The Student News Site of Northwest Yeshiva High School

The Mane Idea

The Student News Site of Northwest Yeshiva High School

The Mane Idea

The Student News Site of Northwest Yeshiva High School

The Mane Idea

Just Community events replace Town Hall

Layla Russ
Just Community Events in action.

A new monthly event called Just Community has replaced Town Hall at NYHS.

Town Hall was formerly a monthly activity led by the Student Council where students would discuss moral issues or school policies. Jason Feld, former head of school, introduced this concept to NYHS in 2016 after bringing it from Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles. During Town Hall, students would often break up into groups, discuss a hypothetical scenario or school policy, and share their opinions aloud with the school hoping to make change or impact the school positively. The sessions aimed to cultivate critical thinking, encourage open dialogue, and give students a voice in shaping their school’s culture and policies.

At the only Town Hall of the year, students debated who to save in a scenario with eighteen characters with different professions and statuses, but only ten could live. 

According to Hannah Klinghoffer, Student Council agenda chair, their goals to promote student involvement and civil discourse weren’t met. “It wasn’t really working, it didn’t feel relevant to students,” she added. “It didn’t affect their day-to-day lives or feel personal to them.” 

Now renamed “Just Community Events,” students will have educational debates and chesed (acts of kindness) activities more directly related to their lives instead of Town Hall.  

The first Just Community activity took place in December. It consisted of a school gathering where junior Izzy Hoffman, the NYHS representative with StandWithUs, a nonprofit organization focused on Israel education, gave a presentation about defending Israel online calmly and productively. “It was nice to have different students leading the events, not just Student Council,” said Marcy Park, agenda committee adviser. 

In January, the second Just Community program took place. NYHS students met with NYHS alumni over Zoom about their experiences on college campuses after October 7.

In February, at the third Just Community activity, a junior Evelyn Edwards gave a presentation to the school about domestic abuse through her work with the Shalom Task Force. Students were given an article about domestic violence and discussed it. “It was a good experience to present in front of the school,” said Edwards. “I felt my presentation was impactful.” 

Park believes that Just Community Events have been working well. “I think people are enjoying the activities more,” she said. “I don’t hear as much negative feedback, and I think students are more inclined to participate.” 

However, only some people are fans of Just Community events. Junior Amiel Robiseck noticed that in prior years Town Hall worked well but this year, students were becoming less engaged in Town Hall and therefore it became less productive. “They didn’t take it seriously or understand the value of the exercise,” said Robiseck. According to Robiseck, students would often speak out of turn or use their turn to crack jokes or fuel arguments. According to Leah Gonzalez, in Just Community Events, she noticed very few people were interested in the discussion or activity. In contrast, during Town Hall, more people were engaged. “In Town Hall, you got the option to talk whenever. Now [participation] feels more forced,” she said.

Despite the mixed feedback, Just Community will remain at NYHS. According to Klinghoffer, the student who will be Agenda Chair next year may alter Just Community, but it will not be discarded. “Hopefully it will be a place where [students] can feel like they play a part and be able to debate freely and openly,” she said.

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Layla Russ
Layla Russ, Staff Writer

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