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Friday, February 17, 2017

Freshmen Learn To Code

Students growing up in a digital age must have a grounding in technology that informs their 21st century lives and careers. To meet this need, the Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School has offered electives in engineering, coding, and robotics, entrepreneurial clubs and internship opportunities. Student have visited a variety of tech companies in New York through our Pathfinders Program and have had three exciting STEM & Entrepreneurial trips to Israel over the last few years. This year, we established our first two Robotics teams; they have successfully competed in two city-wide competitions, with a third meet this Sunday.

Last Friday, we began an exciting new high school initiative, Freshman Coding Day, immersing all ninth graders in a one day technology boot-camp. Experienced coding teachers introduced them to the fundamentals of code. Students worked with iPads to program familiar games such as Minecraft with “drag & drop” block code on and Tynker. They also learned about writing programs using the Make Schools website. The boot-camp expanded on understandings of the Internet, the background that led to today's technology, and insights into the big tech companies such as Google and Yahoo.
Jack Hidary (HS '86), Senior Advisor, Google X Labs and Chairman of the Hidary Foundation and Joe Tricot (HS '13), Program Director of the Hidary Foundation, helped organize and implement this unique educational event. Mr. Hidary spoke to the students about the critical importance of coding skills in their future education and careers. He also encouraged them to find tech internships and to register for summer programs, such as Code Academy boot-camps that he plans on establishing in Brooklyn and Deal.

The freshmen responded enthusiastically to their Coding Day. Both boys and girls were energized and inspired by what they learned. In fact, many of them noted that they are now considering careers in the field. Next Friday, we will have a Junior Coding day designed for novice and veteran coders in the 11th grade. This event is part of our continuing commitment to prepare our students for success in the ever advancing digital world.

Picture Gallery:
Freshman Coding Bootcamp 2017

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Flatbush Students Collaborate on Women's Art program at the Morris I. Franco Cancer Center

On Tuesday, February 7th, a group of Yeshivah of Flatbush 11th and 12th grade girls, led by guidance counselor/art therapist Ms. Eva Dayan, visited the Morris I. Franco Cancer Center to collaborate on an art project with women who are fighting cancer. After touring the facility, the girls met with center's clients and the center's art therapist, Ms. Dayna Weiner. Flatbush students and the Center's clients played ice breaker games, discussed the art project and worked on individual creative designs using felt pieces that became part of a larger tapestry. The tapestry project will be presented at the Cancer Center's annual art show in May. ~Naomi Sanders, Class of 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

College Bowl Team Competes in Westchester

Last week the Yeshivah of Flatbush college bowl team met in Westchester, where our team played against 6 other schools. Our JV team is tied for second place so far, in the League, perfectly placed before we make our final surge at the next meet to hopefully head to the championships.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pathfinders Update: Students Get Realty Experience

Last Week, Yeshvah of Flatbush students visited Misrahi Realty on NYC's Lower East Side through our Pathfinders Program. The students met with head agent Joe Safdie, who taught them the ins and outs of becoming a real estate agent. 
After the discussion Joe took the group on a tour of two of his showings, one an apartment building and the other commercial building, rented by the food company By CHLOE. Joe shared details on both of the showings and explained to the group his role as an agent in maintaining the buildings. Students enjoyed the tour and were eager to ask questions. This trip was arranged by Nancy Mizrahi (HS 2015) and Florence Dweck (HS 2015).

Monday, February 13, 2017

Robotics Club Competes in FIRST Tech Challenge

The Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School's two Robotics teams recently competed in FIRST Tech Challenge, a region-wide robotics meet. Teams created their own robots which performed automated and driver-controlled tasks for the competition. The Robotics Club-Team Hidary, was led by STEM and Robotics teacher Mr. Shai Horowitz and Robotics Club coordinator Isaac Cohen (HS 2008). In their rookie year, the Flatbush teams finished with impressive rankings of 11th and 13th place out of 20 teams.

The Sunday event began with team check-in at 8 AM. The robots were judged on compliance with technical specifications and each team presented their engineering notebooks to a panel of judges. The excitement in the room was palpable as the various teams scrambled in the host school's lunchroom to make last minute adjustments and perform trial runs on the practice field.

From 10:30 to 2:30, the competition was on! Team members buzzed around the room with pliers and Allen wrenches to tighten screws and ran to and from outlets to recharge robot batteries to increase their chances of winning. Enthusiastic spectators and fans cheered on the teams. Each of the Flatbush teams won 2 out of 5 matches.

