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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Spring Concert 2016

On Friday, April 8, 2016 Yeshivah of Flatbush held its annual Spring Concert event, which is a showcase for many of our high school's most talented musicians and vocalists to share their talents with a vibrant audience of peers and members of the faculty. Thank you to seniors Zack Fernandez, Esty Fromer, and Sonny Setton for organizing the event with the help of Ms. Lamm.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Flatbush Students Learn About NY Political System

A few weeks ago, my friend Sammy Beyda and I attended a rally for the campaign of Rebecca Harary, who is running for NYC Assembly District 73. When I was first given the opportunity to attend this event, through the Yeshivah of Flatbush Pathfinders Program, I was intrigued and excited to be able to attend a real political event. Upon arrival we introduced ourselves and expressed our interests in politics to the head of the campaign. We met Mrs. Harary and learned a lot about micro politics and the role of an assemblywoman. Overall it was an experience that helped me better understand our political system.  ~Ezra Faks, Class of 2019

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

AP Literature and AP Language Classes Expereince Shakespeare at BAM

On Wednesday April 6, the students of Ms. Bloom’s AP Literature and senior AP Language classes, chaperoned by Ms. Bloom and Ms. Agassi, went to the Brooklyn Academy of Music or BAM in Downtown Brooklyn to see the Royal Shakespeare Company’s enactment of the play Henry V. The Monday prior to the trip an instructor from BAM came to our class to give an acting workshop and gave us some background on the play, which was highly entertaining. On the day of the play we were one of the first schools to arrive (Just as Ms Bloom planned!), which allowed us to get front row seats! The play was fantastic with amazing acting and many funny, sad, and thrilling action-packed scenes. The end of the play had every student enrapt with attention and full of laughter; Ms Bloom even got a wink from King Henry! Thank you to Ms Bloom for organizing this trip, which was enjoyed immensely by everyone involved. 
~ Max Edeson, Class of 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

JV College Bowl Team Competes at the Final Championships!

After competing in this season’s series of College Bowl matches, and winning the title of Division Champs in the Yeshivah League, the Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School JV College Bowl team went on to play in the semifinals and final Championship games on Wednesday, April 13. The intrepid JV team, David Azrak, Jacques Mosseri, Jonathan Kraidman, Josef Kusayev, Danielle Duchan, Moses Bakst and Robert Adler, played against the Central team in the semifinals, and after fielding fast paced challenging questions from all academic areas including politics, math, English, social studies, science and more, triumphed in a resounding win and advanced to the finals round. 
Cheered on by their Coach, Ms. Rachail Kurtz, family and friends, after a valiant battle of wits and scholarship which was streamed live for the benefit of all fans and supporters, the YOFHS team won a trophy and a second place finish in this year’s final Championships. Congratulations to the team for an exciting game and a satisfying year of College Bowl competitions.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Flatbush Math Team Goes to Yale


On Sunday April 3, the Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School Math Team being Max Edeson (Captain), Chiya Abramowitz, Jacques Mosseri, Alan Frastai, Abe Madeb, and Yaron Sternberg travelled to Yale University under the supervision of our coach Mrs. Shulman. We travelled to Yale to participate in the Math Majors of America Tournament for High Schools (MMATHS). The Jewish students of Yale were kind enough to organize a second tournament date on Sunday in the Slifka center so that Jewish high school students could also participate, as normally the tournament is only held on Saturday for thousands of students across the country. The Saturday tournament was held in Yale University, Columbia University and the University of Miami for non-Jewish students.
We got up bright and early at 7:30am to travel to Yale for the tournament at 9:30am. There we met the students from Frisch and Kushner’s math team and had a nice breakfast. After breakfast the tournament was under way with the individual rounds in which every student took a test of very difficult word problems on various subjects of Math. Following the individual round we were served a nice lunch from Yale and were given the opportunity to visit the Yale bookstore. After the individual rounds was the tie-breaker round for the top scorers and the mixer round where all the other students were placed on teams of mixed schools to get acquainted with one another and socialize. Yaron Sternberg’s team was the winner of the mixer round.
After the Mixer Round came the Team Rounds were schools went head to head answering similar difficult questions in groups of three. Finally the results of the day were given in the awards ceremony: Max Edeson received a medal for being one of the top scorers of the day in the individual round. Thank You to Mrs. Shulman and the students at Yale for making this amazing opportunity possible as well as Dr. Goldberg for training us for the event. ~ Max Edeson, Class of 2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Flatbush Students Participate in a Collaborative Women's Art program at the Morris Franco Cancer Center

