Senior Trip to Israel

Senior Trip to Israel

This past May, the Seniors of Yeshivah Prep High School, took part in the ultimate graduation trip experience. The students, accompanied by their principal, Rabbi Sion Setton, and teacher, Mr. Shimborsky, had an amazing 10 day exploration of the land of Israel! The trip was the expression of a core value of YPHS Israel connection and advocacy. In that regard, the timing of the Israel trip could not have been more perfect; the YPHS seniors joined the entire country as they celebrated the golden anniversary of Yom Yerushalayim, marking 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem. As the seniors themselves said: “Now THAT’S a graduation present!”

The senior trip was planned and executed to bring to life years of study of sacred text, Jewish history and contemporary Israel life; to walk and hike Israel’s thrilling and diverse habitats and topography; to have the great honor of performing missvot in the Land; and to feel first-hand the privilege and the responsibility that, as emerging adults, the seniors will assume as they graduate and become leaders of the Jewish community.As the students of YPHS well know, good learning takes place in all settings. Most typically, YPHS students learn in individualized classrooms of approximately 8 students per class, receiving services on site and studying their Judaic classes in English. 

In a unique partnership with with Yeshivah of Flatbush High School, YPHS students attend several courses on the YoF campus. Yeshivah Prep students partake in trips and extracurricular activities with Yeshivah of Flatbush as well. On both campuses, YPHS students are surrounded by exemplary faculty and staff who model the values of our community and dedicate themselves to excellence in education. The tailoring of curriculum to learning style provided by the YPHS administration and faculty creates fertile ground in which YPHS students can seek their highest. The seniors who took part in the Israel trip received NYS Regents diplomas upon graduation and will be pursuing post-high school learning in the year ahead.

From praying at the Kotel and exploring the Kotel Tunnels, to hiking Massada, to standing on Har Carmel with Tanakh in hand, the YPHS seniors walked in the footsteps of our Biblical ancestors and gained new perspectives on our sacred texts and singular history. Camel rides at Eress Bereshit, kayaking, jeeping in the desert, zip-lining and floating in the Dead Sea brought adventure and excitement. Visits to Yad Vashem, the home of Israel President Rivlin, and a weapons training session at a counterterrorism training ground brought solemnity and contemporary reality into focus. A tour of Israel’s Hi-Tech sector in Tel Aviv and a fascinating lecture on startup companies added an optimistic and entrepreneurial context. Donating food and treats to the IDF soldiers at Pina Hama was among the most treasured experiences and gave the YPHS students an opportunity to meet first-hand with their contemporaries and to thank them for their service.

As part of the Israel Advocacy program at YPHS, Rabbi Setton accompanied three committed and eager YPHS students from across the grades to a two-day trip to the March AIPAC conference in Washington, D.C. There they joined with 19,000 other individuals from all different countries and walks of life to support Israel. They were privileged to sit in the VIP booth to hear Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Charles Schumer, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Nikki Haley, and U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan, and to receive a private tour of the West Wing of the White House.

This school year YPHS instituted a new dedicated Israel advocacy curriculum for Juniors and Seniors. The program, which is sponsored in partnership with JerusalemU and AVI CHAI, is designed to reinforce the centrality of Israel to the Jewish people, to foster a strong attachment to and support for the State of Israel and to equip students with knowledge and facts that will enable them to advocate successfully and counter the misinformation so prevalent on college campuses and in the media today. This year’s senior trip to is in the works now. When this second group of seniors arrives in the Holy Land, they very well may be visiting some of last year’s students; while they were busy blazing trails, they were also looking ahead to the possibilities of continuing their post-high school education in Israel. 

News and Highlights

Dear YPHS Family,

I wanted to take this opportunity to look back over some of our great accomplishments from the 2016-2017 academic year and to share new updates and announcements for the coming 2017-2018 year.

