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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Pathfinders Update: Students Attend Trunk Show At Esti's

On Wednesday, April 22nd, Louise Anteby and I, went on a trip to Esti’s for a trunk show through the Pathfinders Program. The trunk show included all of the clothing made by Christian Siriano. Christian Siriano is an American designer, who was on Project Runway. At the show, they displayed all of his upcoming dresses and clothing. His collection includes all articles of clothing like jumpers, dresses, and blouses. We saw all different types of dresses. Every piece of clothing from his collection had a unique texture. Christian makes funky dresses as well as classy and elegant dresses. We had the opportunity to speak with Christian about fashion and his clothing line and also snapped a quick picture with him!! ~Esther Beyda

Friday, May 22, 2015

Final Traveling Troupe Performance of the School Year

On Thursday May 7th, the Traveling Troupe capped off their wonderful year with a final trip to the Young Israel of Flatbush Senior Center. With the help of its devoted members, the troupe has grown immensely since its creation last year by Michael Zalta. At this final trip, all branches of the troupe that developed during its growth (the original performing troupe, the mitzvah clowns, freshmen troupe, and dancers troupe), united together to perform and celebrate their unparalleled achievements. 
The Traveling Troupe has always had a dual-significance: one for the audiences and one for the performers themselves. The joy brought to the sick and elderly on a weekly basis through our students' compassion and talents is overwhelming. But the euphoria and profundity that emerges from making the very personal and devout acts of chesed is something everlasting. The Troupe is saddened to say goodbye to its senior members but eager to see what next year has in store. ~Michael Zalta

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sophomore Students Enjoy Laser Tag Through Mentoring Program

Class 2-HR enjoyed a day of Black Ops Laser Tag with their teachers, Mr. Hofstetter and Ms. Marcus. The class took a trip to Indoor Extreme Sports in Long Island City, Queens, on May 6 as part of the Sophomore Mentoring program, and everyone had a great time, especially the students whose aim was good enough to take down their teachers. Players were given vests, laser guns, and intimidating code names before spending the next hour and a half chasing each other through a maze of obstacles that included tires, oil drums, military vehicles, bookshelves, and even kitchen appliances. And best of all, everyone returned from battle safe and sound.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Evening of the Arts 2015

The 5th annual Evening of the Arts, held last night, was a resounding success. The audience got to enjoy an eclectic mix of performing, visual, and graphic arts. (not to mention refreshments!!) This celebration of the Arts Department here at Flatbush is a wonderful opportunity for both the talented student and the equally talented-- but often less seen Arts Faculty —to strut their stuff, all to the delight of the overflow audience.
The musical numbers ranged from pop to standards to classical music, there were scenes from iconic Broadway plays and interpretations of original student poems, as well as an art gallery of interesting and evocative student work. Coordinated by Ms. Ruchie Winker and MCed by Ms. Shelley Kaplowitz, this was an evening Flatbush will long remember—certainly at least until the 6th Annual edition, next year.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The 2015 Flatbush Business Competition

On May 5th the Yeshivah of Flatbush Business Competition, and all the competitors went to the one of the biggest banks in the entire world, J.P. Morgan. After many months of hard and diligent work the contestants got to present their ideas to 5 Judges from J.P Morgan (3 of which are Flatbush Alumni).

The 4 Groups were: Brian Fuks with his idea “Time Charger,” a watch with a portable charger that can charge your phone. Next up was “Touch Security” by Abraham Goldman, Dylan Sutton, and Sam Beyda, a new way to lock your doors with your finger. After was Daphna Ben-Ari with her business, “Daphna Ben Ari New York,” a new shoe company that would compete with the likes of Manolo Blahnik, Brian Atwood, and Stuart Weitzman. Last but not least was “Rush Brush” by Sammy Burekhovich and Jason Dayan a company that wants to revolutionize the way Americans brush their teeth with their automatic toothbrush/retainer.
After arriving in Manhattan we turned the corner on 6th Ave and saw where we were going to be presenting. The building was huge, after walking in we were greeted by Vicki Shammah (Rabbi Beyda’s Sister) and taken to the 32nd Floor. We walked into the magnificent J.P. Morgan conference room and got to work. After, the contestants presented and the judges asked their extremely imperative questions, which would help further the contestants businesses, it was time to pick a winner. After 20 minutes of deliberation the judges had picked 2 winners. One award would be for the best presentation and the other for overall best business, which takes in to account idea, presentation, and execution. The award for best presentation was given to Rush Brush with their attention grabbing commercial and great conveyance of their idea. The award for best overall business was granted to Touch Security with their innovative and feasible business plan. ~Marvin Azrak

Next year we are hoping to get even more great ideas and business. If anyone has any questions feel free to contact Marvin Azrak at marvin_azrak117@flatbush.org.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Second Annual Wellness Tzei U'lemad Community Art Show

Thursday, April 30th, was the second annual Wellness Tzei U'lemad Community Art Show held at the Morris Franco Cancer Center celebrating the beauty of change, nature, community, and art. Students at the Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School under the guidance of Ms. Robinson worked with the Morris Franco Center to make this event possible.

