Speak Essay

In our class we just finished the book Speak. It is about a high-school student, Melinda, who is afraid to speak up about a tragic incident that occurred in her life. She is afraid of people judging her, getting angry with her, and many more things. Throughout the entire book, Melinda was very silent and she had a very small amount of friends who she couldn’t express herself to.


In the story, Melinda got raped by a senior, Andy Evans. They were all at a party one night and he got her to drink so she couldn’t stop him. She eventually called the police on the party, and everyone got upset with Melinda for getting them in trouble, but none of them knew why she called the police. For some reason, she didn’t tell anybody why she ruined the party, she just let everyone hate her for that. She kept silent throughout the entire story, she didn’t tell anybody about how she got raped.


Melinda kept silent because she was afraid of the punishments Andy Evans could do to her if anyone found out about what happened. Even her best friend hated her throughout the story. A small freshman girl could definitely not stop one big senior. She also was afraid of the judgement. People would judge her for not telling anyone the night it happened. She could also have been pregnant, but nobody would know.


At the end of the story, she finally tells someone about her problem. I personally believe that Melinda should have told people. If I was put into her shoes, I would have told someone, especially my best friend at the party, because it could have prevented her entire freshman school year from being so horrible. She could have spoken up to anyone she felt like she needed to, but she was silent and frightened.

You Are What You Eat

There is a saying that goes “You are what you eat.” This saying relates to Judaism because of our Kashrut laws. I personally believe that this relates to the Kashrut laws of Judaism because many of the unkosher animals are impure and we we, me, would definitely not want to be those animals. Also, if we don’t eat it, we definitely don’t want to be it. I think it would be a religious issue because many people are very religious and don’t eat anything that is unkosher.

Persuasive Essay

In class, we were discussing Thesis Statements and persuasive essays. I chose to write about surveillance cameras in school.



In the United States of America, there has been 217 school shootings since 2013 (“The Long, Shameful List of School Shootings in America”). In the past four years, over two hundred schools in our country have been attacked by gunmen with the intention to frighten and kill. The question is, should schools allow surveillance cameras for safety or is it an invasion of privacy? I believe that Americans should allow cameras on school properties because it will give school administrators access to knowing about school shootings, vandalism, and drug usage.

To begin with, many students, usually at the high-school age, have been associated with drugs and alcohol on school properties. Whether it be after school hours or outdoors, many people have died from an overdose on drugs. In the country, an average of 570,000 people die from drug usage each year, and many of them are teenagers (“How Many People Die Each Year from Drug Use?” ). If cameras were added to the school property, the school administrators would be able to detect who is dealing the drugs and where it is occurring. This will keep the students safe and stop the drug dealing on school property.

Pursuing this further, cameras on school property will be able to protect students from many other harmful things. Administrators will be able to watch who comes in and out of the school doors. If they notice something suspicious, they will be able to control it, rather than not knowing about it in the first place. As I stated earlier, there has been over 200 school shootings since 2013. Many of these shootings most likely happened because the security wasn’t as great as it could’ve been. In the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, there was no possible way of seeing the gunman walk through the front doors, even though the school claims they had security cameras. If the school had working security cameras, school administrators would have known someone was walking into their school. I personally believe that with security cameras, the people in the school will be able to detect school shooters or people that seem suspicious.


Yet another reason why cameras should be added to schools is that the surveillance cameras will be able to catch vandalism and theft in the building. Unfortunately, students vandalize many things on school property, and with cameras, school authorities will be able to see who did the crime and punish the student. This will make the students nervous which will cause them not to steal or vandalise school property because they will think that they’ll be caught. With cameras, the school can watch where the crime happened and who did it. An example is in San Francisco, California: a man was caught by school security cameras of vandalizing the school’s property (School Security Camera Appears to Catch Thief.)


Many people believe that privacy beats security. In their beliefs, surveillance cameras are used to spy on people. I understand where they’re coming from, but my opinion is still strong. I believe that in order to be safe, surveillance cameras should be put up so they can watch who is coming into the building and what is happening around the property.


For all of my reasonings, I strongly believe that all schools should provide safety by hanging up surveillance cameras. It lets authorities know what is happening around the school and they will be able to know who is walking in the building. This can prevent school shootings, vandalism, and theft, and I believe that will save many lives.


Works Cited

“Cameras in the Classroom: Is Big Brother Evaluating You?” NEA Today. NEA, 20 Apr. 2015.

Web. 06 Apr. 2017.

Molly Walsh, The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press. “Will Cameras Make Schools Safer?” USA

Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 11 May 2013. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.

“Schools Should Have Surveillance Cameras.” IFSEC Global. UBM, 20 Apr. 2016. Web. 06

Apr. 2017.

“The Long, Shameful List of School Shootings in America.” EverytownResearch.org.

Every Town For Gun Safety Support Fund, 28 Mar. 2017. Web. 05 Apr. 2017. “How Many People Die Each Year from Drug Use?” NIDA for Teens. National Institute on Drug Abuse, 26 Mar. 2017. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.


Addition to the Seder

If I could add one more item to the Passover Seder I would add water. Even though everyone usually already drinks water at their seder, I would add it to the custom, just like how we’re supposed to eat Marror and the other foods. I would add water for the idea of how the Israelites crossed the sea. This will make us thin about the water they crossed and how after every journey you feel free and exhilarated.

In our Tanach class, we have been learning about the holiday Passover. During the Passover Seder, we read הָא לַחְמָא עַנְיָא. In this song, we read the line כָּל דִכְפִין יֵיתֵי וְיֵיכֹל, כָּל דִצְרִיךְ יֵיתֵי וְיִפְסַח (Let all who are hungry come and eat,let all who are in need come and make Pesach). These words are very powerful and meaningful words to many people, including me.

