On April 7, eight Bialik High School students participated in the Prizmah Moot Beit Din International Court Competition. This was a first for the school. The competition took place in Greensboro, North Carolina at the beautiful campus of the American Hebrew Academy.
Twenty one schools from North America and Israel took part. The Sunday competition was preceded by a Shabbaton that was led by the students and allowed for Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Orthodox, Conservative and Egalitarian services.
To prepare for the event, eight brave Bialik students wrote an essay on why they should be selected to represent the school at the Prizmah Moot Beit Din competition. The eight were selected from a pool of 25 who wanted the chance to debate using Jewish legal sources related to a hypothetical case. The students debated the Jewish Halachic, ethical and legal issues a summer camp was facing when the parents discovered the meat was being raised industrially.
The students studied with Dr. Shimshon Hamerman for the past several weeks, often giving up their lunch hour to examine the Biblical, Talmudic and Rabbinic sources in order to arrive at a position about the case that either supported the petitioning parents or the camp. The Principal of Bialik High School, Avi Satov, and Mrs. Anat Toledano, the Director of Judaic Studies, supported and encouraged the students’ participation. The administration organized a mock Moot Beit Din and invited having three local Rabbis to act as judges for the event. Following a nine minute presentation by each of the two teams, Rabbi Freundlich, Rabbi Poupko and Rabbi Raskin asked the students questions to simulate the actual court case that was to take place in Greensboro.
The students demonstrated great ease in quoting, discussing and analyzing Rabbinic sources at the competition in Greensboro. The students’ creativity was original and entertaining while one team presented their case as a game of Jeopardy, the second team modeled their case after Judge Judy of the famous TV series judge.
While the judges deliberated students went to eat lunch. There was great anxiety after it was announced that the first Bialik team won its division. Jubilation set in when the second Bialik team also won its division.
Herzliah High School also entered two teams to the competition and one of the two won in their division. In all, Montreal entered four teams. Three of them won first prize in their divisions. The Montreal Jewish Day School system should feel extremely proud of their four high school teams. Three of the four teams came first against the finest schools in North America.