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Jordan Brenner

Community Editor

It is no coincidence that midterm week ended on Friday the 13th. While I am not superstitious, having just completed the busiest week I have ever encountered in over three years at Milken makes me wonder. However, I can not say with confidence that I will retain any of the information I learned this week for longer than a few weeks at most due to the sheer amount of information that was crammed into my head. After all, isn’t the main point of school to learn useful and meaningful information that will be with you for the rest of your life?

I write this article in the hope that a change to the midterm schedule is made. Midterms should be spread out through several weeks for two main reasons:

First off, when there are multiple midterms in one week, a student’s highest quality of work is not represented. In my experience, it is extremely challenging to retain a semester’s worth of information for multiple classes, especially when the exams occur during the same week. I often mix up the information from different classes, similar to how some multilingual people switch languages mid sentence. This year, I confused a data type from Intro into Computer Science called boolean with a concept in AP Government. Luckily, I caught my mistake before handing in my work. There was simply too much information in my head at the same time for me to perform at my highest level in all classes.

The second reason why Milken’s midterm schedule should be reformed is that exams are not held before winter break. Unlike most other schools, Milken’s semester does not end before winter break. It is my belief that the only way to overcome the challenge of having multiple midterms in one week is to begin studying weeks in advance. However, Milken’s course scheduling forces students like myself to have to choose between studying over winter break or only have a week to review. Having to study for midterms over winter break prevents students from getting the vital time to regenerate and come back more focused in the new year. If students choose to utilize that time for relaxation, the week following break is not sufficient time for intensive, comprehensive studying. Either way, it is a lose-lose situation for students.

Criticizing the school is not something I am accustomed to and I feel obligated to mention that this issue is minor compared to what many students face in less fortunate areas. We are extremely fortunate to be attending Milken. That being said, the scheduling of midterms is highly frustrating and inconvenient for many students and it, therefore, should be addressed by teachers and administrators.

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Noah Cohen and Mira Berenbaum

Community Editor and Social Media Director

This past weekend, as staff of The Roar, we were invited to take part in the fourth annual Jewish Scholastic Press Association Conference at B’nai David Judea Synagogue in Los Angeles. We took time off from school to represent The Roar alongside peer journalism students from four other Jewish schools. We listened to leaders in the Jewish media and swapped ideas with the Yula and Shalhevet representatives. We met with representatives from Kushner Hebrew Academy in New Jersey and Margolin Hebrew Academy in Memphis, who flew in for the conference. Additionally, we took part in discussions concerning the present and future impact that young Jewish journalists have on the world.

Among the numerous speakers at the JSPA conference was the Editor-in-Chief for the Jewish Journal, Rob Eshman. Mr. Eshman, who has been working at the Jewish Journal for over 20 years, spoke about his experience in looking at news through a Jewish lens, as well as learning to navigate the complicated world of the American media. Another prominent speaker was E. Randol Schoenberg, the prosecution lawyer for the famous case of Maria Altmann. This case was recently depicted in the film Woman in Gold. Mr. Schoenberg spoke about his life, specifically how his work as a lawyer has overlapped with freedom of the press. Other topics of the weekend included, but were not limited to: conflicts of interest, copyright laws, and the art of the interview.

The weekend ended with a meaningful Shabbat in the Pico/Robertson area, where we had the opportunity to learn from Mr. Gregory Zuckerman, a modern orthodox writer for The Wall Street Journal. He spoke about how being Jewish has affected his career, whether it be taking on the role as the office “Rabbi,” or missing the opportunity for a good story because of his Shabbat and holiday observance. We also learned from Mr. Chanan Weissman, the White House Liaison to the Jewish community for President Barack Obama. Mr. Weissman spoke about his experiences working within the federal government as an observant Jew. It was incredibly interesting and humbling to see such a successful and prominent leader in the government also be a fellow Jew.

At the JSPA conference, we learned a great deal about the monumental responsibility that all journalists share. We have a responsibility to our readers, our staff, and above all, the truth. We have already started sharing what we learned with the rest of The Roar staff, and we will begin to implement some changes to make The Roar the best it can possibly be. Moreover, we built relationships with some of the other schools’ newspapers so that we can collaborate in the future and share ideas to improve the journalism programs at our respective schools. We had a wonderful time at the JSPA conference, and look forward to using our newfound knowledge here at Milken.

