By Raphaela Gold ‘21
Heschel had its third Mabat of the year on Monday, February 11th. It was focused on a number of topics, primarily upcoming school events. This year’s Mabat programs have been sparse, so students were both surprised and excited at the announcement to attend Mabat. The program began with High School Hesed Coordinator and Israel Educator Ilana Sidorsky sharing a few words about the tragedy of Ori Ansbacher’s death in an Israel terrorist attack. According to Sidorsky, “It is important our school feels connected to Israel, and it is important for us to mourn alongside Israel when a tragedy occurs.” She elaborated, “We can’t do that for each and every tragedy, but there was something about [Ori’s] story, her age… that I really connected with and felt that I knew her.” In the Mabat, Sidorsky displayed Ori’s mother’s reflections on Instagram in order to convey the enormity of the tragedy.
After this solemn introduction, presenters smoothly transitioned into speaking about the school Pink Day, with which the Hesed council intended to raise awareness about breast cancer. Next, several Student Government representatives spoke about sports at Heschel, recounting the basketball team’s recent victory and announcing the near beginning of the girls hockey season. High School Head of the English Department Mari Tetzeli then declared the Heschel winners of this year’s regional Scholastic Awards for the Arts.
Originally, Mabat was created as a space for sharing student work and to provide more opportunities for students to lead school programs. The program also provided space for students to learn more about Israel and current events in Israel. Over the years, Mabat has morphed into an established space where many student groups share about issues they were passionate about. Clubs and groups including American Voices, the Hesed council, and the GSA have often led Mabat. With the schedule changes this year, there have been far fewer Mabat slots than in previous years. Sidorsky commented, “It’s hard to say what instigates it; it is simply that our schedule has changed and there has been a lot less interest in Mabat. They’re really hard to prepare for, and it takes a lot of work and time to make a great presentation on current issues.” Sidorsky also took time to thank the students who took interest in leading the program. “It’s really hard to speak in front of the whole school, that is a really daunting thing, so I give students who speak so much credit.”
Sophomore Sabrina Zbar noted that she thought the recent Mabat program went well and people were “pretty respectful.” Freshman Sami Gold shared his views on Mabat in general, saying, “I think Mabat is good, it just depends on what you’re going to have the Mabat about. A serious block of time when there is a message or something serious to say is a good cause for Mabat. It is important to have a specific, focused topic.”