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Friday, October 31, 2014

The Phoenix 2014-2015 Issue 2

Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan 5775


On Thursday, October 23, we had the first Kumzits of the year to bring in Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan. Students sang with their heart and soul, praying for Israel and for peace. So many tragedies plague the world, and this was our chance to take a moment and reflect, to show that we care. The positive energy was palpable throughout the gym. Thanks to Rabbi Besser for organizing and making the Kumzits so inspiring and uplifting. ~Sarah Levy 4HR

Falcon's Nest Notes: Dawn of a New Day for Flatbush Soccer

On a bright, crisp fall afternoon, the Flatbush Falcons took the first step into a new soccer world as the Varsity boys took to the field for the very first outdoor soccer game in the storied history of the Yeshivah. 

Taking on a very experienced team from Golda Och Academy on their home field in West Orange, New Jersey, you could feel the excitement as the Falcons took their place opposite the home squad for the start of play. And a mere few seconds in, the Falcons nearly struck gold as they stole the opening pass from the Roadrunners and a teammate found an open Ilay Fachima who slipped past the GOA defense. Fachima let fly with a blast from his left foot, but it sailed high over the nearly open net.
From that point on, the experience of the host squad became apparent, as the majority of the game was played in the Falcon defensive zone. And, inexperience led to a Golda Och goal just a few minutes later, staking the hosts to a lead they would not relinquish. Under the leadership of Matt Bukobza directing the defense, the Falcons battled valiantly. But, the outdoor game is very different from the indoor one the Flatbush boys have been used to, and the Roadrunners took advantage on their way to a 3-0 lead at the break.

Nevertheless, the Falcons were still upbeat, with many recognizing that all that separated the two teams was experience and not talent. With on half of real game competition under their belts, Coaches Amzalag and Skolnick now had a reference to work with. As a result, in the words of Coach Amzalag, the Falcons gave a “far, far better showing” in the second half. Of particular note was the defensive play of David Hefez, who showed a keen knack for stymieing the Roadrunner attack and knowing how to deftly clear the ball to the side.
While the Falcons yielded another three goals in the second half, they all came late as the coaches were exploring new alignments in preparation for the remaining matches on the fall slate. Summing up the morning’s performance, Coach Amzalag was emphatic in stating that “the boys gave an terrific performance for a first time out, and we have a great foundation to build upon,” In the end, it was a banner day for the Flatbush Boys Soccer program, and the best is yet to come!

Nest Notes:
The Outdoor Boys Soccer team will next be in action in a one-day three team tournament with Kushner (Livingston, NJ) and Kinneret (Philadelphia, PA) on Sunday, 11/9. The site is still to be determined. The team will then travel to Philadelphia to play a head-to-head match with Kinneret on 11/23.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cooking For A Cause: Kneading It Together

Last Wednesday Yeshivah of Flatbush students prepared nearly 300 challot and babkas as part of a special Cooking For A Cause event. Each week the students cook something different and the food is donated to a Chesed organization. This special event was in conjunction with a world-wide attempt to make that Shabbat more special. The Shabbos Project coordinated events across the world and encouraged Jews to keep Shabbat together.

Falcon's Nest Notes: Varsity Falcons Tame the Hurricanes in Final Pre-Season Tune-Up

