Voices

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Emily Vanek

Staff Writer

As ninth graders, the advisory curriculum set out to help us achieve success during our first year of high school. Although their intentions were valuable and may have worked for many students, my feelings about it as the year ends are mixed for a variety of reasons.

In advisory this year, we’ve had many speakers give us presentations on study skills and time management. When I first heard about this program, I was pretty open-minded and intrigued to know more about how to be successful in my first year of high school. While I was a solid student who performed well in my classes, I knew that I could definitely improve some of my work habits. As many speakers and mentors came in, I noticed a consistent pattern with the advice that they gave us. There was essentially a formula for success which included tips from how to plan ahead for a test, all the way to a day-by-day study plan.

Although planning ahead to prepare for a test is great, it is often easier said than done. Everyone comes across obstacles in their life that can make it unreachable to follow this formula of studying. Most students at Milken have extracurricular activities that allow them to get their mind off of school for at least a few hours. After those few hours are up, students usually end up cramming all of their work in late at night. This is exactly what I experience after I come back from dance practice late in the afternoon every Monday and Wednesday. I come home famished and exhausted with a huge workload left to finish and the prospect of an impending exam the next day on my mind. Although I usually study more than one day before an exam, it is still hard for me to keep up with the recommended study schedule. Mentors recommend that a student should use all of the free time they have, like lunch time and free periods, to get as much work done as possible, but I feel that this is unrealistic. Everyday in school, students sit in long and rigorous classes, and I believe that it is necessary for everyone to have some down time to rest and socialize.

As cliché as it sounds, I think it is very important to recognize that nobody is perfect. Although a plan for studying is great, it can be extremely difficult to achieve success by following a step-by-step plan. People come across many obstacles in their lives and one method of studying may not always be the right one for another.

After failing to master this formula of studying during my first semester at Milken, I decided to use the study steps from advisory as guidelines to help me organize my time. Everytime I revised the plan to fit my needs, I learned something from the process. This somehow became a self-reflection that improved my ability to set realistic goals and manage my time, which is an important skill in itself that will serve me well throughout my personal and professional life. Even though I personalized the study steps to make them more relevant to my lifestyle, I took away a lot of knowledge and advice from these mentors that has helped me maintain my strong grades throughout the school year. Just because this formula did not exactly fit with my style of learning, does not mean that it is not valid. Everyone has different learning patterns, and that’s ok. Now that I have concluded my ninth grade year, I have learned how to plan ahead and manage my time. I also took away valuable note-taking skills that have helped me in numerous classes throughout the year. While certain standards of studying should definitely be upheld, I love the fact that Milken is an environment that allows students to take control of their own learning, giving them the tools and support they need to be successful in academia, and in life. However,ut I also feel that we should feel empowered to take more control over our study habits and skills.

 

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Credit: Monterey Bay Forum

Mira Berenbaum

Social Media Director

Today I woke up. Today I ate breakfast. Today I chose what to wear. Today I went to school. Today I did homework. Today I am free.

They didn’t know if they were going to wake up the next morning. They didn’t know if they were going to eat breakfast. They didn’t choose what to wear. They didn’t go to school. They did physical work. They were not free.

This is what I learned from talking to Ruth Birndorf: Ruth was in hiding during the Holocaust. Ruth never knew her next move, where she was going, what she was eating, and who she was going to be with. Although Ruth was not in the camps, she was still not free. Ruth now appreciates her freedom each and everyday, and so should we.

This is what I learned from talking to Eva Nathanson: Eva, too, was in hiding, but with Eva it resonated a little bit more. When I asked Eva where she wanted to sit, she told me she had to face the door because she needed to know there was a way to exit the room. Eva is now free, but still struggles to grasp the complexity of her freedom.

We come from a nation that has struggled. The Jewish people have overcome slavery, hate, mass murder– all of which have taken away our freedom as a nation. As Jews, we are obligated to remember this loss of freedom.

But I think it goes further. We remember the loss of freedom, but we never take the time to remind ourselves of our freedom. We all complain when we have three hours of homework. We all complain that we don’t have enough free time. But our education and our time are two of many luxuries that make us free.

We recently celebrated and commemorated the holidays of Pesach, Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut, all of which are holidays that stress the move from avdut (slavery) to cheirut (freedom). It is especially important now, during this season, to be grateful for our freedom, our ability to wake up, choose what to wear, what to eat, and what to do.