Every year, every season, every day, and even every single moment - we experience change. Sometimes its so slight that we might not even realize it…a new leaf that grows on a tree, a raindrop that dropped on the hood of your car, a spider that spun its intricate web under the front stoop of your house.

And then other times, the change walks right up to us and smacks us in the face. Sometimes it's good change: the first warm breeze after a harsh winter, the golds, ambers and burgundies that magically paint our neighborhoods in fall, moving into a new house, getting a compliment from a classmate you’ve never spoken to, hearing good news from a Doctor, or getting married and moving to Israel. Change can be good and often times leaves our hearts swelled, in awe, and inspired.

And yet sometimes, the change is not so good: a fallen tree from a harsh storm, an earthquake that leaves an entire people shattered, a report card that puts your intended plans for your whole future at stake, or facing the threat of a new illness. Change can be hard and often times leaves our minds dejected, confused, and in pain.

And yet, what we come to realize is that our only real constant is change and how we can accept and react to it is under our control. At the Community Art Show, we celebrated two crucial tools in doing so: community and art.
The work we made, entitled “Turn, Turn” inspired by the lyrics from the Bird’s hit song in 1965, is a collaborative art work done by the center’s patients and my Wellness students that expresses just that: two communities who worked together to show that no matter what you are going through, there is a commonality that can be established using art as your guide.

Using our four seasons: summer, winter, spring, and fall, as the epitome of the change that we all experience, a few of the patients from the center and the students of Yeshivah of Flatbush came together at Yeshivah of Flatbush to discuss seasons. The workshop created an impetus to create one piece of art together that would represent all the seasons through the base of the stable tree in the middle.

The Students and the patients were then given the same materials, the same number of canvases to decorate, and the same couple of months to do create in their own spaces. Colors were assigned to each season to give the piece a sense of cohesiveness. But as you can tell, the freedom that each student and each patient had with each canvas was unbounded. As we decorated each canvas, without an idea of what the whole would look like (as is often the case with life), our artists listened to music, shared stories, and found a form of therapy and education through the artistic materials at their fingertips.

When the pieces were put together, Dayna and I stood back and tried to find the tree that would emerge from the canvases. While often hard to see at different angles, we think that this only rings true to the real power of the piece as well. Through all the change that life throws at us, if we focus in and really try to see the tree, you might just be able to. And yet, there will be times that you just cant, but the pure faith and belief that it is there will be enough to allow you to just enjoy its colors, the unity that was established through it, the support of everyone here, and lastly - the power and beauty of change.
~Ms. Robinson

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A New Direction for Boys Basketball at Flatbush

On a day with weather more suited to the football season than the baseball season, the Boys Basketball program took its first step into a new future when the new coaching staff for the 2015-16 season was introduced to the Flatbush basketball community. Michael Gurock and Augusto Kennedy met with the returning members of the boys basketball teams to share with the student-athletes their vision for the short-term and long-term future of the program, and to answer any questions they had about that vision and how the coaching staff plans to implement it.

Coach Gurock will take over as Head Coach of the Boys Basketball program, a position held for the past two seasons by Avi Borenstein. While the Flatbush Athletic and High School Administration is most appreciative of the work done by Coach Borenstein in advancing the program from what was in place prior to his arrival, it was felt that it was the right time to build on that success with a turn in a different direction. With that in mind, the returning players were introduced to Coach Gurock. Coach Gurock comes to Flatbush with a wealth of experience both in the day-to-day operations of Yeshiva League athletics as well as a history of working with yeshiva students in the summer camp setting.
Gurock, a graduate of the George Washington University (BA, 2005) and Northwestern University (MSA, 2011), developed his love for coaching basketball very early on as he saw his father serve as an assistant on the staff of long-time famed an respected Yeshiva University Head Men’s basketball Coach Johnny Halpert. Gurock continues to draw on his father’s experience and support as a source of strength and encouragement in his own development as a coach and mentor.

Gurock got his start in coaching under the tutelage of two past Flatbush Basketball coaches – both well-respected in their own right, Irv Bader and Mike Gelber, while at Camp Seneca Lake. After graduation from GWU, Gurock joined the athletic staff at Yeshiva University where he served as an assistant to the Athletic Director. While at YU, he helped to coordinate the day-to-day operations of all the school’s varsity athletic teams as well as oversight of the operation of the school’s prestigious Saracheck Tournament.

