First and second place students from each of the 18 committees at Model Congress at HAFTR
Chloe Gottlieb, Miriam Kopyto, Shmuel Berman, Avigail Winokur, and Dodie Weinberg, Leeba Sullivan, Meira Saffra, and Yonatan Schiller, Benjy Gottesman, and Alex Libkind receive awards at Model Congress

HAFTR High School once again hosted a successful annual Yeshiva League Model Congress on Tuesday, March 6. Students from 14 schools from throughout the tristate area convened at the Young Israel of Woodmere, including Central, DRS, Ezra Academy, Flatbush, Frisch, HAFTR, JEC, Ma’ayanot, MTA, SAR, Shalhevet, SKA, Solomon Schechter, and TABC. The competition included over 180 students and each school provided one or two judges who ranked students based on their overall performance.

Students arrived beginning at 9:00 a.m. and picked up their name tags, committee assignments, schedules, and portfolios. Senators were then ushered to the main sanctuary, where they were welcomed by HAFTR Principal Ms. Naomi Lippman and Model Congress President Chloe Gottlieb. The students were then inspired by the keynote speaker, the Honorable Ronald Goldman, who explained the importance of the Constitution and compared it to the game of basketball. Judge Goldman reminded the students that both politics and basketball are treated as games, but one only has entertainment value, while the other has deep effects on every person’s life.

After the keynote, co-President Miriam Kopyto provided a summary of the rules and dismissed the Model Congress Senators to their respective committees. Prior to the tournament, students prepared bills relevant to their assigned committee. In total, students competed in 18 committees ranging from Agriculture to Ways and Means. One special committee dealt with numerous crises in which students had to figure out on the spot how to deal with issues ranging from domestic terrorism, to natural disasters, to an oil spill off the Alaskan coast that created an international crisis with Russia.

In addition to the over 180 competitors, 36 students served as both presiding officers and judges in their committee sessions. The majority of these students were active HAFTR Model Congress participants who made sure the committees ran efficiently, but were not eligible for awards.

The day was not complete until after the awards ceremony, presented by co-President Benjy Gottesman. There were three overall first place winners: Avigail Winokur and Dodie Weinberg from Central and Shmuel Berman from Frisch, and three overall second place winners, Leeba Sullivan and Meira Saffra from Central and Yonatan Schiller from DRS, as well numerous first and second place winners in each committee. Congratulations to HAFTR High School sophomore David Lederer for his first place win on the Ethics Committee. Special thanks to Faculty Advisor Mr. Alex Libkind for arranging and meticulously planning the event.

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