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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pathfinders Update: Students Experience Court House to Learn More About the Justice System

Flatbush Students with Judge Schmidt 
This past Monday, a group of sophomore students, through the Yeshivah of Flatbush Pathfinders Program, visited the Brooklyn Court House to learn more about the justice system. Students had the opportunity to experience the real world goings on by observing the courtroom of Judge Schmidt. They observed a civil case concerning nearly 15 million dollars. The students said, "It was an amazing experience!" ~Allan Bailey
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.

Juniors Experience Jewish History at the Living Torah Museum

Throughout he month of December all of the junior classes had the unique opportunity to learn Jewish History outside the classroom, in the Living Torah Museum in Boro Park. Students got to look at and hold Middle Eastern artifacts from thousands of years ago. The museum was founded by Rabbi Shaul Deutch to give people the ability to experience the Biblical world in a hands-on-way. Most artifacts are salvaged from shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea. Among the items on display were the world's oldest (and smallest) chanukkiah and a gold coin with Antiochus's face etched on it. There were vases, golden earrings, and clay pots. Students got to hold real Roman gladiators swords, and some competed to see who could hold up a ballistae ball for the longest. Oren Moskowitz was able to hold it up for 10 minutes, earning him a $100 gift card. The students also were able to explore the museum's exhibit of preserved real kosher and nonkosher animals. They watched part of a video detailing where each animal is mentioned in the Torah. It was great to get to see, and to hold, history. This experience complements what the juniors are learning in their Jewish History classes which focus on the Ancient and Classical periods of Jewish History. Thank you to all involved in planning the trip, especially Mrs. Wielgus, Jewish History department chair. This trip, while enjoyable, also served to enhance the students' appreciation for Jewish History. ~Sarah Levy 3HR

Monday, December 30, 2013

Pathfinders Update: Students Volunteer at Breast Cancer Research Foundation's Annual Fundraiser

On Monday, December 16, eleven students from Yeshivah of Flatbush High School, through our Pathfinders Program, volunteered at the Breast Cancer Research Foundation's annual fundraiser. The set up was beautiful. Each room in the 7 floor townhouse was decorated completely by different artists, and our students ably escorted hundreds of guests throughout the evening. Our students learned about the importance of raising funds for breast cancer research. ~Robert Harary

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.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Sunday Chesed Day to Special Children's Center: 12/22/13

On Sunday, December 22nd, 50 students led by Rabbi Besser headed over to Lakewood, New Jersey to visit and volunteer at the Special Children's Ceter. The Special Children's Center is a place where children with mental and physical disabilities have a place to go have fun and interact with children alike. When we arrived at the center we were greeted with a warm welcome and gorgeous smiles from the children. We then divided into classrooms to have fun with the children. Some classes had the activities of cookie decorating, pass the present, singing and yoga. It was amazing to see how excited and happy the kids were. After about an hour in the classrooms we all headed into their lunchroom for dancing. Everyone was dancing with one of the children and he had a huge smile on his face. The children had the opportunity to enjoy their Sunday. Nothing is as precious to see Rabbi Besser pick up a child and start singing to him. It was a day to not be forgotten. Everyone was moved and inspired by the trip! Till next time! ~Sophia Chabot

