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2020 Election Issue

SHALHEVET HIGH SCHOOL • Los Angeles, CA • November 2020 • Cheshvan 5781 • Vol. 21 • Issue 2 • shalhevetboilingpoint.com

Year of the yard sign

Election’s conflicts and tension are playing out on area front lawns By KEIRA beller, 10th grade Jill Lefferman woke up early Oct. 5 to discover one of the political yard signs had been stolen off her lawn in the heart of Beverlywood. It was a Biden-Harris sign, with the phrase “B’H,” an abbreviation for the Baruch Hashem, or praise God. In response, she logged on to the Next-

Door app, which lets residents of neighborhoods communicate with each other, and posted the news on the site’s community forum. “Our B’H Biden Harris sign was stolen from our lawn last night,” wrote Ms. Lefferman, who is the mother of Shalhevet alumna Maia Lefferman ‘20. “How sad that we live in a neighborhood where we can’t respect our

neighbor’s opinions and private property.” The Leffermans were especially disheartened that their sign was stolen, given that they specifically chose a sign which included “B’H” in the hopes it would resonate with others in the community and prevent another episode of vandalism. When they supported Black Lives Matter, “MAGA” was written on the street in front of their house in response,

and when Maia wrote a controversial article about Kobe Bryant following his death, “24,” the star’s last jersey number, was too. During the Covid pandemic, yard signs and banners have become a way to express enthusiasm over everything from Black Lives Matter to birthdays, graduations, and bar continued on page 4

This time, poll shows Shalhevet students prefer Trump Faculty prefers Biden by a wide margin; students favored Clinton in 2016 By Benjamin Gamson, News Editor Shalhevet’s combined student body and faculty supports President Donald Trump over former Vice President Joe Biden by a razor-thin margin, a Boiling Point poll has found, although students and faculty have very different viewpoints. In total, 48 percent support Trump and 46.1 percent support Biden. Most students support the president, while most faculty, by a large margin, support his opponent. Of students polled, however, 51% supported President Trump to 43% for Vice President Biden (71 students to 60). Among faculty and staff who responded, 77 percent supported Biden and 15 supported Trump (10 staff to 2). Totaled together, 73 students and staff voted for Trump, 70 students and staff for Biden, and nine chose “other.” The poll did not specify who that might be. The poll was conducted Oct. 26-29 via Google Forms. It received 152 responses in all, 139 from students across four grades and 13 from faculty and staff. It showed President Trump with a three-vote lead over Mr. Biden. This year’s poll is the

third conducted by the Boiling Point in presidential elections. Previous polls did not include faculty and staff. In 2016, Boiling Point poll results from the student body only looked different, with 29% supporting Hillary Clinton, 26% supporting Donald Trump, 3% supporting Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party) and Jill Stein (Green Party). Another 21% -- more than one in five -- said that if they could vote, they would choose not to. When the poll was conducted, an additional 18% were still undecided, six weeks before the election. In 2012, the poll results from the student body overwhelmingly favored Republican Mitt Romney over then-incumbent President Barack Obama. Forty-four students supported Romney and 27 students supported Obama. Since presidential polls take place four years apart, a completely different student body participated in each poll. The Boiling Point also surveyed students about where they get their news and how they decide who they support. Parents, CNN, and friends were the three sources cited most often, followed closely by Fox News, print newspapers, and Instagram. Answering this question on the survey -- What news sources do you use for getting world and national news? For example, news about Israel, Covid, government policies and elections. Check as many as apply. -- of 46 students who responded, 29 said their parents played a role as a source for their world and national news -- the largest of any single source. Twenty-three students credited their friends.

Junior Barbara Seruya said she’s influenced by her parents political beliefs and said she is okay with that. “Im fine that they’re influencing me about this, but in a sense I’m also making my own personal beleifs ‘cause I don’t agree with them on everything that they say,” said Barbara. “Everybody is honestly like the people around us, and what they say always affects you as a person,” she said. “That’s how we create personal biases, [including] who we want to be president.” Most said they read and watch different news networks or newspapers to get their information. Twenty-two said they get some of their news from print newspapers. Senior Rebecca Cohen said she reads the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Reuters, Bloomberg and other sources, and makes it a point to read more than one source on each topic. “I really try to make it a priority to look at different news sources, as well as fact-checkers and the original sources,” said Rebecca in an interview. “So if there is a debate I will watch the debate to make sure that I’m not just reading pieces of it, to make sure I’m getting the full story.” Twenty use Instagram -- the third-place finisher -- and some who don’t continued on page 2

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of Shalhevet community members polled favor former Vice President biden

of Shalhevet Community members polled favor President Trump *Source: Boiling Point poll of 152 students, faculty and staff, Oct. 26 - 29


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The Boiling Point • November 2020 • Elections

Character vs. policies: Town Hall asks which matters more By Caroline Kboudi, 9th grade, and Benjamin Gamson, News Editor Does character matter in a leader? At a Town Hall on Oct. 13, a majority of students said they thought that a candidate’s policies should outweigh his or her character when deciding who to vote for for president. But many thought character and leadership should go handin-hand, and others thought that character was a main factor. And some thought that character did not matter in a leader -only policies. “Obviously it is important who you are as a person, but I think it is more important [to] like the policy they make and like what they do as a politician, what they are doing for the country,” said senior Rena Harkham. “I think that character is an additional trait, but it’s not a defining factor, so it’s more important to have good ideas and have good policies for our country than how you treat people.” But senior Rebecca Cohen disagreed. “They are the epitome of American values,” said Rebecca. “That’s kind of the ideal -- that they are the one who is going to be showing the entire world what our American values are.” With the 2020 presidential election less than a month away, t h e Agenda Committee created a way to discuss it without making it about the candidates. Agenda Chair Kate Orlanski started the meeting with a disclaimer, saying that while there were questions about President Trump’s character, the discussion should not be about him in particular but about a more abstract question. “This Town Hall is going to be on the premise that President Trump is criticized on both the right and the left Bp Photo By Maia Lefferman for having poor character, “

Kate told the whole-school assembly on Zoom. “We’re going to get into that later. I know that technically, one could argue that ... but we are going to be talking about things as if that were true.” Her first Town Hall slide was: “How much / in what situations does the character of a politician matter?” Students who thought that leadership and character were intertwined argued that to make the best policies, a leader must have knowledge and good values. “If you have a bad character, that is going to affect your policy and your decision-making,” said Rebecca Cohen. “If you’re a person who is corrupt in their own times.., if you have bad character, it is going to affect your policies and decisions. “We have to look at how they treat the people who agree with them, and the people who disagree with them,” she said. “When you look at somebody and the way they treat other people, do they hold other people to the level of respect they need to?” But senior Mimi Czuker said good character wasn’t enough. “They are representing our country... but on the other hand we need to remember it’s not just representing our country,” said Mimi. “They are forming policies for our country, and they are leading our country in more ways than just that. “Fairly often there are politicians who will present themselves super kindly or will speak really well in public and all of that, but when you look at their individual policies, they don’t actually make any sense.” Senior Ean Fish took Mimi’s pointi a step further. “The politician’s job is to better the United States, and I think the only way to do that is through policy change, or I guess enforcement of policy,” said Ean. “So for me I don’t think that how a politician treats anyone really makes a difference.” The meeting was held as usual over Zoom, and this time the chat room on the side of people’s screens became very active. When English teacher Ms. Nancy Fasules used the chat to try to draw a distinction between character and personality, Kate asked her to elaborate on camera. She did. “Character are your values: your spiritual development, how you value intellect, do you lie, are you truthful, do you value the truth, do you value education, do you respect other people, that’s very different from personality.” Ms. Fasules said. “And you need to separate, actually, personality from character. A person who is

character-less can’t, doesn’t, have the resources to rule effectively and compassionately.” Freshman Temma Kirshanbaum said that one would need to look at a politician’s track record to support them. “You need to look at the politicians’other policies that they have made and think: do you agree with the majority of this politician’s policy,” said Temma. “And the majority that you agree with, are those something that is important to you? So you have to go with the greater.” As promised, actual discussion of this year’s candidates did occur briefly at the meeting’s end. Sophomore Joelynn Aynesazan said she’d lost friends because she supports the president “I just don’t think that’s fair,” said Joelynn. “And he might not have the best personality, but there is a difference between personality and character, but I truly believe that he wants the best for this country.” “I do not agree with any of the things that he has said or done,” she added, “like the way he speaks is absolutely atrocious, but I just think he has done so much for this country, and despite his poor character. I don’t 100% support him. But if people want to support him…,that’s fine.” Senior Samson Taxon seemed to understand Joelynn’s position, and said it was more common than it might seem. “Often people vote based on what party they align with regardless of the candidate, so when you have somebody with poor character or poor personality in public, it tends to represent the party as a whole,” Samson said near the end of the meeting. But that, he said, makes character even more important. “So if you align with Republican ideas, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you agree with the president,” Samson said. “But if you say you are voting Republican, people automatically assume that you align with everything that the president may or may not say. And that’s why I think it’s so important that public perception and the way that the president presents himself publicly is so important.”

