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Friday, April 28, 2017

Flatbush Seniors Become Ambassadors For Israel at United Nations

Yeshivah of Flatbush seniors had the privilege to attend the second annual Ambassadors Against BDS conference at the United Nations where individuals and organizations devoted to advocating for Israel made their voices heard. The conference was held to condemn the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for their continued Anti-Semitism and boycott of Israel throughout the world, especially on college campuses throughout the United States. Next year, the current seniors will be in college and will most likely confront many of these anti-Israel movements, including BDS, and will need to understand how to deal with this problem. By attending the conference, the seniors were able to get an idea of what they will be dealing with on their campuses next year, how much of an effect BDS has on Israel, and that there are multiple Israel Activists all over the country ready to help them fight against BDS. The conference included many prominent speakers including American ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, and chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) Jay Sekulow. Not only was the conference significant with its success in gathering Israel Activists from all over the globe to condemn BDS, it was an opportunity for the senior grade to experience the growth of the anti-BDS movement and to prepare them for what many will experience on college campuses within the next few years. ~Ben Wade, Class of 2017

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

AP English Literature Class Explore the Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Ms. Bloom's AP English Literature class ventured out on an early spring day to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. We meandered through the grounds reading poetry and gazing at the royal purple and dazzling white crocuses, the heralds of spring. Contemplating life while watching the Koi from the Japanese pagoda, we discussed carpe diem and then continued our search for a place to eat. Instead we happened upon the Shakespeare Garden where Florence Deutsch read Sonnet XXX IV. After a lovely picnic, we continued our search for the elusive cherry blossoms, while Josef Kusayev and David Azrak went on a quest to find two fruit trees to say Birchat Illanot. It was a fun trip with a lot of literary silliness and intellectual banter enjoyed by all.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Flatbush Students Compete in Girls' Torah Bowl Championships

On a recent Friday, the Yeshivah of Flatbush Girls' Torah Bowl team, coached by Ms. Rosenbaum, made their way to the championships held at SAR. After a long bus ride, filled with team bonding, pep talks, study sessions, and spiritual inspiration, we were ready to play and felt prepared to win. After a quick breakfast we cultivated a strategy and decided on who to play. Upon beating Shulamith in our first game, we relished in our victory and truly felt like we were in it to win. However, in our second game against Central, things changed and we quickly realized that while we lost, winning wasn't everything. We were still able to have an amazingly fantastic time and really enjoyed learning for the sake of learning. ~Esther Levy, Class of 2017

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Cultural Exchange With Israeli Students

Recently group of high school students from Israel, part of the Diller Teen Fellowship Program, visited Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School. The Israeli teens were able to learn about Flatbush and interact with some of our students. Some 11th and 12th grade Flatbush students took the Israelis out for lunch on the infamous Avenue J and showed them the ins and outs of our Flatbush lives. After returning from student favorites like Pizza Time, Baguette and Benny's, all the students returned to the school building to listen to Rabbi Beyda's farewell. And after many goodbyes and many, many pictures, the Flatbush family bid the Israelis a fond farewell and hoped they gained some positive memories from our experience together. It was truly an amazing day! ~Marlene Levy, Class of 2018

Witness Theater 2017 - Yom Hashoah 5777

At first, we were strangers. At first, we were nervous. At first there was so much unknown. At first, we tiptoed around each other, unsure of what to say. Unsure of HOW to say it. At first there were just so many “what ifs.”
So, for many weeks we took the time just to sit together, to eat together, and to laugh together. And slowly, our cautious tip toeing became like the practiced steps of dancers. We began to finish each other’s sentences and to worry about each other’s health and to relish every moment we shared together. And it was then that we asked to open the pandora’s box of memories that had been sitting in the room from the moment we all entered – an invisible force that drove our relationships and our curiosity.
We were both hesitant and confident about opening this box together. We were barraged once again by the “what ifs” of opening the lid until we decided that the most frightening “what if” of all was the “what if we just leave it there as it is. What if we just turn and walk away?” So, we held hands, waited patiently, and assured each other that when things became too sad or too scary, we would be there with a comforting hug, a soothing smile, and a shoulder to lean on. THIS is human compassion and it defies age and bridges the decades between us.
As autumn shifted into winter and the stories kept pouring out we DID hear many things that made us cry and made us furious and made us speechless. But in the voices of our storytellers we also discovered that underneath all the evil they had endured was a profound and vital ability to hope. And we know now that it is that human ability to hope, which allows us to survive.
We will never forget the stories we heard and we will continue to encourage more to be told. And today we will bring a small handful of them to life in order to share them with you. Though for most of our cast this will be the very first time they perform on a stage, it is the respect and dedication that they have for each other, which allows them to perform so genuinely and with such love and care for those they portray. And in this way, we honor the notion that compassion and empathy are what binds us together as human beings and are the vehicle through which we learn how to turn the evils of the past into hope for our future.

