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February 2017 Shevat 5777

Where Jewish Tradition Meets Innovation

High School Message from Rabbi Harari


his past falI, I visited our former students in Israel who are spending a year of study there. It was wonderful to see how our students have adjusted to their new environments and how they are growing intellectually, emotionally and religiously.

During my trip, I went to our annual alumni reunion in the home of Dr. Rochelle Dweck, our representative in Israel. Most of last year’s graduates participated. The atmosphere was warm and engaging, energized with that unique Flatbush spirit. The young men and women

shared thoughts and stories with each other and with us. In my remarks, I spoke about Abraham’s acquisition of the Mearat Hamkhpelah. Despite the promise of land by the Almighty, Abraham had to grovel with Ephron the Hittite to receive a small burial plot for his deceased wife. The Torah seems to be telling us that great accomplishments often come with struggle and tension. Struggle, I added, is what also characterizes the growth year that they are experiencing in Israel. That struggle with texts, spirituality and Jewishness will undoubtedly yield great results. Sincerely,

Rabbi Dr. Raymond Harari JBHS Head of School

JBHS Expansion Plans Are Underway


he Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School is in the midst of a transformational initiative to create a 21st century educational environment focused on what we can do for each student. Reimagined facilities already in use include the Stein Science Wing, Laniado Gymnasium, and Khezrie Auditorium. Each one expands our educational approach and enhances the student experience of curriculum, technology, extracurricular activities and the arts.


The new North Building will add to the Yeshivah’s campus with a Bet Midrash, Library & Media Center, and Student Commons. The design layout highlights the Yeshivah of Flatbush philosophy of Torah u’Mada, merging Torah studies and secular knowledge to inform and enrich students’ lives. In the existing South Building, the current Bet Midrash will be converted into a fully functional space for the College Guidance Center, Israel Guidance, and Pathfinders Program. The central location is an ideal place for students to meet and work with their counselors to prepare for and strategize about their future plans.


Software Puts Students on the Map Google Maps software allowed two Junior classes to survey Israel’s historical battle scenes, sifting through rugged landscapes and dust with the use of a simple touchscreen. Battles that took place in the times of the ancient Maccabees were thoroughly explored and analyzed.

Student Lobbyists Help Pass Act


he Israel Activism Commission journeyed to Washington, D.C. to lobby members of Congress. The first stop for the 45 students was AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) headquarters in Washington, D.C. There, the students heard from AIPAC’s lobbyists and then were split into four groups to practice lobbying tactics with AIPAC professionals. After these prep sessions, the groups headed to

Capitol Hill to utilize their lobbying skills at the offices of Senator Chuck Schumer, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Congressman Peter King, and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice. YOF Senior Ben Wade said, “We were able to participate in a political process that only one percent of Americans take advantage of. Not only were our appointments successful, but the senate legislation that we lobbied in support of, the Iran Sanctions Extension Act, was passed two days later by a unanimous majority.”

After their lobbying appointments, the students proceeded to the Supreme Court for a tour that led them into the courtrooms, where they listened to a lecture on how the Supreme Court system works. Before boarding the buses home, the group stopped for a photo op at the Capitol building. Students raved about the take-out dinners they received from Char Bar, a popular kosher burger restaurant in town. The trip was under the leadership of faculty members Mr. Howard Rothbort and Señora Evelyn Shterenzer.

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1. Bet Midrash


2. Student Commons and Cafe

3. College Guidance Center

4. Library and Media Center



“Fiddler on the Roof” Revisited in Hebrew


n January 1, the YOF family got to see the village of Anatevka come to life on the Khezrie Auditorium stage in the production of “Kanar Al Ha’gag/Fiddler on the Roof”, the Jason Botnick, A”H Memorial Hebrew play. The stage had been bustling with activity for the last few months as the cast and crew of more than 40 students worked around the clock to get every Anatevka “tradition” just perfect. Under the direction of Sally Shatzkes (ES 95, HS 99), the students beautifully captured this difficult time in Jewish history through their stellar acting and beautiful singing... and they did it all in Hebrew! From Tevye’s skillfully decorated home, to the town’s fully stocked tavern, to the costumes that are straight out of Russia from the early 1900s, everything was authentically “Fiddler”. The annual Hebrew Play is a timehonored tradition at Flatbush. And, while it is a blast for the audience to watch each year, it is an even more


incredible experience for the students who participate in the show. This year, the students gained a deeper understanding of the historical context of the Fiddler setting, and a

in which each student’s success relies on the dedication of the whole group. The play was a meaningful tribute to Jason Botnick, A”H (ES 90, HS 94) who loved to perform on stage. The evening opened with Choir director Brian Gelfand leading the YOF choral group in its rendition of “Don’t Let the Light Go Out.” Orchestra director Joel Hessel directed his students in the performance of the show’s overture.

greater appreciation for the freedom we have as Jews today. Furthermore, the students in the Hebrew Play learn the critical values of teamwork, responsibility, and commitment that is entwined with an ensemble project

Aside from its talented cast, the performance owes its success to Musical Director Danny Shatzkes (ES 94, HS 98), Set Designer Rebecca Grazi-Siev (ES ‘02, HS ‘06), Costume/Makeup Designer Rachel Hasson (mom to actresses Aida and Hannah), and orchestra director Joel Hessel. Also, special thanks to Elementary School faculty member Chani Gratzman for her tireless work on the Hebrew script. “It took a village... to create this village!” said Mrs. Shatzkes.


Down to the Bone Students visited the American Museum of Natural History, where they learned about forensic anthropology techniques to interpret the age, gender, and stature of a skeleton. They learned about gel electrophoresis images, missing persons databases, and skeletal casts, to identify remains.

Young Designers Offered a Gem of a Class


ewelry Design and Marketing is a new JBHS class being offered this semester, given by Ms. Rachel Tawil. She is the owner of Rachel Tawil Designs and has taught classes at several venues, including The Yellow Door, SCC and NYJ Camps. In this exciting new Tsei U’lemad Independent Study course, students will learn how to design, construct and market their own jewelry. Precision techniques in shaping

jewelry will be introduced; emphasis will be placed on making exact measurements in design and transitioning the design with a controlled use of tools. Different techniques will be taught to professionally finish their designs. Students will finish this course with an understanding of how to promote and sell their handmade jewelry. They will design and create jewelry, including bracelets, chains and pendants.

New Courses Tap Into Specific Judaic Interests


n their final semester at YOF, seniors want to make sure they get the most out of every moment they have. In order to help make that happen, a new program lets students choose their Judaic Studies courses. Students can now elect two of a wide array of courses on a variety of topics, including: Sefer Devarim (course given by Principal Rabbi

Joseph Beyda), Pirkei Avot (Rabbi Ahser Stern), Holocaust in Halakhah (Rabbi Zelig Prag), Jewish Philosophy (Assistant Principal Esther Hidary), Business Ethics (Rabbi Jonathan Skolnick) and more. Students are excited because it allows them to pick areas of interest and teachers they have strong connections with.

