November 30, 2015

GOA Faculty's Favorite Turkey Day Memories

Matan Kogen, '18

“When I was a wee young man, my family used to go with another family down to Nags Head, North Carolina for every Thanksgiving. One year, we had filled the car to the brim because there were so many of us. It was so crowded that we had to tie the turkey to the roof. That weekend, it happened to be particularly cold. We got down to North Carolina, settled in the house, and realized the turkey was frozen solid from being on the roof of the car. It took us the entire weekend to defrost it! It wasn’t ready until the Monday after Thanksgiving. Sadly, we didn’t have turkey that weekend, but we had a good story to tell, spent lots of time playing games and having fun waiting for the turkey to not defrost.”

“We always, always, always go to my aunt’s house in Princeton for Thanksgiving and we get there early to hang out while they’re cooking the turkey. One particular year, they were trying a new method of cooking the turkey. They were trying to cook it in a, um, sort of Moroccan style in a terrain or something like that, and it wasn’t working out. We were sitting outside the kitchen and all we could hear was cursing. My aunt and uncle were really cursing at each other. It brought out the worst in them, but once we all sat down, we had a great time.”

“It’s special to get together with the family and we’re always happy to see that people are coming from all over the state to our house. Our favorite thing on Thanksgiving is the food. Most people cook the whole turkey together, but in my house, we chop it up and then we put it in the oven with different kinds of sauces. People who come to my house always expect the same kind of turkey you’d get anywhere else. They are surprised by how different our turkey is, but they always love it in the end.”

“A funny Thanksgiving memory? What? I don’t have one. I really can’t remember any funny ones. That’s sad.

Recipe Corner: Delicious Fall- Inspired Cinnamon Apple Rings

Cinnamon & Sugar topping:
⅓ cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon

4 large apples
1 cup of flower
¼ teaspoon of baking powder
2 tablespoons of sugar
¼ teaspoon of salt
⅛ teaspoon of cinnamon
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup of buttermilk
vegetable oil for frying

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon.
  2. In another small bowl combine the egg and buttermilk.
  3. In a third dish, make your cinnamon-sugar topping by combining the ⅓ cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.
  4. Next, slice the apples into ¼-inch thick slices, and use circle biscuit cutters in graduated sizes to make rings out of each slice. Discard the center circles containing the apple core.
  5. Pat the apple rings down with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  6. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat to 350°F.
  7. Combine the contents of the first and second dishes as the oil warms up. This will be your batter.
  8. Dip the apple rings in and out of the batter one at a time, removing any dripping excess by tapping the rings against the side of the bowl.
  9. Fry the rings in small batches, turning them to ensure browning on both sides.
  10. Once the rings are golden and crispy, transfer them to a plate lined with paper towel for a few seconds.
  11. Quickly transfer the apple rings, one by one, into the cinnamon-sugar mixture and coat evenly.

Top 10 Black Friday Tips

Rachel Berger, '18

Many people wait all year long for the one holiday spent crammed inside the mall. This year, on Friday, November 27, thousands of people will wake up before the crack of dawn and rush to stores to snag the best deals of the season. Although this holiday may seem fun at first, it can end up being very stressful when spent waiting on line or stuck in traffic for hours. Here are 10 tips to make your Black Friday hassle-free:

  1. The best deals sell out quickly, so the earlier you start your shopping, the better chance you’ll have at snatching up those deals.
  2. Not every sale is worth it. Do your research to see if other stores are offering better deals.
  3. Make a list of your “must have” items before shopping so you can avoid buying items that are unnecessary.
  4. Bring snacks to eat while waiting on line. Believe it or not, shopping can work up an appetite.
  5. Start shopping ahead of time. Many stores launch their Black Friday deals up to a week before the “official day.”
  6. Bring coupons. Although the sales on Black Friday are great, there’s no harm in getting additional discounts, so make sure to check which coupons can be used that weekend.
  7. Make sure to check the return policies. Even if you are very familiar with the store, they may change their return policies, so make sure to ask a cashier or check their website before purchasing an item. Ya’ know, just in case.
  8. Shop online. More and more sales have been online each year, so save yourself the hassle of driving and shop at home.
  9. The best deals are usually on the big ticket items, so if you’re planning on buying an expensive item, Black Friday may be the best day to do so.
  10. Bring a suitcase or find a cart to store your bags. You may want to use either one of those items while shopping so you don’t need to juggle your many bags.

Thanksgiving Word Search

Spotlight on a Freshman: Maddie Herman

Spotlight on a Freshman: Maddie Herman

Anna Shpilsky ‘18

What did you do this summer?
This summer I went to Camp Ramah in the Berkshires for two months. At the end of August, I travelled to Brazil for my cousin’s wedding!

Mazel Tov! What was the highlight of your trip?
Maddie: While I was in Brazil, I got to go to the top of a huge mountain called Sugar Loaf Mountain. We saw an amazing view of the ocean and all of the tiny houses.

If you could have one wish, what would it be?
I would wish for good grades, to get into a good college, to find a nice Jewish boy, and for world peace.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy playing sports – soccer, basketball and softball – and also singing and acting.

If you could use three words to describe yourself, which three words would you select?
Unique, bizarre and entertaining.

What color do you associate yourself with and why?
Probably the color yellow because at first it’s strange, but it definitely grows on everyone after a while.

If you could go anywhere in the world with the person of your choice, where would you go and why?
I would go to California because of the really nice weather. I would take the Pope with me to ride around in his Popemobile!

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
I would save it so that I would have the ability to send my children to GOA!

What teacher has had the greatest impact on you?
Mrs. Antiles. No explanation needed.

What is your dream job?
To work at Google so that I can use the slide whenever I want to!