But we shouldn’t just focus on that concept at this time of year. Each and every day we must be grateful for our freedom because there are some people who were never free and still remain prisoners whether physically or mentally.

We say “never again” when we speak about the Holocaust, but there’s still genocide taking place today. As Jews, we have the responsibility to stand up for what we believe in. To help others before we help ourselves. Because we have that ability, the ability to be free. So take a moment today, and every day, to be grateful for the gift of freedom.

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"Nobody Likes Me" is a piece of stencil artwork by anonymous graffiti street artist iHeart, 2014.

Lauren Cohen

Voices Editor

I recently spent a week with a deactivated Facebook account, as well as deleted Snapchat and Instagram pages, in a sort of self administered social experiment. During this week, I learned an incredible amount about the role social media plays in my life and the ways in which it ends up distracting me from myself.

I realized how much I rely on social media to distract and make me feel relevant and connected to my peers during very specific (and characteristically trivial) moments. For example:

  • Walking to Park and Ride
  • Anytime I had to wait for something (standing in line, sitting at a red light, etc.)
  • Grocery shopping, laundry, and other boring chores
  • Sitting on the toilet

Basically, any moment when I was alone in a quiet, relatively bland environment, I would instinctively reach for my phone only to see that there were no friends sending or awaiting photos from me on the other side of my screen. It was in those moments, of sitting on the doctor’s office couch, or sitting alone with a snack at my dinner table, that I realized how deeply ingrained the habit of opening up my Snapchat or Instagram had been. It almost felt like a compulsion.

I suddenly realized the absurdity laden in my once casual habits; nonetheless, relinquishing them proved difficult, if not painful. I was forced to do something society had never taught me how to: be with myself and myself only. I was forced to simply sit or stand or walk alone, in silence, and be comfortable without using Snapchat to update my friends on my location and feelings and life every few seconds.

And once I did these mundane, quiet tasks alone, it became clear to me why I (and so many others) am nearly addicted to social media. I felt alone – eerily alone. I was sad that I couldn’t share a video of myself, for example, making myself a delicious meal while wearing a honey face mask with my friends. Red lights (oops) were no longer opportunities to open up pictures of videos of my friends also doing banal tasks. If I was eating poke alone in my room, but sending a Snapchat of the food and myself eating it to my friends, was I really eating poke alone in my room? The answer is no. And it is in this answer that all of the power of social media lies.

After a few days of discomfort, though, I realized how important it is to be able to truly be with yourself –  and yourself only. Without my social media constantly at my fingertips, I began enjoying my moments alone. I found 10 new music artists, paid close attention to any food I ate, appreciated the views and sounds and smells around me, had the space to reflect on my day, and learned to appreciate the delicate nature of a moment alone without manipulating or “sharing” it to evoke the illusion of connection.

We have been taught to trade in connection to ourselves for a diluted, pseudo-connection to peers facilitated by fabricated images and idealized sound-bytes of people’s lives. It is extremely disappointing that our society neither encourages nor teaches us how to foster a relationship with ourselves, as we are with ourselves for 100% of our lives, and not much is more important than being comfortable with yourself (which includes being alone with yourself, of course).

My week without social media opened up my eyes to how it had prevented me from having a comfortable, strong relationship with myself. I’d highly suggest deleting your Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook apps (not your accounts, don’t worry) from your phone for maybe a few hours or even days to step out of the cultural hypnosis, realize how strongly these applications control your behavior, and learn how to counteract their influence.

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Photo Courtesy of The Odyssey Online

Mira Berenbaum, Noah Cohen, and Sara Stolzenberg-Myers

Social Media Director, Community Editor, and Staff Writer

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

13 Reasons Why, the Netflix series, a television adaptation of the best-selling novel by Jay Asher, has incited a worldwide debate. The story revolves around the suicide of a teenage girl named Hannah Baker, and the repercussions that follow when her peers receive 13 tapes in which Hannah accuses them of being the reasons why she committed suicide. The series comments on and explicitly portrays suicide, rape, and self-harm. Some mental health experts have criticized the show for “glorifying suicide” and making it seem as if the fault of suicide falls on the victim’s peers. They also have raised the question of whether this show may encourage suicide as a positive end to suffering. We at The Roar feel that contemporary teenagers are the right people to comment on this show considering that it revolves around people of our own age.

