HAFTR Highlights

Welcoming new staff, transitioning from summer


Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway High School students and teachers returned on Sept. 5, after a well-earned summer vacation. The high school has experienced several changes in important faculty positions.

Joshua Wyner will be the associate principal of HAFTR High to lend a hand to our incredible Principal, Naomi Lippman. Rabbi Yitzchok Riselsheimer will add to his responsibilities as dean of students to be dean of Judaic studies. In his new position, “Rabbi Rise,” as students often call him, will oversee the department in conjunction with the HAFTR principals.

Rabbi Ira Wallach, a beloved teacher, will work alongside Rabbi Riselsheimer as a Judaic Studies coordinator. HAFTR also welcomes many new teachers to what is an already outstanding staff. These new faculty members include: David Bitterman, Science Department; Hadassah Bohensky, STEM Department; Emily Doak and Allison Posner, English Department; Dr. Tara Klestzick, school psychologist, Center for Student Services; and Dr. Jeffrey Lesser, Math Department. These new faculty members are sure to enhance the education and experience of the HAFTR student body.

Having the Jewish High Holidays in September and on weekdays this year, the students have enjoyed an easier transition into the rigors of the academic programs. However, students often find the start-and-stop cycle to be a challenge that prevents them from adjusting to a regular routine, while teachers are faced with frequent disruptions in their lesson plans. Finding a balance between celebrating religious holidays and maintaining a demanding academic plan is a challenge that all yeshivas face. Nonetheless, the Jewish calendar is one that HAFTR students and faculty have always successfully navigated, and this year is geared to prove no different.

HAFTR students are looking forward to a number of back-to-school activities. The first is the Back to School Carnival, which will take place on Sunday, Oct. 7. The carnival will, once again, provide a way for students to enjoy themselves while simultaneously immersing themselves in the spirit of our school. The festivities will include games, rides, and other attractions that hope to be another good way for students to transition from summer to the demands of their school workloads.

This upcoming school year promises to be an exciting one, with students and teachers eager to return to their structured school lifestyles, while engaging in activities that will allow them the chance to have fun and catch up with fellow students. Our new freshmen are learning to adapt to the beginning of their high school careers, while the sophomores are assured in their know-how as HAFTR students with one year successfully under their belts.

HAFTR juniors are preparing to take college entrance exams and hold down rigorous schedules with Advanced Placement classes and other extracurricular activities, while seniors prepare to submit finalized applications and anxiously await college and Israeli yeshiva and seminary decisions.

Even at this early date, it is already abundantly clear that the HAFTR student body will undoubtedly accomplish the many goals they have set out to achieve. We look forward to a wonderful school year!