Journal 19- Planting for The Bridge

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Last Wednesday, it was the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat. It is usually celebrated with the eating if Israel’s fruits and planting trees. In honor of it, we planted kale, lettuce, and collard greens at The Bridge, an after-school program for needy children, where they get homework help and dinner. The kids will eat the vegetables that we planted. It will probably be their only fresh item for the day.

Math Blog Post- Stories With Holes

For this math blog post, I decided to make a few stories with holes. 

1. A man goes to his rabbi and says, “Rabbi, is this bacon kosher?” The rabbi takes one look at it and says, “Yes.” How?

2. Two men walk into a bar. One man goes to the bartender and says, “I’ll have a glass of H2O.” The man next ot him says, “I’ll have some H2O, too.” He drinks it and then dies. Why?

ANSWERS:

1. The bacon was made out of soy.

2. H2O2 is the chemical combination for hydrogen peroxide. The bartender thought he meant that, so he gave him peroxide.

Journal 18- Walk On By

For our journal this week, we were asked to listen to the song “Walk On By” by Dionne Warwick and explain what it has to do with the homeless. Well, it has to do with homeless people because it says in the song, “And if you see me in the street and I start to cry each time we meet walk on by”. That’s like the homeless people who sit on a bench on a street with an old hat and a sign that says, “Help I’m Homeless”, and then we walk by and give them a dollar. They can get so emotional and happy that somebody helped them. That one little act could brighten their whole day.

Journal 17- Ruby Bridges

Ruby Nell Bridges was born on September 8, 1954 in Tylertown, Mississippi. She moved to New Orleans when she was four. At the age of six, she passed a test administered by the Nation Association for the Advancement of Colored People for black students to join the better white schools, as part of the integration program. Six students were chosen from New Orleans. Out of those six, two decided to stay where they were, three went to McDonogh No. 19, and Ruby went to William Frantz Elementary. She had to be escorted by U.S. Marshals everywhere because of segregation, even to the bathroom.

Every day, as she walked to school surrounded by the marshals, there were crowds of people protesting her joining the school. On her first day, she had to sit in the office the whole day. One woman would scream that she would poison Ruby; another waved a little black doll in a coffin at Ruby’s face. Bridges said later that the coffin scared her the most. None of the teachers would teach her except for Mrs. Barbara Henry, a woman from Boston. Since all of the parents pulled their kids out of school in protest of Ruby’s joining, she was the only child in the whole school for a year.  Their whole family suffered because of this; Ruby’s father, Adon, lost his job, and they were banned from entering stores.

The next year, everything changed. There were about twenty other students in her class, and she wasn’t the only black girl in the school. Ruby Bridges was an extremely brave girl who was able to start the change of racial segregation until how we know it today. Even after graduating school, she went on the found the Ruby Bridges Foundation, which was formed to try to stop all forms of discrimination and segregation.

Ruby Bridges (second from right) meets with President Obama.

Image Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Frantz_Elementary_School#mediaviewer/File:Ruby_Bridges_and_Obama.jpg

Solving Shadows

For this week’s Math Blog Post, I drew a picture of how you can solve the height of a shadow. It doesn’t have to be just used for shadows, however.

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Let me explain:

Step 1: Convert the feet into inches by multiplying by 12. Fred is 5 feet, 2 inches, which is 62 inches. The building is 50 feet, 2 inches, which is 602 inches. The building’s shadow is 60 feet, which is 720 inches. Remember that we are solving for Fred’s shadow.

Step 2: Put the inches into a formula:

Fred’s height                       Building’s height

__________             =         _____________

Fred’s shadow                   Building’s shadow

The above formula is put into effect in the picture above. When you multiply 62 (Fred’s height) by 720 (Building’s shadow), you get 44,640.

Step 3: Divide.

Divide 44,640 by 600, and you get 74.4. But that’s not the answer. You must divide 74.4 by 12 to put it into feet and inches. 74.4 divided by 12 is 6.2, which is rounded to 6 feet, 2.5 inches.

Journal 16- “My Legs Were Praying”

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Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr., a great man who helped end segregation, but was killed in the process. He was aided by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a prominent Conservative rabbi who marched arm-in-arm with MLK from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. Rabbi Heschel later wrote, “When I marched in Selma, I felt my legs were praying.”

I believe that Rabbi Heschel believed he was doing a holy action by marching. He was trying to stop evil in the world and to make all people equal. He was doing a very great mitzvah by marching with MLK Jr. He participated in the march because Jews aren’t just supposed to care about themselves; that would be selfish and wrong. Instead, we are taught to try to make the whole world a better place and help all people.

