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Monday, December 31, 2012

Chesed Race: Goods & Services Auction 5773

As this year's Chesed Race (our annual tzedakah campaign to raise money for our annual Chesed Mission to Israel) started, the commissioners decided that this year we should encourage students to donate in a new and fun way. On Tuesday, December 25th the Tzedakah Commission along with Rabbi Besser ran a very successful Goods and Services Auction. A Chinese auction of fun and creative prizes. Some of our teachers donated free lunch, tutoring, ice skating or martial arts lessons. One of our very own teachers, Mr. Amzalag donated a round trip ticket to Florida! We also involved the Seniors of 2013 to join in on the fun by offering to take students out for a day, help with peer tutoring or sending gift cards. The students at the Yeshivah of Flatbush had a good laugh at some of the prizes and tried to win, all while doing a chesed by giving tzedakah to the poor of Eretz Yisrael.

The auction could not have taken place without the help of the many people: Victor Dweck, David Idy, Hannah Horowitz, Rabbi Besser and faculty advisor Señora Ovadia as well as the rest of the Tzedakah Commission. Be'ezrat Hashem we can continue collecting for our brothers and sisters in Israel and have another successful Chesed Mission.  ~Tsivia Ovadia, 4R

Friday, December 28, 2012

Biannual Blood Drive 2012

On Thursday, November 20th students, teachers, and volunteers crowded the gym for the Yeshivah's biannual blood drive. Twice a year a group of students, alongside Mr. Blumenthal, organize a blood drive to help save lives. Juniors and Seniors came in and out all day Thursday donating their blood. Over 130 students, faculty, and volunteers donated and the blood drive was a complete success. Thanks to all who donated and for any who didn't we will hold another blood drive next semester! Thanks to all those who helped organize the drive and special thanks to Mr. Blumenthal. It was amazing to see all of the students who were so dedicated and excited to donate their blood. Saving lives one day at a time! ~Emily Shrem, Senior, Blood Drive Committee

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Senior Seminar 2012

After Hurricane Sandy and the SATs it was finally time. The final days of Chanukah were coming and the seniors were finally ready for SEnior Seminar 2012. Seminar started on Thursday, when the seniors had the pleasure of hearing from Ricky Cohen, CEO of the Conway Organization. He spoke about finding your true potential. Each senior also received a copy of his new book: Risk To Succeed. The seniors then had the opportunity to hear a heartwarming message from Mrs. Zaltzman. On Friday, the seniors packed their bags and loaded the buses headed to Edison NJ for their final shabbaton together. After arriving at the Edison Hotel friday afternoon, the seniors unpacked and started off the weekend by learning how to cope and prepare for some of the challenges they will have in life after and even before they graduate. The entire weekend was based on Challenges. Teachers would discuss with the students about the challenges that come along with college, Hashem, relationships and more. They then brought in the Shabbat by singing and dancing and lighting the menorah. The food was great and after dinner and the sessions all the seniors stayed down for some Chulent and inspiring words at the tish. Many students spoke about their personal challenges throughout the weekend. On Saturday night the seniors played the Senior Showdown game ran by Eva Bernfeld. The showdown got everyone so pumped up for the rest of the night and got most people messy with fluff and oreos! THe finished the night with an amazing rikkudim and kumzitz. After many speeches, sessions, tears of joy and sadness, the seniors packed their bags to come back home. The weekend was truly amazing. The seniors spent their last seminar together as one, hand and hand, not wanting to leave. Thanks to all those who spoke and shared their personal stories with their friends and teachers. A special thank you to Rabbi Besser who made this entire weekend possible. ~Emily Shrem

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Girls Dance Team Wins Big!

Saturday night December 15, the last night of Chanukkah, was a night of nerves, excitement and victory for the Yeshivah of Flatbush girls dance team. The students competed at Hillel Yeshivah; participating teams were from Hillel, YUHSG, Ilan, Shulamith and SAR. The Flatbush Dance Team gave an invigorating and energetic performance. Their hard work, training and practices most definitely paid off when the team won first place. Not only did they win a title and a trophy, but also an amazing opportunity. This spring, the YOFHS dance team will be performing at Stern College in a special dance program that donates all money raised to tzedakah. The team is already preparing for it as well as the third annual Flatbush Dance Competition this March! We hope the team will blow it away once more with their talent and fresh dances. Good luck girls!  ~Kimi Hamadani, Girls Dance Team Captain

Monday, December 24, 2012

YOFHS Student Ponders Connecticut Tragedy

The horrific events in Connecticut have rocked our nation, causing all to reflect on what is important and precious in life. Our students' well being - physical and emotional - has been uppermost in the minds of YOF faculty, staff and administration. Parents have received updates detailing our school's responses in helping our children cope with the news and our ongoing steps to maintain the utmost measures of preparedness and security on our campuses.

This week, our SGO president, Michelle Sabbagh, shared her thoughts about the tragedy with her classmates.

