Yeshivah of Flatbush

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Yeshivah of Flatbush
ישיבה דפלטבוש
Yeshivah of Flatbush Elementary School Coney Is Av jeh.JPG
Elementary school
919 East 10th Street (Elementary)
1609 Avenue J (High School)

United States
Coordinates40°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
TypePrivate, Jewish day school, College-prep
Motto אם אין קמח אין תורה
Im ein kemach ein Torah
(Without work (literally: flour) there is no Torah, "The Standard of Excellence." There was some controversy regarding the motto during a staff trivia night in April 2020.)
Religious affiliation(s)Modern Orthodox Judaism
FounderJoel Braverman
PrincipalJoseph Beyda
Yahel Tsaidi
Rosh YeshivahRaymond Harari
Number of students10,644
Color(s)Maroon and gold
MascotFreddy the Falcon
Team nameFalcons
NewspaperThe Phoenix

The Yeshivah of Flatbush is a Modern Orthodox private Jewish day school located in the Midwood section of Brooklyn, New York. It educates students from age 2 to age 18 and 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 Joel Braverman, among others. At first, the school consisted of an elementary school, middle school and an atedenu (Pre-school) 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]

Student demographics[edit]

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, and Ethiopian Jews have also been enrolled.

Post-High school[edit]

High school on Avenue J

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 University 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.


Raymond Harari is the rosh yeshivah, or "head of school," of the high school. 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, 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, Harari led the B'nei Shaare Zion minyan at Congregation Shaare Zion. Currently[when?], he leads the Mikdash Eliyahu Congregation in Brooklyn.

Joseph Beyda is its principal, and Sari Bacon and Esther Hidary are the associate principals. Alumnus, David Galpert (class of 2009), has emerged as an influential member of the Yeshivah of Flatbush leadership and is considered by many as a modern day Joel Braverman.

The elementary school was formerly led by Lawrence Schwed, who retired in 2016. Since 2017, the Head of Elementary School has been Yahel Tsaidi (grades 1-8). Tsaidi studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion, Yeshivat HaKotel, Yeshiva University and American Jewish University’s Graduate Center for Education, where he received his Master’s in the Arts of Teaching. He is pursuing his Doctorate in Education at the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration.

Grades 6-8 are led by David Hertzberg.

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

David Eliach was the principal emeritus, following a decades-long tenure as principal of the high school.[3]

Since 2017, the school has been led by Executive Director Jeffrey Rothman.

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. In addition to this a 9/11 memorial program is held annually.

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. In addition to this there are also many alumni and members of the community come to help at programs.

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 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 Brian Gelfand, who directs the choir to date.

In addition to this Flatbush High School has a two year art class and one year music class built into the school curriculum.


The Flatbush Falcons compete in a number of sports: the hockey, basketball and volleyball, and bowling teams compete in the fall, while the softball, pickleball, 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.

The Flatbush Varsity Tennis Team won their first championship ever in June, 2017 beating Heschel 3-2. Players like Meyer Tawil, Joe Benhaim, and Meyer Kassin led the team to victory.

Two basketball tournaments are held every year. The Thomas Hausdorff Memorial Basketball Tournament in November brings the male junior varsity teams of three American Jewish high schools to Brooklyn for a weekend of competition and solidarity. At the Marc Sackin Memorial Basketball Tournament in December, the varsity team competes against other New York-area Jewish high schools. Hausdorff was a former principal of the school; Sackin was a student killed just days before his scheduled graduation in 1973.

