by: Robin Bosworth ’24
Ever since I started school at what was then Solomon Schechter School of Westchester in kindergarten, I have always felt incredibly proud to be a part of a community that values kindness and Tikkun Olam above all else. This evening, at a Girl’s Varsity Basketball game, I was reminded of the pride I feel for our school community, and more broadly, what it means to be a Jewish-American teenager.
Throughout the first half of our game against Roosevelt High School in Yonkers, there was a somewhat hostile environment, with substantially more jabs and comments thrown at the players on our team than what I have experienced in the past. Despite this, our team chose to let their aggressiveness fuel us going into the second half of the game, as we continued to play passionately.
However, all of that changed in the third quarter. Members of our team started to get injured from the other team’s physical style of play. At the end of the quarter, players on the opposing team started shouting “Free Palestine” and other antisemitic slurs and curses at us. Attacking a team because of their school’s religious association is never acceptable, but especially due to the current war in Israel and the world’s rise in antisemitism, this felt extremely personal to me and many members of my team. I have played a sport every athletic season throughout my high school career, and I have never experienced this kind of hatred directed at one of my teams before. At the end of a basketball game, it is customary to shake hands with every member of the opposing team, to signify that everything that happened during the game was in fact just a part of the game. Despite our conflicting feelings about this practice, every member of my team acted with respect and class and lined up to shake their hands. However, being forced to shake hands with and say “good game” to people who had expressed such hatred did not sit right with me afterwards. If a team shows blatant disrespect towards my team and our school community’s values, it should not be tolerated or forgotten immediately following the game.
Although this experience was certainly eye-opening for me, it truly reminded me of the importance of the incredibly supportive community that Leffell has cultivated. I was so impressed with my teammates for coming together and deciding that we did not want to continue this game after the third quarter, as it no longer felt respectful as the other team did not show sportsmanlike conduct. Instead of responding to hatred with more of the same, we chose to separate ourselves from the situation and leave with dignity and pride in who we are and what we believe in. I have never felt luckier or more honored to be a part of the Leffell community as we stand with each other in support of what we feel is most important.