Midreshet Shalhevet’s Mock Presidential Debate

As November 8th draws near, all everyone is talking and thinking about are the presidential elections, and which candidate was a better fit for the presidency. On Monday Midreshet Shalhevet was very fortunate to host Former Assemblyman, Phil Goldfeder and Mr. Avi Fertig, Special Assistant to the Hempstead Town Board, to represent the Democratic and Republican candidates in a mock Presidential debate. Shalhevet’s AP US History and AP Government teacher, Mr. Schildkraut, moderated the debate as if it was an actual presidential debate. The ‘candidates’ were given general topics to prepare beforehand, but were not given the questions prior to the debate. Questions varied from issues regarding immigration to specifics regarding environmental policies and the candidates’ plans of action to create new jobs and a stronger U.S. economy. Mr. Goldfeder represented role of Secretary Hilary Clinton and Mr. Fertig, the role of Donald Trump. Each candidate was given two minutes to answer each question and a one-minute rebuttal to respond if deemed necessary. The debate was fascinating for the students of Shalhevet. It really helped the students understand the positions of each of the presidential candidates and this year’s election as a whole. One student said, “it was very interesting to see how each of the candidates responded to the questions in a way that clearly modeled how the actual candidate may have answered.” After the debate, Mr. Fertig and Mr. Goldfeder each spoke briefly, sharing their perspectives and opinions on government, politics, and the relationships that elected officials and candidates, even when they are members of different political parties, often have with one another behind the scenes. Their message was very empowering, as Assemblyman Goldfeder described how he and Mr. Fertig, despite having some different political views, use their jobs within the local and state government to work together in order to help people in many ways. Shalhevet students were then given the opportunity to cast their ballots in a school-wide election. This was an especially valuable experience since most of the students weren’t old enough to vote in this year’s election. Being given the chance to decide whom they would have voted for provided a great opportunity to participate in our government and role as citizens.

Much thanks is due to Mr. Schildkraut and Student Activities coordinator, Coach Illona Kreitner for arranging the debate and to the debaters, Mr. Goldfeder and Mr. Fertig for taking time out of the busy schedules to spend time at Shalhevet to instill the students with a stronger understanding of the issues that our country is facing, and how to determine which candidate has a better vision for our nation’s future.


Zahava Fertig, 12th grade

1000 Rosedale Road, North Woodmere, NY 11581

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