Behind stifling pressure defense, and complete control of the glass at both ends of the court, the Flatbush Falcons wore down their guests from HANC, 55-37, in their final pre-season game, and their first on the home court in Brooklyn, NY for the 2014-15 season.
Early on, the two teams looked to be evenly matched and the first quarter was spent with both sizing each other up. Both came with pressure defense, with neither team looking sharp from the perimeter and each tallying a mere 5 points in the opening period. But all the while, the Falcons set a tone for what was to come. Bu the middle of the second quarter, HANC began to show chinks in the armor, as the constant full-court pressure began to wear on the Huirricanes, and when they did manage to get off shots, the inside duo of Meyer Kamkhatchi and Isaac Mizrahi seemed to corral every errant shot. Not long after, two drives from Sam Silverman and one from Bobby Soffer gave the Falcons the beginnings of a cushion. The Hurricanes countered with a big 3-pointer from the outside, but a late drive from Soffer quelled the potential rally, and the Falcons took a 5-point lead into the locker room at the half, 18-13.
Following a blueprint set out last season, the Falcons dominated the 3rd stanza, with the pressure defense holding the opponents to a total of 6 points, while Soffer, Elliot Beyda and Allan Maleh recorded key points off of Hurricane turnovers. Maleh's buzzer beating turn-around jumper closed out the scoring, as the Falcons put up 18 points for a commanding 36-19 lead.
The final period showed that the coaches may have additional hands on deck to rely on, as reserves Eli Cattan, Victor Cohen and Joe Cayre all were "instant offense" off the benck, with each hitting their first shots, and Cattan recording 7 points in the quarter. The Falcons put it in cruise control the rest of the way, and though the defense yielded 18 points, the offense kept pace, netting 19 on the way to the 55-37 victory.

First Poetry Slam Competition of the Year!

On Tuesday afternoon, October 28, the poetry slam group traveled to Rambam Mesivta Yeshivah to participate in the first slam of the year. With Ms. Robinson's guidance, Fanya Donin headed the committee and Raquel Shalam, Zack Fernandez, and Merle Dweck performed their poetry. Members from Ms. Stein's creative writing class came as well to cheer on our poets. Each participant was to write one Free Verse style poem on the importance of Expression & Speaking Out. The other poem was to be a 'Terza Rima' on the topic of Unity/Achdut. We would like to congratulate Fanya for making it to the finalist round. We look forward to more upcoming slams at both SAR in November and one here on our home turf in December. Please email flatbushslampoetry@gmail.com if you'd like to participate in future slams.
Fanya Donin reciting her poetry

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

First Yachad-Ohel Program of the Year!

This past Wednesday. Yeshivah of Flatbush held its first Yachad-Ohel program of the year. These programs are a great way for us, the students, to interact and have fun with people who have mental and/or physcial challenges. The students together with the Yachad and Ohel members paired up and kicked off the night with an exciting game of bingo followed by music videos and dancing in the auditorium. 
After a D'var Torah and other introductions we moved the party to the gym where we continued our fun night with singing, rikkidum, and a pizza dinner. It was an amazing night filled with smiles, laughs, and chesed. Thank you Rabbi Besser and the Yachad-Ohel commission for making this program possible. We can't wait until the next event!
~ Jackie Fried, Yachad-Ohel Commissioner

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pathfinders Update: MAD About Jewelry Exhibition

Recently, a group of senior girls had the opportunity to experience a one-of-a-kind jewelry exhibition through our Pathfinders Program. These students had the chance to see contemporary jewelry on display at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) part of the NYU Women's Initiative. This event showcased over 50 of the world's most innovative studio and art jewelers. These students had the chance to speak with and learn from designers to get a better understanding of the jewelry field. Thank you to Mrs. Hanon for making this opportunity possible.

Friday, October 24, 2014

SGO Commission Fair 2014!

I never really knew how extensive and expansive the extracurricular activity offerings at Yeshivah of Flatbush were until I helped plan the annual Commission Fair with my fellow SGO members. It amazes me how many commissions and clubs there are and how many students enjoy getting involved. After a few weeks of hard work and planning the day finally came.
On September 30, 2014 the Yeshivah of Flatbush held its seventh annual Commission Fair to introduce students to the many different commissions, clubs, and teams available to students at Flatbush and to encourage them to sign up for those that interest them. Some of the commissions featured were Israel Activism, Eko Commission, Cooking for a Cause, Choices Commission, Tzedakah Commission, Mock Trial, STEM, Partners in Reading and many others. Every commissions board was nicer than the next. Every commissioner was so excited to get every single student involved. Many new exciting commissions were created this year, such as the Real Estate Commission where they will be bringing in successful realtors to educate students who have interest in Real Estate.
Seeing so many students so eager to get involved is such an inspiration to me and I think to everyone in the school. Flatbush students do not only focus on their schoolwork, they are also exceedingly involved in multiple extracurricular activities. The annual Commission Fair was a great demonstration of this.  
~Sophia Chabot, SGO 2015

