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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Falcon's Nest Notes: Defense Reigns Supreme in Riverdale

Flatbush outscored SAR 24-7 in the second half to notch the Varsity Boys basketball team’s first victory of the 2014-15 season. Balanced scoring, solid rebounding and dominant backcourt pressure keyed the Falcons victory on the road Monday night in Riverdale, NY.

On the heels of an opening season loss that showed only that this team could run a stifling press, there was major concern about where points would come from. For the second time, the offense was slow to start, and it began to look again like the lion’s share of the scoring would come from Bobby Soffer, who tallied all 7 of the team’s 1st quarter points. To compound things, SAR reeled off 13 points to 2 from Flatbush to start the 2nd quarter, building a 20-9 lead that had the Falcons back on their heels and on the verge of getting blown out.

But up stepped the Falcon defense, and rookie point guard Eli Cattan. With Co-Captain Ray Braha and Junior Albert Richter alternating at the top of the team’s “13” defense, the Falcons staunched the flow of the Sting offense, and Cattan caught fire, scoring 8 straight points to end the half and close the gap to only 3, with SAR clinging to a 20-17 lead.

Then, the defense took over. The press began to take its toll on the Sting players. Frustration and fatigue set in, and SAR could generate only 4 points of offense in the 3rd period. David Dayan, seeing his first action of the season, dominated the defensive paint, blocking 3 shots and hauling in 6 rebounds. Allan Maleh and Ray Braha combined for 9 points at the other end, and the Falcons took a 6 point lead entering the final period.

The Falcon defense was even stingier in period four, yielding a total of 3 points behind the interior play of Senior Mayer Kamkhatchi and the tenacity of Junior Elliot Beyda anchoring the press. The offense continued to flow, with Senior Sam Silverman breaking out for 5 points, leading the Falcons as they coasted the rest of the way to the 14-point victory.


Nest Notes:
Eli Cattan led the Flatbush scoring attack with 8 points on the night. Allan Maleh and Bobby Soffer finished with 7 points each. Sam Silverman added 5 in the winning effort. David Dayan led all rebounders with 8. Soffer collected 6 steals. Flatbush was 18-27 from the free throw line, a marked improvement from the opening night effort a week ago.

After the Rosh Hashannah break, the Falcons Varsity will return to action on Thursday, 10/2, in the second game of a JV/V doubleheader at JEC in Elizabeth, NJ with the JV scheduled for a 7:15 pm tip-off. The JV Boys open their 2014-15 campaign on Tuesday, 9/30, at DRS in Cedarhurst, LI. Game time is 7:30 pm.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

EKO Commission Marches to Save the Planet!

A group of students from our EKO Commission together with Rabbi Haber headed for Manhattan on Sunday morning with intentions of making history. The train was crowded but that didn't deter us, the Eko Commission had an agenda worth completion. We disembark the train at 72nd street and Central Park West and we're met with thousands upon thousands of zealous and prideful marchers with one goal, Save Our Planet. The People's Climate March gathered over 300,000 people from all over the world united under the one cause: raise awareness of Earth's changing climate. We saw only a fraction of those marchers, but that was enough to fuel us with excitement for what was to come. People of all ages came to support the cause. We all left that day with a sense of accomplishment. We know we made history and forever serve as the testament that as a people we care dearly about our planet. SAY TREES!!!

Special thanks to Rabbi Haber, Mathew Bukobza, and Noam Menashe for this wonderful experience. ~ Merle Cohen

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sunday Morning Learning: September 5774

This past Sunday, September 21st / 26 Elul was the first Sunday Morning Learning program of the school year. Parents, students and faculty all learned and enjoyed the special morning together. We first prayed shachrit and then went downstairs for a great breakfast. The breakfast included French toast, scrambled eggs, bagels and a variety of salads.
After our delicious breakfast we went back up to the Beit Midrash for the shiur. We were given sources to learn in groups and then had the opportunity to hear elementary school middle division principal, Rabbi Dr. Hertzberg, give a wonderful shiur on the connection of Abe Lincoln, Rosh Hashanah, and slavery. Thank you Mr. Engel for coordinating and sponsoring this event in memory of his beloved father, Aryeh Leib ben Yaakov Altaar, A”H. Hope to see everyone at the next Sunday Morning Learning on November 23, 2014. 
~David Idy

