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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Senior Class Visits 9/11 Memorial: A Reflection

     Last week, our seniors took a trip to see the newly completed 9/11 memorial. The newly-opened Memorial is a powerful testament to the most significant world event in our lifetimes that took place just a short ride away from our homes.

      The program was a moving experience that strengthened the bonds between our students and united them as a senior class. Each student had an opportunity to connect with the event and the memorial itself in a special and personal way. Each senior was assigned a victim of the attacks on 9/11, and was asked to gather as much information as they could about the person. At the memorial, our students gathered in small groups and shared the information with other class members. Each student created a commemorative marking of the victim they researched.

      The program was extremely moving and special, and the Yeshivah of Flatbush Senior Class of 2012 is honored to have been able to visit and participate in honoring the memories of those lost on that fateful day.

Hebrew Play: Little Shop of Horrors

The Yeshivah of Flatbush High School celebrated this Chanukah with a special hebrew production of Little Shop of Horrors as well as a production from both our Choir and Orchestra. It was an experience enjoyed by the entire student body, the 8th grade from the YOF elementary school, as well as parents and colleagues who had the privilege of participating and attending the productions.

Special thanks to…

- Joey Mandil for volunteering countless hours to perfecting the details, large and small,
- Junior student Shelly Hafif, for costume design
- The students on the Audio-Visual crew for their efficiency and dedication,
- Rachel Bargad for the original script translation,
- James, Alex, Jean and the maintenance crew for building the set and adding their artistic visions to the art and woodwork.
- Mrs. Rachel Winkler
- And of course, Ms. Sally Shatzkes for her tireless dedication and professionalism to this production.

Member of Knesset Tzipi Hotovely visits Flatbush

It was an honor and a pleasure to welcome Member of Knesset Tzipi Hotovely to the Joel Braverman High School last week. A member of the Likud party and the youngest member of the Knesset (now 33 years old), she took time from a busy schedule to meet and speak with about 60 of our students from the Israel Awareness Commission, members of the administration and some faculty. She discussed what makes a good leader, seeking answers through Biblical models as well as modern day examples. She also discussed that for Israel to succeed, it needs to follow its vision, not bow to the will of the world. She stressed her view that all Jews, particularly Jewish youth, should be making aliyah now.

A doctoral candidate in Law, an orthodox woman serving as the Chairperson of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women, she proudly represents a fervent and unapologetic Zionist platform, firmly based on Jewish principles and values. MK Hotovely engaged the students and faculty in open and lively conversation, and was truly interested in what they had to say. In turn, for our students and faculty, it was an opportunity to meet a unique woman on the path of playing a significant role in Israel's future.  

MK Hotovely was in the United States as a guest of the Israel Independence Fund, and was accompanied on her NY visit by its Executive Director Aharon Pulver. Her visit to the High School was coordinated through Rabbi Nissim Elnacave, Jack Mann, Morris Benun, Abe Beyda and Solomon Bendayan. She also spoke over Shabbat at three community synagogues: Beth Torah, Sephardic Synagogue and Mikdash Eliyahu.

YOF Vice President Jack Mann, at whose home MK Hotovely had Shabbat dinner, commented, "She is fearless, honest and straightforward. Driven only by principle, she is not afraid to stand alone for what is right."

Monday, December 26, 2011

DNA Trip for AP Biology

Last week, our school's AP Biology classes participated in two trips to a DNA laboratory. Our students routinely participate in hands on lab experiences that both improve their knowledge of the curriculum, and allow them to successfully complete their curriculum in Advanced Placement (College Level) Biology.

On this trip, students visited a professional DNA lab to study restriction enzyme analysis and bacterial transformation. Our students had the opportunity to use important biotechnology equipment, which gave them hands on experience with the tools used by professionals. 

Special thanks to teachers Dr. Fruchter and Rabbi Lubner for organizing this trip. A special thanks to Mrs. Zakay who joined as a second chaperon.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Last week, we sent a delegation of students to participate in an annual Panim El Panim seminar in Washington, D.C.

The seminar had approximately 120 students from 7 schools: Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns & Rockaway (NY); Akiva Hebrew Day School (MI); Hillel Community Day School (FL); Yeshivah of Flatbush (NY); North Shore Hebrew Academy (NY); Beth Tfiloh (MD); and the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School (NJ).

Our students were split into two groups which discussed different topics throughout the seminar. Some students chose to learn more about the U.S./Economy and Occupy movements, and some chose to discuss the Arab Spring and U.S./Israel policy.  In both cases, the students had opportunities to discuss policy with senate and house representatives, participate in service components and volunteer for charitable organizations as well as listen to experts debate the topics at hand.

Students on this trip had the opportunity to participate hands on  in research, lobbying and overall political activism and awareness.