Victoria Soto heard the murderer approaching. A 27-year old first grade teacher, she had her entire life in front of her. Her immediate instinct was to protect those babies, her students. She pushed them into a closet. Some of her first graders tried to run. Ms. Soto put herself as the barrier between her students and the gunman. She tried to distract him. She told them her class was at the gym. She was shot and killed, but her life was not lived in vain. Vickie Soto gave her life to save her students. She is a hero.

We can't change the past. The catastrophic massacre of this past Friday happened. While we can't change what happened, we can choose where we will go from here and how we'll respond. There are 27 families out there that are suffering. Our innate response upon hearing stories from this calamity is to connect to them as humans, to feel their loss, to empathize, and to appreciate what we have.

As we all appreciate our families a little more after this event, we may have forgotten to stop and appreciate our home away from home. Flatbush is our second family, and like all families, sometimes we take it for granted. Last Tuesday at our SGO Chanukah Fair, our teachers showed us how much they care and how much fun we can have together. Our teachers care about us. Day in and day out, they give themselves to us: on trips and seminars; when they invite us for Shabbat meals; when they invite us to email them or speak to them during their lunch to address our concerns. They love us. Our administration invests time and energy to keep our building safe every day. We have fire drills and safety drills; we have an amazing security staff. At the end of the day, we spend more time in this building than we do in our own homes. We create unbreakable bonds with our friends here. We create memories for a lifetime.

Take the time to appreciate your Flatbush Family.

Smile at teachers. Listen to them. Thank them.

We are nearing finals time. Tutor. Share. Be a better friend.

As we contemplate an unimaginable horror, let us stand in solidarity with the families of Sandy Hook. Let us learn from the selflessness of the fallen heros. Let us renew our commitment to our family here at the Yeshivah of Flatbush.

Let us aspire to become heroes ourselves. It's those small acts of selflessness that accumulate and define a person as an everyday hero. Let us dedicate, let us consecrate their memories with our renewed passion for kindness. As Arthur Ashe said, "True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost."
As students walked into school each day last week they reflected on the tragedy in Newtown Sandy Hook Elementary School. A memorial video and candle with the names of all the victims were on display in the lobby.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Yeshivah of Flatbush Electronics Lab In Action

This video was taken from an electronics lab at the Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School during one of our STEM classes. The lab was a hands-on demonstrations of the effects of magnetism on electricity. When one side of the magnet is moved in front of the magnetic sensor, the lights go on, when the other side is moved in front of the sensors, the lights go off.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hurricane Sandy as a Learning Experience for Yeshivah of Flatbush Students

Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School students share their experiences and inspirations during Hurricane Sandy. Students learned the true meaning of Chesed by helping, giving, and sharing during the hurricane.

Monday, December 17, 2012

SGO President Lighting the Menorah with Mayor Bloomberg

SGO President, Michelle Sabbagh, on the right with Mayor Bloomberg
This Chanukah I was given the opportunity to light the menorah with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The event was held in the Jewish Heritage Museum, located in Battery Park, Manhattan. I was invited to represent the Yeshivah of Flatbush as the delegate from Brooklyn. Other students from the other boroughs were invited as well. The school was awarded this honor because they were noted as being at the forefront of chesed for their commendable hurricane sandy relief efforts. It was truly an honor to represent the school and to partake in this קידוש ה׳.   ~Michelle Sabbagh, SGO President

Friday, December 14, 2012

17th Annual Thomas Hausdorff Memorial Basketball Tournament & Shabbaton

This weekend from December 7, 2012 - December 9, 2012, the Yeshivah of Flatbush hosted its 17th annual Thomas Hausdorff Memorial Basketball Tournament and Shabbaton in memory of a very well respected and loved principal at the Yeshivah. Thomas Hausdorff was a principal at the Yeshivah and after he passed away, a tournament was brought about in his honor. His love for learning torah and basketball is the reason why this weekend was so important. A committee of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors along with coordinators Mike Gelber and Rebecca Silberman invited schools from all around the country to play against the Yeshivah's Boys JV Basketball team. Teams from Detroit, Memphis, and New Jersey came to participate and the boys and coaches were invited to stay at homes on Ave J.

The tournament started off on Thursday night with a basketball game and a moving Yachad program. It then continued through an amazing shabbaton weekend with the help of Rabbi Besser making the boys really feel the Flatbush Shabbat ruach. On Friday night the players ate in the Yeshivah and then went to the beautiful home of Steven and Michelle Sasson where the participants sang Shabbat songs utill the end of the night. When Shabbat ended the tournament continued and students came to cheer the players on during the games. 