JBHS Visits Adweek


dweek Magazine welcomed Mr. Adam Hofstetter’s journalism students and the staff of the school newspaper, The Phoenix, for a tour. Editor-in-chief Lisa Granatstein, along with five other journalists, spoke about how they embarked upon their journalism careers, gave internship advice, and told of their experiences connecting with CEOs and celebrities. The students asked the Adweek staff what their favorite parts of their jobs were and how they make sure the writer’s voice is heard in the style of an article. The staff’s insight gave the students a useful glimpse into the world of publishing.


High School

JBHS Holds Mock Political Debates


n Election Day, as political passions ran high on both sides, JBHS students participated in two mock debates (one for Juniors and Seniors, and the other for Sophomores and Freshmen), each highlighting the messages of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. These debates were the culmination of the A.P. U.S. Government and Politics class’s Election Project, and the debate itself was moderated and arranged by the class’ teacher, Ms. Shelley Kaplowitz. Donald Trump, played by Max Shemtob, began his opening statements speaking of our treatment of veterans, building the border wall, and Clinton’s corruption. It should be noted that Rena Weitzman, who was the original Hillary Clinton had to be replaced by Rachel Davidovich at the last moment because of illness. Ms. Clinton began her opening statement with her small town beginnings, mentioning tax breaks, the plight of the gay community, and how Trump wants to instill fear in Americans when he should be uniting people instead.


As the debate heated up, there were occasional outbursts of enthusiasm from some in the crowd, but overall the audience was engaged and respectful. Some of the questions the ‘candidates’ were asked about were free

college, the proposed stealing of classified information by the Russians, minimum wage and how it will affect both small and big businesses, and America’s treatment of the refugee situation. Clinton listed her previous roles in the Middle East peace process and how she blocked foreign aid to Hamas, helped negotiate a ceasefire, and worked with Netanyahu even though they disagreed on many levels. Trump simply reaffirmed his support for Israel and how important it is to keep Israel an ally of the USA. In closing, Trump described how our country will remain “weak and spineless” if Clinton were to win the presidency, and Clinton mocked Trump’s reference to the Syrian refugees as a “bag of M&M’s” with a few poisonous ones thrown in. It was a lively debate, and was followed by voting by the entire school. These debates helped the A.P. Government class to experience how politics really works, and in turn, they helped the other students in the school to understand the issues facing America today.


Senior Skaters Take to the Ice Senior Night started at Bryant Park, where students eagerly strapped on their ice skates and took to the ice rink. Even those who initially began on the wall managed to skate around with the help of some good friends.


Career & Summer Opportunities Fair


he JBHS Pathfinders Program hosted a Career and Summer Opportunities Fair in December, welcoming more than 30 professionals interested in connecting with JBHS youths. The representatives, many of whom were YOF alumni, came from a wide array of fields including law, medicine, business, finance, the arts, mental health, technology, and education. Principal Rabbi Joseph Beyda introduced the program and encouraged students to think beyond high school and college and take advantage of the opportunity given to them to explore their future. They were eager to share their experience, and advised many students the best ways to succeed in specific fields. YOF Alumna Susan Kasavi (HS 2011), who spearheaded the idea for the fair while a student at JBHS, spoke to the crowd as well. Afterwards, students headed to individual sessions where each professional gave a glimpse into a different career and discussed what they completed to get there. The students were enthralled with the presentations and put forward

Practicing Kindness Is Never a Bad Thing thoughtful questions for the professionals to address. Each career representative stressed the importance of trying different jobs and internships in order to find your true passion, but didn’t hesitate to encourage students that it is never too late to explore new options. The second part of the day’s programming was the premier Summer Opportunities Fair, headed by JBHS junior Sally Elbaz along with a competent committee of eight students. More than 26 vendors, including JNF, Emunah, SCC, Tikvah, Allegra Franc, NYU, The New York Times, LIU, and Maimonides Medical Center were all in attendance. The fair took place during lunch, giving all students the opportunity to speak with representatives and sign up to receive more information about programs. The day was coordinated by devoted Pathfinders Coordinators Shifra Hanon and Doris Anteby.


he JBHS Guidance Department joined with our student-led Choices commission to deliver a thoughtprovoking freshman program this past December on the topic of kindness. It began with an auditorium presentation, where freshmen were educated about the topic through informative (and highly entertaining) videos and skits, performed by seniors. Junior and senior Choices Commissioners teamed up with faculty members to facilitate subsequent breakout sessions on kindness, using the auditorium program, a psychoeducational PowerPoint presentation, and relevant anecdotes as springboards for discussion. This was a wonderful opportunity for our junior and senior student leaders to make an impact on our freshmen regarding real-life challenges. The program was an eye-opening and inspiring discussion about this very important topic. Director of Guidance Dr. Etty Mizrahi, and Choices faculty leaders Ms. Chaya Zimmerman and Ms. Erika Levavi coordinated the program.


Elementar y School The Flatbush Five — YOF’s Foundations of Character Development


tudents in grades 1-8 participated in a kickoff assembly for the Flatbush Five, the new initiative designed to further cultivate five particular traits in our students: Respect, Honesty, Kindness, Responsibility and Humility. Parent Amy Sasson designed the larger-thanlife poster that greets parents and students in the entry to the Elementary School. General Studies Principal Mr. Robert Berkman introduced the program to students, stressing the importance of demonstrating the Flatbush Five everywhere and making them a part of daily life, both in and out of school. He also stressed how meaningful it can be for the community if we work to

because Hashem created man ‘be’tzelem Elokim’ — in the image of G-d,” explained Head of Elementary School Rabbi Lawrence Schwed.

become good students and good people, and how it can even improve academic performance by building up a child’s self-esteem. “It is time that we return to the basic notion of kavod for others, simply

During the assembly, Rabbi Dr. Jack Cohen, a motivational community speaker, regaled the students with stories that focused on the first trait that they will be asked to perfect: RESPECT. With each story, he emphasized that we should treat all people with respect, regardless of status. Students were also shown a clip of Auschwitz survivor Eva Mozes during a speech in which she described respect as a pebble that makes ripples in the water when it is tossed in. Calls of “Start the ripple!” were heard throughout a sweet YOF video, available on In the video, created by Lower Division Associate Principal of Torah Studies Rivka Zaklikowski and Bnot Sherut Yael Attias and Shiraz Cohen, children were asked to describe what respect meant to them. Answers included: letting someone finish speaking before you start talking; calling your grandparents and telling them Shabbat Shalom; being patient, and respecting everyone’s differences. Students received a Flatbush Five keychain to serve as a physical reminder, and were invited to help promote the traits through a competition to create a poem, essay, song, or art project. The Bnot Sherut gave workshops to Lower Division classes using games, songs, videos, roleplaying and arts and crafts. “We look forward to seeing our students’ personal growth,” added Rabbi Schwed.



