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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Yachad/Ohel Event

On Thursday, December 3, Yeshivah of Flatbush, along with commencing the 20th Annual Haudsorff Memorial Basketball Tournament and Shabbaton, welcomed once again members from Yachad and Ohel.
Dozens of students joined as they sang, danced and dined with Yachad and Ohel members. It was a night to remember. Smiles and laughter filled the room. ~Sabrina Abrahim, class of 2016

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Mr. Kasim Hafeez Speaks with Seniors About Israel Activism

The Senior Class of 2016 had the opportunity to hear from Mr. Kasim Hafeez about his views on Israel in the world and on college campuses.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Senior Night 2015

Last night the Senior Class of 2016 had their annual Senior Night, consisting of ice skating and dinner.

The students departed school for Bryant Park where they immediately got straight to work on getting skates and hitting the rink. There was cheer and happiness in the air as the students got on the ice. It was crowded, as expected for the prime season, but nothing the seniors couldn't handle. Even those who initially began on the wall managed to half-stomp-half-skate to the center with the help of some good friends.
After skating the seniors walked a couple of blocks to dinner of their choice. Some chose Bravo Pizza, others Mr. Broadway. Dinner was especially delicious post a claustrophobic train ride, much skating, and with the knowledge that there is a fast the very next day.
We returned home, concluding our highly fun and cheerful evening. This was a great night to bond as a grade and build memories that we will share in the future. Thank you to all those who attended- it's the people that make the event successful. Thank you to all the teachers who chaperoned. Lastly, thank you to Mr. Galpert and the Senior Council of 2016. Looking forward to future events!
~Michelle Harari, Senior Council 2016 President

Tzedakah Commission: Goods and Services Auction 2015 Winners

On Monday, December 20/ 9 Tevet the Yeshivah of Flatbush Tzedakah Commission held its annual Goods and Services Auction during lunch to raise money for the annual Chesed Mission to Israel. Teachers and students committed to give a variety of goods or services for the winners of each auction. We raised over $1000 for Tzedakah! Here are the list of winners:

Monday, December 21, 2015

Chasing Peace Shoe Decorating

On Wednesday, November 25, Chasing Peace came to visit Yeshivah of Flatbush! Chasing Peace is an organization that donates shoes to children in need, and our students got to decorate the shoes that will be donated thanks to their donations and designs. Our students decided to donate the shoes they decorated to the different organizations in Israel that the Chesed Mission 2016 will be visiting this January. 
Chasing Peace brought us shoes in all different sizes, from toddlers to adult sizes. Every student who came during their lunch to decorate picked up some sharpies, a pair of shoes, drew on their shoes and had a great time! Our students really showed how creative and imaginative they are! We got such amazing designs! A few shout outs- Sarah Cohen and her amazing shoes, Albert Saad and his Olaf shoes! After the students finished decorating their shoes, they placed a small handwritten letter inside the shoe. Thank you to everyone who participated, we designed 60 pairs of shoes for children and adults in need! Thank you to Señora Ovadia, Chantelle, Moses, and Madelyne for organizing this amazing event and introducing Yeshivah of Flatbush to Chasing Peace!
~Florence Deutsch

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Tzedakah Commission Goods and Services Auction Prizes 2015

On Monday, December 20/ 9 Tevet the Yeshivah of Flatbush Tzedakah Commission is hosting its annual Goods and Services Auction during lunch to raise money for the annual Chesed Mission to Israel. Teachers and students have committed to give a variety of goods or services for the winners of each auction. Tickets will be sold during both lunches in the gym. Here is a list of available prizes:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Students Use Their STEM Abilities to Enhance the Chemistry Classroom

Yeshivah of Flatbush Students, Yair Chaya and Charles Seruya, have used their STEM abilities to enhance the chemistry classroom, room 306. They designed and built a digital scoreboard to keep track of the rankings of Mrs. Goldberg's four sophomore classes in the review competition.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Biannual Blood Drive: Winter 2015

On Tuesday, December 1, 2015 students, teachers, and volunteers rolled up their sleeves to help save lives. Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School held its biannual blood drive, where volunteers were able to donate their time and blood to a worthy cause.
Over 150 pints of blood were collected by the New York Blood Center. Thank you to all of our donors for helping us reach our goal and we will hopefully see you all again in April. A special thanks to the student commissioners for helping coordinate this event. Tizku l'mitzvot.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Israel Activism Lobbying Trip to Washington DC 2015