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Witness Theater 2017-5777


Monday, April 24, 2017

Flatbush Students Compete in Math Majors of America Tournament for High Schools 2017

On Sunday, April 2nd, a high school mathematics competition was held at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The tests contained rigorous problem-solving questions which required serious concentration, even for the best of students. Six Jewish schools competed, among them being Frisch, Kushner, and our own Yeshivah of Flatbush. Six Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School students competed, mentored by Ms. Shulman, and coached by Dr. Goldberg: Moses Bakst, Joseph Braha, Avi Mikhli, Gregory Pinkhasov, Yaron Sternberg, and Joseph Sutton. As a school, Flatbush came in third place. In the mixer round, in which students from different schools are mixed on teams, four students placed top three. And finally, Yaron placed second out of 36 students individually. The competition was a fun test of ability, and it complemented a fun trip to Yale, in which we got a tour and a good sense of their Jewish life. ~ Joe Braha, Class of 2017

Friday, April 21, 2017

Flatbush Students Attend AIPAC Policy Conference 2017

Last month, students from the Yeshivah of Flatbush Israel Activism commission along with Rabbi Beyda attended the annual AIPAC Policy conference in Washington D.C. For two days the eleven students were given the opportunity to attend sessions with intelligent and well-known speakers, meet and collaborate with other Israel activists from around that country, and hear political celebrities in the general sessions. They learned about Israel’s political system, world relations, the US-Israel relationship, how to deal with BDS and other anti-zionist and anti-semitic movements, as well as many other things. The students met with teenagers such as themselves in high school and colleges from around the country to learn from each other how to be active about Israel on their own campuses and how to help in the continuous fight for peace in the Middle East. Max Shemtob, senior, said, “It was an educational and enlightening experience where we learned all about the different parts of Israel and met many influential people that could shape policy for years to come.”
Our students met famous Israeli Knesset members such as Amir Ohana, Mickey Levy, and Ayelet Shaked. They also met with Lior Raz, an Israel Activist famous for playing the role of Doron in Israeli TV show Fauda. They even got a chance to hear Mike Pence, Bibi Netanyahu and Nikki Haley. Our very own Israel Activism commissioner, Amanda Heskiel, even got to participate in a panel about High School Activism seen by hundreds of people! Amanda said, “It was an exhilarating feeling to be speaking in front of 1,100 people representing the school.” We are proud of how far she has come and how influential of an activist she is, along with her peers.
Overall, through sessions, collaborating with activists with similar interests, peacefully conversing with some protesters to get a feel for the other side, and gaining an overall understanding of the American-Israeli relationship positively impacted the students. We are now thinking about how we will bring what they learned and were inspired by to our Yeshivah. ~Ezra Faks, Class of 2019

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Junior, Sophomore and 8th Grade Students Participate in Coding Boot Camps

Yeshivah of Flatbush Freshmen, Juniors, Sophomores and, for the first time, with the assistance of the Middle Division administration, YOF 8th graders, have recently took part in coding boot camp days. These intro to coding boot camps were an invaluable experience for all who participated. Students learned coding in a fun and hands-on way, while gaining the understanding of how practical a skill it is. (Read about the freshmen boot camp HERE.)