Poll shows Shalhevet students prefer Trump Separate survey shows parents, friends and social media -- in that order Continued from page 1

In a separate question, 17% of the 46 students who responded said that they are influenced by their parents “quite a lot”, 46% responded they are influenced “somewhat”, 30% responded “hardly at all”, and 7% responded “not at all.” Another question was whether students had seen TV commercials of presidential candidates this year. Of the 46 respondents, 52% responded that they had watched “many”, 33% responded that they have watched “some,” 13% responded that watched “hardly any”, and 2% responded that they watched “barely any or none.” In addition to students being different from faculty, the 2020 Presidential Election Poll conducted by the Boiling Point had different results in different grades. The ninth grade supported Trump 26-14 with two students supporting another candidate. The 10th grade supported Biden 21-18 with one student supporting another candidate. The 11th grade supported Biden 16-11 with three students supporting another candidate. The 12th grade supported Trump 15-9 with two students supporting another candidate. The staff supported Biden 10-2 with one staff member supporting another candidate. Senior Rebecca Cohen is a part of the minority Biden supporters in the senior class. “[Biden] has such a strong and well-thoughtout plan, that its backed by so many people from not just the Democratic Party but from the Repub-

said that was deliberate. Freshman Kyla Zachary says she watches cable news such as Fox News and CNN and tries to avoid using social media for news. “Sometimes I find that social media can be extremely biased and unreliable,” said Kyla. “So I try to look for credible professional sources such as Fox News, CNN, various newspapers.” She watches CNN and Fox News. “They are the two most popular and can be the two most biased,” she said, “which is why it’s important to look at both of them to compare and contrast their ideologies and interpretations.” Freshman Tali Liebenthal said that she listens to podcasts and does further research on social media. “I’ll see stuff on social media, I’ll like know about it, and then I’ll go and like search it up and look it up on news articles to see what it’s about,” said Tali. Junior Anya Mendelson said that she had not been paying a lot of attention to the election and wished she could learn about it in school -- including what news sources to trust. “I think that’s really important and something that everybody should know,” said Anya, “and I wish there was a specific time given to me so that I could learn about this. Because I don’t really know what resources I should be looking at to learn about it.”

Editor-in-Chief Molly Litvak Executive Editor Ellie Orlanski

Managing Editor Sarah Feuer

News Editor Benjamin Gamson

Layout Editors Zoe Miller Tehilla Fishman Amalia Abecassis Ezra Helfand

Life and Features Editor Liad Machmali Digital Media Editor Eli Weiss

Faculty Adviser Mrs. Joelle Keene

lican Party also,” said Rebecca, “that I am absolutely confident that he is going to be able to if not completely bring America back from the damage of the last four years, at least take us a step in the right direction. “I really feel like Trump has done a lot to take away rights from not just minorities but from everybody,” Rebecca said in an interview. “A lot of the hatred and the division in this country right now is perpetuated by him. He encourages it, he is not willing to do what is necessary to keep Americans safe.” Freshman Josh Orlanski, who voted for Trump in the poll, said his parents were a factor. “First of all, my parents [are] voting for Trump, and I agree with many of his policies and I think he is much better than the other candidate,” Josh said. The poll was conducted Oct. 26 - 29. It also asked whether, if they could not vote because of being too young, they wished they could vote this year. Of the 152 respondents, 101 said yes, 31 said no, and 20 said they were eligible to vote already. Election Day is Nov. 3. Joshua Gamson, Mordechai Heller, and Julia Jahan contributed to this story.

Visit us at ShalhevetBoilingPoint.com:


The Boiling Point • Elections • November 2020

Measure J hopes to answer George Floyd protests by reallocating some county funds

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help for people in need of “transitional, affordable, and supportive housing” -- in other words, people and families who are unhoused. No on Measure J, a group opposing the measure, With racial justice becoming a higher priority for says on its website that the county has spent hundreds them, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors of millions of dollars to fix other crises, but those exact decided over the summer to ask voters whether they problems have only gotten worse, and that the new plan should place 10% of county funds off-limits for law would take money from essential workers. enforcement and incarceration, and instead direct it to “We need to fix systemic racism, but shifting nearly programs designed to address injustice. $500 million away from other essential services to pay By a vote of 4-1 on Aug. 4, the supervisors voted for unspecified programs is not the way,” the website to put a proposal on the ballot in next week’s election states. “We all want more people in Los Angeles to succalled Measure J. ceed, but Measure J will harm the very people it says Measure J would direct 10% of the County’s localthey help.” ly generated unrestricted revenues in the general fund But Re-Imagine Los Angeles, in support of this meatowards social and economic programs and alternatives sure, says on its website that a shakeup was needed. to imprisonment and away from law enforcement. “It’s time to invest in community counseling, menIts backers designed it to address “the disproportal health services, youth development programs, small tionate impact of racial injustice,” according to the businesses, jobs-creation, and affordable housing,” states proposal’s title. It would reserve 10% of the county’s Re-Imagine LA. “Individual elected leaders come and unrestricted funds in the budget for community proBP Photo by Sam Elyaszadeh go. Measure J will structurally change the budget and grams and alternatives to incarceration, not permitpermanently enshrine our values in the county charter.” ting that 10% to go to any county law enforcement DEFUND? Measure J would reduce county dollars available for sheriff’s Measure J would also redirect funds to alternatives agency, including the LA County Sheriff’s Departfunding, though not the LAPD, whose vehicle is pictured above. to incarceration, including new ways to give options to ment or the District Attorney’s office. arrestees and convicts other than just going to jail. Instead, that percentage of the county’s unrestrictOther programs would involve community-based ed general funds would have to be directed towards acPamphlet, opponents say voters should not be asked to permanenttivities such as job training for low-income residents and pre-trial ly divert $500 million from law enforcement and other county ser- health services, meaning that an arrestee could go through treatment and partake in other services before their trial. services that don’t require arrestees to remain in custody. vices to fix racial injustices going on throughout L.A. Mr. Friedman said the jail system can be very hard for some Also included would be youth development programs, job trainThey say those dollars are already going to help those communiing, and jobs for low-income residents, along with health services ties -- partly because many county workers come from and work in people -- that the experience of losing your freedom when you are already poor, or already restricted by hurtful systemic forces like in low-income neighborhoods and housing help for the homeless. communities of color. Mr. Spike Friedman, an organizer for Ground Game LA, called “Many of the people and communities who need additional in- unequal healthcare, schools, and access to jobs and good education Measure J a “common-sense version” of calls from Black Lives Mat- vestments to succeed in today’s difficult economy would lose nearly is a very hard situation for people to go through. “We need to find ways to not send people to jail if their crimes ter and other groups to cut the budgets of law enforcement agen- half a billion dollars in resources under Measure J,” they say in the cies. Ground Game LA is a grassroots group that works on behalf of pamphlet, which was mailed last month to all registered voters in are related to poverty,” Mr. Friedman said. “If their crimes are related to addiction or mental health, we need to find other solutions to vulnerable communities. Los Angeles County. “‘Defund the police’ means a lot of different things to different Mr. Friedman countered that just three years ago, the Los An- those answers that are non-punitive.” No on Measure J agreesbut said Measure J would do more harm people,” Mr. Friedman said in an interview with the Boiling Point geles County Sheriff’s Department budget was 10% lower than it last week. “But at its core, it is about the reallocation of resources is today, so even taking all 10% just from the Sheriff’s department than good, having “devastating consequences” for 9-1-1 response, public health, and other first responder vehicle maintenance includaway from law enforcement and towards the sort of services that would not have a devastating impact. create a more equal community.” The Boiling Point reviewed the budgets and found that the actu- ing firefighting planes. But Mr. Friedman doubts such an impact would be great. The measure’s official ballot description says it would fund al difference is closer to 8%, but it’s clear the Sheriff’s Department “I don’t think what we’re talking about is a seismic shift in mas“community investment and alternatives to incarceration.” budget has been growing. According to the County of Los AngeMr. Friedman said that due to the uprisings in Minnesota in the les’s 2016-17 final adopted budget, the Sheriff’s Department was sive amounts of stations closing, or officers being laid off,” he said. wake of George Floyd’s killing by police officers -- who restrained allocated $2.3 billion, and in 2019-20 it received $2.5 billion -- an “I think we’re seeing a correction in terms of too much growth in terms of spending on this particular law enforcement agency, that him with a knee on his neck for more than eight minutes -- the increase of 8% over three years. supervisors felt a need to take action. Opponents said Measure J would permanently shift $500 mil- over the last three years has “They wanted to act in a way that was democratically influ- lion into “growing the government bureaucracy” and away from revealed itself to be particularly problematic when it enced,” he said, “so I think by putting this on the ballot in LA essential services and jobs in those communities. County, the Board of Supervisors created a situation where they will Funds from the 10% savings would also be directed towards comes to the issue of racial have a real mandate to change the status quo in the county.” small businesses in need of capital, with a particular focus on Black- justice.” The Boiling Point was not able to find a spokesperson for Mea- owned businesses, along with rent assistance and housing vouchers, sure J’s opponents. But in the county’s official Voter Information There would also be funding for supportive services and other

