Senior Natan G. '19 shares his experiences as one of 14 Beth Tfiloh High School delegation members at Yeshiva University's annual Model United Nations program.
As our delegation of 14 students and two teachers first stepped through the doors of the Stamford Crowne Plaza, we could not help but be swept up in the excitement of the moment. We watched, bright-eyed and coursing with anxious excitement, as delegation upon delegation flooded the lobby and food, signs, and stacks of chairs rushed past us. Hardly two days later, the 16 of us (including our incredible coach, Mrs. Laurie Austen, and her assistant, Mr. Phil Jacobs) stumbled through the front doors into the snow, grateful for a breath of fresh air, and slumped, exhausted, into our seats on the bus to come home. But, as you should now be wondering, how did we reach that fatigued, albeit content, point? If I have done my job correctly, your interest has been piqued and you are now intrigued to read further.
At dinner the first night, Beth Tfiloh students quickly established ourselves as the fun-but-competitive delegation, increasing the level of noise in the dining room by several dozen decibels through rap battles and chants. Later, after a brief introduction from Ms. Geri Mansdorf, director of undergraduate admissions at Yeshiva University, Mrs. Anne Neuberger addressed the conference as keynote speaker during opening ceremonies. She spoke of her experience working as chief risk officer in the NSA and its complications as an Orthodox woman. Throughout her remarks, she stressed the importance of maintaining a balance between tenacity and independence as opposed to collaboration and accepting assistance. This was fitting guidance for a Model United Nations conference consisting of 425 students from over 60 schools from as far away as Brazil and South Africa.
As the committee sessions began and the expected havoc ensued, I experienced a range of emotions from passionate competitiveness to resigned indifference. Throughout the entire conference, no matter how fatigued I grew, I constantly felt the sense that there was always more to be done, further to progress before the day concludes. I passed delegates consulting on how to most peaceably explore outer space and others arguing over the best course of action to take in the Middle East. All – or at the very least many – of us threw every modicum of effort we could feasibly summon at passing our resolutions, standing out to our committee chairs, and winning best delegate. But we may, at times, have lost sight of the larger picture. As we were reminded by several speakers, conferences like YUNMUN serve not to fill high school students’ resumes, but rather to begin training the next generation of effective leaders.
So, as the Beth Tfiloh delegation gathered its bags in one continuous, lethargic shuffle, with one Best Delegate — Benny K. ’19 was named Best Delegate in African Summit — and two Honorable Mentions — Aaron N. ’19 and Natan G. ’19; Eitan. M. ‘19 was given commendation from the podium for his committee work — in tow, I could not help but wonder when in the future would I reflect quietly on my YUNMUN days and thank them for that which they have provided me. My intuition tells me those days may be near.Beth Tfiloh YUNMUN 2019 Delegation:
Jonathan A. ‘19, Yisroel A.‘20, Naomi B. ‘20, D.J. B. ‘20, Natan G. ‘19, Eden H. ‘19, Benny K. ‘19, Eitan M. ‘19, Aaron N. ‘19, Zachary P. ‘20, Gideon R. ‘22, Selena S. ‘20, Sam S. ‘20 and Evyatar S. ‘19.
Coaches: Laurie Austen, Phil Jacobs