Falcon's Nest Notes: Falcons Basketball Coach to be featured on Nachum Segal Network’s Court Report

With the pre-season well underway, and the Tishrei chagim in the rear window, the focus is quickly turning towards the start of the Yeshiva League Fall/Winter Athletic Season. Nachum Segal Network’s “Court Report” welcomes Flatbush Falcons Boys Basketball Head Coach Avi Borenstein to their Sunday night livestreaming broadcast slot on nachumsegal.com. Tune in to the “Court Report,” a Yeshiva League sports-based internet radio program, this Sunday night, 10/26, when JM in the AM sports reporter and “Court Report” host Elliot Weiselberg interviews Falcons Head Coach Avi Borenstein. As a veteran coach in the Yeshiva League, the head of the Falcons boys’ basketball program will be previewing the entire upcoming season of the Yeshiva League, taking a close look at both the JV and Varsity boys’ basketball competition, as well as providing some insight on the prospects for the Flatbush Falcons hoops programs this year. It is a great way to get ready for the excitement of a new season!

The hour-long program will air Sunday night, October 26, from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm on nachumsegal.com and will encore on Tuesday night, 10/28, also from 7 pm - 8 pm. The Yeshiva League Sports Report on JM in the AM can be heard at 91.1 FM on the radio dial in the NYC area on Tuesday mornings at 7:20 am.

Nest Notes:
Elliot Weiselberg also serves as the assistant coach for the Flatbush Falcons Varsity and JV Boys Hockey programs.

Falcon's Nest Notes: Optional Soccer Workouts Score Big Over Sukkot Holiday

A week and a half is a long time off for any team, so the coaches and players of the new Flatbush outdoor boys varsity soccer team did something about it. Coaches Skolnick and Amzalag organized three non-mandatory practices for any team members in the Brooklyn area over the Sukkot holiday break. The practices were held in Marine Park, and using portable goals, the sessions proved to be both exciting and productive.
With 6 overall training sessions now under their belts, the boys are really starting to show considerable improvement. Every day, the players are enthusiastic in their efforts, growing both in skill and in tactical play. The focus on the practice pitch has been teaching the team to play intelligently, to control the ball effectively and to learn to use space efficiently in stretching out defenses and breaking down opponents. And, the coaches are in agreement that the team is definitely moving in the right direction. Opined Coach Skolnick, “we are very pleased with the dedication the students are showing, and are excited for a successful season!”

Nest Notes:
The short inaugural season will get underway this Sunday, October 26, as the boys head south to take on Golda Och Academy in West Orange, NJ for their Flatbush debut. Game time is 10:00 am.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sgt. David Abadie Speaks With Seniors About His Experiences in the Israeli Defense Forces

On Monday, October 6th the students of the senior grade had the opportunity to hear from Sergeant David Abadie. Sgt. Abadie, a former Yeshivah of Flatbush student, served in the IDF after his senior year of high school. He subsequently made aliyah. Abadie spoke to us about his experiences in the Israeli Defense Forces. Serving in the past two operations within Gaza, Pillar of Defense and Protective Edge, the lone soldier really had a story to tell. He mentioned how his experience as a soldier in 2008 was much different then his experience this past summer when he went in with the meluim, IDF reserves units. He also shared with us his experience in making aliyah to Israel and that at first, even though his whole past life was in New York, he knew he belonged in Israel. Students were able to ask Abadie any questions that they had during an extensive Q and A session. Thank you to the Israel Activism Commission for organizing this event. Thank you Sgt. Abadie for sharing your story with us and for your service.
~David Idy, Israel Activism Commission