The Crazy Life of Anthony Sommese

Theo Deitz-Green ‘18

From carjacking to drug stings to security duty, GOA security guard Anthony Sommese has seen it all.
Sommese worked for 25 years as a detective at the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. He spent part of that time in a unit that dealt with car theft and carjacking and the rest in a wiretapping unit.
After working his way up the ranks of the Prosecutor’s Office, Sommese found himself in charge of a car theft and carjacking unit. He and his officers drove around every day in unmarked cars looking for stolen automobiles and as soon as somebody saw one, the whole unit converged on the scene and captured the suspect.
Of course, things did not always go so smoothly when Sommese and his team apprehended suspects. Although Sommese never had to shoot anybody, members of his team were involved in a few shooting situations.
One time, one of Sommese’s men tried to take down a suspect in a stolen car without any backup. Going into action without backup is never a good idea, and things went horribly wrong.
As the officer was standing at the door to the car, the suspect suddenly jerked the car back and then forward, knocking the officer to the ground. As the officer was falling to the ground, he managed to pull out his gun and shoot the suspect, causing the suspect to crash the car into a nearby pole. Sommese arrived on the scene to find his officer injured on the ground and the suspect’s car crashed into a pole, the suspect having been shot.
“Imagine finding that,” Sommese said.
Other times, the suspects tried to escape by driving away and car chases ensued. As the head of his team, it was Sommese’s job to fly above in a helicopter during car chases, telling his officers where to go to catch the suspect.
Even though it was a high-intensity job, Sommese never felt scared because he had adrenaline running through him and he was surrounded by his friends. Through it all, Sommese had one main focus.
“You do everything you can to prevent civilian casualties,” he said.
As for drug busts, Sommese had only one thing to say: “Typical.”
He and his team would wiretap suspects, wait for them to say something incriminating, and then rush in and arrest them, almost like drug busts on television.
Once he retired, Sommese decided to work as a security guard in a school because, “[he missed] being a kid.”
So next time you try to make up an excuse about why you’re late, just remember: Sommese has seen it all.

Ms. Stodolski: A Tale of Compassion, Dedication and Hot Air Balloons

Sarah Cehelyk, '18

Even though Upper School Principal Ms. Christine Stodolski has only been at GOA for a short period of time, her positive influence on our school community is already visible. Her desire to enhance the GOA experience inspires teachers and students alike.
Stodolski was born in Syracuse, New York, where her father was studying Engineering. She and her family moved to Massachusetts when she was three years old. She studied at a small high school, where her favorite high school subject was Physics; she got to take it for two years, which was “awesome.” She took education courses in college and ultimately became a teacher.
Stodolski cites several people as having been impactful role models for her. One such figure is Amelia Earhart, as she is impressed by Earhart’s bravery and willingness to break conventions and notes that Earhart had to be extremely smart to accomplish all that she did.
Stodolski’s affection for traversing the skies is not merely limited to historical pilots, however; among her many hobbies is hot air ballooning, which she came to love because her father owns a hot air balloon.
Pilots aside, her own teachers were inspirational, as well. The teacher that had the greatest impact on Stodolski was her Math and Literature teacher – the same teacher for both subjects. She was amazed at how intelligent he was with respect to two distinct, almost opposite topics. He explained things very clearly and allowed her to appreciate those subjects more deeply.
Another teacher, Laila Goodman, serves as Stodolski’s professional role model. Goodman went on maternity leave in 1992, during which time Ms. Stodolski was her substitute. After Goodman returned, she and Stodolski became very close friends. She considers Goodman her role model because she tries to live her life honestly and spiritually. She also always attempts to see the big picture in life and to see the best in everyone, characteristics that Stodolski tries to emulate.
Ms. Stodolski’s motivation for becoming a principal is unique: she says that she has spent a lot of time thinking about how the various components of an education system influence students in the classroom.
“Being in a principal’s position allows me to influence these systems, structures and relationships,” she claimed, “ultimately giving me the opportunity to impact student learning.”
She finds that the best thing about being principal of GOA’s Upper School is the warmth of the community and the commitment of the faculty to see students as whole people and not just students.
Perhaps most revealing of Ms. Stodolski’s compassion, intelligence and dedication to education, however, is what she would do if she won the lottery: she would start a foundation to help underprivileged students receive the quality education that they ought to have.

November 29, 2015

Na’ale 2015: Going Up on a Sunday

Theo Deitz-Green, '19

With the start of ninth grade comes an experience my classmates and I have all been anticipating: Na’ale. After watching every grade ahead of us go to Israel and hearing their stories, we are ecstatic that it is finally our turn.
Because of the security situation in Israel, our November 8 departure was not confirmed until October 28. The past month has been filled with tragedy in Israel and anxiety at GOA over the status of our trip. Many students and parents were apprehensive about traveling to Israel. Luckily, however, the situation is much more stable now, meaning that we can look forward to a safe and fun-filled ten days in Israel.
For me, however, this trip is even more special because it will be my first time returning to Israel since I lived there nine years ago.
In 2005, my family moved to Israel for a year because my dad was studying to become a rabbi. It was one of the greatest years of my life. I learned what it was like to be a true Israeli, from attending an Israeli kindergarten to traveling across the country with my family. But since coming back to the United States in 2006, I haven’t returned.
Since I was only five years old when I lived in Israel, I don’t remember everything. I hope that when I finally go back, memories of sights and places will rush back.
This time, however, something will be different when I go to Israel: I will be with my friends. Students in older grades have told me that being with friends in Israel is completely different from being with family. I am excited to see how our grade bonds and what new friendships materialize after 10 days together.
As my friends and I reviewed the trip’s itinerary, cries of “We get to go here?” or “We get to do this?” rang out. We all look forward to touring the country, putting our Hebrew to the test when meeting Israeli ninth-graders, and eating some great Israeli food.
The best part about Na’ale for me, however, will not be the activities themselves, or even the fact that I haven’t done them since almost a decade ago; it will be that my friends and I are doing them together

Welcome to the NEW Israel Section

Aryeh Lande, '18 - Israel Politics Editor

For years, the Israel section of The Flame has functioned as a pro-Israel summary of the news that reflects the current mainstream views of the school community. While this has served a nice role, giving us what we wish to read, it is not always the healthiest for our community. We at The Flame firmly believe that a newspaper should be devoted to journalistic neutrality and integrity. That is why the Israel section this year will present a broader spectrum of valid beliefs and opinions, without bias.
The Flame will feature provocative, and sometimes controversial, pieces aimed at prodding the reader to think. We at The Flame hope this approach will help our community’s understanding of Israel to grow. This section will attempt to provide the environment for individuals to see the news through new lenses and gain a better grasp on the issues at hand. We are not here to mold and shape your opinions, but rather to present the news in a factual manner to allow the community to form their own opinions.