Music Talent Show Several class 3-204 students showed off their musical specialty at their class’s talent show. Students who play instruments performed a well-received concert for their peers and inspired their classmates to play music too!

Hats Off to PKRE Night!


irst grade students and their parents put their detective skills to the test for PKRE’s (Parents and Kids Reading for Enjoyment) Marvelous Monday. Upon entering the school, students were greeted by an actor playing Magritte and his friend, who showed them magic tricks and gave them surreal names. Each child and his/her parent read Magritte’s Marvelous Hat, written and illustrated by D.B Johnson. The story, influenced by the surrealist painter René Magritte, gave students a look into that realm of art.

Upon entering their classrooms, each child and parent began to work on a Marvelous Mat filled with activities based on the book. There was a team challenge to count how many hats could be found in the book, followed by a scavenger hunt throughout the school where students searched for both visual and auditory clues. On their journey around school, Magritte would check on the children’s progress and encourage them to stay on track for the hunt. In the book, Magritte’s hat was playing hide and seek,

and in reality, in the halls of the school, the clues were hiding as well. Each team’s last clue led them to the auditorium where the students finally found Magritte’s hat. The students saw a performance by the actors to round off the evening. Julie and Steven Montague sponsored the event in honor of their son Henry. The PKRE committee is Maggie Betesh, Sarah Khdideh, Celia Gindi, and Bertha Sabbagh, who expertly and creatively led the evening.

Pilgrims...Then and Now


n preparation for Thanksgiving, Morah Mindi Gordon’s kindergarten classes K-136 and K-134 participated in activities highlighting the Pilgrims and Native Americans. They washed, peeled and cooked beets, onions and spinach to dye their Native American shirts. They also used clay to make beads for necklaces and sewed headdresses.

Moldova, Syria, Morocco, Brazil, Azerbaijan and the Ukraine shared their stories using photos, artifacts, clothing and currency to bring their journey to life. Walking around the room with their homemade pass-

ports, students collected signatures from the Pilgrims and took pictures with them. As the day drew to a close, the Pilgrims said goodbye, and the children reflected on the lessons that they had learned.

The highlight for the students was learning about the Pilgrims then and now. The classes invited family members who were “Modern Day Pilgrims” to share stories of their journeys to America. The students hand-painted the flags of the countries of the visiting pilgrims and greeted their visitors in their Native American outfits. Pilgrims from


Elementar y School Leadership Initiative Builds a Strong Foundation for 8th Graders


he eighth grade Student Leadership Program, under the leadership of Rabbi Yaakov Herzberg, Rabbinical Coordinator of Student Development, and Mr. Avi Smus, Associate Dean of Student Services, is focused on “developing the next generation of leaders.” Interested students went through an application process to be accepted to this special program that uses leadership training sessions and school trips to teach students valuable skills. These skills give students increased confidence in their own abilities, and the opportunity to access their full potential. They are entrusted with a variety of leadership responsibilities within the school, which, in turn, advances their own school spirit and pride.


In September, the eighth grade Leadership program opened with a training session about the basics of leadership. During the training, they discussed the tools of leadership — communication of vision, creativity, innovation, focus on performance, influencing and driving change, inclusiveness, collaboration, and developing people—and how all of these build the foundations of trust and credibility in a true leader. The Leaders also participated in an interactive discussion about leadership development with Colonel Jason Musteen, PhD, a Senior Professor of History at West Point Military Academy. He explained that leaders live with full transparency and therefore need to be honest, accept input from others,

and be willing to compromise. He expressed the importance of encouraging the people around you to ask hard questions and to listen to people’s ideas and thoughts. Colonel Musteen stressed to the students to serve those you lead in all aspects, and that a true leader must always be honest with himself and who he is. He must be able to ask the question: “How can I do that better?” In November, the Leaders participated in “The Flatbush Shark Tank” program that focused on teaching students critical thinking and problem solving skills, and encouraged collaboration and teamwork. They were challenged to work as a team, strategize and pitch their product to potential investors. The students


Torah Bowl Girls Hard to Beat The Girls Torah Bowl team, led by faculty member Rabbi Yaakov Herzberg, had an impressive year so far, finishing the regular season in second place. The team is raring to go for the playoff round, coming soon!

Atideinu2s Building Adds New Creative Play Spaces were split into four groups. Each was given an everyday household item (i.e paperclip, cuddly toy etc.) to sell to the judges. In only ten minutes, each team was challenged to find the right members to represent them and used charts, songs and artwork to present their creative business ideas. Our Leaders did not disappoint, and once again helped us realize what great leaders we have in our midst. In December, the students ventured to Ring Homestead in Middletown, NY to participate in the low ropes elements course. This hands-on learning activity gave the students an experience in overcoming challenges as a team. Whether it was the military wall, the fidget ladder, the tire traverse, or any of the low ropes elements, students had to work intensely as a close team. At lunch, the students enjoyed a gourmet barbecue prepared by Dr. Susan Schmool and had a chance to reflect on their experience. The leaders strengthened their teamwork, collaboration and listening skills.


acilities for our youngest children (Atideinu2s — our program for two-year-olds) have been newlyredesigned and upgraded, thanks to recently completed renovations.


 he playground sports a new T jungle gym and slide, aside from four additional mini-cars and seven additional tricycles


Redesigned central staircase in steel and acrylic


Large-scale floral mural in hallway


New wood flooring and area rugs


The creatively tiled “Red Room” is designated for art and has a newly installed storage unit


 The main office now features a comfortable place for interviews to take place, as well as one-onone sessions

These enhancements have added exuberance and enthusiasm to our already blossoming Atideinu 2s’ experience.

In January, the class created new ideas on how to integrate the traits of the Flatbush Five into the daily schedules of students. The Leaders were split into five groups representing each of the five pillars. The teams had 30 minutes to collaborate and prepare a short presentation to convey their vision. The administration enjoyed hearing our Leaders’ input and have already implemented some of their ideas, empowering the students for the rest of the school year.



Favorite Books Paired with Meaningful Themes


ower Division enjoyed Children’s Book Week in November and explored this year’s Vote for Books theme created by the event’s coordinator, faculty member Orli Listman. Master storyteller Luann Adams came to help kick off the week leading three assemblies. Ms. Adams has been a part of more than 1,500 school storytelling programs and has several award-winning storytelling CDs. The first and second grade assembly, Treasures of the Heart, included traditional folklore, featuring a child favorite, “Little Red”. The third and fourth grade assembly’s theme was Celebrating Children. Ms. Adams


retold “Chicken Sunday” by Patricia Polacco, a book the children knew well and were very excited to hear. The kids were mesmerized listening to an old Haitian folktale whose main character was named Tapingi. Children of Courage was the theme of the fifth grade assembly, which included stories celebrating life, family, love, school and humanity, as well as tales of bravery during the Civil War. In all the programs, the theme of Respect, from our Flatbush Five (YOF’s five core values), was reinforced.

