Book Commercial Reflection

In Language Arts, throughout the whole year we made book commercials. A book commercial is a review of a book. We make a short, intriguing summary of the book and make a small poster to go along with it. Then, we present them to our class on Fridays. We rotated so everybody did one a week.

In the beginning of the year, my book commercials were not very good. My posters were messy, and I was making up a summary as a went. I was not a clear speaker. I shifted while I spoke and never made eye contact.

By today, my last book commercial, I have greatly improved. My posters are complete, and I have written out summaries to use. Although my speech is still occasionally jumbled, you can hear me much better. I can make clear eye contact and stay in one spot.

Although I have improved, I am still not the best public speaker. I can improve on three ideas. Firstly, I need to be louder and clearer. Secondly, I need to talk slower. And thirdly, I  need to have a relaxed position while speaking.

To see my last book commercial for the year go to :

The City That Never Sleeps: My Trip to the Big Apple

New York City, with a population of 20 million people, is a great city with lots of activities and events going on. I recently went to New York City with my class, and I will explain what there is to do in the Big Apple.

One of the main things New York City is known for is its entertainment. I experienced this when I went to see Wicked, a hit Broadway play. I saw it at the Gershwin Theater and I throughly enjoyed it. I also saw the Blue Man Group, which was another unique experience  that I will never forget. New York City is home to the world’s greatest plays and theaters, and I am privileged to be able to have experienced it.

Another entertaining event I participated in was Escape the Room. In this activity, you are locked in a room and have an hour to escape. I did the setting in the theater. Although we did not escape in time, we still had an enjoyable experience. This is another fun activity that shows the wonders of New York City.

Another side of New York is the educational side. I saw this when I went to the 9/11 memorial. We took a guided tour, and saw the pools where the Twin Towers one stood. I heard the stories of survivors and witnesses. I was also able to pay my respects to my murdered uncle, which was a touching experience.

While in New York, I took a tour of the Lower East Side. I saw the oldest Jewish cemetery in North America. It is also the second oldest cemetery in North America overall. I also saw the Eldridge Street Synagogue. This is the first and one of the largest synagogues in New York City. This taught me some of the history of New York.

I experienced lots of Judaism while in New York. One such example was when I visited Brooklyn. We first did a mitzvah project at a gemach called Bobbi’s Place. We then took the way to Borough Park, a very religious area; 90% of the people there were Chasidic Jews. There, we went to Judaica shops and got kosher ice cream.

The most important Jewish influence I experienced was just being in the city. While there, we only ate at kosher restaurants. This led us to meet many different Jews. We went to two Conservative synagogues. We talked with Orthodox Jews. I saw every type of Jew in New York.

In conclusion, I had a truly eventful and exciting experience. New York City is a place where there is something to do for everybody. You can never get bored there. New York is the city that never sleeps.

How Middle School Changed Me

The three years of middle school have greatly changed my life. Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade have educated me in many ways. It prepared me for the challenges I shall soon face in high school and beyond.

Middle school changed me first by having more than two teachers. In all of elementary school, I only had one Judaic Studies teachers and one General Studies teacher. However, once I entered Sixth Grade, I started to walk around the building to get ot my next class. I had eight different teachers, eight different teaching methods and personalities. This change made me familiar with the course that I will take next year in high school.

Middle school has also evolved me by teaching me much more advanced studies than in elementary school. It has greatly increased my view of the world through Current Events in Social Studies. I have learned the basics of Biology, Earth Science, Chemistry, and Physics through Science class and my two Science Fairs. I have learned the vocabulary and grammar of both English and Hebrew through those classes. My Algebra I and Geometry classes will give me a step ahead of everybody else. I even have a strong foothold in my religion through Judaic classes. I am very priviledged to be able to go to a dual-curriculum school.

However, I did not only learn the required curriculum in these classes. I also learned how to behave and act respectfully. Through the consequences I was given, I learned what was right and what was wrong. I finally learned self-control and figured out when it was right to be quiet. Even if I’m not always quiet today, I still have learned these essential life skills that I will use forever.