18th Annual Thomas Hausdorff Memorial Basketball Tournament and Shabbaton

The 2013 Hausdorff Tournament All-Star Team surrounding
Tournament MVP, Kevin Haddad of Yeshivah of Flatbush
Elevating the Spirit – Hausdorff 2013
The weekend of December 5-8, 2013, Yeshivah of Flatbush High School hosted the 18th Annual Thomas Hausdorff Memorial Basketball Tournament and Shabbaton. It is an event that promotes competition, camaraderie and community; three “C’s” that represent the ideals promoted by Mr. Hausdorff A"H, former principal of YOFHS.  He believed that in the right setting, athletics can provide a unique opportunity to promote all three. As noted by Rabbi Besser, Shabbaton Coordinator, such an event – with learning and celebration – serves to elevate the neshama of the honored and memorialized individual. It also was about raising ru’ach amongst the participants. Both are examples of Elevating the Spirit, and was spirit ever in the forefront this weekend!
Rabbi Naftali Besser addresses the Hausdorff participants
and committee members at the awards banquet
Flatbush Falcon Louis Zarif goes up in the lane for 2 against Kushner.
Competition was the order of the day in the tournament’s opening games, where host Flatbush (Brooklyn, NY) took on a late-arriving Akiva Hebrew Day School (Detroit, MI) with the two teams embroiled in a barn-burner. In what would end up being the closest match of the tournament, Flatbush watched as with 2-seconds left on the clock, potentially game-tying free-throws went errantly by, securing a 43-41 victory for the Falcons. Earlier, Cooper Yeshiva (Memphis, TN) played its best half of the tournament, matching Kushner Yeshiva (Livingston, NJ) nearly point for point for its majority before yielding to the NJ team’s experience and finishing a distant 30+ points behind by sounding of the final buzzer.
Akiva forward brings the ball up the sideline against the Coopper press
Camaraderie was evident by the mix of kippot throughout the weekend: seated in the Beit Midrash for t’filot; walking down Avenue J in search of a good meal in one of the many kosher restaurants that surround the school; sitting arm to arm while rocking the Sasson home to its foundations during Oneg Shabbat while singing spirited z’mirot under the lead of Rabbi Besser. Seeing the Avika, Cooper, Flatbush and Kushner kippot mingled together over the course of the tournament clearly underlines the success of the event.
Falcon Forward Jackie Mishaan elevates in the lane
against Kushner in the Hausdorff Tournament Finals
Community was highlighted by the D’var Torah given Rabbi Lubetski of Cooper Yeshiva (and formerly of Flatbush – his parents still live nearby) that stressed the point of how this event embodies the concept of “כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה – All of the Jewish Community is responsible for each other”, and driven “home” by the families of the Yeshivah of Flatbush, with the opening of houses in the Flatbush neighborhood to our guests from across the USA. Our students not only were able to perform the mitzvah of Hachnasat Orchim, but also demonstrated that no matter where a Jew finds oneself, the local Jewish community will open its doors to him or her (”Won’t you stay with us for Shabbos Minyan Man?!”). Community was sharing the customs of both Ashkenazic and Sepharadic traditions in t’filah, highlighted by the reading of the Torah from the Ashkenaz Hausdorff torah with nusach Ashkenaz Shabbat morning, and from a traditional Sepharadic Torah with nusach Adut HaMizrach Shabbat afternoon. Community was also demonstrated by the sharing of learning throughout the weekend by multiple members of each team who delivered profound words of Torah over the course of the 4-day Shabbaton.
Flatbush Forward Isaac Arazi makes the outlet pass
Such an event does not occur without the commitment and effort of many individuals. As noted, Rabbi Besser provided the core elements of ru’ach and limud for the Shabbaton. His unique talents set an unparalleled tone for remembering and promoting all that Thomas Hausdorff held dear. Bringing the event to the wider community is due in no small part to the efforts of Ephraim Silberman, who among other things, insured the Livestream connection was – in fact – live, and the games were seen not only in New York, New Jersey, Tennessee and Michigan but half-way around the globe in Israel! The actual realization of the 18th iteration of this Tournament and Shabbaton is due to the commitment of Rebecca Gelber-Silberman and all the student members of the Hausdorff Committee under her supervision. Her dedication to detail insured that everything was taken care of, from the identification of host homes for our guests to arranging meals for all participants to providing awards for the winners and flowers for the event chairs (student-coordinator Harriet Sasson and YoF Alumni Director Bebe Levitt – a special thank you to you both as well!). Lastly, the planning and success of this event is testament to the love and commitment of Tournament Director Mike Gelber, who for 18 years has given of himself selflessly to promote an event that not only fosters the ideals his good friend Thomas Hausdorff held dear, but that are of equal importance to Coach Gelber himself.
Tournament Director Mike Gleber and Hausdorff Committee member Robyn Dweck
hand out the awards to the skills contest winners
Chazak U’Baruch, and Yasher Ko’ach, to all!
Flatbush Guard Joseph Cayre is met with high fives from the Flatbush Falcon
after winning the Hausdorff Championship
Nest Notes:
The Faltbush Falcons defeated the Kushner Cobras in the Finals to win the Championship of the Hausdorff Tournament. Akiva Hebrew HS downed Cooper Yeshiva to take home the 3rd place trophy. Flatbush Freshman Guard Kevin Haddad was recognized by the tournament committee as the Most Outstanding Player of the 18th Annual Thomas Hausdorff Tournament.

