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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

New Orleans Chesed Trip 2018/5778: Day 2

Today we woke up early in the morning to get ready for another great day of Chesed in New Orleans. We volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to help build a house. Habitat for Humanity partners with future and current homeowners to build simple, decent, and affordable housing for low to very low-income families. Volunteers and future homeowners work together in the building process. 
We installed termite shields, carried countless blocks of wood, hit wood with a sledgehammer, and nailed wood beams together. We were volunteering until 4:30 PM, which gave every student an opportunity to help out. We then proceeded to the hotel to get ready for our events at night. We had dinner at Kosher Cajun, where we were stuffed with amazing food. 
We then went to a New Orleans Pelicans basketball game in which we got free bobble heads, took pictures on the court, and even made it on the big screen! The Pelicans won, which was also a plus. We then ended off the night with carpool karaoke playing all of our favorite songs on the ride back. We are ecstatic for what tomorrow holds. ~Mikey Darwish, Class of 2018

Sephardic Heritage Trip 2018/5778: Day 1

On Monday night, twenty six seniors took off for Spain, Morocco, and Gibraltar for the  Sephardic Heritage trip. After getting off the plane from New York to Spain, we went straight into touring.
Our first stop was the beautiful medieval city of Toledo. We took the one of the longest escalators in the world up to the old city where we visited the stunning El Transito Synagogue which was built by Shmuel Halevi in about 1356. Words of Tehillim are engraved all around the magnificent inlaid wood ceiling. We also saw medieval Jewish tombstones. 
Then we got to observe gold thread jewelry making before heading to see the awe-inspiring Santa Maria la Blanca Synagogue. This ancient synagogue was built in 1180 and reflects the local Muslim architecture. Though it’s currently owned by the church, it is considered to be the oldest shul in Europe still standing.
Then we went zip lining over the Tagus River at the entrance to the old city of Toledo.
We then went to Madrid and saw the Plaza Mayor, the site of many auto da fes where victims of the inquisition were burned alive. We said a chapter of Tehillim in the memory of the Jews killed there.
Our last stop was Pinati Madrid - a kosher restaurant where we had a delicious dinner! After such a long day we were very happy to check into the beautiful Novotel Madrid for the night.

Heritage Trip to Poland 2018/5778: Day 1 & 2

On Saturday night thirty one seniors and four faculty members embarked on our annual Senior Heritage to Poland. After a stop over in London, where we got to see Buckingham Palace, we landed in Warsaw. 
We visited the Warsaw cemetery where we met up with the Polish Bridge of Youth participants, a Polish public school teacher and two of her students. We saw the grave of י ל פרץ and the mass grave for Jews who couldn't be given a full Jewish burial and funeral. From there we traveled to the Warsaw Ghetto and saw the monument built in commemoration of the Jews who fought, ran, and perished. 
After the ghetto, we parted from our Polish friends and made our way to Treblinka, a death camp that focused on murdering Polish Jews. At the camp, Yeahivah of Flatbush students involved with the Bridge of Youth program added their stones to an existing memorial, started by the Polish students, in memory of the 1.5 million children who died in the Holocaust. 
The following day, we traveled to Lublin where we visited Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin established by Rav Meir Shapiro. There we learned a piece from דף יומי and then made our way to Majdanek.

New Orleans Chesed Trip 2018/5778: Day 1

On Monday, thirteen seniors along with Mr. Galpert and Ms. Dweck embarked on the first ever Chesed Trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. The first day of the trip started off great! After a Delta flight full of turbulence and backgammon, we landed safely at MSY.
First we met with Rabbi Ethan “Earl” Katz, who took us for kosher beignets at Café du Monde. The soft fried dough and powdered sugar topping welcomed us warmly to the South.
After a stop off at the hotel, we were on our way to Project Green Light. Green Light New Orleans invests energy in people by assisting New Orleans residents in person, one household at a time by installing free energy efficient light bulbs in people's homes. We went to woman's house and changed all of her lightbulbs from incandescent bulbs to eco-friendly bulbs, saving her over $1000 annually.
Next we took a tour of the parts of the city hurt most by Hurricane Katrina, including the Lower 9th Ward and the Jewish Cemetery. We were moved by the burial places assigned to the Torah scrolls and other holy books that were destroyed by the flood waters.
For dinner we were surprised to find Kibbeh and meat cigars at Casablanca restaurant.
For the last scheduled event, we watched a traditional jazz concert at Preservation Hall in the French Quarter. The music was great and the lively spirit was even better. We wrapped up the night with an eventful trip to Walmart. Can’t wait for day two!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Model Congress Team Wins Medals at Yeshiva League Model Congress