Do you believe that 13 Reasons Why accurately portrays the high school experience?

Mira: Considering that I come from a very specific high school background, it does not portray the high school experience that I am used to. That being said, I don’t think a Milken high school experience is a typical high school experience. I don’t think there is such a thing as a “typical high school experience.” However, the show does portray several of the high school stereotypes with the different cliques and the way the jocks interact with the cheerleaders vs. the way they interact with the “outsiders.”

Noah: Many of the events and interactions in the show are very exaggerated. While this is true for me, it may not be true for all high schoolers, especially those who go to bigger schools. Perhaps there are situations where the extreme events happen in real life, but I personally have never come across some of the more heinous crimes portrayed.

Sara: While I come from a private, Jewish, almost too-safe bubble, I am still able to relate to many of the things Hannah Baker experiences. High school is an awkward growth period in all our lives where many of us are attempting to figure out who we are. As seen in 13 Reasons Why, sometimes this environment can provoke feelings of loneliness and insufficiency. In the show, we, as the viewers, are able to see where every interaction went wrong. However, when we are living in these moments, it is hard to visualize the repercussions of our actions. Despite the errors the show made in properly portraying the effects of suicide, 13 Reasons Why certainly captured a very real depiction of the emotions a high school girl is likely to experience.

Does 13 Reasons Why cause more harm than good?

Mira: Debatable. The good is that it is an entertaining show, I will admit that. I binge watched all 13 episodes and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was not until after I finished the show that I was able to fully comprehend the harm that the show causes. To teens who are depressed and suicidal, the show is very triggering. Depicting rape and suicide as visually as the show portrayed it is unhealthy for suicidal teens to watch. Additionally, friends and family of people who committed suicide could feel hurt while watching this show. People have been saying that the show portrays suicide as a game, and while watching the show I didn’t realize this. However, after finishing the show, I strongly agree that it disrespects suicide by making it a scavenger hunt. It breaks my heart when I hear someone say “welcome to your tape” in class or in passing, thus mocking both the show and suicide as a whole. The show is both harmful and good, and I’m not sure which one carries a heavier weight.

Noah: I believe that the show, while flawed, deserves to be given the benefit of the doubt. The creators intended to make a show that created a dialogue about suicide and mental illness in teens. While the creators didn’t always do so in the most appropriate way, it did make me think about the dynamics of human interaction and how that affects people’s mental health and wellbeing. It may not have the same effect on everyone, but to me, it definitely made me more thoughtful towards those issues.  

Sara: Because I am not aware of how this show has affected those struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide, I cannot firmly determine whether or not this show has caused more harm than good. I understand the perspective many have taken in regards to 13 Reasons Why which expresses the fear of the glorification of suicide. But, I do think this show is bringing forth a necessary conversation that many are afraid to participate in. If you choose to interpret the show as a storyline that turns the idea of suicide into a fantasy, then it will only cause harm. However, if you choose to watch the show, recognize each character’s mistakes, and then learn from them, the show will only lead you to make more conscientious decisions.

What, if any, parts of 13 Reasons Why would you change?

Mira: Definitely getting rid of the rape and suicide scene. While watching it, I closed my eyes during those scenes because I found them so disturbing. Maybe showing flash moments of both scenes and leaving the interpretation up to the viewer is an option, but showing them so visually was a mistake. Even with the warning messages, the scenes were still too visual. All the mental health experts said not to make the scenes too visual, but they didn’t follow that advice. The producers should’ve known better.

Noah: Most people would probably say that they shouldn’t have made the suicide and rapes so graphic. I disagree. I think that it was important to show these events in order to fully convey the severity of these actions. You can’t “gloss over” these issues, even in a show intended for teens and young adults. To be honest, I feel that some of the characters who were blamed for the death of Hannah Baker didn’t completely deserve it. Each character had their flaws and definitely contributed to Hannah’s declining mental health, but I believe that the show too explicitly stated the false impression that these people “killed” Hannah.

Sara: Hannah Baker made the decision, when she left her tapes behind, to ensure that all those who played a role in the leadup to her suicide, would suffer. While the actions committed in the show should in no way be condoned, it is not fair for Hannah to have put the blame on every other character. I think it is the show’s responsibility to make clear to the viewers that leaving tapes behind is not something that should be encouraged. I also think it is the show’s responsibility to display trigger warnings before every episode, and to promote different resources for those suffering with depression and thoughts of suicide after every episode. When deciding to produce a show with such heavy material, it is on them to make sure they do so safely.

