This past week saw a bevy of guest speakers coming to Rambam through Zoom!

The Classic Film Club and The Meet-the-Author Book Club co-sponsored bringing in Dr. Leo Braudy, Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Southern California. Dr. Braudy is a renowned film critic and historian, and the author of From Chivalry to Terrorism: War and the Changing Nature of Masculinity, which was named a Best of the Best Book by the Los Angeles Times and a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times; Jean Renoir: The World of His Films, which was a finalist for the National Book Award; The Frenzy of Renown: Fame and Its History, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies, and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural World.

Associate Principal of Rambam, Mr. Hillel Goldman, introduced Professor Braudy, asking him to begin by elaborating on the concept of “The Monster as a Metaphor.” The Detective Genre was also discussed and Dr. Braudy pointed out that at about the same time the monster was becoming a prominent figure in popular culture as an agent of chaos, the Detective Genre gained prominence, since the primary purpose of the detective is to counter chaos with reason and deduction. Some members of the clubs – Noam Klein, Shmuel Vulakh, Yehoshua Milchman, and Yonatan Beer – also asked questions. In a follow-up email to Mr. Goldman, Dr. Braudy wrote that he was incredibly impressed with the students of Rambam.

The Politics Club also had an interview of its own. Congressional Candidate Doug Tuman was introduced by the Rosh Mesivta, Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman, who then handed the reins to juniors Ezra Feder and Sam Korman of the Politics Club, who asked Mr. Tuman questions ranging from his decision to run for office, to gun control, and issues both national and local. Tuman discussed how one of the things that set him apart from other candidates is that he is seeking to bring more representative democracy to the country via his instant polling app plan. Tuman is running against Kathleen Rice, who has spoken at Rambam the last few years, and who will probably be speaking with the Rambam students next week.

Just a few short hours later, the Politics Club was back in action, playing host to Dr. David Luchins, Chair of the Political Science Department at Touro College. Dr. Luchins’ topic was “Anti-Semitism on the Upsurge: Is the Party over for American Jews?” Dr. Luchins gave a brief history of the success of Jews in America before discussing the attacks in Pittsburgh and other places. He made the point that while there is anti-Semitism in America, the public outcry in response to anti-Semitism shows a paradigm shift in the relationship between America and the Jews. Indeed, he remarked, one of the worse things that can happen to a public figure “is to be labeled anti-Semitic.”

Not to be outdone, the Rambam Sports Talk Live crew had on NFL Hall of Famer Morten Andersen, 2017 NFL Hall of Famer, NFL 1980s NFL All-Decade Team, 1990s NFL All-Decade Team, and All-time NFL leader in games played. Andersen is also famous for being a lefty and for having a signature one-bar helmet. Now a motivational speaker, the gridiron great offered the boys words of wisdom and shared inspirational stories. Special shout-out to Reuben Azose, Judah Orlanski, Sam Korman, and Charlie Mann for making this happen!

Rambam has long been famous for sending students to the 92nd Street Y and other cultural institutions to hear from famous authors and personalities, including Alan Dershowitz, Nikki Haley, Tom Hanks, Veronica Roth, and many more. Even with the COVID restrictions, however, using the power of Zoom and their own ingenuity, the students of Rambam are still learning about and engaging with the world.