Pathfinders Update: Spending Summer Part of Women in Science

Sabrina Abrahim with Dr. Karamitopolous
This past summer, I had the prestigious opportunity to get a sneak peak into the medical field with the help of the Director of the Pathfinders Program, Mrs. Hanon. I was accepted into the Women in Science program at Maimonides Medical Center, led by Dr. Karamitopolous, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Maimonides. This program was established to give women interested in medical research and the medical field in general a chance to explore what might someday become their future career. I was able to see the distinct difference between the hospital versus the office environment. The highlight of my internship was that I able to do hands-on work rather than filing papers and cleaning out test tubes. I was permitted to shadow doctors in the office, interact with patients, and join various attendings as well as residents in the Operating Room. Yes, you read correctly. I watched real, live surgeries, side by side with my mentor. In addition, I joined residents and interns in the simulation lab to practice techniques including suturing and casting. I attended lectures about women in society, writing articles about medical research, and balancing family and career. Every now and then, I spoke with different surgeons and gained wonderful insight about college, medical school, and the path to success. Within a few weeks, I formed strong, lasting relationships with the entire Orthopedic team at Maimonidies! ~Sabrina Abrahim

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Falcon's Nest Notes: Volleyball Alumnae Return to Benefit IDF Soldiers

Great turnout of alumnae and current students for Chesed Volleyball Tournament
Set – Spike! “I got it!” “Mine, mine!” For many in the YoF HS Gym on Sunday afternoon, these are things they haven’t heard for quite some time. But for four hours, former players took to the court alongside members of the 2014-15 Flatbush Falcons JV and Varsity Girls Volleyball teams – and some of their fellow classmates – to relive memories, reconnect with the Flatbush community while at the same time raising funds for our soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces. The proceeds from the event are earmarked specifically for “Thank Israeli Soldiers,” an organization that provides support to the soldiers of the IDF, particularly many of the lone soldiers with no family on the ground in Israel.

Coaches Evelyn Shterenzer and Lauren Zalta organized all the attendees into teams, and set up matchups throughout the afternoon. The highlight for many was provided by the return of two squads of alumnae who battled both each other as well as teams made up of members of the present varsity roster.

Feedback from the alumnae was extremely positive. “This was so much fun!” remarked Sally Shatzkes (HS ’99 and current faculty member), who attended with her young children in tow. “For me, volleyball [and other extra-curricular activities] was such a big part of my Flatbush experience. We should do something like this more often!”
Similarly, the students and players in attendance were equally excited about the event. “It was so cool! And I like that it was before the start of the regular season,” noted Rochelle Tawil, co-captain of the present Varsity squad. “Now we have more of an idea of what we need to work on for the season. This was awesome!”

When it came time for the playoffs of the day’s contests, play finally got serious. The crowd was focused on each point, and cheers erupted at the end of each play.

Perhaps inspired by the return of so many alumnae, and seeing their passion for the game still present years after having departed Flatbush, Co-Captain Rebbeca Zami lobbied for added practice time during the season. You can bet that team will get more than just their regular Tuesday slot to train for the season going forward.

Nest Notes:
Both the Girls JV and Varsity Volleyball teams will practice twice between Rosh Hashannah and the Sukkot holiday break. During that time, the MYHSAL schedule will be finalized, and the teams are looking forward to their first tastes of competition towards the end of October.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Phoenix 2014-2015: Issue 1

Falcon's Nest Notes: Late Rally Falls Short; Falcons Drop Opener to HAFTR @ MDY Tournament