On Monday, November 30th, a group of 45 Yeshivah of Flatbush students from our Israel Activism commission headed to Washington, D.C., our nation's capital. With growing fear of the terrorist attacks daily taking place in Israel, we decided to take action and have our voices heard. After minyan at around 6am, we headed straight for AIPAC, American Israel Public Affairs Committee's headquarters in D.C. With the help of Sydney Kaplan, AIPAC's high school director, we educated ourselves with knowledge of the situation in Israel and America's involvement for months in preparation for our scheduled lobbying meetings with our New York representatives. AIPAC's representative, Erica Miller, met with us in their executive boardroom overlooking a beautiful view of the Capitol building. She spoke to us about our lobbying meetings: how to act, what to say, how to say it, what to ask, what to focus on, etc. Then, professional legislative assistant Daniel Bleiberg reviewed all of our talking points and worked with us to practice what we planned to say to our representatives. We drove to capitol hill and split up into our lobbying groups, meeting with Senator Schumer and Congress members Clarke, King, and Velázquez on behalf of the Jewish community of Brooklyn and Yeshivah of Flatbush. The Congress members that we met with are all representatives of New York districts where students and teachers of Yeshivah Flatbush live.
I went to Yvette Clarke (district 9, Flatbush area). We met with her legislative assistant of foreign affairs, Adam Abramson. He really listened to us as well as the intern that he brought with him. We thanked him for the Congresswoman Clarke's support of the U.S.-Israel relationship and for signing onto specific bills and acts in support for Israel that we mentioned. We spoke deeply about each issue that we wanted to discuss including the rising terror wave in Israel, the tension on the northern border of Israel, and the importance of maintaining the U.S.-Israel relationship. We connected our personal experiences in Israel. Adding passion to our cause, we told Abramson the reasons why we care for Israel. We asked him what America and he can do to combat the terror. He responded reassuringly, saying that he will constantly help the cause. In addition, we introduced that it's in the United States' interests to support Israel's security needs, considering that Israel is the United States' only committed ally in the Middle East region. Abramson believes that Israel will always be in U.S.'s budget due to the shared values between Israel and America, reassuring us that he would make sure of it.
It was an extremely educating experience for myself and especially for the students in our school. We learned so much in these past few months and an incredible amount on this trip. We used the information that we learned to stand up for Israel on capitol hill and get their voices heard by representatives that have influence in the government. We are able to speak for Israel extremely confidently now because we understand the facts of the conflicts and believe in the importance of it all. This trip was very effective! Representative Adam Abramson remembered me well from past meetings I've had with him, which was great because he told us all to contact him in the future about Israel so that he can continue to hear our viewpoints and represent us. We anticipate maintaining the relationships we initiated with our representatives. After our meetings, our four groups met up for a guided tour of the Capitol building! This was a very educational and effective lobbying mission, and couldn't have taken place without Yeshivah of Flatbush's supportive administration! We hope to continue speaking out for Israel! Am Yisrael Chai!!!

~Sarah Torgueman, Class of 2016

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sophomore Mentoring Ice Skating Outing 2015

Yeshivah of Flatbush Sophomore students from classes 2-HN, 2-S, and 2-T traded their iPads for ice skates on Wednesday, November 25. The classes spent a couple of hours on the ice at Aviator with their teacher-mentors, Mr. Hofstetter, Mr. Lazar, and Ms. Marcus, as part of the Sophomore Mentoring program. Some students hugged the railing while the more advanced skaters, like Matt Fromer of class 2-T, showed off some serious skill.
In the end everyone had fun and appreciated having time to bond with classmates and teachers without the pressure of tests and homework. The teacher-mentors for the remaining sophomore classes are currently planning fun trips for their classes as well.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Hakarat Hatov Assembly 2015/5776

On Wednesday November 25, the students at Yeshivah of Flatbush had the zechut to listen to Rabbi Eli Cohen. He opened up his speech by saying that the origin of the Hebrew word for Jew, יהודי, comes from the word הודאה, which means to be, thankful. Rabbi Cohen stated that it is a natural thing for us as Jews to be thankful.

Even though it is a natural thing for us, Rabbi Cohen mentioned how people can be very unappreciative of extremely vital things. Our ability to hear is big deal. Yet, we don’t realize it and take it for granted. In fact, we often don’t appreciate things until they’re gone; all the little things we make a huge deal over, won’t matter till the important things are not there. Rabbi Cohen’s tip for being an appreciative person is to take time during the day to appreciate what you have, even the tiniest thing such as the ability to hear, will make you that person. But, as Rabbi Cohen say, “…The greatest gift in our lives, is something that none of us even realize that we have. And those who do realize it, don’t even appreciate even a millionth of how great and how special this gift is…our holy Torah.” Rabbi Cohen understands the reactions people might have. He understands that people may hear this and think, “The Torah? It’s full of discipline. Why would I be thankful for this?” Rabbi Cohen explained that in today’s world, we have everything. From A-Z the world is ours. The luxuries we have are nothing compared to what the richest people had a hundred years ago. Despite all of these seemingly good things, people are not happy. And statistics show that we really aren’t. In fact, Newsweek reported that 30% of college students are “too depressed to function.” How can that be in a time where we have everything?