In conclusion, middle school has changed me in every way possible. It gave me the tools and education that will lead me to suceed in high school. These three years have taught me everything from how to use a locker to the Pythagorean Theorem.

Reflections on To Kill a Mockingbird

We recently finished reading the classic “To Kill a Mockingbird”, and were asked to share the two reflections we made on it.

1. Atticus tells Scout that you “never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Becomeone of the following characters and narrate a specific event from the novel in his/her voice and point of view:

Boo Radley        Tom Robinson            Atticus

Mrs. Dubose             Mayella Ewell           Scout

 Boo Radley, When he kills Mr. Ewell.

I don’t listen to much in my house. I don’t do much. I mostly read and talk with my brother. So, when I heard screams and sounds of a fight, I got up and looked through the blinds. I saw Bob Ewell, the filth of Maycomb, running after Jeremy and Jean Louise Finch. I saw the hatred, the evil fire in his eyes, and I knew I had to do something. I grabbed a knife and ran out of the door. My brother saw me, but he didn’t do anything; he was petrified in his seat.

When I got out, I saw Bob Ewell beating up Jean Louise. She was trying to fight back, but Bob threw her against a tree, and he couldn’t get up. I heard the clink of his knife against her costume. Then, Jeremy jumped onto his back and started to punch him, but Bob easily overpowered him. I knew that he would kill her soon. It was then I decided to act.

Without the slightest sound, I moved up to Bob Ewell. He was so involved in beating up Mr. Finch that he didn’t even hear me. I stabbed him in his large potbelly and he stumbled back, not sure of what happened. As he fell back, he saw me with his blood on my hands. He started, “You son of a…”, but could not finish his sentence. He fell down under the tree, and I started coughing hysterically, hyperventilating, not believing what I did.

Jeremy and Jean Louise got up, and I carried Jeremy and Jean Louise home. Atticus Finch came to the door and when he saw me, he said, “Thank you,” in a very quiet, reserved tone. I waited in the living room for the rest to unfold.


4. Write one long poem, in the form of your choosing, about the novel or one of the main characters. The poem can be told by a narrator of your creation or from the perspective of one of the characters. On a separate paper, explain how your poem is connected to the novel.

Atticus Finch: A Poem, By Jake

I’ve been thinking about the past few days

They all have been such a craze

First the trial, my dignity was razed

Then Tom went off in a rage

I didn’t know what to do

I thought to go to Timbuktu

But I had to stay strong

For Jem and Scout and the right and the wrong

I have to work for the greater good

Whether or not I’m in a good mood

But then, Halloween came

My daughter as a ham was near insane

But I can’t think, must work for Maycomb

While being on the State Legislature

Can’t go to the pageant

What’s the point, it’s all madness

But then I hear a knock at the door

It’s Boo Radley answering from a war

He doesn’t say much; just gives me my boy

I take one look and say: “Oy!”

He says it was Bob Ewell, the despicable example of a man

I call Hector Tate, the sheriff, and he says: “Damn!”

I see him in the door with a look of despair

He said, “Atticus, the evil man’s dead”.

I call Doc Reynolds, our family’s doctor

The Doctor says, “Oh dear, where was the proctor?”

“Your son,” he says, “Has no more than a bump on the head.”

“His arm, however, is broken too.”

I have come to realise about these events

That they were meant to show that our city has taken a dent

Our infrastructure is in disarray

Who, they say, will help us?

You, Atticus, maybe?



Should Students be Forced to Take After-School Activities?

For Language Arts, we had to write a persuasive essay. I chose to write about whether or not we should be forced to write if schools should force kids to take after-school activities. I said no. Here’s why.


Picture this: You just got back from a basketball practice and you are all sweaty and tired. After grabbing a snack, you head to your room to get some homework done. You are in the middle of a tricky math problem when your mom comes in. “Honey, the principal just sent an email to all of the parents. From now on every student has to take one of the school’s after-school activities.”