Bobby Soffer pushes the ball in transition
Behind a barrage of 3-pointers from Senior Co-Captain Bobby Soffer, Flatbush closed the gap late in the fourth quarter, but the rally fell short and the Falcons dropped the season opener to HAFTR in the opening round of the MDY Pre-Season Basketball Tournament on Tuesday, 9/16, 56-46.
Joe Gindi helps position the full court press alignment
Though the team has a majority of seniors, this game marked the first varsity action for the most of the players on the roster. And, it was clear from the outset that there was a serious case of opening day jitters for this new group of Falcons. The boys found themselves in a deep deficit early, but behind the leadership of Soffer at both ends of the court, and the inspired play from varsity newbies Elliot Beyda and Albert Richter, Flatbush clawed its way back, closing to within one point, 22-21 with under 4 minutes to play in the first half.
Allan Maleh converts from the free throw line
Another bright spot for the Falcons was the effectiveness of the trademark Flatbush full-court press. The pressure applied caused 23 turnovers by the HAFTR offense. But as effective as the press was, the Falcon offense was equally careless with the ball, handing it back to the Hawks nearly as often, committing 20+ turnovers of their own. As a result, HAFTR’s lead ballooned to nearly 20 points in the fourth quarter, before the stellar shooting of Soffer closed the gap late.

The Falcons will look to get on the winning track with a number of pre-season matchups before entering MYHSAL play after the Sukkot holiday break.

Nest Notes:
Bobby Soffer paced all scorers with 29 points, dropping in 7 baskets from beyond the arc. Albert Richter added 8 points for the Falcons. The team shot an abysmal 5-13 from the foul line, a statistic that must improve of the team is to be successful this season.

The Varsity boys return to action on Monday, 9/22 when they travel to SAR to take on the Sting in another pre-season tune-up. Game time is 8:15 pm. The JV will begin its 2014-15 campaign on Tuesday, 9/30, when they travel to DRS for a rematch of last season’s JV championship game. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 pm.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Falcon's Nest Notes: Cleats On! Boys Soccer Debuts Outdoors at Flatbush

Freshman and Sophomore players demonstrate their skills in game play
Marking a first in Yeshivah of Flatbush Athletics, boys turned out in great numbers Wednesday night (9/10) to show off their soccer skills in hopes of being a part of the first-ever outdoor soccer team in the gloried athletic history of the Yeshivah.
Coach Skolnick adresses a group of Junior and Senior players before scrimmaging
The late time and the distant location did not deter over 70 hopeful boys who came out to Comer Field in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn to take part in the first day of tryouts for the new athletic team. Under the watchful eyes of new Head Coaches and faculty members Eli Amzalag and Rabbi Yoni Skolnick, the boys stretched, warmed up and scrimmaged on the two field areas. First in teams of 11, then later in teams of 7 (to open up the field for wider play), the boys showed off their skills on the open space of the outdoor football pitch in the setting in which the game was originally intended to be played.
Coach Amzalag gives instruction to a group of Freshman and Sophomre players
At the end of the session, with the sun sinking low in the sky, the players gathered around the coaches for feedback and to learn that the next tryout sessions would split the squad over two days to better evaluate each and every individual, with 9th & 10th graders coming back the next Tuesday and 11th & 12th graders coming back the next Wednesday.
Matt Bukobza controls the ball as Coach Skolnick evaluates player performance from the sideline
Reflecting on the overwhelming turnout, the new coaches were excited about the prospects for the program. The excitement was equally matched by the many students who came out. Varsity indoor stalwarts like Matt Bukobza, Ilay Fachima and Maor Laham relished to opportunity to take their games out of the gym, and their smiles while going through drills on the natural grass of Comer Field were infectious! The interest was high, the intensity great, and the task before the coaches is now daunting. By the end of the month, the rosters will be set for Flatbush’s first-ever outdoor soccer squads!

Nest Notes:
The Athletic Department is presently in the process of seeking opponents for the newly formed JV and Varsity Soccer teams. Pending the securing of a local field, the fall season will culminate in a three-team yeshiva soccer tournament to be hosted by Flatbush.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pathfinders Update: Experiencing A Cooking Demonstration

This week seniors Florence Dweck, Nancy Torgueman, Nancy Mizrahi, and Rosie Amar had the opportunity to take part in a cooking demonstration by Paula Shoyar at the Sephardic Community Center through the Yeshivah of Flatbush Pathfinders Program. These students learned what really goes on in a kitchen with a professional chef. They learned new recipes and what to do in situations when you're short on time when baking. They also had the chance to interact with Paula Shoyar, who has done baking demos on live television and has appeared on a baking show called Sweet Genius. Not only did  the students get to meet her but they baked with her as well. They received many insider baking tips from her that will help them in their future culinary careers. ~Florence Dweck

