North Shore Hebrew Academy High School Where Dreams Become Accomplishments

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Student of the Month » Student of the Month

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 2019 Student of the Month - RACHEL SCHLESINGER



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Musical scales are like the colors of the rainbow. North Shore’s June Student of the Month, Rachel Schlesinger (pay special attention to her last name) uses her voice like a paintbrush, dipping into all the beautifully colored notes and creating an amazing painting – a work of art, really. Rachel is a singer. A classical opera soprano to be exact.

Rachel has been singing since age five, but the defining moment of clarity came when she was eleven and on vacation with her family in Mexico. During karaoke night she performed her favorite song, Phantom of the Opera’s “Think of Me”, and her parents said “maybe we should start singing lessons”. That was it.

Even with her full-time job as a North Shore junior, Rachel travels to NYC every Monday and Wednesday night for hours of training and performing at the Metropolitan Opera High School program where she is a member of The Metropolitan Youth Chamber Chorale. In addition, in ninth grade, she auditioned and was selected as one of the fifty students chosen for the Met Student Symphonic Choir. She auditioned again and was accepted as one of fifteen students to participate in the Met Opera High School Choir! Rachel has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and sang a highlight solo of the “National Anthem” at Yankee Stadium. On top of all that, there’s performing musical theater at the Cultural Arts Playhouse in Syosset where she has had parts in The Wiz, Hairspray, High School Musical, and best of all as Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Rachel enjoys being both a vocal (opera) performer and singing in musical theater.

At North Shore, Rachel has also immersed her curriculum in music. She plays the piano, sings in the Chamber Choir, the Symphonic Choir, in Jazz Band and is taking AP Music Theory with Mr. Torres. However, there’s more to Rachel than just her music talent. She loves math and creative writing, is a member of the National Honor Society, the Tri-M Honor Society, is a NYSSMA All-State and a Peer Tutor for Chemistry and Biology! Rachel also has a very active co-curricular life. She is Vice President of the Medical Minds Club, and a member of Anti-Bias Club, Investing Club, DECA, Israel Awareness and Science Society. Love that right brain – left brain balance. Rachel has also found a way to honor Chesed and share her love of music by singing and volunteering at the Bristal Senior Living Center where she says the residents enjoy her mini-concerts.

Last summer, Rachel lived in Boston at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute for six weeks in a pre-college program for which she auditioned and won a spot. She attended master classes with stars such as Yo-Yo Ma, Renee Fleming, and had a private lesson with Grammy Award-winning Joyce DiDonato that moved her to tears. This summer, Rachel will be living in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University. She auditioned and received a full scholarship to their prestigious summer program specially geared to preparing for college auditions and applications. She will be studying opera, acting, diction, and finessing her singing in German, Italian and French.

Even artists enjoy some competition and Rachel is a fierce competitor. She trains like an athlete with both voice and vocal coaches and gets to wear beautiful gowns for competitions. This past December she was a finalist in the Schmidt Vocal Competition featuring all opera and classical voice and just returned from a long weekend in Chicago at the Classical Singer Magazine Competition and music convention where she traveled solo (brave girl) and took master classes with professors from Northwestern, Carnegie Mellon, Mannes, Eastman, Vanderbilt, and Boston University and as the bonus made it to the second round of the competition! Soon, Rachel will be starting the process of creating college applications to include videos and traveling for live auditions for coveted programs.

Rachel definitely has extreme focus and works hard but always has time for fun! She especially loves going to NYC with her friends and hanging out in Greenwich Village around NYU. She enjoys eating at yummy places like Jack’s Wife Frieda and Cha Cha Matcha. Her fave foods are anything Italian and Mac & Cheese. She loves when she’s at the piano and her King Charles Cavalier Spaniel Benji cuddles under her feet listening, relaxing and enjoying her music.

Rachel’s favorite color is lavender – the grown up version of pink – symbolizing refinement, grace, and elegance – so true of this young woman who is wise and mature beyond her years. The perseverance and strength it takes to follow her path in music with passion and poise is indicative of her depth of talent. We can’t wait to hear where she will land after North Shore, but one thing that’s for sure – it’s going to be someplace great. Keep an eye out, because in the not too distant future, her name is going to be in lights, and we can all say we knew her when…


Congratulations Rachel! Keep the magic coming!



May 2019 Student of the Month - ARIEL HOMAYOONFAR

Cardiology. Neurosurgery. Plecostomus. Homayoonfar. All of these have a lot of syllables, are deeply interesting, have many facets and possess innate brilliance. Cardiology is the study of the heart. Neurosurgery is the study of the nervous system and the fine steady hand it takes to operate.  Hypostomus Plecostomus is a large size species of armored catfish.  Ariel Homayoonfar is North Shore’s May Student of the Month. His passions are Cardiology, Neurosurgery and his pet Hypostomus Plecostomus fish he has had since its birth. How is that for deeply interesting, multi-faceted, and exceptionally talented?

Ariel Homayoonfar is a junior. He is that student who goes the extra miles way past just doing well and participating. He is the one with a “big player” attitude and pushes to his max for success. And success he is having!

