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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Chesed Mission 2018/5778: Day 8

Today was our last day in Israel for Chesed Mission 2018. Our first stop of the day was Keren Or, where we interacted with children who are visually impaired and have other disabilities. We danced and sang with them and had so much fun just making the children happy.

From there we had our last visit to the Kotel where we prayed Mincha and shopped in the Rova.
We also went to Susan’s House, which is an organization that helps troubled youth recover and find a place in society by using their creativity to make a living. We saw how they made different art peices and glasswork in their workshop. We then had the opportunity to purchase the finished products in their gift shop.

This has been an amazing experience and one we will never forget. Thank you to Rabbi Besser, Susan Franco, Mr. Galpert, and Ms. Zimmerman for making this trip possible.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Chesed Mission 2018/5778: Day 7

Over the course of the trip we took part in various inspiring chesed activities. Today’s activities stood out and were especially meaningful to me. We got up in the morning and headed to Yad Lakashish, which is an organization that supports the elderly by training them and allowing them to create beautiful pieces of art. We toured the workshops and saw them at work. We then had the opportunity to buy their masterpieces as gifts for friends and family.
Next we went to Schneider Medical Center where we handed out gifts and toys to the children patients and had the ability to add a bit of joy to their day.
During lunch, we had an impromptu chesed opportunity when we saw soldiers at the mall we were at. We took advantage of this opportunity and gave them gifts and clothing that we had on the bus for Israeli soldiers.
From there we went to visit an amazing organization called Save A Child’s Heart. This organization helps children with heart deficiencies from all over the world despite their nationalities or religions. At this place we got to interact with the patients that they’ve helped, we danced and played games with them. Seeing the smiles that spread across their faces lit up my day.
We ended our day with, Beit Elezraki Emunah Children's Home, one of the most special organizations I have ever experienced. This is a home for children at risk. We hung out with the children during dinner and introduced ourselves, making everlasting relationships. We also danced with them and had a blast doing it. Today impacted me the most out of all of the days because it was truly inspiring to go to such special places back to back and to continuously giving to people and in return I got such a good feeling and lots of love.
~Shirley Sabbagh, Class of 2019

Monday, January 22, 2018

Chesed Mission 2018/5778: Day 6

Time really does fly when you’re having fun! Today, on another day of the Chesed Mission after a filling and yummy breakfast, we headed out to our first stop: The Meshi Children’s Rehabilitation Center. Here we interacted with children with different disabilities, and we were beyond amazed by the spectacular capabilities that some of the children had developed with the help of adaptive technologies! We helped them with drawing and decorating pots for the plants we planted that they could bring home in honor of Tu B'Shvat.
Next, we revisited the Todah L'Zhal Soldier Center, where we were this Shabbat, and gave out gift bags to many soldiers in the army. We also danced with them and got to hear their stories. 
Following that, we drove down to the unbelievable Oz Vegaon park/center that was established in memory of Gilad Shaer, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel, the three boys who were kidnapped and tragically murdered a few years ago in Israel. We had the opportunity to hear the story from Steve Garr, who’s amazing words inspired me, as well as my fellow friends to think about how important it is to appreciate Israel and show our love towards our home country. We helped expand the park and planted three trees in their memory.
After a long bus ride, we made it to the really interesting Holon Children's Museum where we experienced the Dialogue in the Dark and Invitation for Silence. We got to feel what it was like to be visually impaired and hard of hearing for an hour. We also had the opportunity to be guided by people who face this challenge everyday themselves.
The day was not over yet! We headed to the Pantry Packers Center, a project of Colel Chabad, where we split into groups and packed different foods for poor families in Israel who really need it. It was amazing to see the progress we made after our hard work! The night ended off with a late dinner on Emek Refaim, where we finished it off with a walk home. We can’t wait to see what Rabbi Besser has in store for us tomorrow! ~Rhonda Azar, Class of 2019

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Chesed Mission 2018/5778: Day 5

Sunday morning started like every other day this week, but we had no idea how big of an impact it made on us and the people we would meet. At 9:30am, after an amazing breakfast, we set out for one of the holiest institutions in Israel, Aleh. Aleh is an organization that provides help for people with serious mental and physical disabilities. First we went into the classroom to help with therapeutic activities. After this, we joined up to have a giant music party with dancing, instruments and a lot of smiles.
After this unbelievable experience, we went to visit the headquarters of United Hatzalah, founded by Eli Beer. While we were there we learned how helpful Hatzalah volunteers are and how they save people's lives.
Post lunch, we went on an hour bus ride to visit children at a children's home. This home for children's whose regular home environments are not safe for them. We did arts and crafts, dipped fruit in chocolate, played an alphabet game, and so much more. When it was time to load the bus to go to the next destination, many children and Flatbush students were sad because they did not want to leave because we made such great connections with our new friends.
Following that home, we went to visit Neve Michael which is another home for children in similar positions. Before meeting the children, a dedication was made for a toy room in memory of Naomi Houllou A"H to give presents for the children who don't receive them on their birthday. This was very fitting because Naomi cared for every child she encountered. We also heard a few words from Rachel Houllou. Then we got served dinner and spoke to the children. After dinner, we danced our hearts out and gave presents to the children who recently had their bar and bat mitzvah. Following the presents, we were treated to play the drums and bongos in a circle with the children. Despite the throbbing feeling in our hands, we had a great time. At the end of all this, Joe Kattan was acknowledged for the great work he did there over the summer and was presented with a T-shirt that matched the sweatshirts he gave them. There too, we were so hesitant to leave that some people didn't make the bus in time. Who knows what this amazing trip has in store for us next.
~Marc Franco, Joe Sutton and Joey Greenberg, Class of 2019