Aside from the assemblies, each day of the week was dedicated to a different theme, including, Be a Sport, Read, where students wore sports apparel; Hats Off to Reading, where students wore creative hats that many made themselves; and Patriotic Day, where students wore red, white and blue. Classes also voted for their favorite book. When D.E.A.R. — Drop Everything And Read was announced, students would drop what they were doing and read for ten minutes. This classroom activity was in addition to the nightly Read-a-Thon in which students read each night and their parents signed forms indicating the number of pages read. These nightly tallies were added to the school-wide total of a whopping 70,000 pages read!


YOF Shabbaton: A Weekend of Memories

The 2nd Annual Flatbush Family Shabbaton in December held warmth and excitement for all. Participants strengthened their bonds through thought-provoking divrei torah, group sessions and personal insights. Three Holocaust survivors from the Witness Theater program joined the trip.

Ladies Auxiliary Completes Eventful First Semester


tudents were welcomed back to school with a festive carnival, which set the pace for the rest of the school year’s Ladies Auxiliary events, headed by Co-Presidents Naomi Houllou and Nicole Oved. In the fall, children participated in the Annual Book Fair, where they bought books for themselves and got a head start on some holiday shopping for their friends and family. BINGO Night was filled with family fun and laughter, and students were rewarded for their school fundraising efforts during the Chanukah Candy Sale in December. Dads Do Tefillah is always a popular event (see story below), with hundreds

of family members rushing to YOF to pray with their children. Coming up, look out for creative Purim baskets on sale next month (who can resist?), followed by one of YOF’s most meaningful and exciting events of the year on March 19th — The Daniel Chernikoff, A”H, Hockey and Learning Day. We hope you are as excited as we are to participate and share our time with such a devoted family. Always, we appreciate the triple effort of Esther Shasho, Annie Sidaoui and Tsivia Ovadia as they make sure our students are fed healthy and balanced meals every day, and for their help organizing all of the events throughout the year.


Offering a Glimpse on Becoming Bnei/Bnot Torah


n January 2nd, the Elementary School welcomed fathers, grandpas, uncles and big brothers on one of the most anticipated days of the year to join our students for the Ladies Auxiliary Dads Do Tefillah. Morris Varon, who leads YOF’s tefillah initiative, annually offers a unique opportunity for fathers to get a snap- shot into an integral part of their child’s day to see how they are

becoming bnei/bnot torah. The day is also a chance for our students and teachers to exhibit their hard work and the kavanah they devote to tefillah daily. The interactive tefillah program included a slideshow, picture collages and a gourmet breakfast.


Elementar y School Middle Division Devotes Assembly to Those Lost and Hurt in the IDF


iddle Division students observed Honor Day for the Casualties of Israel’s Wars and Enemy Attacks in December. Under the direction of the Zehut organization, a delegation of four Israeli soldiers and Knesset Member Shuli Moalem-Refaeli, spent the morning sharing their own stories of survival and triumph. All four soldiers were seriously wounded while on active duty in the IDF. Ohad, a member of the Golani Brigade, was injured during Tzuk Eitan, Operation Protective Edge, in 2014. After numerous surgeries and a year of rehabilitation, he returned to the army and assumed a role at the Military Command and Leadership School for teenagers aspiring to be the next generation of military leaders. He is now studying law and hopes one day to be an Israeli ambassador. Ron, part of the tank division during Tzuk Eitan, was hit by a mortar shell as his unit was leaving Gaza. He woke up in


a hospital to find his right leg amputated. Today, he is a championship kayaker and is training to compete in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Shuli Mualem-Refaeli became an activist for the IDF Widows and Orphans Organization after her own husband was killed. Her involvement eventually led to her election into the Knesset, and today she is the Chair of the Bayit Yehudi party. The message that was stressed to our students was that dealing with crisis at any level takes the right attitude. It is easy to give in to our problems or handicaps, but a positive

attitude allows you to live life to the fullest. Our students showed their appreciation with a presentation of the flags and a beautiful performance by our Middle Division choir. Head of Elementary School Rabbi Lawrence Schwed and Middle Division Principal Rabbi Dr. David Hertzberg greeted the soldiers with words of gratitude and helped our students understand the sacrifice and commitment of these, and all Israeli soldiers. Each soldier was presented with a very special chanukiah as a memento of their visit to the Yeshivah of Flatbush.


From the Tropics to the Arctic Kindergarten classrooms were transformed into a tropical rain forest, polar and ocean habitats, and an “Up in the Sky” exhibit for the Science Fair. Each class explored the climates and animals from each habitat that live there.

6th Graders Visit Buehler Challenger and Science Center

A Light In Their Eye



r. Shmuel Rada’s sixth grade science research program is developing appreciation for the sciences by incorporating interactive and team building exercises into class lessons. This scientific inspiration culminated in a trip last December to the Buehler Challenger and Science Center in Paramus, New Jersey. At Buehler, the students experienced a space simulation to rendezvous with Halley’s Comet, which only nears Earth once every 75 years. The students put their skills, teamwork and knowledge to the test as they worked on a variety of tasks ranging from navigation to communication, and learned about building a probe in order to collect data from the

comet. The students alternated with being in the “spacecraft” and in “mission control” to get the full experience of what it means to go into space. They also observed gasses that were put into a Geissler tube through spectrographic glasses to determine what gas they were looking at by seeing the range of colors the gasses emitted.

arly Childhood classes took part in science experiments tying in to the holiday of Hanukkah. Nursery classes lit two candles and covered one with a glass jar to show that the flame will go out from the candle that was denied oxygen under the glass. The teachers also lit candles and covered them with different sized jars and asked the children which candles they thought would burn longer. Students were taught about what candles are made from and how they melt, which led to other discussions on the different ways of lighting a chanukiah. Classes performed experiments with multiple liquids (oil, apple juice, water) with floating wicks to see which liquids burn. Aside from candlelight, the children learned about other sources of light while making shadow puppets, using flashlights, and seeing the difference between transparent, translucent and opaque surfaces. Some classes took walks around the building to find reflective surfaces. These interactive activities make the children more receptive to scientific learning and get their little creative minds working!



