By: Jack Benveniste-Plitt (12th Grade), Noah Dobin (12th Grade), Raquel Zohar (12th Grade), and Alexa Szafranski (10th Grade)
This past week, high school students enjoyed the long awaited Color War 2019. Divided by grade, teams battled it out in a variety of games, sports, and contests as part of the three-day competition. The seniors emerged victorious in a close match, beating the sophomores by just 240 points.
This year’s theme was the Disney Pixar movie Monsters, Inc. The freshmen, led by Anna Hirsch and Jonathan Acevedo, represented the trait of ahava (love) through the character Boo as their team mascot. The sophomores, last year’s champions, promoted simcha (happiness) as Team Mike Wazowski led by Eliana Pollack and Uri Kruger. Isaac Gelsky and Samantha Ebner were the captains from the junior class as Team Randall, standing for chochma (wisdom), and the seniors represented the attribute of gevurah (courage) as Team Sully, headed by Essence Slomianski and Alex Farkas. Teachers and faculty were given the character of Roz, captained by Judaics teacher Mrs. Schapiro and Math Department Chair Mr. Innes, tasked with overseeing and facilitating activities.
Color War broke out last Friday during the intermission between the third and fourth quarters of the varsity girls basketball team’s game during the Capt. Hyman P. Galbut Tournament, and much to the dismay of the student body, was badly botched. Without any introduction, student council members brought out the banner reading “Color War 2019” without any fanfare or excitement.
“Everyone was expecting it, but when they broke it out everyone thought it was fake because everyone expected more than what happened,” said Eden Albergel (10th grade).
Even student council members, who had planned the breakout, were disappointed with the result. Student Council President Raquel Zohar (12th) even admitted that breakout did not go as planned, but that it did not have any indication of how the rest of Color War would be.
“Breakout very obviously did not go as planned. There were too many factors out of our control during the basketball game that unfortunately resulted in a failed breakout. Thankfully, the rest of Color War was a success and everyone seemed to have fun,” Zohar said.
Despite a lackluster breakout on Friday afternoon, Monday’s Color War activities started off strong with the traditional monster ball competition. Grades competed against each other to toss the giant blue ball over the net and past their opponents.
The day concluded with Scare Floor, a Fear Factor-style event where students touched, ate, and smelled their way through a series of bizarre competitions. Highlights included pulling items out of a cricket cage, Russian roulette with raw eggs, and eating repulsive smoothies.
“It felt like my insides were burning and I felt like my lips were going to explode,” Jeremy Attias (9th) said after the Jalapeno Challenge. “It was funny seeing everyone cry as they ran out of the cafeteria.”
On Tuesday, the entire school departed to TY Park. Team members participated in volleyball, football, and kickball. The day concluded with a paint fight between all four grades. Students particularly enjoyed this event, which was a new addition to this year’s Color War.
“The paint fight was a great new addition to Color War,” said Avi Kahn (11th). “It really added a great new element to Color War.”
Some students still feel that the TY Park trip was not necessary for Color War.
Kayla Sedighim (12th) said, “I thought TY Park was fun, but I don’t think there was a point in driving all the way up there and cutting into the budget because we could’ve done all that stuff on campus.”
Wednesday consisted of more sporting events and the Apache relay race. The junior class exited with a win after Jacob Stein made four consecutive basketball shots, including one from halfcourt, to close out the frantic competition.
“I felt a power within me,” Stein said. “I thought Ezzy [Duchman] would miss so it would be good but I ended up hitting all four. I feel like I should get more than just Color War points for that, but it’s fine.”
The closing ceremonies commenced Wednesday afternoon, where each team presented their banner, skit, song, and video. One touching moment was the senior song, which was set to Hannah Montana’s “I’ll Always Remember You.” The song looked back on their high school days and how the seniors will miss the Hebrew Academy.
The junior song was the fan favorite of the closing ceremonies. Their ballad “Some Will Win, We Will Lose,” a parody of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” outlined their dream to get fourth place for the third year in a row.
“I thought the junior song was spectacular, and I’m so proud of them,” Assistant Principal Rabbi Assaraf said. “Although they wanted to get fourth place really, really bad, I’m really proud of them because they fought hard. I’m excited about the future.”
With juniors taking skit, sophomores winning banner and video, and seniors clinching song the final score was very close.
The juniors were disappointed in their third place finish.
“I actually wish we would’ve gotten fourth place to keep the streak alive,” said captain Isaac Gelsky (11th). “Because that’s our motto, like we said in our song, ‘Some Will Win, We Will Lose.’”
The sophomore class was also not so thrilled with the loss, but had originally hoped for another win because of their win from last year’s Color War.
“With our win as freshmen, it was kind of expected that we would try to win as sophomores too,” said captain Eliana Pollack (10th). “But the seniors were just a little better than us, and I am happy with the hard work put in by the grade and the second place we ended up getting.”
Activities Director Rav Oded Karavani orchestrated his first Color War with the help of student council. He also hinted at the possibility of a first-semester Color War for next year while repeatedly raising his eyebrows.
“I think people will look back at these three days and just have a big smile on their face,” Karavani said.
Overall, students enjoyed Color War and how it really helped students bond and unite within and outside their grades.
“Color War was honestly amazing, my best Color War yet in Hebrew Academy. It was really nice to see all the classes unite and work together for a common cause,” said Jonathan Malove (12th).
Meanwhile, the senior class is thrilled with this win as one of their final hurrahs at the Hebrew Academy.
“Our grade really wanted it and we really wanted to win,” said captain Essence Slomianski (12th). “I think we really all came together and put all our effort in and took all our resources and really just gave it our all, so that our last year could be the best year of Color War.”
Rabbi Assaraf said this was one of his favorite Color Wars.
“It was amazing. I really felt that camaraderie was at a high, it wasn’t really only about winning, each grade coming together beautifully, which is the goal of Color War, actually… It was awesome.”