Monday, February 27, 2012

Crowning Glory

Hey, parents!

It’s nearly midnight. Do you know where your high school seniors are?

I ask, because if it’s on or about Rosh Chodesh Adar, chances are said 12th graders are off somewhere working on the all-important Hachtarah.

What’s a Hachtarah, you ask?

Well, to answer that, I suppose we should consult that scholarly classic, namely, The Official Our Shiputzim Adar Lexicon (2010), which includes the following definition:

Hachtarah (הכתרה) - Literally, coronation or inauguration. Basically an elaborate Purim shpiel, but also the event at which the Rav or Rabbanit Purim is crowned.  In most schools, this is considered to be the highlight of the senior year.

Now, far be it from me, a mere blogger, to argue with such an authoritative and well-regarded reference work as the aforementioned Adar Lexicon, but although this definition is technically correct, I’m not sure that it fully conveys the Hachtarah’s magnitude or significance.

That is, I believe that when the lexicon was originally published, the author was then the mother of a then-yeshiva high school senior.

In other words, the author obviously had no firsthand experience with a Hachtarah in an ulpanah, and as a result, she clearly did not realize that in an ulpanah, the Hachtarah is less “elaborate Purim shpiel” and more what is referred to in Orthodox Jewish girls’ high schools in the States (or in the New York area, anyway) as the “Production.”

In my own quaint, out-of-town school, we called it simply a play or a musical – without a capital letter…


Needless to say, a major theatrical event such as the Hachtarah requires weeks and weeks of preparation - including writing scripts, rehearsing scenes, building sets, sewing costumes, choreographing dances, and so on.

Which, in educational terms, translates to almost no classes from Rosh Chodesh Shvat, countless all-nighters, exhausted girls, and bemused parents.

And of course all this happens just as the girls are interviewing for Sherut Leumi and even taking one or two of the Bagruyot.

But, as they say, the show must go on, and so, we here at Our Shiputzim extend our best wishes to all the performers and eagerly look forward to what promises to be a great night!

Happy Adar!


  1. Having roughly zero girl children, I only knew Productions from the outside. But as an observer, I saw young ladies learn organizational skills worthy of a CEO training program. It didn't take long for my facetious side to realize that this last few months of 12th grade may have been the most useful educational experience presented. Tell her to break a leg. (Figuratively speaking, of course. Puh-puh-puh.) ;-)

  2. As a parent of 5 Israelis, long graduated, and a former yehsiva hs efl teacher, all I can say is that Adar activities trump studies and sleep for sure.

  3. Ruti Mizrachi - BA"H, she and her friends did an amazing job! It was a wonderful show!

    Batya - Very true!

  4. JPiX would love to see photos of the event!

  5. Ilana-Davita - Thanks, but for now, I'm trying to hold on to the few remaining shreds of my "semi-anonymous" status... :-)
    Shabbat Shalom!


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