Talent Amongst Other Things

This week the Hebrew Academy hosted their second annual Chanukah Talent Show, with strong student and teacher acts and stellar energy from the crowd.

The show featured numerous acts ranging from the lip syncing of “Love is an Open Door” from  Frozen to a hip-hop dance performance by Freshman Abraham Hirsch. The students were judged by history teacher Mr. Matla, English teacher Mrs. Handwerger and Math teacher Mr. Vucajnk. Senior Mark Alishayev emceed the event, adding his signature humor to the show.  

“I did well,” Alishayev said. “As a host and as a talent.”

Senior Ron Ben-Hayoun kicked off the show with his performance of Rihanna’s “Stay.” Although Mr. Matla described his singing as “a car accident,” Ben-Hayoun electrified the audience, who sang along.

The show’s next act was a karaoke performance from Oren Abramov (9th) with his spirited version of Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” followed by Mr. Riley’s “devil sticks” juggling act to the Star Wars parody song “Seagulls! (Stop it Now),” which fast became a crowd favorite. Riley’s performance marked the first time a teacher performed in the talent show. Even harsh critic Mr. Matla, who was hardly convinced that the show contained anything worth watching, had nothing but praise for Riley’s unusual talent.

Sophomores Ariel Bramy, Ariel Arwas and Luchiano Fernandez also surprised the school by presenting an original math rap to the tune of “Gucci Gang” with a shout-out to Mrs. Simauchi and the quadratic formula.

Jack Benveniste-Plitt’s (11th) guitar playing of “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz and Yosef Nahon (12th) singing Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” with Mikey Shakib (12th) on the keyboard, also created an unprompted choir out of the crowd.

Abraham Hirsch, the freshman, professional dancer, who was recently featured in the print edition of the Warrior Word, wowed the audience, letting his famous blonde locks loose as he performed a dance that included flips, spins and other hip-hop moves. The whole cafeteria cheered him on.

“My favorite act was Abraham,” Amit Shushan (11th) said. “I didn’t know he could dance that well and he really surprised me in a good way. Very cool kid!”

Uri Kruger and Joshua Posner’s lip sync act to  “Love is an Open Door” from Disney’s, Frozen  brought the crowd to wild laughter. Judge Mr. Matla claimed it gave him  PTSD, and Mrs. Handwerger and Mr. V agreed that “cringe-worthy” was an appropriate description of the performance, while admitting that it was also “oddly entertaining.”

The PDB band brought down the house with their final act of “Psycho Killer,” “Fortunate Son,” and their classic “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” Lead singer David “Horatio” Gilinski electrified the audience with his unique vocals. Drummer Rina Reich (12th), bassist Itai De Roca (12th), guitarist Jacob Rosmarin (12th), and the newest addition, keyboard player Rafi Benson (11th), showcased their musical skills. 

Adding to the excitement, the teachers performed “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,”with Mr. Matla and Rabbi Jeff Ney, on guitar and Assistant Principal Rabbi Assaraf on drums. The laughter and audience interaction from this finale left the students with a smile on their face for the rest of day.  

Whether the acts were actually good or just hilariously amusing-as Judge Matla claimed, “What talent?”-it served as a much needed break from the stress of school. Sebastian Mohadeb (12th) shared his gratitude.

“I think it’s really cool of the school to actually give up periods to have a talent show,” Mohadeb said.  

The winners were announced the next day. First place went to the PDB, second place to dancer Abraham Hirsch , and third to Oren Abramov.

With midterms on the near horizon, students said they appreciated this Channukah activity, which gave them a breather from the continuous cycle of tests, projects and essays. Rabbi Ney summed it up: “I thought that the students really enjoyed the acts and there was a nice mix of serious and funny acts, lots of talent… I thought it went really well.”

By: Adira Kahn (11th Grade)

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