Councilman Chaim Deutsch Welcomes Newly Elected New York City Council Speaker, Corey Johnson

Last month, Jewish community leaders joined Councilman Chaim Deutsch as he introduced newly elected New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. The meeting was hosted at the home of a close friend to Deutsch and Johnson, Flatbush Jewish Community CoalitionChairman Josh Mehlman. The visit took place during Johnson’s first week as Speaker.

Speaking to more than a dozen leaders, including David Heskiel, Special Liaison to Chaim Deutsch for the Sephardic Community and Flatbush Cojo board member, Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel of Agudath Israel, and Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Councilman Deutsch spoke about the long-standing friendship he has shared with Speaker Johnson, and the many opportunities they had to work together during the last four years.

In his first term, Johnson served as Health Committee Chairman, a role that aided him in assisting private summer camps, food establishments, and other institutions in the Jewish community.

“I’ve been proud to call Speaker Corey Johnson a friend since our first day together in the City Council,” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch. “He has always demonstrated a deep respect for the Jewish community. I’m excited to continue to work closely with Speaker Johnson on behalf of the entire Jewish population of New York City.”

In addressing the group, Speaker Johnson thanked Deutsch and Mehlman for their support and friendship. He emphasized his commitment to continue to keep the lines of communication open about issues that are important to the community.

Johnson has a well-developed relationship with many personalities in New York’s Jewish community, including Rabbi Niederman of UJO Williamsburg, Rabbi Chanina Sperlin of the Crown Heights JCC, and Rabbi Zweibel of Agudath Israel. Along with Councilman Deutsch, Johnson plans to continue to meet with Jewish leadership across the five boroughs to better understand their priorities.

“I thank Council Member Deutsch and the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition for hosting me in Brooklyn to learn about the pressing needs facing the Jewish community,” said Johnson. “Council Member Deutsch is a staunch advocate for his community and a strong voice on the City Council, and I look forward to our continued work together in the years ahead.”

Ilan High School – Empowering Girls
Through Confidence

Guided by the principles of confidence building, students inIlan High School are learning that
individuality and self-expressionare cornerstones of growth. They’re learning that respect fuels great students, sisters, and friends. They’re learning that inner-confidence paves the way to discovering the joys of the Torah.

“We promote an atmosphere in whichgirls are encouraged to explore their individuality and be their own people, proud of who they are, their ideas, and their accomplishments,” said Ilan’s Principal, Mrs. HenaDiamond. “We help promote inner confidence to help them grow in the direction they choose.”

The school’s defining mantra, “A Place to Grow,” characterizes the school’s commitment to helping each girl shine. At Ilan, girls are inspired to become leaders and to find their own voice. Six times a year, twice a semester, Ilan’s principals, Mrs. Hena Diamond and Mrs. Molly Hazen host lunch “roundtable” meetings that give each student from every grade the opportunity to be heard.

“We go around the room and listen to each student. The roundtable discussions provide an open forum where girls express their thoughts and feelings, what they’re enjoying in the school and areas they feel can be improved. During this time, the stage is theirs and we encourage students to embrace, develop, and share their ideas.”

Inspiring monthly workshops spotlight Ilan’s important code of conduct: respect, responsibility, and integrity. Led by Director of Student Services and renowned psychologist, Mrs. Mindy Rosenthal, these discussion groups analyze ideals that build strong character and successful women, presentingtopics such as, “What does respect look like?” and “What does it mean to be true to yourself?” where students engage in stimulating dialogueand learn important insights for personal growth.

“The lessons and ideals we teach remain with our girls long after their time in the classroom,” said
Mrs. Rosenthal. “Seeing our alumni shine in their midotand watching the respect they have for one another reinforces our commitment to providing students with values that will help them succeed in life.”