The tournament and shabbaton was a complete success, no one wanted it to end! Congratulations to the Yeshivah of Flatbush Boys JV basketball team for receiving first place in the tournament.
Special thanks to Mike Gelber and Rebecca Silberman for their countless amount of hours and effort they put into making this weekend like no other. Thanks to all those that housed players and coaches and to the committee members that worked so hard to make this weekend amazing. Truly a weekend we can never forget. Friendships were made between the students that will never be forgotten. Can't wait until next year and many more to come! ~Emily Shrem, Senior Commissioner

Thursday, December 13, 2012

SGO Chanukah Fair 5773

On Tuesday, the SGO conducted a Chanukah event that successfully evoked entertainment, fun, and excitement! Students interacted and bonded with teachers through so many activities: challah baking, crocheting, arts and crafts, donut decorating, word and board games, and sushi making -  captivated all who were involved. Some even got to experience a yoga class and Salsa dancing! Teachers and students teamed up in several heated games of basketball, and the Karaoke station was a major hit! We enjoyed a beautiful lunch with latkes and sufganiot in the spirit of Chanukah as well. The music, decorations, and liveliness of this event truly contributed to our chanukah spirit! A special thank you to Mrs. Zerykier and the SGO: Michelle Sabbagh, Shelly Hafif, Louis Ades, and Norman Greenberg for putting together a great program.  ~Malka Eliezer, 4HN

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Seniors 2013 Ice Skating Night

After one of the hardest semesters of our high school careers, the seniors finally got a break last Wednesday night. Taking a breather on the ice was just what we needed. The senior ice skating trip took place at Bryant Park. The temperature was perfect and the New York City lights were shining bright. Flatbush students were gliding through the ice - well, some gliding...others casually trying to catch their balance. The evening was filled with skating, taking pictures and hot chocolate. As our bodies got colder, our worries slowly melted away. The night came to a close as we strolled down Broadway Avenue and ate dinner at the nearby kosher restaurants. It was truly a wonderful evening with the senior grade.
 ~ Kimi Hamadani, Senior Council 2013 President

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Junior Seminar 2012

After weeks of anticipation, the day finally arrived; Junior Seminar was here, one of the most unforgettable seminars Flatbush has ever seen. Seminar started on Thursday afternoon when each Junior had an opportunity to take part in a different Chesed activity. Some students went to visit the elderly while others packaged food for the needy. On Friday morning we traveled to the Stamford hotel and conference center of Connecticut, where we would spend Shabbat. There we experienced some of the most inspiring and memorable moments included the multiple heartrending videos on the dangers of texting and driving, the power of Chesed during the Hurricane, and the importance of time. We also enjoyed the amazing band that livened up our program, and the numerous faculty and student speeches that touched each of us in its own way. In addition, we shared a number of semachot on our seminar, including newly engaged graduates Joe Harary and Rosette Shammah and the engagement of our beloved Director of High School Guidance, Dr. Gila Sandler. On seminar, we connected with old friends while forming relationships with new ones. Also, it was a time to get us thinking about the world around us, to appreciate our friends, families, the Yeshivah and ultimately, ourselves. I can't wait until next year...for our Senior Seminar!  ~Bob Husney 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Panim el Panim 2012

This past week about 30 students from Yeshivah of Flatbush went down to Washington D.C. to participate in Panim el Panim, a 3 day seminar that teaches leadership and lobbying skills. This was an eye opening, hands on learning experience. We learned about various issues such as homelessness and Internet privacy. We participated in various activities to help us better understand and come face to face with these issues. A speaker from the homelessness coalition spoke to us about the challenges and realities of being homeless. In addition we took the food stamp challenge to experience how a family of four living off of food stamps has to budget themselves when they shop for food. This forced us to really look at prices and see how much money we actually spend on food and how much we take it for granted. We also interacted with homeless people at a local park in Washington. We spoke with them and gave them socks, hats, and gloves to help them get through the winter. It was shocking to hear their stories and a really eye-opening experience to speak with them and to hear how much faith they have in G-d and to see that they are normal people just like us who have fallen into an unfortunate situation. We had many debriefing sessions where we discussed what we learned and how we can bring what we learned back home.

In addition to learning about homelessness we also discussed issues that we felt were important to us. We learned how to effectively lobby our congress member and/or his staff member and how important it is for us, at such a young age to voice what we believe in. We had discussions and broke into groups to prepare for our meetings. When we walked up to Capitol Hill Wednesday morning we were ready and well prepared. The group I was with had an appointment scheduled with a staff-person from the office of Bob Turner, a congressman who was not re-elected this year. Although Congressman Turner was not re-elected his staffer will continue to work for other congress members and will keep in mind the issues we spoke about. After that meeting we were able to get a second meeting with a staff member of Yvette Clarke, who is the congresswoman of the district our school is located in. We were able to get this meeting due to connections Joey Cohen-Saban (HS '11) had made on previous lobbying missions to the office. He was with our group and was able to call up the staff member from his phone and arrange a meeting on the spot. This showed us that these meetings really do matter and not only do we have the power to create a relationship with out congressmen, but also that it is extremely easy to do so. We spoke with the staff member of Yvette Clarke on three issues we felt were important to us. We discussed the current situation in Israel, the intensity of the fiscal cliff, and the need for more government funded scholarships. After discussing these issues with the staffer, we took his business card, left the office, and headed out for a tour of the Capitol. Our meeting, however didn't stop there. After we left we made sure to email the staffer about the meeting we had just had to thank him for his time and restate our issues. We also sent out emails to the congresswoman to let her know that we had stopped by and explained to her the issues we spoke about. We intend to maintain a relationship with the congresswoman and the staff member and to hopefully return to Washington and lobby them again in the future.