Falcons Hoop It Up! JV Boys Host Hausdorff Tournament related this story to Hausdorff, noting “we usually sit in our own places, but here we have an opportunity to share our learning.” He challenged the players to get to know one another and “to sit in more than one tent” over the course of the weekend. The Hausdorff festivities went into high gear Friday at the Oneg Shabbat graciously hosted by YOF parents Amy and Steven Sasson. The student-athletes heard from their own Ricky Sasson and sang heartfelt zemirot with Flatbush Coach “Rabbi” Gus.


ore than 20 years ago, JBHS Dean of Students Rabbi Naftali Besser and Coach Mike Gelber — along with the rest of the Flatbush community — were shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of their dear friend and colleague, Assistant Principal Thomas Hausdorff, A” H. He was a teacher, an athlete, a mentor and a friend. In their grief, they sought an avenue to honor Mr. Hausdorff in a way that would be meaningful, educational and athletic. So was born the Hausdorff Tournament. During 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.


This winter, Mr. Hausdorff’s legacy continued as YOF welcomed JV Boys Basketball teams from Memphis, Tennessee (Macs from

Cooper Yeshiva High School for Boys), Southfield, Michigan (Farber Hebrew Day School Pioneers) and Boca Raton, Florida (Katz Yeshiva Storm), to join the school’s own JV Falcons as they gathered to compete, to learn and to celebrate in the 21st Annual Hausdorff Invitational JV Basketball Tournament and Shabbaton. On day one, YOF and the visiting teams prayed Arvit tefilot, then engaged with Yachad, The National Jewish Council for Disabilities, for a special program that brought the players together with Yachad members to share in the spirit of singing, dancing and dining. That night, the teams gathered in the Beit Midrash for a special shiur with JBHS Principal Rabbi Joseph Beyda, who shared a lesson taken from the week’s parasha, Toldot, which focused on Yaakov and Eisav. He asked why the Torah states that Yaakov sits in “tents” and not in “a tent”, then

The Saturday nightcap saw the Falcons in a see-saw battle against the Katz Storm, but the home team sealed a late comeback, making the Storm and the Falcons the Hausdorff Championship contenders. On Sunday, the Falcons secured a Flatbush victory in the Finals, 50-48, and brought to a close an exciting day of play. As the boys settled in to the Flatbush Student lounge for the closing ceremonies and presentation of awards, Rabbi Besser delivered a moving d’var torah and thanked Coach Gelber for his commitment to the event. After students received their awards, everyone watched a slideshow of the tournament. Hausdorff not only brought boys from four distinct and different regions of the country together in welcoming Shabbat, but the boys and their coaches shared divrei Torah and mishnaot that were both insightful and inspirational, forging connections that will last a lifetime.


Pucks Fly for New Girls Varsity Hockey Team JBHS is set to debut its newest interscholastic sport — Girls Varsity Hockey! Under Head Coach Chelsea Donovan, the Canadian native and former collegiate ice hockey player, the Falcon girls are getting ready to play a full MYHSAL schedule this spring.

Girls Varsity Team Takes Maimonides Tournament in Boston


he JBHS Girls Varsity Basketball team traveled to Brookline, Massachusetts in December for the 4th Annual Maimonides School Invitational Basketball Tournament and Shabbaton. Over the course of the four-day event, the Falcons engaged in learning and community-building off the court while playing with spirit and sportsmanship on the court. Along the way, the girls cemented a place for themselves in Maimonides Tournament history with a thrilling victory in the championship game! Once all of the participating schools arrived (the boys and girls teams from Melvin Berman of Rockville, Maryland, and Hyman Brand of Overland Park, Kansas, along with the boys team from Rambam Mesivta of Lawrence, NY), the players all prayed Mincha and were welcomed by Tournament Director Ahron Solomont. The Falcons then opened the tournament with a matchup with the Hyman Brand Rams. With Captain Sarah Horowitz setting the tone on offense, and Forward Judy Blanka dominating the glass, Flatbush jumped out to the early lead. The final quarter of play was all about defense and ball protection. Flatbush closed out the well-earned win, 52-38. “It was a great team effort,” remarked Head Coach Rozan Mizrahi-Laudon. “Everyone contributed to what was most important for us — pressure defense and rebounding. “ Day Two began with all of the teams praying shacharit tefilot, followed by a match-up with the M-Cats. In a

touching gesture, the M-Cat players wore the initials and uniform number of their alum, Ezra Schwartz, A”H, who was killed by terrorists while on his gap year in Israel. The Falcons played a challenging and aggressive game against the M-Cats, outlasting Maimonides, 50-45. Shabbat included a memorable Dvar Torah from Flatbush’s own studentathlete, Judy Blanka, teaching about the power of prayer. She related how as Yaakov prepared to meet Eisav, he could choose “to appease Eisav through gifts; to prepare for war with him; and lastly to pray.” Judy noted that it was not just that Yaakov utilized all three options, rather it was the order in which he did so that was significant. First he prepared for battle, then he prayed and lastly he sent gifts. “Belief in the power of prayer is also the belief in our responsibility to make the supreme effort,” explained Blanka, as she tied the message in with the tournament. “For the athletes, playing basketball without the supreme amount of effort makes prayers meaningless.” After a rousing New England Shabbat filled with learning, prayer, song and friendship, the Flatbush Girls Varsity Basketball team found a reserve of energy in the final three minutes to put away a very able Berman Hebrew

Academy team in the final game of round robin play, 53-43, securing their spot in Sunday morning’s |Championship Game. Before the Finals, the players were all treated to breakfast with Boston Globe sportswriter Nick Cafardo. Cafardo shared some stories of inspiration gleaned over his many years in sports journalism. At last, it was then time for the final game. Falcons Head Coach MizrahiLaudon and Assistant Coach Jon Gabriel reiterated to the girls that the pressure was on the hosts. “Play your game, and you will come out on top.” In a game that will go down as having one of the most classic fourth quarters of play in a tournament finals game, the Flatbush Falcons held off the Maimonides M-Cats to win by a final score of 41-38, taking the Championship trophy home with them to Brooklyn.



Sheryl Handler-Matasar, M.D.


lumna Sheryl Handler-Matasar, (ES 87, HS 91) now a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, has great memories of her YOF years. From practical jokes, memorable lectures, late nights of studying, and discovering the rock band U2, her teen years were filled with things that make her smile. When she looks back on her time here at YOF, Sheryl remembers JBHS Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology teacher Lonny Benamy, A”H, as one of her favorites whom she found quite inspiring. She also thinks often of Rabbi Amnon Haramati who taught Judaic Studies. Mr. Benamy instilled in her a love of science, as Rabbi Haramati did a love of Judaism. Sheryl started Barnard College after JBHS graduation, where she was pre-med and majored in Biopsychology with a minor in Art History.