Terrorism in Jerusalem: A First Hand Account

Noah Brown ‘18

During the week of September 27, 2015, I was in Israel with my family celebrating my brother’s Bar Mitzvah. During the trip we stayed in Jerusalem for four days. While we were there, there was an attack on October 4 inside of the old city when a Palestinian teenager stabbed two Orthodox Jewish men. On my way back to the hotel that night, I encountered a group of approximately 100 Israelis protesting in the street that our hotel was on. Although there wasn’t any violence, there were many chants and signs about hating the Palestinian people. The protestors had a few journalists following them, along with civilians just trying to get by. Then, there were the police, who branded assault rifles, batons, visors and combat boots. Thankfully, the protest never became violent, but the demeanor of the police made me more uneasy than the protest itself.
The next morning, my father told my family that we were going to the old city, where Palestinians were banned from entering for the next few days. This sanctioned racial profiling was even more foreign of a concept to me than seeing people pass by armed soldiers and police officers like it was nothing. When I entered the old city on the, there were soldiers everywhere. It was nighttime and we entered down a lane that served as the entrance to the Jewish quarter. It felt like a Film Noir scene, lights spaced unevenly with darkness prevailing, which instilled terror in my heart. Anxiety and dread filled my lungs and I found it a little difficult to breathe.
After walking for about 100 meters, I passed an Imam and four people joining him in prayer. They were in the street, outside the door of a mosque under hesitant police and military supervision and protection. I wish that I could say that I passed them by without having my heart jump into my throat. I wish that I had walked by without almost calling for the police. Even though I knew the statistics and I was positive they were all searched very thoroughly multiple times on their way to their mosque, I still felt a prejudice against them that I had never felt before. The police and military presence, though, had shattered that mindset, serving as a physical embodiment of the tension in Jerusalem.
After a long trek, we made our way down to the Western Wall, which we had seen a few days earlier on a tour. It was Simchat Torah and despite the threat and tension, there were old men and little children jumping and singing.
Going to the interior portion of the Wall, I ran into a madrich of my Na’ale trip last year, Yedidyah Wenner. We caught up for a while, and eventually Wenner began explaining how only a fraction of people were present on Simchat Torah because of obvious factors. My father then replied and said that the shootings really shocked my family. Yedidyah agreed, but added, “Yeah, this happens most time there’s an event like this.” Despite the fact that they were both saying the same thing, I noticed a difference in tone.
To Wenner, it seemed routine, something that he expected. To my father and me, however, where the 24-hour news cycle dominates and shootings like these could be played out for weeks, this seemed like a real shock; an imminent threat.
Aside from differences in culture and language, the most striking thing about Israel is the role violence plays into people’s lives directly. That’s not to say that violence is not permeated deeply into American society; however, in Israel, there’s something very real about it. Perhaps it’s the “us-versus-them” mentality. Maybe it’s the proximity; it’s a small country and being so close to demonstrations, military and conflict makes it seem all too real. Either way, coming back to America released a tension somewhere deep inside of me that I didn’t know I had carried the whole trip.
In America, whenever I hear of a shooting, it always happens somewhere else and doesn’t impact me, and as a result, I stop caring. This is because I believe that we, the consumers of the American media, don’t put ourselves in the shoes of those affected by tragedies. A lack of empathy in the modern world is what makes “foreign conflicts” and “gun violence” sound so unrelated to the people who are not present. This trip opened my eyes.
I was in Israel when the Oregon shooting occurred. Concise, powerful stories which these attacks sadly create must be told as realistically as possible. When people see numbers and statistics and the same photographs over and over, they become desensitized. I have seen that a little fear goes a long way in invoking empathy – even if it is for selfish reasons.
Getting people to care is the most difficult part of writing on shootings. My trip allowed me to see what the news cannot show or tell me, and while it was a terrible experience, it allowed me to see the world in a new light.

Almost, Maine Lights up the Luna Stage

Hannah Sessler, '16

Over the weekend of November 7-8, Golda Och Academy put on its annual play at the Luna Stage in West Orange. Every year, the play is an opportunity to showcase the talented actors in our student body; however, this year’s show – Almost, Maine – is different from anything our school has produced before.
Almost, Maine is a show made up of 11 different vignettes, short scenes that lasts about 10-15 minutes. Each vignette takes place in the same small town, Almost, Maine, so called because it is almost in Canada.
When asked about the slightly unusual structure of the show, senior Veronica Slater said, “I think that it’s great that every actor has an equal role.”
“There’s no actual lead, but everybody gets to be a part of the show. It’s a great way to kick off the 2015-2016 Arts season!”
On the surface, these scenes – aside from the prologue, interlogue and epilogue – are completely unrelated. Since the scenes take place in the same small town, however, the characters know one another and even reference characters and locations from other vignettes.
The scenes are also connected by a common plot device, or what the play’s writer John Cariani calls the “magical moment.”
In each scene, this moment of revelation, drama or reconciliation takes place at exactly the same time: nine o’clock at night.
One remarkable feature of GOA’s rendition of Almost, Maine was the Northern Lights. The stage crew amazed the audience with their visual recreation of the famous natural phenomenon.
“We are going to be using some old fashioned theatrical trickery,” said Ms. Watson, when asked how she planned to create the Northern Lights in the theater. “Smoke and mirrors. Well, at least mirrors. Mirrors, light, and reflected light. It will be exciting.”
Golda Och Academy’s already successful Arts season continues in January with Into the Woods and later in the spring with A Year with Frog and Toad.