By joshua Gamson, 9th grade

Prop. 18 could make voting a reality for some Calif. 17-year-olds Shalhevet seniors who have turned 18 will be eligible to vote next month in the General ElecSome 17-year-olds in California may soon tion. They did not get to vote in the March 3 priget the right to vote, depending on what happens mary, but they would have if this proposition had with a proposition on the statewide Nov. 3 ballot. been in effect. Senior Akiva Rubin -- who already has cast his Proposition 18 would amend the California state Constitution to allow 17-year-olds to vote in ballot for Nov. 3 -- voted yes on Prop. 18. “Teenagers really should have a say in this a primary election if they will turn 18 by the next General Election or Special Election. The current country, especially now,” said Akiva, “since in the past few years a lot of teenagers have been voicvoting age is 18 for all elections. “Amends California Constitution to Permit ing their opinion about a lot of different things 17-Year-Olds to Vote in Primary and Special in politics and kinda really starting to make a Elections if They Will Turn 18 by the Next Gen- change.” He added that he thought if a 17-year-old eral Election and be Otherwise Eligible to Vote,” could join the military, he or she should be able states the ballot. “Legislative Constitutional to vote for policies. Amendment.” “If you’re 17, you should be able to vote for that [primary election] as well,” said Akiva “It’s like not even a full year difference.” Senior Kate Orlanski, who is also eligible to vote this fall, said she was still studying whether to support Prop. 18. She said that she has friends in other states where this law is in effect. “I don’t really see why it’s necessary,” said Kate. “I just kinda think there’s a cutoff it’s 18 -- you can vote when you’re 18.” But she said she would still considBP Photo by Benjamin Gamson er it. Supporters of Prop. 18 say that since VOTE: An official California election drop box was ready for ballots these 17-year-olds will be able to vote in at the Westside Jewish Community Center Oct. 21. Many people are voting by mail to avoid exposure to Covid-19 while waiting the General Election they should be able at polling places, and mail-in ballots can also be placed in drop to participate in the Primary Election boxes around the state. and choose who they will be voting for

By Benjamin Gamson, News Editor

that sound good,” Mr. Reusch said. “They have in the General. English teacher Nancy Fasules said she sup- very little life experiences. When you talk about ports the proposition but worries that 17-year- raising taxes, they have never operated a business they have never paid taxes. So I think that is a real olds might just follow their parents opinions. concern.” Still, she thinks the proposal makes sense. Still, he expects to “If you’re going to be support Prop. 18. voting for a candidate be“If you’re going to be cause you’re old enough, you voting for someone when should be allowed to help “In the past few years a lot of teenagers have you’re 18 in the reguchoose that candidate,” Ms. been voicing their opinions about a lot of different thingts in politics and kind of really starting lar election, then you Fasules said. should be able to vote Shalhevet SAS Civics to make a change.” - Akiva Rubin, 12th grade in the primaries, special teacher Mr. William Reuselection, and things like ch said he would probably that will give you more support the proposition too, say in the choices when though he believes how informed people are should outweigh their age as a you do have the choice,” said Mr. Reusch. Prop. 18 would be a constitutional amendqualification. He also stressed the importance of a ment, and therefore needs to be approved by the good civics education. His fear is that while being eligible younger voters of California after having been approved would improve teens’ engagement -- that is, their by two-thirds majorities in both chambers of the actual involvement in the democratic process -- California Legislature (State Senate and State Asreal progress requires adults preparing them to do sembly) by a two-thirds majority. It passed the California State Senate by a vote so -- something that’s not part of Prop. 18. “I think it would promote civic engagement, of 31 to seven on June 25 and the State Assembly I don’t think it would promote civic education,” by a vote of 56 to 13 on June 26. A total of 18 other states, including Illinois, Mr. Reusch said. “And education is what I want. I don’t want more people voting. Everyone says, Connecticut and Ohio, have similar laws, as does ‘Go vote, go vote, go vote.’ It’s like no, no -- go Washington, D.C. Some California legislators attempted to put a learn about the issues, then vote.” Mr. Reusch also said that he thought kids Constitutional Amendment on the ballot lowermight buy into policies that “sound good,” and ing the voting age completely to 17. On Aug. 22, he worries that that candidates could take advan- 2019 it passed the State Assembly 57-16, but did not receive a vote in the State Senate before the tage of them. “Kids are more easily susceptible to things June 25, 2020, deadline.


Photo By Amanda Kogan

BP Photo by Ellie orlan

LANGUAGE: A Biden/ Harris sign in Westwood on Oct. 6 with the names of the candidates in Hebrew.

ski

PEACE: A Biden/Harris sign in Cheviot Hills on Oct. 17. The sign reads “unity over division” with the there names below

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Election’s conflicts and tension are playing out on area front lawns

RARE: An isolated Trump banner waves from a duplex balcony in Beverlywood on Nov. 1.

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YEAR OF THE YARD SIGN

The Boiling Point • November 2020

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The Boiling Point • November 2020

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DISREGARD: Political yard signs were thrown in the street on Oct. 5 as vandalism and stealing yard signs took place in the Beverlywood community.

Continued from page 1 mitzvahs. Now, in Shalhevet communities including Beverlywood, strife over this year’s presidential election is playing out on neighborhood front lawns in the form of vandalism and the theft of political yard signs. The issue goes far beyond Los Angeles and is seen throughout the nation. Online videos of people vandalizing and stealing political yard signs have gone viral with millions of views and thousands of comments in support. But political vandalism also exists in Shalhevet communities, as tensions have risen in advance of the presidential election Nov. 3. Ahead of the election, Principal Daniel Weslow sent an email out to parents and students Oct. 29 informing them that all of the school’s in-person programming and Camp Firehawks have been canceled for the entire week -- after being advisd to do so by the school’s security team. “As you’ve likely heard, reports say that there is a possibility that the election next week may lead to election-related unrest,” it reads. “While we don’t anticipate any issues at Shalhevet, out of an abundance of caution, we’ll be canceling all evening programming and activities on campus next week, including Camp Firehawks.” In Beverlywood, signs have been stolen and arguments have occurred between teens and younger children in the community over the placement and display of their political views. The Boiling Point is also aware of at least three instances of “joke” sign-stealing, along with a widely observed confrontation in Circle Park. A Shalhevet student with hundreds of followers on their private Instagram posted a short video of taking a sign. They said it was just at a friend’s house and they were doing it to be funny. Shortly after the Leffermans’ lost their B”H sign, another local resident also posted on NextDoor. Amanda Kogan posted that she and her husband had collected a pile of about 20 stolen Biden-Harris signs left near the corner of West 18th and Wooster streets, about half a mile from the Leffermans’ home. Ms. Kogan lined them up in rows on her front lawn and invited those who had lost signs to reclaim them. She received more than 20 messages from neighbors asking about their signs. She said she and her husband wanted to show others and the thief that if they try to take away her liberty, she’ll fight back peacefully. Passersby had positive reactions to her display, she said. Some would cheer, applaud or honk, others said thank you. People who read the story on NextDoor told her that she’d done a mitzvah. As the election neared, political signs have been