This coming summer he will be doing two medical internships concurrently for two months. One will be in a Cardiology research program at Northwell hospital with fellow NSHAHS student Alia Hakakian, and for the second he will be working with Neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Brisman to learn both the technical and business sides of medicine. In his typical way, Ariel is diving into his passion right off the high board.

Speaking of passion…Ariel has always been a math and science kid – especially science.  For several years, he has been a very active member of the both the Science Society and the Science Olympiad with Mr. Wykes. In the Science Society, Ariel worked closely with Mr. Wykes to go past the regular boundaries to do several and more advanced types of dissections. Most recently he, and about twenty other North Shore students, had the opportunity to dissect a sheep’s brain during a presentation by Hofstra University doctors called “The Brain Like You’ve Never Seen It Before.” He also enjoys competing in the Science Olympiad with students from other schools. The challenge of preparation, as the categories are released in November in anticipation of the actual event in March, keeps his interest piqued with brain teasing problems such as “Calculate how many drops of water there are in the ocean.”

In the world of North Shore academic science, Ariel partnered with Mr. Anderson by coming up with and submitting new ideas for labs.  Ariel really appreciates a good AP class and is currently taking AP Economics, AP Psych, and of course AP Chemistry. Next year as a senior, (when others may take things a little lighter), he has signed on for a slew of AP classes: Statistics, US Government, Calculus B&C, Physics and Microeconomics! What??

On the lighter side of things, Ariel plays tennis and is on Rabbi Chinskey’s Chess Team. A self-proclaimed roller coaster person, Ariel prefers them complicated and fast. In the future he wants to try sky diving, bungee jumping and cliff diving. In addition, he loves anything to do with being outdoors in nature and hiking. That includes his favorite food – anything outdoors on the BBQ.

Ariel possesses a unique point of view about success. He says he would rather try everything and decide what he’s good at and most enjoys and take those things further. If he really enjoys something, but he’s not great at it, he will challenge himself to be great. He feels this is a kind of “gift” from his mom when he was a child, because she gave him so many choices to experience. For example, she started him swimming at four months old. As a result, he loves all things water-related including taking the North Shore Life Guarding class last year and passing the test with ease.

His love of water extends to his hobbies and has always been fascinated with marine life. As a child he had a collection of fresh water tanks where he bred Mollies for four straight generations. Now he has one large forty gallon tank where “Biggie” the algae eating Plecostomus lives. (check out the photo of Biggie who is now about 18” long) 

To round out his many interests, Ariel is a seasoned traveler. Last summer he went to Israel for two months with Bnei Akiva, a religious Zionist youth program, with close to 300 kids from the US and Canada traveling by bus throughout Israel. Ariel’s favorite moments were living on a religious Kibbutz and taking days-long hikes and sleeping in tents they pitched themselves. His family also loves to travel and last year celebrated Passover in Morocco. This year they spent Passover in Spain which was especially great, because in addition to his immediate family, his grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin (10 in total) traveled together. They were part of a Passover program enabling them to stay kosher and observant during the trip. While there, Ariel enjoyed a festival featuring covering government buildings in fresh flowers, people dressing in traditional Spanish garb and great music in the streets.

Ariel’s quiet drive, extreme focus and inner knowing of what he wants to accomplish is in his DNA. He already has an idea of his life direction while being open to other possibilities. This is the secret to his success now at North Shore and far into the future. Will he be researching the heart, doing brain surgery or traveling the world as a doctor without borders? Whatever it will be, it will be with passion.

Awesome attitude and great work Ariel!




April 2019 Student of the Month - HANNAH SHEDLO



Many North Shore students start on their North Shore Hebrew Academy path as young as preschool.  However, there are some who make the calculated decision on their own to apply to and attend NSHAHS for the academic challenge and vast array of co-curricular offerings.  It’s not an easy thing to transfer into tenth grade in a new school, but North Shore’s April Student of the Month Hannah Shedlo did just that.  It’s not about being easy, it’s about knowing what you want, going after it, and doing what you have to do to get where you want to be.  Hannah wanted to be at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School. 

Hannah desire to attend North Shore is so great that she is willing to get up extra early every day to catch the bus at 6:30AM from Queens, and she says “it’s worth it”!  She loves the emphasis on science and math, especially since she is considering a future as an electrical engineer.  Hannah enjoys building circuits, problem solving and creative thinking.  She also is a puzzle person.  Her ease of transition to a new school comes from being the middle of five kids.  She has three brothers and two sisters and learned from an early age how to get along and adapt quickly to different situations and personalities.  She always looks like she’s having fun even on days she has a test!

It’s hard to believe that in just a year and a half at North Shore, Hannah has already accrued an impressive list of activities and some awards as well.  She is the founder and president of the STEM Club with Mr. Weinberg as faculty advisor.  Not only was starting a club a great learning experience and fun to do, but she says that teaching other students about engineering projects is very gratifying.  She is also very active in Girls Who Code advised by Mrs. Wilensky.  She loves the positive girl environment – girls supporting girls – and learning about HTML and Python.  In addition, she partnered with her friend Danielle Ryba and Mrs. Wilensky to create a networking program with actual field professionals.

