March 30, 2019

In The College Season, Two Seniors Are Turning East

Sophie Goldman '19

Seniors AG and Ayala Jones aren’t concerned with college applications, but are instead choosing a slightly different path: joining the Israel Defense Forces.
When they enlist, AG and Jones will join a legacy of GOA alumni who have chosen to leave their families and familiar surroundings in order to serve and protect Israel.
AG began considering army service in his sophomore year after hosting Oz, a Rishon for the Greater Metrowest community. The friendships he formed through his participation in Gesher, a program run by the Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest that connected Israeli and American students, further influenced his decision.
“That was when I started seriously looking into making aliyah,” AG said.
Meanwhile, Jones cites her family as a driving force of her decision.
“I have been raised and educated with Judaism and Zionism always coming into conversation,” she said. “I like the values that Judaism and Israel as a whole stand for, so I decided to turn my beliefs into action and enlist.”
Jones’ brother, GOA alum Rafi Jones, graduated in 2016 and is currently serving in the IDF. His positive experience, as well as the fact that both siblings hold Israeli citizenship, are additional factor in Jones’ choice to make aliyah.
GOA has also been another crucial influence on Jones and her decision.
“The school instilled a strong sense of Zionist values and has helped me understand Israel socially and politically to an extent I would not have been able to reach on my own,” she said.
AG agreed.
“Israel education and programming at GOA has definitely given me a strong sense of Zionism,” he noted.
The process of making aliyah has already begun for both students. AG has worked to improve his Hebrew and has taken on the additional workload of learning Arabic after school, while Jones has started thinking about physical fitness requirements and planning for her first year in Israel.
AG hopes to join a cyber operations unit, such as the C4i Directorate, which deals with cyber defense, or Unit 8200, which deals with military intelligence and encryption, although security restrictions as a new immigrant will likely prevent him from doing so. His interests also include special operations combat engineering.
Jones is unsure what unit she would like to join, but looks forward to learning more about her potential options while planning for her aliyah.
Before joining the IDF, both AG and Jones plan to take a gap year and attend a Mechina program, which prepares Israeli and foreign students for army service and emphasize leadership, service and education.
“I hope to learn more about the country, myself, the people and the IDF before enlisting,” Jones said.
It’s not easy for most students to imagine moving away from their families to join the IDF. Nonetheless, Jones said she sees similarities between herself and other Golda Och students who will enter college next fall.

“I think most of my anxiety and excitement is similar to most of my friends applying to colleges. None of us know what the future holds, but we’re excited for the new experiences, friends, challenges and memories we will make,” she said. “Both paths will definitely be hard, but we know that we will be happy in the end.”

February 16, 2019

GOA Should Require More Community Service Hours

Hannah Stoch '22

Tikkun Olam, or healing the world, is one of Golda Och Academy’s main pillars and philosophies. By mandating community service hours, the school could further promote this value, as well as aid students in college and National Honors Society applications.
GOA currently has no required community service. One day a year is set apart for Community Service Day, started by alumni Jason Steinberg, but the volunteering is not mandated otherwise, and missing Community Service Day has no negative consequences.
The school occasionally has other service opportunities throughout the year, advertised for in places like the Student Life Update, but many students do not pay attention to them or don’t make time to participate.
If more service was mandatory, students would be more inclined to help.
Community service doesn’t just help the community but also helps the students involved. Volunteering teaches universal life lessons like responsibility and the importance of community. It also helps students learn to work in different environments and group dynamics.
Having hours of community service looks dazzling on applications for many programs including college and NHS. Although not the main goal of community service, the chance to get into a better college or summer program is a great motivator to get students involved. If the school’s goal is to mold powerful, community conscious young adults to send to college, then required hours would be a major help.
Some worry that if the service took place during school hours, too many classes would be missed. The easiest solution to this is to not volunteer during school hours except for Community Service Day, but rather have required hours as many public schools do.
Others worry students may not have time to volunteer out of school. However, the required amount of hours doesn’t need to be large. Even five hours a year from each student is an improvement from what GOA currently mandates, and this time can be slipped into even the busiest schedule.
The school can also help students find places to volunteer that interest them. Students that love animals can work at a shelter or students that love to plant flowers can work in a community garden. Volunteer work ranges across all forms of interest, and the school could easily help any student find their perfect fit.
Volunteering might spark an unanticipated interest. The more students volunteer, the less it will feel like an obligation and more like a way to help our community prosper.