Returning to the Yeshivah, the teams began to prepare for the February 19 competition at the Dalton School. This event will be even larger, with 28 teams in the competition. With some experience under their belts, we hope to come home with top rankings!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Jimmy's Memorial Service

We are saddened by the loss of long-time member of the Flatbush Family, Sadettiin Yesilbayrak, known to all of us as "Jimmy." Below is video footage of the memorial service held shortly after his passing. We will always remember his love for and dedication to Flatbush. 


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Chesed Mission 2017/5777: Day 8

On the 8th and final day of Chesed Mission 2017 our group went to Special in Uniform, Assaf Harofeh Hospital, a last visit to the Kotel and Ben Yehuda Street. Through Special in Uniform Israelis with different disabilities are able to join the army and perform different jobs. People with disabilities have traditionally been rejected from the army, but Special in Uniform aims to change that. They believe that even with disabilities, these individuals are able to help defend their nation and thereby feeling like everyone else their age. The director of the program, Tiran Attia, spoke to us about his inspiration for starting this program. We then gave out gifts to all the soldiers. We spoke to them about what they do and how they enjoy being in the IDF. Just by looking at their smilies, it was very clear that these individuals are so proud and happy to be in the army.
After Special in Uniform we went to Assaf Harofeh Hospital, our last chesed stop of the trip. The staff greeted us with warm smiles and some baked goods. We then split up into groups, grabbed presents and headed into the hospital. We walked through the halls giving gifts to every child we saw. Hugging an Olaf doll one child beamed a huge smile saying thank you so much. The parents also expressed their gratitude, and really appreciated how we came all the way from NY to come visit their child. Some of us went to a different area where the children there were dealing with eating disorders. We sat and talked with them about what they like to do, about school, and about our every day lives. It was a great way to end our fun filled days of chesed. With our finals farewells to the children we headed to the Kotel where we would end the trip the way it began. 
When we arrived at the Kotel we were surprised to see a group a soldiers practicing for a ceremony they would have later that night. It was great to be by the Kotel with soldiers, the very people who enable us to be there, praying to G-D. Standing by the wall everyone felt the spirituality and reflected on our past week of chesed. As Rabbi Besser so eloquently explained our prayers were that much more meaningful, because now we could all connect the berachot to what we did the past week. For example while saying refaenu we all had the sick children, and people we encountered throughout the week in mind. It was an amazing way to cap off the week. We then headed to Ben Yehuda street for our last meal in Israel and some last minute souvenir shopping. During the bus rides many people got up to speak about their experiences and it was a great way to reflect on the week and connect on a greater level with each other. 

Finally, we headed back to the hotel for a final goodbye. We watched a great slideshow made by Victor Dweck, and sang our final kumzitz on Rabbi Besser's porch. Singing Hatikvah overlooking the beautiful view of Jerusalem was a great way to say goodbye to Israel and our unforgettable trip. We also want to thank Debbie Siman-Tov of Emunah or all her help, Shlomo the bus driver for taking us everywhere we needed to be safely, Zalman for always being there to give us some great insights during our bus rides, Victor Dweck for always being there to snap a pictures, Señora Shterenzer for helping chaperone the trip, Mr. Galpert for all his hard work and endless nights, Susan Franco for her tireless effort and work she puts into the Chesed Mission and finally we need to thank Rabbi Besser - Chesed Mission would not be Chesed Mission with out him. His never ending energy, love, and care he puts into this trip truly is inspiring to all of us. From the bottom of our hearts thank you! Goodbye from Israel! It's been an amazing and unforgettable trip! Till next year! 
~Suzy Mosseri and Sarah Sasson, Class of 2017

Photo Gallery:
Chesed Mission 2017/5777: Day 8

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Chesed Mission 2017/5777: Day 7