After a wonderful tour of the Capitol we went to go watch the Senate which was in session. This gave us a chance to see how the senate actually works, as we were able to see it firsthand. We made our way back for one last debriefing session and discussed how everything we learned, experienced, and discussed during the course of the seminar could be brought back to our homes and schools and that we could continue to impact and affect our world and the lives of others around us, even in the simplest of ways. Panim el Panim was an incredible, life-changing experience that will remain part of us as we finish high school and move on with our lives. The things we learned will help us and will stay in our minds as we are figuring out what we want to do and who we want to be.   ~Jacqueline Baum, 3W

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Yeshivah of Flatbush Students Win High Honors in WordWright Challenge

Four students representing the Yeshivah of Flatbush recently won high honors in this year's WordWright Challenge, a competition for American high school students requiring close reading and analysis of many different kinds of prose and poetry.

In this year's first meet, held in October, junior Aliza Kantrowitz was one of the 23 highest-scoring eleventh graders on the entire country, while senior Daniel Shuster was one of the 104 highest-scoring twelfth graders nationwide. Freshman Lea Linfield and Albert Rahmey placed among the 159 highest-scoring ninth graders nationally at the same time. More than 58,000 students from 46 states (and four foreign nations) entered the meet. The school's participation was overseen by Shifra Hanon.

The premise behind the WordWright Challenge is that attentive reading and sensitivity to language are among the most important skills students acquire in school.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Third Annual Israel Activism Symposium

On November 29, 2012, the Yeshivah of Flatbush held its third annual Israel Activism symposium. Schools including Magen David, Hanc, North Shore, and Shulamith attended the symposium. The program's goal was to show students the importance of advocating for our homeland Israel. Students learned that in no way shape or form should the US-Israel relationship be taken for granted. Speakers from AIPAC, BBYO, and Stand With Us, informed and educated the students about the importance of Israel as a Jewish state, an American ally, and as our homeland. The sessions were interactive and interesting for the students. After the program the students were not only excited to go out and do their part in calling their representative or setting up a meeting with them, they were inspired to share their knowledge and convince their friends that going out to advocate for Israel is so easy yet so important. ~Asher Lifshutz, Sophomore.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cooking For a Cause in Preparation for Shabbat Meals

Katie Fishel and Esther Haddad, ninth grade commissioners
This past Wednesday evening, we held another great Cooking for a Cause event. Students prepared a variety of foods in preparation for Shabbat meals. This week's meals were generously sponsored by David and Cookie Fishel.

Cooking for a Cause allows students to learn how to prepare a variety of entrees, dinners, and desserts while participating in a Chesed event. 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:  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Torah To Go Series: Parashat Vayetzei 5773

Live From Israel: Parashat Vayetzei 5773

Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School Spiritual Growth Commission: Live From Israel Series. Alumna Bayta Abadie who is learning in Midreshet Linderbaum in Yerushayim recently spoke live to seniors and juniors. The topic was Yaakov, Chanukah and Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What's New @ the Yeshivah of Flatbush?

Poetry Slam 2012

Yeshivah of Flatbush hosted its very first Jewish Poetry Slam. Students from Frisch, Kohelet, and Central all came together to celebrate the beauty and unity of the poetic word. With Thanksgiving around the corner, the theme of the event was giving thanks. Due to the unfortunate current events in Israel together with the chaos that ensued from Hurricane Sandy, we came together to express our emotional support for the things in life that we feel gratitude for. Students wrote two poems each, an Ode and a Free Verse, and competed for 5 possible awards: Best Performance, Best Ode, Best Free Verse, Runner up Poet of the Day, and finally - Poet of the Day. Kohelet was the true shining star of the day in their ability to bring 3 awards back to their hometown of Philly. The Poet of the Day trophy was awarded to Akiva Mattenson, of Frisch. We look forward to plenty more poetry slams in the future and hope to host yet another competition in the Spring semester.  ~Ms. Ariela Robinson

Monday, November 19, 2012

Open House 2012

On Sunday November 11th, over 500 eighth grade students and parents, representing almost 20 different elementary schools, joined with Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School faculty and current students at our annual Open House program.

