By Jed Cosgrove ‘23, News Editor
This year, Heschel’s student government has endured many ups and downs: a successful homecoming, an postponed Shabbaton, and ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions. Despite hardships, every council accomplished noteworthy achievements.
For example, the Hesed and Tzedek Council led by senior Charlie Covit has been emphasizing food insecurity in their programs and fundraisers. “We’ve done a couple programs this year to get that going and we’re excited to roll it out to the school,” Covit remarked. As an extension of this mission, the council started an initiative to deliver leftover cafeteria meals to a local food pantry on 99th Street. “So far, the program’s just been limited to student government, but soon we’re going to be involving the whole student body in smaller groups like minyanim, clubs, and advisories,” Covit said. Right before winter break, the Hesed and Tzedek Council raised over $500 to assist Kentuckians affected by extreme weather, and in early January they fundraised for the Bronx apartment fire. This year has proven difficult for the council; with an absence of Hesed days or full school programming and no more Asefot as the school had last year, the council has no established platform. However, the council is still working hard and hopes to revive both the Hoops for Hesed program and the blood drive later this year.
The Spirit Council has recently been focusing on spirit week. “It’s a little ways away but we wanted to start planning so we can come up with great ideas for that week,” senior and Spirit VP Maya Ofek explained. The council has also released a line of student-made merchandise which the group sold at homecoming, one of their greatest successes of the year. The Spirit Council also led a breast cancer awareness fundraiser.
Due to the Shabbaton’s postponement, the Programming Council has been shifting their focus. “We planned the ‘funtivities’ and snow tubing day” said senior and Programming VP Sophie Rasol. Both of these initiatives were welcomed by students and faculty alike! The council has also coordinated a Sukkot water carnival and various Israel programs. Now that Heschel has announced the Shabbaton will occur in late March, the committee is working hard to plan meaningful and exciting activities for that weekend.
The Student Affairs Council, led by senior Zoe Cosgrove, is hard at work ensuring Heschel is a safe, ethical, and enjoyable learning environment. “Lately we’ve been working on how we can reintegrate our ARC learning back into our curriculum, and how we can improve recycling at Heschel,” Cosgrove noted. “Our main focus this year has been thinking about where we can improve the daily Heschel experience for each student despite the constantly changing COVID-19 environment.”Student government’s central value this year is “Olam Hesed Yibaneh,” which they translate as, “we rebuild the world through kindness.” Integrating this pasuk into the Heschel High school, the Executive Board is striving to create programs and rules the school didn’t have before COVID-19 and to bring back what was lost. “We’ve made Heschel a warm and insular community, but we still struggle with the COVID-19 aspects of it,” senior and Heschel High School President Evie Kirshner asserted. “The biggest change to student government recently was that the Shabbaton was canceled, which put all of the councils in an awkward position of trying to figure out what to do because they had all working collaboratively from the end of November until January to make that happen.” Regardless, Kirshner noticed that this year in particular, from homecoming to the Sukkot water festival, councils really worked together.