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Monday, October 16, 2017

Falcon Rides High, Represents Flatbush in Regional Surfing Championships


Sophomore, Joe Tawil, on left
When you think of athletic teams for city schools, surfing is not among the first sports that comes to mind. But for one Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School student-athlete, that is right where he feels most at home. So, when the Northeast Regional Surfing Championships were announced and slated for the nearby New Jersey shore, he reached out for the opportunity, took to the waves on Sunday, 10/15, just off the beach at the North End Pavilion of Spring Lake, NJ – and did not disappoint.

Sophomore Joe Tawil has been surfing for much of his life, spending many hours riding the waves on the shores close to Deal, NJ as well as at nearby Rockaway Beach, not far from his home in Brooklyn. When he learned that there are competitions for high school students, he was eager to test himself against some of the area’s best.
The National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) is the highest profile amateur competitive surfing association in the United States. The NSSA promotes the qualities of discipline and competitive excellence while supporting the merits of academic achievement to young surfers. The Northeast Region pooled student-athletes from a variety of schools in the New York/New Jersey area, ranging from public to prep to parochial schools (Flatbush would be considered part of the latter group).

Tawil opened the day surfing in men’s heat number 23 (out of 28). Each heat consisted of 6 surfers from different schools, with each one providing its group of surfers 15 minutes to catch as many waves as possible in an effort to show their skills to the judges. After waiting what seemed like an eternity, Tawil, in his orange competition jersey over his wetsuit, paddled out with his competitors from schools such as Shore Regional, Rumson-Fair Haven, Holy Spirit, Morristown-Beard and Wall Township to catch his first wave. By the end of the heat, Tawil had impressed the judges, advancing to the next round!
Tawil continued to shine, moving out of the second round and qualifying for the third. At that point, he ended his day, having left his mark on the competition. “It was an amazing experience,” reflected Tawil after the competition was over. It could have been an intimidating atmosphere, what with the majority of the other schools being represented by a large number of surfers, with lots of supporters and team tents on hand. But Tawil was able to block out the distractions and just compete. “For me, surfing has always been about finding a zone of peace and serenity, finding solace on the water. This was different in that there was pressure to perform for others’ view. But, I liked it; I am happy with how I surfed and am looking forward to my next chance to compete.”

It was also great to hear the name of the school – “Yeshivah of Flatbush” – ring out across the beachhead as Tawil advanced in the competition. How about that?!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Teshuvah Assembly 5778

On the Thursday before Yom Kippur, Rabbi Benzion Klatzko addressed the Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School student body and faculty for our annual Teshuvah Assembly. Rabbi Klatzko arranges over 300 Shabbat meals a week for people who need it. He also created a website, Shabbat.com, which connects over 10,000 Jews over 144 countries He also discussed how we have to prioritize our responsibilities- as a student, teacher, father, mother, son, daughter, Jew, athlete, musician, writer, etc. and know which "hat" sits on top. As a result of his talk, I'm going to try and pay more attention to who I am, and what I can do for everyone else around me, while also looking after myself. One thing he said caught my attention the most: "each one of you could have a kid that would say 'because my parent is brave and strong, it made an impact on everyone and everyone is a better person because of my parent." We have to realize what we say and what we do, and appreciate everything around us. In order to do that, we must know who we are. I'm thankful for the message that Rabbi Klatzko left us, because now I feel I will be more observant of what I do and how I act around others.
~Ronnie Menashe, Class of 2018

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Israel Institute Newsletter Volume 1: Issue 1

A new initiative at Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School called the Israel Institute, headed by Mr. Rothbort, streamlines all of our school’s Israel-related programs under one umbrella. The Israel Institute includes the Israel Activism commission, Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut programming, AIPAC lobbying, and Israel guidance. The idea is for these clubs and events to become more open to our student body and to the community as a whole. Mr. Rothbort said his goal is to promote the Yeshivah’s and community’s modern Orthodox Zionistic values.

Israel Institute Newsletter will be published 4 times a year and contain a section highlighting a historical event relating to Israel, a recommended reading section and political cartoon. Page 2 will include a map of Israel and will highlight 4 -5 news story impacting Israeli society.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Class of 2018 Visit National 9/11 Memorial and Museum

This week the Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School senior class of 2018 took an inspiring trip to the city to visit the National  9/11 Memorial and Museum where we learned and saw many things from before, during, and after the September 11, 2001 attack.

The visit started off with a short film in which three major world leaders, during the time of 9/11, spoke about how it affected not only the United States, but the entire world. It showed how the whole world banded together to help the United States through their time of distress. Then, we walked around the museum portion of the memorial and saw countless videos, heard many stories and voicemails left to the victims, and by the victims, and read many articles about 9/11. We saw many artifacts and objects, ranging from destroyed firetrucks to articles of clothing from the victims from the historic day. There were videos of news reports from before the attack, speaking of the weather and normal daily things and suddenly stopping everything to cover the story of the world trade centers. There were tickets for games that were supposed to occur, train tickets, and many other artifacts from that day. There was also background information on Al Qaeda: who they were and what they did. Lastly, there was an explanation of the effects that 9/11 had on the world.
This visit to the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum was truly inspiring, touching, and informative to all of the seniors. We were all only a year old when the attack happened, and we didn’t really know the degree of the effects, and how traumatizing it was to the United States. We hear stories about 9/11 all the time, but seeing the videos and reading the articles really made us feel like the event wasn't so historic as we may have thought, and that it had a huge impact on Americans and American society.

