Yeshivah of Flatbush

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Yeshivah of Flatbush
אם אין קמח אין תורה
Im ein kemach ein Torah
Without work (literally: flour) there is no Torah, "The Standard of Excellence."
919 East 10th Street (elementary)
1609 Avenue J (secondary)

Brooklyn, New York
Coordinates 40°37′32″N 73°57′36″W / 40.625471°N 73.959995°W / 40.625471; -73.959995Coordinates: 40°37′32″N 73°57′36″W / 40.625471°N 73.959995°W / 40.625471; -73.959995
Type Private, Jewish day school, College-prep
Established 1927
Founder Dr. Joel Braverman
Principal Rabbi Ronald Levy
Rabbi Lawrence Schwed
Rosh Yeshivah Rabbi Dr. Raymond Harari
Grades Atidenu12
Color(s) Maroon and gold
Team name Falcons
Newspaper The Phoenix
Yearbook Summit
Elementary school

The Yeshivah of Flatbush is a Modern Orthodox private Jewish day school located in Midwood, Brooklyn, New York City. It includes an early childhood center, an elementary school, and a secondary school.

History and mission[edit]

The Yeshivah of Flatbush was founded in 1927 by Dr. Joel Braverman, among others. At first, the school consisted of an elementary school, middle school and an atedenu[clarification needed] located on East 10th Street in Flatbush. The high school was founded in 1950 to complement the elementary school. The high school was originally in a building adjoining the elementary school. After 1962, a new high school building was built on Avenue J, and the elementary school expanded into what was formerly the high school building.

The institution combines a Torah education and a secular education for both boys and girls. The school's philosophy is a synthesis of Judaic studies (Bible, Talmud, Jewish Thought) and the liberal arts.

The school has two mottos: "The Standard of Excellence" and "Im ein kemach ein Torah," which roughly translates to: "Without food (literally: flour) there is no Torah."

Teaching philosophy[edit]

One of the Yeshivah of Flatbush's fundamental tenets is its "Ivrit b'Ivrit" (literally, "Hebrew in Hebrew") philosophy of teaching Judaics. This means that every such class is conducted completely in Hebrew, regardless of the level or ability of students.[1] With this technique, the Yeshivah aims to enable its students to achieve fluency in the Hebrew language.[2]


Rabbi Dr. Raymond Harari is the rosh yeshivah, or "head of school," of the high school. Rabbi Dr. Raymond Harari, an alumnus of Yeshivah of Flatbush High School, received his BA in philosophy and MA in Jewish Studies from Yeshiva University, his rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), and his PhD in Jewish History from New York University. In addition to his leadership roles at the school, he continues to teach a course in Talmud to high school students in the ninth and tenth grades. Between 1980 and 1998, Rabbi Harari led the B'nei Shaare Zion minyan at Congregation Shaare Zion. Currently, Rabbi Harari leads the Kol Israel Congregation and Center in Brooklyn, NY.

Rabbi Ronald Levy is its principal, and Jill Sanders is the associate principal.

Rabbi Lawrence Schwed heads the elementary school. Within the elementary school, Robert Berkman and Rabbi Lawrence Schwed are principals of the lower school (grades Pre-K through 5).

Grades 6-8 are led by Robert Berkman and Rabbi Hertzberg.

Debbie Levine-Greenbaum is the Director of Early Childhood, presiding over Atideinu (literally, "Our Future"), Nursery and Kindergarten classes.

Rabbi Dr. David Eliach is principal emeritus, following a decades-long tenure as principal of the high school.



The Yeshivah of Flatbush comprises Jewish students and teachers from a variety of backgrounds. In the past, more than half of the students were Ashkenazi Jews whose families originated from communities in Germany, Poland, Eastern Europe and Russia. In recent years, the majority has shifted to students of Sephardic descent, mainly those whose families originated in Middle Eastern countries. The overwhelming number of Sephardic students can be attributed to the growth of the Syrian community in Flatbush, and the decline in Ashkenazi enrollment can be attributed to the movement of Modern Orthodox communities to Long Island and New Jersey, with a concomitant increase in the number and quality of Jewish day schools and yeshivot in those areas. Some Yemenite, Native American, Estonian, Cuban, Honduran, Israeli, and Ethiopian Jews have also been enrolled.

High school on Avenue J

Post-high school[edit]

Many graduates participate in year-long programs at yeshivot, seminaries and volunteer organizations in Israel for a year. Afterwards, some continue their studies in similar institutions, enroll in university or enlist in the Israel Defense Forces for another year or more. However, most come back to the United States for university. Graduates of the Yeshivah of Flatbush have studied at universities and colleges across the country, from Tulane to the University of Maryland and Boston College to Yale. Some of the most popular universities among Flatbush's alumni, including Yeshiva University and the City University of New York, grant as much as a year's worth of credit to students who study in Israel for a year, allowing them to apply these credits to their undergraduate degree.