This year Hannah added Math Research to her resume and the Al Kalfus competition with her presentation on Knot Theory.  She joined Math Team this year, and because she loves random trivia and competing – she is also on the College Bowl team.  She is also a member of the Science Society for the interesting lectures and out-of-the-box activities not taught in class.  For example, she likes seeing how information is applied in real life as she explained how cold is really the absence of heat and that a refrigerator removes heat rather than making things cold.  And then there was the Science Olympiad with Mr. Wykes where the competitors take tests and are given projects such as using actual physical maps (printed on real paper – remember those?) to hand-draw topographical maps, make up a story about a person traveling through New England and navigate long distance driving trips.

In addition to her more academic memberships, Hannah is passionate about social issues as well.  She is a very active member of the Anti-Bias Club with Ms. Ferraro and appreciates the discussions and debates about politics and current events during meetings such as immigration and the Pittsburgh shooting.  However, her particular point of attention is the Women’s Initiative founded by her friend Lea Chen.  This is a coed group where they discuss feminism with a focus on women’s history, defining key issues and how to bring women up without putting men down.  She says the boys bring another perspective to the discussions, and they are all learning from each other about tolerance, cooperation and open communication. 

How is all of this possible as a transfer student at NSHAHS in such a short time you ask? Wait – there’s more!  Hannah has five AP classes in her portfolio and was inducted into the National Honor Society in her first year as a sophomore at North Shore.  She also studied Pre-AP Art last year, because she loves being creative and artistic and especially enjoyed drawing with charcoal for its flowy dreamy effect.  She is part of the Peer Tutor program here helping students with their chemistry and geometry.  Last summer 2018, she attended a six-week STEM program at the Cooper Union Albert Nerken School of Engineering and was placed in the I.O.T. (the Internet of Things) group to learn how the internet works and about all devices that connect to the internet other than phones.  She made many new friends from New Jersey while in the program.  This summer she plans to attend an Electrical Engineering Lab to do research at New York University and Columbia.

In the “outside of school” department, Hannah splits her precious time between being a Group Leader at her local Young Israel each week supervising and entertaining pre-k kids.  She also volunteers at the Tomchei Shabbos of Queens delivering food packages to the needy and annually participates in the Lustgarten Foundation cancer walk.  For fun Hannah spends time reading fantasy books like the Lemony Snicket series by Daniel Handler being her favorite.  However, classics such as Pride and Prejudice and Huckleberry Finn recommended to her by Mr. Muir are not far behind, and to share her love of books she volunteers at Book Fairies.  Then, of course, there’s just hanging out with friends and going to Martha’s for their yummy cheesecake.

In the future Hannah wants to travel to Israel, Italy and the Netherlands to experience culture and architecture.  She is also looking forward to this summer to take Driver’s Ed.  And finally – wait for it – her fave foods are pizza and pancakes at the bagel shop, and her fave color is yellow. 

Getting to know Hannah brings to mind the phrase “go with the flow” for her easy, real, joyful way and sweet personality.  We are sure that her creativity, interest in social issues, and observant detail-oriented mind will take her far in a variety of ways and places not yet imagined.  She is sure to be an innovator bringing everyone along on her amazing ride!

Awesome work Hannah!  Can't wait to see more!


March 2019 Student of the Month - MAYTAL RAHIMZADA
There is a quote that goes like this…”People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you MADE THEM FEEL.” These words aptly describe the experience of knowing Maytal Rahimzada. Her sweet smile, sparkling eyes and happy demeanor tell the whole story.
Behind that lighthearted exterior though, is a strong young woman with a bright mind. Maytal is a real North Shore Hebrew Academy success story. She started out in NSHA Pre-K and now she is a senior, soon to be graduating! As the only girl with four older brothers (also North Shore Alums), Maytal loves attending North Shore and says it’s “fun – not like going to school”. She feels it is like a second home and looks forward to each and every day filled with joy.

