Jam Packed Chanukah at YCQ

Friday December 23rd 2022

Chanukah Celebrations at YCQ were jam-packed. Or should we say jelly-filled! Monday kicked off with beautiful renditions of Hallel heard throughout the classrooms and in the shul. Throughout the morning, Grades 3-8 each had the opportunity to experience a Silent DJ. Students were given headphones controlled by DJ Eli Arshadnia and danced along and celebrated the miracles of Chanukah, without any music blasting over the speakers. Students enjoyed witnessing the funny sight of dancing “silently” while showing off their Chanukah moves.

Meanwhile, students in Grades 1 and 2 had the chance to decorate donuts in the lunchroom. Students were given donuts and lots of different options to top their donut with, or even dip it in chocolate. Creativity was in the air as students made all sorts of delicious and unique combinations and gave their sufganiyot quite a makeover.

The celebration train was full steam ahead on Tuesday. After davening, JHS students began their mornings with parties with their Rebbeim and Morot, while Grades 1-5 witnessed a spectacular magic show from Magic Mehl. Students (and faculty) were wowed by his impressive tricks. Although they were disappointed when he was unable to make their homework disappear for the rest of the year, students were nevertheless amazed by his magic repertoire.

That afternoon, Grade 1 decorated beautiful Chanukah themed mugs in their classrooms, while Grades 2-5 ate some menorahs. You read that right, students created edible Menorahs!

The activities did not slow down on Wednesday. Grades 1-5 were amazed at the skills of Juggler Keith Leaf who put on quite a performance in the gym. Students from Grades 3-5 then had their turn at donut decorating in the afternoon.

Back in the Junior High, boys and girls each competed in their respective fierce (and friendly) Dreidel competitions with exciting prizes. We are a little suspicious that Director of JHS Student Activities, Jacob Grossman, “coincidently” decided to make ‘Gimmel’ the winning letter though.

JHS students later stared in awe as a truck filled with TVs, video game consoles, and comfy seating suddenly appeared in the YCQ yard. Students piled in as they got to choose from a staggering amount of titles.

The YCQ faculty was treated to their own party on Wednesday afternoon. They enjoyed a dairy buffet from Bravo Pizza, dessert from Queens Pita, and a mocktail station with two mixologists. Travel toiletry bags with the YCQ logo were also distributed as gifts.

A tremendous amount of hakarot hatov and thanks to Mrs. Shirly Pourad-Kaikov, Mr. Jacob Grossman, and everyone else who made this Chanukah so special!

The fun continued throughout the rest of the week, but looks like we’re out of room here. Stay tuned for next week’s edition for the rest of the highlights of Chanukah at YCQ!

The YCQ Boys Torah Bowl Team swept through the opening week competition defeating Manhattan Day School, Mazal Day School, and the Yeshiva of Flatbush. The Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills graciously hosted the event.

The Girls Torah Bowl Team also had a great first meet. They put in a lot of effort and time studying Parshiot: Bereishit, Noach, and Lech Lecha. They played against Mazal Day School, Manhattan Day School, RAMAZ, and Flatbush. They won two games, and did an awesome job.
Thank you Rabbi Rosenfelt and Ms. Rosenblum for coaching, guiding, and cheering the Girls and Boys Torah Bowl Teams!

The anticipation for the YCQ Hockey Home Opener grew throughout last week. On Thursday, the Wildcats arrived in their game-day suits ready to take the court like pros. Cheered on by a packed house of family and friends, the opening night ceremonies began with player introductions, followed by the Israeli and American National Anthems. As the ball was dropped, everyone was standing, waving their YCQ Wildcats rally towels and cheering loud. The game started fast – twelve seconds in, Yisrael Gherman scored, making it 1-0 early. The game continued to go in YCQ’s direction. By the time four minutes came off the clock in the first period it was 4-0 Wildcats. Shortly after the fourth goal by YCQ, Magen David intercepted a pass and had a player all alone on a breakaway. Goalie Justin Schikman made an amazing blocker save to keep Magen David off the board and maintain the momentum for the Wildcats. The game ended 9-1 Wildcats, highlighted by a six goal performance by Captain Ozzy Weiss. It was an unforgettable night for everyone in attendance, as YCQ secured a season opener win.