By mandating service hours, the students will be introduced to the benefits of giving back and can even get something in return.

GOA Sports Teams Should Move to the Yeshiva League

Eli Berman '22

When a quality sports team at Golda Och Academy comes along, playing large public schools with better teams can greatly diminish their spirit.
For several years, Golda Och’s high school sports teams have played in the Super Essex County league, known shorthand as the SEC. We are in this league because of our location in Essex County, and we primarily play teams within an hour’s commute.
Although the SEC is geographically best for us, Golda Och sports teams would be a much better candidate for the Yeshiva League.
One important advantage the Yeshiva League holds over the SEC for GOA is that many of the students attending different Jewish day schools schools know each other. They may be friends from camp, attend the same synagogue, or have other connections through “Jewish Geography.”
Yeshiva League games, therefore, become not only a chance to watch your school play, but also a social event, greatly boosting attendance and spirit. For instance, should a GOA student know friends from SAR Academy in the Bronx, they would be more inclined to travel to watch their team and cheer them on. In the Yeshiva League, every game would be more exciting due to the rivalry-like ambience.
This attendance is another reason GOA should be in the Yeshiva League. Although GOA does not earn money from ticket sales, it is still important to have a respectable amount of people at the games. We participate in a yearly Tri-Schechter tournament with Schechter Westchester and Schechter Long Island and brings out busloads of people every year.
In the SEC, we barely know of many schools that we play and often have not met one person who attends there. This removes the spirit from games because we have no connection to the opposing school.
Despite the lack of familiarity with opposing schools, current Athletic Director, Mr. Kozar, believes GOA’s placement in the SEC is the right call because the competition level is higher. Although this is true, we are not a school primarily focused on athletics.
Dennis Kozar, Athletic Director at GOA
As a Jewish school whose focus is developing a strong community, it should not be our goal to play the hardest competition we can find. In a high school of a couple hundred students and no tryouts for sports teams, the best athletic ability will most likely not be found.
Although we would definitely be one of the upper-echelon teams in the Yeshiva League, we would certainly not be absolutely dominant, as some schools in the Yeshiva League are much larger and take sports very seriously.

While travel time may become an issue with teams having to travel longer distances, the overall effect that the Yeshiva League could have on school spirit would be completely worth it.