Special thanks to Mrs. Marcus and Mr. Engel for chaperoning the trip.

Holding on While Letting Go- a Parent Choices Program

Last week, our Guidance department, along with our Parent Choices Commission, set up a special program for high school seniors and their parents, titled "Holding On While Letting Go." 

The program provided an opportunity for parents to discuss with faculty and students what options are available to their children, and the role that they play as parents in guiding their children to make the right decisions. 

The program began with breakfast and a short orientation, and then continued with interactive discussions between students, parents and faculty about the various challenges and options  that arise once a student reaches the end of their high school career. 

SGC Berachot Raffle Winner

Congratulations to Michelle Sabbagh, winner of the iPad2 raffle conducted by our Spiritual Growth Commission as part of a Berachot Contest!

Junior Seminar

Our Juniors had a blast over the weekend last week at our annual Junior Seminar weekend retreat. On this Shabbaton we explored the important theme of responsibility. We discussed issues concerning responsibility while driving, responsibility in relationships with family and friends, and the responsibility in the relationship with Hashem.

Our students enjoyed sessions, games, singing, and special rikudim (singing and dancing) with children from the Special Children's Center, which added to the spiritually uplifting and educational weekend.

Special thanks to Rabbi Besser for orchestrating this exceptional weekend!


We are collecting all types of canned food for the SBH food pantry. The drive is being held on Rosh Chodesh Tevet:  Tuesday, December 27th/1 Tevet. Please bring in cans. We need all the cans we can get!! Please join in and help out!

Thank you,

Friday, December 23, 2011

Senior Chanukah Party!

On Wednesday December 21, the Senior Council put together a Chanukah program for the 12th grade. The evening began with mincha and arbit, and continued with wonderful entertainment, a Dvar Torah and dinner. Featured performers: Rabbi Beyda, Rabbi Benlulu, Joseph Khezrie, Ezra Hochman and Steven Burekhovitch wowed the crowd with their own version of Adam Sandler's Hanukkah song. All of the seniors were assigned "secret Maccabees" for whom they bought a small gift. The gifts were exchanged over a Pizza Time dinner, sponsored by our Senior Council,  that everyone enjoyed. The program was a big success!!

Special thanks to our wonderful band who provided excellent entertainment:
Ariell Bitton - guitar 
Solly Spigel- drums
Steven Burekhovich- bass
Akiva Abromowitz-  vocals

Special thanks to our Senior Council and Rabbi Beyda
Batya Abadie, President
Herbie Missry, Vice President
Richie Mishaan, Secretary
Iris Senior, Treasurer

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cooking For a Cause: Round Four

Cheese Sambusak
Wednesday night was our fourth Cooking for a Cause event, run by our Helping the Hungry commission. The commission cooks for the needy in our community on Wednesday nights, after school. This week our students learned how to make cheese sambusak. Students learn to prepare a variety of entrees, dinners, and desserts while participating. All of the food prepared in these events are sent to needy families who can then enjoy delicious homemade dinners. For more information about this commission, read this previous post: 
We would like to thank our master chef: Jaime Shamosh.

Here is the cheese sambusak recipe that Jaime Shamosh shared with us from her grandmother Mary Esses:

2 glasses flour sifted
1 glass smead
3 sticks butter melted
1 tablespoon salt
Splash of oil
1/2 glass water
8 handful of cheese grated
2 eggs
Sesame seeds

To make the dough: Mix the dry ingredients in a Cuisinart and then slowly add butter, water,and oil.
To make cheese filling: Mike eggs with grated cheese.
Form dough balls with the dough, and cheese balls with the cheese filling.
Take dough ball and dip it into sesame seeds then press it in the tortilla press to make it flat.
Add cheese ball to center of dough and then pinch to close.
Freeze or bake.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chesed Mission Race 2011

For more information about or to donate to the Chesed Mission please contact Rabbi Besser at 1-718-377-1100 ext.175

Friday, December 16, 2011

Special AIPAC Mention

Our students are very involved with AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and recently hosted our second annual AIPAC Symposium for students from different schools across the tri-state area. We thank all the members of the Israel Awareness Commission who made the symposium a very successful event. We are proud to say that AIPAC has recognized their efforts in their most recent Publication: the High School Activist.