Speaking of joy – Maytal’s favorite class this year is Rabbi Levy’s Sephardic Halacha, because it is both religiously and culturally focused. His class has brought her a new depth of understanding and appreciation for her rich Persian Jewish roots. Other favorite classes include AP Psychology (she is the first sophomore that Dr. Vitow ever allowed to take this class), 11th grade English for the discussion of many controversial ideas, and Jewish Philosophy for the challenging and provoking questions that sparked her thoughts.
Maytal wears a ring with a beautiful Hebrew message that says: A woman of valor who can find her value is far beyond pearls. For her, this is a statement about what she strives to be. This is the way, even as a teen, she has chosen to be in her life. An example of this point of view is how committed she is to expanding her knowledge and giving back to her community. She has a long list of co-curricular pursuits and then there’s her love of Chesed. The first thing that comes to mind is her recent trip to Florida, with her friends Anna Glasman and Kayla Carmili, to run in the Miami Marathon in memory of their friend Adeena. They raised $80,000 to support the Chai Lifeline! Another experience that deeply affected her was when she was nine and her parents took the family to visit the OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services in Brooklyn. Since that very moving visit, she has been collecting clothes and Purim costumes for the children at the residence and finds this to be very rewarding.
Her extensive list of co-curricular activities is impressive and very diverse! In the realm of science and technology, Maytal was a member of Medical Explorers to learn about medical conditions and how to treat them, participated in Science Research by investigating a relaxation device called “The Muse” to lessen student stress levels thus enabling increased memory recall, and joined “Girls Who Code” for extensive courses and projects in Python and HTML. To enhance her creative side, Maytal took part in Drama Club, Photography Club, Broadcasting Club, Creative Writing Club, Choir, and plays an award winning clarinet! She says that music is a non-verbal expression of thoughts and feelings and loves all kinds of music from her mom’s Persian radio play, her brothers’ Techno and Rap, and her dad’s love of classic rock, but mostly she loves to play Klezmer on her clarinet.
She has been an active member of North Shore’s Investing and Stock Market Game Clubs, Chesed Club and Yachad Club and is also into team sports, as a player for several years, on both the Varsity Hockey and Softball teams. Maytal has been an enthusiastic participant on the Anti-Bias Task Force and in Ms. Amir’s Israel Awareness learning how to deal with Anti- Semitism on campus.
Maytal wears a necklace inscribed with the words: Her mouth opened in wisdom and the words of Torah were on her tongue. This is a testament to her active and strong spiritual connection. She was Chapter Vice President of the Great Neck Chapter of NCSY (National Conference of Orthodox Youth) and is currently the Ahavat Shalom Synagogue of Great Neck Youth President. She volunteers by doing childcare at her Shul, delivering Passover food packages to needy families, visiting rehab patients and at a community Senior Center. Unsurprisingly, she has received awards that include the Rotary Youth Merit Award, Chesed and Kindness Award and is an A.P. Scholar!
Here’s the favorite things part…
Maytal loves talking to people and learning about their lives and hanging out with her friends at Stern College. She adores her family and all the exotic travels they do together including Israel, Poland, Dubai, Morocco, India, safari in South Africa and Greece. She loved the camel ride in the Sahara (check out the cool photo). She looooves animals and has had more than 20 gerbils, snakes, a gecko and a chameleon! 
Lastly, Maytal’s favorite piece of jewelry is a bracelet inscribed with the words: Her palm reached out to help the poor, and her hand went out to give to the needy. This generosity of self and spirit is the embodiment of who she is. She is dedicated to being her best self and to share that love of life with all who cross her path now and in the future.

Congratulations Maytal, and happy travels!

We can't wait to hear about your trailblazing!

February 2019 Student of the Month - SCOTT MAYER

If you’re the new kid in school and need a hand – who’re you going to call? Scott Mayer. If you need a first baseman to throw a ball – who’re you going to call? Scott Mayer. If you need a natural leader to inspire you all - who’re you going to call? Scott Mayer. Junior, Scott Mayer is the February 2019 Student of the Month, and with good reason.

Scott is one of those people who flies a bit under the radar, but upon closer inspection, he is everywhere with everyone and always at the ready to do whatever needs to be done. The eldest of three, he considers himself a bit of a throwback to a different time. A time of selflessness and doing the right thing just for the mere sake of it. He loves to tell “dad and grandpa jokes”, is known for his somewhat wacky and unusual sense of humor and has a talent for coaxing a smile out of just about everyone.

Being a role model is one of Scott’s top personal values. At North Shore, he was selected by Rabbi Weinberg to be a Gabbai – a manager of Minyan ensuring that daily davening runs smoothly. He takes this position very seriously from both a spiritual standpoint and an intellectual one and feels honored to have this responsibility. In his Shul, Scott was invited by Rabbi Jensen to be a group leader and loves working with the fifth through seventh graders during Shabbat services. Lastly, he has spent the last two summers working at the Ruach Day Camp as a counselor. He thoroughly enjoys working with the boys the summer before they start middle school. He feels this is a powerful time for the influence of positive role models.

Here at North Shore, Scott is involved in several activities about which he is very passionate. The first being sports. He is something of a sports fanatic, but as a serious Yankee fan, he plays First Base (like Don Mattingly) on the NSHAHS Varsity Baseball Team. (Needless to say, he is very happy with Mariano Rivera being inducted into the Hall of Fame.) Another of his favorite pastimes is chess, and this year he is a member of the Chess Team coached by Rabbi Chinskey. In addition, Scott is head of the NSHAHS Live Stream Committee. He attends events and games (when he’s not playing) and sets up equipment and software for streaming. Scott is also responsible for actual camera work and programming to YouTube.

Scott participated in Yeshiva University National Model United Nations (YUNMUN) with the best part meeting like-minded students from yeshivas all over including L.A., Brazil and Chicago and making lasting friendships! He is a member of the North Shore Investing Club and is enjoying this year’s new class on wealth management. He also lent a hand to an important event at North Shore by running the school Blood Drive. On a different note, Scott sings bass as a member of the NSHAHS choir performing at New York City Concert Hall, various school, intra-school, and community events, as well as on CDs, in music videos, and song releases on iTunes and Spotify.

