Exploring the timeless themes and lessons of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” in the real world, seventh-grade students at Berman Hebrew Academy in Rockville, Maryland, are digging into the power of propaganda and the importance of freedom of speech. Students recently visited the Newseum in Washington, D.C., they also met with senior staff members from Kol HaBirah. Publisher Hillel Goldschein, Editor in Chief Rachel Kohn, and Senior Editor Kami Troy discussed how their newspaper balances journalistic integrity with halacha (Jewish law) about loshon harah (negative speech). Students then split into groups to analyze specific case studies.
“I was very impressed by the students’ ability to connect rules of loshon harah with examples of scenarios from the Torah or situations that might arise among their peers,” said Kohn. “They showed a lot of sensitivity to the power of words, especially words wielded carelessly or with the intent to mislead.”
By Briana Naiman