An Artfully Crafted Tefillah Experience

Kim Robins, '17

What do a siddur and an embroidery needle have in common?
For the students at Golda Och Academy, both represent an opportunity to incorporate Tefillah into their daily lives.
Art Minyan as we know it today began with the inception of Tefillah electives three years ago. Since then, it has consistently battled a negative reputation. Since it aims to enhance Tefillah through creativity rather than through traditional prayer, many students see it as an “easy minyan” or as a way to get out of standard T’fillah. These rumors, however, are completely false; any student who has experienced Art Minyan firsthand can attest to its efficacy and positive atmosphere.
Students do not see Art Minyan as a less serious or less religious form of Tefillah. The participants in Art Minyan either have a genuine interest in visual arts, or are looking for their own voice in Tefillah.
“[I joined Art Minyan because] I think there is a strong correlation in Judaism between art and Tefillah,” said senior Gabi Solomon. “Art is a form of communication and expression and so is Tefillah.”
Reflecting on his time in Art Minyan, junior Yoni Wechsler noted that, “After praying, people really wanted to express how they felt in some sort of way, and ... art was their way of doing that.”
Generally, Art Minyan does not mirror or focus on the traditional liturgy. Often, the minyan’s activities are more about reflection and exploration than about adhering to the prayers. Students respond to prompts in their art journals and create embroidered challah covers, activities that build connections to Jewish holidays, liturgy and nature.
“I think Art Minyan is intended to augment the experience [of Tefillah],” said Ms. Watson, who teaches the minyan on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. “We certainly draw our inspiration for projects from Jewish texts and traditions, but Art Minyan is unique in that it allows us to apply Tefillah to ourselves in a visual, creative way.
“The process is exciting, creative and introspective.”
Art Minyan has been explosively successful, but not in the sense that it creates a magical connection to or fluency in traditional prayer. Instead, Art Minyan encourages participants to think about Tefillah through the lens of themselves. For most students, this non-liturgical approach is much more effective.
Senior Talia Solomon attested that the minyan “was successful for me, because the projects inspired me to look deeper into myself, which is an important aspect of Tefillah.”
Sophomore Emily Saperstein echoed Solomon’s sentiments.
“Art Minyan was definitely successful for me, but more in the way of connecting myself to Judaism and other people around me rather than connecting with prayers and G-d,” said Saperstein. “As long as people have a positive attitude toward projects and really focus on doing their best, this minyan can be enjoyable and successful for everyone, just as it was for me.”

New Art Room a Calm and Creative Haven For GOA Artists

Alissa Lampert, '18

One of the great additions to come from the construction of the Dr. Lynne B. Harrison STEM building is the brand new expanded art room, which provides a creative and calming experience for students.
The newer, larger art room, which occupies what used to be Rooms 205 and 206, is one of several additions to GOA that came with the STEM Center. It was built over the summer and completed just in time for use at the beginning of the school year.
Now that the facility is up and running, students and teachers are able to take advantage of the improved space for the visual arts. Students can explore the room during lunch, elective classes and free periods, using new tools to heighten their art skills.
Art teacher Ms. Watson is enthusiastic about the improvements to the room.
“We have new and exciting equipment with which to work— easels, a pottery wheel, new track lighting and so much more equipment,” she said.
Students also appreciate the materials now available to them. Sophomore Carly Mast noted that the art room has “more space, more art supplies, movable tables and many more improvements.”
Mast especially likes the improved table set-up, which creates the atmosphere of a college art class.
“In my 2D art class, we often move the tables into a circle with something that we are drawing in the middle,” she said. “In my opinion it feels more professional.”
The one common critique of the art room is its lack of color, but students are already hoping to brighten up the room themselves.
“Although the grey walls seemed a little dull, especially for an art class,” sophomore Lara Brown described, “I could already picture how the room would look when it was filled with color and student projects.”
Despite the opportunities it provides for students already involved in visual arts, some doubt that the art room will attract previously unengaged students.
When asked about how she feels this room will encourage more students to explore visual art, Brown responded, “I honestly do not think that the room alone will put that much more emphasis on the arts. The main reason for renovating the art room was to make room for the STEM building.
“I think that the STEM program offers a connection to the arts, if our school is willing to make that connection.”
Ms. Watson, however, offered a different point of view.
“I think the very concept that so much money and resources for our new art room were raised indicates that, in fact, we do have a very supportive school community and administration.”
As art classes begin, students are exploring each new aspect of the art room. Projects range from 2D-art, where students draw models of different parts of the human skeleton, to the design and illustration class, where students design elaborate cakes for a vintage bakery.
Outside of class, the new tools available to the middle and high school play set crews will allow for a much livelier, more engaging set that will excite the audience and cast members alike.
The new art room offers unprecedented opportunities for students to create advanced visual arts projects in classes, clubs and shows. The facility is becoming more popular every day, allowing the GOA community to enjoy the arts more than ever before.

2015-2016: A Look to Hockey’s Future

Gideon Fox, '19

This year in hockey should be a good one. It seems as if the Chicago Blackhawks’ reign of victory may be ending due to Patrick Kane’s legal case and they also lost Andrew Sharp and Johnny Oduya to the Dallas Stars in the offseason. On the other hand, Chicago has had a lot of success in the past six season, but that can’t last for much longer because they need to add to a defense which has Duncan Keith, which they don’t plan on doing.
A team to look out for is the New Jersey Devils. They have a few promising rookies as well as newly-signed Kyle Palmieri.The St. Louis Blues look great as well, even though they lost T.J. Oshie during this past offseason. Their one problem is that they have fared well in the regular season, but have not managed to fare as well in the playoffs.
The most underrated team this year, according to many, is the aforementioned Dallas Stars. Although they were a disappointment last year, they could come back and do some damage in the West. New acquisitions, such as Sharp and Oduya, from Chicago, will only strengthen the defense and their forwards, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, two very notable names in the National Hockey League, have the potential to add to the carnage. The Blackhawks may not be Stanley Cup material, but they could go far.
Now on to the Stanley Cup predictions. While the Anaheim Ducks have been dominant, with division titles the past three years, they haven’t been able to transfer their quality play to the playoffs. This year they will try to change that. They may have lost Kyle Palmieri, but the juggernauts from Cali still have offensive stars in Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler and Carl Hagelin. Between the pipes, the Ducks have two top-notch goalies, Josh Gibson and Frederik Andersen.
Many people are predicting the Stanley Cup Finals to feature the Ducks against the New York Islanders, with Anaheim winning in seven games. The Islanders have a gaggle of talent across the ice, with players like John Tavares, Frans Nielsen and Josh Bailey on offense and Johnny Boychuk, Travis Hamonic and Nick Leddy on defense.
The Islanders have a great team, but it’s the Ducks’ year and it’s about time, too, for them to win for the first time in nine years.
No matter what happens in the playoffs, this year should be a pretty good one in the hockey world. It’s a great time to root for the men on the ice.

