Our students and parents were privileged to participate in BHI’s first ever learning café. Our students and families were shown the importance of learning from their environment and reading regularly to maximize personal and academic success. At the event students in grades Five and Six graciously served as our “baristas”. Everyone enjoyed spending time together, learning, thinking, and growing. Thank you to all our parents who made the time to join our event!
Our Elementary School students learned to be "hero ambassadors" at their monthly assembly program. They designed and decorated their own pins. As "hero ambassadors" they learned that their actions send a default message to others and for others.
The first grade put on a spectacular performance for their Siddur Celebration! Morah Esther outdid herself, from the songs, costumes and most of all, the excitement she instilled in the students! The parents and students then had a beautiful brunch, and it was truly a memorable day! Special thanks to Morah Bracha & Tziporah for the beautiful decor!
What an amazing celebration was the Second Grade Chumash Play!! Morah Fruchthandler put on a magnificent performance with her class, and they did an amazing job. After the performance, each child came up to receive their Chumash from Rabbi German. The children were so happy and excited to receive their very first Chumash. To end the morning, the children and their parents went to the shul for a beautifully designed breakfast in honor of this momentous occasion! Special thank you to Tziporah and Morah Bracha for making sure that no detail was left out to make the morning so memorable.
The fourth grade boys had a very special morning! Rabbi Gavrielov taught the boys the significance of wearing a Tallit, and they put it on with the bracha for the first time. Rabbi German spoke beautifully, explaining the significance of being wrapped in a Tallit. The boys then enjoyed a delicious lunch and had a great time!
Wow!! What an amazing time the elementary school students had y at their Chanukah assembly!
Each class performed beautifully, and a great time was had by all! Morah Bracha, the music teacher, prepared an amazing slideshow, featuring all of the classes, and the children loved watching it! In the spirit of Chanukah, the assembly ended with the children dancing with their teachers.
In honor of the upcoming Chag of Chanukah, our lower elementary school students were treated to a puppet show by the small wonder puppet theater. The children had a wonderful time while they sang, laughed and are proud to be a Maccabi in Hashem’s army.
Third, Fourth and Fifth graders had a Chodesh Cheshvan assembly!
Since we daven for rain and things to grow, the children planted their very own plant and decorated it. Some of their plants starting growing already at home!
Our Elementary School General Studies Department is focusing on growing and learning in academics and character development. This year, we are encouraging our students to be HEROs; Help Everyone Respect Others. At our monthly assembly program, the students learned that each of them can be heroes in their daily lives and small acts of thought, kindness, and goodness to themselves and others make them heroes.
Each student created a personalized chalkboard with actions, that he/she can do to be a hero in our daily lives. We look forward to continuing growing and learning to make our inner world and the world around us a better place.
In some schools the education begins and ends in the classroom. Other schools add extracurricular, educational and social activities. But Be’er Hagolah demonstrated with its Israel mission that once you’re a student, you are in the BHI family for life. That is how Rabbi Tully Bryks, the Director of Admissions of Ohr Somayach described his impression after hosting the BHI alumni mission to Israel.
Heavily subsidized by Olami International and Ohr Somayach, the BHI alumni mission to Israel brought together 19 young alumni for two weeks of jam-packed days filled with incredible activities, inspiring and uplifting Torah study, and new relationships that will last a lifetime.
The days began with davening, breakfast and Torah classes from the likes of Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz, Rabbi Yitzchak Greenblatt, Rabbi Dovid Kaplan, Rabbi Guy Matalon, and Rabbi Tully Bryks. These rabbis brought the Torah alive, explained many fundamental concepts and fanned the spark of Torah in the hearts of the young men, a number of whom are considering a year of full time Torah study in Yeshiva in Israel.
In the afternoons, the boys had the opportunity to experience the width and breadth of the Holy Land. The first Shabbos was spent in Yerushalayim with the participation of the Dean, Rabbi Mordechai German and Rabbi Michoel Grunhut, a BHI high school rebbi. A special highlite was davening Friday night at the Kosel with thousands of Jews in unison.