The juniors' program, which was held on Friday, February 24th, began with introductory discussions and coding tasks in classes that were grouped by level. Mr. Horowitz, the high school technology and robotics teacher, formed an advanced class of juniors who have already taken a number of tech courses in school.
All classes were taught by recent graduates of 12 week coding boot camps, and who, like many of our students, started with no prior coding knowledge. Each student worked on solving puzzles on and on their iPads using Bluetooth keyboards donated by Sakar International for students to use in all three boot camps. Students were surprised at how much they can learn on their own using these online tools.

After the junior's morning session, students heard from Google Senior Advisor Jack Hidary (HS ’86) - who with the assistance of Joe Tricot (HS '13) brought the program to the school - as well as fashion writer Sophia Chabbott (ES ‘94). Mr. Hidary explained to students the importance of coding and tech in today’s job market. Ms. Chabbott, who was a senior editor at Glamour Magazine and now serves as Web Director for Women’s Wear Daily, discussed how almost all publications must maintain an online presence. She explained that by utilizing her technological familiarity on a daily basis she has found success in the fashion writing industry.
After hearing from the speakers, students regrouped in their classes and worked on a Code Academy web design activity. The students finished the day with a sense of accomplishment at how much they were able to create with just a few lessons in coding.

On Sunday, March 26th, sophomores and 8th graders were invited to join a special boot camp set for them, where students chose to spend their Sunday morning exploring these new skills with skilled and experienced teachers who are graduates from intensive boot camps. They experienced working with "block code" on and quickly transitioned to writing actual code on The students were extremely focused on learning all they could in this one session and therefore left enriched with real skills and the understanding that they too can become coders. One 8th grader was so excited at the end of the workshop that she shared with her teacher, Rabbi Yitzi Herzberg, "I really feel so smart now!"
We continue to bring to our students opportunities to learn coding, engineering and technology at the Yeshivah in order to prepare them for futures that demand these essential skills and knowledge. We look forward to offering more workshops and boot camps in the future to include the seniors and faculty in programs that will be designed especially for them.
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Juniors Learn to Code

Friday, April 7, 2017

Traveling Troupe Visits Seniors at Sephardic Community Center

As members of the traveling troupe, we represent Yeshivah of Flatbush by going to old age homes, and special organizations to perform for adults and children. The purpose of traveling troupe is to lift the spirits of people with music. Not only are we doing chesed but it gives us the opportunity to perform what we love in front of people. It's a perfect opportunity to express ourselves. By participating in the traveling troupe we learn to appreciate music in different lights, while doing a mitzvah at the same time. The students learn that chesed should be a part of our daily lives and that self expression is also a priority. This chesed opportunity provides a fun day for the people we perform for, and also the students as well.
On Purim we visited the Sephardic Community Center and performed for adults with Alzheimer's and other forms of memory loss. We had over 30 students that day and we were really able to lift the moods of these people with music. Each performer offered something different and the adults enjoyed clapping along or singing along with each song. There's a certain unexplainable feeling that comes along with providing happiness and excitement for somebody, even if it's just for a small amount of time. We're so lucky to be able to have this opportunity. We look forward to many more opportunities to do chesed while performing our favorite songs and doing what we love.

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Travel Troupe #5 3/13/17

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Witness Theater Participants Visit Museum of Jewish Heritage

Yeshivah of Flatbush seniors and Holocaust survivors part of our Witness Theater program took part in an unforgettable trip to the Museum of Jewish Heritage. To walk through the exhibit, which depicts life before, during and after the Holocaust, with the survivors who actually lived through it, was both horrifying and inspiring. After so many months of hearing the survivors' stories, we were finally able to see so many of the things they have been speaking about. From the mundane objects of shtetl life to the giant swastika flags that hung at Nazi rallies, suddenly it all became even more real. For the adults this was not an easy trip. To walk through their own past was to relive so many deep memories and nightmares. But as they say every Wednesday, "if we don't speak about these things now, the past will be forgotten forever." The trip was not easy for the students either, as they have grown to love these adults and had a hard time seeing the graphic reality of what they had gone through. Many tears were shed, by both old and young. And yet, as we walked hand in hand through the halls of the exhibit and ended our tour with a clear view of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, we did not lose sight of the incredible support network that we have created amongst ourselves over the last few months. And despite the tragic reality of the past, the adults took comfort in knowing that because of Witness Theater, the stories will never be forgotten. And even more importantly, that their stories and legacies will move on into the future in the form of our incredible students who are sure to take this experience and make a positive difference in our future world.

