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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Cultural Exchange With Israeli Students

Recently group of high school students from Israel, part of the Diller Teen Fellowship Program, visited Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School. The Israeli teens were able to learn about Flatbush and interact with some of our students. Some 11th and 12th grade Flatbush students took the Israelis out for lunch on the infamous Avenue J and showed them the ins and outs of our Flatbush lives. After returning from student favorites like Pizza Time, Baguette and Benny's, all the students returned to the school building to listen to Rabbi Beyda's farewell. And after many goodbyes and many, many pictures, the Flatbush family bid the Israelis a fond farewell and hoped they gained some positive memories from our experience together. It was truly an amazing day! ~Marlene Levy, Class of 2018

Witness Theater 2017 - Yom Hashoah 5777

At first, we were strangers. At first, we were nervous. At first there was so much unknown. At first, we tiptoed around each other, unsure of what to say. Unsure of HOW to say it. At first there were just so many “what ifs.”
So, for many weeks we took the time just to sit together, to eat together, and to laugh together. And slowly, our cautious tip toeing became the like the practiced steps of dancers. We began to finish each other’s sentences and to worry about each other’s health and to relish every moment we shared together. And it was then that we asked to open the pandora’s box of memories that had been sitting in the room from the moment we all entered – an invisible force that drove our relationships and our curiosity.
We were both hesitant and confident about opening this box together. We were barraged once again by the “what ifs” of opening the lid until we decided that the most frightening “what if” of all was the “what if we just leave it there as it is. What if we just turn and walk away?” So, we held hands, waited patiently, and assured each other that when things became too sad or too scary, we would be there with a comforting hug, a soothing smile, and a shoulder to lean on. THIS is human compassion and it defies age and bridges the decades between us.
As autumn shifted into winter and the stories kept pouring out we DID hear many things that made us cry and made us furious and made us speechless. But in the voices of our storytellers we also discovered that underneath all the evil they had endured was a profound and vital ability to hope. And we know now that it is that human ability to hope, which allows us to survive.
We will never forget the stories we heard and we will continue to encourage more to be told. And today we will bring a small handful of them to life in order to share them with you. Though for most of our cast this will be the very first time they perform on a stage, it is the respect and dedication that they have for each other, which allows them to perform so genuinely and with such love and care for those they portray. And in this way, we honor the notion that compassion and empathy are what binds us together as human beings and are the vehicle through which we learn how to turn the evils of the past into hope for our future.

Photo Gallery:
Witness Theater 2017-5777


Monday, April 24, 2017

Flatbush Students Compete in Math Majors of America Tournament for High Schools 2017

On Sunday, April 2nd, a high school mathematics competition was held at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The tests contained rigorous problem-solving questions which required serious concentration, even for the best of students. Six Jewish schools competed, among them being Frisch, Kushner, and our own Yeshivah of Flatbush. Six Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School students competed, mentored by Ms. Shulman, and coached by Dr. Goldberg: Moses Bakst, Joseph Braha, Avi Mikhli, Gregory Pinkhasov, Yaron Sternberg, and Joseph Sutton. As a school, Flatbush came in third place. In the mixer round, in which students from different schools are mixed on teams, four students placed top three. And finally, Yaron placed second out of 36 students individually. The competition was a fun test of ability, and it complemented a fun trip to Yale, in which we got a tour and a good sense of their Jewish life. ~ Joe Braha, Class of 2017