Should there be a second season?

Mira: The series is based off a book. A single book. Why is there a need for a second season if there was only one book? Enough said.

Noah: Netflix is in a unique position where they have a cultural phenomena being debated by people all around the world. They have the chance to make the second season fill in the gaps and misconceptions that the first season left behind. There is more room for improvement and I would absolutely give them a chance to redeem themselves and create a more relatable and sensitive season.

Sara: If a second season was made exploring all the ways in which Hannah’s life could have been saved, I would be in support. In the first season, I think it is clear that many factors were missing. The final episode leaves you feeling hopeless. A second season would be an opportunity to provide a sense of hope for the viewers. 13 Reasons Why certainly encouraged a conversation about this topic, which in theory, is a great thing. However, it had the chance to provoke serious debates about ways in which we can become more well-informed about the matter, and instead only was successful in stirring up some controversy. This is a topic that hasn’t been properly discussed and if a second season would be able to bring something positive out of it, I believe it would be beneficial.

Finally, should 13 Reasons Why have been made?

Mira: Yes… but it should have been made differently. Scratch the rape and suicide scenes and follow the advice of the mental health experts and then the show would’ve been fine. The idea behind the show is fine, the execution of it, however, is inappropriate.

Noah: Absolutely. There hasn’t been a show in a long time that has incited such a viral debate over suicide, mental health, and human interactions. It was far from a perfect show, but I found it entertaining, thought-provoking, and well-intentioned.

Sara: I am disappointed at the possibility that the show brought forth negative effects on those who suffer with mental illness. Because of this, I cannot say with confidence that the show should have been made. However, if the second season is capable of correcting all the errors made in season one, I would say then, yes; the show should have been made. A television show which encourages necessary conversations on topics like these is something we need in this current society.

There are many different opinions on 13 Reasons Why. Let us know what your opinion is in the comments.

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Photo by Isabel Bina - Poland

Isabel Bina ’17

Guest Writer

“The happier you try to be the more miracles appear.” This is Eva Perlman’s life philosophy; an 85-year-old mother, grandmother, great grandmother, world traveler, soon to be published author, and Holocaust survivor who believes we are the ultimate determinants of our personal happiness.

From the haunted corners of Poland to the spirited streets of Jerusalem, the members of the Los Angeles March of the Living delegation never faced a dull moment in Eva’s presence. Every day as we made our way towards the stone cold walls of Birkenau, the ethnic streets of Krakow, or the therapeutic waters of the Dead Sea, Eva’s charisma filled the empty airtime on our buses. Her storytelling enriched our personal reflection time while her cheeky jokes lightened the mood. At the end of each day, while we departed our buses, the same whispers echoed under people’s breath: “How is Eva so positive? How is she SO happy?” Though she makes happiness seem like an easy state of being to achieve, Eva shares “I’ve done a lot of self development in my life; I’ve taken a lot of courses about how to put the past where it belongs and look forward to the future. I’ve learned that you have to be grateful—that your thoughts bring up what happens to you.”

With the looming memory of a childhood spent on the run hiding from the Nazis, Eva now lives a life of gratitude; she seeks meaning in life’s smallest moments and counts her blessings by reminding herself of everything money can’t buy: her friends and family, the beautiful Los Angeles weather, and the gorgeous velvety mountains that make her time stuck in traffic worthwhile. She continues with an analogy for the law of attraction explaining, “Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds; you can grow flowers or you can grow weeds. At the beginning, I made, perhaps, an effort to say ‘thank you God for today,’ but then it became so habitual that even, say I drive and I see a red light in front of me coming up and it suddenly turns green and I don’t even have to brake, I say ‘thank you Lord.’”

Eva’s positivity and vitality have a magnetic force that enchants everyone. On the March, there was never a morning when she did not greet us with a warm smile illuminating her face. There was never a moment where she hesitated to be vulnerable and grace us with her courage. What drew me to Eva was her fearlessly authentic and empowered character; she marvels at the miracles of the universe and carries herself with an unparalleled level of elegance and humility. There aren’t enough words to express my gratitude for Eva’s wisdom. As my high school career draws to an end, I constantly seek value in every fleeting moment— the good and the bad— because it is during those moments that our reactions matter the most; it is in those moments that we can challenge ourselves to choose happiness over all else.