A group of Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman girls from grades 10-12, led by Guidance counselor/art therapist Eva Dayan, went to the Morris Franco Cancer Center on Tuesday, April 12, to collaborate on an art project with women who are fighting cancer. The program began with a tour of the center and a video presentation focusing on the clients' experiences and how instrumental volunteers at the Cancer Center have been in helping them cope with their illnesses. Following the video presentation, they moved into the art studio where students and clients spent time getting to know each other. Topics of discussion ranged from favorite music and TV shows to deeper, more meaningful conversation, with the women sharing words of wisdom with the younger generation. 
Dayna Weiner, art therapist at the Cancer Center, led a guided meditation, segueing into the collaborative art project in which everyone worked together to create beautiful painted mandalas on "lucite" circles. Our students were grateful for the opportunity to be part of the journey to recovery for these inspiring women who kept asking when we would be back to visit them again! A special thank you to Rebecca Esses and all the volunteers at the Cancer Center who made this very wonderful event possible!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Flatbush Competes in Torah Bowl

Last month, Rabbi Taler and the Yeshivah of Flatbush Boys' Torah Bowl team participated in the last competition of the season in the league consisting of the schools North Shore, HAFTR, and HANC. Studying the entire Sefer Shemot and Rashi over the course of the year, Flatbush was ready for the playoffs and prepared the material for the last three parshiot, Ki Tisa, Vayakhel, and Pikudei. Each game was pretty intense and competitive, some leading to nearly tied games. Led by senior captain Joey Baum and assisted by senior member Chiya Abramowitz, Flatbush swept through against the home team of North Shore with a halftime score of 10-0, but ultimately lost in the semifinal against HAFTR. As this is the last meet for three seniors of the team, hopefully the younger Torah Bowl members will step up to win more games in the near future. ~Chiya Abramowitz, Class of 2016

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Moot Court 2016 Finals

On Thursday, March 31, 2016, Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School hosted the final round of the Moot Court Competition, led by Mr. Kweller. The final two teams of three people went head to head in a “heated” dispute arguing a civil suit regarding damages via fireworks. The teams were Jonathan Kraidman, Jack Sedaka, and Jack Srour as the defense and Chiya Abramaowitz, Robert Adler and Perry Sanders as the plaintiff. Even though it was late in the night, the students put forward all their energy in order to beat their opponents.
"Defense" Team
"Plaintiff" Team
The teams were given the case materials and 15 minutes to prepare for their opening statements as well as direct examinations of their witnesses. After delivering their opening statements with the judges (Max Edeson and Aida Hasson) making notes on their every move they followed with examining and cross-examining the witnesses from both sides. The witness had to be quick and answer on the spot, especially during the cross-examinations, which they couldn’t prepare for, because anything he/she said would be used against them. All the while the lawyers were using objections, such as hearsay, based on various inconsistencies in the questions being asked by the opposing lawyer. Finally, each lawyer, after 2 minutes of preparation, gave their closing statements summarizing the points of his case.
The judges judged each team’s performance based on a point system, and while the teams were close on many categories ultimately the victors were Jonathan Kraidman, Jack Sedaka, and Jack Srour. Congratulations to both teams for their efforts and we can’t wait to do it all again next year. This was a great social and educational event, where all participants had an opportunity to learn something new as well as meet new people; this is definitely an experience that is recommended for all students who are interested in pursuing law in the future. ~Max Edeson, Class of 2016