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BP Photo by Keira Beller

displayed in all the neighborhoods where Shalhevet families live. A Boiling Point survey found a higher presence of Biden-Harris campaign signs. Reflecting the areas’ usual political leanings, supported liberal ideals, despite the strong, yet minority, presence of support for President Trump. There were also signs sporting slogans like “Black Lives Matter,” and “Person, Woman, Man, Vote Biden.” Some signs were homemade. There are also a few signs in Hebrew, some hand-painted. An all-Hebrew Biden-Harris including B’’H was seen in Westwood, and in the flats of Beverly Hills, the same two letters were used as a pun: “B’H 2020.” Amidst many Biden-Harris signs in Pico-Robertson, a large Trump-Pence banner hung from a duplex balcony in Pico-Robertson last weekend. East of Robertson, a large, hand-painted Biden-Harris sign all in Hebrew was spotted on Airdrome at Shenandoah. A few Westwood homes featured comical signs like “ByeDon” and “Any Functioning Adult 2020.” Boiling Point staff also surveyed data compiled by the New York Times, which showed that 71% of voters from precincts surveyed in Beverlywood, 80% of voters from precincts surveyed in Westwood-Century City, and 67% of voters from precincts surveyed in Beverly Hills voted Democratic in the 2016 election. Students agree that the vandalism of political signs is unacceptable and diverse beliefs must be tolerated, and some have experienced these acts firsthand. Sophomore Daniel Kunin reports that he knows of people who have taken part in this activity, though he wouldn’t say who they were or what school they attended. “I know of people that have been, unfortunately, intolerant, and drive around ripping out Biden-Harris signs,” Dani said. He also said he’d seen someone walking in Beverly Hills pull out Trump signs. Dani attempted to get someone who had stolen Biden signs to talk to the Boiling Point, but they refused on multiple occasions, even when told their

name would not be used. One person who was willing to speak was a Beverlywood 10th-grader we’ll call “Sarah” who asked that her real name not be used. At around 5 p.m. on Shabbat afternoon Oct. 17, Sarah, who doesn’t go to Shalhevet, became involved in a conflict with middle schoolers near Circle Park. It started when Sarah tried to protect and restore a Biden-Harris sign that had been vandalized and thrown in the street. The incident was witnessed by multiple Shalhevet students, including Boiling Point staff, who corroborated her story. “I walked up to the sign with one of my friends,” Sarah said, “and on one side it was crossed out in red-andblack marker, and on the other side, it had double-sided tape streaked all along the words, and dirt was thrown onto the tape -- basically just making the sign look dirty.” When Sarah tried to put the sign back in its place on a parking strip on Beverly Drive between Sawyer and Bolton streets, a young boy who she recognized from the neighborhood said the sign was on his property and that he didn’t want it to be there. She doesn’t know his name but believes he is 11 or 12. She tried to explain that the parking strip was owned by the city of Los Angeles, not any homeowner. But then another child from the park grabbed the sign and ran away. When that boy dropped the sign on Sawyer Street on a random resident’s front lawn, Sarah felt compelled to take the sign to shield it and clean it so she could return it later. As she walked away, the boys jeered after her yelling: “Trump 2020, Joe Biden is a rapist,” she and witnesses said, and also told her that she should be ashamed that she had attended Maimonides Academy. Sarah went inside of a friend’s house to clean the sign, but when she came outside the boys had followed her and yelled additional political statements, including, “I would vote for Biden, but I’m not allowed to vote for trash.” Witnesses said the park was full of people at the time, some laughing and others just staring. They said the middle-schoolers’ parents, or other adults who knew them, were there and did not intervene. Shalhevet sophomore Julia Mizrahi, who was with Sarah that afternoon, said that the parents

BP Photo by Keira Beller

REFUGE: Stolen political yard signs were left on Amanda Kogan’s lawn in Beverlywood so people could pick them up on Oct. 5.

were calling to their kids, but didn’t tell them to stop. “We were also being screamed at by many little kids,” Julia said. “They were really young. They were probably like 7, and one of them was saying to Sarah ‘it was a disgrace that you went to Maimo.’” Sarah and Julia both were most upset about the intolerance the kids seemed to have learned and that they seemed not to have any understanding of the weight of their actions. “The biggest problem is just these parents teaching the kids intolerance,” Sarah said. “The thing is, I’m sure the little kids didn’t even know what rape is. Like saying ‘Joe Biden’s a rapist’ -- they don’t even know what that means, they just kind of follow along with what the older kids and their parents tell them.” In addition, Sarah thought, the behavior at Circle Park would have been a poor representation of the community for a non-Jew passing by. “I was worried for Beverlywood, honestly, and like the whole Jewish community, because if this is how people saw us -- this is horrible,” she said. Yard sign vandalism -- and fear of it -- reaches far beyond Los Angeles and has caused some residents to fear displaying signs or advertising their political opinions. English teacher Ms. Nancy Fasules spent her summer in Montana. She wanted to display signs for Biden but decided not to. “I was inclined to put my signs out in Montana, because in Montana I wanted to make a statement,” Ms. Fasules said. But she was fearful that it might cause trouble, and be dangerous to her as she was living alone at the time. “Noah” -- a male Shalhevet senior who is politically conservative -- was willing to speak on the condition that his real name would not be used. He said he could see why people would be hesitant to display signs and publicly display their beliefs -- even though a majority of Shalhevet students support President Trump, according to a Boiling Point poll (see, page 1). Noah said people would be hesitant to put up yard signs supporting President Trump in a more Democratic area due to fear of people stealing the signs, egging their houses, vandalizing their property, or targeting the person who displayed them. “I am very disturbed by the reality of the world in which there are people who will go out of their way to ruin your livelihood and your future because of the political opinions that you hold,” Noah said. “It is very disturbing to me that if I want to succeed in the world at large, it would be best that I

not publicly express my political opinions.” He has not seen such behavior in his area, Pico-Robertson, however, other than a piece of paper with “Trump” written on it taped to a Biden-Harris sign. Yet he sees these outcomes as possibilities and has heard of cases in which signs have been stolen. Students have different ideas about what motivates the exhibition and the trashing of these signs. Freshman Keira Deutsch believes people want to express their political beliefs in their community and present who they’re aligned with. She compared it to wearing kippot. However, why people would vandalize signs is harder for students to understand. Dani Kunin thinks it’s about emotion. “For many people, politics are a deeply emotional and sensitive topic,” said Dani. “If someone truly believes a candidate will or has done them harm, they will do anything in their power to ensure that they are not re-elected, beginning with hampering their spread and influence on the area around them.” Senior Samson Taxon said people take down signs because they don’t want the opposite of their beliefs to represent the area they live in. “People with the same beliefs kind of live near each other,” said Samson, “and if somebody strongly opposes a political viewpoint, they don’t want that sign representing the entire neighborhood.” But the tension has bled into school life, too. There have been long-running political debates in gradewide group chats, some of which have included intolerance of an opposing side’s beliefs. Chats have discussed topics from abortion to immigration policy, covid, LGBTQ+ rights, and more, yet some have escalated and turned into harmful discussions.Multiple people on one group chat were asking others to be respectful after the conversation got carried away. In response, Agenda Committee Vice-chair Jack Sanders posted an admonition on Schoology Oct. 26, referencing the Oct. 13 presidential debate. The committee met at the suggestion of Rabbi Ari Schwarzberg in hopes they could cool things down. “Look no further than our first 2020 presidential debate,” Jack wrote. “Courtesy, respect, sympathy, honor and nearly every other virtue was absent. In light of all this, we as the rising generation can break this habit, but not without effort.” But as Election Day drew nearer, the streets of

Beverlywood still saw conflict. At around 4:30 p.m. on the Shabbat afternoon Oct. 24, a black pickup truck drove around Circle Park donning a Trump flag on one side and a “Blue Lives Matter” flag on the other according to Boiling Point staff member Tehilla Fishman. Tehilla reported that the driver circled the park multiple times until he drove away after a kid yelled “F--- Trump” at them. Although she didn’t hear the explicit response, Tehilla said that the driver yelled back saying that the kid’s comment was disrespectful. She said it seemed he was just driving around to support President Trump. It was on the same day as a Pro-Trump rally that drew hundreds to Beverly Hills’s Beverly Gardens Park. The Los Angeles Police Department has apparently not commented publicly on the political demolition taking place in the city, although police in many other cities have. LAPD does not list yard sign vandalism on its news website. Amanda Kogan thinks the dumping of signs near her house was organized and that people may have been being paid to go around and collect signs. One of the signs she collected was from Pasadena, saying “Pasadena Democrats for Biden-Harris,” which she feels provides strong evidence that this occurrence wasn’t committed by local kids. Like the Leffermans, the Kogans had also experienced vandalism themselves; a Biden-Harris sign was thrown into the trash on a Shabbat and later tossed into a neighbor’s yard undergoing construction. The last four signs left on her lawn after neighbors had collected theirs were removed again, along with a sign she put out saying why they were there. Since the first theft, both families have added to their collection of political yard signs, although the Leffermans now take theirs inside in the evenings. Ms. Lefferman believes this year’s race will determine whether a leader will unite the nation or continue to divide it. For now, she is upset and discouraged by the theft of her sign and the actions of people in her own community. “Just disappointed for the state of affairs, really,” Ms. Lefferman said. “Of the world we live in where people feel like people aren’t entitled to their preference and that they would have the audacity to come onto someone’s property and steal their sign.” Election Day is Nov. 3. Benjamin Gamson, Molly Litvak and Olivia Fishman contributed to this story.