“I knew very early on, even as a little kid, that I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. I used to do surgery on my Barbie dolls and put casts on their limbs!” explained Sheryl. She and her childhood friend, fellow alumna Julie Douek (ES 87, HS 91 ) Zakarian, used to scrub up, hold their hands in the air as surgeons do, and “fix” their Barbies’ broken bones. However, Sheryl was pretty sure when she graduated Barnard in 1995, that she wanted to do surgery on REAL people as her profession, and she continued her studies at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. There, she selected extra elective rotations in Orthopedics and aced her USMLE Board exams. With those impressive grades, she then applied for a spot in seven of the orthopedics residency programs in New York City. However, life is full of compromises, and Sheryl’s husband, Scott Matasar, whom she met her third week at Barnard (and married straight out of college), was from Michigan and wanted to move back to the Midwest. Sheryl broadened her residencies search and “fell in love with the Cleveland Clinic” after she interviewed there as a fourth year medical student and wound up matching there. In 1999, she and Scott moved to Cleveland to start a new life in a new city. She would go on to spend the next five years at the Cleveland Clinic and have her first child, Lauren Sydney, during her third year as an orthopedic surgery resident.


During her orthopedic training, Sheryl decided to

specialize in pediatric orthopedic surgery and applied for a fellowship, which she completed at the Hospital for Special Surgery, back in New York City. During her year-long fellowship, she and her daughter moved in with her parents while her husband commuted to Brooklyn weekly from Cleveland. Lauren attended the YOF Early Childhood Program that year, “which brought me so much joy,” said Sheryl. She had two more children after she completed her fellowship: Aidan Marcus, who is now 11, and Carly Rhian, who is now 9. Today, Sheryl lives in Chagrin Falls, Ohio and works as a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Akron Children’s Hospital repairing broken bones and sports injuries, as well as working with kids who have congenital problems (club feet and hip dysplasia), scoliosis, spina bifida and cerebral palsy. “All of the years of studying and training after YOF to become a pediatric surgeon was definitely a sacrifice, but if I had to do it the same way again, I would. Finding my niche in pediatric orthopedic surgery was for me.” Sheryl and Scott are active in their local Jewish community and in their synagogue and their children attend a Jewish Day School. Scott is the past president of the American Jewish Committee Chapter in Cleveland. Sheryl is very focused on her own health and enthusiastically follows the Beachbody on Demand program. Her children often join her for workouts. “I love feeling like I am a good influence,” beamed Sheryl. She was recently profiled for her fitness regime/doctor lifestyle in a Wall Street Journal article this past January. For those curious folks — Barbie is no longer a patient.


YOF Alumna Speaks at Hebrew University Graduation Alumna Nechama Averick (ES 06, HS 10) was the commencement speaker at the Braun School of Public Health of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where she addressed graduates, ambassadors, and government ministers. She currently holds a research position in Israel’s Ministry of Health.


YOF Welcomes Back the Class of 2006


he JBHS Class of 2006 celebrated their Tenth Anniversary Reunion on Sunday, January 8th. Even a surprise snowstorm didn’t affect the terrific turnout of graduates, spouses

and faculty members who came to honor Associate Principal Jill Sanders. The night was filled with fond memories while alumni reconnected with each other and YOF.


YOF Annual Auction

Fl urish! P

arents, students, friends, faculty and staff demonstrated the strength of the YOF community at the annual Auction on Saturday, January 14th at Shaare Zion. YOF’s “Flourish” Auction celebrated the Flatbush community joining together to instill in our children the basis of a fine education entwined with the Jewish traditions and values that we hold dear.


A wall of colorful and elegant oversized flowers welcomed everyone into the auction space, and glass bubble chandeliers dangled like giant dewdrops from the ceiling. Guests flocked to the sushi bar and pizza stations

throughout the night, as well as the risotto and pasta stations. The hottest auction items this year were the Peloton bike, the unique jewelry selections, the 75” Smart TV, and the sports packages. Children were kept busy with their own Brain Challenge game show, hosted by Hollyrock Games. The students earned fun prizes, and indulged in their own kids’ buffet. “Flourish” would not have bloomed

without YOF’s generous sponsors. The auction was chaired by Sarah Chalouh and Hana Hasson; Sherry Chemtob co-chaired the gifts committee with Judy Madeb; Decorating and Display Chair Lillie Sasson and Book Designer Bertha Sabbagh set the chic tone for the evening; Moses Torgueman led the sales team. YOF appreciates its devoted crew of volunteers who added to the auction’s success, especially Director of Operations Esther Kizelnik and the entire Executive Office.


New Executive Director Joins in the Festivities Our new Executive Director, Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Rothman, and his wife, Lauren, came to the YOF Auction to mingle with community members and show their support for YOF. Read more about Rabbi Dr. Rothman on the back page.


YOF Chesed JBHS Student Chesed Mission to Israel: Touching the Lives of Others for 8 Straight Days


he 56 students who joined the annual JBHS Student Chesed Mission to Israel during winter break experienced a life-changing week. These students, under the warm embrace of JBHS Dean of Students Rabbi Naftali Besser, community member and trip leader Susan Franco, and five YOF faculty members, visited the sick, met with soldiers, interacted with special needs children, and connected with disabled people. The chesed started the night they arrived: after prayers at the Kotel, the group

packed necessary items for IDF soldiers that they would deliver themselves in the coming days. Throughout the trip, the group visited with hundreds of children with disabilities, both physical and mental. At Ilanot School for Special Education, the students listened to the choir, who had been preparing for our group for months. At Save A Child’s Heart, trip participants met with children who were brought there from foreign countries to receive pediatric heart

surgery not available where they live. At Achuzat Sarah: Emunah Children’s Home, the group had dinner with children from broken homes and gave presents to those who were bar and bat mitzvahs. The YOF students watched what the morning routine is like at Aleh for the severely disabled children who live there. At Meshi, a rehabilitation and education center, students planted flowers with the children for Tu B’Shvat. Trip participants also visited with sick children and their families at both Haddasah Medical Center and Assaf Harofeh Hospital, where they fulfilled the mitzvah of bikor cholim. The students were particularly moved by visits with both active and inactive IDF soldiers, and paid their respects at Har Herzl, Israel’s national cemetery. At Ammunition Hill/Givat Hatachmoshet, the group met IDF reservists, including Steve Garr, a first responder in the anti-terrorism unit. The trip participants also toured the K-9 unit at an army base and witnessed a black Labrador’s search for weapons. Interspersed throughout the chesed visits were a Friday afternoon stroll through Machane Yehuda Market, and relaxing walks through Jerusalem’s parks. Shabbat was a time for togetherness as the faculty and students prayed, sang and bonded, and partook in a beautiful havdalah. With the warmth of Shabbat inside of them, the participants headed to several chesed destinations where everyday adult Israeli citizens were the recipients of their kindness. Hemla is a home that saves young Jewish Israeli



Gifts That Give Back The YOF Tzedakah Commission, led by Señora Sara Ovadia, held its first Chanukah Extravaganza Boutique Show and Auction in December. The event raised money for the Student Chesed Mission and Chesed 24/7.