The Phoenix 2015-2016 Issue 7

Monday, April 18, 2016

Cooking For A Cause: April 2016

This month's Cooking For A Cause featured its biggest menu ever. Students prepared 25 brick roast dinners and 36 chicken dinners for needy families ahead of Passover. Thank you to master chefs Mrs. Rochelle Dweck, Mrs. Jaclyn Marcos, and Ami Sasson for guiding our students long the way. Thank you to our sponsors: Mrs. Rochelle Dweck, Mrs. Ricci Haddad, Mrs. Jill Sanders, and Mrs. Ami Sasson.
Cooking for a Cause gives students the opportunity 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.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Heritage Trip to Poland 2016/5776: Day 4

To end off our fourth and final day of our Heritage trip to Poland we went to Auschwitz I. Along with our tour guide we explored different restored block buildings that had a lot of different information on all the types of people that were kept in the Auschwitz camps, specifically Auschwitz I and all of the people that were transferred to the camps. We learned about the living conditions of the prisoners, looking into those gruesome living conditions of the women that had occupied block 11, a block where Polish prisoners/inmates/occupants were kept. Passing between block 12 and 11 was a shooting wall, where Germans had ruthlessly killed Poles by stripping them and shooting them when they weren't looking.
We also went to a building in which they kept a book of compiled names of those who had died in the Holocaust, whether it be in Auschwitz, the death march, or any other camp that had killed; some students looked for names of their family members in that book as well. 
We even walked into the last standing gas chamber/crematorium of Auschwitz, which was supposed to be destroyed like the other four in Auschwitz II/Birkenau. The only eminent reason for it to be standing was because it was also used as a bomb shelter for when the soviets attacked. During the tour of the refurbished blocks we had learned of many things, from Mengele's experiments to inhumane living conditions to the procession of German lies. We arrived home last night exhausted but inspired from a profound and moving week exploring both the Jewish pre-war communities and the devastation of the Shoah. ~Esty Fromer

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Heritage Trip to Poland 2016/5776: Day 3

Reflecting by the train tracks in Birkenau
Today was the third day of our Heritage trip to Poland. We started off the day with an extremely sad, yet inspirational walk through Birkenau. We walked in silence for the majority of the four hours that we were there. We did this to give respect to those who perished during the Holocaust and because we were just speechless at the sight of such brutality. As we walked down the train tracks we followed in the footsteps of those who were selected to die. We saw the ruins of crematoria, gas chambers, and personal belongings that were taken away from the Jews.
Standing in front of the ruins of crematoria building III
learning about the victims who were killed there
As we marched through we all felt a strong sense of loss, which only strengthened our pride and appreciation for our Jewish identities. We then took the path of life, only to realize that what they called "living" was very different from the definition we use today. We saw how the Jews who were forcibly changed into their prison uniforms, were given a number and were stripped of their valuables and of their hair. We were horrified by the inhumane and unsanitary conditions that these Jews lived in. We realized that while the Germans attempted to dehumanize the Jews, they lost their own humanity in the process. Students shared their connection to the places we saw through both their familial ties and/or mere spiritual connection. We were certainly able to walk out of a place where Jews were treated so miserably, still feeling so proud of our Jewish identity.
Abraham Goldman telling the story of his great grandfather's experience in Auschwitz
We then traveled to the Krakow ghetto where we saw the remnants of the ghetto wall. We also saw a pharmacy within the ghetto run by a polish man who took it upon himself to help the Jews during these tough times. We then visited the ancient Alte Shul and heard about the legend behind its founding. Later we traveled to the old Krakow cemetery to visit two of the greatest rabbis graves, the Rema and the Tosfot Yom Tov. We then went to the beautiful Tempel Shul where we all sang Havdalah together. Havdalah represents the differentiation between Shabbat and the regular days and we wanted to differentiate between our experience here in the concentration camps and our lives back in New York, between the light of our lives and the darkness of the war period.
Group photo in Alte Shul in Krakow
We then ended off the day with a delicious dinner at Miedowa and returned to the hotel where we sat together and reflected on what we felt and experienced these past few days. Everyone shared inspirational and meaningful moments that have impacted them throughout the trip and changed their views on life, which was extremely special and deeply important. ~Rachel Nussbaum

SGO 2017 Elections

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Heritage Trip to Poland 2016/5776: Day 2