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Senior Council 2015 Trip to Nets Vs. Maccabi Tel-Aviv Basketball Game

The first trip for Seniors 2015, which took place right before the Sukkot vacation was a major success. The Senior Council 2015 organized a trip to the preseason basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the fan favorite of the night, the Maccabi Tel-Aviv, at the Barclays Center. The game itself was pretty even, ending with a 111-94 win for the Nets, but not without a fight from the Maccabis. The seniors enjoyed an aerial view of the stadium throughout the night, watching countless dunks, and some spectacular defensive plays by the Nets. What was truly heart warming was the outstanding support for the Israeli team surrounding us. Hundreds of Israeli flags were waving throughout the stands the entire night. Thank you to Rabbi Skolnick and Mr. Kweller for chaperoning the trip. Thank you to Mr. Galpert and of course to our Senior Council for organizing this amazing experience. This trip was the first of many more exciting ones to come during our senior year! ~Rochelle Tawil

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Freshman Welcome Month 2014

This year the freshmen students were welcomed into the Yeshivah of Flatbush over the course of the first month of school. Starting with Freshman Orientation Day, where 9th grade students met with their 12th grade senior mentors all the way to Freshman Day, where students spent the day playing all sorts of games; the students of the Class of 2018 had the opportunity to get adjusted and settled into the beginning of their high school experience.
Once orientation was over and the first week of school had ended, we thought the freshmen deserved a treat. What better treat than an ice cream party in the middle of the day? The students had a blast taking a break and enjoying some ice cream while socializing with their new friends. The 9th graders were also treated to a special breakfast where they met with and heard from all the principals. During Freshman Welcome Month the 9th grade students were also introduced to the members of the Guidance, College Guidance, and Library departments.
To culminate a great first month, freshmen spent half a day playing all sorts of games and completing many challenges with their classmates and senior mentors. The games, run by the seniors, included hilarious challenges like wrapping a student entirely in toilet paper, walking while balancing a ping-pong ball on a spoon, and getting the best picture of their team jumping in the air. Throughout the day, seniors captured the hysterical moments on camera, later to be turned into a slideshow which the students watched at the end of the program. The students were also fortunate enough to hear comforting wise words from Rabbi Besser, Dean of Students, concerning their adjustment to high school and new life at Yeshivah of Flatbush.

We know this year and the remaining years at Flatbush are going to be full of excitement for these students, and we can't wait to see them succeed and experience Four Years For the Rest of Your Life...

Here is a glimpse into Freshman Welcome Month 2014:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Falcon's Nest Notes: Late Burst Lifts Varsity Boys over JEC

Senior Co-Captain Bobby Soffer broke a 35-35 deadlock with a trey from the left slot, and the Falcons scored the final 9 points of the game to close out their third road victory of the pre-season, defeating the JEC Chargers 44-35 in front of a raucous and spirited home crowd in Elizabeth, NJ.

The game was closely contested throughout, with neither team able to establish control until the Falcons’ push in the final 3 minutes of the game. Once again, the defense was key for Flatbush in controlling the tempo of the game. David Dayan was a dominant force in the paint, registering a whopping 11 blocked shots. And, along with Senior Co-captain Mayer Kamkhatchi, the Falcons won the rebounding battle with both big men leading the way with 8 boards each.
The one negative for the Falcons was the shooting percentage from the free throw line, which for the second time this season was below 50% (5-11 as a team). This was surpassed in futility only by the host Chargers, who converted only 6 of their 17 opportunities from the charity stripe.