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Danielle Lewis

Spotlight Editor

Although Los Angeles lacks the gloomy, yet enchanting, weather of winter, residents can still turn to music to set the mood of the season. While winter songs can truly be almost any song depending on how one views the season, I find that the following songs particularly remind me of the aura of winter:

“Song for No One” – Miike Snow

This Swedish trio debuted this song in their self-titled first album. While “Song for No One” is one of the countless breakup songs of our time, it goes beyond the average Taylor Swift rant. Its incorporation of a cheerful synth mask the lyrics that depict loss and sorrow. Despite its mournfully nostalgic lines, it remains a joyful song.

“The World at Large” – Modest Mouse

This calm, yet lighthearted song is part of Modest Mouse’s fourth album, Good News For People Who Like Bad News. “The World at Large” emphasizes the vastness of the world and how it allows us to experience adventure and rebirth. Although quite simple, this song still evokes warmth and hope.

“Jesus, etc.” – Wilco

“Jesus, etc.” is infamous for being prescient of the events of September 11th. The song consists of lyrics such as “tall buildings shake, voices escape” and “skyscrapers are scraping together, your voice is smoking.” Regardless of these uncanny lyrics, this song is about our tendency to amplify our sorrow and the power of love to aid our recovery. The gentle violin and Jeff Tweedy’s slightly strained voice allow this message to be presented tastefully.

“Each Coming Night” – Iron and Wine

Iron and Wine never fails to provide harmony and tenderness. The soft and whispered voice of Samuel Beam takes this calm melody to a new level of peacefulness. Beam sings about past love and the lingering question of if it will be remembered with each coming night.

“New Slang” – The Shins

The Shins have become increasingly popular, especially with the help of “New Slang”’s presence in the film Garden State. The song features an eerie hum, contrasting with the constant light tambourine. James Mercer writes about the simplicity of living in a small town and the inevitable realization during adulthood that the world is imperfect.

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Hannah Newman

Wildlife Editor 

We live in a diverse world. A world of different cultures, races and religions. Regardless, many people live their lives without interacting with someone they don’t identify with. Although we are gifted with a vibrant and pluralistic community at Milken, beyond the spectrum of Judaism, there is little diversity. We live in a bubble, a sheltered and privileged bubble. While our bubble is safe and comfortable, it provides us with a false reality. A reality of uniformity and invariability.

Students who have taken Race, Class, and Gender with Dr. Holton most likely experienced culture shock when taken to the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row for a mandatory field trip. When I had the opportunity to go, I watched my fellow classmates lower their heads in order to avoid seeing the minimally clothed children living on the sidewalk. Not following their lead, I looked into the eyes of starving children and tired mothers. I handed them trays of hot food and listened to their narratives of hardship and discrimination. I was exposed to the pervasiveness of inequality and the extent of poverty through stories of unemployment due to race, gender or ethnicity. This experience opened my eyes to the inequalities that exist not only in the world, but even 20 minutes away from my house. The stories I heard that night hit close to home, literally.

After this night, I took an interest in empathy and more specifically, ethnocultural empathy. I started noticing current events that had roots in racial or cultural conflict. Chicago’s 500th homicide of 2016 stands out in my mind most particularly, as nearly all of those killed were African American. The victims mostly lived in neighborhoods stricken with unemployment and poverty. This illuminates the perpetual cycle of inequality and grief that exists in our country. Many people would say that the violence in Chicago is a police problem. I would say it is a societal problem.

This past semester, I took Honors Advanced Social Science Research in order to learn why my fellow classmates put their head down that day on Skid Row, and the science of ignoring those starving on the sidewalks. I researched our biological ability to empathize with those who we perceive as different from us. So far, I have found that both visual cues and the emotions we experience can alter and impact this process. Differences in race, gender and class all have the ability to affect our capacity to empathize, but only if we allow them to. We have an innate ability to feel the pain of others. If we continue emphasizing our differences and not uniting through our belonging to the human race, we will continue to live among hatred. Yet, if we are able to join forces and create a global, empathic civilization, we could work to stop the perpetual cycle of oppression and discrimination, and ultimately change our culture.

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Josh Berenbaum and Jordan Brenner

Sports and Community Editors

In a highly anticipated matchup between two basketball powerhouses in the Jewish community, the Wildcats trampled YULA in their first Liberty League game Thursday. Milken set the tone early with a quick basket and block, and never looked back en route to a 71-42 victory.

Students filled both sides of the gym in what was a rare capacity crowd at Hollander Gymnasium. Those who showed up were rewarded with one of the most dominant performances in the history of the Milken-YULA rivalry.