Why the NFL Should Crackdown on Domestic Abuse, if Only Fans Cared

Eva Hale '20

There have been 122 cases of domestic violence among players in the National Football League since 2000. The most recent stars to join this group were running back Kareem Hunt and linebacker Reuben Foster. Both were convicted of domestic violence and have been put on the commissioner Roger Goodell’s exempt list, meaning they cannot practice or play until the NFL’s investigations have been completed.
The NFL has a serious domestic violence problem. It has always had one.
Foster was claimed off waivers by the Washington Redskins less than two days after he was arrested. This is the third time in the last year Foster has been arrested and the third time in the last four months he has been accused of domestic violence. He has a criminal history, aside from the aforementioned domestic violence incidents, dating back to high school. Yet, it took less than 48 hours for him to find another job in the NFL.
The Redskins said they will let the legal process play out and that Foster will not play for them until it does. However, their decision to have him on the team is immoral in of itself. Washington views Foster as a former first round pick who, once he serves his suspension, can help them win games, not a hero that fans should look up to.
The league’s executives and coaches know their fans can get past almost anything, as long as a player is good enough. Unfortunately, they are not wrong.
Cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones, who has been arrested 10 times since he has been in the NFL, was an active player for nearly half of 2018 season and the Cincinnati Bengals have not suffered any bad publicity for it. His crimes include assault, drug crimes and coercion with a firearm.
Adam "Pacman" Jones
While sports media and fans look past strong legal issues in players, there is one thing owners believe their fans – more specifically, their sponsors – cannot look past: kneeling during the national anthem. Somehow, there are active football players with multiple credible domestic violence accusations, assault arrests and DUIs, yet, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick still does not have a job.
It does not make a difference if you believe what Kaepernick’s kneeling did was right. It says something about the NFL that they would rather hire people who beat their wives and girlfriends than someone who kneeled for the national anthem as a form of protesting police brutality against African Americans.
For NFL owners, this is a business decision. If Foster helps the Redskins win, the fans will move past his questionable character. Fans got past it with Ezekiel Elliot, despite his domestic abuse allegations, and Brandon Marshall, despite his eight separate domestic violence allegations. The fans of whichever team signs Hunt will get past it.
Just the same, no team decided to sign Kaepernick as a business decision. Many of their personal and business interests, sponsors, fans and networks have been vocally opposed to Kaepernick, despite his ability and legal soundness.
The NFL has said they are trying to change by creating a domestic violence committee. However, Deborah Epstein and Susan Else, the only two people on that committee qualified when it comes to domestic violence, have walked out on the committee, saying it has done nothing.
Part of this is our fault as fans. If I were a Cowboys fan, I would still root for Ezekiel Elliott, because he is one of the best running back in the NFL. Unfortunately, the owners are not wrong in thinking fans can excuse any type of bad behavior if a player can help them win games.
The one time it seemed there might be a cultural shift in the NFL was when Ray Rice, former Baltimore Ravens running back, was caught beating his fiancee on video. With Rice, we saw what happened with our own eyes, showing millions exactly what happened. Without direct evidence like that, however, fans will continue to look past any wrongdoing.
It is important to recognize that the Rice video is what domestic violence looks like. Just because we do not see it with our own eyes does not mean that Foster and Hunt are not just as guilty as Rice.

The NFL will not change unless this affects what the goal of any organization is–sales. Unless fans make the effort by no longer purchasing jerseys or tickets and boycotting goods from NFL sponsors, criminals will continue to play professional football as admired stars.

Wildfires Devastate California, Leave State in Shambles

Hannah Stoch ‘22

When you hear “California,” you probably imagine sunny beaches, Hollywood lights and glamorous cities.  Now, after the destruction caused by two of the state’s largest wildfires, some of these sights are unrecognizable.
The Woolsey Fire erupted on November 8 and spread almost 100,000 acres across Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Three people were killed and around 250,000 people had to evacuate their homes. Over 1,500 structures were destroyed, including homes, schools, restaurants – entire communities left devastated. At the fire’s peak, many described the air in the area as “the dirtiest air in the world.”
Thankfully, the fire was fully contained by November 21 and the land is already starting to recover. The majority of people who evacuated have returned home and crews worked around the clock to get utilities such as power and telephone lines up and running again.
The Woolsey wildfire, while horrible and destructive, caused nowhere near the amount of destruction that The Camp Fire, located in northern California, caused. The Camp Fire has been marked as the deadliest wildfire in California’s history.
The Camp Fire also erupted on November 8, burning over 150,000 acres in Butte County and destroying 19,000 structures. Eighty four people are confirmed dead, but there are still more than 500 people missing. The area was blessed with four to seven inches of rain on November 21, which helped quell the fire. However, the rain mixed with ashes made thick paste, resulting in difficulty finding bodies.
The local Butte County community, specifically those from the city of Paradise, California – which was hit worst by the fire – have started healing from the damage. Hashtags such as #paradisestrong and #buttecountystrong have started circulating and people are trying to join together and raise awareness.
“It is overwhelming, I don't have any word to describe it,” Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea said. “This is unprecedented. No one has had to deal with this magnitude that caused so much destruction and regrettably so much death.”
While California is known for its devastating wildfires, the amount of wildfires as well as their deadliness has increased in recent years due to California’s disastrous drought and global warming across the world. In a new climate report published by the Trump Administration, scientists predict that by 2050, the average temperature in the continental United States could rise by 2.3 degrees – potentially diminishing coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean as well as causing deadlier hurricanes and wildfires.
The President attacked the report, saying “One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers,” commenting on the fact that he does not believe in global warming.

