Artists Shine at Evening of the Arts. At HAFTR, an education in the arts is as integral to student development as any academic subject. The arts stimulate curiosity, sharpen our senses, strengthen academic learning, and encourage classroom interactions. An arts education builds 21st-century skills including the four Cs: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration. Throughout the grades, students are exposed to a well-rounded arts curriculum including classroom instruction in art and music, museum visits, and special programs. The Evening of the Arts highlights a culmination of the fourth-grade accomplishments in the arts.

Recently, the fourth-grade artists and performers dazzled parents, grandparents, and guests with a spectacular gala art exhibit and musical jazz repertoire. The lunchroom and gym were transformed into an elegant art gallery. Guests were greeted by students at coat check. Ushers and tour guides helped guests navigate the galleries. White-gloved students circulated with hot hors d’oeuvres as the guests enjoyed the art on display. During both art class and M.I. Time, students emulated the works of Alberto Giacometti, Edgar Degas, Keith Haring, Vassily Kandinsky, Gustav Klimt, Kessler Woodward, Sonya Delaunay, Romero Britto, Bridget Riley, Victor Vasarely, and Vincent van Gogh. There was also a multimedia exhibit from the students’ trip to the Lower East Side and the Eldridge Street Synagogue.


As you entered the corridor leading into the gallery, the walls were lined with amazing Giacometti sculptures, each depicting the unique interests of the students. Guests were drawn to the sound-and-light show that accompanied the “Starry Night over Jerusalem” mural made of thousands of bottle caps that were collected by students over the past few years. Thank you to high-school student Jeremy Haft for programming the lights and music. As the lights dimmed, guests were ushered to their seats to be “jazzed up” by the grade-wide musical performance. The program began with an introduction by Ms. Hammer. As the procession of students filed on stage, Kayla Fauziev accompanied them with a piano rendition of Last Chance Blues by Martha Mier. Students narrated, sang, danced, and played their recorders as guests swung to the music. The musical program included a combination of both classical jazz songs as well as some Hebrew songs. Some of the musical artists included in the performance were the Gershwins, Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, and Irving Mills. One of the highlights was the song Schar Mitzvah by Elie Schwalb, accompanied by a video showing how HAFTR students know “that the reward for a mitzvah is a mitzvah, and there is no limit to that reward!”

The evening ended with a reprise from Magic To Do by Stephen Schwartz. Applause rang out in the auditorium and the students’ faces were beaming as they took a bow. Mrs. Naomi Maron expressed hakarat ha’tov to Mrs. Royce Maron, Mrs. Jill Goldstein, and Mrs. Janet Goldman for inspiring the students with an awareness and love for the arts. Thank-you to the entire fourth-grade staff and Ms. Tova Zucker for the guidance and countless hours spent preparing for the Evening of the Arts. Thank-you also to the many generous sponsors that made the evening such a success.


Seniors Rachel Sacks and Gila Schein with Rebecca Isseroff

Seniors Rachel Sacks and Gila Schein are Intel ISEF Finalists. HAFTR seniors Gila Schein and Rachel Sacks are first-place winners in the bioengineering category of the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair and have been designated as finalists to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair to be held this year from Sunday, May 14 to Friday, May 19 in Los Angeles, California. Each year, more than 7 million high-school students around the globe develop original research projects and present their work at local science competitions with the hope of making it to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public. Only the best and brightest–approximately 1,750 winners of local, regional, state, and national competitions–are invited to participate in this weeklong celebration of science, technology, engineering, and math. At the event, these young innovators share ideas, showcase cutting-edge research, and compete for more than $4 million in awards and scholarships.

Rachel and Gila created gold and silver nanoparticles embedded in graphene (single-layer carbon atom) sheets and incorporated them into a polymer to observe whether they have an effect on the structures as well as the differentiation of dental pulp derived cells. They found that the gold composite increased protein adhesion to the surfaces, while both the gold and carbon sheets seemed to start to induce dental pulp differentiation into bone cells. Their research shows exciting promise for synthetically produced polymer scaffolds to be used for the repair of biological tissue and the development of bone grafts for transplantation.

The HAFTR scientists published their research in a professional refereed journal, Materials Research Society Advances, and were also awarded Siemens Competition Semifinalist status for their work. They conducted their research at the Garcia Summer Scholars Program of Stony Brook University under the direction and guidance of Dr. Miriam Rafailovich. In addition, they were mentored by Dr. Marcia Simon, Vincent Ricotta, and Rebecca Isseroff.

Gila and Rachel worked the entire summer in the Stony Brook laboratories and continued to go in to conduct additional experiments throughout the fall and even as recently as last month. Showing tremendous motivation, they were able to deal with research setbacks and not lose sight of the goals they set out to accomplish. For example, they once came in to Stony Brook to analyze cell cultures that had been growing for a week and they were hopeful to find some interesting results. When they got to the lab they discovered that a graduate student had looked at their cultures, saw that the cells had lifted off the substrate, and without consulting the students had deemed the experiment a failure and poured bleach over all the cells, killing them and eliminating any chance of analyzing the results. Although they were a bit taken aback, they kept both their cool and resolve and continued to forge ahead in their experiments and data analysis.

They are such good friends and work so well together; they even look strikingly alike and many think they are twins, although they are not related at all. After graduating from HAFTR, Gila will be spending a year in Israel studying at Midreshet Harovah before attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for her undergraduate degree, and Rachel will spend the year in Israel at the Torah Vaavodah Institute before attending Columbia University.


HAFTR Clothing Drive participants Eric Herman, Molly Klein, Eliana Perl, and Ashley Einstein

Clothing Drive. HAFTR Middle School Students load a duffle filled with Shabbat and yom tov Pesach clothes.  This is one of four duffle bags that will go to the Bayit Tikva, a girls home in Netanya. The CPH chesed committee, under the guidance of Rabbi Dovid Kupchik, menahel, organized this successful pre-Pesach clothing drive. The kids were excited to send their good-condition clothes to girls who will appreciate wearing them.


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