The Slobodien Soccer Star

Matt Nadel, '17

Senior Harrison Slobodien feels great pride playing for Golda Och Academy’s high school boys soccer team. Although this is his last season on the team, Slobodien would like to get one last hurrah with his buddies on the pitch.
“The team is just a good group of people,” he said. “I’ve played on a lot of other soccer teams in my life, but this one is very special.”
Slobodien has been a big leg in the Roadrunners’ recent soccer success, which included a goal in a first-round victory over Morristown Beard School in the NJ State Non-Public B tournament, avenging last year’s loss against the Crimson. Slobodien also scored GOA’s lone goal in its 1-7 quarterfinal loss to top-seeded Gill St. Bernard’s on November 5.
Over the past two years, the senior forward has led his team in goals and was the Roadrunners’ scoring leader with 32 this season. He says his biggest influence to how he plays the game of soccer is Lionel Messi, arguably the best soccer player in the world.
“I’ve always been a fan of Messi ever since I’ve been following soccer,” said Slobodien. “I like the attention of playing forward.”
Just like Messi, Slobodien might be the next great young soccer star.
The Roadrunners started off slow out of the gate this year, only going 1-3 inside the Super Essex Conference’s Colonial Division, but Slobodien thinks the club has a chance of claiming a second consecutive division title, the first title being “hands down” his favorite moment on the Roadrunners.
“We lost our first division game but we’ve won some games out of the division. If we can play like that for the rest of the year than we definitely have a chance.”
GOA has a couple of divisional games coming up in their overall tough schedule, so it will be a tough test for the high schoolers, but like Slobodien said, they have a chance if they play as well as they can.
Like most Jewish sports stars of the past and present, Slobodien has experienced some anti-Semitism, but handles it tactfully.
“People have called me bad names before, but I try not to get back at them,” he said. “If it gets too bad I’ll either tell my coach or the referee, who will usually handle the situation.”
Slobodien takes pride in playing for the Roadrunners because he is surrounded by supporters and friends alike.
“We’re winners,” Slobodien said when asked to describe his team in one word.
When asked the question of whether he will ever stop playing soccer, he said, “I hope to play until my body doesn’t let me anymore.”
It’s too bad that he will be leaving the school for college after this year, but he will always remember his time on the soccer field with his friends playing the sport they all love.

GOA Mets Fans Disappointed, Optimistic For 2016 Season

Matt Nadel, '17

Coming into this season, not much was expected of the New York Mets. Few, if any, had them performing well enough to make the playoffs, let alone get to the World Series. Yet, with the 2015 Major League Baseball season in the rearview mirror, the defending National League champions heading into the 2016 campaign are those very same Metropolitans.
“I didn’t think the Mets would do well, maybe second or third in the NL East but not first,” said sophomore Etai Barash.
Boy, did the 2015 Mets prove everyone wrong.
After a slow start to the season, only finishing five games over .500 by the All Star break, the Mets needed an offensive jumpstart and looked to the trade market for such a bat. Their trade for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes at the trade deadline paid big dividends for the Amazins, as Cespedes hit 17 home runs in just 57 games while wearing the blue and orange.
“I thought we could finally compete because he made the Mets’ offense great,” said Barash.
And so they did. The Mets finished the season with a record of 90-72, good enough for first place in the NL East.
Despite its top-tiered offense in the second half of the season, New York was known more for its great pitching than its bats, with flamethrowers like Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz.
“Harvey was under a lot of scrutiny for his innings count, but still performed well and was voted the Comeback Player of the Year,” said avid Mets fan Rabbi Mayer. “DeGrom delivered and stayed at a consistently good level throughout the season.”
After a five-game series win over the Dodgers in the NLDS, the Mets swept the Cubs in the NLCS to advance to their first World Series since 2000. The Mets’ postseason success was much attributed to infielder Daniel Murphy, who hit six home runs in six consecutive postseason games, a MLB record.
Sadly, New York’s dreams of championship ring number three came to an end in the World Series, as the Royals beat the Mets in five games. Kansas City figured out the Mets’ pitching and almost never struck out.
The Mets pushed hard, but three blown saves and costly errors by New York ended their Cinderella story.
Now it’s offseason time, so what are the Mets to do? Cespedes and Murphy have expiring contracts, but will the Mets try to resign them? How will they fare in the National League next season? Junior Nadav Aronoff thinks he has the answer.
“We’re going to make it to the playoffs and we’re going to go far, but we will not win the World Series,” he said.
Wise words from Aronoff, but the only thing Mets fans can do for now is continue to hope for their team’s first World Series championship since 1986.

