April 24, 2024
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April 24, 2024
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Frisch Shiriyah 5776: A Time for Students to Shine

Walk into the halls of Frisch during the week of Shiriyah, and the energy is intense, alive and tangible.

Though many people often mistakenly ascribe aspects of color war to Shiriyah—the weeklong multidiscipline festival at Frisch that celebrates school spirit, Torah knowledge and interpretation, grade and school unity, and creative interpretation as translated through art, song, dance, drama and more—it’s anything but. Not a competition, not a contest: Shiriyah is instead a celebration of the vital and vibrant values that make Frisch a center for academic excellence, religious growth, kindness and mutual compassion, and opportunities for every student to shine.

Every year, each grade is assigned a Torah or otherwise Jewish theme which must be worked into every presentation they produce. Students fundraise, purchase supplies, and lead their teammates in thinking of ideas and executing them with precision.

Yehuda Hammerman ’17, a captain for the junior grade, said, “Shiriyah shows the incredible unity in our grade that always exists but really comes to a head during this crazy week. It’s a really good feeling as a member of my grade, and a captain, to see all of us do whatever it takes to pull through and create incredible things together.”

During the week, students also participate in fun challenges like Torah Bowl, Minute to Win it, Family Feud, and Cake Wars to foster school spirit and grade unity. Shiriyah culminates at the end of the week with the final presentation to which parents and the entire community are invited to witness the results of the students’ hard work and dedication.

“I remember Shiriyah of my freshman year like it was yesterday,” said Ahuva Warburg Halpern ’05, who lives in Englewood and works as an attorney. “There was truly something for everyone to become involved in, and the energy was palpable. Shiriyah continued to be one of the most exciting and invigorating parts of my time at Frisch, and only got better every year.” Ahuva returned to Frisch after she graduated to watch her sister, Penina Warburg ’14, participate in Shiriyah.

Parents picked up their children late at night and watched them lose hours of sleep and get caught up in the excitement and magic that defines the week of Shiriyah. Drs. Michal and Natie Fox, whose children Noam ’18 and Kira ’18 attend Frisch, captured the parents’ perspective perfectly.

“As parents sending our children to high school, of course we want them to become educated and succeed academically, to grow socially and spiritually and develop into thoughtful Jews and citizens—but we also want them to grow internally and realize their strengths and talents, to develop confidence that they can succeed in life and find their place in this big, scary world, and they have something unique to contribute,” said Natie. “That doesn’t happen in the classroom, in davening, or the hallways—that happens during Shiriyah.”

Continued Michal, “Our own children grew up this week before our eyes. At several moments they could have easily chosen to pack it in and retreat to the shadows, but they were inspired to push forward and test their limits. They were inspired by their friends and they were inspired by Rabbi Ciner.”

Added Lauren Greene: “I watched as Hayley learned how to delegate responsibility and help others problem solve, and I’m confident her ninth-grade Shiriyah experience will definitely shape the rest of her high school career and that she will take the lessons she learned last week with her for life.”

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