May 30, 2024
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Ma’ayanot Prepares Students for 2016 Election

Voter turnout was high and excitement was in the air—along with the beat of ‘Hamilton’ lyrics—as Ma’ayanot students poured into polling centers on Thursday, November 3, in the school’s first mock elections.

“We wanted the students to enjoy an experiential election event while gaining a better understanding of the Electoral College,” explained Mrs. Chani Rotenberg, Chair of Ma’ayanot’s History Department. In order to vote, the student body was divided into four battleground states: Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Nevada.

Voters were well prepared to make informed decisions. On Tuesday, November 1, the seniors presented an Election Expo, with exhibits for underclassmen to learn about where the candidates stand on a range of issues including U.S.-Israel relations, paid maternity leave, Social Security, the minimum wage, immigration reform, gun control and LGBT rights.

“Our teachers also engaged us in conversations about the debates and kept us informed about the issues unique to this election,” said Reina Goldman, a junior.

Also prior to the mock election, Mr. Eric Gallagher, a political strategist, spoke to the students about the electoral prospects of the candidates and their respective positions on Israel-related issues. Mr. Gallagher has nearly 10 years of experience strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship while working at the forefront of the American electoral process.

On Mock Election Day, students were well-equipped with information about the significance of battleground states, voting laws, voter I.D. requirements and key issues in their assigned states. They were asked to vote as residents of those states. As projections came in, they were presented on a digital Electoral College map via the website www.270towinit.com. “Students were able to visualize in real-time how everything rides on those four battleground states in this election,” said Mrs. Rotenberg.

To bring the messages home about the national election, the school hosted Mr. Josh Gottheimer, candidate for the House of Representatives in New Jersey’s fifth congressional district. He spoke to students about his political priorities and the importance of getting involved in politics at a young age. He started as a page in the office of Senator Frank Lautenberg at the age of 16 and in his 20s worked as an intern and speechwriter for President Bill Clinton. He answered students’ questions about BDS, a two-state solution, infrastructure and bipartisanship. The school extended an invitation to Mr. Scott Garrett, Gottheimer’s opponent, as well, but he was not available when school was in session.

Said Emily Grossman, a junior, “I really liked that the school brought in speakers to help us understand the issues and not just blindly make decisions.”

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