Controlling every facet of the game, the Wildcats were led by Idan Yohanan’s ‘17 21 points, and four three-pointers. Amitai Afenjar ‘18 who also scored 21 points was another cog in the Wildcat machine. His presence in transition and on the offensive boards allowed the Wildcats to score easy baskets. The constant movement of the basketball in the Wildcats’ half-court offense reflected the chemistry of previous YULA teams that have given Milken trouble.

Milken’s noticeable size advantage forced YULA to live and die by the three-point shot, and after it abandoned them in the first quarter, the Wildcats ran away with the game.

The Wildcats hope to use their victory as a building point for league play. In his postgame address to the team, Coach Whiting congratulated them on the victory, but warned them to “not be satisfied.” Holy Martyrs and Buckley will be fierce competitors for the Liberty League title, and Milken should not count out YULA, who they face in a rematch tomorrow night. The Wildcats finished third in the Liberty League last year.

Perhaps the highlight of the otherwise uneventful contest was when fan favorite and senior guard Kyler Shohed ‘17 delighted the crowd to a deep three-pointer late in the fourth quarter. Kobe Hekmat ’17 described the moment as, “the loudest Hollander Gymnasium has been all year long.”

The win moves Milken to 14-6 on the year and 1-0 in league play.


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Courtesy of x2vol

Mira Berenbaum and Lauren Pakravan

Social Media Director and Staff Writer

Say goodbye to paper community service timesheets! After two years of searching for a digital platform, the Service Learning Department has found a new online system for community service, thus making it easier to submit and track their volunteer hours.

Ms. Wendy Ordower and Ms. Nancy Barber encourage students to log in to x2vol and establish their account profile. When students fill out their profiles, they can select their community service interests. Service providers can then post community service opportunities for students based on the interests that they select. They can then request to have their favorite organizations invited to post opportunities, and do not need to get signatures from the organization anymore. Instead, x2vol sends the supervisor an email so that they can approve hours virtually.

This new platform also allows students to submit their hours immediately after their community service is completed. Clara Pitt ‘18, who attended AIDS Walk Los Angeles, said, “I submitted my hours on the ride home on the subway. I got it out of the way immediately and it made my life so much easier.”

As an added benefit, x2vol is better for the environment. After being reviewed and approved by Ms. Ordower, the paper timesheets are immediately recycled. This new platform saves all the information online without wasting paper, which is better for both the environment and Ms. Ordower.

The service learning department is thrilled to have this new system and is excited to help students connect to service learning in an easier way!

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Courtesy of BusinessInsider.com

Sophia Ghadoushi

Staff Writer

Every year, people all over the world tune in for the glamorous Victoria’s Secret (VS) Fashion Show. International models and superstar artists collaborate to produce the most talked about pop culture event of the year. On December 5th, 2016, social media buzzed with excitement and anticipation before and during the event. Weeks before watching the show, I saw several pictures, videos and advertisements reminding me to watch the “most beautiful women in the world” strut down the pink runway. However, something about that statement did not seem right to me.

During my English Marginalized Voices class taught by Dr. Genevieve Morgan, I realized that the VS Fashion Show is one of the many events that perpetuates certain beauty standards. After watching the show, it was obvious that all of the models were stick thin, tall, and had a face covered in makeup; not to mention their lack of diversity. It is clear that particular body types, skin colors, and overall looks are still expected in a time where beauty is supposedly evolving. For most women in the world, looking like lingerie supermodels is unrealistic. Why is being a VS supermodel considered the ideal or perfect woman by society?   

Until our society lets go of this singular perception of beauty, we will not be able to move forward to a diverse culture of charm, where all race, shapes, sizes, faces, and imperfections are welcomed. From a young age, I was taught that beauty is limited to certain characteristics. As I grew older, I began to internalize these ideas, and became prone to criticizing the way I looked. The VS Fashion show just reinforces the notion that girls have been fed time and time again: if they don’t have the body, color, or face of a model, they simply are not beautiful enough. Instead of favoring one body type, society should encourage accepting people exactly the way they are.  