Portrait of Eva Perlman by Isabel Bina

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Lauren Cohen

Voices Editor

If there’s one thing that society has taught me, it’s that I am innately incomplete. A puzzle piece, if you will. It became clear to me, quite early on, that “falling in love” would be a milestone I’d have to experience not only to attain a state of wholeness, but also a fulfilling life. The perception that all of my traits – physical and otherwise –  had to eventually be affirmed by a lover was ingrained into my mind by the series of Hollywood and commercial images my LA upbringing exposed me to. I couldn’t be beautiful unless a man treated me so. I couldn’t possibly be worthy of love until someone showed or reciprocated romantic interest.

In this sense, I existed (and still do, to an extent) as a puzzle piece. My first half, ironically, was my whole self: my memories (ranging from traumatic to euphoric), my arsenal of stories, my humor, my music taste, my secrets, my physical appearance, and my deepest fears and my most intense passions. The second half was validation. I often did, and still do, doubt if my first half could truly be good enough if I never fell in love. If no one came along and said “I want her to be mine,” could I still be worthy of love and acceptance? Or is having a lover or admirer truly necessary to know that all of your traits have come together to make you truly beautiful? For much of my life, my response to such questions was, naturally, “absolutely not.” Recently, I have realized how this response is not one that follows truth, but rather indoctrination. From the portrayal of romantic relationships in media and advertisements, I was conditioned to believe that finding someone who would love me is what would make me truly love myself.

But I am here, writing this article, because I have realized, after much pain and disappointment and struggle, how insane it is that I have subscribed to such an irrational and oppressive standard of beauty. Beauty, in all senses, is not contingent upon ratings or perceptions – or any external measure, for that matter. Beauty is inherent. It exists whether one acknowledges it or not. The dandelion nestled in the grass that one businessman rushes by is the same dandelion that the young child runs toward and greets with squeals of joy. Its beauty has nothing to do with the outside world’s perception of it. It is beautiful whether or not a human decides to stop and affirm that it is so. The same applies to people. Our beauty, despite all we are taught, does not depend on whether we have someone in our lives who tells us that or treats us like we are, indeed, beautiful.

So, to all others who have felt like a puzzle piece, excitedly waiting for the day that they fall in love to finally love themselves, this is for you. You are the dandelion. Stop waiting for someone to stop, pick you up, and marvel at you to feel whole. Know that you are gorgeous – dancing in the wind, a ball of light. You, in your entirety, are enough. Your music taste, your most embarrassing moments, your laugh, your arsenal of stories, your body, your favorite foods, your vivid memories, your napping face, your scars and sensitivities, your quirks; YOU are utterly beautiful. I empower you to take today as the day you stop waiting for someone to love you, and begin loving yourself.

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Image courtesy of Jordan Pardo

Ben Chasen

Staff Writer

Pride can be one of the most powerful forces for good known to man. Pride can uplift spirits and inspire others. Pride can fend off enemies and protect righteousness. Pride can lead people to be committed to their morals and defend their stances.

But at the same time, pride can be one of the most dangerous weapons in the world.

Pride can blind people towards injustice. Pride can silence the voices of the vulnerable. Pride can even lead to the destruction of those who are proud.

At Milken, students are passionate about and proud of a number of things. We are proud of our families’ histories. We are proud of our achievements. We are proud of our Jewish heritage. We are proud of the success of ourselves and our fellow students. But to me, there is one form of pride that stands out at Milken: pride in our support for the State of Israel.

If you walked up to each and every Milken student and asked them if they “support Israel” or if they “stand with Israel,” you would get very few “no” responses. The truth is, almost every student — if not every student — at Milken considers themselves a Zionist in some fashion, myself included. I, like so much of the student body, have traveled to Israel and seen the holy sites, fantastic people, and Jewish culture that make it such a special place. I have formed a connection, on my own, to the State of Israel, and I know that if it were to no longer exist, my place in the world as a Jew would feel significantly more insecure.

But like many Milken students, my love for Israel does not mean that I shy away from criticizing its actions. Anyone who has talked to me about Israel knows that while I love the land and recognize the need for Jews to have a state, I treat Israel like any other democracy in the world. I’m verbally against Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and I am a passionate believer that it is essential that a two-state solution is reached between Israelis and Palestinians in order to truly attain peace in the Middle East. I don’t align with J-Street, but at the same time, I do not identify with the arguments of AIPAC. And while the majority of Milken students have a significantly more conservative opinion on Israel, I know I’m not alone in disagreeing with some actions of the Israeli government.