Swish for Sderot


iddle Division sports superstars dominated the court in November during the Inaugural Swish for Sderot 8th Grade Boys Basketball Tournament. The tournament is the brainchild of Judah Rhine, who in addition to his serving as the Head Coach of the Flatbush 7th Grade Boys Basketball team, also serves as Director of the MVP Summer Basketball Camp. The event raises awareness and financial support for the Israeli community of Sderot, who deal with the threat of bombings on a daily basis.

women who were involved with abusive men. The girls on the trip met with several of these women and heard their touching stories. Susan’s House takes in troubled teens and encourages them to turn their anguish into art. In Beit Shemesh, the mission visited the largest firehouse in Israel, which had been unseasonably busy as of late with a series of fires that had been set throughout the country. The firemen gave them a tour and let them try on gear. Before leaving, the group had a kumzits with the firemen, accompanied by guitar. On the last night of the trip, “We ended the night with a kumzitz on the roof of the Inbal overlooking Jerusalem. Singing ‘Im Eshkachech Yerushalayim’ had so much more meaning while looking at the Old City walls,” said senior Jacqueline Mizrachi. Before boarding the flight home, the students watched a beautiful slideshow made by alumnus Victor Dweck — but, the memories they took with them are the best parting gift of all.

This 48-28 win over the Hillel Heat (from Deal, NJ) came in the second round. The team was out in full force for this game, and they showed they were in form as they sprinted out to an 18-3 lead after one quarter of play, thanks to what Head Coach Mike Gelber rightly called a “suffocating

defense.” The boys also dominated the glass at both ends, rebounding the ball with gusto. The defense did not relent in the second quarter as Flatbush extended its lead to 21 points, taking a 31-10 lead into the break. Coach Gelber used the rest of the game to get an extensive look at what the second and third units can provide, which is one of the benefits of playing real basketball games in advance of the regular season. The Falcon reserves turned in a quality performance, as they maintained their cushion en route to their 20-point victory.

Cooking for a Cause


arent chefs Ravit Mosseri, Paula Smouha, Limor Madeb, and Joyce Matalon took over the student lounge to make various mazza for a Grand Mazza Cooking for a Cause event, led by faculty member Shifra Hanon. Appetizers included yebre, chicken cutlets, lachmagine, mini pizzas, potato puffs, sembussak, and s’mores pies. Food donations were delivered to needy families during Hanukkah though Sephardic Bikur Holim.

of the food prepared in these events is sent to deserving families so they can enjoy delicious homemade dinners for Shabbat and holidays.

Cooking for a Cause gives students the opportunity to learn how to prepare a variety of entrees, dinners, and desserts while participating in chesed. All


Faculty Learning The Past and Remembrance Zamosc, Poland This past summer, ten teachers including our very own Mr. Howard Rothbort, JBHS History department chairman, visited Poland under the aegis of Facing History and the Forum for Dialogue organizations. The trip, sponsored by the Polish government, visited major metropolitan areas as well as small cities to meet with both Jewish and non-Jewish Polish citizens. A highlight of the trip was meeting with Polish students in the town of Zamosc. These students were part of an educational program that allows them to attend workshops to learn about Poland’s rich Jewish past. Here is Mr. Rothbort’s account.


he students led us on a tour of Zamosc’s Jewish sites which brought to life what it was like during the pre-war period. Their passion for the tour was a clear testament to the Forum’s mission, to their teacher’s dedication, and to the students’ genuine curiosity and enthusiasm for learning about others. But it was the details in what we saw that brought this long-forgotten Jewish community back to life:


 ementos and pre-war photos of M synagogues, people in the market, and children learning at school

nA  n imprint of a mezuzah in a doorway n

 ecords of residents with family R names, ages, and occupations


A huge synagogue, now only used as a kindergarten, with tales of tragic fires before the war


O  ral stories passed on about an 80-year-old woman who opted to die rather than go to a concentration camp


 ailroad tracks that transported R Jews to camps


 beautifully restored Sephardic A synagogue in the Old City


 he site of a 300-year-old cemetery T before it was demolished, now lying beneath a cultural center, with no mark of what was once there

As the teens took us through their town, they scratched away at the present to reveal a vivid Jewish past. We were impressed with how they took ownership of a culture that was not their own. Although we felt some discomfort as outsiders, we appreciated the importance of the work that the Forum for Dialogue is doing to better future Polish-Jewish relations.

Above: Pre-war photo of the local Maccabee soccer team At left: The burned remains of a synagogue in Zamosc, Poland, 1937. Below the photograph is an illustration of what the synagogue looked like before its destruction.



Talking Numbers The Lower Division math faculty had three workshops with Math Solutions, emphasizing number talks which help children build mental math and computation skills. Teachers meet by grade to discuss strategies to be used in the classroom.

Yad Vashem, Jerusalem


his past summer, Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies selected an international group of 30 educators to participate in “Seminar for Educators in Jewish Education: Teaching About the Shoah and anti- Semitism”. The seminar was held at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, in Israel. Middle Division Humanities Chairperson Barbara Zelenetz attended. The child of Holocaust survivors, Mrs. Zelenetz grew up hearing about the experiences of her mother and aunts forced to live in a Hungarian ghetto and then transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau to work in muni-

tions plants, while her father was in a forced-labor camp. Learning their stories of survival and spiritual resistance influenced her to immerse herself in Holocaust studies and search for ways to perpetuate the dialogue with her students. The intense seminar classes covered a wide variety of topics including Jewish life in Eastern Europe before the war, Jewish politics and parties in Interwar Poland, the roots of anti-Semitism, Nazi ideology, life in the ghettos, the Final Solution, and spiritual and cultural resistance. In addition, several workshops covered the importance and use of film, literature, and photographs in the classroom. Yad Vashem’s educational philosophy focuses on understanding the emotional ability of students to handle the difficult aspects and details of the war. In terms of pedagogy, classes emphasized how to teach the Holocaust in an age-appropriate manner and bring the children safely into the study of such a difficult topic and bring them safely out as well. They created a new video toolbox to help teachers in the classroom, providing them with materials and discussion points.

who went on to serve heroically in every Israeli war; and Eva Lavie, from Poland, who was saved by Oskar Schindler. While the seminar mostly focused on authentic voices composed of testimonies, diaries, artifacts and photographs, the lectures brought the past into a universal context as well, by dealing with modern problems of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. It is no easy task for an educator to prepare students today to understand their past and place it in a modern context, but it is exactly what this program attempts to do. Mrs. Zelenetz has already begun implementing the seminar’s message into the curriculum. Discussions will emphasize the broad experiences of Jews in the Holocaust, of both Ashkenazi and Sephardic descent. While students will be exposed to the horrors of the Shoah in an age-appropriate manner, they will also be introduced to the rich cultural, religious, and social experiences of Jewish communities at that time, which will provide them with a meaningful context for their studies.