College Bowl Team Competes in Semi-Finals

On Monday, March 20th, the Junior Varsity College Bowl Team traveled to Heschel High School to play a tie-breaker game with each school vying for the win and head off to the League Championship games. After a successful season of intensive practices with Coach Mrs. Rachail Kurtz, and competing in matches of fast moving academic knowledge and skill, with just three losses, the team, comprised of Juniors, Danielle Duchan, Moses Bakst and Gregory Pinkhasov, and Sophomores, Robert Adler, Aaron Fine, Selim Sabagh, and Joseph Sutton tied with Ramaz and Heschel for first place. They competed against Ramaz in a nail-biting tie-breaker game to win a spot in the final Championship games. Our JV team will play against the other top ranking schools in the Championship games, with the hopes of repeating or even besting last year's second-place finish. ~Danielle Duchan, Class of 2018

The Phoenix 2016-2017 Issue 7

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Flatbush Students Compete in HAFTR Model Congress 2017

Congratulations to the Yeshivah of Flatbush Model Congress team on their performance at HAFTR's "Yeshiva League Model Congress" competition. YLMC 2017 consisted of over 200 student delegates from many yeshivah high schools, who presented, debated, amended and ultimately, voted on original bill proposals, while they learned firsthand how the legislative process works.

Sophomore Robert Adler received an award for the second consecutive year and Jordan Senior was recognized with an award in his first year on the team. Other members included Team Captain Ben Wade, Moses Bakst, Netanel Ben-Shabat, Eli Feldman, Sarah Tessone, Joseph Edelheit, Jack H. Dweck and Joseph Ezon, who all performed at a high level. YLMC 2017 was an educational and enjoyable experience for all involved, and we look forward to future success in this program!

Pathfinders Update: Beauty In and Out

Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School girls got the chance to learn about the technicalities of the makeup business from two professional artists, Carol Safdie and Syndey Benami. The girls learned about contouring and a experienced a short preview of what you can learn in makeup school. A demo was given as well. Most importantly, the girls learned about inner beauty and feeling good about themselves with or without makeup.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Students Intern for Model UN News

Recently, Yeshivah of Flatbush students had the opportunity to be a part of the Montessori Model United Nations as interns of Model UN News. Here are two students' reflections on their experience:

For three days I have been part of the Montessori Model United Nations, as one of the news reporters. I was reporting on behalf of ModelUN news, a press organization that reports the "news" of Model UNs across the world. I was the captain of the other 8 Yeshivah Flatbush interns who were part of the event. We conducted video interviews, podcasts and took pictures. We also did odd jobs like setting up the green screens, and going around manhattan to pick up needed supplies. It was a great experience for me and the other interns overall and I'm glad I went. ~Moses Baskt, Class of 2018

Many of us didn't know what to expect, but that didn't turn us away. We arrived at the Marriott in Times Square very early in the morning and got to work. Our first task was to increase their social media presence. We implemented advanced marketing techniques to "sell" the social media accounts to participants at the event. We also learned about how to acquire the skill set required to be good reporters as we interviewed teachers, students, and parents at the event. Overall this was an outstanding experience where we obtained skills that will be beneficial in the future. ~Eli Feldman, Class of 2018

Pathfinders Update: Real Estate Trip to the Pinnacle Group

Visiting the Pinnacle Group, a real estate company in New York, through the Yeshivah of Flatbush Pathfinders Program was an experience I will never forget. Boarding the train alongside Murray Dweck, Teddy Betesh, and Mrs. Hanon we were all ecstatic to visit its CEO, Mr. Joel Weiner. Once we got to One Penn Plaza, signed in, and rode the elevator to the office— we were immediately taken aback. As we walked in we were surrounded by many beautifully designed paintings and sculptures, this enthralled me right away. I began to look around and I noticed that one of the sculptures was designed by a famous Tel-Aviv artist Uri Seligman. You learn a lot about a person by seeing the type of art they like, I learned that not only was Mr. Weiner a man with myriads of assets around the country, but he was also very supportive of Israel.