To learn more about Ilan High School, visit

Yom Shekulo Torah Events at Congregation
Bnai Yosef Help Raise Funds for the Azan Family

Two “Yom Shekulo Torah” events were recently held at Congregation Bnai Yosef, located at 1616 Ocean Parkway.
They were organized by Rabbi Auziel Admoni and Rabbi Maoz Harari-Raful. These symposiums, held on December 25, 2017, and January 1, 2018, provided an excellent opportunity for large numbers of both men and women from the community to hear words of Torah, hizuk, and inspiration. The program was held in memory of Aliza (Luza) bat Henriette, Moshe ben Aliza (Luza), Yitzhak Hillel ben Aliza (Luza), Henriette Leah bat Aliza (Luza), Miriam bat Bracha, and Naomi Malka bat Rachel, A”H, as well as for a speedy recovery of Yosef ben Ahuva Masouda, Shilat Ahuva bat Aliza (Luza), Daniel ben Aliza (Luza), and Sarah bat Rachel.

Our community was recently shaken by a tragic fire that claimed the lives of four members of the Azan Family and injured others. The Yom Shekulo Torah program offered a spiritual framework for their fellow Jews to strengthen themselves and to do something concrete about our shared pain and concern. Individuals were able to contribute to the campaign on behalf of the Azan Family, spearheaded by Rabbi David Ozeri.

Esteemed speakers included Torah personalities from our community and beyond, among them Rabbi Haim Benoliel, Rabbi Eli David, Rabbi Yosef Eisen, Rabbi Moshe Baron, Rabbi Mordechai Shain, Rabbi Moshe Schoenblum, Rabbi Maoz Harari-Raful,Rabbi Yaakov Ben Haim, Rabbi Shlomo Mandel, Rabbi Shlomo Badush, Rabbi Moshe Tuvia Lieff, Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, Rabbi David Bensoussan, Rabbi Marc Sultan, and Rabbi Fischel Schachter.

A very special thanks to Rabbi Auziel Admoni, Rabbi Maoz Harari-Raful, Rabbi Danny Grand, and Mr. Abdo Hamra for making the Yom Shekulo Torah programs such a success!

You can make a contribution for the Azan Family needs
by sending a check to: Yad Yosef (Azan Family Fund),
1036 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11230-4001 or online at

Jewish Travel Baseball League Coming to Tristate Area

The travelling Jewish Amateur Baseball League (JWABL) begins its new season on Sunday,
April 8th, 2018.

The JWABL provides competitive travel baseball for kids and adults of all ages
in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Games are played on Sundays and will not conflict with Shabbat or any Jewish holidays.

“My kids loved to play baseball but were unable to play since manygames were scheduled on Shabbat,” said Commissioner Erwin Braha. This propelled me to create this unique league, bringing communities from all areas to compete and show their Jewish pride.”

All games are split into divisions and rankings where teams travel no more than 15 to 45 minutes.

The concept is to bring your own team and compete against other towns. JCCs, Chabads, camps, or other Jewish organizations can also have an opportunity to create a fundraiser with our many special programs.

If a player does not have a team they can post their name on our free agent list on our website and a team will pick them up.

For more information and to register your team, visit our website at or contact Erwin Braha at

The Retro Hanukah 5778
Contest Results

In December 2017, Isaac Gindi, creator of, which rewards children for positive actions in shul, sponsored an exciting Retro Hanukahcontest. The goals of the contest were to return us to Hanukah’s spiritual roots, bring awareness and pride for Hashem’s gifts (our Jewish soul, spirit, and heritage), and inspire us to DREAM BIG and maximize our Jewish potential.

Mr. Gindi is thrilled to report that the contest was a huge success. Contestants included children, housewives, and working men who all were enthused to participate in the concept of dreaming big, making a difference, and remembering our Jewish soul, spark, and heritage. All the contest participants were winners.

The First-Place prize of $500 went to Sammy Anzaroot.
Yosef Schewkeh received the Second-Place prize of $300, and Albert Harari won the Third-Place prize of $200.

Mr. Gindi hopes to run this contest again next year and make it even better! In the interim, he asks his readers to think about this: “If you were given a dollar and challenged to optimize it and get the most return for the dollar, what would you do?”Please respond

Written by Ellen Geller Kamaras

Flatbush Shomrim Activities

December 18, 6:00pm – Flatbush Shomrim members assisted with crowd and traffic control at the Azan funeral. We also escorted the hearses and family members to the airport – it’s a detail that we pray never to have to repeat!