The event included iPad registration, an inspiring Veterans Day presentation, an exciting and informative video encompassing new initiatives and programming, mini lessons in Judaic and General studies given by the high school faculty and an open Q&A session with high school students. Our guests explored extracurricular options at the Commission Fair and enjoyed a bountiful buffet sponsored by Pomegranate. The enthusiastic participation of high school student and parent volunteers added to the high energy experience for all eighth graders and their parents.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Israel Activism

On the third day of Operation Pillar Defense, an Israeli operation to root out terrorists in the Gaza Strip and rocket sites, the Israel Activism Commission hosted its weekly meeting. But this meeting was a bit different. This meeting was a briefing on the operation, the facts and information leading up to the operation, and facts regarding the operation. It was a chance for students to fully understand what Israel is facing, learn the facts, and respond to critics. The meeting drew a multitude of students, many of which had never attended Israel Activism meetings, but who wanted to learn more about Israel due to the operation.

Mr. Rothbort, the faculty advisor of the Israel Activism Commission, and Tomer Kornfeld, the student commissioner of the Israel Activism Commission, jointly led the meeting. The room was packed with students on all three sides, and it was virtually impossible to move around. There weren’t any seats left, and students had to resort to sitting on the windowsill, on the floor, and along the wall. The meeting was a true success, and the students learned valuable information regarding Operation Pillar of Defense.

Let us pray for the Israeli soldiers who are on the frontlines, many of which are teenagers who are now forced to defend their homeland. Let us also continue our support of Israel and of the American-Israel relationship, and ensure that the bonds between our two countries remain strong.
~Andrew Hersh

Friday, November 16, 2012

Boys Israel Fair 2012

This week we hosted the Annual Senior Boys Israel Fair. Representatives from all the Israeli Yeshivot came to give our students an insight into the exciting opportunities available for them spending a year learning in Israel. The morning started with a presentation by Mr. Richard Chalme - Co founder of a company called Blueswitch. He shared with the students his own experiences - showing how his year in Israel helped shape his professional, social and religious life.

Thereafter students had the opportunity to visit the stands presented by the different schools; to speak to the representatives, explore brochures and video presentations and learn as much as they could about the variety of opportunities. Lastly students chose different classroom presentations given by some of the Yeshivot. It was a productive, energetic and bustling morning.

~Rabbi Craig Lubner, Israel Guidance

Torah To Go Series: Parashat Toldot 5773

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Rosh Chodesh Kislev Rikkudim

Girls Torah Bowl Win!

On Tuesday, Nov. 13, the Yeshivah of Flatbush hosted the first Girls Torah Bowl competition of the season. After weeks devoted to studying Sefer Bamidbar, the Flatbush team was able to demonstrate their knowledge to girls from Magen David, Shulamith, and Central. Each game was pretty intense, and a few games ended in near ties. But ultimately, the Flatbush team managed to win 4 out of 4 games. Hopefully, all our games will end that way this year. Special thanks goes to Mar Bar Gad for coaching and really preparing the team and to our great captains Emma Mael and Lani Pruss. What an exciting start to a season! ~Sarah Levy

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Drama Troupe Performs!

The Yeshivah of Flatbush Drama Troupe is made up of a group of students who enjoy performing on stage. Although they did not have a large stage (due to the renovation of the auditorium) , or a lot of time to prepare (due to Hurricane Sandy), on Monday, Nov. 11, they managed to perform two acts beautifully for the school. Each act conveyed important messages and made the students laugh. The first act, performed by David Siller, was about a man who was forced by his wife to speak for charity about the harms of smoking even though he himself was a smoker. In the second act, which was "a play within a play" the main character, George, played by Leor Alkadaa, was lost. He had no idea where he was, who he was, or how he ended up on the stage. Other actors included: Joy Feinberg, Michael Zalta, Liba Hornstein, Morris Nadjar , and Stephanie Adjmi. The play was really put together nicely and was professionally performed! ~Rashelle Gersh

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sepharadim in the City: Hands-On Learning in NYC

On Monday November 5th, Mrs. Wielgus took our Sephardic history elective class to New York City for a first- hand learning experience: “Sepharadim in the City.” Our first stop was the breathtaking Edmond J. Safra Synagogue on the Upper East Side, which looked very modern and elegantly designed. The assistant rabbi, Rabbi Greenberg, gave us a tour of the synagogue, telling us about its history and pointing out the kabbalistic ideas incorporated in some of its features.  In the main sanctuary,  we all took  time to sketch the features of the room that impressed us most for our portfolio assignment, a requirement of the course. Next, we made our way to the magnificent Congregation Shearith Israel, or the Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue, located on Central Park West. It was America's first Jewish congregation, founded in 1654 by Jews who were fleeing the Portuguese Inquisition in Brazil. This synagogue represents the Western Sephardic traditions, while the Safra shul maintains the customs of the Edot Mizrach. From the red carpet to the intricate moldings on the walls and ceiling to the incredible Tiffany stained glass windows of the lavish main sanctuary, the eye didn't know what to appreciate first! Mr. Lustig, a congregant on the synagogue’s board and a Flatbush alumnus, taught us about the history of the congregation, and the chazzan of the synagogue  entertained us with some singing and reading that showed us just how different the Western Sephardic nusach was from the edot mizrach nusach and musical style. Our learning was capped off with an interesting meal at the Spanish syled kosher restaurant Ladino Tapas Grill alongside Jane Gerber, the author of our textbook. All in all, it was a great day. Thank you to Mrs. Wielgus for her enthusiasm in the subject and for making sure we get the most out of our elective pick! ~Millie Marcus 4-V