A large number of students graduate with college credit due to the many Advanced Placement Program (AP) courses offered in the Junior, Senior, and more recently Sophomore years of high school.

Student government[edit]

Each spring the student body of the Yeshivah of Flatbush High School elects four juniors to positions in the Student Government Organization (SGO). These students assume their respective positions the following fall. The SGO plans various trips and other activities for students throughout the year. The SGO also organizes and plans Color War, which occurred recently for the first time, two years in a row.

The Senior Council is similarly chosen every year. Juniors elect four of their peers to lead them into and during their last year in the high school. The Council's responsibilities include collecting senior dues and planning the wintertime Senior Ski Trip, the springtime Senior Trip, and the year-ending Senior Dinner.

Community interaction[edit]

Each year, the Yeshivah holds events that cater to the New York Jewish community. The largest ones include the annual Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance day) and Yom Ha'atzma'ut (Israel Independence Day) programs, which traditionally feature performances by the high school's Choir and Chamber Choir, now under the direction of Brian Gelfand.

Each month, there is the Sunday Morning Learning program where students, faculty, and alumni get together for prayers, breakfast, and a faculty-prepared presentation of given texts.


Music and The Arts[edit]

Since the early 1990s, the yeshivah has gained acclaim through its high school and chamber choirs. Under the direction of Mr. Daniel Henkin until the year 2007, the choral program at the yeshivah has been featured at venues ranging from New York city hall, Brooklyn city hall, The Jewish Heritage Museum, and others. Their repertoire spans across genres which include arrangements of both secular and religious pieces. In 2008, Daniel Henkin resigned as choir director and assumed a position at the Ramaz Upper School in Manhattan. Henkin was replaced by Mr. Brian Gelfand, who directs the choir to date.


The Flatbush Falcons compete in a number of sports: the hockey, basketball and volleyball, and bowling teams compete in the fall, while the softball, soccer and boys varsity volleyball squads play in the spring; the swim, Badminton and tennis teams compete year-round. In most cases, teams are members of the Metropolitan Yeshiva High School Athletic League, which represents many of the Jewish day schools in the New York area.

Two basketball tournaments are held every year. The Thomas Hausdorff Memorial Basketball Tournament in the beginning of December that brings the male junior varsity teams of three American Jewish high schools to Brooklyn for a weekend of competition and solidarity. The Hausdorff Tournament brings JV basketball teams from three yeshivahs from outside New York to join the host team on the campus of the Yeshivah of Flatbush in the Midwood section of Brooklyn, NY. The tournament is four days of competitive basketball, Torah learning and camaraderie that is a highlight of the basketball season. This tournament was started in 1995 as a means of memorializing a unique individual who in a relatively short time established close relationships and touch so many lives. This tournament is the ideal way to continue the legacy of Thomas Hausdorff, z”l, a former colleague who joined the staff of Flatbush as the General Studies Principal after a long career in the New Jersey Public Schools. Hausdorff had played basketball for Brooklyn College while in school, and so a basketball tournament in his memory was a logical connection. Not only does the weekend consist of basketball games, it also is a Shabbaton complete with aspects of learning Torah studies and acts of chesed (through a program of where the participants spend an afternoon working with learning disabled adults that are part of a group called “Yachad”). At the Marc Sackin Memorial Basketball Tournament held in December, the varsity team competes against three other New York area Jewish high school teams. Sackin was a student killed just days before his scheduled graduation in 1973. The Class of 1973 was scheduled to leave on their senior trip, but several boys did not show up at the bus, they decided to drive themselves. Marc Sackin and three of his friends decided to drive to the destination of Weiss’ Farm in rural New Jersey. Marc was driving and lost control of the car and slammed head-on into a tree. Marc was killed instantly only less than a mile away from Weiss’ Farm. In looking for an appropriate way to remember Marc, his coach, Flacon teammates and friends proposed to have an annual memorial tournament in his name. So in December 1973, the First Annual Marc Sackin Memorial Tournament was held, and has been every December since. The gym was packed to over-flowing. It was Marc Sackin- his intelligence, easygoing nature, sense of humor and zest for life.

Academic teams[edit]

The Yeshivah of Flatbush's academic teams compete in a wide range of areas. Some of the teams include:debate, Mock Trial, Model Congress, the Yeshiva University National Model United Nations, Envirothon, chess, mathematics, College Bowl and Torah Bowl.


  • The Phoenix - Student newspaper
  • Imrei Shefer - A D'var Torah weekly (Hebrew)first initiated in 1974 by Marc Lichtenthal ז’ל a member of the Class of 1975.
  • Haaretz V'haam - An Israel-affairs newspaper
  • Summit - Senior yearbook

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Rabbi Albert Mizrahi - graduated 2007, Rabbi of the esteemed Bet Shaul Umiriam Minyan and has rabbanut from the Chief Rabbinate of ארץ ישראל.

He is Currently learning under the chief Menaker of America, the esteemed Rav Aron Kushitzky.



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External links[edit]