Pathfinders Update: Students Pursue Culinary Interests

Ralph Missry with Ron Ben Israel
Last week, I along with other Yeshivah of Flatbush students had the opportunity to take part in a culinary event at the Sephardic Community Center. Not only was it a lot of fun, but it was a great learning experience. We got to see how some people from our community run their culinary related businesses. It's amazing to think that our community has so many talented people. Ron Ben Israel, the host of Food Network's Sweet Genius, also attended the event. He had a presentation and spoke about his life story and his family background. He also spoke about how his business works and what he does. After the speaking presentation, Ron Ben Israel had a baking presentation. He taught a step-by-step tutorial on how to make a sugar flower. It took him about 5-10 minutes to make the sugar flower. It was beautiful, and really fascinating to see how he could make something so fragile, with so much detail, so quickly. It was an honor meeting him and learning everything from him. 
~Nancy Torgueman

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Falcon's Nest Notes: Home Sweet Home; Hockey Splits with DRS, Sends Message to the League

Coaches Lefell and Wieselberg give final instructions before taking on DRS
Sandwiched around a 6-0 home win over YDE (and in the aftermath of two lopsided wins over division rivals Magen David and Solomon Schechter of Long Island), the Flatbush Boys Varsity Hockey team played an away and home series with rival and top MYHSAL team DRS High School of HALB. From the start of the season fans and players alike knew that these two games, scheduled so close to each other, would give a real indication about where the Flatbush program is today and what the Falcons’ chances would be for success in the 2014 MYHSAL playoffs. DRS is a perennial league powerhouse and a natural barometer for any program looking to make an impact in the yeshiva hockey world.
Jack Mosseri clears the defensive zone
Early in the season, the boys from Flatbush have shown the ability to compete with the best (note the team’s huge road victory over cross-division rival Frisch) and lose to the best (note the pasting put on the Falcons by the super-solid HAFTR squad). But with the majority of the regular season in the rear-view mirror, these two games would be a key indicator of how far the team has come and how much success could be anticipated come playoff time.
Goalie Stephen Esses stonewalls DRS
Both teams are quick to the puck and both teams boast two strong lines that keep the pressure at full tilt from the first drop of the puck through the sounding of the final horn. But at the heart, each team’s chance for success rests on the pads of the final line of defense – the goalie. At both venues, the goaltending for each squad could only be described as stellar. On the opening game in Long Beach, Flatbush’s senior goalie Stephen Esses had what could only be described as a breakout game. It was as if everything finally came into focus for him; the game slowed down and the puck looked as big as a softball. Along with solid play from the defenders in front of him, Esses shut down the high-powered Wildcat offense for the entire first period. But as the teams were just settling in to second period play, DRS broke the stale mate with a quick goal one minute in giving the hosts a 1-0 lead. Earlier in the season, this might have led to Flatbush folding up the tent and watching the floodgates open. But, the Falcons scraped themselves up and again proceeded to hold the line on defense and continue to pepper the DRS goalie on offense. However, late in the period having just killed off one penalty, Senior defender Michael Tawil was whistled for interference. Weary, and again shorthanded, the Falcons yielded the game’s second goal with just under a minute left in the second period.
Morris Bijou lets fly a hard slap shot
Regrouping, Flatbush came out for the third period determined to get back in the game. And four minutes in, they did just that. Senior Co-Captain Moe Maleh finally beat the DRS goalie with a beauty of a goal, getting the Falcons on the board. But that was to be it, as the DRS defense held the Falcons at bay the rest of the way. In the end, the Wildcats defended the home rink, turning away the Falcons from Brooklyn, 2-1.
Morris Shayo send a crossing pass into the DRS crease
That set up the re-match on the gym floor at Flatbush HS. The question: would the Falcons be able to bring the up-tempo, in-your-face game to DRS a second time in less than a week, and this time could they turn the tables on the Wildcats and get the “W”? The answer to the first part was evident from the first drop of the puck. Flatbush brought the pressure on offense and stood tall in the battle on defense. It was a virtual repeat performance of game one. Each team pressed hard on offense, working hard to dig the puck out of the corners and sending crossing pass after crossing pass through the goal crease. And again, the opposing goalies stood tall behind their solid defenses. Through the entire first period and well into the second, neither team could break through. Then, about half-way through period two, Flatbush struck gold behind the experienced duo of Moe Maleh and Morris Bijou. Like they have done so many times over their Flatbush hockey careers, Maleh deftly moved past his defender and sent a perfect cross to Bijou who’s one-timer found the back of the net, lifting the crowd to its feet and staking the Falcons to a one-nil lead. But, could they make it stand up?
Falcons celebrate Bijou's 2nd goal of the game
It did not seem possible, but the Wildcats amped up the pressure on offense even more, and the Falcon defenders - anchored by Moe Maleh on the first line and Michael Tawil on the second line - were equal to the task. While DRS kept putting the puck out in front of the goal, Coach Lefell employed a rotation of Sol Sasson, Marc Barsano, Jack Mosseri, Abie Cohen and Jack Sasson alongside Maleh and Tawil that kept the Falcon legs fresh and made sure there was no DRS player there to receive the pass. And, when there was, Stephen Esses was right there to turn them away. Esses did not stand on his head, but he did not need to. He stood big in front and glided with ease from post to post to deny the Wildcats again and again.