Today we started off the seventh day of chesed by going to the Emunah Day Care Center in Mevaseret Zion. The purpose of this center is to help absorb the Ethiopian children into Israeli society. We played with the children and blew bubbles with them. The children were so cute. I love that I didn't even need to go to one of the toddlers first, but rather this gorgeous girl came up to me with a smile, making me return the beautiful gesture. Playing, blowing bubbles, and laughing was just really nice. It was the perfect way to start off a day of happiness, blessings, and more appreciation.
After that we headed to Keren Or, a facility for special children who are physically disabled, mentally challenged, and also visually impaired. We had the opportunity to interact and dance with the children. This experience spoke out to me when I was leaving and went over to tell one of the individuals goodbye. He felt my hands and then gave me a hug. It was during those seconds of unconditional love that made me appreciate what I have. It's a feeling that feels so special inside my soul, where someone with disabilities just becomes a person with a heart so pure, and inspiring. 
We then went to package boxes of food for the needy. Packing hundreds of boxes was exhausting, but also fulfilling after seeing how many boxes we packaged. We packed dry goods, produce, dairy items, and even laundry supplies.
Following lunch we went to Tel Hashomer hospital to give out toys to sick children. It was a truly incredible experience. At first we gave children presents, and then went into a unit for teens who are undergoing treatment for eating disorders. I really enjoyed it and learned that what we do could have a tremendous impact. Specifically, there was one 18 year old girl whom I was talking to, and I asked if anyone explained why we're here- she said no. And so I explained to her in Rabbi Besser's words- that we're a group which came from America to Israel, during vacation, not with our families, to visit places. I expanded by talking about how we also want to come make people happy and wish everyone a refuah shelemah because we care. She looked at me in such awe, got up, and gave me a hug. It was seriously something else. I can't get over how happy it made her, what a smile she gave me, and how genuinely thankful she was. It was really an above and beyond experience. 
Our last stop was Emunah's Bet Elazraki Children's Home. This is a home for children who had to be removed from their homes for various reasons. We witnessed a performance by the choir and dancers of Bet Elazraki. We then enjoyed dinner and a dance party with all the children. Yehuda Kohn, the director of the home, explained how they define having parents as meaning that there is someone who cares for them and that's what this home provides for all the children. It was amazing to hear how children are held by the hand through everything. Yehuda explained that he salutes his "kids" in the army, he walks them down the aisle, and is a grandfather to their children. I found that to be so special and just loved dancing and singing together.
We ended the night with a kumzitz on the roof of the Inbal overlooking Jerusalem. Singing "Im Eshkachech Yerushalim" had so much more meaning while looking at the old city walls.
 ~Jacqueline Mizrachi, Class of 2018

Photo Gallery:
Chesed Mission 2017/5777: Day 7

Monday, January 23, 2017

Chesed Mission 2017/5777: Day 6

Today was the sixth day of Chesed Mission. A day that showed us that we should be thankful for those who do the most difficult jobs of all.
Our first stop on our quest for chesed was Aleh. Aleh is an organization that cares for children with severe mental and physical disabilities. Aleh helps these children overcome their challenges and achieve the highest quality of life as possible. They give them the opportunity to be like regular children by giving them the ability to climb on a jungle gym, splash in a pool, finger paint, dance, sing, and more.
What was incredible was that we were able to communicate with these children through our hearts. We learned that words and verbal expression aren't the only means of communication. The devotion and enthusiasm of Aleh's staff towards the children amazed us all. We were divided into groups of 10 and sent to separate classes. Each group was able to participate in the children's morning routine. Afterwards we all gathered in one room and danced and sang, it was truly beautiful.
Our next stop, was an army base. There we were able to learn more about their K-9 unit. We were fortunate to witness a black labrador's search for weaponry and a german shepard attack the arm of his trainer. This was of course all just a demonstration. They led us through the cages - some of us were frightened and some were in awe. Afterwards we had the opportunity to meet soldiers who were on the base and hear about their experiences. We are so thankful for these soldiers' bravery. The fact that they risk their lives everyday so that we can practice our religion freely and continue the legacy of our forefathers through the State of Israel.
Meshi was the next stop on our quest. Meshi is a rehabilition and educational center for children with disabilities. We adored the children's excitement and all around cuteness. We planted flowers with them for the next holiday which is Tu B'Shvat. We had an amazing time and their teachers were all helpful with translations and made the kids even happier.
After having a nice lunch at an outdoor mall nearby, we went to Susan's House (not Susan Franco like one might've thought). Susan's House is an organization that takes in troubled teens and gives them an alternate use of their time: to harvest their emotions into something positive like artwork and build up their self esteem. We were fortunate to witness the process in which the teens created glass and ceramic keychains, jewelry, bowls, and plates. Afterwards, we bought the beautiful crafts that these teens have created before our very eyes.
After a quick ice cream break and a well enjoyed nap-filled bus ride, we took our hearts and ourselves to support the largest fire house in Israel, located in Beit Shemesh. We learned more about the firefighters who protect Israel and about their essential role in preventing the recent fires nicknamed by the firefighters, "The Six Day War" from harming any lives. They gave us a tour of the station and we even tried on some of the very heavy gear. We were able to have a kumzits with the firemen and all sang our hearts out with a guitar player provided by Rivka from "״.תודה לצהל

Chesed Mission establishes the feeling of אחדות within each and every one of us. We're able to connect with all the wonderful individuals who we interact with. We stay and entertain for an hour or two, but the workers at Aleh and Meshi, the beautiful children they care for, the IDF soldiers, and the firemen of the Beit Shemesh station continue 365 days a year. They are the ones who do the most difficult jobs of all.
~Diana Hoffstein, Class of 2017 and Victoria Haddad, Class of 2018

Photo Gallery:
Chesed Mission 2017/5777: Day 6