My middle school does weekly mitzvahs for our community, a mitzvah is a commandment but it can also be referred as a “good deed.” These mitzvahs consist of helping the sick, caring or the elderly, feeding the poor, etc. After each mitzvah we achieve, I feel very good about myself and my achievements. My teacher has taught all of us to give food to a homeless person, not money. The reasoning to this is because they can go buy random things that they don’t need with money, but they can only eat food, not do anything else with it.

The mitzvah program has taught me many lessons that I wouldn’t have known without it. I have learned so much and I feel like it helps students become a mensch. Something so small like giving someone a granola bar or delivering a Mishloach Manot basket can change someone’s life. I have done so many more mitzvahs on my own time since 6th grade, when I began the program. Every Friday, I feel like a better person.

To Kill A Mockingbird- Blind Spots

In the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee there are many characters that have blind spots in their personality. When I say blind spots, I mean it figuratively. When someone sees something of a person’s personality that many others don’t see, it is your own perception of a person. Somebody could be a very kind person, but their blind spot could be that they follow the crowd. Some people might be able to notice their blinds spots and some people might not.


In the book, Mr. Cunningham is known to be a good man, but Atticus noticed his blind spot. Atticus has noticed that Mr. Cunningham follows the crowd, rather than making his own decisions. At one part in the book, Mr. Cunningham went with the crowd to meet up with Tom Robinson and kill him. Atticus was there with Tom, protecting him, and he tried to stop the group. Scout and Jem were spying on their father and noticed the aggregation. Scout walked over and had to bring Mr. Cunningham back to his senses. She talked about how she was friends with his son at school, and that made him remember that he had a life. The crowd didn’t hurt Tom or Atticus, thanks to Scout.


Another example of a character with a blind spot is Aunt Alexandra. Alexandra went to Maycomb with the intention to provide Scout with some feminine influence. She also needed to help with Jem and Scout because Atticus wouldn’t be home all of the time. Alexandra’s blind spots is that she cares what everyone thinks about her. Right when she went to Maycomb, she was acting as if she’s been there for years. She got caught up in all of the drama going around the town and she wanted everyone to like her. This was her blind spot because every part of herself and her personality was great, besides her need to be “popular” in Maycomb.


Scout Finch was a very brave and courageous girl in the book, although, she had a blind spot. Jem and she both believed that Boo Radley was a eerie, horrible man, even though they didn’t personally know him. After the incident when there was shooting from the Radley’s house because the kids went on their property, they believed that whoever was shooting was trying to kill them. All of the rumors around the town caused many suspicions about who Boo was and why he always stayed in his house. Scout was so caught up with all of the rumors that she believed he was the monster in the town. I think that she can’t judge someone by the rumors of the town. This is like the metaphor don’t judge a book by its cover.


Mrs. Dubose wasn’t one of the main characters in the book, but she still had an significant role in the story. Her blind spot was her drug addiction. Her drug addiction caused her to suffer with pain and to be a mean, cruel lady, even though on the inside she wasn’t. She had a morphine addiction and she couldn’t enjoy the things others could enjoy. Nobody could understand why she wanted to put herself through such an gruesome life, besides Atticus. Jem and Scout got to know her pretty well and realized that she wasn’t such a mean lady after all. Unfortunately, she passed away from her addiction.


As you can see, in the book many of the characters have many blind spots that people have noticed. Having a blind spot isn’t bad, many people have them. Some of the times it makes up who you are as a person. The character Atticus was very good at finding people’s blind spots, but he never judged them. Even if the person was a cruel man, Atticus found good in people. I think that even though the characters in the book had a few blind spots in their personality, they were still role models for people who read the book.

Purim and Antisemitism

Antisemitism is when people have a strong hatred for the Jewish people. In the past, Hitler and the Nazi’s were very antisemitic and wanted to kill all of the Jewish population. Another throw-back was to the Purim story where Haman wanted the same thing. There is no simple reason why some person could possible hate something so much. People who hate the Jewish people could easily be jealous of our religion or they could just be hateful people.

In the story of Purim, Haman wanted to kill all of the Jewish people. When the new queen, Esther, became queen, Mordechai, her cousin, had to protect her; they were both Jewish. When Mordechai did not bow down to Haman, because he only believes in one God, Haman was furious. This was one of the main reasons Haman wanted to kill the Jewish population. Haman had no right to hate all of the Jewish people because he felt disrespected. Instead of killing everyone, he could’ve easily talked to Mordechai.

The story of Purim teaches us to always stand up for what we believe in, and in this case it was being Jewish. People should stand up for others if we see them being bullied about something, especially religion and race. No person should be judged by the color of their skin or the religion they believe in. Everyone can make their own decisions for themselves. This lesson is implied in today’s life because of all the racism and antisemitism. There are still people in today’s world that hate the Jewish people, but we can’t do anything about it, besides stand up for ourselves.

11th Commandment

If I had the chance to create an 11th Commandment, I would make sure every Jewish person does a mitzvah once a week. It can be from putting a dollar in the Tzedakah box to donating enough food to feed ten families. Any mitzvah of your choice, just as long as you achieve it. I think this would be a great way for kids and adults to learn more about mitzvahs and to recognize how important they are.

Cut a Tree, Plant a Tree

Next week, we will be celebrating the holiday Tu B’Shvat – the birthday of the trees. Almost daily, trees are being cut down because of new buildings or homes. This is a big issue because people need a place to work and live, but we also need trees in our environment to live. Without trees, there wouldn’t be enough oxygen for everyone to survive, but they also just make the world so much prettier. I feel that every tree people cut down, a new one should be planted; a perfect compromise. Trees need to be protected and people need to be aware how important they are in our community.