Students in Beit Midrash of Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin
To start off day two of our Hertiage trip to Poland, we headed just downstairs to the famous Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin. We learned about the history of the building, the yeshiva and the Torah scholars that learned there. The building was restored a few years ago and we had the privilege to spend the night in one of the most renowned yeshivot in Poland.
Students walking into the memorial entrance at Majdanek
We then made our way to Majdanek where we continued retelling the story of Halina Birenbaum, a Holocaust survivor, and her experiences in the camp. It was a meaningful experience in all aspects as we saw how the Jews were treated and what happened to them on a day to day basis. As we saw the horrific gas chambers and crematoria, we each took an introspective moment to reflect and say a prayer. At one point in the day, we encountered a shoe exhibit in which thousands upon thousands of shoes were piled up on display. This poignant moment resonated as we discussed how each shoe represented a life, a soul. We thought about what we planned to take away from this exhibit and how we live our lives in our own shoes.
Mincha in the ruins of the shul in Krasnik
After Majdanek, we made our way to an ancient Shul in Krasnik. The unrestored Shul represented destruction and reminded us of the life that once was. We were able to breathe life into the walls of this Shul as we prayed Mincha and rekindled the sparks that our ancestors had created in that very building.

After a two hour bus ride, we made our way to a Shul in Dambrowa Tarnowska where we saw Jewish artifacts and remnants of shuls from the pre-war era. We learned together b'chavruta, discussing the concepts of slavery and freedom and how they are expressed spirituality and physicality.
Children's mass grave, reading letters from parents
Afterwards, we made our way to the mass grave memorial site just outside the city of Tarnow. This was an especially meaningful and touching experience as each student received a personal letter from their parents as they reflected and prayed. We each took a few moments to think about how these barbaric acts would affect how we live our lives and what type of lives we will live in honor of those that were taken.

We ended off the somber yet deeply meaningful day with a lovely dinner before we made our way back to the hotel. ~Linda Guindi

Monday, April 11, 2016

Heritage Trip to Poland 2016/5776: Day 1

Today, 21 Yeshivah of Flatbush seniors along with Rabbi Lubner and Ms. Zaltzman arrived in Poland for our annual Senior Heritage Trip to Poland. After a nine hour flight, Flatbush students finally arrived in Warsaw, Poland. We started our meaningful Heritage experience by visiting the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial. We were not only able to see, but feel the history along the walking route; the memorials of physical and spiritual defiance against the Germans and two buildings that were built pre-war that are still standing and being used for positive uses rather than the evil permeating within the walls during the war. There was also Mila 18, a bunker that was eradicated by the Germans during Passover of 1943. The Germans had gassed the bunker and stood waiting to shoot any unsuspecting fighter that tried to escape.
Soon we went back on the bus to go to Treblinka, a death camp, where nearly all but about 100 Polish Jews in the surrounding areas had died. We followed the story of Abraham Bomba, one of the few that survived and was plagued by what he saw and experienced in Treblinka. We walked around the memorial park and saw stones representing different communities that were destroyed. We commemorated those who were killed in Treblinka by saying Tehilim next to the memorial of the pyres where all the bodies were burned. We listened to the sounds of silence and our own breathing; achieving a silence like never before in respect for all of those who had perished.
We have just arrived at our hotel, housed near the esteemed Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin. After many waking hours, we will rest in anticipation for what lies ahead tomorrow. ~Esty Fromer

Friday, April 8, 2016

Flatbush Students Compete in 2016 Science Olympiad

On Sunday, March 13 the Yeshivah of Flatbush Olympiad team led by coaches Mr. Shai Horowitz and Ms. Susan Katzoff competed against other Yeshivot in the 2016 Science Olympiad. The team walked away with 4th place medals in the following events: Chemistry Lab (Mimi Lazerowitz and Michael Abadie), Write it-Do it (Mimi Lazerowitz and Michael Abadie), and Fossils (Claire Lessler and Netanel Benshabat).