Coming out for the third and final period, the Falcons were clinging to their 1-0 lead. With play intensified by both teams all over the rink, everyone was wondering if another goal would be recorded, and if so would it lift the Falcons further or would it be the equalizer for the Wildcats? It was then that controversy landed at Flatbush. With nearly half the period gone, Flatbush took what could have been a costly penalty, giving DRS a man advantage at a key point in the game. With the penalty-kill unit working the puck, a clear looked to be going towards the Falcon bench. The puck then kicked off the bench area, tying up the DRS defender, and a streaking Sam Laniado made a quick course correction, scooped up the loose puck and deftly deked the DRS goalie depositing the puck behind him and seemingly lifting the Falcons to an insurmountable 2-0 lead.
But after a loud clamor from the DRS bench and their supporters in the stands, the referees huddled together for an extended period then dramatically waved off the goal, stating that it struck a Falcon player on the bench before being deflected back out on to the playing surface. The puck was ruled out of play, and the ensuing goal was disallowed. The Flatbush faithful were now up in arms! With the call coming so late after the goal was registered, how could the officials allow themselves to be influenced by the din of the crowd, or by the cries of a coach? The essential question that would go unanswered was, if the play did not result in a goal, would the officials have stopped play and ruled a face-off or would play just have continued on without stop? It appeared that the answer would have been the latter, and if that was the case then it could be argued that the goal should have stood. Nevertheless, while the ruling may have been just (the puck did in fact strike a player’s equipment on the bench before ricocheting out towards the center of the court), the question would go unanswered and the goal was disallowed. Flatbush successfully killed off the penalty and continued to make the one-goal lead stand up. With time running down, DRS finally pulled its goalie for an extra man, and with under one minute to play Morris Bijou intercepted a pass and flicked a long court shot from deep in the Flatbush zone that struck home in the empty net lifting the Falcons to a 2-0 lead. With the Falcons looking to close things out, DRS received one last ray of hope as Maleh took a penalty with :22 seconds remaining. Again lifting the goalie for a 5-on-3 advantage, DRS finally beat Esses over the left shoulder with :08 seconds to play. But the token goal was as close as DRS would get. Back at full strength, Flatbush closed out the final seconds, and the team rushed the court exalting in the upset victory and sending notice to the League that Flatbush plans to be in the mix when it comes time to crown a champion!

Nest Notes:
Flatbush hosts the other MYHSAL hockey leader, HAFTR, on Thursday night, 12/26, as they look to avenge their worst defeat of the season. In earlier games, on 12/9 Flatbush defeated Magen David by a score of 5-0. Sam Laniado scored twice on feeds from Morris Bijou. Moe Maleh had two goals; one unassisted and one off the stick of Laniado. Sol Sasson closed out the scoring with an assist from Michael Tawil. On 12/12 Flatbush defeated SSLI also by a score of 5-0. Flatbush was led by Moe Maleh who tallied 2 goals and 2 assists. Sam Laniado, Ben Vilinsky and Jordan Hill added one goal apiece. Additional assists came from Laniado and Michael Tawil. On 12/21 Flatbush defeated YDE by a score of 6-0. The Falcons were paced by two goals apiece from Morris Bijou and Sam Laniado. The other two goals came from Moe Maleh and Morris Shayo.