The Cohen Family: Five Years in the Making

Eran Shapiro, '18

October 31 is the most important day of the year for the Cohen family and not because it is Halloween. Five years ago on that day, GOA physical education teacher Robert Cohen and his wife, Debbie, adopted their son Ben Yang Cohen.
Their journey into the adoption process began almost three years prior. Once Mr. Cohen and his wife decided to adopt, a challenge for them was finding the right country to adopt from.
There were many factors that would make a country the right one, especially their desire to adopt from a country that would provide them with reliable information about their future child. The search for the right country soon proved more challenging than previously thought as they encountered and learned about different countries’ regulations surrounding adoption.
Even after finding countries that met their criteria, finding a country where they themselves met that country’s requirements for prospective adoptive parents was just as difficult. Mr. Cohen noted they were interested in South Korea, for example, but the adoption authorities told him that he was too old to adopt there.
After much deliberation, Mr. Cohen and his wife decided to adopt from China. They were originally in China’s regular adoption program in which, as Mr. Cohen explained, “90 percent of the time you adopt a girl.”
When the Chinese adoption authorities asked Mr. Cohen and his wife whether they would be interested in adopting from the special needs program, which featured a much shorter wait time than the regular program, they eagerly agreed. They soon got matched up with their son Ben, at the time named Niu Yang Yu, in May 2010, two months before his first birthday. It took six months until they were finally able to make their long awaited trip to China to meet their little boy.
The Chinese adoption process was further complicated by the American process, specifically Homeland Security.
“Homeland Security made us get our fingerprints done three times,” he said, “which doesn’t make sense because fingerprints don’t change.”
Although similarly tiresome, Mr. Cohen did earn a reprieve from the extensive paperwork.
“My wife did most of the paperwork because she has more patience than I do,” Mr. Cohen added.
Despite the whole process being a difficult one, it seemed as though Mr. Cohen would consider it a priceless moment in his life. Just like any other child, Ben means the world to his parents and brings them pride and happiness, a fact routinely observed by the girls soccer team.
“You see a whole other side to Mr. Cohen when Ben’s around,” sophomore Rachel Berger said. “Ben just brings him so much joy. But one thing: Beware! Ben’s cuteness may blind you!”

GOA Rishon Gili Shtibelman Forging New Relationships

Sophie Goldman, '19

For Gili Shtibelman, one of this year’s new rishonim, Israel gives her a strong sense of community and opportunities unlike any in America.
“You love the place you grow up in,” said Shtibelman. “It’s yours.”
Shtibelman, 18, comes from Rishon LeTzion, a coastal city south of Tel Aviv and the fourth largest city in Israel. She comes to Golda Och with two other rishonim, Doron Gatenio and Dotan Miller.
Israel has given Shtibelman independence from a young age, and she feels that the atmosphere is lighter and safer in Israel. Even though Rishon LeTzion is such a large city, she still finds it easy to meet new people just by saying hello in the street. She finds safety in the community of Israel, in the same way that GOA students are able to connect to the local Jewish community.
The Rishonim program offers Shtibelman and her fellows a chance to experience the different Jewish lifestyles found in America. Aside from visiting GOA, the Rishonim also visit synagogues of many denominations and interact with students of all ages.
In Israel, Shtibelman said she takes the Jewish community for granted, but life in America is a very abrupt change. Shtibelman and her fellow Rishonim have gotten used to living in a culture where not everyone is Jewish, and with these new experiences comes an even stronger appreciation for their home, culture, and Judaism.
In Rishon LeTzion, many were affected by the death Matan Gotlib, who fought in Operation Protective Edge and was killed searching for tunnels when a boobytrapped building collapsed. Gotlib’s death was familiar territory for Shtibelman, as she said almost everyone knows at least one person who died, but the routine of life in Israel helps them cope. She also added that Gotlib’s parents often say that the grief doesn’t take them, but rather walks next to them.
“You are willing to live with that in order to live in Israel,” said Shtibelman.
The high-school-aged Rishonim, have other goals besides spreading awareness about Israel, namely forming long-lasting relationships. According to Rabbi Kallush, the director of Israel programming, the formation of personal connections is one of the most important benefits of the program.
“Having a personal connection with someone in a different country and knowing them personally makes you much more connected to them and their country,” said Kallush.
Shtibelman is excited to bring her community to our school, but more importantly, she is ready to interact with students and strengthen their own connections with Israel, just as Israel did for her.

"Dear, Fat People"

Nina Robins, '19

I first heard about vlogger Nicole Arbour’s intensely controversial video called “Dear Fat People” one night early in the school year on Facebook. The video had exploded with several agitated and defensive responses. Friends of mine from various parts of the country were deeply offended by the video and made no hesitation to share their disdain through social media platforms.
Suspicious of the hype, my sister and I watched the video together. I was slightly disturbed, as many were, by the explicit nature of the video, but I laughed out loud quite a few times at the brutal, yet often entertaining, material. Six minutes and nine seconds later, I was off of YouTube and focused on something else. The internet community, however, was not so quick to forget.
Over the following days, dozens of popular YouTubers, including Tyler Oakley and Shane Dawson, voiced their disgust with “Dear Fat People” by posting vlogs on the subject matter ranging from heartfelt speeches to their subscribers to satire almost as sarcastic as the original video. The youth of the world sprinted to back the opinions of their Internet idols, flooding social media with hashtags like #bodypositive and mercilessly attacking “fat shamers.” A newly-coined term to describe people who bully and socially oppress the overweight and obese population.
Interestingly enough, the more videos I watched that ridiculed “Dear Fat People,” the more I became infatuated with “Dear Fat People,” and Arbour herself. Arbour is incredibly charismatic. Her strong opinions and brash delivery, not to mention her winning looks, attract millions of views to her videos. Arbour is smart in that she caters not to a specific demographic of opinions, rather she caters to the Internet as a whole. Some viewers find humour in her energy and spastic jump cuts while others agree with her opinions and enjoy having a voice they can relate with. Still others absolutely despise her, her blunt comedy, and her arguably bigoted opinions, and make every effort to dislike all her videos and report her at every opportunity.
As to the subject matter of the video, Arbour explicitly stated in the beginning of her video that her intent was to target the obese population. She understood that all bodies are beautiful, so long as they are healthy. I commend Arbour because she approached an important health and social issue that most people are understandably very uncomfortable discussing in an attempt not to offend anyone, and she tackled it head-on and brutally.
Arbour wasn’t afraid to go to extremes to push her point to the limit. She decorated her video with hilarious hand motions and colorful storytelling and lit a spark in a potentially somber and, in many cases, unrelatable discussion. Arbour and I share the opinion that it’s totally okay to be #bodypositive when you have a #healthybody, but an unhealthy body is not to be #celebrated.
Obviously, some parts of “Dear Fat People” were incredibly exaggerated and offensive, namely her narration of her escapade in the airport, but her motive was clearly to gain attention. And it worked. At the time of this writing, “Dear Fat People” has over 7.5 million views.
While opinions on Arbour differ, no one can argue that her explicit and assertive tactics helped her to spread her message throughout the media platform and inspired people to directly face the problem of obesity that plagues our world today, in whichever way they see fit.