Monday, November 12, 2012

Flatbush Students Get a Real World Look Into Intellectual Property

On Thursday, October 8th, Rabbi Joseph Beyda's 12th grade Business Law and Ethics students took an excursion to NYC to meet with Ralph Sutton (ES '76, HS '80) , an expert in the field of intellectual property. Led by Rabbi Beyda, the students travelled to the law offices of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP in midtown Manhattan in order to discuss the basics and emerging trends in this fascinating area of the law. Mr. Sutton reviewed the concepts of patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets with the students, citing numerous real world examples from his vast experience. Students analyzed cases involving Microsoft, Nike, Agatha Christie, Apple, and Barney the Dinosaur. In this interactive session, the students debated the benefits and consequences of intellectual property law as well as dissecting current cases such as James Cameron's lawsuit involving Avatar and the battle over visual voicemail features on smartphones.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remember Veteran's Day

As of last year, the total population of the United States is 313,232,044. Including active duty, national guard and reserves, the number of Americans in uniform is 2,936,396, which means that 2 wars and dozens of other operations worldwide--including helping in the Hurricane Sandy rescue operations, are being carried out by only about 1 percent of the country's population. And while only a single percent of the country's population is currently serving, 7 percent of our population are veterans. There are 22,658,000 veterans in America today.

The last remaining US veteran of WW1 was Frank Buckles, and he died in 2011 at 110 years old. As of September 30, 2011, there are about 1,981,000 living veterans of World War II, a war that more than 4 million Americans were deployed to fight. About 800 of those veterans die every day.

Unlike Memorial Day, Veteran's Day honors all those who served, alive or dead, whether they saw combat or not. It is these men and women who sacrificed years of their lives to serve their country. Who endured wars and loneliness and separation from family when all their peers were going to college and parties and PTA meetings. Many have returned with physical scars and many more with psychological ones. And today, they face an additional problem; facing higher rates of unemployment than the general population. We owe these brave men and women not just a brief thought once a year but, in the words of President Obama: "It's about how we treat our veterans every single day of the year. It's about making sure they have the care they need and the benefits that they've earned when they come home. It's about serving all of our veterans as well as they've served the United States of America." 
~David Siller

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pathfinders Update: Greening Group

The senior citizens in conjunction with a group of Juniors planted and reaped a harvest of gorgeous herbs and veggies at the Sephardic Community Center's gardening day. This was part of our Pathfinders Program's "greening group."
Mrs. Hanon and Katie Fishel preparing fresh peso

Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School Pathfinders Program: 
Beginning in 9th grade, the Pathfinders counselors work with each student to discuss their interests and develop their goals. Students are then given a wide range of opportunities of places where they can volunteer, intern and explore their unique academic pursuits and career ideas. Through the Yeshivah of Flatbush Pathfinders Program, we encourage our students to discover and expand their special talents and abilities and explore career options for the future. Whether a student is actively engaged during the school year or in the summer, we are confident that each Yeshivah of Flatbush student will find a path to success.

Flatbush Students Help With Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

On Monday, six students led by Rabbi Prag took a trip to clean up a house hit by Hurricane Sandy.

The SGO in conjunction with the Tzedakah Commission, led by Señora Ovadia,  have joined forces to create a Hurricane Sandy relief mission in the Yeshivah of Flatbush. Our mission began with a clothing drive. Students and other faculty members brought in ample amounts of food, clothes, shoes, toiletries, school supplies... you name it, to donate to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. We have donated school supplies to Bel Harbor Yeshivah and Mazel Yeshivah. The freshman classes sorted all the items that were donated. In addition to all the donations, the SGO and Tzedakah commission have decided to take a hands on approach to the Sandy relief project. We organized a trip that took four classes of Sophomores and Juniors to Brighton Beach Jewish Center. At the center students worked with the National Guard to distribute food to thousands of local victims. Other students who spoke Russian conversed with the majority Russian speaking population to take their mind off the trauma and to make a list of what the individuals needed. We hope to continue this relief initiative within the upcoming weeks by taking all the classes to participate in these chesed projects. ~Michelle Sabbagh, SGO President 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Visit to the Special Children's Center