Now, my issue is not at all about others’ opinions. I love conversing with others about every political issue, regardless of whether their opinion is similar to mine, and Israel is no different. I learn something from every person who tells me their story and gives me their perspective. My issue is that I believe Milken as a school is not promoting a broad enough definition of Zionism. From my experience, faithful support of Israel is embedded in nearly every aspect of life at Milken, from events like last week’s Israeli Independence Day celebrations to speeches at our graduation ceremonies to Israel-related classes in our curriculum. This makes sense, given that in Milken’s “Portrait of the Graduate,” we are told that Milken graduates will be taught through their time here to “connect and contribute to their communities, the Jewish people, and the State of Israel.”

I have no issue with Milken teaching students about Israel, its history, and why it is a necessity to the Jewish people. My issue is that directly trying to build students’ connections to the State of Israel prevents students from building legitimate connections of their own with Israel. Milken students are, as I mentioned earlier, passionate. That passion paired with a proper, unbiased education about Israeli history and modern day issues should make for fantastic, authentic, and genuine connections to Israel and foster political opinions that students believe in and build on their own. Instead, it seems to me as if Milken is force-feeding a somewhat politicized view on Israel to students in an attempt to build those connections for them.

For example, at last week’s Yom Ha’atzmaut Town Meeting, a gym filled with Israeli flags set the scene for a fairly nationalistic atmosphere. At this same assembly, we were told by a guest speaker that “we hope for peace in the Middle East, which we will realistically never have.” Obviously, as a Jewish high school, Milken feels a duty to prepare students to protect themselves from the anti-Semitism, sparked by a hate for Israel, that is omnipresent on college campuses. But the way for Milken to do this is not to form students’ arguments and opinions by themselves, but rather to teach them about Israel while embracing all forms of Zionism, including Zionist opinions that see a two-state solution and the potential for peace as a possibility. With this formula, Milken students will be able to defend themselves and their homeland adequately, as they will have opinions they formed on their own to back themselves up in the face of hate.

I don’t wish to tell anyone their opinion is wrong. I know how that feels. Because I am so verbal about my beliefs, I go through every day at Milken being told that I am a “self-hating Jew” or that I “hate Israel,” when in truth, all I am is another Zionist who also thinks Israel makes mistakes like any other country in the world. So, naturally, I am inclined to respect every other student’s belief as I would wish they would respect mine. But I do not think it is right, nor do I think it is effective, for my school to tell me what my opinion should be.

We are a Jewish school, and it is absolutely correct for us to celebrate, cherish, and stand with our homeland. But that does not mean that we should be promoting anything past that. If we truly want to support Israel, we have to embrace all forms of Zionism, not just the ones that support Israel unconditionally. We have to transform the institutionally promoted form of Zionism so that all students truly feel comfortable and proud to state their unique connections and opinions when Israel is discussed. We have to ensure that we don’t let our pride silence that of others. Does this mean fewer flags and passion on Yom Ha’atzmaut? Absolutely not. It would defeat the point of changing altogether, as it would limit the fervor of students who are already very comfortably and passionately verbal about Israel. All I am asking is that Milken makes their presentation of Israel more open to everyone, including those of us who take pride in being Pro-Israel, while simultaneously disagreeing with its government on certain issues.

After all, everyone should be proud of their beliefs.

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Railroad tracks at Birkenau.

Lauren Deutsch

Guest Writer

This is the first post in a series of reflections from Milken seniors currently on March of the Living

A few days ago, I had the once in a lifetime chance to march from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the concentration camp that my grandma was forcefully taken to 72 years prior to that day. When we arrived, I looked out into the acres filled with chimneys, brick bunkers, and watch houses, and couldn’t help but imagine six million unique faces peering at me through the endless gates. I looked down at the grass, which was overflowing from the train tracks, and questioned how nature could grow and stem from a place that houses death and endings. The March of the Living has ultimately changed me and my appreciation for Judaism and its people’s inhibition and perseverance. We are still here and we are not going anywhere.