The three-year-old and four-year-old classes have been participating in a unit called “All About Me.” The children are learning about what makes each of them unique and special, and also how they are the same. They have measured themselves using building cubes. One class even measured their feet. The fours painted self portraits and the threes made family trees. They will learn next about how to be a friend and part of a class.

The Kindergarten classes have had so much fun making Parsha come alive. Last week, we learned about Avraham, and the students invited each other to share treats to experience Hachnasat Orchim like Avraham. This week the children learned about Sara, and how Yitzchak found a wife. They learned the medrash of how the candles, the challahs, and the cloud returned to Sara’s tent when Rivka and Yitzchak got married. The classes made candle holders they can actually use – we can’t wait to learn next week’s Parsha!

Directed by Ms. Oluwabunmi Olusina and Ms. Liliam Ochoam, focusing on Robotics this year. The class inspires children to connect with the fun and approachable side of science by teaching them to create robots, assemble drones, design race cars and other machines of their own design. A very interactive course that takes kids through the basics of robotic construction/design, circuit building, alternative energy sources and engineering. 

Wild Science Experiments (STEAM) is a hands-on science and experiments program designed to inspire future inventors, scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Students will create soap powered boats, oxygen propelled airplanes following a curriculum that covers appropriate concepts in chemistry, biology, natural sciences and real-world physics applications.

Why did you decide to coach the YCQ basketball team? Growing up in Kew Gardens Hills I had a lot of friends who went to YCQ, and although I went to Yeshiva Har Torah I took a lot of pride in my neighborhood’s and friends’ success on the basketball teams, except for when they beat us in middle school many, many times. When I heard there was an opening coaching the JV Team I jumped on the opportunity, because I was this age when I first got into playing basketball competitively. 

What are your goals for the year? One of my goals is to develop a sense of teamwork among the boys, to show that as individuals they’re good, but as a team no one can beat them. Our realistic goal as a team is a championship. Plain and simple. We’re all developing and learning to play more as a team and trust one another, and we all understand that being selfish won’t help on the court and won’t help off the court, outside of basketball as well. 

Which strengths does the team already have? Our team right now is led by very mature players who are great shooters, willing passers, and tenacious defenders. The boys are great listeners, and really have the desire and hunger to be better players, not only as individuals but as a team as well. 

What are you most looking forward to this season? As B’nei Torah we believe that united we can overcome anything, but divided, we fall. We need to learn to trust one another, and if we do, I have no doubt in my mind that this team is more than capable of winning many games this season and winning the championship.

This week in the library, Grade 1 students collectively agreed that “Pigeon has to go to school,” and drew cartoons of him using circle eyes; long, rectangular necks, and triangular beaks. One big fan of the comical bird even gave him punky hair! What does Pigeon like to eat before Thanksgiving? Pizza seemed a logical answer, as written in one of Willem’s legendary word bubbles. A reading of the title book Pigeon has to go to school led to a predictable outcome. Why does he want to go there so much? All predicted that the best reason was to enjoy the ride there on the legendary bus! Mrs. Etta will follow up with more bird-friendly books in the library as we approach Thanksgiving. Perhaps we will give Mr. Turkey a special holiday break!

Why did you generously decide to coach the YCQ Hockey Team? 

I have been a part of the Yeshiva Hockey League for years. I have spent most of that time as a referee but have coached as well. I spent the past 2 summers in Camp Dovid doing both and while I enjoy “reffing” nothing tops the feeling of coaching the younger generation and seeing them grow and learn. Coaching at YCQ, where my children go to school, allows me to give back to the school which has been so good to my family. I can coach so many players that I know and now have the chance to pass along what I’ve learned with my amazing staff, Assistant Coaches, Judah Gomberg and Lee Gherman. 

What are your goals (pun intended) for the year? 