Congratulations to the Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School Model Congress team for their performance at HAFTR's "Yeshiva League Model Congress" tournament on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 / 19 Adar 5778! In a competition featuring hundreds of students from over a dozen yeshivah high schools in mock congressional committees, presenting and debating original legislation designed to make real changes in United States law. Jordan Senior, Robert Adler, and Michael Oved all won medals in their committees, while Netanel BenShabat and Mazal Zebak also competed admirably. We look forward to further successes for this program in the future!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Masterpiece Goes to Anastasia

Last Tuesday night our Masterpiece Theater group ventured into the heart of communist Russia (and Broadway) to see the musical Anastasia. From the opening songs we sat mystified and mesmerized at the stage, awaiting patiently the next scenes. Throughout the show, we were sitting at the edge of our seats, sad to see it end. After the show, the masterpiece group was so excited that they opted to stay afterwards for a Q&A session, where our group was able to ask actors, musicians, and stage directors questions about their performances. Everyone left the show with a new appreciation for the wonders of Broadway, and the great joys that the humanities can bring one's self. ~Robert Adler, class of 2019

Friday, March 2, 2018

The Phoenix 2017-2018 Issue 5: Purim Edition

Color War 2018: Breakout

What do we mean when we refer to the “I” when we make claims about ourselves? Not to sound cliche but the concept of personal identity has baffled philosophers for centuries. What is it about us that endures over time? Who are we as people?

Once we are able to figure out who we are and where we come from, really deep down, we can become happier, grateful, motivated and successful people.

This is the overall theme we are exploring this year for color war. It is easy to quantify ourselves physically, or connect ourselves to a greater cause, but in reality, we are a combination of these things. Our gratitude, confidence, heritage and motivation is what sits deep within us and drives us to be the best that we can in all that we can.

It is both the things that we recognize and the things that we take for granted that, when combined, make up the core of our identity.

We hope that you explore what makes you work, what makes you strive, what makes you succeed. But more importantly, we hope that in participating in this program you get a better sense of who you are, and why you are you.

This year's color war focuses on the theme of Personal Identity. Each team represents a different way of representing this:
Red: Motivation - מוטיבציה
Blue: Heritage - מסורת
Green: Gratitude - הכרת תודה
Yellow: Confidence - בטחון עצמי

We broke out Color War 2018 with this amazing video:

Thursday, February 8, 2018

College Bowl Competes at SAR

Our intrepid College Bowl team displayed their intellectual acumen and quick wits on Monday, February 5, as they squared off against the other schools in our division of the Yeshiva League. The varsity team, with Captain Danielle Duchan at the helm, enjoyed themselves immensely as they repeatedly fielded challenging questions ranging from current events and politics to the intricacies of science, literature, history and math. They went on to triumphantly win three out of four games, maintaining their position as number one in the division. Coach Rachail Kurtz watched with pride as the Junior Varsity team, with rising skills and confidence had their first taste of success at the games. As the JV team continues honing their knowledge and skills, they are sure to rise in the standings. Congratulations to the College Bowl team for a job well done!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Electives Fair 2018

On Wednesday, January 31st, all sophomores and juniors were given an unparalleled opportunity to learn about the elective classes offered to them for next year. At a fair during lunch, teachers and current students in the classes were present to describe the courses and answer questions.
Students shopped around at different booths, organized by department, learning about their class options. The room was abuzz with intense discussion among students and teachers alike, and the students are now well prepared for their meetings with College Guidance to design their individualized schedule for next year.

Electives Fair 2018