Have you missed it? Just Community Constitution preamble to return to 2nd-floor lobby soon, officials say

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BP Photo By Benjamin Gamson

PROMINENT: Since November, a painting by David Meytal has been in the geographical center of the school instead of the signed preamble to the Just Community Constitution.

By Tali Liebenthal, 9th Grade

After about five months of being missing from its position at the top of the staircase in the second-floor lobby, Shalhevet’s Just Community Constitution has been located in the first-floor administrative Conference Room.

Registrar and Director of Facilities Ms. Lili Einalhori said its exile from the geographical center of the school is almost over.

“The Constitution will be moved back next week.” Ms. Einalhori responded in an email to the Boiling Point before Passover.

In its place since November there has been a painting by the artist David Meytal, entitled “The Tower,” with a small metal nameplate on the wall beside it.

Because of that, and because the Constitution has been missing for so long, some have begun to wonder whether it would return.

PROMOTE: Admissions officials used the constitution to explain the role of the Just Community in school life. (BP Photo By Benjamin Gamson)

Agenda Chair Kate Orlanski said she noticed its absence right away.

“I think I noticed it as soon as it was missing,” Kate said. “I am pretty sure it was just moved for visiting students or some open house event but I do wonder where they put it, and why they didn’t put it back up after the event was done.”

The Just Community Constitution was written and adopted by students and faculty in 2002, and its preamble was then written out in artistic calligraphy and signed by community members at the time. It was then framed and hung in the Beit Midrash, which was also used for Town Hall.

In the new building, it had an equally prominent place at the top of the spiral staircase, viewable from the steps both below and above.

It was initially moved this year for an Open House admissions event that took place on Nov. 22. There, it was displayed on an easel in the gymnasium and put on view for families considering Shalhevet for their current middle-schoolers.

I think it definitely makes people forget about the constitution. Like, I used to walk into school and see the constitution, and you were reminded of its existence.”

— Kate Orlanski, Agenda Chair

“It was in the gym to show to visiting parents and students,” Rabbi Ari Schwarzberg, Dean of Students and Just Community advisor, told the Boiling Point on Nov. 23, one day after the event
“It will be back in the wall asap.”

But by February the Constitution had not been returned.

“I think it definitely makes people forget about the constitution,” said Kate. “Like, I used to walk into school and see the constitution, and you were reminded of its existence.”

Interviewed by the Boiling Point again in February, Rabbi Schwarzberg was surprised it was still not present.

“Is the Constitution not on the second floor anymore?” Rabbi Schwarzberg wrote Feb. 16, in reply to an email question. “I know it was put in the gym for Open House in order to show parents and students, but did it not go back to its home in the lobby? I can promise you that I have no knowledge or thoughts on the matter.”

At that point Principal Mr. Daniel Weslow reaffirmed that the move was temporary.

“It’s not permanently being moved out of the second-floor main hallway,” Mr. Weslow wrote on Feb. 16. “It was moved for an Admissions event and we have yet to put it back.”

We have been dealing with other priorities with getting students back on campus and Covid-related items, so it may be taking some more time than expected. But the JC and constitution remain a priority and a part of the fabric of the school.”

— Principal Mr. Daniel Weslow

Asked again in March, Mr. Weslow again said that the removal was not permanent, and that the school and he himself valued its very public display.

“We have been dealing with other priorities with getting students back on campus and Covid-related items, so it may be taking some more time than expected,” Mr. Weslow responded by email to a request for another interview about it. “But the JC and constitution remain a priority and a part of the fabric of the school / everything we do. I’m not aware of the constitution being permanently relocated.

“I’m not sure if this is TMZ breaking news or not, but we still care deeply about our Just Community and our Constitution,” Mr. Weslow wrote. “I do not know of any kind of new locations for the Constitution. It’s a vital piece and document and artifact within our school and should be showcased in a place where everybody can see it.”