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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 SeƱora 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