The march from Selma to Montgomery was a little over fifty miles. If another civil rights march occurred, I would try to join it. Theoretically, a march could be arranged to walk from Jacksonville to St. Augustine, a distance about 41 miles long. The march would be organised in protest of the shootings that happened in Ferguson, Cleveland, and New York City. I would definitely walk some part of it because even though these shootings happened hundreds of miles away, they still matter to me. Racial discrimination must end today.

File:Abraham Heschel with MLK.jpg

Rabbi Heschel presenting the Judaism and World Peace award to MLK Jr.

Image Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Abraham_Heschel_with_MLK.jpg

 

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.

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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.

 

Ratios

We recently learned about ratios in Geometry class. This is not a new concept, so I learned it pretty easily. I decided to teach you guys about it.

A ratio can be found on a map. You may see on a map a mini-ruler and then text that says 1 in = 2 miles. This means that for every inch you measure on the map, it equals two miles in real life. Now, what would ou do if you wanted to find distance on a map?

Say Spot A is 3.5 inches away from Spot B on the map. Since every inch is equal to two miles, you just have to multiply 3.5 by 2.

3.5 x 2 = 7

So, Spot A is 7 miles away from Spot B!

 

Journal 15- My Bar Mitzvah

Last week, I had my bar mitzvah, the Jewish passage into adulthood. I had a large ceremony and lunch, on which I gave a speech related to the Torah portion of the week. Enclosed is my Dvar Torah, the speech that I gave.

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Good Shabbos! This week’s parsha, Shemos, begins the Book of Exodus. Pharaoh issues harsh decrees against the Israelites, beginning decades of Jewish suffering and slavery. Moses is born and raised in the Egyptian royal palace. After killing an Egyptian, Moses escapes to Midian and marries. G‑d appears to him in a burning bush and demands that he return to Egypt to redeem the Israelites. Moses returns to Egypt with the intention of freeing the Jewish people.

 

Now, you may ask, why do we need to know this? The parsha, set like an episode in a reality TV show, chronicles the first 80 years of Moshe’s life. Moshe is born in an atmosphere of slavery, and then thrust into the world of Egyptian royalty at the age of twelve, according to the midrash. Without those fundamental first years of learning and establishing a strong Jewish basis in Moshe, he probably would’ve succumbed to peer pressure and abandoned his Jewish roots much like us today. According to Chassidic texts, he would then rise to become the overseer of Pharaoh’s palace, and then be forced to flee Egypt at the age of 18 in defense of his people to kingdom of Kush in modern-day Ethiopia. He would then serve in the army their and eventually reign as king for forty years. From there he continued on to Midian, where he married Yisro’s daughter Tziporrah and served as a shepherd. As a poor shepherd, God appeared to him in the form of a burning bush ad commanded him to become a leader once again, but this time of Bnai Yisrael, to take them out of Egypt and confront the same Pharaoh who he had to flee from sixty-two years ago. What would you do if you openly saw a direct miracle- a burning bush that was not consumed- and God’s voice came from it, commanding you to go to Egypt and free His people? You would do it, right? Not in Moshe’s case. In fact, the midrash tells us that it took Hashem a week to convince Moshe to take the leadership? Why would Moshe be so stubborn?


The answer is simple; humility. The very trait that Moshe was praised for was also his weakness. In his own opinion, he didn’t believe he was worthy of such a task; after all, he had killed a man! Moshe quietly suggested his older brother Aharon as a candidate for such a task; after all, he had already been a prophet for eighty years. Because of that outrageous suggestion, Hashem got so angry at Moshe that he took away his ability to be a kohen! It was Moshe’s humility that caused him to lose the priesthood.This shows that extreme humility like Moshe’s is not always a good trait; you have to believe in yourself to succeed. It also shows that we must have belief in Hashem because he always wants what’s right for us. He always has a great plan for everything in the world. That is why even if we stub our toe, we have to think to ourselves that there was a reason for this. What can I learn from stubbing my toe? Should I move the cabinet to a spot farther away from my bed? Should I wear socks in the house? We are supposed to learn from everything. Even the slightest change can make a big effect. Every one of God’s tasks that we should perform, we shouldn’t oppose it, we shouldn’t doubt it. And I’m even talking about mitzvahs today such as praying and keeping kosher. We shouldn’t try to challenge God; look what happened to those who built the Tower of Bavel! Rather, we should perform it with “bchol lavvecha ovchol navshecha ovkol meodecha”- with all of our heart, all of our soul, and all of our might, just like we say in the Shema three times a day. Just like the story of Moshe, we too must tackle the daily obstacles in our life with a clear mind and set heart- and to always remember that somebody up there is watching out for us. Good Shabbos.