Tzedakah Commission's Goods and Services Auction 2013

On Monday, December 16, the Tzedakah Commission held its annual Goods and Services auction to help raise money for the chesed race that they conduct every year. The chesed race is a way of raising money for the organizations Rabbi Besser and many students visit when they go on the annual Chesed Mission to Israel in January. It is a race between each class to see who can raise the most money. Teachers and students committed to give a variety of goods or services for the winners of each auction. Tickets were sold during both lunches in the gym. Teachers donated free tutoring, lunch with students, and even funny prizes like chopstick lessons and an autographed AP chemistry textbook from Mr. Cohen. Students offered trips to Carvel and Starbucks. We could not have done it without everyone's support and help. Thank you for helping us raise Tzedakah and reaching our goal! ~Sophia Chabot
For a list of prizes and winners click here.

Parent Shares Expertise in STEM Class

Mr. Vizgan advising our STEM students
On Wednesday December 25, 2013, 10th grader Gabriel Vizgan's dad Shlomo Vizgan came to visit our after school STEM class. He spoke to the students about how his company where he is an engineer and creates programs for businesses. Following his lecture Mr. Vizgan helped students with their STEM projects. We are so grateful for Mr. Vizgan's time and expertise. It was a most informative and enjoyable visit.
~Ms. Benun, STEM teacher
Mr. Vizgan with son Gabriel and STEM instructors 
After school STEM class with Mr. Vizgan

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Flacon's Nest Notes: Flatbush Varsity Defeats HANC to Climb Back Into Playoff Hunt

Flatbush Falcon boys defend on the road

Flatbush Varsity Defeats HANC on 24 December to Climb Back Into Playoff Hunt; A Poem from Coach Avi Borenstein

T'was the night before Yule,
coming of a rough 3 game spank,
the boys were 3-5
and were heading to HANC.

Somewhere out on the EyeLand,
on a bus ride of length
the Falcons really needed
help from the starters and bench.

On this night 3 teams 3-5
went out to play
to see who could rise to the playoffs
or who would fly away.
Buddy Setton shoots a free throw on the road

Rambam vesus Magen,
Hillel at MDY
Flatbush Falcons in a Hurricane
all needed wins, that's no lie.

This night was for gut check
to see of what stuff they're made
A fight for the playoffs,
would they rise or they fade?

Facing adversity
was there gas in the tank?
And the last scheduled practice,
was interrupted by the blood bank.

So, the team moved the gurneys,
and ran through new drills,
learned a whole new motion offense
run with aplomb; gave the chills.

There is no quit in Falcon,
now time for the game,
on the cold erev Yuletide
would they fly? Would they wane?

This game was a battle,
physical and tough
the Hurricanes from Long EyeLand
tried to play rough.

But the Falcons had spirit,
and they had come to play
the would not leave HANC empty-handed
not if they had their way.

It was 13-8 at the quarter,
28-22 at the half,
Considering the boys had only 24 total at Riverdale,
there might be reason to laugh.

But the Canes were a tough bunch,
would not be the quiet storm in this story
roared out of the locker
and tied the game at all 40.

Would the Falcons relent?
Would they they be crushed by the Cane's burst?
or would they rise to the occasion
Show they had left behind the worst?

With renewed man to man defense
and a heart big as all Kings,
the Falcons rose higher
'cause they knew what a win means.

Joe Dayan 6 for 6
at the 4th quarter charity stripe,
Murr Mizrachi ate rebounds
team D cut like a knife.

With Nathan H at the point,
Joey Dweck making steals
the Twin Michaels playing defense
the intensity unreal.

Flatbush rose to the occasion
outscored HANC 15-8
got to leave with a "W"
final score 55-48.

To leave HANC with a win
it took the whole team,
start with two big shots by Harrari
Bobby's point play finding seams..

Victor S played great D,
as did Meyer and Shawn
Braha came off the bench
to show muscle and brawn.

Sam played with his usual swagger,
the bench screaming "de-fense"
in a total team effort,
the Falcon's spirit was intense.

Nathan finished with 13,
Dayan 22,
but the story of the game,
is what passion will do.

When you bad need a win
and your back's to the wall,
from the starters to the bench play
every Falcon met the call.

Now 4-5, back on track
and DRS Saturday night
the Falcons are ready
to get back in the fight.

YDE lost to Hillel,
Magen beat the Ravens in a fight
and the Falcons soared again
on this cold winter night.