As he toured us around the office we saw people working in concordance, serenity, and they were all smiling. He stressed that the most important thing in running a businesses is making your employees happy. He told us stories of how he went above and beyond to meet an employee’s needs because he felt that he was making a good investment in them. He gifted us with some piece of advice saying, “You have to be 10 percent better than everyone else around.” Explaining that just that 10 percent is what you need to over-achieve your competitors. Delving into the truth of this, I realized that I can apply this to my daily life. Such as taking tests, playing sports, and finding a job, I internalized that to work just 10 percent harder, I will become 10 percent better, and then achieve 100 times more than what I would have.

To conclude, this trip was one of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had. I learned about an esteemed man, how he got here, and hope to use the tools he used to get there one day too. The name of the company, the Pinnacle Group, tells part of the story. The definition of pinnacle is peak, the Pinnacle Group is the peak of success. The unity, devotion, and prosperity that this group had directly caused its great success.
~Jack R. Dweck, Class of 2019

Monday, April 3, 2017

SGO 2018 Elections

Sephardic Heritage Trip 2017/5777: Day 7

Sunday night was our final night in Spain so we had a wrap up session. We answered the questions that were in the Spain prep book as well as new ones that Ms. Wielgus wrote down. It helped us realize how great the trip was and how much we did and saw during the week. The session lasted until about 1:00am then we went back to our rooms.
The next morning we had our last gourmet breakfast ( we will miss the cappuccino machine and Sheila's yummy grilled cheese sandwiches!) and made our way to the great Royal Palace in Madrid. Although the king and queen don't live there it was still pretty cool to see where state dinners and occasions are held. We saw the king's dressing room as well as the throne room. The dining room was one of the largest of the more than 3000 rooms. It seats up to 140 guests! Amazingly our tour guide, Moses, had his parents invited to dine with the king there in 1992. We also toured the armor room were we saw many old weapons and knight uniforms. After that we took some great pictures and went to the airport. What a week! Spain '17- it's been real:)
~Freddy Arazi, Class of 2017

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Sephardic Heritage Trip 2017

Mock Trial Update 2017

On Wednesday March 8th, the Yeshivah of Flatbush Mock Trial Team, led by coach Mr. Howard Rothbort, went back to the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse after a first victory to argue the case of "Berkman V. County of Dover." In this civil case, in which a former robbery suspect is suing for being maliciously prosecuted by the police, the Yeshivah played the role of the "Plaintiff," advocating in favor of Robin Berkman. The opposing team, Abraham Lincoln High School, exhibited a strong defense, but it was not enough for the judge to ultimately rule in favor of Flatbush. The lawyers (Isabel Lin, Jack H. Dweck, and Robert Adler), with the help of witnesses (Ezra Faks, Jessica Vaysman, and Samuel Vaysman) presented a strong, cohesive argument before the judge in favor of Berkman and proved their case. We look forward to another win in the next round tomorrow, on April 4th.
~ Robert Adler, Class of 2019

Sophomore Guidance Program 2017

Recently, Yeshivah of Flatbush sophomores had the opportunity to hear from Mr. Joey Cabaso. Joey Cabaso discussed with our students all difficulties he has suffered throughout his life with addiction and how he overcame those difficulties. Joey lost his loved ones, his education, and even his religion while he was an addict. Joey told sophomores extremely personal stories which  happened to him while he was an addict. The fact that he was able to come up and speak in front of multiple students showed us how courageous he is and how much he has changed since becoming clean. This should all be a reminder to us that Hashem is always with us no matter what, and does everything that happens only for the better. He taught us that we should always try to be in control of what we do, and not let addiction take over our lives, like it did his. Think before you do, always pay attention to your decision making, think about the consequences, and that's it's never too late to change. We hope Joey Cabaso influenced those who may suffer addiction or even think about doing drugs or drinking, for the better. ~Celia Banbahji, Class of 2019

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sephardic Heritage Trip 2017/5777: Day 6