Friday, April 21, 2017

Flatbush Students Attend AIPAC Policy Conference 2017

Last month, students from the Yeshivah of Flatbush Israel Activism commission along with Rabbi Beyda attended the annual AIPAC Policy conference in Washington D.C. For two days the eleven students were given the opportunity to attend sessions with intelligent and well-known speakers, meet and collaborate with other Israel activists from around that country, and hear political celebrities in the general sessions. They learned about Israel’s political system, world relations, the US-Israel relationship, how to deal with BDS and other anti-zionist and anti-semitic movements, as well as many other things. The students met with teenagers such as themselves in high school and colleges from around the country to learn from each other how to be active about Israel on their own campuses and how to help in the continuous fight for peace in the Middle East. Max Shemtob, senior, said, “It was an educational and enlightening experience where we learned all about the different parts of Israel and met many influential people that could shape policy for years to come.”
Our students met famous Israeli Knesset members such as Amir Ohana, Mickey Levy, and Ayelet Shaked. They also met with Lior Raz, an Israel Activist famous for playing the role of Doron in Israeli TV show Fauda. They even got a chance to hear Mike Pence, Bibi Netanyahu and Nikki Haley. Our very own Israel Activism commissioner, Amanda Heskiel, even got to participate in a panel about High School Activism seen by hundreds of people! Amanda said, “It was an exhilarating feeling to be speaking in front of 1,100 people representing the school.” We are proud of how far she has come and how influential of an activist she is, along with her peers.
Overall, through sessions, collaborating with activists with similar interests, peacefully conversing with some protesters to get a feel for the other side, and gaining an overall understanding of the American-Israeli relationship positively impacted the students. We are now thinking about how we will bring what they learned and were inspired by to our Yeshivah. ~Ezra Faks, Class of 2019

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Junior, Sophomore and 8th Grade Students Participate in Coding Boot Camps

Yeshivah of Flatbush Freshmen, Juniors, Sophomores and, for the first time, with the assistance of the Middle Division administration, YOF 8th graders, have recently took part in coding boot camp days. These intro to coding boot camps were an invaluable experience for all who participated. Students learned coding in a fun and hands-on way, while gaining the understanding of how practical a skill it is. (Read about the freshmen boot camp HERE.)

The juniors' program, which was held on Friday, February 24th, began with introductory discussions and coding tasks in classes that were grouped by level. Mr. Horowitz, the high school technology and robotics teacher, formed an advanced class of juniors who have already taken a number of tech courses in school.
All classes were taught by recent graduates of 12 week coding boot camps, and who, like many of our students, started with no prior coding knowledge. Each student worked on solving puzzles on and on their iPads using Bluetooth keyboards donated by Sakar International for students to use in all three boot camps. Students were surprised at how much they can learn on their own using these online tools.

After the junior's morning session, students heard from Google Senior Advisor Jack Hidary (HS ’86) - who with the assistance of Joe Tricot (HS '13) brought the program to the school - as well as fashion writer Sophia Chabbott (ES ‘94). Mr. Hidary explained to students the importance of coding and tech in today’s job market. Ms. Chabbott, who was a senior editor at Glamour Magazine and now serves as Web Director for Women’s Wear Daily, discussed how almost all publications must maintain an online presence. She explained that by utilizing her technological familiarity on a daily basis she has found success in the fashion writing industry.
After hearing from the speakers, students regrouped in their classes and worked on a Code Academy web design activity. The students finished the day with a sense of accomplishment at how much they were able to create with just a few lessons in coding.

On Sunday, March 26th, sophomores and 8th graders were invited to join a special boot camp set for them, where students chose to spend their Sunday morning exploring these new skills with skilled and experienced teachers who are graduates from intensive boot camps. They experienced working with "block code" on and quickly transitioned to writing actual code on The students were extremely focused on learning all they could in this one session and therefore left enriched with real skills and the understanding that they too can become coders. One 8th grader was so excited at the end of the workshop that she shared with her teacher, Rabbi Yitzi Herzberg, "I really feel so smart now!"
We continue to bring to our students opportunities to learn coding, engineering and technology at the Yeshivah in order to prepare them for futures that demand these essential skills and knowledge. We look forward to offering more workshops and boot camps in the future to include the seniors and faculty in programs that will be designed especially for them.
Photo Gallery:
Juniors Learn to Code