We then went outside to the memorial pools that have been constructed where the two twin towers actually stood. The memorial was very impactful. The constant stream of water surrounded by all the names of the people who died had so much symbolism for me.
One thing we took away from the traumatic day was how beautiful the weather was and how people thought the day was going to be like any other normal day in the year. The attack was so unexpected, and nobody was prepared for it. Its incredible how the world can change in a matter of seconds. After experiencing the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum we feel more connected to the history of 9/11 and the effects it had on the world.
~Sophia Sued, Class of 2018

Class of 2018 Visit to National 9/11 Memorial and Museum

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Pathfinders Update: Summer Research

Claire Lessler presenting her research

I interned i​​n a bioinformatics lab, the Michael Berger Lab, under the mentorship of a postdoc. Over the course of the summer, I worked on my own project, which I presented to my lab and to Sloan Kettering Cancer Center researchers at the end of the summer. 

The lab I worked for coordinates a large-scale initiative called MSK-IMPAC, in which cancer patients receive clinical genetic sequencing and are then enrolled in clinical trials targeting their specific genomic alterations. One of the main issues with our method is that it is extremely difficult to analyze its effectiveness; the analysis was done once, manually, in September 2016. I created an algorithm called C-TEAM that can conduct the analysis automatically. I then ran current data through C-TEAM and compared current results to those from September 2016 in order to analyze the improvement of IMPACT over time.

I had an amazing time, and I met tons of new and interesting people. I don't think I could have gotten this experience anywhere else. Thank you for the Pathfinders program for helping achive this opportunity.
~Claire Lessler​, Class of 2018


I have learned so much from my experience this summer at The Albert Nerken School of Engineering at the Cooper Union. We have isolated plasmids and transformed different strains of bacteria to produce beta carotene. We did this using various techniques we learned about in AP Biology. We have done DNA purification, cloning using PCR, and followed countless other protocols with the guidance of our teaching assistants.

From the start of this program we have been learning what conducting an experiment is all about. We have been trained to identify a problem and search for possible solutions. We all had to come up with experimental designs in detail that we can conduct to reach our final goal of creating a cricket that is high in vitamin A. We did background research and dissected crickets twice! I have plated bacteria and grown cultures! I have been able to experience how a lab truly functions. I have had the opportunity to do amazing work all because of the Pathfinders program!
~Barbara Chrem, Class of 2018

The Phoenix 2017-2018 Issue 1

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Commission Fair 2017!

 From Girls Who Code, to Mishmar, to the Chess team - there are so many ways for Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School students of all grades to take on new opportunities.Yesterday a successful commission fair helped all students, whether they are a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior- find new and exciting clubs to get involved in! There was also cotton candy and popcorn for all to enjoy.
The annual SGO Commission Fair was a fun and efficient way to help students discover new activities they’re interested in. Each commissioner had a booth with a display, explaining what their club was, what their purpose was, and why you should join. Next step would be determining if you’re interested- and if you were, you’d sign up. Everyone had a fun time signing up for their favorite activities and clubs- especially the incoming freshmen. Tons and tons of freshmen had each signed up for more than five clubs to see what activities they were intrigued by.

It was exciting for each leader of each club to see so many people take concern and interest in their own clubs, because by the end of the commission fair- almost each sign up sheet for every activity was completely filled!
“The commission fair was a great opportunity to recruit more writers,” says senior Sharon Chappan, commissioner of the school blog, MyFlatbushLife. “It was a great way to recruit new freshmen that enjoyed writing, as well as anyone else in the school that would’ve liked to join,” she says. And for for teachers and principals, it was great for them to see all the happy faces of the new freshmen that looked so eager to sign up for everything.
Another great thing the commission fair had, other than so many students wanting to get involved, is also the fact that there are clubs for EVERYONE to join! There are clubs for so many different hobbies and talents. If students are interested in the culinary arts- there’s Cooking For a Cause. If students were to be interested in writing- there’s the school newspaper (aka ‘The Phoenix’). If one was interested in working with children with disabilities, there’s the Yachad and Ohel Programs commission.

Thank you to the SGO and Ms. Marcus for organizing this special event. Everyone’s excited and ready to get involved, and there are so many different clubs and activities for everyone to sign up for- can’t wait to choose some!
~Eva Cohen, Class of 2021

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

It's a "Brand New" Year - Shana Tova 5778!

Pathfinders Update: Summer learning about Law and Medicine

I had amazing time this summer learning more about a career in law through the Yeshivah of Flatbush Pathfinders Program. I interned for Mark Salem at the law firm, Salem and Shimko in Brooklyn. I gained so much from my experience there. It taught me what a day in the life of a lawyer can look like. In addition, I was able to learn a lot about our US law. I did administrative work, read and researched old cases, and even sifted through discovery. It was really an amazing opportunity.
~Jared Sutton, Class of 2019


This summer I interned for Dr. Richard Grazi, a fertility doctor, in his office in Brooklyn. I worked on a research project with a resident and did some patient data compilation. I also sat in the back of his office and listened in on consults while he met with his patients. I even got to come into exam rooms and observe procedures like embryo transplants. It was an amazing experience to work there and I learned so much from being there for just a few weeks. Thank you Pathfinders for this opportunity.
~Lena Shamah, Class of 2018