Students from YCQ Attend NYPD Annual High Holiday Briefing

Friday September 23rd 2022

On September 21, alongside hundreds of police officers, politicians, journalists, community liaisons and representatives, ten Grade 8 students represented their yeshiva with maturity and poise. Each year, members of the NYPD including the Police Commissioner, Keechant L. Sewell, and the Mayor, Eric Adams, host a briefing to discuss the connection between the NYPD and the NYS Jewish communities on safety issues in the multitude of Jewish Communities, especially the safety issues present during the Yomiim Noraiim. The students and chaperones were afforded the opportunity to speak for a few minutes with Councilmember Lynn Shuman, who represents Forest Hills and Rego park where a large percentage of YCQ students reside. 

Mayor Eric Adams spoke for a few moments acknowledging that NYC has the largest number of Jewish residents outside Israel. He spoke on how he understands the importance of these holidays and NYC is preparing to keep us safe. The briefing was summed up and closed with the reminder that as partners of the NYPD, every citizen from children to adults play an important roll in keeping us safe. Thank you to Mrs. Jaffe and Mrs. Davidov for chaperoning the grade 8 representatives; Ava Blum, Aylea Moussaieff, Lily Hametz, Akiva Steinman, Jake Daniel, Assaf Davidov, Yair Davidov, Avigdor Zweinhorn, Gabriel Koptiev, and Daniel Rozic.

The beginning of the school year is a wonderful time for students and teachers to connect and bond in all different types of ways. Grades 1–5 had their first class trips this past week and had the opportunity to connect with one another through fun and exciting outings. On Tuesday, Grades 4 and 5 went to Adventure Park Long Island. The students had a full day of climbing, zip lining, hiking, and bonding with friends and teachers. They tested their physical strength, overcame fears, and cheered on their classmates. “I was scared at first,” said Mia Akilov, Grade 5. “But I am glad I pushed myself and did not take an early exit. I had a lot of fun with my friends, and I hope I can do it again someday.” The trip was a great reminder for both students and faculty as we begin a new school year, that when you put your mind to something, you can achieve greatness. Ilan Zelcer, Grade 5 said, “I enjoyed being with my friends out in the wild. I would rather be in nature. This trip was so much fun.” 

On Wednesday, Grades 1-3 got really prepared for Rosh Hashana with an adventure to an apple orchard. The students traveled to Apple Rich Orchards for a great day of hayrides, petting and feeding farm animals, and of course…apple picking! Each student came home with their own big bag of apples and even bigger smiles on their faces. 

Thank you to Mrs. Shirley Pourad-Kaikov for organizing and managing the trips and to all the teachers and chaperones for helping to give our students a great day.

This week Ms. Laffer read the book Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco to class 3-212 and 3-211. The book is about the main character Trisha who grew up in a family who loved books! Trisha’s grandpa drizzled honey on the cover of a small book and had her taste it. The honey was sweet “and so is knowledge but knowledge is like the bee that made that sweet honey, you have to chase it through the pages of a book.” 

The important lesson is to never give up when something is difficult for us! In honor of Rosh Hashana, after reading Thank You Mr. Falker, Ms. Laffer gave the students apples and honey for a sweet new year! Miss Laffer and Morah Surah’s Class 3-211 also made yummy bee cupcakes including a fondant bee and bee hive in keeping with their classroom theme! Have a BEE-utiful Shabbat and shana tova umetuka!!

On Monday, September 19, the PTO had its first meeting of the school year. We were excited to
welcome many new faces and have already started moving on some of other upcoming events (PTO
Fun Night-October 31) and the Annual Challah Bake (December 29) featuring Charlene Aminoff. If you
are interested in participating in these events, please reach out to [email protected] Rabbi Landsman gave a wonderful introduction and really gave us motivation for the upcoming school year. We also had ice cream sundaes, and really enjoyed a wonderful, chill night with friends, old and new! We are looking forward to a wonderful year together and are excited by the energy of our volunteers!

On Motzei Shabbat, September 17, over 100 students in grades five through eight, along with their parents, and Rebbeim joined together for a meaningful learning program. The evening began with a beautiful shiur by Rabbi Shmuel Marcus, Rav of Young Israel of Queens Valley. Rabbi Marcus was extremely invigorating and enlightening. The evening concluded with an uplifting recitation of Selichot led by Rabbi Hamel. It was a most inspiring evening.

This past Monday, Mrs. Elana Joffe, YCQ’s Social Worker, facilitated a student program welcoming YCQ’s new students. Each student was paired with an eighth-grade mentor who was handpicked based on his or her leadership qualities. The program commenced with each mentor introducing himself or herself to one new student, handing a school gift to his or her assigned new students and showing the student around the campus. Together with their mentors, the students participated in a group activity and enjoyed a snack. Mrs. Joffe and Rabbi Landsman warmly introduced each student and welcomed them to the YCQ family. 

