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Friday, December 27, 2013

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.