Page Design By Zoe Miller

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Photo By Amanda Kogan

BP Photo by Ellie orlan

LANGUAGE: A Biden/ Harris sign in Westwood on Oct. 6 with the names of the candidates in Hebrew.

ski

PEACE: A Biden/Harris sign in Cheviot Hills on Oct. 17. The sign reads “unity over division” with the there names below

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Election’s conflicts and tension are playing out on area front lawns

RARE: An isolated Trump banner waves from a duplex balcony in Beverlywood on Nov. 1.

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YEAR OF THE YARD SIGN

The Boiling Point • November 2020

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The Boiling Point • November 2020

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DISREGARD: Political yard signs were thrown in the street on Oct. 5 as vandalism and stealing yard signs took place in the Beverlywood community.

Continued from page 1 mitzvahs. Now, in Shalhevet communities including Beverlywood, strife over this year’s presidential election is playing out on neighborhood front lawns in the form of vandalism and the theft of political yard signs. The issue goes far beyond Los Angeles and is seen throughout the nation. Online videos of people vandalizing and stealing political yard signs have gone viral with millions of views and thousands of comments in support. But political vandalism also exists in Shalhevet communities, as tensions have risen in advance of the presidential election Nov. 3. Ahead of the election, Principal Daniel Weslow sent an email out to parents and students Oct. 29 informing them that all of the school’s in-person programming and Camp Firehawks have been canceled for the entire week -- after being advisd to do so by the school’s security team. “As you’ve likely heard, reports say that there is a possibility that the election next week may lead to election-related unrest,” it reads. “While we don’t anticipate any issues at Shalhevet, out of an abundance of caution, we’ll be canceling all evening programming and activities on campus next week, including Camp Firehawks.” In Beverlywood, signs have been stolen and arguments have occurred between teens and younger children in the community over the placement and display of their political views. The Boiling Point is also aware of at least three instances of “joke” sign-stealing, along with a widely observed confrontation in Circle Park. A Shalhevet student with hundreds of followers on their private Instagram posted a short video of taking a sign. They said it was just at a friend’s house and they were doing it to be funny. Shortly after the Leffermans’ lost their B”H sign, another local resident also posted on NextDoor. Amanda Kogan posted that she and her husband had collected a pile of about 20 stolen Biden-Harris signs left near the corner of West 18th and Wooster streets, about half a mile from the Leffermans’ home. Ms. Kogan lined them up in rows on her front lawn and invited those who had lost signs to reclaim them. She received more than 20 messages from neighbors asking about their signs. She said she and her husband wanted to show others and the thief that if they try to take away her liberty, she’ll fight back peacefully. Passersby had positive reactions to her display, she said. Some would cheer, applaud or honk, others said thank you. People who read the story on NextDoor told her that she’d done a mitzvah. As the election neared, political signs have been

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BP Photo by Keira Beller

displayed in all the neighborhoods where Shalhevet families live. A Boiling Point survey found a higher presence of Biden-Harris campaign signs. Reflecting the areas’ usual political leanings, supported liberal ideals, despite the strong, yet minority, presence of support for President Trump. There were also signs sporting slogans like “Black Lives Matter,” and “Person, Woman, Man, Vote Biden.” Some signs were homemade. There are also a few signs in Hebrew, some hand-painted. An all-Hebrew Biden-Harris including B’’H was seen in Westwood, and in the flats of Beverly Hills, the same two letters were used as a pun: “B’H 2020.” Amidst many Biden-Harris signs in Pico-Robertson, a large Trump-Pence banner hung from a duplex balcony in Pico-Robertson last weekend. East of Robertson, a large, hand-painted Biden-Harris sign all in Hebrew was spotted on Airdrome at Shenandoah. A few Westwood homes featured comical signs like “ByeDon” and “Any Functioning Adult 2020.” Boiling Point staff also surveyed data compiled by the New York Times, which showed that 71% of voters from precincts surveyed in Beverlywood, 80% of voters from precincts surveyed in Westwood-Century City, and 67% of voters from precincts surveyed in Beverly Hills voted Democratic in the 2016 election. Students agree that the vandalism of political signs is unacceptable and diverse beliefs must be tolerated, and some have experienced these acts firsthand. Sophomore Daniel Kunin reports that he knows of people who have taken part in this activity, though he wouldn’t say who they were or what school they attended. “I know of people that have been, unfortunately, intolerant, and drive around ripping out Biden-Harris signs,” Dani said. He also said he’d seen someone walking in Beverly Hills pull out Trump signs. Dani attempted to get someone who had stolen Biden signs to talk to the Boiling Point, but they refused on multiple occasions, even when told their

name would not be used. One person who was willing to speak was a Beverlywood 10th-grader we’ll call “Sarah” who asked that her real name not be used. At around 5 p.m. on Shabbat afternoon Oct. 17, Sarah, who doesn’t go to Shalhevet, became involved in a conflict with middle schoolers near Circle Park. It started when Sarah tried to protect and restore a Biden-Harris sign that had been vandalized and thrown in the street. The incident was witnessed by multiple Shalhevet students, including Boiling Point staff, who corroborated her story. “I walked up to the sign with one of my friends,” Sarah said, “and on one side it was crossed out in red-andblack marker, and on the other side, it had double-sided tape streaked all along the words, and dirt was thrown onto the tape -- basically just making the sign look dirty.” When Sarah tried to put the sign back in its place on a parking strip on Beverly Drive between Sawyer and Bolton streets, a young boy who she recognized from the neighborhood said the sign was on his property and that he didn’t want it to be there. She doesn’t know his name but believes he is 11 or 12. She tried to explain that the parking strip was owned by the city of Los Angeles, not any homeowner. But then another child from the park grabbed the sign and ran away. When that boy dropped the sign on Sawyer Street on a random resident’s front lawn, Sarah felt compelled to take the sign to shield it and clean it so she could return it later. As she walked away, the boys jeered after her yelling: “Trump 2020, Joe Biden is a rapist,” she and witnesses said, and also told her that she should be ashamed that she had attended Maimonides Academy. Sarah went inside of a friend’s house to clean the sign, but when she came outside the boys had followed her and yelled additional political statements, including, “I would vote for Biden, but I’m not allowed to vote for trash.” Witnesses said the park was full of people at the time, some laughing and others just staring. They said the middle-schoolers’ parents, or other adults who knew them, were there and did not intervene. Shalhevet sophomore Julia Mizrahi, who was with Sarah that afternoon, said that the parents

BP Photo by Keira Beller

REFUGE: Stolen political yard signs were left on Amanda Kogan’s lawn in Beverlywood so people could pick them up on Oct. 5.

were calling to their kids, but didn’t tell them to stop. “We were also being screamed at by many little kids,” Julia said. “They were really young. They were probably like 7, and one of them was saying to Sarah ‘it was a disgrace that you went to Maimo.’” Sarah and Julia both were most upset about the intolerance the kids seemed to have learned and that they seemed not to have any understanding of the weight of their actions. “The biggest problem is just these parents teaching the kids intolerance,” Sarah said. “The thing is, I’m sure the little kids didn’t even know what rape is. Like saying ‘Joe Biden’s a rapist’ -- they don’t even know what that means, they just kind of follow along with what the older kids and their parents tell them.” In addition, Sarah thought, the behavior at Circle Park would have been a poor representation of the community for a non-Jew passing by. “I was worried for Beverlywood, honestly, and like the whole Jewish community, because if this is how people saw us -- this is horrible,” she said. Yard sign vandalism -- and fear of it -- reaches far beyond Los Angeles and has caused some residents to fear displaying signs or advertising their political opinions. English teacher Ms. Nancy Fasules spent her summer in Montana. She wanted to display signs for Biden but decided not to. “I was inclined to put my signs out in Montana, because in Montana I wanted to make a statement,” Ms. Fasules said. But she was fearful that it might cause trouble, and be dangerous to her as she was living alone at the time. “Noah” -- a male Shalhevet senior who is politically conservative -- was willing to speak on the condition that his real name would not be used. He said he could see why people would be hesitant to display signs and publicly display their beliefs -- even though a majority of Shalhevet students support President Trump, according to a Boiling Point poll (see, page 1). Noah said people would be hesitant to put up yard signs supporting President Trump in a more Democratic area due to fear of people stealing the signs, egging their houses, vandalizing their property, or targeting the person who displayed them. “I am very disturbed by the reality of the world in which there are people who will go out of their way to ruin your livelihood and your future because of the political opinions that you hold,” Noah said. “It is very disturbing to me that if I want to succeed in the world at large, it would be best that I