Should Teachers Have Guns?

Noah Brown ‘18

On November 1, gunfire erupted on the campus of North Carolina’s Winston-Salem State University, killing one student and injuring another.
Just 10 days earlier, a shooting at Tennessee State University left one person dead and two others injured.
Almost two weeks before the Tennessee State shooting, on October 9, two people died and four were wounded in two separate and unrelated attacks on Texas Southern University and Northern Arizona University’s campuses.
With so many shootings occurring on school campuses, a frequent response among second amendment advocates is that arming teachers is key in curtailing the amount and severity of these shootings.
The topic of guns in school – specifically arming teachers – is, however, by no means a simple question. Although most GOA students and faculty agreed teachers should not be permitted to carry firearms on campus, the debate was livelier and more nuanced than most would think.
The initial reaction among students and teachers was to question why anyone would think it a good idea for a high school teacher to have a gun.
“I don’t want to put 50 guns in a school,” said Dr. Kelmanovich. “The fewer guns the better.”
Others added that the risk of a murder under this policy is higher than the risk of a murder by an actual intruder.
Students also worried that if teachers carried guns, a student could simply take one.
“Once you put guns into a school, they’re in the school,” said sophomore Eran Shapiro. “You can’t ensure they stay in the hands of the teachers.”
History teacher Mr. Zelenka agreed, saying that, “If I’m at a water fountain, you think I’m paying attention?
“There are dozens of opportunities a day for a shooter to take a gun from a teacher.”
Another critical component to the debate is how guns on campus would affect GOA’s current security measures. To my surprise, most did not feel that arming teachers would make the school more secure.
“Security is important and we take it seriously at our school,” said Head of School Mr. Shapiro, “[but] I don’t believe that having armed teachers would make us safer.”
Understandably, many teachers were uncomfortable with the idea that they would be acting both as security guards and as teachers.
Director of Israel Education Rabbi Kallush, for example, noted that when she was a tour guide in Israel, she had someone else guarding the group.
“I couldn’t focus on leading and safety,” she said. “I had my job and the guard had his.”
Likewise, Mr. Shapiro stated, “I want our teachers to teach and the security guards to keep us safe.”
The dynamic between students and teachers would also certainly be affected on a smaller scale than what security tends to handle: inside the classroom. Students said that they would have to trust the teachers a lot more than they already have to, which could distract students and make them uncomfortable. Many teachers believed that they, too, would be distracted by the responsibility of carrying a gun, and that guns would create a barrier between teachers and students.
“[Having guns] imposes danger,” said Mr. Zelenka. “It makes students think, ‘My teacher needs to have a gun. That’s the world I’m living in today.’”
Zelenka’s colleague, Mr. Stern, however, disagreed.
“At first it would be distracting,” he said, “but I would just ignore it after a time and I think students would too.”
Mr. Stern certainly isn’t alone. In fact, Math teacher Mr. Laks took it a few steps further, stating that if teachers were properly trained, knew how to treat a weapon, and took proper safety precautions, he would support the option of arming teachers.
He does concede, however, that such conditions are difficult to implement and that if even one teacher slipped up, it would compromise the entire policy. He realizes that there are many factors to consider when bringing guns into schools and that it may not be the right decision for every institution.
The idea of arming teachers would theoretically increase the safety of the school, but in practice it provides too many opportunities for a potential attacker to gain possession of a gun. Like many at GOA, I support the the idea of “the fewer guns the better.”
The argument for arming teachers with guns is that guns are a method of defense in an intrusion or a shooting; however, I think that if guns are nonexistent on campus from the onset, nothing is needed to defend against attacks.
I am also against arming teachers because it changes the student-teacher dynamic at GOA, for the worse. Guns represent power, and asking a student to trust a teacher with a gun is difficult. While armed teachers might make some students feel secure, others will feel uneasy around and inferior to their supposedly accessible teachers.
Generally, members of the GOA community seem comfortable with our current security measures, but would support extra security – including guns – if the need arose. I, on the other hand, would not support these measures. The chance of a shooting occurring at our school with the addition of over 50 guns is exponentially greater than the chance now.
I am not willing to put our school’s teachers and students in potential conflict and danger. It is clear to me that not arming our teachers is the right choice.