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.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Falcon's Nest Notes: Tip-Off in Brooklyn; Boys Basketball Opens Season at the MDY Pre-Season Tourny

The Flatbush Falcons Boys Varsity Basketball team will tip-off the 2014-15 campaign tonight, 9/16, as they take on perennial league powerhouse HAFTR, of Lawrence, NY in the Magen David Yeshiva Pre-Season Tournament. Start time is 6:30PM. All MDY Tournament games will be played in the Magen David Yeshiva Elementary School building on McDonald Avenue.

This will be a very early test for the Falcons. Both the Varsity and JV are starting to acclimate to the system as the coaches continue to stress fundamentals and develop more advanced basketball training. With last season’s team's starters and most of the rotation having graduated last spring, this new wave of players is looking to make an early statement to the League and continue the Falcon basketball tradition.

Starting for the Falcons in this early season game will be the following senior players: Bobby Soffer, Sam Silverman, Alan Maleh, Mayer Kamkhatchi, Ray Braha. These five constitute the sole holdovers from last year’s varsity roster.

Nest Notes:
Last Thursday night, September 11, at the start of practice, Head Coach Avi Borenstein began both the JV and Varsity practices with a review and discussion of the meaning and significance on 9/11, on a local, national and Jewish level with the members of both squads.

On Sunday afternoon, at conclusion of practice, the JV prayed Mincha led by sophomore Jackie Mishaan as chazzan.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Falcon's Nest Notes: Kicking Off a New Athletic Year

The start of school also means the start of a new athletic season. And, Flatbush students have come out in great numbers in an effort to become Falcons for the 2014-15 season.

With the Boys Basketball season getting a head start with an early pre-season date in the Magen David Yeshiva pre-season tournament, they were the first to take to the court and begin the process of evaluation and selection of both JV and Varsity squads. A combined 100 students came out to show off their games for the coaching staff in the hopes of earning one of the coveted 15 spots on the JV and Varsity respectively.
Coaches Borenstein and Kennedy address the Juniors and Seniors
looking to earn a spot on the Varsity Boys Basketball team
Right on their heels were the Girls Volleyball squads, with and early alumni tournament on tap for Sunday, September 21. Returning players came out to demonstrate they are ready to step up their games for a spot on Coach Shterenzer’s Varsity roster. Equally impressive was the great number of members from the freshman class looking to show they have what it takes to be Falcon Volleyballers – over 60 Flatbush students looking for a spot on the JV squad!
Assistant Coach Jon Gabriel watches the girls shoot foul shots at JV Girls Basketball tryouts
The Flatbush Girls Dance Team also held tryouts over two days to see who would be invited to join the trophy-winning program for the new school year. Turnout was so great, and the performance level so high that determining who would make the 12 member roster would be a daunting challenge for Coaches Cohen and Greenberg. With the numbers so high, and the potential so great for the program going forward, there is now discussion of expanding the team to add a JV level (stay tuned for more on this exciting prospect)!
Assistant Coach Lauren Zalta takes the girls trough drills at JV Girls Volleyball tryouts
Over the rest of the first two weeks of school, students have come out with equal enthusiasm for Girls Basketball, Boys Hockey, Boys Volleyball and Boys Soccer. Before the Sukkot break, we also expect our Spring Sports to conduct their initial try-outs. That includes teams like Boys Softball, Girls Soccer, Boys Volleyball, Girls Softball and Baseball. Additionally, the Track and Field team will begin training after school on Monday, 9/15, with the hopes of building on the foundation of success started in the Spring of 2014.

All in all, it looks to be a great start for the 2014-15 edition of the Flatbush Falcons!

Nest Notes:
The Girls Volleyball Program will be the first athletic team to address the mission for each sport program to engage in a chesed project for the betterment of our community. The team will be hosting an Alumnae Tournament, welcoming back former Falcon volleyball players to compete against each other as well as against present members of the Girls Volleyball JV and Varsity teams. The YOFHS SGO will also be on hand selling drinks and snacks to all in attendance. Event to benefit Thank Israeli Soldiers. YOFHS Gym doors open 12:00noon; event starts at 12:30 pm. Save the date = Sunday, September 21!