Friday, April 7, 2017

Traveling Troupe Visits Seniors at Sephardic Community Center

As members of the traveling troupe, we represent Yeshivah of Flatbush by going to old age homes, and special organizations to perform for adults and children. The purpose of traveling troupe is to lift the spirits of people with music. Not only are we doing chesed but it gives us the opportunity to perform what we love in front of people. It's a perfect opportunity to express ourselves. By participating in the traveling troupe we learn to appreciate music in different lights, while doing a mitzvah at the same time. The students learn that chesed should be a part of our daily lives and that self expression is also a priority. This chesed opportunity provides a fun day for the people we perform for, and also the students as well.
On Purim we visited the Sephardic Community Center and performed for adults with Alzheimer's and other forms of memory loss. We had over 30 students that day and we were really able to lift the moods of these people with music. Each performer offered something different and the adults enjoyed clapping along or singing along with each song. There's a certain unexplainable feeling that comes along with providing happiness and excitement for somebody, even if it's just for a small amount of time. We're so lucky to be able to have this opportunity. We look forward to many more opportunities to do chesed while performing our favorite songs and doing what we love.

Photo Gallery: 
Travel Troupe #5 3/13/17

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Witness Theater Participants Visit Museum of Jewish Heritage

Yeshivah of Flatbush seniors and Holocaust survivors part of our Witness Theater program took part in an unforgettable trip to the Museum of Jewish Heritage. To walk through the exhibit, which depicts life before, during and after the Holocaust, with the survivors who actually lived through it, was both horrifying and inspiring. After so many months of hearing the survivors' stories, we were finally able to see so many of the things they have been speaking about. From the mundane objects of shtetl life to the giant swastika flags that hung at Nazi rallies, suddenly it all became even more real. For the adults this was not an easy trip. To walk through their own past was to relive so many deep memories and nightmares. But as they say every Wednesday, "if we don't speak about these things now, the past will be forgotten forever." The trip was not easy for the students either, as they have grown to love these adults and had a hard time seeing the graphic reality of what they had gone through. Many tears were shed, by both old and young. And yet, as we walked hand in hand through the halls of the exhibit and ended our tour with a clear view of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, we did not lose sight of the incredible support network that we have created amongst ourselves over the last few months. And despite the tragic reality of the past, the adults took comfort in knowing that because of Witness Theater, the stories will never be forgotten. And even more importantly, that their stories and legacies will move on into the future in the form of our incredible students who are sure to take this experience and make a positive difference in our future world.

College Bowl Team Competes in Semi-Finals

On Monday, March 20th, the Junior Varsity College Bowl Team traveled to Heschel High School to play a tie-breaker game with each school vying for the win and head off to the League Championship games. After a successful season of intensive practices with Coach Mrs. Rachail Kurtz, and competing in matches of fast moving academic knowledge and skill, with just three losses, the team, comprised of Juniors, Danielle Duchan, Moses Bakst and Gregory Pinkhasov, and Sophomores, Robert Adler, Aaron Fine, Selim Sabagh, and Joseph Sutton tied with Ramaz and Heschel for first place. They competed against Ramaz in a nail-biting tie-breaker game to win a spot in the final Championship games. Our JV team will play against the other top ranking schools in the Championship games, with the hopes of repeating or even besting last year's second-place finish. ~Danielle Duchan, Class of 2018

The Phoenix 2016-2017 Issue 7

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Flatbush Students Compete in HAFTR Model Congress 2017

Congratulations to the Yeshivah of Flatbush Model Congress team on their performance at HAFTR's "Yeshiva League Model Congress" competition. YLMC 2017 consisted of over 200 student delegates from many yeshivah high schools, who presented, debated, amended and ultimately, voted on original bill proposals, while they learned firsthand how the legislative process works.

Sophomore Robert Adler received an award for the second consecutive year and Jordan Senior was recognized with an award in his first year on the team. Other members included Team Captain Ben Wade, Moses Bakst, Netanel Ben-Shabat, Eli Feldman, Sarah Tessone, Joseph Edelheit, Jack H. Dweck and Joseph Ezon, who all performed at a high level. YLMC 2017 was an educational and enjoyable experience for all involved, and we look forward to future success in this program!