Prior to the recent presidential election, students of Yeshiva Toras Chaim participated in a mock debate. Twelve students-six supporting Obama and six supporting Romney-clashed verbally trying to argue for their candidate.
Opening statements were made by Akiva Nemetsky and Netanel Raden. Nemetsky brought to light the failures of Obama in his first term, prominent among them his failure in remedying the economy. He also pointed out the success of Romney as a businessman and as a politician. Raden argued that Obama has helped the economy more than the statistics and numbers indicate. Raden also showed that Romney was unqualified to act as the head of our nation. Both statements were intel-lectually honest and truly eloquent.
Next, a student from each grade argued on a specific issue facing America. Questions were asked by the moderators and answered by the debaters. Students tackled issues concerning the economy, foreign policy and more. Each debater was held to a two-minute time limit, making his task even more challenging. The students spoke well, delivered their points persuasively, and accurately addressed the issue at hand. After the specific arguments, both campaigns delivered closing statements.
Finally, students were given the opportunity to cast their own votes in a school election. Mitt Romney was victorious by a relatively small margin. Although Romney won, all agreed that the debaters for both sides performed quite admirably. Additionally, it is important to note that although they argued for a certain candidate, the debaters did not necessarily approve of the candidate for whom they were arguing, further toughening their task.
Mr. Spring, the Social Studies teacher, arranged and headed the debate, along with the Secular Studies principal, Rabbi Levine. One student remarked, "I think this is a great example of Yeshiva Toras Chaim's attitude toward secular matters. The debate showed how much the Yeshiva cares about keeping their students informed about the secular world around them."