The Sephardic Heritage Trip has been an amazing experience so far! Today we woke up in the Elliot hotel in Gibraltar, prayed and walked to breakfast. Everything in Gibraltar is within walking distance so it's nice to get to walk around and explore the scenery. We then boarded the bus to go to Seville in Spain. We all slept on the way and we were awaken with Sheila's famous "cookooreikoo" song. 
We arrived at a beautiful park filled with orange trees, flowers and lots of green scenery where we ate our lunch. We then walked to the old Jewish quarter in Seville. We learned about life of the Jews before they where expelled from Spain. The streets of the old city in Seville are tightly knit together with beautiful small homes and Spanish architecture and flowers. This gave us a sense of how Jews lived. The walkways were built narrowly in order to provide shade and air for the homes since air conditioning was not created yet. We learned about the Morranos, who were Jews who converted to Christianity to protect themselves but were Jewish in secret. 
We also toured the Royal Palace of Alcazar. The architecture was inspired by Muslim architecture: intricate and beautiful details with lots of carvings and gold leaf. We were then treated with horse-drawn carriage ride through the picturesque city of Seville which took us to Plaza de EspaƱa. 
There we prayed Mincha and had free time- we explored the scenery, shopped and took lots of memorable pictures. We ended off the day in Seville with a group picture by the the fountain near the plaza. We then caught the speed train which took us to Madrid. We checked into our hotel and hung out with each other. Since it's our last night in Spain, we met downstairs in the lobby for debriefing on the trip and hanging out together. We ate snacks and talked until curfew as we reflected on the trip. Today was a day well spent and not to mention the weather was so beautiful (70's and sunny). This trip is highly recommended :) it's an amazing experience in a beautiful country with friends and teachers!  ~ Claudia Chera, Class of 2017

Sephardic Heritage Trip 2017/5777: Day 5 - Shabbat in Gibraltar

After a fun day of shopping and exploring the streets of Gibraltar, it was time to prepare for Shabbat. Everyone dressed up so nicely and classy to fit the spirit of the city. We made our way to The Great Synagogue of Gibraltar, also known as Kahal Kadosh Sha'ar HaShamayim. It was a beautiful shul with beautiful designs. The next day was a great way to spend Shabbat day. We prayed in Nefutzot Yehudah Synagogue, which is 200 years old! We were all stunned by the way they sang the prayers. They prayed with many western sephardic traditions that we related to. The shul had such intricate designs, it was hard to believe it was so old. The men sang in unison and surprisingly, our student, Aaron Harari, got the first aliyah! Then, Freddy Arazi and Aaron were up at cohanim which was really special and a great privilege for us. The day followed on with an amazing lunch where we discussed our most meaningful memories of the trip and gave Dvrei Torah. After two hours of free time walking around Gibraltar, we made our way to the botanical gardens. There, we saw the most colorful trees and bushes with flowers as well as soothing waterfalls.
While the boys went to pray Mincha, the girls had a nice Seudah Shelishit outside with a salad bar and snack. Shockingly, many guests passed by and our wonderful tour guide Sheila recognized them and introduced us. We made our way to the shul to say havdalah. It was interesting to see the different ways they sang the prayers from the way we know. All the children were so patient for the long prayers which was also beautiful to watch.
After Shabbat finished, we spent our Motzei Shabbat bowling. Everyone got so competitive but we managed to have a great time. We went over to Amar's Cafe and had spectacular pizza and fries. After a peaceful and long day, everyone went to their beds and knocked out. It was definitely the most memorable Shabbat we all had and will never be forgotten.
~Evelyn Turkieh, Class of 2017

Heritage Trip to Poland 2017/5777: Day 4

Day 4 of the Heritage Trip to Poland was spent touring the infamous Auschwitz I complex. We learned about the life and fate of prisoners held in the camp. Some of the chilling exhibits included collections of possessions plundered from victims, including glasses, brushes and religious affects. There is a huge collection of human hair shaved from the victims. It is hard to imagine that the mounds of hair belong to individual victims of the Holocaust. We saw a special exhibit that explained the roll of German businesses and industries behind the machine of death. We walked out of the museum with a sense of the horror of the atrocities of the Holocaust, but also with a sense of pride and unity, beaming with the glow of Jewish survival.

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Heritage Trip to Poland 2017