On Sunday November 4, we had an extremely moving experience at the Special Children's Center in Lakewood, New Jersey. Although I've been to the center many times before, it felt new because I was attending with the spirit of the Yeshivah of Flatbush. Fifty students and parents from the Yeshivah of Flatbush attended Sunday's chesed event, putting smiles on the faces of the special children. The bus was packed with people and bags of toys and electronic gadgets to distribute. We arrived and were given a warm greeting by the children and were given sweatshirts. We were then divided up into classrooms to do arts and crafts projects and singing. We then all met in the gym where Rabbi Besser  led our group in inspirational singing and dancing. We ate lunch together and watched a moving video about the center and the children who attend its programs. It was an event that we will never forget - I'm not sure who had more fun, us or the special children, but I know it was an extremely rewarding trip which we will never forget! ~Susie Sasson

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

2012 Mock Elections

Across the United States, presidential candidates campaigned and debated about their views on several major issues. In Yeshivah of Flatbush, we did just the same. Over the past few weeks, the AP Political Science class, under the guidance of Ms. shelly Kaplowitz, has made several moves to inform and campaign to the school on behalf of both candidates through ads and campaign posters. On November 6th, Sharon Grossman and Miriam Einhorn debated as President Obama and Governor Romney, respectively. The debate, which was live streamed in each classroom, was moderated by two of the Yeshivah of Flatbush Phoenix reporters, Isabel Fattal and Andrew Hersh. After much preparation, the candidates delivered significant answers to the questions they were asked. Overall, the students learned about the rising issues of our country as well as both of the presidential candidates' plans and points of views. ~Jeanette Eliezer

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sunday Morning Learning

Nearly 50 students – along with faculty, family, and friends – came to learn on Sunday morning, October 21, for the second SML of the season. They had the privilege of hearing a wonderful shiur given by Assistant Principal Rabbi Joseph Beyda, who spoke about Avraham Avinu and what made him worthy of being chosen by HaShem. The audience came away with a better understanding of Avraham and what made him so special.

This SML session was sponsored by the Hanon, Sasson, and Winkler families in memory of Taly Greenfeld Cohen, Jason Botnick, and Lonny Benamy, A"H. May the learning done in their memory serve as an iluy nishmatam.

All students, parents, faculty, alumni, and friends are invited to join us again on December 15 for the last Sunday Morning Learning of the semester, which is being sponsored in memory of Suzanne Blaine, A"H. We hope to see you there.

Friday, November 2, 2012

EKO Commission Volunteers at The Hebrew Free Burial Association

On Wednesday October 24th, 32 students of the Yeshivah of Flatbush voluntarily signed up for an EKO trip to volunteer at The Hebrew Free Burial Association, a Jewish cemetery from the 1900s in Staten Island. The students worked together to clean up the cemetery grounds. With a rake in one hand and a garbage bag in the other, the volunteers raked, piled, and bagged the mountains of fallen leaves. The aim of the trip was to restore the eternal beauty and respect that the cemetery deserves, however much more was achieved. As the leaves were uncovered and the grass was finally exposed, for the first time in years, the students gained a deeper understanding of the act of Chessed that they were performing. This was more than just an ordinary act of kindness. It was a performance of Chessed of Emet. The students realized that they would not receive a physical reward for their hours of hard work, but that they would receive a reward that was far better than any physical reward. As the day came to an end and the buses were loaded, a real sense of accomplishment was felt by everyone who took part in this tremendous act of kindness. ~Jonathan Zehavi, Senior

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Spanish Day at Flatbush!

The day we have all been anticipating has finally taken place. The first annual Flatbush Spanish Day was originally just a dream in the minds of Senora Ovadia’s AP Spanish class. Thanks to Senora, we have been able to make this seemingly unattainable dream a reality. On October 25th students from the AP Spanish and Spanish 3 classes joined forces to create an unforgettably fun-filled and educational day of Espanol. Students were able to participate in games, sing songs, and get a genuine taste of authentic Spanish culture including delicious Spanish cuisines. On behalf of the Spanish students of Yeshivah of Flatbush, we would like to thank Sra. Ovadia for the amazing day she has put together. Her unwavering attitude and devoted vision have inspired us all, sparking an excellent day in Flatbush history. Senora’s incredible traits have been epitomized in the success of the groundbreaking event of Spanish Day. It is truly an honor to learn such a profound culture and language from such a special person.
~Senora Ovadia’s AP Spanish class

Friday, October 26, 2012

Miriam Peretz speaks to Israel Awareness Commission

On October 24th Miriam Peretz came to speak to the students of the Israel Awareness Commission. Miriam Peretz lost two of her sons, who dedicated their lives to defending Israel. Both her children took pride in being Jewish and used their belief in G-d to keep them from fearing war. Both children from a young age, said that they would set out to help their brothers with the power that G-d gave them. Mrs. Peretz's point was to show us, the same way that her children dedicated their lives and died in the army protecting Israel, we the children of the next generation must also dedicate ourselves to Israel. Although she did not advocate us to join the army, she did say that we must advocate for Israel. Sometimes words are more powerful than actions.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Class of 2013 visit National 9/11 Memorial

When we think of 9/11, the same pictures appear in almost everyone's mind. Pictures of the planes crashing, the towers falling, debris as the sound of sirens plays in the background. We think of all the people who died that day; the people on the flight, the hundreds who worked in the towers and the others who rushed in to help those in need. But today, the senior grade thought of more than that. We thought of the value of every single person's life. We had the opportunity to walke around the National 9/11 Memorial today to see the thousands of names who perished, but we understood that there is depth to each one. A name is an identity but just remembering it is not what's important. It's realizing the fact that this name represents a life. A person with friends, a job, hobbies, and a family. Each senior was assigned an individual to research. The results were incredible. The experience was heightened as we sat in groups discussing and listening to the stories behind each name.

