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Friday, December 2, 2016

Hausdorff 2016 is Underway!

Over 20 years ago, Coach Mike Gelber and Rabbi Naftali Besser – along with the rest of the Flatbush community – were shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of their dear friend and colleague, Principal Thomas Hausdorff, z’l. He was a teacher, an athlete, a mentor and a friend. In their grief, they sought an avenue to keep the memory of Mr. Hausdorff alive in a way that would be both meaningful and educational – and athletic; all things that were part and parcel to the character of the man. So was born the Hausdorff Tournament.

With this annual get-together, not only have Coach Gelber and Rabbi Besser kept alive the spirit and legacy of Thomas Hausdorff, they have created an event that has positively impacted hundreds of young yeshivah boys and girls in ways even they could have never dreamed possible.

Thursday night (12/1), that legacy continued as the Yeshivah of Flatbush welcomed JV Boys Basketball teams from Memphis, Tennessee, Southfield, Michigan (suburban Detroit) and Boca Raton, Florida to join the school’s own JV Falcons as they gather to compete, to learn and to celebrate in the 21st Annual Hausdorff Invitational JV Basketball Tournament and Shabbaton.
As has been tradition, almost immediately after arriving to the Brooklyn school, the visiting teams joined together to with their hosts, first to pray the Arvit (Ma’ariv) tefilot and then to engage in an act of great chesed – the Yachad program. Yachad, The National Jewish Council for Disabilities, is a thriving global organization dedicated to addressing the needs of all Jewish individuals with disabilities and ensuring their inclusion in every aspect of Jewish life. Our inclusive design aims to ensure persons with diverse abilities their rightful place within the Jewish community, while helping to educate and advocate for a greater understanding, acceptance, outreach, and a pro-disability attitude. The program, led by Rabbi Besser, brought the players together with members of the local Yachad community to share in the spirit of singing, dancing and dining together.

It was then time to get down to the business of basketball! Up first were the teams from Memphis and South Florida. The Cooper Macs, who arrived to New York on Wednesday night and spent the better part of Thursday exploring The City – from Yeshiva University to Times Square, squared off against the Katz Yeshiva Storm. The Macs of Memphis jumped out to the early 3-1 lead, but could not build on it. Halfway through the opening quarter, Katz evened the score, then the Storm stormed right past them to take a 13-4 lead at the end of the period. Cooper found some life in the 2nd Quarter, and cut the deficit to 6 at 17-11, but Katz not only answered, they exploded past the Macs, and took a 32-13 lead at the half. Katz poured it on in the second half, and cruised the rest of the way to a 52-19 win in the opening game of the tournament.

A bit later than planned, the host Flatbush Falcons faced off against the Farber Pioneers in the Day 1 nightcap. Farber struck first, but Flatbush soon came back to take the 8-4 lead midway through the opening quarter on a Joe Kattan floater. It was clear, though, that this would be a defensive battle, as the teams played tough end-to-end with Flatbush maintaining the 4-point cushion to lead 11-7 after one quarter of play. Farber was not content to keep thing that way, though, and scored the first 7 points of quarter number 2, prompting a Falcon timeout to stem the momentum that had swung in favor of the Pioneers. It proved positive for the falcons, as they went on a small run of their own to take a 17-14 lead with 3:40 left in the half. Flatbush then found a new gear, going on a 7-1 run to close out the half, and take both the momentum and a 24-15 lead into the break. The 3rd Quarter, though both teams battled, Flatbush continued to slowly stretch the lead and held a 35-22 advantage heading into the final quarter of play. It was more of the same in the final quarter, as Flatbush did not let farber back in at all, closing out Day 1 of Hausdorff with the 43-28 win.

NEST NOTES: Kudos to the Hausdorff broadcasting team of Natanel BenShabat, Max Shemtob and Ariel Uzan, for making the games exciting nationwide!

(photos courtesy of Sarah Cohen)