Rabbi Mordechai Fishman, the Be’er Hagolah boys’ division principal, reported that one of the highlights was Friday through Sunday in Tzefat. Seeing the kevarim of the tanaim brought the Torah learning alive. The tour of the old city of Tzefas gave the boys a sense of our history. The visits to the nearby Meron and Amukah brought out the spark of connection with Hashem through the powerful tefilos. The Kabalat Shabbat on a porch with the sun setting in the background made the radiance of Shabbos envelope everyone as they got swept up in song. After davening, they walked the streets of Tzefas and sang and danced with random Jews in the street. They ate the seudot Shabbat in an ancient room with an arched ceiling. The echoing of the tones of the zemirot Shabbat only added to the energy and feelings of Shabbos kodesh. They also saw the Abuhav and Arizals Shul, as well as the famous kivrei tzadikim and Arizals mikveh.
Rabbi Bryks noted that these trips offer students a chance to connect with their soul. They ask deep questions as they grow in their connection to Hashem and find their place in Yiddishkeit. “This group was different from the typical group”, said Rabbi Bryks. The Be’er Hagolah students already received a background in Yiddishkeit and Torah study at BHI, and they also came as a cohesive group. This allowed us to skip the first few “icebreaker” days we usually see in these missions. You can see their affinity to their rabbeim, and the strong mutual bond. They all wanted pictures with their Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi German and they were all so proud for him to see their spiritual growth. Rabbi Fishman was there for them day and night. He served every role from educator to organizer and everything else in between. Yiddishkeit encompasses the spiritual, emotional and physical and you were able to see the support and ahavas Yisroel from all the BHI staff members. It was inspiring for us”.
The boys also went ATVing, visited the Institute of Technology for Shmirat Shabbat, toured the City of David, enjoyed eating out, and went shopping for souvenirs in Geulah.
Most importantly, they charged themselves with spiritual energy and deepened their connection with Hashem and His holy Torah and Land.
Our students celebrated their growth and accomplishments in their annual "Learning Celebration". The students opened their "learning capsules" and felt tremendous joy as they looked back on how much they have gained over the year. Our students decorated personalized cups and BHI pencil cases to mark these learning milestones.
We wish all of our students and their families a wonderful summer and much Nachat in the coming year!
BHI Boys’ High School get together in the Catskills for a Shabbat of song and spirit
By: Chani Kahan
Be’er Hagolah boys’ high school enjoyed a shabbaton on the Camp Govoah grounds in the Catskills.
For many of the students, it was one of the first times in their lives that they experienced a full Shabbat, in law and in spirit.
“Seeing the kids come together naturally, with spirit and friendship, is the highlight of the Shabbaton for me,” says Rabbi Nobel, rebbi for the 9th and 10th grade intro class and school social worker.
On the Shabbaton, the students get a chance to connect with each other and their Rabbeim, without academic pressure.
“The boys run the tefillot themselves,” explains Rabbi Nobel.
“The boys rise to the occasion and shine. The boys join together, and they are proud of each other — and themselves.”
That’s what brings Rabbi Nobel back to the Shabbaton each year.
“This year, most of the boys made it to the Shabbaton,” says Rabbi Mordechai Fishman, Principal of the Boys’ Division.
In preparation for the Shabbaton, the boys were taught songs and prepared the games they would play. The staff prepped everything else — bus arrangements, extra food and nosh, and merch — a baseball cap with BHI’s logo, which of course, everyone wore when the buses went up to camp Friday morning.
The excitement began with a basketball game.
After the boys played for a while and sweated it out, they went to the football field for a school-sanctioned water balloon fight.
“We prepared 1,000 water balloons for them,” says Rabbi Fishman.
“When does a kid get a chance to hit his principal with a water balloon?”
After the water fight, the boys ran to get ready for Shabbat.
Greeting the Shabbat
After the Kabbalat Shabbat prayers, the boys danced to the dining room while singing Shalom Aleichem as a group.
“As rebbeim, we tried to balance pulling the boys into the action and letting them do things on their own,” says Rabbi Nobel.
“I thought we succeeded when we saw that it was a cool thing to be involved in the dancing.”
Rabbi German recited kiddush for the crowd, and they enjoyed a delicious Shabbat meal, with traditional Bukharian foods to complement the catered menu.
The boys sang the Zemirot together with the staff in true Shabbat spirit, and they danced after the meal was over.
Later that night, the seniors got a special treat: A Question & Answer Oneg.
“We give them talking points for the times that they’ll inevitably be attacked for their Torah views,” says Rabbi Fishman.
