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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