So, give credit to their spirit,
their skill and desire,
there is still so much opportunity
for the Falcons to fly higher,

Come watch Falcons face the Wildcats,
come see Falcons fight,
We hope to see our fans,
on this coming Shabbat night.

In conclusion we thank
Leor and Gus
Eric and also Mike Gelber
for arranging the bus.

Rabbi B stepped up big
Noam Menashe kept the stats,
We shot grit and courage,
to all, we tip our hats.

So now, fans come join us,
Watch us fight for our playoff lives,
all games are at home
no excuses, no more travel,

Good luck to all,
and to all a good night!

Avi Borenstein
Head Coach, Flatbush Falcons Boys Basketball

Senior Night 2013!

Senior Council 2014 with Mr. Galpert
On Monday night December 16th, Yeshivah of Flatbush seniors had their annual Senior Night in Bryant Park. More than half the grade ice skated and warmed up after with dinner at nearby kosher restaurants including Mr. Broadway and Bravo Pizza. Students and teacher chaperones skated and ate together and everybody had a wonderful time under the beautiful night sky of NYC! ~Isaac Dayan, Senior Council 2014 President

Pathfinders Update: Student Gains Real World Experience By Shadowing a Gastroenterologist

Jeffrey Nussbaum with Dr. Silvera
Most high school students usually wake up to go to school in the morning. However, on a past Thursday morning, I had the unique opportunity and privilege of shadowing Dr. Charles Silvera, the gastroenterologist. Thanks to the Yeshivah of Flatbush Pathfinders Program, led by Mrs. Hanon and assisted by Mrs. Anteby, I was able to have a fantastic and educational morning.

Gastroenterology is a branch of medicine that is focused primarily on the digestive system and its disorders. Even though I was only with Doctor Silvera for several hours, I could clearly tell that he is highly adroit in his field of practice. Before he started the colonoscopy procedure,which I had the amazing opportunity to watch, he pulled out a plain piece of paper and quickly sketched the small intestines. He explained to me, by means of a visual representation, the different sectors and functions of the small intestines, with ease.

Sure biology is a hard subject to master. However, if you do just that, you aren't ready to become a doctor. In order to become a successful doctor, you need to learn not only within a classic classroom setting but through real-world experiences as well. At the Endoscopy center, I was able to actually watch multiple colonoscopies. Doctor Silvera gave me a play by play analysis of what must be done from the beginning to the end of the procedure. He showed me all of the tools that are used during the procedure and what their functions are. As we ventured through the patient's small intestine through a miniature camera, the doctor explained to me all of the various intestinal diseases and long term issues that one can come across during their lifetime.

"What is my reasoning for wanting to become a physician?" The answer to this general question is very simple. Being a doctor is the highest level of altruism and the best way to give back to society. I want to be the reason why people can become happy and healthy once again. Becoming a successful and knowledgeable surgeon is my dream. Physicians never cease to amaze me. I hope to follow in their footsteps, and the Yeshivah of Flatbush Pathfinders Program has allowed me to get a little closer to fulfilling my dream.

I was so glad that I was given yet another opportunity of gaining real-world experience in an actual medical practice, in addition to the great traditional classroom setting I receive at Flatbush. Thanks to Doctor Silvera, the opportunity truly deepened my passion for the sciences and strengthened my aspiration of becoming a successful doctor sometime in the future.  ~Jeffrey Nussbaum 4-HR

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Students Read with Middle Schoolers Through Partners in Reading Program

On Wednesday, December 11th, I joined a group of 14 Yeshivah of Flatbush High School students in an amazing program called Partners in Reading. We all read The Wave by Todd Strasser and then went to the Yeshivah of Flatbush Elementary School to discuss the novel with a group of students from the Middle Division. This book is about an experiment performed by a teacher in his history class that basically involved creating a cult-like movement that enveloped the whole school in five short days. The movement soon became violent and as the experiment went too far the teacher had to call it off.
It was a truly enriching experience for me to see the different ways a book can be approached. I looked at the novel extremely differently than the middle schoolers that were in my group and I learned new things from the viewpoints that they brought. Together we all delved into the inner recesses of our minds and tried to examine the fundamental structure behind a cult like movement and why people are so attracted to them. We explored the allure of discipline and the need to belong to something bigger than oneself. However, possibly the most frightening, yet enlightening, part of my experience was when my group and I preformed some introspection to try and figure out whether we would be swept up in a movement like The Wave if it came to our school. It was extremely interesting to see the different ways that we all reacted to the idea of a movement like this.
I felt that together we all grew and I was happy that I was able to participate in such an amazing event! Thank you to coordinators, Mrs. Kurtz the high school library chair, Mr. Katz, and Mrs. Grant the elementary school librarian.
~ Sammy Tbeile

