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Heschel’s Open House Program Demonstrates the School’s Values to Prospective Students

The Heschel Open House is an opportunity for parents and prospective 9th graders to gain a sense of the school and its values- values that every Heschel student should keep in mind.

The Open House starts with a performance by the Heschel Harmonizers, followed by speeches from Head of School Ariela Dubler and Head of High School Rabbi Noam Silverman. Ushered through the school by student ambassadors, families are encouraged to ask questions of a student-led panel. They are then treated to model English, science, and Limudei Qodesh (LQ) lessons taught by Penny Ratcliffe, Naomi Bergman, and Rabbi Natan Kapustin, respectively. Finally, families experience a model Clubs Fair, where students highlight their clubs. Heschel staples such as Mock Trial, Helios, and the Harmonizers are front and center.

Samantha Brandspiegel, faculty advisor of the student ambassador program, praised student involvement in the program. A Heschel alumna herself, Brandspiegel explained that the Clubs Fair showcased Heschel’s “warm and inviting” nature, saying that the school “prides itself… on ways for students to get involved.” According to her, demonstrating this philosophy through the Clubs Fair is far more effective than merely telling visitors about it.

As one of the members of the student panel, senior Rikki Tamir has a unique perspective on the open house. Tamir, whose first year at Heschel took place amid the COVID-19 pandemic, emphatically claims that Heschel’s program is unique in its focus on prospective students (as opposed to their parents). She noted that during the panel, it was mostly kids who were posing questions. “The questions students ask aren’t the same their parents would ask,” she said. “The whole night is really for the kids, and that’s unique.”

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