I think we obviously want to win. Everyone wants to win. But to me it’s more than that. I want the kids to learn how to play not only individually but as a team. I want them to have a good time, to play a great game, and to represent themselves and YCQ as proper Bnei-Torah.

Which strengths does the team already have? 

The team came in with a solid foundation. A good portion of the players were on the team last year. This showed them how a team should operate. A lot of the kids have grown up together and played together. They know how their friends and teammates think and play and I think that will give us an edge.

What are you most looking forward to this season? 

Ultimately the ability to really teach the players how to win the right way. We’ve stressed from the beginning of the year that it is important to win but only if we do it the right way. I want them to have fun, to play hard and to enjoy winning. We are looking forward to a great season. 

By: Assaf and Yair Davidov (Grade 8)

This week was the beginning of the YCQ 2022-2023 debate season. The Yeshiva Debate League 

is run by Commissioner Waterman, who sends the resolutions to all the participating yeshiva day schools (HANC, Moriah, BPY, HAFTR, Noam, JKHA, Yavneh, and Yeshiva of Central Queens). The YCQ Debate Team is coached by Mr. Miles Ehrenkranz, who led the team to victory in last year’s championship. He stated, “Debate competition exercises our brains and therefore improves multiple skill sets. The increased ability to think critically, as well as more swiftly, are skills that exhibit themselves in debate competition. But what sets YCQ apart, and places us in position to win numerous individual and team awards, is our constant focus on improving.”

Says Mr. Ehrenkranz “Our success last year sets the bar we need to beat, not meet. Our recipe 

for success always starts with respect. Respect for each other, respect for our opponents, and respect for the league’s honorable judges. We then skill-build with a focus on public speaking by enhancing debater voice projection annunciation, research, speech writing, cross-examination, and extemporaneous argument presentation skills. I am proud of every student on our YCQ Debate Team, and strongly believe we will live up to, and conquer, the challenges that a year-long, four-tournament season demands.” 

Last year’s team had only three debates because of COVID-19, but this year’s team has four prescheduled debates. The students on the debate team work extremely hard to perfect and hone their debating skills, whether it’s speech writing or cross examination. The Grade 8 Co-Captains include Assaf Davidov, Yair Davidov, Adam Kaykov, Micheal Zavulun, Eliana Aminov, Emily Abkashev, Jonathan Khimov, Ben Toobian and, Max Basalely. The team members include Joni Musheyev, Binyamin Flamenbaum, Ethan Mordukhay, David Nikolsky, and Mikey Fried, David Kovan, Eylon Wortzel, Moria Cohen, and Elisheva Schutzman. Adam Kaykov, Co-Captain, reports, “Our success is really based on our ability to work together as a team. Since we are many talented debaters with many different styles of debating, we take all of our abilities and put it together to make 

one championship debate team.” While the team prepares for the first upcoming debate, Rabbi Landsman, Principal of YCQ, acknowledged the hard work and effort of the team. “I am extremely proud of our debate team for their hard work to win last year’s debate championship, and of Mr. Ehrenkranz for his advice and leadership. He is an excellent coach, and we couldn’t have won the championship without him.”

If everybody in the world jumped simultaneously, would Earth’s motion change? Can people see the Statue of Liberty and Great Wall of China from space? Are bats really blind? These are a few questions Grade 3 and 4 students were asked this week in library class, based on astounding findings found in the book National Geographic Kids: Myths Busted! Just When You Thought You Knew What You Knew by Emily Krieger. The myths in this book are based on popular beliefs that may be partly true or proven completely false. The students played a thumbs-up or thumbs- down game to vote on their assumptions before discovering answers they may or may not have suspected. For instance, though the vast majority of students believed that bats are actually blind, this is a mistaken notion because they have small eyes and keen ears. In truth, bats have an expert ability to use sound called echolocation. Even more astounding, though humans cannot see the Statue of Liberty or Great Wall in China from space, the Pyramids of Giza is visible from that vast distance away. Stay tuned in the near future as third-and-fourth graders are urged to challenge Mrs. Etta and their peers with other mystifying myths. Truth or busted?