Monday, December 23, 2013

Junior College Night

College Night, for juniors, took place on Tuesday, December 10 in the Yeshivah of Flatbush auditorium. Dorothy Denburg, the the Dean Emerita of the college at Barnard and Yeshivah of Flatbush College Guidance consultant, was the keynote speaker. She spoke about finding the right fit in one's college search. We had a representative from The Princeton Review come and speak about the differences between the SAT and ACT. The College Guidance Department gave a brief presentation on Naviance, our online collge guidance portal, and an overview of the college application process. The night ended with students receiving their PSAT and PACT results. ~Mr. Josh Gombo, College Guidance Counsler

Friday, December 20, 2013

History Day 2013!

On December 17th and 18th, the Jewish History and Social Studies departments held a special History Day program for juniors and seniors. The program centered around the theme, Coming to America: the Immigrant Experience. Day 1 of the program focused on the Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities immigrant experience in NYC. Students watched the documentary "Coming to America", created by Joseph Sitt and produced by Marlene Mamiye, which focuses on the Syrian communities' immigrant experience on the Lower East Side. The film was followed by a real-word immigration experience trip for seniors. They were divided into 3 groups; one group visited Congregation Shearith Israel: Spanish Portuguese Synagogue, another explored the Eldridge Street and Bialystoker Synagogues on the Lower East Side and the third group toured the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.
Day 2 of the program opened with a Drama Troupe presentation and immigration -themed music video, followed by a wide variety of interactive sessions (30 in total) led by teachers and visiting lecturers. Sessions ranged from real life stories by immigrants who escaped Syria, to hearing from young undocumented aliens, to discussions of the immigrant experience in literature, to cooking classes and much much more. Juniors also participated in a debate led by History faculty, Ms. Shelley Kaplowitz, on the question of "Should the illegal alien Superman be granted citizenship?"
Lunch was a major highlight of the day! Ami and Ralph Sasson sponsored an incredible gala ethnic food festival in memory or Mrs. Susan Sasson A"H which showcased Sephardic and Ashkenazic foods as well as a special pickle-making workshop by Rabbi Dr. David Eliach.
The program closed with a choir performance of immigrant songs, an original student-created music video which had the students waving American flags and cheering for their families' countries of origin and Rabbi Ronald J Levy leading the audience in a a rousing rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner."

The entire History Day program was conceived, organized, and implemented by Jewish History chair, Mrs. Miriam Wielgus, and Social Studies chair, Mr. Howard Rothbort. Thank you to all those who contributed their time and effort for making our History Day a resounding success! 

Pathfinders Update: Students Try on Google Glass in Preparation for Internship

On Tuesday, December 10, four Yeshivah of Flatbush juniors and one sophomore were privileged to meet with Ari Zoldan, CEO of Quantum Networks, in order to discuss future internships with him at his company. The students had an opportunity to learn about Zoldan's company and the interesting things they do. Each student was assigned a task to complete in order to start their internship at this modern and fast moving company. While there, the students also had an opportunity to try on Google Glass-just another perk of being involved with this great company. This experience was made possible through the Yeshivah of Flatbush Pathfinder's Program.   ~Rashelle Gersh

Torah To Go Series: Parashat Shemot 5774

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Falcon's Nest Notes: JV Girls Basketball Team Volunteer at Soup Kitchen

JV Girls Basketball team with Coach Rozan Mizrahi
On Sunday, December 15, the JV Girls Basketball team had the opportunity to volunteer at Masbia, a soup kitchen located on Coney Island Ave and Ave J. After hours of basketball practice that morning, the team headed over to Masbia together, demonstrating that they are capable of working as a team helping those who are less fortunate in addition to working as a team on the court. They first washed their hands, put on hairnets, and put on some gloves. Then they got to work. The team, with the help of their coaches Rozan Mizrahi and Jon Gabriel, peeled about 200 pounds of yams and cut up about 300 pounds of butternut squash, which would be able to feed many people. While preparing food for the less fortunate, the team gained a very valuable lesson: It is always important to give back.  ~Sylvia Franco