As a North Shore enthusiast with a good balance of Judaic and secular studies (favorite classes are Double Gemara and College Accounting) and an open easy demeanor, Scott was frequently asked to have prospective students “shadow” him during school visits. He says that whenever there is a new person in the school, he makes sure to introduce himself and welcome them – sort of like a mayor. Or perhaps that’s - Mayer?

During the January break, Scott and his family went to Israel for the first time. He competed in the Siddur Madness event at his Shul, and by answering the most questions about Jewish prayers correctly, he won two free tickets to Israel! His parents decided they would then purchase three more tickets and travel to Israel all together. Scott’s most memorable moments were an impromptu invitation to a cousin’s Bar Mitzvah and the grand highlight of attending Shabbat services at the Western Wall outside under the stars, with his dad and brother, and running into friends from North Shore there.

When asked what inspires him, he laughed and quickly answered “fear of failure.” He added that his sense of humor and close family values are what always keeps him going. Because you love to know – his favorite color is Yankees Navy Blue and his favorite food is homemade fried chicken for Shabbat. Scott’s future interests lie in Business and Law, but there may be political success in his future. Imagine Mayor Mayer…

Great work - keep the momentum going! Mazel tov Scott!




January 2019 Student of the Month - RUBEN PRAWER






What’s in a name? Plenty. Many times names are chosen simply because they are liked or, because it’s a family name. But then, there are the times a name is chosen from a higher place and the recipient becomes the meaning and embodiment of that name. Such is the case with Ruben Prawer, North Shore’s first Student of the Month for 2019. The name Ruben, whether in Hebrew, Scandinavian or Spanish cultures means see or behold a son who will have a deep inner desire to lead, organize, supervise and achieve great things.

Ruben indeed owns his name. His list of achievements and leadership experiences is pages long. As his name suggests, he is a young man who enjoys all aspects of life including spirit (especially spirit), math (anything math-related), science, sports and acts of chesed. They all compete for his passion and attention, and somehow, he satisfies them all.

From day one at North Shore, Ruben hit the ground running by becoming a member of Track Club. In ninth grade, he entered the Science Olympiad and placed third in the Towers category. Olympiad competitors were required to demonstrate not only general knowledge in a particular area of science but out-of-the-box creativity as well. Ruben participated in Model United Nations (YUNMUN), Engineering Club, Computer Science Club and Torah Bowl. He also became a North Shore Notes staff writer. Pretty amazing stuff for a freshman in a new school.

Just to make sure he outdid his ninth-grade experience, Ruben more than doubled his involvement in competitions and co-curricular activities. In addition to maintaining membership in his freshman co-curriculars, as a sophomore, he became the Vice President of Finance/Treasurer of Mr. Garfinkel’s Investing Club, joined the choir, and traded Track Club for the Tennis Team. As someone who enjoys current events and political discussions, Ruben joined both Penn and Yale Model Congress, the North Shore Debate Team and Mock Trial. Mr. Nagel’s Traveling Math Team and Rabbi Lehrer’s Siyum Scholars also fed Ruben’s hunger for learning. In addition, he threw his efforts into the competition ring and came up a winner. He and his teammates took first place in the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, and this year Ruben is the team captain. He also entered the LISEF and Conrad Spirit of Innovation competitions and was a semi-finalist with the Smart Pill Box app that requires a fingerprint to open and has an app for reminders. Another award winner was his Virtual Menu app taking Best App Design in the NYC Computer Science Expo.

Now in his junior year, the year needing the strongest academic performance and attention, Ruben has not been deterred from participation in his favorites with several new additions. He has been promoted to President of the Investing Club and is the incoming President of the Anti-Bias Club where he enjoys moderating discussions on controversial topics. To enhance his interest in math and science memberships in the Science Society and Math Research Club (Al-Kalfus Math Fair competition) are also on the program. Ruben and team mates Ari Ostrow and Adriel Kohananoo are hard at work on this year’s LISEF entry called RDI or Robotic De-Icer – a robot to dispense ice melt on driveways and walks. Who wouldn’t want one of their own?

Last summer, Ruben joined Rabbi Weinberg’s five-week J.O.L.T. (Jewish Overseas Leadership Training) program in Israel with 48 like-minded students from around the U.S. and Canada, five of whom were from North Shore. For him, the experience encompassed the most ideal aspects of personal growth, his personal connection to Israel, and his connection to Judaism, specifically with regard to Tefila. During two weeks of the five-week program, the focus was on humanitarian projects such as picking up brush on the ground to prevent fires, giving out food and drinks on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem, and his favorite – running a “Happiness” camp for kids ages 8 - 16 whose siblings have disabilities. He keeps in touch with many of his traveling companions and camp kids.

