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The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


Students Take Charge During Winterims Week

Though students were less than thrilled about the impending returns from their various winter break excursions, they were all looking forward to an exciting week upon their arrival back at HBHA. For Upper School students, the first week after winter break means one thing: “Winterims.” During Winterims week, middle and high school students have the opportunity to take fun, creative, active, and sometimes even silly classes. This week of unique classes allows students to ease back into the confines of a school building, and it provides them with a delightful break from the humdrum of their usual required courses.

For several years now, students have been encouraged to transform Winterims week into a leadership opportunity by being urged to teach their own Winterims classes. In the past, one or two students would teach a Winterims course. Now, slowly but surely, Winterims is becoming a time for many students to take the initiative to teach their peers about something that excites them. This year, senior Jacob Katz, senior Aleck Bratt, sophomore Haidee Clauer, and freshmen Oliver Miller and Avi Brudoley all decided to share their personal passion with the rest of the upper school by teaching their own classes.

Senior Jacob Katz was immensely excited to lead a SuperSmash Bros Brawl video game Winterim for the second year in a row. Prior to teaching SuperSmash, he taught a Winterim class on 3D animation.

“I wanted people to have fun in ways they really couldn’t during the normal year, or even during other Winterims. I mean, what other time can somebody say that they went to school to play video games that counted towards a credit?” Katz exclaimed. He “most enjoyed the amount of fun people were having in class.”

Jacob class leads Freshmen Ethan Matsil and Austin Klinock in playing Super Smash Bros. Photo courtesy of Leah Sosland. 

In fact, people had so much fun that they continued to play the video game through lunch time and even after school.

A video game class was not the only appealing student-led Winterim. Upper school students scrambled to sign up for Senior Aleck Bratt’s course, “Fermented Foods.” Bratt shares that when teachers began pushing students to explore the idea of teaching a class, the idea of fermented foods “popped” into his head. Bratt’s passion for fermentation began with kimchi.

“After I discovered my love for kimchi a few years ago, I bought a book called ‘The Art of Fermentation.’” After reading up on it, Bratt’s fascination only progressed. “After visiting the Cultured Pickle Shop in Berkeley, Calif.,” Bratt continued, “my love for fermented foods just grew and grew.”

Senior Aleck Bratt instructs his students in “Fermented Foods” to shake their pickle jars to ensure that the ingredients are well mixed. Photo courtesy of Leah Sosland.

Seeking approval for his idea, he filled out the required Google form and saw that Coach Austin Benton gave his class a stamp of approval when “Fermented Foods” was listed on the Winterims sign-up sheet.

“Preparation involved me testing and trying out different recipes to see what would be viable in a classroom setting, constantly adapting and adjusting because of various limitations,” explains Bratt.

Bratt guided students as they learned how to make their own kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, and oshinko, tasting and sampling their creations as they progressed. Excitement about fermentation extended beyond the classroom, as students were inspired to continue experimenting with recipes at home. Senior Sam Matsil now ferments food regularly.

“I made pickles last week, but it was an epic failure,” Matsil admits. “All a part of the process of learning what works best with all sorts of fermentations.”
Winterims week is a time when students have the ability to choose from sewing classes led by their math teacher, Mrs. Hewitt,  and triathlon classes headed by their principal, Mr. Clauer. It is also a time when they can take Model United Nations, video games, and cooking classes taught by their peers. Although students can gain a great deal of wisdom from the adults in their lives, ultimately, it could be their own friends who inspire them most–and Winterims week has become an ideal time for that inspiration to transpire.

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