DJDS Moot Beit Din Team places 2nd in national competition

DJDS Moot Beit Din Team places 2nd in national competition
  • Judaic Studies
DJDS Marketing Team


From left to right:

Eli Benel, Holden Demain, Joey Tesler


By the DJDS Marketing Department


After nearly a four-year absence, Denver Jewish Day School brought back a student-favorite tradition in emphatic fashion - Moot Beit Din. Under the leadership of Upper Division Director of Judaic Studies, Benjamin Levy, the 2023-24 DJDS Moot Beit Din Team was awarded 2nd place at the National Moot Beit Din Competition. DJDS Sophomores Eli Benel, Holden Demain, Karen Gerecht, and Freshman Joey Tesler made up this year's incredible team. 


 “The atmosphere throughout the Shabbaton and the competition is what stood out to me the most," said Benel. "I was amazed at how comfortable Holden, Joey, and I were during the day of the competition, and that had a lot to do with how friendly all of the teams at the Shabbaton were. We all bonded and hung out as friends for 3 days while we prepared for our competition, and that is something I won’t forget.” 


Before Eli, Holden, and Joey arrived at the Shabbaton, a tremendous amount of preparation went into their presentation and knowledge regarding the case. The Moot Beit Din club met weekly throughout the first and second semester of the 2023-24 school year. The first semester entailed more general context and specific cases and preparation from prior competitions, and then things really began to pick up in the second semester as the workload with the specific case they would be presenting increased significantly.


When the early morning to fly to the competition in New York finally arrived, all three boys were greeted to a Jewish Uber driver, who talked the entire ride to the airport, at 4:30 in the morning. It was then that the boys knew - while they were trying to sleep - that this was going to be one entertaining weekend. By the time Eli, Holden, and Joey were flying to New York for the Shabbaton, they were finalizing the script for their presentation while laughing and having a great time. They knew there presentation would be one that the judges and audience would remember. 


When the boys and Mr. Levy arrived at the Shabbaton, the next 2 and a half days were spent meeting new friends from the other Jewish schools in attendance and getting to hang out with them. Although all of the students in attendance knew that they would be competing against each other that Sunday, it was the experiences that they shared together that helped create such a unique and friendly atmosphere. All three boys agreed that the Shabbat dinner, Havdallah experience, and even playing Euchre were all incredible experiences they shared together.


“Making friends was truly incredible during the Moot Beit Din experience," said Tesler. "I made new friends and got to know a lot of different people throughout the Shabbaton. That is something I never even imagined would happen when I decided to sign up for Moot Beit Din this year.”


Following the presentations on Sunday, the DJDS Moot Beit Din Team was the talk of the Shabbaton! Everyone talked about how the DJDS Moot Court Team had the most unique and best presentation of the entire competition. All three boys stuck to their instincts and wanted to insert humor into their presentation. In addition to the presentation being informative and effective, it was much different than any other school’s. The boys took great pride in the audience and judges laughing and staying engaged throughout their presentation. All three boys credit DJDS and Color War experiences specifically for having the confidence and skillsets to execute their presentation. This showed as the DJDS Moot Beit Din Team won 2nd place at the competition! You can watch the whole presentation below.



“It was so great to see our students bringing back an old Denver JDS tradition through this event," said Director of Judaic Studies, Benjamin Levy. "This is the 11th time I have gone on this trip, but no one currently in high school at DJDS participated in the last competition. I’ve always appreciated guiding our students in taking a deeper dive into Jewish texts and cases because they simultaneously discover a deeper appreciation for their Judaism. Having fun being Jewish with other Jewish kids is a beautiful sight to see.”

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