“But Mom, I can’t! I already have basketball on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, and on Mondays I have Student Council meetings! And also, every Wednesday I babysit for that family down the block.”


“I’m sorry, but the school board decided that every student has to take one of the school’s elective or every one of their grades will drop down five points.”


Do you think this is fair? Forcing kids to do more school-required activities after school? I don’t, and here’s why.


The first reason is because schools already give kids after-school activities in the form of homework. Many kids have at least two hours of homework a day, not including time to study for tests. A kid has at least one test a week, sometimes two or three. That studying adds another hour of school activities at home. It isn’t fair to make kids do activities after school when they need to concentrate on keeping their grades up.


Another point of why kids shouldn’t be forced to do the school’s extracurricular activities is because kids already have other activities. As mentioned in the scenario above, the boy was complaining to his mother because he already had events every day except for Saturday. Many kids are already busy and by doing what the school offers, they may have to cancel training in a subject which they’re really good at, such as playing the piano.




The last reason I will mention is that kids may not be able to attend. Some kids live in bad homes where they’re not allowed to do anything or get abused. Others live with almost constantly drunk parents who wouldn’t let them go. Other parents may be very protective of their children and not want them to participate. Some kids may have to work after school to provide for their family and can’t take time off to do this. The school doesn’t know how every family works.


In conclusion, schools should not force kids to participate in after-school activities set up by the school for a number of reasons. They may not want to go, they may be too busy to go, or they cannot go for personal reasons.


Big Storm Grounds Air Traffic

We just finished reading Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper in LA. I was asked to write this news report about an event which happened in the book.

Published December March 15, 2012 • Out of My Mind News

A late-winter snowstorm in on the East Coast has grounded all flights from Boston to Washington, D.C., according to the Federal Aeronautics Association (FAA).

At least 174 flights were cancelled to JFK, Logan International Airport, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, BWI, and Pittsburgh International Airport, among others.

The storm also caused winds up to 35 mph and severe fog.

One unnamed airport official in Cincinnatti, Ohio, stated “They’ve got five inches of snow in Boston already, and more is predicted for this afternoon farther south. The FAA won’t let planes take off in weather like this, so our whole system gets gummed up. Planes due to arrive here and then return eastward get cancelled, meaning our afternoon flights can’t depart.”

The storm is expected to clear up enough to let flights continue by about 9:00, with heavy rain expected for tomorrow.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

When I Overcame my Fear of Roller Coasters

Behold the day that I defeated my fear of roller coasters. About a year ago, I went to Busch Gardens. I went with Kadima and arranged to hang out with two other kids, John and Gary. At that time, I was scared of roller coasters and didn’t know what to do.

We got to Busch Gardens after a 3 hour drive from Jacksonville, and it was a nice day. It was clear and sunny, however a little too humid. There were a lot of people at the park. We dropped off our items and headed to the roller coasters. I didn’t mention to John and Gary that I was scared of roller coasters; I was ashamed of it.

We strolled over to the first ride, Montu. I revealed that I was scared of roller coasters. My friends were very upset. They tried to convince me to go on, but I refused. Eventually, John went on while Gary stayed with me. He got back, saying it was fun.

For the next hour and a half, we wandered around the park, not doing anything except for going on a water ride, which was fun. The whole time, they were convincing me to go on a roller coaster.

“There’s nothing to be worried about!” said John.

Gary said, “C’mon, Jake. It’ll be really fun!”


Finally, I succumbed.

They picked out a ride called Kumba, a medium-sized roller coaster at Busch Gardens. It was a 20-minute wait. I was very nervous and worried. What happens if I fall out? What happens if I vomit? All these thoughts and more were racing through my head. My friends kept telling me it’s fine, there’s nothing to worry about. Soon enough, our turn came.

We got into the car. I didn’t know what to do or think. I strapped myself in very tightly for fear that I would fall out. We rode in the front, because John and Gary said it would be easier that way. I still remember the ride going up and looking at the blue, partially cloudy sky before the car dropped.