not publicly express my political opinions.” He has not seen such behavior in his area, Pico-Robertson, however, other than a piece of paper with “Trump” written on it taped to a Biden-Harris sign. Yet he sees these outcomes as possibilities and has heard of cases in which signs have been stolen. Students have different ideas about what motivates the exhibition and the trashing of these signs. Freshman Keira Deutsch believes people want to express their political beliefs in their community and present who they’re aligned with. She compared it to wearing kippot. However, why people would vandalize signs is harder for students to understand. Dani Kunin thinks it’s about emotion. “For many people, politics are a deeply emotional and sensitive topic,” said Dani. “If someone truly believes a candidate will or has done them harm, they will do anything in their power to ensure that they are not re-elected, beginning with hampering their spread and influence on the area around them.” Senior Samson Taxon said people take down signs because they don’t want the opposite of their beliefs to represent the area they live in. “People with the same beliefs kind of live near each other,” said Samson, “and if somebody strongly opposes a political viewpoint, they don’t want that sign representing the entire neighborhood.” But the tension has bled into school life, too. There have been long-running political debates in gradewide group chats, some of which have included intolerance of an opposing side’s beliefs. Chats have discussed topics from abortion to immigration policy, covid, LGBTQ+ rights, and more, yet some have escalated and turned into harmful discussions.Multiple people on one group chat were asking others to be respectful after the conversation got carried away. In response, Agenda Committee Vice-chair Jack Sanders posted an admonition on Schoology Oct. 26, referencing the Oct. 13 presidential debate. The committee met at the suggestion of Rabbi Ari Schwarzberg in hopes they could cool things down. “Look no further than our first 2020 presidential debate,” Jack wrote. “Courtesy, respect, sympathy, honor and nearly every other virtue was absent. In light of all this, we as the rising generation can break this habit, but not without effort.” But as Election Day drew nearer, the streets of

Beverlywood still saw conflict. At around 4:30 p.m. on the Shabbat afternoon Oct. 24, a black pickup truck drove around Circle Park donning a Trump flag on one side and a “Blue Lives Matter” flag on the other according to Boiling Point staff member Tehilla Fishman. Tehilla reported that the driver circled the park multiple times until he drove away after a kid yelled “F--- Trump” at them. Although she didn’t hear the explicit response, Tehilla said that the driver yelled back saying that the kid’s comment was disrespectful. She said it seemed he was just driving around to support President Trump. It was on the same day as a Pro-Trump rally that drew hundreds to Beverly Hills’s Beverly Gardens Park. The Los Angeles Police Department has apparently not commented publicly on the political demolition taking place in the city, although police in many other cities have. LAPD does not list yard sign vandalism on its news website. Amanda Kogan thinks the dumping of signs near her house was organized and that people may have been being paid to go around and collect signs. One of the signs she collected was from Pasadena, saying “Pasadena Democrats for Biden-Harris,” which she feels provides strong evidence that this occurrence wasn’t committed by local kids. Like the Leffermans, the Kogans had also experienced vandalism themselves; a Biden-Harris sign was thrown into the trash on a Shabbat and later tossed into a neighbor’s yard undergoing construction. The last four signs left on her lawn after neighbors had collected theirs were removed again, along with a sign she put out saying why they were there. Since the first theft, both families have added to their collection of political yard signs, although the Leffermans now take theirs inside in the evenings. Ms. Lefferman believes this year’s race will determine whether a leader will unite the nation or continue to divide it. For now, she is upset and discouraged by the theft of her sign and the actions of people in her own community. “Just disappointed for the state of affairs, really,” Ms. Lefferman said. “Of the world we live in where people feel like people aren’t entitled to their preference and that they would have the audacity to come onto someone’s property and steal their sign.” Election Day is Nov. 3. Benjamin Gamson, Molly Litvak and Olivia Fishman contributed to this story.

Page Design By Zoe Miller

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The Boiling Point • November 2020 • Elections

Prop. 22: In fight over rules, voters will decide app drivers’ future would receive a healthcare subsidy amounting to 41% of the average Covered California premium. Those working at least 25 hours per week would get a higher subsidy, 82%. If the proposition fails, the companies have threatened to leave the California market. Drivers are not the only ones who would could be affected by Prop. 22. Closer to home, Dan Messinger, owner of BiBi’s Bakery and Cafe’, explained that his business relies on Postmates, and companies like them, to reach their customers. “These app-based delivery services have been great in... allowing us to offer delivery in a way that we couldn’t before,” said Mr. Messinger, who is the father of freshman Max Messinger. “I could never afford a fleet of drivers that would let me do three or four or five deliveries at the same time... They are a blessing.”

By Talia Davoudian, Ninth grade

That is the decision that Californians will have to make when they vote on Nov. 3 on Proposition 22. Proposition 22, if passed, would exempt Uber, Lyft, and Doordash, among other app-based companies, from having to comply with a law called AB5, which went into effect Jan. 1, and mandates app-based drivers to be classified as employees, not independent contractors. AB5 was passed after failed efforts to find a compromise between the companies and advocates for workers’ rights -- so the measure asks the voters to take sides. The proposition on the ballot presents a choice between a wide range of driver benefits and protections and, on the other side, the work flexibility those same drivers love. Mati Hurwitz, a Shalhevet and UCLA alum Charlie Carnow, a researcher for the hospiwho drives for Postmates and DoorDash as a side tality workers union Unite Here, said Prop. 22 job, said that he voted yes on Prop. 22 because he was written only with the interests of the comprefers to run on his own schedule and not have to BP Photo By Layla Dauer panies in mind, and not the drivers or their be tied to a single company that’s not his full-time customers. job. PICKUP: An Uber Pickup Zone at Westfield Century City Mall. He said that, according to a UC Berkeley pub“The sort of essence of being an independent lication, under Prop 22 drivers would realistically contractor is eliminated with a vote no,” said Mati. carry out the company’s main purpose. only be making an hourly rate of $5.64, after taking into account “I want flexibility. I don’t want predetermined hours of work or a Employees of individual companies, however, are entitled to a the time the driver is waiting, along with “under-reimbursed” costs quota to fill. long list of worker protections and benefits. These include health “The great thing about picking up a side hustle is it’s a side hus- insurance, on-the-job accident protection, and protections against that come with owning and driving a vehicle, fixed healthcare costs, and the cost of payroll taxes and the value of employee benefits. tle. You can just drop in drop out whenever.” various kinds of discrimination and harrassment covered by state Mr. Carnow also worries that if it passes, Prop. 22 will become a But Michael Robinson, a Lyft driver and organizer for Mobile and federal laws. model for other companies to use to get themselves exempted from Workers Alliance, said they won’t lose their flexibility and that appThese laws do not generally apply to independent contractors. protecting their workers. based companies are trying to scare them. Earlier this year, the San Francisco County Superior Court ruled “It’s not just a threat to rideshare drivers, but it’s a threat to “The whole thing is a myth about flexibility to scare the driv- that app-based drivers could not be classified as independent coneverybody,” Mr. Carnow said. “All of our work could become... uners,” said Mr. Robinson. “There has to be flexibility, because it’s not tractors under AB5 and would have to be made into employees. secured, contingent work, where we don’t have any of the benefits constant work.” Uber and Lyft responded by threatening to stop operating in He believes the companies just don’t want to have to pay for California unless the court delayed the effective date of the ruling or the rights that people have fought for.” He said that the companies’ actions amount to trying to buy benefits. until they could appeal the decision to a higher court. their way out of having to give workers rights that the State Legis“They are trying to change the law to make it in their favor in Meanwhile, they have spent, according to the Los Angeles order to take advantage of their drivers,” Mr. Robinson said, and Times, almost $2 million to create and advertise Prop. 22 to over- lature had approved. “We can’t let huge corporations buy our votes and write the rules hoping to avoid paying for worker benefits. ride that court decision. On Nov. 3, voters have a chance to take for themselves,” said Mr. Carnow, “We have to protect workers.” If Prop. 22 passes, he said, to get the benefits it promises drivers sides. Whether Prop. 22 would help or hurt app-based drivers depends would have to work at least 15 hours a week. He said that given they The companies insist that only by passing it will drivers retain on who you ask. According to media reports, Prop. 22 is funded are only paid for their “engaged time” -- that is, when they are driv- their freedom to set their own hours. heavily by the companies that want to be exempted, along with ing to pick up confirmed passengers and taking them to their destiThey also say that if the proposition fails, they will leave the other app-based companies such as Postmates and InstaCart, who nation -- they would basically have to work full time, which defeats state. are all hoping not to have to comply. the purpose of being an independent contractor in the first place. Currently, the drivers continue to work without resolution of It also continues to say they’ll lose their flexibility. “They are not accounting for the time that our car has to be whether and when they will need to be converted into employees. On a “Yes On 22” Facebook live stream on Oct. 23, Marcel cleaned...now our car has to be disinfected...you are not...reimIn addition to drivers and their customers, restaurants might Hawkins, a driver for DoorDash in California, said on the live bursed for those cleaning supplies,” Mr. Robinson said. also be affected by the outcome. They rely on companies like DoorHe wishes that drivers who support Prop 22 understood how Dash, Postmates, and GrubHub -- especially now, when more peo- stream that he lives with his great-grandmother, and one day he got a call from her, saying that she had fallen on the floor. Because he is hard they would have to work if they wanted their benefits. ple are staying home more due to Covid19. an independent contractor, he was able to stop what he was doing “I wish they knew...what the circumstances are, what’s required, and go help her get up. to get those benefits that [they believe] they’re going to get...they’re If it does pass, fulltime drivers would be paid up to 120% of “Having this flexibility has helped me out tremendously...I going to have to work full time,” he expressed. the minimum wage of California (currently $13 per hour) or higher wouldn’t have been able to be there for her,” Marcel said. minimum wage rates imposed by local laws (for example, $15 per The Yes On 22 campaign says drivers want to stay independent AB5 set new standards for all workers -- not only for app-based hour in Los Angeles County) They’d also receive accident insurdrivers -- as to who may and may not be considered an indepen- ance, reimbursements for driving-related expenses, and protection contractors rather than becoming employees by a 4-to-1 margin. “More than 80% of drivers work less than 20 hours a week, have dent contractor. Independent contractors are people who work for against discrimination and sexual harassment. other jobs or responsibilities, and can’t work set shifts as employees,” themselves, perhaps providing services to several different compaDrivers who have customers between 15 and 25 hours per week the Yes On 22 website advertises. nies, usually do not work full time at one company, and who do not