One of the primary goals of J.O.L.T. is to inspire others with a message of Judaic connection. This year, with this in mind, Ruben is the founder and President of the J.L.C. (Jewish Life Committee) here at North Shore to improve Jewish life and culture at school. For example, one of their goal activities is to set up a Shabbos cart, play Jewish music and hand out magnets with prayers for IDF soldiers to give students a good feeling as they leave for Shabbot. In addition, he is working with Rabbi Weinberg on setting up whatapp group learning chats run by three faculty members, so students can sign up for a particular chat subject of interest.

As Israel Advocacy is of paramount importance to Ruben, he applied and was selected to be part of the Write On For Israel Program, an Israel advocacy journalism program. The group attends Sunday sessions in NYC this year and next. They also go on short trips such as visiting a synagogue in Philly built by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright and are encouraged to write about various topics and submit them to Judaic publications. The program will culminate next February with a ten-day trip to Israel.

A natural leader, Ruben truly lives up to the meaning of his name. His enthusiasm and deep spiritual nature paired with his positive attitude of approaching everything with excellence, achievement, fun and a smile will take him very far in life. He is one to keep on your radar.

 Way to go Ruben!

(written in Blue - Ruben's favorite color)





December 2018 Student of the Month - KAYLA HUTT 



What is the difference between a Cardinal number and an Ordinal number? Let’s ask North Shore’s December Student of the Month, sophomore Kayla Hutt. Cardinal numbers answer the question, “How many?”, and Kayla will tell you “three”. Ordinal numbers describe the position of something in a list, and Kayla will tell you “third”. To clarify, Kayla Hutt is a triplet, and the youngest of the three, with the older two sibs being brothers who also attend North Shore. How fun is that? Kayla will tell you “lots”.

Kayla says she loves North Shore, because it is so different from other schools. It’s a friendly environment filled with happy kids and welcoming seniors. She thoroughly enjoys the diverse nature of the offerings at the school both in academics and co-curricular activities. Kayla is a student who likes a plethora of different things – she knows what she likes, but always likes to experiment and expand her horizons. In just her second year at North Shore, she has already managed to make her mark in her academic pursuits, sports and on the Headmaster’s Council.

She delights in creative writing, especially poetry, and as a freshman won Honorable Mention at the JCC competition for her poem called “Homework First”. Now, in her second year as a member of the Creative Writing Club she is President helping other students with content, editing and contest preparation. This is definitely a theme for Kayla who is also an active member of the Debate Team and Model Congress. She really enjoys public speaking and persuasively proving her point which really worked for her at Penn Model Congress last year when she won Honorable Mention for her bill called “Solar Panels for Roadways”. This year Kayla is participating in both Penn and Yale Model Congresses with a bill entitled “Equal Pay for Women”.

Science is also of great interest to Kayla. Last year she won Honorable Mention at the Long Island Science Congress (LISC) for her work inspired by the previous work of Adeena Paknoush. Kayla and Shirelle Shaulian germinated pea plants and after they sprouted, they were transplanted onto two different turntables set at two different speeds to test how this rotation would affect their growth and curvature. The plants that rotated at a speed of 78 revolutions per minute grew less in height, but had a greater degree of bend than those rotated at a speed of 45 revolutions per minute. Both Kayla and Shirelle felt enormous pride in completing the work Adeena had started. This year Kayla is part of the Medical Explorers and looks forward to learning more about the medical profession with a hands-on attitude.

To feed both her sporty and her artistic sides, Kayla plays three sports for North Shore. She has been on the JV Basketball, Soccer and Hockey (her fave) teams since ninth grade. She loves the action, running and excitement of these super team sports. In the artsy realm, she looooves fashion and has a fun and fashion-filled Instagram page called #betterthanokayfashion with close to 3000 followers! In addition, she is starting a new club at North Shore (with the help of Ms. Dammacco) called Fashion Social Media. It will be focused on modesty in school fashion or how to look cute for school and still dress respectfully and with modesty. Great idea!

School participation and making positive impact are two of Kayla’s passions. She is in the Chesed Club and was the grade rep for the blood drive committee. She is also working with Mrs. Gold to send letters to people devastated by the tragic synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh. She feels that reaching out to connect through heartfelt communication is very important in life. Outside of school, Kayla travels to Queens, on many Wednesday nights, with her dad and brothers for Tom Chei Shabbos. She helps pack food boxes for families in need of help.

Kayla was selected by Dr. Vitow to be a part of Headmaster’s Council. There are 2 guys and 2 gals selected as class reps from each grade to have regular meetings with Dr. Vitow and Rabbi Weinberg regarding issues in the school. The goals of the meetings are to communicate the voices of their classmates and to find and implement solutions. A recent example was the need for full length mirrors in the girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms. Kayla took the initiative to research possible styles of mirrors and met with Dr. Vitow with her recommendations. As a result, mirrors have been purchased and will be installed over the December break. Go Kayla!

In her time out of school, Kayla is an avid reader, especially mysteries, but is known to change it up from time to time. In addition, over the summer, she will be doing an internship and then going on a teen tour called Camp Kanfei Nesharim and traveling to New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii and California. She will be back just in time for her Junior year.