After working at YU, Gurock moved to Israel, where he volunteered at Bet Elazraki Children’s Home, both coaching and counselling the Home’s at-risk youth. Upon returning to the US, Gurock settled in Chicago, where he worked for the MLS’s Chicago Fire Soccer Club as part of their marketing and events team while completing his Master’s Degree at Northwestern.

Gurock now lives in New York, where he has been working at the Columbia/Barnard Hillel and at Covenant House At-Risk Homeless Shelter while completing work on another Master’s Degree (he will graduate this summer with a Masters in Social Work – MSW – from the Wurzewiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University). At the same time, Gurock has been a valued member of Head Coach Randy Dulny’s staff at Ramaz, where as a student he played basketball for all four years, serving as both Captain of the JV and later the Varsity squads. In addition to assisting Dulny with the Varsity, Gurock has been the lead coach for Ramaz’s JV, where he has steered the team to the MYHSAL playoffs the past two seasons.

Having spent many years with Michael Gurock, Ramaz Head Basketball Coach Randy Dulny had this to share about his protégé. “I have known Michael for a very long time,” noted Dulny. “He is a great young man; he played for me and he coached for me, and he is very passionate about what he does. He is like a son to me, and as much as he was a very hard worker as a player, he works even harder as a coach. While I am sad to see him leave Ramaz, I am very happy for him. You will not find a nicer or more dedicated person than Michael. Flatbush is getting a real mensch!”

Equally significant to his appointment as the new leader of the Boys Basketball program is Gurock’s appointment as the new Boys High School Physical Education teacher for the 2015-16 school year. He replaces long-time teacher Norman Sanders, who retired this past January after many years of devoted service to the students of the Yeshivah of Flatbush. Gurock will work alongside returning Physical Education teacher Mike Gelber, who has done an outstanding job this past year in implementing the new curriculum that stresses the academic aspect of physical training and performance. As noted previously, the two have worked together in the past as staff members at Seneca Lake.
Coaching alongside Gurock will be Augusto Kennedy. Coach Kennedy has served as an assistant to Coach Borenstein at Flatbush for the last two seasons, while also serving as the Head Coach for the Middle Division Falcons 6th Grade team (with former Falcon guard Joey Dayon as his assistant this past season, Coach Kennedy led this year’s 6th graders to a playoff berth, where they made a strong run, losing in the finals to a very powerful North Shore squad). He also apprenticed under the strong guidance of Flatbush’s 8th Grade Boys Head Coach Mike Gelber, serving as Gelber’s assistant during the 2013-14 season. Coach Kennedy will serve as the Assistant Coach for the Varsity, and he will step up and serve as the lead Coach for the Flatbush JV Boys team (Coach Gurock will assist on this level). Prior to coming to Flatbush, Coach Kennedy earned a wealth of experience as a member of talented and experienced collegiate coach Ronnie Ganulin’s staff at St. Francis College of Brooklyn. Kennedy, too, has also garnered knowledge while under the tutelage and guidance of former Falcon Head Coach Irv Bader for many summers as a member of his staff at Seneca Lake Camp.
“I am very excited about this new step for our Boys Basketball program,” noted Flatbush Athletic Director Eric Amkraut. “Coach Gurock brings a wealth of knowledge and a youthful exuberance to the position that I believe will inject our program with renewed energy. I am equally excited about the fact that as a member of our teaching staff, he will have contact with our basketball student-athletes on a daily basis, insuring that they are not only on target athletically, but also academically – which is even more important. With the coaching team of Michael Gurock and Gus Kennedy in place, I envision great things for the future of Flatbush Falcons Basketball!”

Nest Notes:
Though no longer with Flatbush, Avi Borenstein will still be on the sidelines in the MYHSAL, as he has been appointed to the position of Director of Basketball Operations for JEC in Elizabeth, NJ, where he will also serve as the program’s Head Coach. The Flatbush Athletic Staff wishes him only the best as he takes his talents back home to New Jersey (except, of course, when they face the Falcons on the court!).

Coaches Gurock and Kennedy have already begun open workouts for returning and hopeful players for the 2015-16 edition of the Flatbush Falcons High School Basketball teams. Please check with the Athletic Office or with the coaches for specific dates, sites and times for these sessions. Attendance is not mandatory, and it is only in preparation for tryouts slated for this coming August/September at the start of the 2015-16 school year.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Blood Drive: Spring 2015

Our latest biannual Blood Drive, held on April 21st, was a smashing success. We collected 194 pints of blood, which was the greatest we have done since 2009. That blood will go to impact the lives of upwards of 582 people.
Thank you for all those who came out to save lives and donate blood. Thank you to all the student commissioners who coordinated the whole event.