Saturday, April 01, 2023

Book Day 2015 was eagerly awaited by the students of Torah Academy of Bergen County. Co-ordinated by Dr. Carol Master, chair of the English Department, and Mrs. Leah Moskovits, librarian of the school, this day was the culmination of months of preparation. Each year students and faculty read a single book and, using the book as a jumping off point, partake in various workshops to discuss relevant issues and ideas. This year, the selection was Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, a science fiction novel. Topics addressed in the book include bullying, sibling rivalry, the blurring of the line between reality and computer-simulated war games and leadership and the isolation that comes with being a leader,

In its’ fifth year, Book Day brought with it some exciting innovations besides the engrossing theme-related workshops the school has come to expect. There were engaging faculty presentations that opened discussions about film adaptations, marching music, the ethics of war, cyber bullying, book publishing, extraterrestrial intelligence and NASA. Additionally, many Torah-related topics were covered: leadership in the Torah, the Torah’s vision of yemot haMashiach, the view of the Gemara and works of mussar on acts of aggression and the Torah’s perspective on population control. Many sessions were led by external presenters about such varied topics as Jews in the military, clinical consent for biological experiments, the incredible properties of gravity and mass and the coordination of technology systems to defend our country. Simultaneously, Krav Maga workshops and debates were conducted. The sessions were comprised of small groups to maximize participation. Jewish war veterans, engineers, biologists, Krav Maga instructors and creators of digital games shared the space with our own creative Judaic and General Studies faculty.

Book Day 2015 saw the inauguration of a student-led session by sophomores Avi Cooper, Ephraim Linder and Eli Dickman, who showed other students how to create their own computer game. Matan Leff, a junior at TABC, took it upon himself to organize a competitive gaming session during the lunch break. This was also the first year that a student committee, in addition to a faculty committee, screened five potential books over the summer and helped make the final selection.

The central goal for Book Day each year has been to encourage reading at all levels. Mrs. Moskovits and Dr. Master continue to believe that Book Day is a wonderful extension of what the faculty at TABC try to teach their students everyday: through reading, whether a novel, a historical document or a blatt of Gemara, one can discover new worlds and begin to think for oneself. With the integrated approach to Book Day, all disciplines--Gemara, Chumash, history, english and math--can all be part of any intellectual discussion. This year that mission was accomplished.

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