiest person.

In addition to her Israel trip, Talia interned at the Weil-Cornell Lab in New York City. The scientist she was assigned to, gave her a petri dish of ovarian cancer cells and told her he needed a certain number of cells by a certain date. It was up to her to independently research the best type of catalyzer to use to replicate enough cells and was able to successfully accommodate his research deadline. Her future plans include returning to the lab to start a project about specific pancreatic cells in rats and how they are affected by artificial sweeteners.

Continuing in the science theme, Talia, as a member of Girls Who Code, won at last year’s S.T.E.M. Fair in the Computer Science Technology - AP CSP category for the MarioBlast app she developed to improve eye-hand coordination in kids with autism and other developmental challenges. In addition, she won honors with her teammate Esther Baum in the Long Island Science Congress Competition for their creation of an alternative to plastic straws called "Examining New Materials to Replace Plastic Straws" - Category/Subcategory: Environmental Engineering (ENEV) –  Pollution Control(PLL). In addition to the 3-D printed straw they designed, they also worked with Mr. Suchmann to contact the Barilla pasta company and partnered with them to create a straw made of hollow pasta.

As you may have guessed, Talia interests go beyond science, engineering and literature. She is also a history lover. AP US History and AP European History are two more favorite classes which segue with ease into several of her co-curriculars. Model UN for the international research, Model Congress (Yale and Penn) for the rush and passion of speaking in front of people and diplomacy, and Mock Trial for quick thinking in the heat of the moment. In all, the theme is fruitful meaningful debate on a wide array of topics.

For Talia, her out of school activities are just as important to her as her academics. Since the eighth grade, on Shabbat she works at the Great Neck Synagogue taking care of 2 to 4 year-old children during prayer. She is a member of Bnei Akiva; an international youth group that meets weekly for experiential activities and Shabbatonim focused on Israel, Zionism, the parsha, and Judaism. Also since 8th grade, Talia has had the rewarding experience of being a Madricha, or counselor, to K – 8th kids. Lastly, but not least, Talia is an active member of AIPAC and Stand With Us.

A modern Renaissance woman, Talia is equally at home as the financial officer for DECA as she is with making diagnoses using the teaching robot in Medical Explorers, participating in Zionist activities or cooking traditional Persian delights with her mom. Talia loves running, hanging out with friends, funny movies, pickles and her favorite color purple. She is as multi-faceted as the best cut diamond and sends points of light like a firework to all in her very extensive circle.

Whether she chooses the law, medicine or engineering, she will most certainly be the light that leads.


Congratulations and Excellent work Talia!



September 2019 Student of the Month - JEREMY SOFIEV





There’s always something special about being the first Student of the Month for a new school year. The September SOTM is always chosen at the end of June to be sure that come September 1st, the vibe of the new school term starts out on the right track. So, let’s all congratulate Jeremy Sofiev, incoming junior, as the September 2019 Student of the Month.

Jeremy is the one honored this year to set precedent and raise the bar for student excellence. The pun is intended. Jeremy has a passion for the law. In fact, Jeremy has a passion for a lot of things. Things that may on the surface seem unrelated, but there are always common denominators. For instance, he comes from a family of jewelers. As a result, he developed a zeal for collecting rocks and minerals.


This would be defined as a creative interest in geology, which is the study of physical aspects and historical aspects of the earth. It’s a way of looking at things that will serve him well in life – doing research to seek information of the mundane visible things and digging for the truth and intangibles. Jeremy is a keen observer and analyzer.

Some would argue that geology is a science, and that would be correct. The fact is that for Jeremy, science is a strength though not his true interest. Even so, he participated in Medical Explorers with Dr. Chandhok and in Science Research with Mr. Suchmann and Mr. Weinberg and has excelled by taking High Honors at the Long Island Science Congress (LISC) with his invention. Jeremy created a device called “Spoiler Alert” that detects spoiled food based on methane concentration in the air to prevent food poisoning that also won “Most Creative” in the Science Research category at North Shore’s 1st Annual STEM Fair. Next, he wants to create an app for his award-winning invention and will work with Mrs. Wilensky on an independent study. He feels that although science is not his path, it can only aid him in any law cases he may come across later on.

This brings us to “discovery” of Jeremy’s true passion. Since a young age he has been interested in the law. He has always had a strong innate sense of right and wrong, and the concept of seeking justice for victims of crime only serves to turn up the flame. To this end he has chosen his North Shore classes (that also happen to be his faves) and co-curricular experiences to enhance and embrace his plans for his future. Jeremy took AP Euro with Mr. Miles and is continuing this year with AP US History and English with Mr. Muir (lawyers have to be able to express themselves). He enjoys the energy they impart in their classes. He will also be enjoying AP Macro and Biology and looks forward to Ms. Hennelly’s Forensics class when the time comes.  

He is continuing this year as a seasoned member of both the Debate Team and Mock Trial which he especially enjoys for the experience of arguing a case from both sides of an issue. In true Jeremy style, he thrives on the idea of researching (there’s that word again!) the facts and details from all points of view. He is also looking forward to being a part of Penn Model Congress and Yale Model Congress this coming year. As a big thinking kind of guy, he likes to get a global perspective to make the best decisions.

Jeremy loves to work hard and play hard. Being well rounded and living a balanced life is something instilled in him by his parents and is something he has taken to heart. In addition to his rigorous academics, he is going to start his third year as a member of the NSHAHS Wrestling Team, which plays to his competitive nature.  

In the theme of balance, this past summer he not only worked as a certified lifeguard at a local pool but also managed a high-level internship in a criminal law office two days a week. They have never before accepted a high school student as an intern, which is a testament to Jeremy’s level of maturity and commitment. He gained a lot of experience in the law field and saw what it is like to be a criminal attorney. He was also able to draw the big differences between activities like mock trail and real world law and hopes to continue this internship until and throughout law school.

On the fun side of things, Jeremy’s hobbies include working out, going to the park for pick-up b-ball games and studying the stock market (yes – seriously his hobby), and watching his favorite TV show How to Get Away with Murder about a professor who teaches a class on defense law and is also a criminal defense attorney who hires her students to assist on cases. Speaking of favorites, his favorite color is Green (the money shade of green), and his favorite foods are rice and broccoli (again seriously).

Jeremy’s law school graduation should occur in about the year 2028. All who would want him as their attorney – raise your hands. Exactly – it’s unanimous. As he starts his junior year at North Shore, we all see him and support him on his amazing path that starts with a single step. Oh wait – he’s already done that. Jeremy is well on his way to success with humor and passion that is only picking up momentum as he moves toward graduation. No objection. Court is adjourned.


Best of Luck Jeremy!

Keep up the amazing work!