Most inspiring for Mrs. Zelenetz was meeting and speaking with survivors who came to share their stories: Daniel Gold, from Lithuania, who fought with the partisans in the forest; Yehudit Kleinman, from Italy, who was hidden in a monastery; Tibi Ram, from Slovakia, The Eternal Flame in the Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

Barbara Zelenetz with Holocaust survivor Tibi Ram.


Start-Up Nation Mission to Israel

Six days in November could very well have changed the career paths of a group of 22 Joel Braverman High School students who boarded a flight with Associate Principal Sari Bacon, and Physics and STEM teacher Shai Horowitz, for the Start-Up Nation Mission to Israel. The trip focused on meeting entrepreneurs, inspired technological brainstorming, and allowed students to experience the beauty and spirit of Yerushalayim. Mrs. Bacon said the trip “profoundly impacted the students’ sense of pride, connection and religious feelings towards Judaism, and the land and the people of Israel.”




After landing in Tel Aviv, we were welcomed with a beach barbeque and a good night’s sleep before heading out the next morning for our first entrepreneurial workshop, at Presentense. There, we brainstormed ideas for social start-ups and apps to improve student life. After gearing our ideas towards a target audience and laying out our goals, we presented our plans to each other for our first pitches of the trip.

The Technion in Haifa is one of the world’s greatest science institutes. We were fortunate enough to take part in a robotics building workshop there and made robots that moved like snakes. Many of us were so impressed with the Technion, we now have it in our sights to hopefully become students there one day.

Later that day, we visited Shafdan, Israel’s premier water purification plant that filters sewage water. We had learned about this process in our Global History classes, so it was interesting to see how it actually happens. At edutech company Compedia, we learned about the company’s Tamar textbook app that scans textbook pages and converts text into a live and interactive movie that can be manipulated by the student. Compedia uses virtual reality to imitate battleground conditions for the IDF. We ended the day with a soccer game in Jerusalem.

Rambam Hospital was another example of Israeli technological brilliance, in a different way. Rambam has a transformative underground emergency

DAY 2 Meeting with Assaf Luxembourg to learn how best to pitch our ideas was a highlight of our trip. Mr. Luxembourg is the CEO of Crowdmii, a pro-active fundraising platform focused on connecting Israel supporters from around the world with selected Israeli innovative business ventures. He taught us that a good pitch follows seven steps: introduction, team, opportunity, solution, competition, business model and the ask. Afterwards, we took a break for lunch on the beach in Herzliya, then visited Makeree, where we used the app they created for Strawbees toy company as a guide to build a variety of creations using drinking straws, including a catapult. “I saw the students take a seed of an idea, and watched the amazing process of their developing that seed into a full-blown idea. I was extremely impressed with the group’s overall capabilities,” said Mr. Horowitz.

“I truly enjoyed the opportunity to bring this incredible experience to our students, and to observe the impact it had on them as they worked through problems to find solutions. You never know when something will be a spark for a creative new idea.” SARI BACON, ASSOCIATE PRINCIPAL JOEL BRAVERMAN HIGH SCHOOL

hospital unit, to be used in case of a terrorist bombing, chemical or biological weapons attack. The conversion of the facility from parking lot to hospital takes less than 48 hours. We watched a video showing projects the hospital team was working on, such as how to restart a heart by using light pulses instead of a pacemaker.

DAY 4 Our group was a bit shy about paying a visit to meet with Israeli students our age, through a program organized by Am Yisrael Echad. After a few icebreakers, we got to know each other while exchanging ideas and practicing English and Hebrew banter. We then headed out to practice the pitches we

had been practicing all week so we would be ready to meet with the Zell Entrepreneurship Program students from IDC University. Over lunch, we set up a “Shark Tank” of sorts, and opened ourselves up to constructive criticism. That night, away from our families, we enjoyed a different kind of Thanksgiving dinner with the head of our Flatbush family, Rabbi Dr. Raymond Harari.

DAYS 5 & 6 After shacharit, we left for the last of our entrepreneurial sessions to meet Amir Kadouri, an industrial designer. We took away key notes on how to make the form of our products match their functions, and the way to choose the right colors, materials and designs for maximum appeal. After shopping on Machane Yehudah, it was time to visit the Kotel. It was truly moving to see the soldiers dance and sing to welcome Shabbat. We were praying with extra emphasis as we thought about our brothers and sisters who had to deal with the raging fires that were set all over the country during our stay. We prayed for the much-needed rain and for Hashem to finally bring peace to Israel. On our last day, by unanimous choice, we headed back to the Kotel first thing in the morning. It truly made us feel connected to our history in a way that is almost impossible to experience in a classroom setting. Student contributors to this article include Moses Bakst, Yair Chaya, Jack H. Dweck, Esther Hidary, Jack Zeitouny, Joseph Ezon and Jacob Shamah


Yeshivah of Flatbush 919 East 10th Street Brooklyn, NY 11230

Yeshivah of Flatbush Elementary School 919 East 10th Street Brooklyn, NY 11230 718-377-4466

Congratulations to Our Graduates on Their Early College Acceptances We are proud of our students and their parents for their commitment to higher education, and we salute our dedicated, highly professional faculty and college counselors for preparing and inspiring them for their next phase in life. To date, our graduates have been accepted for admission into these Early Decision or Early Action programs of their choice: • Barnard College • Binghamton University • Drexel University • Fordham University • Indiana University at Bloomington • LIM College • Long Island University • Marymount Manhattan College • New York University • Northeastern University

• Pace University • University of Pennsylvania • Princeton University • Rutgers University • St. John’s University • SUNY at Albany • Syracuse University • The Israel Experience • The New School

Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School Al & Sonny Gindi Campus 1609 Avenue J Brooklyn, NY 11230 718-377-1100 Robert Frastai PRESIDENT






Rabbi Joseph Beyda PRINCIPAL

Jill Sanders

Meet Our New Executive Director — Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Rothman





e are excited to announce the appointment of Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Rothman as our new Executive Director, effective July 3, 2017. Rabbi Rothman comes to us from Netivot HaTorah Day School in Toronto, Ontario, where he was Head of School. While there, he was a driver of the school’s growth and success by focusing on institutional advancement and professionalism in every aspect of the school experience. He will bring to Flatbush his passion for excellence, as he refines the organizational culture and structure of our school. Rabbi Dr. Rothman and his wife Lauren reside in Woodmere with their four children, Zev, Aliza, Kovi and Dovid.








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Yeshivah of Flatbush Bulletin Winter 2017  
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