Every week, TanenbaumCHAT students seem to set new records and exceed past accomplishments. I could list dozens but I’ll name four:
- The TCK Moot Beit Din team won 2nd place in a North American competition in Los Angeles with 25 Jewish high schools who debated the Ethics of Social Media and Privacy.
- Yoni Katchan from TCW was one of 11 students in the Province who earned the second highest mark of 8,336 students in the Cayley Mathematics Competition.
- Ryan Ripsman from TCK won fourth place in the International Bible Contest broadcast live on Yom Ha’atsmaut in Israel and was the highest non-Israeli finalist.
- The TCK physics team placed 3rd out of 72 teams from all over the world in the International Weizmann Physics Competition.
Each accomplishment has a story behind it, and I’d like to share one of those stories. However, although it’s a story about two of our students, you won’t see them standing on the victory podium.
Last week, a delegation of 23 TCW students participated in Southern Ontario Model United Nations simulation held at the University of Toronto. Our students represented countries like Romania, Peru, and North Korea and participated in a variety of committees such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the European Union. Among the topics of debate was the Palestinian refugees.
A girl from one of our local private high schools for the gifted represented Israel. She wasn’t Jewish and admitted later that she couldn’t find Israel on the map. Unlike most of the other students, she did not come prepared to represent her country.
True to UN politics, countries hurled one accusation after another at Israel. The girl remained silent. Somehow, perhaps as an act of conciliation, she entered into an agreement with Arab nations to give the Palestinians control over air space and the borders of Israel. More anti-Israel resolutions were proposed.
The moderator asked the girl if she wanted to respond to diatribe. She was flustered and silent. Students were required to have done all their research beforehand and were not permitted to use any electronic devices during the simulation; they could only use human resources, i.e. the other delegates in the simulation.
The moderator again asked her if she had a response to offer. Again, the representative was silent except this time she asked to go to the bathroom. She left the room. Two of our TCW students Jonathan Aronowitz and Josh Benjamin saw her leave the room and excused themselves too. A staff member raced out to make sure that the girl was safe. Indeed she was. Jonathan and Josh spoke with her encouragingly and intelligently and then handed her two pieces of paper.
The girl returned to the hall and delivered a speech in defense of Israel and received a standing ovation. Jonathan and Josh had written her speech. It was replete with cogent arguments, relevant dates, and incontrovertible facts. This girl—no, these two boys—made the case for Israel. Our team may not have won the competition but they took the prize and set a standard worth emulating for all Jewish students. It was a proud day for TanenbaumCHAT and for the State of Israel that brought honor to both. That’s the TanenbaumCHAT difference.