“As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it,” Trump added to his disapproval of the report.

GOA Students Work for Incredible Change in Puerto Rico

Noah Kamens '20

For 13 years, GOA has offered a service trip to New Orleans, Louisiana for both Juniors and Seniors to attend. These delegations of students volunteered around New Orleans to help its people recover from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. This year, however, GOA decided to change the destination to Puerto Rico, an island just beginning its recovery from the fairly recent – and devastating – Hurricane Maria.

In the first week of December, twenty upperclassmen accompanied by three teachers set flight to San Juan as the first group to represent the Jewish Federation of MetroWest in Puerto Rico since Maria first struck. Within four days, the group was able to experience the beautiful scenery of San Juan, immerse themselves into its culture, and feel their impactful presence in Puerto Rico.
Although it's been over a year since hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, because the storm hit the islands main power source, poorer communities are still left without power and clean water. It took months after the hurricane for major cities to recover but many smaller communities are still in shambles.
On the first day of the trip, after touching down and eating lunch, the group explored historic San Juan. They were given the opportunity to see the ocean, purchase authentic Puerto Rican goods, and learn about the local attractions. Afterwards, they met other Jewish teens who belonged to the local JCC synagogue to light Hanukkah candles for the first night and bond.

Junior Noa Russo happened to know some of these teens from Camp Tel Yehudah and remembers being asked in a group chat to donate money to help rebuild the synagogue after its roof had blown off during the hurricane.
“I immediately donated, but I had never thought that a year later I would be sitting in that very synagogue in San Juan with my camp friend.”
“It was an incredible experience for me to see the progress that was made from when the synagogue was destroyed until now when it is almost completely rebuilt,” Russo said. “I feel so lucky to have been able to be with 19 of my school friends and 3 of my camp friends helping to rebuild this community.”
On the second day of the trip, the group was given their first hands-on opportunity to volunteer inside the homes.  They were split up into three groups, each going to a different house nearby to help make it more livable. The groups were then given different tasks based on the needs of each home, which consisted of deep cleaning, scraping paint off of  walls and ceilings, and repainting.
Though the end results were not perfect, the conditions in the homes that were visited were so poor that any amount help was greatly appreciated. Senior Maddie Herman was part of the group who went to a barely liveable home covered in trash and dirt that had large insects crawling out from behind every corner.
Though the work was incredibly difficult, Maddie Herman said that “it was a really fulfilling experience.”
After finishing at the houses, the group went to a local church that had converted a large, unused space into a Holocaust memorial that helped revealed Puerto Rico’s part in the Holocaust.
The group ended the day by returning to the JCC for dinner and having a meaningful Hanukkah gift exchange.
On the third day of the trip, the group partnered with the Nechama organization, a Jewish service that provides comfort and hope to communities drastically affected by disasters, to help them fix a disaster ridden home.
The house owner, Mary Lou, said, “Just [the group] showing up means that we haven’t been forgotten.”
She told the group that she was starting to lose hope because she hadn’t been offered help at all in the 14 months since the hurricane. The roofless home was left in shambles, completely damaged and covered in dirt with few salvageable items remaining. When the group arrived, they were split into smaller groups and immediately took to cleaning out the debris and wreckage.
“It felt as though we were all in a trance,” Junior Danielle Hodes said. “ The minute we arrived at the home we all worked without stop, determined to make some dent in what was a seemingly impossible task. And we did not stop until the entire top floor of the house was entirely cleared out. Five hours had passed but it felt like five minutes.”
Soon after beginning to work, Rekem found a small toy slingshot and showed it to Mary Lou and her husband.
“Her husband laughed as if he remembered using it when he was younger or with his kids. I just thought it was sad,” Rekem said. “The whole idea of one day losing all you have is so scary to think about.”
Together the group was able to clear out much of the upper level of the house, including removing rotting couches and rusty pieces of tin roofing so that the house could be  in a better position and could continue to be fixed.
Junior Ethan Landau said that “Volunteering with Nechama was a great experience. It allowed us to see both the destruction that was endured during the storm and the effect of people to help [them] recover from it.”
In total, although the group only volunteered for 5 hours, the 23 people from GOA along with the 4 from Nechama accumulated 135 work hours that otherwise may not have been available to Mary Lou and her husband. After volunteering, the group took to the beach to have some well-deserved fun and relax from the hard work they’d done over the course of the trip.
On the fourth and final day of the trip, the group took one last chance to see the beauty that Puerto Rico had to offer. They took a boat tour of an estuary where they learned about bird-watching and checking for clean water.
After the tour, the group headed back home after an incredible experience.
“We all knew we would have an incredible time,” junior Zece Brown said. “But we never would have been able to fully prepare for everything that was in store, both the beauty and the suffering.”