‘Holy conduct’: How to be Jewish during a hard election season In an email to his congregation last Tuesday, Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky of B’nai David-Judea Congregation in Pico-Robertson said Jews of all political beliefs should aspire to holiness during the current 2020 election season. Editor-in-Chief Molly Litvak interviewed him about the email two days later, and below is an unedited transcript of their interview. The Boiling Point: What is an example of “holy conduct” in relation to this period before the election? Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky: Well, holy conduct means a lot of things, but one thing that holy conduct certainly means is looking other people in the eye and, before saying or doing anything, remembering that like you, this is a person who is created in the image of God, who is deserving of fundamental respect, who is possessing dignity. And that’s the way that this conversation needs to be engaged. That’s one example of what it means to conduct oneself in a holy way. BP: If the election results don’t turn out as we had hoped, how can we, as Jews, cope? Rabbi Kanefsky: There’s no one answer to that. Everyone has to do that their own way. For some people, it will mean an even more robust

engagement in the political process, for others it will mean total withdrawal from the political process, and neither one of those is right or wrong. It really depends on the person. The most important thing -- and this will be the work that needs to be done after the election is over -- is for people to be reminded in every way that we can remind them, that we are an eternal people and there are things that are at the core of our identity as Jews, and those things remain true and important no matter what happens. It’s the same things that have been true and important for thousands of years, when we have made our way through all kinds of hardships and difficult circumstances. And to come back to the things we believe in, the things we’re committed to, and do what we always do: figure out how in the circumstances we find ourselves in. We realize and devote ourselves to the things we really believe in.

and who doesn’t have healthcare. And there can be different political avenues for achieving those goals, and there can be very legitimate disagreement as to how those goals are to be realized, but that’s what politics is about. It’s about people and human welfare. BP: In relation to your last guildine, how can we turn the situation for the better if we disagree with the election results or if we get in a political fight with someone?

BP: Is it our responsibility, as Jews, to be active in encouraging people to vote and keeping up to date with politics? Why or why not?

Rabbi Kanefsky: There are things that are out of our control. If the election results are not what we would have wanted, there isn’t so much. We have to recognize what our limits are. What we can do [if the results are what we wanted] is to reach out to someone on the losing side, and say ‘I’m very happy with the election results. I have a feeling that you’re not. And I just wanted to reach out and express that I recognize that you’re feeling very disappointed, express my empathy, and if you want to talk, I’d love to talk.’

Rabbi Kanefsky: One hundred percent. Politics isn’t politics, politics is about life. It’s about justice, it’s about who gets to eat and who doesn’t get to eat, who gets to be educated and who doesn’t get to be educated, who has healthcare

BP: There was no democracy, there were no elections when the Torah and Talmud were written, right? How then can we know what the Torah would have said about a time such as this, when so much responsibility is in our

hands? Rabbi Kanefsky: I think this goes back to democracy simply being the way that we have been empowered to impact and affect the lives of other human beings. In that sense, we are always called upon to devote whatever particular gifts we’ve been given -- and we’ve all been given different gifts -- to use our gifts for the betterment of God’s world. Whatever that gift may be, one of the gifts that we’ve been given in this particular moment is the gift of democracy, so this is one of the gifts that we are now bidden to utilize for the sake of human welfare and the betterment of human society. It’s just a matter of which gift you have in any given moment of human history. GIFT: Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky says democracy is a gift that can be used to impact and affect the lives of other human beings.” The rest of this interview can be read at shalhevetboilingpoint.com.


The Boiling Point • November 2020 • Opinion

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TWO BOILING POINTS OF VIEW:

Who should win the presidency this year? BIDEN: A pledgeand plans to confront issues

TRUMP: Adefender of Israel and enemy of terrorists

By Adina Kurzban, 11th grade

By Ean Fish, 12th grade

At first, when asked why I am pro-Biden, I couldn’t find an answer. Since the day President Trump got elected, many Democrats like me were waiting to vote for or support anyone who opposed him. But after researching further, I realize I’m pro-Biden because of more than that. I’m pro-Biden because despite the narrative surrounding him that he is “boring,” he has pledged to take on tough issues in America and adopt policies to confront white supremacy, tackle climate change, and fix the immigration system, to name a few. Biden has a plan to counter white supremacy, a threat affecting us as Jews and an issue affecting America at large. According to the Department of Homeland Security, white supremacy is the biggest terrorist threat to our nation, and one that Trump has done nothing about. Biden has regularly denounced it, which is already more than Trump, but since merely condemning it isn’t enough, Biden will also restore funding to fight domestic extremism, appoint Justice Department officials who will investigate and prosecute it, and pass a law that bans white supremacy while maintaining free speech and civil liberties.. Climate change is an extremely pressing issue for America and the world. Biden has vowed to enact policies that will have America at net-zero emissions by 2050, and he will do so while creating jobs and improving our infrastructure. Trump, however, pulled us out of the Paris Accord, and rather than trying to improve the climate situation, rolled back more than 125 climate protections and allowed pollution to grow unchecked. Biden also has a comprehensive plan to fix our immigration system. Trump has encouraged a system that denies human dignity by limiting legal immigration and asylum, forcing people to live in tents with no bathrooms by the border. The system is underfunded and mismanaged -- judges have too big a caseload to deliberate properly and children are separated from their parents and tried separately in court, leading to parents being deported away from their kids. Biden’s plan will reunify these families and fix the asylum system by appropriating the needed resources. By doing so, our immigration system can return to the original values of our country - accepting others and helping those with nowhere else to go. People say Trump is the best president for Israel, but Biden’s stance on Israel is one of support. He has promised to combat anti-Semitism in every form, reject BDS and other efforts to de-legitimize Israel, and ensure that Israel maintains a military edge over other Middle Eastern countries, something Trump undermined by attempting to sell the UAE weapons. As president, Donald Trump has stood for white supremacy, hatred towards immigrants, and policy that makes this country worse, not great. He tried to get rid of the Affordable Care Act without providing any alternative for poorer families; has rolled back important climate change and environmental protections, including fuel economy goals for cars and long-standing clean air and clean water laws; and allowed companies to dig for oil on protected national lands. He has done basically everything a president should not. I may dislike Trump and his policies, but after having Biden as the nominee for a few months, I have learned to appreciate him as a politician and future president. He has pledged to create the changes that America needs and will provide a necessary shift away from today’s