I started screaming, but then I stopped. This isn’t so bad, I thought. I started to really enjoy it. This is really fun! I was laughing, smiling, and not scared a bit. Sadly, the ride ended. “You were right!”

After the ride, we got some ice cream, and I wasted some money on a claw game. We then went to Montu, the ride which only John went on first. It was one of those rides where you’re strapped in and your feet hang down. I was scared my feet were going to hit something! There was time for one more ride, so we went on the Cheetah Chase, where you reach 3G at one point and your heart stops for the smallest second.

Before I realized it, we had to go. This was an important day in my life, when I conquered roller coasters.


A map of Busch Gardens Image credit:

Journal 2- A Concentration Camp Cowboy?



The shirt above has been the source of controversy across the world. The international clothing company Zara, based in Spain, has made this shirt for little boys. On the yellow badge, it says, “sheriff”. Many people think these shirts are reminiscent of the Holocaust, the yellow badges that the Nazis forced Jews to wear. Such rioting has cause the shirts to be taken out of Zara’s stores in the U.K. I agree that it looks like a Holocaust shirt, and it should be changed. Zara should’ve realized this earlier and changed the shirt. I think that Holocaust survivors would agree that it looks like the shirt they were forced to wear more than 70 years ago.





Heroes in “The Outsiders”

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains many events in the book The Outsiders.      

We have finished The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, and are now assigned to write about five character’s heroic deeds in the book. We are going to write about Ponyboy, Sodapop, Darrel (Darry), Johnny, and Dallas (Dally). I believe a hero is one who fights for good and resists temptation. He/She is a modest, diligent person fighting for good. People who do heroic acts, however, are not always heroes. They could’ve been criminals who just rescued somebody at the right time. They just might have had the good streak come out of them.

Johnny is the most heroic of them all. He doesn’t tell on the greasers when the cops catch them. He endures getting whipped by his parents. He saved those kids from the church, along with Ponyboy. He defended the girls from Dally at the Nightly Double. Most of all, he saved Ponyboy’s life, when the Socs were drowning him. Sure, he had to kill somebody. However, if he did not kill Bob, then the Socs would’ve killed Ponyboy.

Ponyboy was a hero most of the time in the book. He was the protagonist of the book, the youngest and quietest of the greasers. He did not commit crimes like Dally, he did not steal like Two-bit, he did not get sent to the reformatory like Curly Shepard. He was almost always good, his heroic times being not insulting the girls at The Nightly Double, jumping into the church to save the kids, staying with Johnny while he was in the hospital, and not being as bad as the other greasers. He did have his bad times, like fighting in the rumble and threatening to fight three Socs.

Darry is very heroic. He lets greasers come to his house uninvited if they just need a place to crash for the night. He took care of his younger brothers after their parents died, taking two jobs. He works day and night to support his family. He “grew up too fast”. Darry did many unheroic things, however, he almost bullies Ponyboy. He once slapped him, causing Ponyboy to run away for a week. He is very heroic, but he also has a bad temper.

Sodapop was half and half. He was a hero, constantly defending Pony against Darry, and dropping out of high school so he could help support Ponyboy going to school. He cared very deeply for things he loved, like Mickey Mouse and Sandy. He was wild and he did have his bad times, but he is a loving, caring figure in Ponyboy’s life. Sodapop is a genuine nice person.

Dally is the least heroic. He steals, lies, cheats, gets drunk, rides in rodeos, and gets put in jail about once a month. When he lived in New York, he mugged people and got arrested at the age of ten! He did have some acts of heroism in the end, though. He convinced Johnny to not turn himself in because he didn’t want him to get hardened to jail.  Also, he put out the flames on Ponyboy’s back. Dally died a juvenile delinquent, but he was also slightly heroic.

Overall, all of the main characters in The Outsiders were heroic at some point. I put the paragraph of each character in the order of the most heroic. Johnny was the most heroic, and Pony a close second; Darry and Sodapop were about half and half; and Dally was the least heroic. All of the characters were bad, robbing and stealing, but they were also heroes. They all looked out for each other, eventually even risking their lives for others.


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