Thursday, December 08, 2022

It was a full house at the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School Open House. One could feel the energy throughout the building as prospective students and their parents participated in an enlightening evening of programming on Motzei Shabbat that highlighted the distinct values embodied at RKYHS and the many opportunities both in and out of the classroom. In addition to the large turnout from the current eighth grade at the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy, there were a large number of student attendees from other schools and other geographic regions including Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, Passaic and Union counties and Staten Island, New York.

The program began with parents and prospective students gathering in the packed Epstein-Stein Auditorium to hear from student speakers who shared their perspectives on how RKYHS has inspired them to excel academically, take leadership roles and pursue their passions. They spoke about how the smaller size of RKYHS has enabled them to form close bonds with their faculty, feel that their voices were heard and facilitate opportunities that would not have otherwise been possible. Head of School and Klatt Family Rosh HaYeshiva Rabbi Eliezer Rubin reinforced how each student matters at RKYHS and illuminated how RKYHS gives students opportunities to engage through multiple portals, with a supportive faculty. He explained how each student learns to take responsibility for themselves and for others as they grow and develop throughout their high school years. An informative video featured students and faculty sharing their experiences at RKYHS.

The remainder of the program enabled prospective parents and students to participate in programs geared toward each group. Parents were able to experience the RKYHS difference and values firsthand by participating in a sampling of courses that highlighted the high level of academic excellence and Torah learning offered at RKYHS, such as “Bystanders and Perpetrators: Social Psychology and the Holocaust,” “The History of American Through Film,” “Receiving the Torah with Love and Awe,” The Cure for the Nihilism of Shakepseare and Kohelet” and more. The Scientific Research Training Institute at RKYHS, where students “learn science by doing science,” was highlighted through students presenting their cutting-edge research. Dr. Steven Stein, RKYHS science department chair, joined that session via Zoom along with RKYHS alumna Rebecca Arian. The two were attending the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research in Houston to present their work based on a 2021-2022 collaboration that RKYHS had with NASA’s Ames Research laboratory in California, where Arian interned over the summer. Prospective parents concluded their program with a Q&A with a panel of current RKYHS students.

The prospective ninth graders had their own set of programming. Students rotated through round robin presentations by the many RKYHS student volunteers who shared insight into student life and exploring opportunities beyond the classroom. They learned about school-wide programming at RKYHS, including sports night, and shabbaton and the extensive co-curricular activities ranging from homlessness awareness, krav maga, knitting and literary magazine to championship sports teams, AIPAC, a student-led hair drive to make wigs for kids with cancer and so much more. Prospective students then had a look inside the inspiring and rigorous academic and Judaic program. Sample courses for the students to observe included topics such as “The Neuroscience of Optical Illusions,” “Foundations in Personal Finance,” “Did I do the Right Thing? Kavod Habriyot in Halacha,” and a hands on STEM session to program LEDs.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to showcase our school to such a large gathering of prospective families,” commented Allison Lyons, RKYHS director of admissions and community relations. “Our school is committed to our Torah values, dedicated to offering a first-rate educational program along with a vast array of extra curricular options and devoted to the individual success of each child, and we were happy that we could convey these core pillars. We look forward to being in touch with families to continue the admissions process.”

The school has already received many new inquiries and applications as more and more families from a vast geographic radius come to experience the RKYHS difference. RKYHS looks forward to welcoming the class of 2027!

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