 

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Michael Schulman

Staff Writer 

Every generation has a coming-of-age movie: the 80’s has The Breakfast Club, the 90’s has Clueless and my generation…we have High School Musical. Growing up as a Disney kid, High School Musical greatly influenced my idea of what high school would be. No, I did not think the entire student body was going to break out into song and dance at lunch time, but I expected that the social dynamics of West High School would be similar to Milken’s. However, to my delight, I was wrong. My high school experience was better than any stereotypical Hollywood movie because it was unique to me and my class.

For those of you who have not seen the cinematic masterpiece High School Musical, it centers around popular basketball “it-man” Troy Bolton, played by my boy Zac Efron, and his quest to break from the social stigmas of high school. The film cleverly comments on how no one is bound to the norms of their clique, as Troy longs to sing in the school musical, an act which would be looked down upon by his team.

No, I did not think the cliques at Milken would be that extreme, but I definitely thought they would be exclusive like they were in Hollywood films. Yes, I have my “squad,” and everyone at Milken kind of has their group, but the people at Milken have always been welcoming even if I was not that close to them. That is the other thing the movie got wrong, friend groups at Milken are not so strictly organized like they are in pop-culture. People are usually friends with those who share similar interests, but the people who I have met in high school are far more unique. The reality is that we are all different: we are not just athletes, student leaders or artists. We are much more. This place has not just been a school, it has been the place where we discovered who we truly are. Not only did I learn that I love being a student leader, but I learned that I have the ability to make people laugh. Whether laughing at me or laughing with me, I found joy in making my teachers and peers smile.

I am proud to have gone to a school with warm, kind people who have made me feel part of a family. Every movie about high school views the experience as a “job,” and just a stage in your life that you have to get through. High School was not a smooth road, but when I look back on this experience I will not remember the stressful study sessions or the up-hill climb that is the college process. Rather, I will remember the incredible people who endured and experienced it with me. This place has given me a safe space to fail and grow. I can now enter the world confident in my abilities. Every student every day entered Zeldin’s Way with the goal of being better. Even though it was a short amount of time in the grand scheme of our lives, we were “all in this together.” And for that I am forever grateful.

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Evan Satlin

Staff Writer

 

As Americans, we are now in an awkward period where the president has been elected and inaugurated, and we are waiting to see how his legislative actions will affect the world. We wait patiently because we want to know if President Donald Trump is going to be the president America needs. However, this does not stop the public from sharing opinions that are often not based on facts. Although I support the right for people to publicly express their beliefs, I prefer for such opinions to be backed with research and facts.

 

I have spoken with people and have seen countless posts on Facebook from friends who voice their opinion with inaccurate information, and frankly, it sounds like nails on a chalkboard. “Obama was the worst president in American history.” “Women should not complain about their rights.” “Donald Trump deserves to be dead.” “Why do old people vote? The election isn’t for them.” Hearing opinions like these without factual evidence makes me sad as an American. We now live in a time where articles, information and facts are right at our fingertips, yet people still refuse to do a quick Google search before blabbering about why they are right about a certain subject. Granted, looking at a few articles may actually confirm your biases, with all of the fake news and “alternative facts” available

 

I took Race, Class and Gender (RCG), which is probably from where my intolerance towards opinions made without evidence stems. On multiple occasions, my teacher, Dr. Nick Holton, has said “Assumptions make an ass out of you and me.” He makes a point to teach all of his RCG students that they should not assume that they know something without actually taking the time to research or learn about it.  

 

Just the other day, I had a very civil and educated debate with a good friend of mine about America’s financial status, and which candidate would have made the greatest impact on immigration, the economy and social affairs. It was one of the most productive conversations I have had in a long time because we agreed on some opinions, disagreed on others, but in the end we stayed civil and did not get heated…in fact, our friendship grew even stronger. As Americans I feel we should not just make it our civic right to be able to vote, but our duty to research all of the candidates, and vote for who we most agree with and can be most comfortable with running our country. This election, only about 50% of Americans voted. If we want change, we need to put in the time to pursue that change.

Looking at even more current events (wiretapping, editing the immigrant ban, terrible voter turnouts in local elections), it is important to not only consider multiple sources, but it is equally as important to know what those sources are. If you are looking at a biased article, look at another one favoring the other side. As I’ve stated before, the best opinions are those that are completely thought out and well-researched, but they can be hard to distinguish without research of your own. With all of these opinions going around (especially in the political world), it is important to listen to all of them and filter out the ones that you think are best. We are the future of our country. Let’s represent the United States as best we can.