Rabbi Cohen explains that no matter how much we have, we still have emptiness inside of us. How do we get rid of this empty feeling? By doing something good for others. Whether it’s reading תהילים or giving to charity, this kindness enhances our souls. Physically you don’t gain but internally, you get a feeling of fulfillment.

Rabbi Cohen says the world was created as a gift from God. Another gift is the Torah. The Torah guides us through our lives. It teaches us to be grateful yet, we unfortunately don’t appreciate the Torah. But the Torah gives advice on how to become closer to it. The line says to take things from the Torah little by little and then you learn how to be appreciative for everything.

Rabbi Cohen ended his speech by giving a story about a husband and wife. This couple had been married a few years and were struggling to have children. After three years of marriage, the wife was pregnant. There was much happiness in the air and now the couple had everything, except spirituality. The couple was very minimal on everything; no Shabbat, not so kosher, etc. During the sixth month, the wife noticed a bump on her stomach. The couple rushed to the hospital. Shortly after arriving, the mother was told she had to be operated on. Apparently, the baby was a רודף, a danger to either the mother or itself. The news devastated the couple and the father went into a corner. It was there the father made an oath. The father promised that, “If this baby is born, I promise that I will give G-d and I will give the Torah a second chance… Something small, I’ll start looking…” soon the doctor came out and the bump was gone. Two months later, a healthy baby boy was born. Shortly after, the couple started to become a little more observant. Soon, they became more observant and extremely happy. They felt like they were “living real life.” Rabbi Cohen confessed that the couple is his parents and that he is the baby. He concluded by saying that we’re all billionaires and we should all take advantage of what we have, Torah and all of our abilities. We don’t understand how lucky we are. God does so much for us and the little things should not be taken for granted.

Thank you, Rabbi Cohen for your lesson! ~Katie Fishel, Class of 2016

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Traveling Troupe Performs at Sea Crest Nursing Home

The Yeshivah of Flatbush Traveling Troupe recently performed at the Sea Crest Nursing Home. One participant shares his experience:
My experience on the Traveling Troupe was truly one to be remembered. We went to Sea Crest Nursing Home, right by the calm, tranquil ocean. We played our instruments, performed a few skits, and were treated to some wonderful vocalists. Seeing the smiles on the residents' faces put a smile on my face, and no doubt, all of the other members' faces. We all had a wonderful experience doing chesed for these people and I hope that I have many more opportunities to do that again.
~Robert Adler, Class of 2019

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Students Package Food for Beit Elezraki Children's Home

Several Yeshivah of Flatbush students recently volunteered to package food for a Chinese auction benefiting the Beit Elezraki Children's Home in Israel. We began our day packaging food, bringing it to the main house and setting everything up. We ended up having so much fun and doing chesed at the same time.
~Laura Ringer, Rebecca Sutton, Evelyn Chabot and Renee Abadi

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ma Rabu Ma'asecha Hike With Rabbi Haber

Recently, some girls from Rabbi Haber's Jewish Philosophy class went hiking on Moses Mountain in Staten Island. The trip was inspired by an idea we had been discussing in class, that in order for one to attempt to understand G-d, to know G-d, or to serve G-d, she must look towards G-d’s creations. By examining and acknowledging all that is in this world, all that is this world, we can bring ourselves one rung higher on the spiritual ladders of our lives.
As we hiked, Rabbi Haber gave us a Dvar Torah. Rabbi Haber implored all of us to recognize the immense amount of diversity in nature and to understand how just as no two leaves are identical, so too no two people are identical. Hashem created us all differently. We are all different and Hashem wants us to be different. Hashem wants us to all be ourselves and stay true to our differences. While we might all follow the same path when hiking, our overall paths in life will not be the same.
~Esther Levy, Class of 2017

Monday, December 7, 2015

WordWright Challenge: October Results

Two teams of students representing the Yeshivah of Flatbush recently won high honors in this year's WordWright Challenge, a national competition for high school students requiring close reading and analysis of many different kinds of prose and poetry. Participating with 631 school terms from all across the country, the school's twelfth graders placed fourth and the eleventh graders tied for eighth place in the nation in the year's first meet, held in October.