“We give them an idea of what to answer when the questions come up. This year our topic was Identity: Identifying ourselves in a world facing an Identity Crisis.”
The floor was open to real-life questions about the Torah perspective in a new woke America.
“We make it simple as 1+1=2,” says Rabbi Fishman.
“I have boys telling me afterward, ‘Wow, Rabbi, I can’t believe it. How can they say those things?’
“We try to be relevant.”
Keeping Shabbat is Not Boring
“We had 99% attendance at Shacharit,” Rabbi Fishman says.
After the prayers there was kiddush and the boys learned with their rebbeim before the meal.
“On the Shabbaton, they’re spending time with the staff, and with the rebbi,” says Rabbi Davidowitz, the 12th grade rebbi.
“At home, Shabbat can be boring. But on the Shabbaton, they learn to enjoy the experience of keeping Shabbat.”
“We fill a full section under the bus with game room equipment,” says Rabbi Fishman.
Chess, backgammon, ping-pong tables, cards, Monopoly, and a great stash of nosh. Nobody’s bored on Shabbat afternoon.
After some more learning, Minchah, seudah shlishit, and Maariv, Shabbat was sadly over.
Ceremonies and Cookouts
The first order of business after Shabbat? The Giving Back the Phones Ceremony.
“It’s a big deal. We wish mazel tov to all the boys who just experienced their first or second Shabbat without a phone,” Rabbi Fishman says.
The football court is lit up, and there’s a grand high school football game, Junior Varsity vs. Varsity.
After the game, the boys were treated to a full-menu barbecue — and trophies for this year’s basketball season.
Shacharit was at 8:00 the next morning, and 98% of the boys showed up.
They ate breakfast, loaded the buses, “and I’m still tired thinking about it,” chuckles Rabbi Fishman.
Impact of the Shabbaton
“A lot of the kids came home and wanted to have Shabbat in their houses the next week,” says Rabbi Davidowitz.
“I tell them, ‘Do what you can. Take an hour this week and keep going higher.’ Lots of boys start this way and then end up keeping the entire Shabbat.”
Shabbaton helps the BHI students see how great keeping Shabbat feels. They keep Shabbat for the first time in their lives — and it’s not boring or impossible.
“I found it interesting to hear the guys who went tell their friends who stayed behind how much they missed,” says Rabbi Nobel.
“Before the Shabbaton, a lot of them were hesitant, apprehensive about how it would turn out. They came back saying how cool and fun the experience was.”
“The boys saw how they could keep Shabbos and have a good time,” says Rabbi Fishman. “It was very satisfying.”
Grades k-5 had an amazing morning. It started off with freshly baked cupcakes and chocolate milk. Each class performed on stage. Mazel tov to all those who passed their grade level in Yediot Klaliot. Every student decorated a beautiful bag. The students ended off with a special slideshow and lunch!
At Elementary School monthly assembly program the students created their own "RAK" Kits - Random Act of Kindness kits. To assist their Dream Team members to look for acts of kindness in others, each student received a magnifying glass and RAK tokens. They discussed the importance of recognizing kindness in others and performing those acts of kindness to better the world around us.
We hope that our students will internalize these messages and keep bringing joy, gratitude, and kindness to those around them.
Elementary school had a special assembly in honor of Rosh Chodesh Sivan. Each class made a beautiful project. First Grade did a foil art scene of a vase of flowers. Second and Fourth made a sand vase with beautiful flowers. Third, Fourth and Fifth Grades painted a vase scene on canvas with 3D flowers. Boy do we have talented students.
BHI students and staff get together for an uplifting Shabbat
By: Chani Kahan
On the weekend of Parashat Behar, May 20-21, Be’er Hagolah middle and high school students enjoyed a Shabbaton close to home.
“We’re always taking our girls on Shabbatons to different cities,” says Mrs. Yocheved Fischer, high school principal of Be’er Hagolah.
“So now we decided to take them on a Shabbaton close to home so they could get to know Starett City.”
Starett City, the neighborhood in Brooklyn where BHI is located, has a small Jewish community, and Rabbi Mordechai German, Dean of BHI, is the rabbi of the Sephardic shul. And for the week of Parashat Behar, the middle school and high school girls of Be’er Hagolah got to spend Shabbos right where they spend every school day: in their beloved school building.