December 21, 3:30pm– Flatbush Shomrim caught a package thief in the area of Kings Highway and East 16th. He was subsequently arrested by the 61 Pct.

January 9, 2:15am – Four individuals were arrested in the area of Quentin Road and East 17 St. for cutting the lock on a bike and stealing it. One of the perpetrators had an extensive record of drug activity and burglaries.

January 16, 9:00pm– Flatbush Shomrim members assisted with traffic and crowd control at the Masbia massive food giveaway at Coney Island Ave J-K. It was a very dangerous scene as cars were tripled parked and a huge crowd was assembled. Members expertly kept all safe and traffic moving freely.

January 17, 7:00pm– Flatbush Shomrim members attended and showed support for the launching of the 61 Pct. NCO program (Neighborhood Coordination Officers). This is a wonderful and very helpful program that the NYPD plans on offering to all the precincts. Take advantage of it! To learn more, contact Community Affairs at the 61 Pct. – tel: (718) 627-6847 or contact the NCO Supervisor Sgt. Michael Szczecinski at (917) 868 9847.

Agudath Israel’s New Jersey Office
Hails New Security Funding for Nonprofit Institutions

Agudath Israel of America’s New Jersey office lauded Governor Chris Christie for signing the “New Jersey Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program,” one of his final acts in office. The program allocates $3 million for distribution by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security over the next three years for the security needs of nonprofit institutions, such as houses of worship, nonpublic schools, and community centers.

These funds are in addition to the federal homeland security grants to nonprofit institutions. One important distinction is that, unlike the federal funds, the state funds can be used for live security guards, as opposed to just security equipment. This isa particularly common need for synagogues and other Jewish community institutions during major yomim tovimand other sensitive dates on the calendar. With recent terror attacks in New York and other locations, we are unfortunately reminded of how necessary security measures are, especially for religious minorities that are frequently the target of hate and violence.

Agudath Israel continues to work closely with the Office of Homeland Security as it establishes the application process for the funds. Each institution can receive a grant of up to $10,000.

Rabbi Avi Schnall, Director of Agudath Israel’s New Jersey office, was actively involved throughout the process, “This bill was carefully crafted to account for the needs of diverse institutions across the state,” says Rabbi Schnall. “On behalf of all the residents who will benefit from this legislation, I would like to thank Assemblywoman Quijano, Senators Weinberg and Diegnan, and Governor Christie, who made this crucial funding a reality.”

Lakewood Sephardic Community Celebrates The Opening of Binyan Bet Yosef’s  New Synagogue

On a cold Sunday in December, the Sephardic Lakewood Community came out en masse to celebrate a momentous milestone. Binyan Bet Yosef, the beautiful new building of Khal Bnei Torah, was ready to open its doors for the first time! An onlooker couldn’t help but pause with emotion to see the sight of the sifreiTorah being escorted with music and happiness into the new synagogue.

Khal Bnei Torah’s humble beginning fifteen years ago was due to the devotion and vision of Rabbi Mordechai Zafrani. It all started as a small minyanin the basement of “The Old Shul.” Within two weeks the minyanrelocated to a rented space above a supermarket, where it has seen much growth and success. Under the leadership of Rabbi Shlomo Zafrani, what began as a Shabbat minyanexpanded to incorporate a daily morning kollelfor those dedicated to starting their day with praying and Torah learning. Khal Bnei Torah grew steadily into a needed and appreciated asset to the community, yet its accommodations were not expanding along with it!

After much anticipation, this long-awaited building was complete, and a grand Hanukat Habayitwas held. In attendance were many esteemed rabbanim – Harav Dovid Schustal, Hacham Eliezer Harari, Rabbi Rachamim Aboud, and Rabbi Shmuel Meir Katz.
Hacham Yosef Harari-Raful gave divrei berachaover a phone hookup. The speeches were moving and inspiring. And the music and dancing were electrifying; it was like Simchat Torahin the middle of the winter!!

It is our great hope and fervent prayer that Binyan Bet Yosef will be a source of pride and growth to the Sephardic community
in Lakewood.