Freshman Orientation Day 2014!

When this year's freshmen class walked into Flatbush on orientation day a little over a week ago, they didn't know what to expect. Knowing how the transition from elementary school to high school can be difficult, we had our senior mentors on hand to guide the freshmen. The mentors, as well as, the Senior Mentor coordinators have been working over the summer to welcome the 9th graders into our school with open arms. Each group of 2-4 freshmen received one senior mentor, an experienced student who willingly shared their knowledge about getting comfortable in the school and make the freshmen feel at home. We had a series of ice breaker questions to start the day, ranging from their summer activities to their favorite Avenue J restaurant. Here seniors were really able to get to know their freshmen and ease the nerves they may have had. The class of 2018 also had a chance to hear from Rabbi Naftali Besser, Dean of Students, and Victor Zeitoune, SGO President. Students also watched a welcome back video created by the SGO. Finally the freshmen then proceeded to their homerooms to get their metro cards, schedules, and also to talk with their Senior Mentors even more. There are more special programming scheduled for freshmen all part of Welcome Freshman Month. Welcome Freshmen to the Flatbush family! ~Rebecca Zami

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Falcon's Nest Notes: PreSeason Workout

Flatbush players scrimmage under the watchful eyes of Coach Borenstein
Looking to get a head start on the season, the YoF Athletic Department for the first time ever provided the opportunity for our student-athletes to begin training for the fall season even before the start of classes in September. With initiative form the Flatbush Falcons Boys Basketball coaching staff, prospective members of the team gathered at All-Sports Brielle. Under the guidance of Head Coach Avi Borenstein and Assistant Coach Gus Kennedy, over 40 returning and first-time players got together to train, drill and scrimmage twice in advance of official try-outs that are slated to take place after the start of classes. With sessions on Monday, August 25 and Wednesday, August 27, prospective players got their first taste for what the upcoming season will look like and what they can expect once official practice gets underway.
Prospective Falcon Basketball players gathered at All Sports in Ocean Twp, NJ for the first-ever summer workouts
With such a strong turnout for this first-time event, it was clear that the coaches and players are geared up and ready to give the effort necessary to pick up where the program left off last March. Entering the second season with the present coaching staff, the varsity faces a great challenge having graduated 66% of the roster, blending the returning members with a large number of newcomers. But with Seniors Ray Braha, Allen Maleh and Bobby Soffer already showing the readiness to take leadership roles, the team is primed to build on the foundation built last season. The JV similarly faces a great challenge, having fallen one painful step shy of winning it all last season. With a solid core of Sophomores led by Jackie Mishaan, Kevin Haddad and Louis Zarif returning –all three having played key roles in taking the JV team as far as it did last year - the squad has the singular goal of fully scaling the mountain top this season.
Coach Borenstein positions Sophomore Abie Rosow and Senior Ray Braha on the court for drills
The coaching staff anticipates great competition for all the roster spots on the team, and it is clear that these two days will serve the incoming freshmen well in the quest for those prized spots as the two days at the Jersey Shore gave the newcomers their first taste of what high school athletics will be like. So, the coaches and players alike are hopeful that these early birds, these hopeful Falcons, will catch the prized worm come March 2015 – a coveted MYHSAL championship!

Welcome Flatbush Athletics to 2014-15! GO FALCONS!

Nest Notes:
All Flatbush athletic teams will be looking to hold their try-outs during the first half of the month of September. The Boys Basketball program will “tip-off’ first with try-outs already scheduled for Thursday, 9/4 (JV at 5:30 pm and Varsity at 8:00 pm) and Sunday, 9/7 (JV at 10:00 am and Varsity at 12:00 noon). The Girls Basketball program takes the court on Monday, September 8 and Wednesday, September 10 (JV at 5:30 pm and Varsity at 7:30 pm on both dates). The full try-out calendar for all sports will be posted in the Athletic Office and outside the HS Gymnasium. Check with Mr. Eric Amkraut, Athletic Director, for details.