Contrary to popular opinion, not every Trump supporter is a racist bigot who prides himself on being a part of the Trump clan. Some of us, if not most of us, look at what he has done, specifically in terms of policy, for our country and the world, as the reason to support him in the upcoming election. Trump’s foreign policy might be the greatest accomplishment of his administration. From pulling out of the pulling out of the Paris Agreement to ordering airstrikes to kill terrorist leaders, Trump’s foreign policy has been stellar. The goal of the Paris deal was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However noble this idea was, its ineffectiveness and cost to the American taxpayer proved its worth to be little to none, thus Trump’s decision was proper. The airstrike killing Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi saved American lives by ending ISIS’s reign of terror that constantly endangered our lives. Not only has he been tough on a foreign power, China -which locks Muslims in concentration camps because their beliefs differ from the Chinese Communist mindset -- but he has also promoted peace and normalization agreements between Israel and both Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, along with a trade deal with Sudan. In fact, President Trump has been a great advocate for Israel in so many ways. He officially recognized that the capital of Israel is Jerusalem, moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In doing this, he stated to the world that Israel is a Jewish state and will remain so. Moreover, he appointed Nikki Haley as his first United Nations ambassador. Ms. Haley was adamant in standing up for Israel in the U.N., specifically during the Gaza violence in May of 2018, following the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem. The council constantly condemns Israel for supposed human rights violations, yet a large number of countries on the council violate human rights themselves. These violators are China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines. Here at home, President Trump has tried to improve our health care. Most think that by asking the Supreme Court to repeal the Affordable Care Act, he is trying to strip many of their health care benefits. Instead, by trying to get rid of Obamacare, he has tried to increase competition in the healthcare market. Somehow a major headline against the President has been that he refuses to condemn white supremacists, specifically in Charlottesville. But in the very same press briefing, on Aug. 15, 2017 when he stated that there were “fine people on both sides,” President Trump added that was not referring to neo-Nazis or white supremecists. “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists,” he said, “because they should be condemned totally.” While it may be true that President Trump is not the most well-rounded individual, he has openly condemned white supremacists on several occasions and anyone who says otherwise needs to get their facts straight. Against woke culture, I am a strong supporter of the Trump administration -- not because I think he is a good Bp Photos By Ellie Orlanski person and deserves my admiration, but because I overlook his character downfalls and understand that his policies are what truly matter. Even though our President may not be the most “politically correct” in his actions, his systems better our economy and society as a whole.

volatile political climate.

EDITORIAL: Fear, loathing and anonymity By the Boiling Point Editorial Board Four years ago, the Boiling Point interviewed multiple students who voted for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton and included their quotes and their names in various articles. The paper even published an article titled, “Shalhevet students say why they voted for Trump.” Though that presidential election was certainly controversial, students were still happy to publicly endorse and speak about the candidates they supported. But this year, we could only find three people who were willing to be interviewed on the record -- that is, assigning their names to their comments. Three people. Out of 242. And that includes both Trump and Biden supporters. Throughout this issue, we have used more anonymous interviews than ever before. Everyone knows the country is divided, but disunity isn’t even the main issue. The main issue is fear, and it’s apparent on both sides. Students are scared to be publicly quoted

endorsing either candidate. And why wouldn’t they be? Pro-Biden signs have been vandalized and stolen, and Trump supporters -- at least in Los Angeles -- rarely even put signs up in their front yards. Boiling Point staff looked through at least four neighborhoods and found only three signs supporting President Trump, though as reported on Page 4 of this issue, in zip code 90034, which is the southern part of Beverlywood, 20% of residents voted for Trump in 2016. But most would not publicly admit it. It’s easy to point fingers elsewhere for the source of this fear. But maybe we should look first at ourselves. A teaching from Eruvin 13b is actually extremely applicable. Beit Hillel and Beit Shamai were arguing about a certain halacha for three years, after which a bat kol, heavenly voice, came down to proclaim that both opinions were the “words of the living God” but that halakha would follow the House of Hillel’s judgement because its students were kind, gracious, and taught Shammai’s opinions

before their own. In other words, in God’s eyes, it matters more how you conduct an argument than whether you’re right or wrong. Maybe we are suffering through a time of fear because we have lost sight of that teaching. When we started working on our Special Election Edition, we expected Keira Beller’s story about signs to describe new ways people reach beyond their couches during the pandemic. The story changed. Fortunately, in our interview with Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky, we found the concept of “holy conduct.” As he says on Page 4, holy conduct is partly “looking other people in the eye and, before saying or doing anything, remembering that like you, this is a person who is created in the image of God, who is deserving of fundamental respect, who is possessing dignity.” We can start by asking ourselves whether that is what we’ve been doing. And if not, we can start now. First, we ask that our readers please think twice before berating anyone for the opinions

or facts they were brave enough to share in this issue. Without them, you’d have less to think about, you’d understand your community less, and you’d hear only what you already know. Also, the Boiling Point Editorial Board condemns anyone who vandalized or stole pro-Biden signs. You should not mock people for their beliefs, nor should you be committing illegal misdemeanors to bother them. Such actions are undoubtedly part of why people are so scared. In this country we have freedom of speech, so if you attack when others voice their opinions, who will stand up for you when the unpopular opinion is yours? Whoever was intolerant first, it’s long past time to look at how this started. Instead, let’s figure out how we can make it end. The first step in activating change is improving yourself. Like the students of Beit Hillel, we should be kind and gracious -- and at least respectfully hear, if not express, opinions that are not our own.


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Features

NOVEMBER 2020

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The end of this election season -- and its harsh judgements about one another -- will be a breath of fresh air

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By Liad Machmali, Features and Culture Editor It’s on my neighbor’s front lawn, the topic of discussion at my dinner table, and infiltrating my Tik Tok For You page. Politics. No matter where I go or what I’m doing, politics always seems to find a way into my day-to-day life. All attempts to run away from the subject and take a breath of fresh air for just one moment seem to fail. Being well-informed is essential and relatively easy with the technology accessible today. Having the news literally at our fingertips enables citizens to make informed decisions about which candidate or policies to support. However, by allowing politics to become a major part of daily living, it has strained the unity among peers and built tension between friends. The rise in political tension definitely has to do with the uniqueness of the upcoming election. But today’s teens having received cell phones with internet access so young also plays a role. We read and see so many contradictory videos and news articles. While each of us likes to claim that we do not fall victim to fake news or Instagram videos about politics, it is not always possible to fact-check the constant flow of information we are seeing. And also, not everyone cares to do so. This is new. During the 2012 election, the worst thing I would see posted on Instagram regarding the candidates was an obviously edited video of Barack Obama or Mitt Romney singing “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepson. This year, social media has opened the floor for sharing opinions, and more hateful and extreme posts are being published. Some people say that Joe Biden has dementia; others compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. These ideas then creep into the developing minds of the youth. As the spread of political information, whether it is truthful or not, continues to expand, so does the time spent on discussing politics. The election this year is certainly distressing — what can people do other than talk about it? Political Tik Toks in particular are often distasteful and unhelpful, since people preach and entertain in their videos instead of trying to educate others. And even the app’s algorithm cannot get me away from the matter. No matter how many times I press “not interested” on my Tik Tok feed, political posts still continue to appear. Click-grabbing strangers are not the only offenders. Among people who know each other, friends on social media and within their group chats get involved in frustrating arguments defending their political ideologies. Anything you say can define your character in the eyes

“Even the app’s algorithm cannot get me away from the matter. No matter how many times I press “not interested” on my Tik Tok feed, political posts still continue to appear. “

of others. Even if you yourself are undecided, your parents’ political affiliations may be applied to you by people seeking a way to peek into your belief system. This year, politics is not only a part of our daily discussions. It has become integrated into the way we characterize people, and therefore into who we are in the eyes of others — even those who know us in multiple other ways. As complex human beings with various perceptions of reality, we cannot just be divided into two categories. So why are this year’s political stances so often being applied to judge the character of others? Grades, actions and words can’t define me, so why is

that many have decided this year that political

it

associations do? Maybe change is coming. Maybe change will gradually start after the election, only a few days from now, when signs on front lawns will be taken down, no longer able to create automatic biases. Maybe my Tik Tok For You page will no longer consist of angry and uninformative posts. Maybe people will stop claiming that the “other side” is the only one that does not listen, when it is usually both sides. Whenever it is, I cannot wait for that whiff of fresh air to come — if it ever does — far away from the loud sounds of politics.

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Shalhevet Boiling Point Volume 21 Issue 2 Election Edition  

Shalhevet Boiling Point Volume 21 Issue 2 Election Edition  

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