On Friday morning, the girls completed their final preparations, and then the program began.
They went on a hike and enjoyed a picnic in Prospect Park. Afterward, they went roller skating.
When they arrived back at school, professional hair stylists and makeup artists were waiting to transform them in honor of Shabbos.
After their respective makeovers, they got their pictures taken professionally.
Together for Shabbos
“The goal of the Shabbos was to bring our school together as one family,” says Mrs. Fischer.
“The girls worked together to prepare. The twelfth grade chaperoned the trip and made the dips. The absorption class prepared the room for candlelighting and created a beautiful backdrop. The eleventh grade prepared a comedy for the school, and the rest of the girls prepared games and made desserts. We bought air beds for the girls to sleep on, and they all prepared their classrooms to sleep in for Shabbos.”
Chaperones — some Be’er Hagolah graduates, and some other volunteers— and single teachers slept in the building with the girls, and the married teachers were put up in apartments nearby.
And some married BHI alumni and their families joined the students for the seudos.
The returning graduates are beautiful role model for the current students, and some even teach at BHI now.
A Spirit of Elevation and Fun
“How are you going to put about 100 girls in one building to sleep? It was pretty much an all-nighter,” chuckles Leah Devorah Yegutkin, a Be’er Hagolah graduate who chaperoned the Shabbaton.
“Each corner, you were walking into a different teacher having a conversation with more students. And there were girls playing Belts in the gym, and girls playing games on the floor, and there was nosh and fresh pastries for everyone.”
In total, 75 students were at the Shabbaton, more than half the amount of students that were invited. And instead of spending time on their phones, they spent the time connecting face-to-face, playing games and schmoozing.
“The teachers and chaperones served the meals, so the students really felt like upper class,” says Leah Devorah.
The lunch room was set up beautifully, like a sheva brachos.
Divrei Torah were shared by Rabbi German and the men attending.
Before shalosh seudos, Mrs. Malka Gavrielov spoke about the royalty that a Jewish girl represents. The wife of Be’er Hagolah Rebbi Rabbi Nison Gavrielov, Mrs. Gavrielov lives in Starrett City and looks like royalty herself.
“There was no pressure though,” says Leah Devorah.
“Because the Shabbaton was in our own school building, we were able to be ourselves and just enjoy,” she explains.
On Motzei Shabbos, the girls enjoyed pizza and danced, and then they went home.
“There’s just no place like BHI,” says Leah Devorah.
And this Shabbaton in BHI put all the right pieces together for the girls.
What a special Lag B'omer Elementary School had! The Minute To Win It races were so much fun! The popcorn and cotton candy were really yum!
Junior and High School boys had BBQ and enjoyed game truck for Lag B'Omer.
Mazel tov to our dear Kindergarten children on finishing learning the Alef Bet. Thanks to Morah Suri! The performance was beautiful. Much Nachat!
What a special Purim carnival Elementary School had. Bounce house, face painting, terrific booths. Don't forget the delicious cotton candy, popcorn, and slush! A special thank you to the Girl's High School for running the booths.
Mazel tov to our first grade on mastering their Hebrew reading and getting their own siddur! Their performance was beautiful, we are so proud of all they have accomplished. May we continue to see much nachat from them!
"Big Dreamers Make Healthy Choices"
Our Elementary School students focused on "Big Dreamers Make Healthy Choices" at our monthly assembly program. To generate a better understanding of making healthy choices in day-to-day living, each student brought in a vegetable from home, and prepared a delicious salad, together with their class.
The students had a wonderful experience tasting all different types of colorful vegetables and enjoyed their tasty salads. We look forward to incorporating healthy habits and making healthy choices in their day-to-day lives.
Rabbi Gavrielov taught the boys about the beautiful mitzva of wearing a tallit. Rabbi German spoke to the class, they made a Bracha on the Tallit, five boys got to make the Bracha of Shehechiyanu, and then enjoyed a special lunch.
Our fourth graders have reached another milestone. They will begin learning Mishnayot. Rabbi German spoke to the boys about this momentous occasion, then rabbi German and rabbi Gavrielov gave out the Mishnayot, it was followed by a special meal.
What a beautiful celebration BHI students had! Mazel tov to the families of our second grade on their receiving their own Chumash. May we continue to share nachat!