May 23, 2024
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May 23, 2024
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RKYHS Students Meet Fellow Seminar Participants From St. Benedict’s Prep

Students at the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston, and St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, have embarked upon a joint seminar this year to broaden students’ horizons and increase cultural and racial understanding and awareness. The seminar brings together two groups—Jewish students at Kushner, and African American and Latino students at St. Benedict’s—who wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to meet and discuss the topics of racism and antisemitism.

Thirteen students from each school have been meeting over Zoom biweekly after school for a curriculum that spans the Holocaust and Kristallnacht to voter suppression; redlining and criminal justice reform; and even breaking down material like the Nazi’s appropriation of Jim Crow to draft the Nuremberg Laws. The seminar is voluntary and is led by Stephen Adubato, a teacher at St. Benedict’s specializing in philosophy and religion; and lawyer and RKYHS educator Deborah Orens.

Every other week, the participating juniors and seniors at each school discuss the assigned literature surrounding racism and antisemitism separately, eventually assembling on a single Zoom the following week for further discussion. Classes are organized in the style of a Socratic seminar, allowing students to respectfully share their opinions in an open and welcoming environment.

After meeting on Zoom all year, the two groups of students had the opportunity to get together outside in person recently as a culminating event for the program. They enjoyed the opportunity to socialize in person with peers who have become friends and have dinner and ice cream together.

This meaningful yearlong seminar was inspired and made possible for students at both schools through the leadership initiative of RKYHS parent Ariel Nelson, in memory of his mother Eva Nelson, z”l, grandmother of Gabe Nelson (11th grade), Molly Nelson (JKHA ‘15), and Jacob Nelson (JKHA ‘12/RKYHS ‘16).

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