Thank you to our eighth graders who assisted with this wonderful program and introduced the new students to everyone: Aylea Moussaiff, Avital Levy, Emily Akbashev, Lily Hametz, Avigail Rachmanov, Ava Blum, Michele Allayev, Yardena Aharonoff, Rena Schwartz, Erin Cohen, Hadar Basalel, Daniella Chacham, Michael Zavulun, Aharon Feder, Aviel Babaev, Gabriel Koptiev, Assaf Davidov, Nathanial Babakhanov, and Yair Davidov. We look forward to a productive and exciting school year.

On Thursday, September 8, the Junior High School commemorated the 21st anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. The students watched a meaningful video of the events that took place on that tragic day. The sense of hopelessness and turmoil that transpired was sensed by the students. The students heard from Rabbi Landsman, who spoke about recognizing the unique individuals in our lives who take care of us and deserve our appreciation and gratitude, such as bus drivers, security guards, custodians, police officers, and fire fighters. They also heard from Mr. Ehrenkranz (7th Grade Social Studies) who was in the Capitol building on that day, Ms. Simanowitz (Administrative Assistant) who spoke about the experience of her father, Michael Simanowitz, a first responder, and Mrs. Zakin (Resource Room), who was at the World Trade Center during the attack and witnessed the second plane crash. The program concluded with the recitation of Tehillim. 

As 1,000 students walk through the doors of YCQ on the first day of the 2022–2023 school year, you can feel the students’ anticipation. After a very long summer, they are eager to reunite with old friends, meet new friends, and get to know their new teachers who will instruct, guide, and support them this year. A lot of changes are in place at YCQ this fall, including additional activities, new and innovative curriculum, and brand new classrooms for our youngest students in preschool. 

“We are blessed this year with excellent staff and faculty, many new to the community,” reported Rabbi Landsman, Principal of YCQ. “Yeshiva of Central Queens is filled with students who are ready and eager to learn. Our building is newly and beautifully renovated. My hope for the YCQ 2022–2023 School Year is simcha, shefa, mazal, nachat, hatzlachah, and shalom. We look forward to watching our students grow in midos, Torah, mitzvot, general studies, and the fun and engagement of learning.”

After an intense summer full of hard work and construction on the YCQ building, the building crew performed a miracle and helped the PTO in the launching of annual YCQ PTO Preschool Bash. New and returning families were able to see the amazing job that was done over the summer as they wandered through our beautiful lobby to attend a fun night. The Preschool Bash is an opportunity for new families to get to know the wonderful teaching staff of the school, and for students to get a chance to acclimate to a brand-new school year. This year was even more exciting as it was the first year of our 3PK program, and we had children aged 3, 4, and 5 in attendance.

The event was catered by Hot Spot BBQ and Grill, and they provided us with delicious BBQ style food with hotdogs, make your own sliders, chicken poppers, salads, and french fries. The students worked on a small project (in between French fry breaks) while Rabbi Landsman entertained the students with a fun icebreaker activity. Thank you to the amazing teachers who, after a long day, spent the extra time getting to know their students, displaying their usual warmth and care. The PTO also had the opportunity to introduce the new PTO co-president, Mrs. Eliana Langbaum, whose children are in Nursery, First, and Third Grade. Mrs. Langbaum will be serving as co-president with Mrs. Julie Faska during the 22–23 school year.

Thank you to the Bash committee members: Julie Faska, Eliana Langbaum, Rachel Stern, Aliza Peled, Valerie Olsen, Jenniffer Jaffe, Rochel Orenbuch, Natalie Nektalov, Daniella Shamaev, Ester Uvaydov, Daniella Dyckman, and Laura Schutzman, Rabbi Landsman, Morah Sharon, and all the Nursery and Kindergarten teachers for making the event a success. A special thanks goes to the building staff and crew: Rabbi Kofitz, Aaron Kessler, Richie and his team, who after intense weeks of getting the school ready for the first day of school, helped us in the preparations for the bash.

The YCQ faculty orientation took place on both August 31 and September 1 and set an exciting tone  to begin the new school year. On day one, the teachers were greeted by guest speaker, Rabbi Moshe Bamberger, Mashgiach Ruchani at Lander College for Men. Each grade level also had the opportunity to meet in groups with Dr. Emily Witty, Director of ELA Curriculum, Morah Mashie Kopelowitz, Director of Judaic Studies Curriculum, and with directors of YCQ’s Educational Technology. On the second day, Rabbi Daniel Rosenfelt, JHS Rebbe and Rabbi of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, spoke to the faculty about ways to inspire students and help them become more engaged in their learning. A representative from Global Security also spoke to the faculty about school safety protocol. Rabbi Landsman gave a session on the popular book by Dave Burgess, Teach Like a Pirate, on how to increase your passion as a teacher and develop engaging lessons to draw students in like a magnet. The professional development program was informative and educational, which will hopefully make this year a true success! We are looking forward to an exciting school year!