Yeshivah of Flatbush students who achieved outstanding individual results in the meet included sophomores Shlomo Bukai, Eli Feldman and Rachel Wolf; juniors, Samantha Chabot, Florence Deutsch, Mimi Lazerowitz, Esther Levy and Sarah Sasson; and seniors Max Edeson, Aida Franco, Leah Linfield, Gabriel Vizgan and Miriam Zenilman. More than 63,000 students from 48 states participated in the meet. The students were supervised by Pathfinders coordinator, Ms. Shifra Hanon.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Students Volunteer at "My Grandma's Closet" Fashion Show

Twelve Yeshivah of Flatbush student volunteers were privileged to attend SBH's "My Grandma's Closet" fashion show to do chesed and participate in this amazing event. I was in awe of seeing all the "lasted" fashion from the matriarchs of our community being worn by the "newer" generation. Thank you to the Pathfinders Program for making this happen. Can't wait for next year! ~Michelle Shammah, Class of 2017

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Students Visit MetLife Stadium, Home of the New York Jets

On Tuesday November 10th a group of Yeshivah of Flatbush students and sports enthusiasts went on a trip to MetLife stadium, home of the New York Jets. This trip was coordinated by our Pathfinders Program in conjunction with sports business day.
When we arrived, we got an in depth tour of the stadium. During the tour, we got to hear about many different types of jobs people can have working in sports, specifically in a stadium. It was interesting to see all the club seats the stadium has to offer and we got a real feeling of how it is to work there. It was a real enjoyable and educational experience and I thank the Yeshivahof Flatbush, and the New York Jets for giving that to me.
~Michael Catton, Class of 2017

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Shoshana Palatnik Speaks About Israel Activism to Seniors

Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School was recently honored to have Shoshana Palatnik speak to our students. She is the director of the film, "Crossing the Line 2." The seniors had the privilege to hear her speak about the rising anti-semitism on college campuses. She explained to us that it is so important to be able to respond and to be able to address the anti-semitism that affects college campuses, where many of us will hopefully be next year. Palatnik explained to us that colleges and universities in New York, including Brooklyn College, John Jay College, New York University, Columbia University, and Cornell University are highly affected by anti-semitism today. It was brought to our attention that anti-semitism usually takes the form of anti-Zionism to disguise opposers' racism against the Jewish people. We were encouraged to learn more about Israel and get our hands on as much information as we can so that we can be equipped to stand up for ourselves in the future by making the right case for Israel. Palatnik advised us not to get involved in arguments or violent demonstrations, rather to speak to our friends on college campuses about how awesome Israel is. Then, those friends that we make may come to us, seeking information about Israel that we can provide for them and convince them to support Israel. 
Ms. Palatnick with our Israel Activism Student Commissioners and faculty advisor, Mr. Rothbort
She encouraged us to participate in Pro-Israel clubs or Hillels when we get to college. If we decide on seminary or Yeshivah University where there is no present anti-semitism, we can choose to participate in Israel clubs on colleges that experience anti-semitism. Also, as students we can write op-Eds responding to anti-Israel articles in newspapers and on media sites to express support for Israel and inform the public. By doing this, we can show other students our support for Israel and encourage others to support Israel by showing them the truth about Middle East conflicts. This assembly was extremely effective and interactive. Thank you, Ms. Palatnik, for coming all the way from Jerusalem to speak to us!
~Sarah Torgueman, Class of 2016

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Congressman Todd Rokita Visits Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School

United States Representative, Todd Rokita, of Indiana's 4th District, honored the students of Yeshivah of Flatbush with a visit a few weeks ago. Congressman Rokita, a Republican and Chairman of the House subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, came to discuss what it is like working in Congress and how our participation in our great nation can reshape our lives.
From the start, Rokita was witty and on his feet. He was truthful and honest, and made a point to say he will speak nothing but the truth. Rokita was filled with humor, but stood his ground on his policies and was serious when the matters called for it. For example, when asked by one of Ms. Kaplowitz's AP Political Science students how he felt about ObamaCare and on his stance on the government shutdown last year, Rokita said that he still believes ObamaCare is insidious and not right. He also said he thought voting to shut down the government was the right thing to do, and said he would do it again if the situation deemed necessary. Rokita answered many more questions from many more students as well.
Rokita, who had the undivided attention and wholly participation of every student, reminded students on what it means to be an American citizen. He reminded us of Benjamin Franklin's doubt in this great republic, and said the only way we can prove that doubt wrong is if we continue to participate. Rokita's inspirational words got the room on its feet a couple of times for we were all clapping and cheering him on. Rokita and our very own Ms. Kaplowitz discussed some politics as well. Their discussion showed us students what it was really like in the political world of today, and opened many of our eyes.

This was a once in a lifetime experience, and I think all the students felt very happy and honored to have Congressman Rokita speak to the students of Yeshivah of Flatbush.
~Dylan Sutton, class of 2016