February 12, 2019

The NFL is Too Concerned About Player Safety

Matt Saperstein '21

It is no secret that football is one of the most dangerous sports to play. The National Football League is attempting to make football a safer sport, but in recent years, the league has become too concerned about the safety of its players.
The NFL has added numerous rules over the past few years in an attempt to decrease the number of injuries, most of which have been focused on limiting defensive players from harming offensive players.
Before the 2018 season, the NFL added an additional rule stating that initiating contact with another player by lowering one’s helmet is a foul. This new rule was built off the previous rule, which stated a player cannot initiate contact with the crown of their helmet. The NFL changed this rule so there would be fewer strong hits by a defensive player using their helmet to hit another player.
One well-known play that could have been a cause of this rule change was Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins’ brutal hit on Brandin Cooks in Super Bowl LII. After catching a 20-yard pass from New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Cooks turned up the field looking to gain yardage. On Cooks’ fourth step up the field, Jenkins lowered his helmet to strike Cooks at the bottom of his helmet. This hit caused Cooks to miss the rest of the game. According to the new rule change, that hit would have been illegal.
This significantly changes the game, as for many years, defensive players have made numerous impactful tackles using their helmets to tackle offensive players to end plays. Now, defensive players who have been playing in the NFL for many years are being forced to learn a new way to tackle.
This way of tackling has the impacts received by offensive players significantly weaker. Now, defenses are at a considerable disadvantage, as the tackling rules are much stricter and defensive players must be cautious to tackle correctly.
If this specific tackling rule is not followed, a 15-yard penalty will be called against the defense and a player could possibly get ejected from the game. Especially in the fourth quarter, one of these fouls can completely change the course of a game, as it pushes the offense up the field and leads to an automatic first down.
Throughout the 2018 regular season, few of these penalties were been called. However, many teams in addition to NFL executives believe that in the coming years, as reaction and focus on the new restriction dies down, more will be called.
Even more restrictive rules were added prior to the 2018 season.The NFL expanded on the roughing the passer rule to help protect quarterbacks. The addition goes into detail about the specifications of an illegal hit on the quarterback: “When tackling a passer who is in a defenseless posture (e.g., during or just after throwing a pass), a defensive player must not unnecessarily or violently throw him down or land on top of him with all or most of the defender’s weight.”
This change has made sacking the quarterback much more difficult, as now pass rushers will be penalized whenever they initiate a quick, strong hit on a quarterback that, just with the momentum used against offensive lines, most of the defender’s weight is on the quarterback.
The rule change forces defensive players to hit a quarterback slower and with less force. Many fans are angered by this decision as big hits against quarterbacks in games are not only entertaining, but can completely change the amount of momentum an offense can have.
In addition to fans, this rule change has upset many defensive players in the NFL as this season, many roughing the passer penalties have been called.
“Roughing the passer calls are absolutely out of control,” five-time Pro Bowl defensive end JJ Watt said.
Watt, who has played for the Houston Texans for eight seasons, thinks this rule is much too strict.
“We can’t touch the quarterback,” inside linebacker Bobby Wagner of the Seattle Seahawks said. Like many others, Wagner feels the NFL is too concerned about the safety of the quarterback rather than the integrity of the game, resulting in sacking, a major part of defensive strategy, is partially eliminated from football.
It is true that hundreds of injuries occur in the NFL each season and these new rule changes will help decrease this brutal number. However, the NFL has used the previous rules for many years, entertaining many fans with spectacular defenses such as the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers and the 1985 Chicago Bears. Theses defenses were able to succeed because of their players’ outstanding ability to tackle offensive players and sack the quarterback.
Due to these rule changes, fans may never see defenses as good as these top defenses from years ago and as a result, games will be more focused on offense rather than defense. Although this may be more entertaining to fans, it will begin to hide one of the main components of many great football teams: a skillful defense.