As the day progressed the students reminisced on their experience of 9/11. We were in first grade. We saw the tragedy through children's eyes. Seeing the memorial and the Freedom Towers really resonated how little we understood and how far we've come to understand since then. The 9/11 memorial is extremely special in the fact that we have the past and the future together on one sight. As we reflect on what has happened, we look up to what is coming next, the Freedom Towers that stand as unyielding as ever. This event was a threat to the nation and country as a whole. Although we lost so much, we've gained as well. We are now strong and determined to never stop fighting those who try to tear us down.  ~Kimi Hamadani, Senior Council 2013, President

Monday, October 22, 2012

Israel Guidance Program

On Friday, October 19th, our Israel Guidance team, Rabbi Lubner and Mrs. Wielgus, set up an informative, exciting, and entertaining program for the senior grade. After enjoying an entertaining opening skit, the students watched a presentation filled with pictures depicting the exciting yeshiva and seminary life in Israel. We saw the learning experiences as well as the fun and the friendships that our alumni have gained in Israel. In addition, several alumni spoke via video about the ways in which learning in Israel has affected their lives. They expressed that learning in Israel can give one independence and a chance to shape their lives for the future, as well as make friends that'll last a lifetime. Learning in Israel also gives one the chance to delve deeper into Jewish texts and Judaism as a whole. For the main part of the program, students were split into several groups in which the alumni, who had each completed a year in Israel, spoke about their personal experiences and ideas. Students asked questions, learning about the experiences, schedules, types of schools, programs and so much more. Seeing the alumni, excited and happy to recommend and inform the seniors about going to Israel for the year, has definitely inspired many seniors to consider spending their next year in Israel.

Friday, October 19, 2012

EKO Commission Planting Trip

Yesterday,  25 dedicated students under the leadership of Rabbi Moses Haber, helped preserve Prospect Park's nature. They took the train at 9:00AM and once they got started at 10, it was non-stop working for the next 3 hours. They went down on their hands and knees to dig up all the old plants that died over the summer, which filled up a total of 15 garbage bags! They then planted new plants and flowers to replace the old ones. The foliage never looked better. To end the day, the students went for a  scenic nature walk for half an hour before returning to school. It was a really fun experience and one full of accomplishment for all who were involved.   ~Victor Dweck, Head Commissioner, EKO Commission

Torah To Go Series: Parashat Noach 5773

Thursday, October 18, 2012

First Yachad Event of the Year!

On Wednesday evening October 17, over one hundred students and more than forty Yachad and Ohel members celebrated the first Yachad event of the year. The YOF Yachad programs are all a fun way to get to know and interact with people who have mental and physical challenges. With everyone gathered in the Beit Midrash, Jennifer Weitzman, a Yachad commissioner, explained that the goal of the program was "to introduce Yachad to everyone and show them how uplifting the experience is."  Yachad events bring unity and show that everyone has their differences but we can all be as one, together. Students paired up with Yachad members to play a Brachot game, jeopardy style. Next, the gym was filled with music and dancing that lifted our spirits. We concluded the night by enjoying dinner together and hanging out. It was an amazing experience. ~Jeanette Eliezer

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan Kumzitz

In the room were nearly seven hundred people, students and educators alike. The first Rosh Chodesh Kumzitz program of the year kicked off with a big impression: from beginning to end, the program captured our attention, and in all the directions we turned we saw our peers engulfed in the moment as well. Rabbi Besser opened the program with images of Gilad Shalit, bringing us to sympathize with our brothers in Israel. We felt overcome with a feeling of achdut, of caring for one another because we are all am echad- one nation. We saw videos and images portraying some of the difficulties that others around the world are facing; including many of suffering families and children in need. These images demonstrated the importance of appreciating what we have and thinking of ways to help out others. Sitting on the floor for a kumzitz, we sang captivating and inspiring songs of tefillah to Hashem, repeating the powerful words multiple times. Throughout the gym, everyone was linked together arm in arm, many so moved that tears ran down their cheeks. As always, we concluded with a loud and powerful Hatikva, singing to the flag of Israel as a symbol of our commonality with our brothers around the world. For those forty-five minutes, our hearts felt truly connected.   ~Jeanette Eliezer, 4-HN