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Chesed Mission 2018/5778: Day 4

Our Chesed Mission weekend in Yerushaliym started off great. We were lucky to bring in Shabbat friday night at the Kotel with our meaningful prayers, dancing, and singing. After that, we came back to the hotel for a delicious Friday night dinner, accompanied by multiple motivational speakers, including Yosef Kramer who is currently serving in the IDF.

Shabbat morning started off with praying in the hotel. We had a relaxing day where everyone hung out, played games, and enjoyed another delicious Shabbat meal together. For the last few hours of Shabbat we went to Thank Israel Soldiers, an organization dedicated to connecting soldiers to the people rooting for them all over the world, where we ate seudah shleesheet with soldiers and heard their stories. We ended off the program with Havdalah and by thanking the soldiers and breaking into song and dance with them. We also handed out gifts before parting ways.
After Shabbat we went to The Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin. We hosted a pizza party for the lone soldiers and got know twenty plus soldiers. We had a great time listening to what they had to say and learning about their stories. We also handed out gifts to the soldiers. It was a great Shabbat and Motzei Shabbat in Israel! ~Nancy Ades, Class of 2018

Friday, January 19, 2018

Chesed Mission 2018/5778: Day 3

Today on Chesed Mission, we visited he Michael and Lola Goldstein Emunah Day Care Center. Emunah is an amazing organization that allows mothers to have their children cared for while they are at work. They also provide care and therapy for families in need. Today I had an opportunity to play with Eitan. We sat in a circle and sang Shabbat songs and danced. I have never seen someone so happy and always with a smile like his. Visiting the Emunah Day Care Center today was really such a great experience and it made me feel so special putting a smile on Eitan’s face. 
After visiting the day care center we went to the Machane Yehuda. At the shuk most of us spent time picking out gifts for our families and ate some really good food from some of the restaurants around there. I really had such a great day today doing chesed and I really hope to learn more throughout the rest of this trip. Shabbat Shalom! ~Raquel Keda, Class of 2019

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Chesed Mission 2018/5778: Day 2

The first stop of our jam packed schedule for the first full day of Chesed was Illanot School for Special Education. This school focuses specifically on helping students with Cerebral Palsy and other disabilities. We got to meet many children with different disabilities and hang out with them; we even heard the school’s choir perform, led by Cheryl Leiberman (HS '04) ! It was amazing to see the smiles on the children’s faces and how happy they were to receive our visit.
Our second stop of the day was Hadassah Medical Center, a hospital complex in Jerusalem that provides practically every possible medical service available in the world. We visited the childlren's ward where we distributed presents to ill children and their parents. Whether it was a stuffed animal or a coloring book, every child’s face lit up when they got a gift.
For our third stop of the day we visited the cemetery at Mount Herzl for fallen soldiers. It was inspiring to learn the stories of some young soldiers, not much older than ourselves, who lost their lives protecting the State of Israel.
For our fourth stop we visited Shalva National Children's Center, which provides high quality care for individuals with disabilities, empowering their families and promoting social inclusion. We got a tour of the amazing campus and had a chance to meet so many children and even have rikudim. We also got to hear the amazing story of how the founders created the organization because their son's disabilities. It was uplifting to hear about people who didn’t let disabilities bring their family down, but rather start an amazing organization because of them.
Our last stop of the day was Project Tikvot, which is a nonprofit volunteer based organization which rehabilitates Israel's victims of terror and injured soldiers through sport. Besides for hearing the creators of the organization speak, we got to hear from injured soldiers and how they used sports to improve both their mental and physical states. To end off the program students had the opportunity to do sports including rock climbing.
Today was an amazing first day that not only impacted our lives but also changed others. Can’t wait for tomorrow!
~Nancy Ades and Jessica Vaysman, Class of 2018

Today's Torah Takeaway: Ms. Michal Schulman

Today's Torah Take Away: Rabbi Naftali Besser

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Chesed Mission 2018/5778: Day 1

On Tuesday night, we all arrived at JFK airport ready and excited for the 16th annual Chesed Mission to Israel. A group of 54 students and 4 faculty members, led by Rabbi Naftali Besser and Mrs. Susan Franco, decided to spend their winter break in Israel visiting the sick, meeting with soldiers, volunteering in soup kitchens, interacting with special children, and so much more. After 8 and a half hours, we arrived at the Ben-Gurion Airport located in Tel-Aviv. When we got off the plane, we went straight to the Kotel to pray Arbit.  As the first stop on the trip, this really set the mood. The atmosphere was spiritual, and it was really intense. After we prayed, we took a group picture and headed to the Inbal hotel. We unpacked, settled in, and spent time with friends before walking to Emek Refaim for dinner.
After dinner we all went back to the hotel and packed hats, long johns, socks, scarves and other items for soldiers in large duffle bags that we will deliver to them within the next few days. We are all looking forward to see what the next full week of chesed has in store for us! ~Ronnie Menashe, Class of 2018