It is unusual to be named Student of the Month as a sophomore. Clearly, Kayla has achieved a lot in a very short period of time at North Shore. She makes it look easy! Just think, she will be here for another two and a half years – has anyone ever been nominated twice? Hmmm. There’s always a first time for everything.

Excellent way to go Kayla!


PS - Kayla's favorite color is RED!



November 2018 Student of the Month - Andrew Gottlieb




Did you know that only 0.5 % of the world’s population are ginger-haired males? North Shore is lucky enough to have one of their very own. Senior Andrew Gottlieb is NSHAHS November Student of the Month. This unique trait fosters strong-mindedness and a solid level of confidence. Two traits possessed by Andrew that have been demonstrated throughout his high school career.


The youngest of three, and the third to graduate from North Shore, Andrew has carved a place for himself at North Shore as unique as he his. A stellar student with many AP subjects under his belt, Andrew shares his knowledge and skill with his fellow classmates as a peer tutor. He has been teaching study skills and doing subject-specific tutoring since ninth grade in groups and for as many as eight individual students per week. Some of the subjects he covers are AP Biology, Chemistry, AP European and American History, and Economics. He says helping others succeed gives him a lot of satisfaction.


He has been involved in a wide array of activities throughout his career at North Shore ranging from business and science to sports and academic competitive teams. This is a testament to his confidence in himself. When he sets his mind to something, he goes full on for it. For example, Andrew started on the hockey team in ninth grade and each year rose to a higher level of success to include the Most Dedicated Player award and by becoming the Assistant Captain of the Varsity team. His experience on the Soccer team was similar starting on the JV team and becoming the Varsity Top Defenseman by his junior year!


Academically, Andrew was a member of the Math Team in ninth grade and has been named Captain in his senior year. This may be due in part to math-related subjects such as Advanced Calculus and Statistics being his favorites. He enjoys and is very interested in analytics for the joy of recognizing patterns that are not easily noticed at first glance. He likes the challenge of seeing these patterns in historical events and economics as well.


In addition to his sports and mathematical pursuits, he has participated in the Long Island Science Congress by creating a tongue depressor pressure sensor that works similarly to a biofeedback mechanism. The sensor worked as a sort of game to help people with speech impairments caused by tongue weakness. Andrew won Honorable Mention for this invention. Creating things that are helpful to society is important to him. Last year Andrew was Co-Captain of the 2018 Regional II First Place winning Rube Goldberg Machine contest. The competition entailed building a device to complete a simple task in a minimum of twenty steps. In the realm of Science Research, he created a design for a safer and more comfortable seat belt he calls the Ridesafe Seatbelt.


To round out his high school experience, Andrew also engaged in many competitive co-curricular activities including Yale Model Congress and Penn Model Congress where he won Outstanding Courtroom Team. There is also his time spent on the Mock Trial Team, the Debate Team and the Yeshiva University National Model United Nations, not to mention participating in the Science Olympiad and the Anti-Bias Task Force! Clearly, he performs well under pressure!


A young man with an easy smile and a great sense of humor, this National Honor Society student will soon be graduating and going to college. He said he has thoroughly enjoyed attending NSHAHS, because he was with good friends he grew up with and could count on and had great teachers and an excellent headmaster. His favorite food depends on his mood, and his favorite candy is whatever’s available.


What is he planning going forward? He is not sure, but he knows he loves business and science, so that will be his starting point as his rocket takes off and upwards.


But, the most interesting thing by far is Andrew’s quote for life: “If something doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world…unless it’s really the end of the world.”


Mazel tov Andrew! The end is just the beginning!



October 2018 Student of the Month - JACK HEDAYA

They say…you can’t tell a book by its cover. October Student of the Month, junior Jack Hedaya appears at first glance to be a reserved and serious student. However, once the book is opened, you’ll find a teen with the cool factor, a lot of passion for computers and a great sense of humor.


Hailing from Brooklyn, Jack has quite a commute every day to North Shore but feels it’s worth all the effort. Even on the days when the two-hour ride seems like a long haul, once he arrives he says the school brings out the best in him and just being there buoys him up. He selected NSHAHS, because he wanted a more diverse academic experience, and he’s living it.


Jack is a numbers and computers guy. He enjoys his computer science, business and math classes best. Once he starts talking about programming, his enthusiasm is palpable. In ninth grade, Jack independently studied AP Computer Science A and scored a 4 on the AP exam. When he came to North Shore, he actually took the class and scored his goal of 5. In eighth grade, he created and built a video game called “Cartastrophy” that was very popular in the Apple App store, and according to Apple it had over 2000 downloads in China!


This past summer, Jack interned for EXEQ, a personal budgeting and category spending finance for millenials app start-up company in New York City, as a full stack developer aka programmer with specialized knowledge in all stages of software development. He went in with the desire to work on the three main aspects of the company: website design, app development and database management, and was able to experience all of them.


In his sophomore year, he especially liked physics and math and participated in the MIT launch program along with his cousins David and Jacob Esses. They were just notified that their project to replace the inside of wire with plasma, a super conductor that offers very little resistance, was selected to receive $10,000 from MIT to move their project forward. This year, he has a very full plate and is so far enjoying Money Management, Double Gemmara, Macroeconomics and College Accounting.