If protective rule changes continue to be made, football will become a one-sided competition.

January 30, 2019

Two Times the Charm

Hannah Stoch ‘22

Pursuing only one career at a time is not for Jamie Mittleman. While Mittleman started out as substitute teacher – turned – arts coordinator, she chose to follow her acting dreams before finding a way to maintain a balance of both that works for her.
“If you want to do something creative, no one’s going to create that path for you.” Mittleman said.
Mittleman first started working at Golda Och Academy right after she graduated from Binghamton University, where she had majored in theater and Judaics. Originally, she worked at the Lower School as a substitute teacher, but transferred to the Upper School when there was an opening for eighth grade Tefilah.
At the time, GOA did not have an arts department, and pursuing the arts was Mittleman’s dream. As she was planning on leaving, Mr. Shapiro asked if there was a way to keep her at the school, and Mittleman  jokingly suggested starting an arts department. He took the request seriously, and she started working as the first GOA arts coordinator.
“I was here so many hours a day… I was married to my job,” Mittleman said. “It was an internal pressure, but I really wanted [the arts department] to be massively successful.”
Mittleman loved running the arts department, but she missed being on stage herself, so after a few years, she left her job to follow her dreams. She started waiting tables at Cafe Lalo, a cafe in New York famous for its starring role in the movie “You’ve Got Mail.” It was a big transition from working at GOA.
“Here everyone’s really loving, you know, nice and supportive,” Mittleman said. “There, people are screaming at you because you forgot their pesto.”
While waitressing, she began many artistic projects. She started an acapella group, worked on a web series, tutored and periodically visited GOA to work on projects like Kolot HaYam, the school’s choir competition. When she left Cafe Lalo after five months of hard work, they became her primary job and focus.
She was friends with Mr. Herskowitz, and heard from him that there were opening in Student Life and in the arts department. She decided to come back to GOA part-time starting this school year.
“I remember when I used to wake up really happy and excited about what I was going to do, as opposed to feeling terrified,” Mittleman said. “It was so, so nice.”
The school seemed both similar and different to Mittleman from when she worked here the first time. Even though she didn’t know any of the new students, she recognized the school’s upbeat, fun and supportive culture, which is similar to when she first worked here.
“The teachers changed dramatically,” Mittleman said. “When I worked here the first time, it was people who have been here for, probably 40 years… then I came and everyone was young. There was this new energy here, which I thought was really cool and really nice.”
Mittleman currently goes to acting school two times a week and still participates in her acapella club. When she has the opportunity, she hopes to keep working on her web series.
Though Mittleman’s teaching and acting journeys may differ from others, she has been able to try out many different types of work, and find what she prefers.

“I also thought… that the talented people succeed and everybody else is just on the bottom, and I don’t think that at all anymore,” Mittleman said. “There’s so much space out there for everyone.”