Nest Notes
The JV Girls Basketball team's involvement with the Masbia Soup Kitchen is in following with the goal of the athletic department for each level of each team to engage in a Chesed project that provides our student-athletes with leadership opportunities and gives back to the community. Chazak U'Baruch to Coach Mizrahi and the Flatbush Girls' JV Basketball team!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Yachad Program: December 2013

On Thursday, December 5th, the Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School held its second Yachad program of the year run by Dean of Students, Rabbi Naftali Besser. Yeshivah of Flatbush students were joined by people with special needs in the auditorium where they kicked off the exciting program and danced to "Candlelight" by the Maccabeats and other fun Chanukah songs. After a few exciting games and introductions, everyone went downstairs to the gym where there was sushi, pizza, and lots of singing and dancing. It was a fantastic Chessed experience for the Yeshivah of Flatbush students as well as those boys participating in the annual Thomas Hausdorff Memorial Basketball Tournament.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Parent Choices Program: Making Sense of the Adolescent Journey

Victor Dweck, Choices Commission Commissioner Addressing Parents 
On Monday, December 9th, over 75 Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School parents attended an exciting and enlightening program. The evening was geared towards helping them successfully navigate through the adolescent journey. Experts in adolescent development, psychologists Dr. Norman Blumenthal and Dr. Shlomo Zimmerman, held the audience captive. They shared relevant information on a range of topics including: what to expect from teens today, how to make sense of what is normative and what isn’t, and practical tips for bridging the gap between parents and teens. This was followed by a panel of our very own experts- several students involved in the Choices Commission, a voluntary group of juniors and seniors who try to influence their peers to refrain from involvement in dangers present in society.  Lauren Levi, Lital Ben-Zikry and Victor Dweck shed light on the teen perspective and offered parents clear, feasible ideas for how to best communicate with their children. The night concluded with an informative question and answer session, during which parents were afforded the opportunity to delve further into the topics presented. A follow up workshop will be held on January 6 which will provide an additional forum for parents to process the evening and discuss how to implement the ideas into daily life. All parents are welcome. All attendees agreed that the night had expanded their understanding about their teens and generated an enthusiasm to enhance their relationships. The Guidance Department and Parents Choices Committee look forward to continued home-school collaboration and to creating future parent programs. To get involved with Parent Choices Commission please email Dr. Etty Mizrahi or Eva Bernfeld
~Dr. Etty Mizrahi, Director of High School Guidance

Monday, December 16, 2013

Over 100 Students Travel to Washington D.C. For Pro-Israel Lobbying Mission

This past Thursday, December 12, 9 Tevet, over 100 Yeshivah of Flatbush students from the Israel Activism Commission traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby their member of congress. The quantity of students set a record in both Flatbush's history and the history of the pro-Israel movement. The students lobbied on behalf of the US-Israel relationship, and advocated for Israel's security needs and the importance of foreign aid. The students mentioned how Iran is getting closer and closer to a nuclear weapon capability and the steps that America can take to counter this threat. The students also spoke on behalf of the $30 billion plan President Bush promised to the state of Israel, and which President Obama upheld, to be distributed over a ten year period.
The day started bright and early at 5:00 A.M., as students woke up to arrive on time for the departure at 5:30 and receive breakfast. As it was too early to pray at that time, the students brought with them their teffilin and prayed as soon as they got to GWU's Hillel. After we prayed, we heard an extraordinary introduction speech by our very own alumnus and pro-Israel student leader Joey Cohen-Saban (HS '11). We then went directly to AIPAC headquarters for additional lobbying training (and pictures!). From there we headed to Capitol Hill for the culmination of our hard work. We arrived with enough time to take pictures on the Hill and walk leisurely to our representatives in the House. After arriving, each and every single one of us had the chance to interact directly to the congressperson or staffer, and all groups enjoyed successful meetings!
Andrew Hersh, Israel Activism
 Commissioner with
Mr. Rothbort, Faculty Advisor

Special thanks to Andrew Hersh and Sammy Tbeile for their positions as commissioner and co-commissioner, respectively, and for their hard work in organizing this trip. And a special thanks to our faculty advisors Mr. Rothbort, as well as to the other chaperones, Señora Shterenzer, Mr. Brian Katz, and Rabbi Taler, for accompanying us on this trip. We hope to have an even more successful trip in the nearby future! ~Louis Franco

~Pictures by Mark Plushnick