Today's Torah Take Away: Rabbi Dr. Raymond Harari

We are delighted to share our second year of the "Today's Torah Take Away" initiative. Each day throughout the course of Winter Break, you will receive an email from the Joel Braverman High School which will feature a short video with novel Torah thoughts prepared especially for you on your vacation. These short ideas have been crafted for you by your dedicated teachers, Judaic and Secular Studies, so you may remain in touch with Torah even as you are away from your home at 1609 Avenue J.

Today's message is from our Rosh Yeshivah, Rabbi Dr. Raymond Harari.

Friday, January 5, 2018

The Phoenix 2017-2018 Issue 4

Flatbush Students Tour "Items" Fashion Exhibit at the MoMA

Recently, through the Pathfinders program, students received a tour of the "Items" Fashion Exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The exhibit featured fashion staples such as the white t-shirt and the little black dress as well as some fashion firsts including a 3D printed gown and a bulletproof scarf. Students learned about the social, political, and cultural impact of clothing throughout time. Here are some statements from the students who attended the trip:

"It was so cool to see that fashion is not just about expressing yourself but it is about making a political statement and portraying your emotions on a day-to-day basis. We saw a bulletproof hijab that showed that people actually use their clothing as protection from the outside world". -Claudine Hadef, Class of 2020

"I enjoyed seeing how fashion changes over time, and I love that the trends in the museum were so current. In the past I have done research on fashion trends and it was cool for me to see how my own research was put into the museum" -Alice Franco, Class of 2020
"There was a cool exhibit at the end where a man from the 70s said that he imagined a future world where there would only be unisex clothing and it was cool to see that it actually came true in some fashion lines, like Champion" -Barbara Dayan, Class of 2020

"My friends and I wear hoodies all the time, and in the exhibit we learned that hoodies can be used to escape from your reality and be in your own world but also as a symbol of aggression and violence." -Linda Warren, Class of 2020
"It was cool to see that some trends in fashion never change, like jewelry for example. No one will ever say they don't want a Rolex or a diamond engagement ring." -Raquel Keda, Class of 2019

"It was interesting that the two groups that went on the tour of the same exhibit had completely different experiences." -Joyce Gani, Class of 2018

"I never thought about the connotation of different clothing, like how a leather jacket has a connotation of a "biker" and how a hijab can be associated with terrorism even though not all terrorists wear hijabs and not all people who wear hijabs are terrorists" -Renee Waingort, Class of 2018

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Flatbush Students Showcase the Stories they Authored

Two Yeshivah of Flatbush High School students visited our Elementary school last week to showcase the books that they had recently authored through our Pathfinders Program. Our students, Sharon Chappan and Ricky Esses, wrote mystery stories with a Jewish holiday theme while also incorporating Wilson Sigh Reading words for grades two and three. The elementary school students enjoyed hearing the stories directly from the authors!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Flatbush Students Distribute Toys at Coney Island Hospital

Paulette Abraham, Adina Kameo, Susan Regev, and Madalyn Zalta

A group of Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braveman High School students volunteered at the Coney Island Hospital on December 26, 2017. They distributed toys and other gifts to the patients in the hospital. 

Adina Kameo, Class of 2018 reflects: 
As every patient came in one by one and choosing a toy their faces lit up. They were so happy and had the biggest smiles on theirs face which was contagious. After we saw them smile we couldn’t help but smile with them. The feeling of helping these kids and making them feel special with a simple toy was sensational, a feeling pure joy and love.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Masterpiece Theater Views "The Merry Widow" at the Met

Last Wednesday evening, our Yeshivah of Flatbush Masterpiece theater participants braved the cold weather to see The Merry Widow at the Met Opera. The operetta exceeded all expectations, keeping everyone at the edge of their seats until the standing ovation finale. The amazing choreography left everyone bedazzled, and all had nothing but praise upon exiting the theater. The performance gave our Flatbush students a great way to enjoy a night out and learn about the different cultural venues NYC has to offer. The performance was also a great way to end off the semester and get everyone in the Merry mood for finals. ~Robert Adler, Class of 2019

Monday, January 1, 2018

Flatbush Students Attend NY Jets Sports Business Day

Earlier this year Yeshivah of Flatbush students, traveled to MetLife Stadium. The students participated in the annual NY Jets Sports Business Day and had the opportunity to meet with leading members of the New York Jets business team and get an inside view at the business end of running a professional sports franchise.
The students heard presentations from several Jets executives during their interactive tour, including members of the marketing, sales, partnerships, finance, hospitality, and customer service departments. Each presenter spoke about their personal path that lead them to the Jets family and specific aspects of their jobs. Students had the opportunity to ask questions and make contacts for future internships. Following the presentations students were able to visit the Jets locker room and tour the field. The students learned a great deal about the business side of sports.