The biggest bright spot for the Falcons came from Senior Guard Sam Silverman. Silverman turned in the best varsity performance of his career with 12 points (second on the team), 6 rebounds and a team-leading 7 steals! Silverman’s defensive efforts, coupled with reserve point guard Elliott Beyda’s steady play in running the offense (4 assists), kept the Falcons on an even keel all night until the final scoring run spurred by Soffer’s late trey.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Falcon's Nest Notes: Falcons Sweep Doubleheader at DRS

In the first doubleheader of the season, the Flatbush Boys Basketball JV & Varsity teams travelled to Woodmere, Long island and swept the home squads for the varsity’s second win on the year and the first for the JV’s in the 2014-15 campaign.

In the opener, the JV Falcons jumped out to an early double-digit lead they never relinquished, rolling to a 49-25 dominating victory in a rematch of last season’s MYHSAL JV Championship game. Holding the Wildcats to only 2 points the entire first quarter, it was evident from the tip that these Falcons were ready to pick up where they left off last year. Seamlessly incorporating the new freshmen to the group led by the returning sophomores, the Falcons offense looked in mid-season form and the high-octane pressure defense led by Kevin Haddad (4 steals on the night) stymied the home team all over the court, yielding a grand total of 7 points in the entire first half. Flatbush dominated the glass, with Abie Rosow, Jackie Mishaan and Yoel Goldberg gathering a combined 28 rebounds. As a result, the coaches were able to provide the reserves with extensive minutes, gaining significant game experience that will surely serve the team well as the season progresses.

The Varsity, playing its third game of the pre-season, had to work much harder to earn the victory in the nightcap. Like their younger counterparts, the Varsity Falcons jumped out to an early lead. Behind a continuing flow of half-court trapping pressure and solid interior defense, Flatbush maintained a 6-point cushion throughout the first half. But the offense could not establish a consistency and could not extend a bigger lead. Thankfully, tough defense coupled with a number of miscues inside by the Wildcat offense allowed Flatbush to maintain the lead into the fourth quarter.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cooking For A Cause: Getting Ready for Rosh Hashanah

On Wednesday night, September 17th students had the opportunity to cook for less fortunate families in a Yeshivah of Flatbush program known as "Cooking for a Cause." Each week the students cook something different and the food is donated to a Chesed organization. For the first event of the school year students made food specially for Rosh Hashanah. Students made Swiss chard with chickpeas, leek edgeh, blackeye peas, sweet gourd, sweet tongue bolognese and even Tzimmes. Thank you to master chefs, Ami Sasson, Rochelle Dweck, and Esther Mishan for leading the event and the Fishel family for sponsoring the event. Special thanks to Mrs. Shifra Hanon for coordinating. All participants had an amazing fun Chesed experience!!
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.

Falcon's Nest Notes: Falcons Athletes to Promote Breast Cancer Awareness Throughout October

Recent research shows that Jewish women “who tested positive for cancer-causing genetic mutations during random screenings have high rates of breast and ovarian cancer even when they have no family history of the disease.” (New York Times, “Study of Jewish Women Shows Link to Cancer Without Family History,” Sept 4, 2014)

While this is not a real surprise, it serves to emphasize the importance and immediacy of advancing the research already in place seeking a cure to this increasingly treatable, but still deadly disease, and its impact on the Jewish community in particular.

To raise awareness of this need, in conjunction with October being recognized throughout the country as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Flatbush Falcons will take to the court and field during the entire month of October in special warm-up jerseys. The black warm-ups will sport the Falcon logo on the front and the trademark cancer research ribbon on the back in the traditional pink, with the notation “Falcons for the cure.”

Additionally, starting October 1, these shirts will be on sale to the entire student population. Pick one up and show the community that Flatbush cares, and hopes to be a part of making cancer a thing of the past. When the teams take to the court clad in these shirts, send a message of community support, filling the stands similarly dressed and making the Falcon’s Nest a sea of black and pink!

Nest Notes:
The special shirts can be purchased in the Flatbush Athletic Office starting October 1 and will continue to be on sale throughout the month. The cost is only $10.00, which covers the cost of production.