GOA Girls and Boys Basketball Building on Strong Start

Matt Saperstein ‘21

Image result for basketball court

After many weeks of preparation, the Golda Och Academy varsity basketball teams have returned back to the court for another season. Surprisingly, the girls and boys teams finished their seasons in very similar ways.
Led by junior Ally Landau, the girls basketball team had an overall record of 8-8. They finished in fourth place in the SEC Independence division, with a record of 7-6 within their division. Some of their bigger achievements this season include wins over Newark Central and Montclair Kimberley.
As many expected, Landau continued her impressive high school basketball career this season. Going into winter break, she was top 30 in the state in points and rebounds per game. She finished the season averaging a double-double, with about 22 points and 12 rebounds per game.
Other notable players include senior Michelle Bilmes, who was second on the team with  28 total 3-pointers and Jessica Moskowitz, who was tied for third on the team in total points scored with 88 points.
Many of the girls on the team felt like their team’s biggest strength is their defense.
“We play good defense and get most of our points off of fast breaks,” Moskowitz said.
Meanwhile, the boys varsity basketball team finished their season in a similar way after improving during the second half of the season. They finished with an overall record of 8-9. However, many of their tough losses this season were decided by few points. Notably, about half way through the season, they lost at home to Arts High School by a score of 55-54. The following day, they traveled to Bellville, where they lost another close game in overtime by 11 points.
“We have to work on communication and discipline,” junior Josh Berger said after the Belville game. “We could have won a few more games if [when we had the lead,] we held on to the ball, passed it around, tired out the defense and waited for an easy layup.”
Junior Assaf Arieh lead the team in points, averaging about 15 per game. Senior Jamie Gutterman lead the team in 3-pointers with 25 and senior Ian Rosen led the team in rebounds with about seven per game.
The players on the boys team are proud about the games they were able to win, especially in their games against West Essex and Science Park. They also understand what their strengths were as a team this season.
“We do a pretty good job on defense by contesting shots,” Bargad said towards the end of the season. “We’re also pretty good at hitting jump shots.”
A possible reason for the team’s close losses in January is junior Ethan Landau’s leg injury in mid-January. Although his injury was relatively minor, it caused him to miss a few practices and sit out for more time during a few games when he played through injury.
Both varsity basketball teams were confident throughout the season, allowing them both to improve during the second half of the season.
“We should be able to finish over .500,” Moskowitz said midway through the season. “And finish towards the top of our division.”

“Our record doesn’t reflect how good of a team we are,” Berger said. “[Next year,] we are going to work even harder on preserving leads and we are good enough as a team to be able to do it.”

A League of Their Own

Jake Kroll ‘20

Image result for basketball

Sports is an integral part of Golda Och Academy’s extracurricular activities, but the spirit usually only pertains to the varsity teams. This is degrading to junior varsity players.
It is understood that varsity is more important than JV, but canceling JV practices and games is unfair to these players. As the varsity team is the more skilled and experienced team, the JV teams are still working hard and need to get more recognition.
If GOA is trying to enhance their varsity teams, then the JV players need more time to develop their skills in order to reach their potential and advance to that higher level.
During the 2017-18 JV basketball season, several games were cancelled and never rescheduled. The JV team also didn’t get equal practice time in comparison to the varsity. Without adequate practice and gametime, the JV team’s players will never be able to make a strong enough case for promotion.
JV players hustle and play hard, but are frequently hurt by the fact they are not seen as a real team. This, in turn, affects team morale and even causes players lose the desire to play entirely.
Like basketball, GOA’s lacrosse team has had its issues with JV treatment. Last season, lacrosse was a JV sport without a varsity team even assembled. They hardly earned any recognition from the school. Many of the games were also cancelled eventually leaving them with only one game the entire season. It is absurd that players signed up to play a full season of games but ended up competing in only one game.

It is universally understood that varsity should be getting more recognition, but the fact that the JV teams are being treated completely unequally. What’s more, it requires a relatively simple fix: let the players practice and play.

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