Team picture above (From Left: Chiya Abromowitz, Michael Chakkalo, Coach Susan Katzoff, Claire Lessler, Rachel Wolf, Mimi Lazerowitz, Michael Abadie, Yair Chaya, Eli Feldman, Sheila Franco, Netanel Benshabat. Not in picture: Mr. Shai Horowitz)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Pathfinders Update: Students Learn from Gastroenterologist

Recently, Yeshivah of Flatbush students were privileged to hear from an esteemed gastroenterologist, Dr. Melanie K. Greifer, through our Pathfinders Program. She spoke to us about several pains and symptoms that can be present in infants, toddlers, and children as well. She explained to us how some symptoms may just be simply benign and common, while others can be indicators of more serious problems. But most of the pain can be healed through different methods of treatments, ranging from probiotics, to healthy eating habits, to changing your psychological mindset. An overarching theme was to always care for your body, eat well, drink tons of water, and don't forget to always exercise! ~Esther Bildirici, Class of 2016

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Reflections from the YU National Model United Nations

The day had finally arrived. Months have been spent preparing ourselves for this very moment. Twelve hours into six sessions. We all had the same questions in our minds, would we make it to the top three? Would we have the thrill of victory or agony of defeat?

When we arrived we hurriedly got our placards and went to go get a spot in our separate committee rooms. Afterwards, we got emotionally and physically prepped to begin. As usual, our ritual commenced. Writing positive comments about our fellow teammates while wishing them the best. Our advisor, Mr. Lazar, the backbone of our team, had everything we had forgotten ranging from notepads to colored pens to cough drops and vitamin C. In our group huddle we were motivated and extremely pumped to win. We believed that we would leave here successful.
Claire Lessler won Honorable Mention
As the gavel went down on the podium YUNMUN XXVI was officially in session. We rushed to our committee giving each other our last good lucks. The Chair of the committee and his assistants walked in and they room hushed as everyone filed into their seats.

And from there, the whirlwind began. People passionately debated on topics that were thoroughly researched. Alliances were formed, broken and reshaped in order to best fit our country's interests. Doing the best we could possibly do with our comments, speeches and teamwork during caucuses.
After six rigorous and exhaustive sessions we managed to succeed. We came up with solutions on how to make the world a better and safer place for all. From stringent precautions in the Arctic to ways how to protect refugees fleeing from their war ravaged homes. We came out united as one cohesive group protecting the world. We became superheroes with the power of our voices and pens.
~Deborah Coopersmith, Class of 2017

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Pathfinders Update: Focus on Fashion

Our Pathfinders Program recently gave students two different opportunities to learn more about the fashion world. The first was a shopping event at Intermix in SOHO, which was a new twist on philanthropy. This event was organized by Yeshivah of Flatbush alumnae, Rochelle Dweck, Esther Mishan, and Florence Dweck. 

The second event was an evening of advice and tips from fashion designer, Nora Gardner followed by a runway show! "She was so practical but yet so stylish. She noticed a need for more flattering apparel options for professional women. She is dedicated to providing women with attire to help them feel confident, comfortable, professional, and attractive." ~Dubby Sasson 

Both of these events gave students an insight into the real world of fashion. Thank you to Mrs. Hanon for organizing these opportunities for our students. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Color War 2016: Recap

Color War 2016 Generals and SGO 2016
We can't believe that Color War 2016 is over, the event that occupied our lives for months is over. It feels like just yesterday that we started planning, and it all flew by so quickly. No matter what event we were planning during the year, we were always thinking about color war and how to make this one the best one yet. We worked on a schedule, created new games, chose our leaders and everything in between. 

Then it came down to the big decision - our theme. What message did we want to deliver? What did we want people to work on? What did we want the school to learn? We chose שלמות האדם, becoming a whole person so that we could fix the world around us. The world we live can be seen as a terrifying place, and it is our job to make this world a better place. But we can't fix the world until we fix ourselves. Rumi said, "Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself." We wanted the students to be wise, not only clever. We wanted them to realize that they must change themselves in order to change the world. Our themes were Green Humility, Red Strength, Blue Justice, and Yellow Kindness - character traits that we should focus on and perfect in order to become more whole people. 
Blue Justice Banner 
Yellow Kindness Banner
On Friday, March 25th we had our breakout. We started with late Minyan and a short play, then went into out breakout. Our breakout started with a video where Rabbi Levy announced color war. After he said those words, everyone went crazy. The Generals ran down the aisles to the stage, and their intro videos for their themes came on. After that we distributed the teams and sent everyone to their team times where the Generals introduced themselves and encouraged their teams to get involved and participate and help their team win. 