Here is an excerpt from the article:
          AIPAC-trained students at Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School in BrooklynNY organized an intensive, 4-hour political leadership seminar, which was attended by more than 150 students from eight Jewish high schools in theNew York tri-state area.
         AIPAC Early Engagement Director Eric Gallagher, AIPAC Senior National Field Organizer Michael Citron, and AIPAC-trained activist Joey Cohen-Saban led sessions focusing on current events in the Middle East, Capitol Hill, and how students can involve themselves in the American political process. As a result, students are already planning to engage their elected officials.
Eddie Esses, Commissioner, Israel Awareness Commission

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Torah To Go Series: Parashat Vayeshev & Chanukah

Sunday Morning Learning

Many Yeshivah of Flatbush students, parents, alumni, and faculty crowded into the school early this past Sunday morning for our Sunday Morning Learning program. Sunday Morning Learning is an extracurricular Torah learning program that is held once a month. The program starts off with Tefilah at 9:00 am followed by a delicious breakfast. After breakfast, students gather in Chavrutot to study the sources that will be discussed in a shiur that follows. The shiur is an exciting lesson given by a member of the Flatbush faculty. The most recent shiur was given to us by Ms. Julie Anzaroot, one of our beloved teachers. Her shiur was inspiring and interesting. This week's Program was dedicated in memory of Taly Greenfeld Cohen & Daniel Chernikoff by the Hanon family.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Rikudiah Dance Competition

On Saturday night, December 3rd, the Yeshivah of Flatbush dance team competed in Hillel Yeshiva’s Rikudiah Dance Competition. Hillel, Magen David, Illan, Shulamith, Kushner, Frisch, and the Yeshivah of Flatbush competed in this Rikudiah, and Flatbush proudly placed second. Captains Barbara Dayan and Kimi Hamadani and the rest of the team organized practices Tuesday and Thursday nights as well as Sundays. Sheri Torgueman and Barbara Dayan choreographed the team’s four-minute dance that performed at Hillel Yeshiva. The dance ranged from lyrical and hip-hop to Kimi Hamadani’s tap dancing. In placing second, the team was awarded a sum of money to donate to the charity of their choice. Since the competition was held in Hillel, the team decided to give the money to the Jherin Gorcey A”H Foundation which is raising money for a Mikveh and a girls’ Bet Midrash in Eatontown; Jherin Gorcey A”H was a Hillel High School student who passed away last year. The Yeshivah of Flatbush dance team will be hosting its own second annual dance competition on March 18th in the Yeshivah. We hope that all girls and women will come to this event to support Flatbush.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Torah To Go Series: Parashat Vayishlach

Cooking for a Cause: Round Three

Wednesday night was our third Cooking for a Cause event, run by our Helping the Hungry commission. The commission cooks for the needy in our community on Wednesday nights, after school. Students learn to prepare a variety of entrees, dinners, and desserts while participating. All of the food prepared in these events are sent to needy families who can then enjoy delicious homemade dinners. For more information about this commission, read this previous post: We would like to thank our master chef Robyn Dweck assisted by Lisa Klein.
Students made over 45 hearty vegetable casseroles!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

YU/Stern Trip

Today, our Juniors had the opportunity to visit YU and Stern. The students enjoyed a shiur, a tour of the facilities and much more. The program was a joint venture between our Spiritual Growth Commission and College Guidance. The students had an opportunity to experience a Jewish college lifestyle, including chavrutah shiurs and interacting with YU/Stern Fellowship students.

Battle of the Bands

In the spirit of the upcoming Chanukah holiday, the Joel Braverman High School's SGO, with the help of faculty adviser Ms. Rina Zerykier, organized their second annual interschool Battle of the Bands. Kushner, SAR and Flatbush students performed a Hebrew and an English song in celebration of Chanukah. Kushner sang the hit song Paradise by Coldplay and Elijah Hanavi, while SAR sang Miami 2017 by Billy Joel and Ahavat Yisroel. Flatbush sang Yellow by Coldplay and then Salam as their Hebrew song. Each school put on a great show and the enthusiastic audience enjoyed singing along with the bands. We were privileged to have Flatbush alumni Jack Mizrahi, Rena Nasser and the hit band RJ2 participate and judge the performance. All the groups were excellent, but in the end, SAR won the battle.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hausdorff Tournament

On December 1st-4th, the 16th annual Thomas Hausdorff Memorial Basketball Tournament and Shabbaton honoring our late principal was held in our school. Players from three yeshivah high schools joined our Junior Varsity for the tournament: Akiva from Detroit, Cooper from Memphis, and Kushner from New Jersey. The tournament began Thursday with a wonderful Yachad program and continued throughout the weekend with exciting basketball games, a meaningful Shabbaton and an inspiring closing ceremony. We want to thank all the families who opened their homes to our guests, especially Steve & Michelle Sasson, who organized a beautiful Oneg Shabbat Friday night program with divrei Torah and zemirot; Eric & Suzanne Sasson, who enhanced our Shabbat afternoon with good company and sweet delights; and Steven & Amy Sasson, whose special touch at Seudah Shlisheet made everyone feel like family. Mr. Mike Gelber, Ms. Rebecca Silberman and Rabbi Naftali Besser coordinated the event. Special congratulations go to our great junior varsity team for bringing home the championship trophy.