December 11, 2019

Everything Happens for a Reason

Noah Rossi, 18
High School: Shalhevet
College: Yeshiva University

Noah Rossi is a comeback kid. When he didn’t get into a Jewish high school for ninth grade, he discovered an alternate path in Harkham-GAON Academy, a small independent community school that also teaches Judaic studies.

“In the beginning, when I was really upset about not getting into Shalhevet or YULA, the main [reason] was not being able to play on a sports team, because I really liked basketball,” Rossi told the Journal via Skype. (He was on his senior trip to Poland and Israel at the time). 

Rossi shared his disappointment with Harkham-GAON’s principal, Debora Parks, who then hired a coach and put together a basketball team. Rossi became the team’s captain. Then, last year, Shalhevet invited the Harkham-GAON team to its Steve Glouberman Basketball Tournament. Rossi’s former camp counselor and mentor, Rabbi Yagil Tsaidi, encouraged Rossi to reapply to Shalhevet and he was accepted. 

Yet despite his invitation to join Shalhevet for the spring semester of 11th grade, Rossi didn’t want to let down his team as it had been invited to the Sarachek Basketball Tournament in New York. So he continued his studies at both schools, taking two classes at Shalhevet before finally enrolling full time at Shalhevet for his senior year.

“I always thought everything happens for a reason. And this is meant to be: This is my path.”

 “From the get-go, I connected with these teachers [at Shalhevet],” Rossi said. “It was crazy for me just being here one year. I felt like I never even got rejected. The way people treat me, and the way I walk around the school, it’s as if I’ve always been there.”

He’s also incredibly grateful for his time at Harkham-GAON. “I’m so happy that I dealt with that,” he said, “because now I know that I can deal with the lowest lows, but come out on top.”

Rossi will spend a gap year studying at Yeshivat Torat Shraga in Jerusalem and then head to Yeshiva University in New York. Although he’s still unsure of what he plans to study, he said his passions are music and basketball.  

“I really like music management, like producing and being in the studio,” he said. “I like playing basketball, but I also like talking about basketball, so maybe [I’ll pursue something like] sports analytics or broadcasting.”

He is also excited to learn more about Judaism during his year in Israel. “I never was so into religion until these past couple of years,” he said. “I was into that idea of believing in God; that each person has their own path and each little thing a person goes through is their own destiny. I always thought everything happens for a reason. And this is meant to be: This is my path.”

Keep on reading about our 2019 Outstanding Seniors here.