Saturday night were the team meetings, every team had a meeting by someone's house. That's where the brainstorming and the planning got started. Hundreds of students went and devoted their free time to making this color war incredible by contributing to artwork, dance, or music. The meeting went on until the wee hours of the morning. 
Green Humility Banner
Red Strength Banner
Then Sunday Morning everyone woke up bright and early for Sunday Morning Learning! Rabbi Kramer gave an incredible shiur about chesed and really inspired the students. After that the teams broke up and started working on the artwork for their hallways. I couldn't believe my eyes - students gave up their Sundays to be in school and help their teams. They worked on artwork, dances and skits, and then we had some sports competitions in the afternoon. The day was jam packed and we had to force people to leave the building at 11pm. It was a successful day and each hallway was more beautiful than the last. You could tell that the students put their heart and souls into it. 
Boy Generals
Girl Generals
Monday morning started with musical chairs at breakfast - it was intense. Then we sent everyone to class and showed two teams' Dvar Torah videos. For Monday we had Brain Games and Trivia planned for all the grades. Third period we played Brain Games with the juniors - games that challenged them mentally and demanded thinking. Then fourth period we had trivia and minute to win it with the seniors. After that we broke into team time for lunch. During lunch, we gave students the opportunity to get points for their team by reciting Boreh Nefashot, Al Hamichya, or Asher Yatzar by heart. It was incredible to how many students memorized these berachot for their team. Then during tenth and eleventh period we had trivia and brain games going on simultaneously for freshmen and sophomores. Everyone had a blast. 

After school we had a scavenger hunt around school and on Avenue J. Each team wrote questions for each other, it was challenging and fun. Then some people stayed in school to work on their artwork. Again we had to encourage people to leave at 11pm.

Then it was Tuesday - our last day of color war. We started the day with blind folded musical chairs during breakfast. It was very funny to watch, but I don't know how much fun the players had. We sent everyone to class and showed the other two Dvar Torah videos. After that the day was pretty relaxed. We had team time during lunch, and again the opportunity to get points for memorizing berachot. Then the excitement came. We had fun games and marathon simultaneously during 7th period for seniors and juniors and 8th period for sophomores and freshmen. It was intense and so much fun.
Then everyone made their way down to the auditorium for the closing ceremonies. We heard cheers and songs, watched skits, saw cakes and banners, and laughed at the boys trying to dance. The Generals then sang a nice tribute to Rabbi Levy while the SGO tallied up the points. There were closing speeches and everyone got emotional (or at least I did). We were saying goodbye not only to color war, but to our high school careers really. The work and the effort and the time we devoted since September. It all paid off. Color war was a giant success. So many people came over to me after and said that they were inspired. That the school was filled with these traits, and it was touching to know that all of the students and teachers really took this year's theme to heart. That people really want to take these traits and work on making themselves whole. I would say the winners, but it doesn't really matter does it? Alright fine, it was Blue Strength in first, Green Humility in second, Yellow Kindness in third, and Red Strength in last. But the winners aren't determined by their scores. The winners are those who gain from this experience and get inspired from what we worked so hard on.
SGO 2016
A special thanks to everyone who helped to make this color war so incredible. Rabbi Levy, Ms. Marcus, the Generals, the Lieutenants, the teacher Generals, the administration and everyone in between. Your devotion and your hard work made this color war one for the books. We couldn't have done it without you. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did, and we hope that you all gained something from it. You all showed us your leadership qualities and you really inspired us! We are so proud of you and all of your hard work and are happy to see everyone united and working to become אנשים שלמים.
~SGO 2016~
Danielle Ashkenazie, Joseph Balassiano, Esther Cohen, and Abraham Kassin