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
  • "Pegasus" - A liberal arts pamphlet

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Ivrit B’Ivrit: A Discussion in Ten Da’at Archived April 23, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Ten Da’at, Volume IV, Number 2, Spring 1990.
  2. ^ Message from the President, Jack Rahmey Archived August 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, accessed February 25, 2007.
  3. ^ "David Eliach, beloved educator who led Yeshivah of Flatbush for decades, dies at 99". October 2021.
  4. ^ Resnick, Elliot. "The Almost Apprentice: An Interview With Lee Bienstock" Archived December 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, The Jewish Press, June 14, 2006, accessed April 29, 2007. "The Jewish Press: What’s your background? Bienstock: I grew up in Brooklyn and went to Yeshivah of Flatbush as a kid. Then when my family moved out to Long Island, I went to HAFTR."
  5. ^ SEGELKEN, H. ROGER. "Baruch Blumberg, Who Discovered and Tackled Hepatitis B, Dies at 85". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  6. ^ Rosner's Guest: Abraham H. Foxman Archived February 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Haaretz, February 28, 2006. "He arrived in America in 1950 with his parents, graduating from the Yeshiva of Flatbush, in Brooklyn, NY, and later earning degrees in political science and law. "
  7. ^ Precker, Michael. "Brooklyn's image as extremist hotbed disputed by some Borough defenders say ties to Israel cherished, but radical groups aren't"[permanent dead link], The Dallas Morning News, March 20, 1994. Accessed August 6, 2007. "'This is not what we are teaching,' said Rabbi David Eliach, principal at the Yeshiva of Flatbush, where Dr. Goldstein attended high school."
  8. ^ Eric R. Kandel: The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2000 Archived May 30, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, Nobel Foundation. Accessed September 20, 2007. "My grandfather and I liked each other a great deal, and he readily convinced me that he should tutor me in Hebrew during the summer of 1939 so that I might be eligible for a scholarship at the Yeshiva of Flatbush, an excellent Hebrew parochial school that offered both secular and religious studies at a very high level. With his tutelage I entered the Yeshiva in the fall of 1939. By the time I graduated in 1944 I spoke Hebrew almost as well as English, had read through the five books of Moses, the books of Kings, the Prophets and the Judges in Hebrew, and also learned a smattering of the Talmud."
  9. ^ "R. Ezra Labaton, a 'bright star,' dies at 63". New Jersey Jewish News | NJJN. Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  10. ^ Nachman, Barbara. "Mizrahi"[permanent dead link], The Journal News, November 1, 2001. Accessed August 6, 2007. "Though she encouraged his creativity, Sarah Mizrahi enrolled her reluctant son in Yeshiva Flatbush, where he spent his days honing a repertoire of rabbi impersonations."
  11. ^ Gottschalk, Mary. "Fashion is sure to catch up with Isaac Mizrahi"[permanent dead link], St. Petersburg Times. October 18, 1998. Accessed August 6, 2007. "Fashion is and always has been an integral part of Mizrahi's life. He often recounts his eight years at Yeshiva Flatbush in his native Brooklyn, where his habit of drawing fashion sketches in the Old Testament regularly got him expelled. Just as regularly, he says, his mother, Sarah, would discard her couture clothes, makeup and accessories, change into a dowdy dress and go to the school to plead for her son's reinstatement. Then the two would celebrate by going shopping."
  12. ^ "State of Israel Bonds will honor former Rep. Podell". Real Estate Weekly. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24.
  13. ^ a b Portrait of Joseph Telushkin, Hadassah Magazine, April 2000
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-12-04. Retrieved 2014-01-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ Books: 'Holy' Ethically Speaking -- Rabbi Joseph Telushkin Covers It All Archived December 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles by Sandee Brawarsky, October 27, 2006. "Telushkin cites Prager as one of his rebbes -- the people he turns to with ethical questions. The two have been close friends since their sophomore year at Brooklyn's Yeshivah of Flatbush."
  16. ^ "Bruce Wasserstein's Last Surprise". Vanity Fair. 29 March 2010.
  17. ^ Bleyer, Jennifer. "The Real Lady of the Canyons" Archived January 15, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, February 5, 2006. Accessed August 6, 2007. "Perhaps it was because, at the yeshiva in Flatbush, we never studied the religious aspects of Christmas, the holiday seemed to me spectacular, truly magical."
  18. ^ The Annual Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Lecture: Fall 2005: "Law and Patience: Unenthusiastic Reflections on Jewish Messianism" Archived July 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, New York University. Accessed November 15, 2007. "Educated at the Yeshiva of Flatbush, Columbia College, Balliol College, Oxford, and Harvard University."

External links[edit]