Even with such a demanding schedule, Jack is always thinking of ways to help others. He is in the process of developing an app to connect people of all ages with appropriate mentors in the community. This aligns perfectly with his favorite hobby - programming. He appreciates observing a problem and finding and developing a clear quick concise solution. His passion started at about age ten when he started to research and teach himself programming inspired by his grandmother who told him that that’s where the future is. He participated in several programs and online classes while in middle school and when he learned Java, he was completely hooked. He plans to continue on this path to become a CTO or Chief Technology Office of a company he starts with his brothers. There are no official plans just yet, but they’re all on board and will see what direction the future holds.


Because all work and no play…well you know…Jack enjoys spending his precious free time playing football, video games, playing chess (he was on the NS team last year) and hanging out with friends lunching on sushi (yellowtail), M&M’s (all colors) and white chocolate.


Jack is a laser observer with a great dry sense of humor. This quality along with his positive attitude, enthusiasm and ambition in the world of technology will assure him a place of great future success!


Great job Jack – keep it going!



September 2018 Student of the Month - KAYLA KREINIK
Congratulations to Kayla Kreinik, North Shore’s first Student of the Month for the 2018-19 school year! What a great way to start 11th grade!


Kayla is a spirited exuberant student with many passions. Her diverse interests run the full gamut between her right and left brain including chemistry, art, neuroscience, jewelry design, Chesed leadership, writing, reading and computer studies to name a few. All this while keeping a cheerful life balance.


One of the activities Kayla most enjoys is being a Chesed project leader. She works with IVDU (Individualized Vocational Development Unit – a part of Yachad, The National Jewish Council for Disabilities ). She organizes workshops for North Shore students to prep them prior to spending the day with visiting IVDU students by teaching subjects such as sensitivity training. In a recent workshop she ran in her sophomore year, Kayla came up with creative ideas to provide experiential learning for her classmates. Each student had a postcard taped to their back with something written on it visible and known only to others causing the wearer to respond to how others treated them as a result. Another teaching moment was when she had North Shore students attempt to read aloud the Gettysburg Address with multiple lollipops in their mouths. Both practicums illustrated first-hand the frustrations and tribulations the IVDU students go through each day and provided feelings of greater tolerance and empathy by the North Shore students.


Another great Chesed success is Kayla’s involvement with Chai Lifeline (a volunteer-based non-profit organization that primarily works with children battling cancer and other serious diseases) where she contacted the director of Camp Simcha, organized a bake sale, and raised and donated $800 to help build a new accessible baking room. In addition, she designs and makes jewelry and donates 10% of each purchase to Chai Lifeline. She sells her chokers and bracelets on her website, and last summer Kayla studied metal jewelry making at FIT and was deeply inspired by the jewelry she found in Israel at the Tel Aviv Shuk. In fact, Kayla had her own booth at North Shore’s Shuk for the school Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) celebration.



Kayla approaches her academic side with the same amount of excitement, imagination and dedication. In her sophomore year she won Best Educational App for an app she invented and coded called “Jeopardy for Kids” at the 2nd Annual Mobile CSP Expo for the NY Metro area AP Computer Science Fair. She also entered this winning app in the Congressional App Challenge by doing a write up and making a three minute video about the app.


Last year, she was one of three sophomores on Mr. Nagel’s Traveling Math Team, is a member of the Science Society and a peer tutor for students needing help with chemistry. She also enjoys Mr. Muir’s English class for the way he relates classic books like Catcher in the Rye to make them relevant to current times and Mrs. Rozanski’s very lively Hebrew literature class Bechina Yerushalmit. An avid reader of what she calls “realistic fiction”, Kayla is an active member of Novel & Nosh with one of her favorite books being The Book Thief. In addition, Kayla won three awards in the Scholastic writing and art competition: Honorable Mention-Drawing & Illustration, Honorable Mention-Mixed Media, and Gold Key-Painting. Drawing hands and faces for their expressiveness are her particularly favorite subjects.


The North Shore world of co-curricular activities also gets her attention with her participation as a writer for North Shore Notes, Girls Who Code, both Drawing & Painting and Fashion Design & Sewing clubs. She also finished her first year on the Girls’ Softball team as a left fielder who likes being on a team to make memories and have fun with friends.


This past summer Kayla volunteered at the Bristal Assisted Living facility for memory care residents. She fulfilled her goals of helping in the painting classes and playing games with the residents. She feels this is a step towards her desire to be a psychologist or art therapist with her love of neuroscience. Kayla also took Mrs. Wilensky’s online web development class and learned how to build codes and a website from scratch.


We look forward to seeing Kayla’s professional and student growth in her next and final two years at North Shore. She has accomplished so much already and has affected the lives of so many in the most positive of ways.


And because you love to know – her favorite color is purple and her favorite food is cherries! It is said that cherries teach us to value each moment and that people who love purple have great imagination and artistic qualities. That’s Kayla all the way.


Good luck Kayla!

Have a great, successful and fun Junior year!