Supermodel, Ashley Graham, works extremely hard to break the barrier of body image standards in all the work she does. Her boldness and bravery through different campaigns and words of encouragement inspire women to to be body positive. In an article with Cosmopolitan, Graham states, “I don’t like the term ‘plus-size.’ It’s just not helping women. I’m ready to get rid of it. If you have to label me, I like to be called ‘curvy-sexylicious.’” In this interview, Graham sends a clear message: you don’t have to look a certain way to be beautiful. Her motivating words and shattering of labels in the media give other women a platform and safe space to love who they are. Ashley is one of the many women who are trying to shatter preconceptions of beauty and standing up for millions who battle body issues.    

You go Ashley!

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Lauren Mokhtarzadeh
Wildlife Editor 

Here is The Roar’s newest video, The Roar’s Take a Break: Milken Mart edition. This video was inspired by James Corden’s segment, “Take a Break,” on the Late Late Show with James Corden.


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Michael Bolour

Staff Writer

Milken Community Schools offers a multitude of programs to prepare students for life after high school, providing them with useful skills for future success. However, senior Kian Zar (‘17) has already begun his pathway to success as an entrepreneur with the release of his designer jewelry company called KianZar. The company offers a variety of jewelry types, such as bracelets, anklets, and chokers. His website http://www.kianzar.com was launched on September 29, and since then, he has seen an abundance of new orders. The Roar sat down with Zar to discuss his recent success, and what is still to come for his up-and-coming business.


What inspired you to start your business? How did your love for bracelets begin?

I have always been fascinated with designs and jewelry. My inspiration comes from my mother who would design her own jewelry pieces. I would always visit her at work and watch her in action. It was the most inspiring thing to me to see all the beautiful things that she could create just from her own imagination. I quickly realized that I have a similar eye for design.


Who do you look up to? Who do you want to become in terms of success?

I look up to my parents. I see their relationship and I only wish that I can have their bond and closeness in my future relationships. In terms of success, I want to become as inspiring as the iconic designers, such as Giorgio Armani, Valentino, and Ferragamo.


How has business been so far and what plans do you have for expanding?

My business has been humbling to receive so much praise and demand. Nevertheless, my hope and goal is that I can always deliver quality and beautiful designs to my customers. My goal is not to expand to be the biggest, but my focus is to become the best. I will control the quality of my product, to keep the scale of my company manageable and to plan for a measurable growth.


If you could give other students one piece of advice about becoming and being an entrepreneur, what would it be?

My advice would be: do not take any success, failure, or challenge for granted. Nothing in business will be exactly as you imagine it to be. Always try to improve yourself, even if you think you are succeeding.

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Josh Berenbaum

Sports Editor

The 2016 Election was as highly emotional and divisive as any election in US history. At Milken, the political pot was stirring in the days before and after the election. In the days leading up to and following the presidential race, students heard about it both inside and outside the classroom. Out of 198 students polled, only three students say they never discussed the election in class, while 65 students (33%) felt that the election came up “often” in their classes.

Elliott Sina ‘17 said he heard about the election in some of his classes, but felt some of his teachers “were purposely avoiding a discussion of the election, both before and after.” To Sina, this was disappointing because “in class we have to actually listen to each other and be quiet while others talk.” This year’s presidential contest featured heated arguments at campaign rallies and fierce polarization.  The Roar found that about 75% of students believed their political debates were not totally civil, but avoided a “heated argument.”

While the election was present in classes, most students polled felt the teachers avoided sharing their views. Only eight of 198 (4%) students felt teachers shared their views often, while 31 (16%) said teachers never did. While there is no law prohibiting teachers from supporting candidates, there is a widespread expectation that educators remain neutral. This expectation is meant to protect students from being influenced politically by people who hold significant influence.

Mr. Christopher McAdamis, an English teacher, said the election came up in his classes, and he felt that “[his] views were probably obvious every time the election came up.” He only brought up the election once, initiating a class-wide discussion in his 10th grade World Literature course following the vote.

While the Milken student body trended towards Clinton (who won 52% – 35% in this survey and 47% – 39% in a Student Government election day poll), most students felt comfortable sharing their views on campus. 52 students (26%) answered that they were extremely comfortable, compared to 15 (8%) students who were extremely uncomfortable. Most Milken students felt that they had some political knowledge, while 42 students (22%) believed they were very knowledgeable and engaged compared to only four (2%) who said that they were not knowledgeable whatsoever.

Milken student support closely matched that of their parents. Students answered that 46% of their parents voted for Clinton, while 36% voted for Trump. Another 17% of students came from homes who were split between candidates.

The Roar survey revealed that Milken is divided over the results of the 2016 election. The Milken community was abuzz with political discourse throughout the election season, and students learned both from their parents and in the classroom.