The Tefillah Conundrum

Dina Doctoroff ‘18

Tefillah is a heavily-discussed topic at GOA, with many student holding varied and strong opinions on the matter.
There is a large sect of students within the student body that are highly critical of the period and gener­ally hold negative views on the subject. Many believe that this is due to the current system in which students in younger grades are influenced by upperclassmen, many of whom bear strong opinions on the subject.
“When incoming freshman first join the high school in prayer, it is not difficult for them to look around and see bored faces, disrespectful students and aggravated teachers threatening detention,” sophomore Yael Lieb­man said.
Liebman continued with the theory that the preex­isting negative mood does not exactly create the best atmosphere to develop a fondness, or at least a toler­ance, for this expression of collective worship. Un­fortunately, it seems as though as the year progresses, Liebman’s perceived negativity of the majority of the upperclassmen rubs off on the newcomers.
Rabbi Gindea, the coordinator for Tefillah, ac­knowledged this problem and has attempted fix the perpetual cycle that has been an ongoing issue for many years. Despite there not seeming to be any pres­ent solutions to the problem of negative response, the administration has put forth many new engaging mea­sures in an attempt to find a solution.
Rather than have students repeatthe same service every day, studentsnow participate in a varietyof programs throughout the week. Studentsstill take part in the traditional shacharitservice with a torah service  on  Mondays  and Thursdays,  but  are  also able to explorenew ways of experiencing Tefillah on Tuesdaysand Wednesdays. It is the hope of the school that through varied Tefillahexperiences, stu- dents will have the opportunity to explore the impact of Tefillah on a personaland individual level, while participating in communal prayer.
Even with these measures being put into place, however, there is still a generallynegative consensus regarding both the implementation of Tefillah service and the concept of its prevalence in the schoolday.
Sophomore Elijah Taitel explainedthat the gen- eralsentiment of the Tefillah-critical sect of the high school can be summed into one phrase.
“I have heard many students claimthe following:
‘If you talk you get detention, if you dont pray you getdetention, if you laugh you get detention.’”
It seems as if those who are criticalof Tefillah generally see the problem as resulting from the systemicsupposed-persecution of students, as opposed to the existence of a Tefillahprogram. Alternatively, otherstudents feel that the Tefillah system has caused so much conflict, becauseof the existence of strin-gent rules regarding behavior.
Tefillah is a good idea because its supposed to givepeople a personalspiritual connection,” said sophomore Lizzie Irwin, “but the flaw at our school is the rigidness (of therules regarding behavior).”
While many feel that Tefillah has become a negative part of GOA life, some students believethat tefil- lah is an eye-opening experience.
Tefillah at GOA is both inspiringand breathtak-ing,” said sophomore SharoniMarcus. We go from thanking Hashemfor all the things we have in life to praying about keepingour soldiers in Israel safe. Its truly inspirational.”
Many students see the problemswith the Tefillah program,but still believe that to deny someone the right to prayer and connection with God at a religiousJewish day school is unfair. The majority of the students who pray during Tefillahare not asking
the everyone be forced to pray, but rather would like
respect from the collective and an open and acceptingenvironment for their worship.
“If we are all capableof showing respectto those engagingin prayer during the mourners kaddish, why do we not do so throughoutthe rest of the service as well?”asked sophomore Jordan Mayor.
When somebody in the Golda Och community needs to say kaddish, the community attemptsto make them feel welcomeand tries as hard as it can to provide aloving and comfortable environment.
While it is highly improbable that the either the studentbody or the administration will undergo a paradigmshift and will change their opinion on the topicof Tefillah, it is possible that the communaldis- course regarding the topic itself can become a more respectful one.
As Golda Och has always been an environment open to criticism and new  ideas,  the  community shouldattempt to come together as a whole and en- gage in  a productive and meaningful conversation regarding the Tefillah system and how to better im-
prove it.


Adios, Señora Celebrating the Life and Career of Sharon Moran

Words cannot express the immense loss to the Golda Och community; Señora Moran was one of the most remarkable people Golda Och students had the privilege of knowing. While still mourning, however, the students that loved and ap­preciated her so dearly are keeping her vivacious spirit and positive attitude in mind and are celebrating her life.

Señora Moran loved her job and her students fervently. She was so devoted to doing whatever it took to make sure her students got the best educa­tion, and had fun while doing it.

“Señora Moran truly cared about us,” senior An­drew Schwartz said. “She helped us revise our es­says until they were perfect.”

Whether it was salsa dancing in class, watching videos of Enrique Iglesias, or just having conversa­tions in Spanish, Señora Moran made the class ex­citing and lively. In her sophomore class last year, they even choreographed and filmed a music video to “Vamos a la Playa.”

“There was never a dull moment with Señora Moran,” junior Mattan Poller said.

When her students were having a bad day, run down from stress and struggling to keep an optimis­tic outlook, they could walk into Señora Moran’s classroom and likely couldn’t help but grin. There she was, with “happy pills” – candy – in hand, ready to affect all with her infectious smile and sparkling eyes.

“Señora Moran was a positive force who always managed to lighten the room with her presence,” se­nior Jacob Gutstein said.

When there was a rattling behind you, you knew that it was Señora Moran coming, pushing her trusty cart and impeccably dressed, as always. She walked through the halls with a spring in her step, always eager to get to her next class, waving and exclaim­ing “Hola!” to whomever she passed.

“Every time I saw her in the hall, even months after not having her, she would come to me with her arms open exclaiming ‘Alejandro!,’” sophomore Alex Beigelman said.

When Señora Moran wasn’t teaching or helping her students, she could be found onstage, singing and dancing her heart out; she was a thespian, and a great one at that.

Moran performed in plays her whole life. She founded and served as the artistic director of the Rockaway Townsquare Players & Playhouse and was the co-creator and president of the Traveling Stage Company, which performed Moran’s one-act plays at various New Jersey venues. She even wrote a book called “Daughters of Destiny” that included plays about great women in history.

Perhaps the reason Señora Moran loved per­forming so much was the effect her acting had on the audience. She loved bringing joy to people and accomplished that through her performances.Our school witnessed her talents in the Purim Shpiel years ago, which she both produced and starred in. Señora Moran even brought her love of dancing into her classes.

“Señora taught us to salsa dance and even called the principal in to watch us,” sophomore Rachel Berger said. “She was so proud of our special salsa skills.”

I had the privilege of having Señora Moran as my teacher twice, in eighth grade and as a senior and I have learned a lot from my time in her classroom, much of which transcends academics. Yes, I have learned how to conjugate verbs and how to have the correct accent, but, more importantly, I now under­stand how to be a good, selfless person. Señora Mo­ran was always giving, whether it was extra help or an extra big hug. She helped others every day of her life and is even doing so in her death, as according to her husband, she has donated her body to science and will be saving lives.

Señora Moran was not only an amazing teach­er and gifted performer, but also a loving mother and wife. Our heart goes out to Mr. Moran and his sons during this difficult time. Although their loss is great, perhaps they can be comforted knowing they are not alone as they grieve, as Señora Moran was part of the Golda Och family, as well. She was an irreplaceable member of the school and her extraor­dinary presence will be greatly missed.

Señora Moran served as a role model for the type of person we should all strive to be. She was smart, energetic, loving and compassionate. She meant so much to our community, as a leader, teacher, salsa-dancing-connoisseur, role model, actress, and most of all, friend.

Adios, Señora; you will be deeply missed.

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