Some Highlights from the 2016-2017 School Year

We started the year by asking our students to express their areas of interest and then formed various “teams” made up of faculty/staff supervisors and students.  Each team chose to focus on a different area of school improvement and worked with dedication, excitement and passion.

  • The Interior Design team undertook a massive project to redesign the interior of YPHS.  Our new school environment is striking and very reflective of the positive energy of the team.  Have you seen our beautiful blue and orange graphics on the walls and the vibrancy of the decor in the common area?
  • In Journalism class a team of student leaders decided to share their literary work and interests with the entire faculty and student body.  They put together a weekly report of their work and shared it broadly in a way that was both creative and informative.
  • Student teams were responsible for organizing and leading off-campus trips (in addition to those conducted with Yeshivah of Flatbush), such as a visit to the Living Torah Museum, including an ice cream stop at 16 Handles; Aviator Sports; Bowling/Pizza Excursion; Sports Day in the Park; and, in conjunction with the PTA, a Spa Day and Basketball Tournament.

This past year we saw a newly invigorated PTA come together for the benefit of our entire YPHS family.  The PTA supported our student teams in their hessed projects, such as the Hanukka Toy Drive, and created the infrastructure that enabled students to raise money toward their initiatives and allowed them to actualize their dreams.  Together with the PTA, our students collected and packaged items to sell at the SCC for Hanukka and Purim, and they selected and purchased several YPHS-branded items for school pride, spirit, and recruitment.  If you haven’t yet received a YPHS water bottle, stress ball, phone wallet, pen or pencil, please stop by my office in August!

One of the key, overarching and fundamental values at YPHS is the nurturing of our connection, as individuals, as a school community, and as the wider community of Jewish Americans, to the Land of Israel.  In furtherance of our goal of solidifying this bond for our students, we sent a student delegation to AIPAC and conducted the first “Annual YPHS Trip to Israel” with our seniors, which has now been established and built into our school curriculum.

  • I accompanied our delegation to AIPAC, which consisted of three committed and eager YPHS students from across the grades.  Some highlights of our 2-day trip to Washington, D.C. included a joining with 19,000 other individuals from all different countries and walks of life to support Israel; sitting in the VIP booth to hear Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Charles Schumer, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Nikki Haley, and U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan; concluding with a private tour of the West Wing of the White House.  The attached pictures offer a glimpse of our exciting agenda.
  • Our trip to Israel with the seniors allowed us to bring to life all that our students have studied throughout their years in school, and to build relationships with each other and with the Land of Israel.  We are excited and proud that two of our 2017 graduates were accepted to Bar Ilan University in Israel following their trip.  Initial plans are underway for this coming year’s senior trip to Israel, to take place after Pesah, which will be shared with you early in the school year.  In the meantime, enjoy the attached pictures of our trip!

Our integration with the Yeshivah of Flatbush community has benefited both schools and both cohorts of students.  Our YPHS students begin their day at YoF and often end the day there as well.  Students in both schools take trips together, attend seminars and assemblies and share classes, lockers, sports teams and clubs at YoF.  The scope of opportunitieshas expanded for our YPHS students, and the feedback we receive from the YoF administration and faculty is positive.

This past year our Kabbalat Shabbat Guest Speakers included parents Sam J. Sutton and Kim Dabah; Rabbi Eli J. Mansour; Mr. Arthur Pearlman, owner of our building, who spoke on Veterans Day about his experience in the military; a team of First Aid trainers; and a speaker from TAG, teaching about technology safety.

We concluded the school year with a graduation and awards ceremony for our seniors, chaired by PTA president Susan Salame.  Over 100 guests watched as each senior received not only a YPHS diploma but an award highlighting his/her accomplishments.  The bonus for each graduating senior was the presentation of a magnificent yearbook, written and crafted by the students and our Yearbook Committee and staff.

I am immensly proud of the many accomplishments of our students and faculty and am grateful for the support of the board and the parents who helped me in my first year as YPHS principal. I am looking forward to new and exciting projects for this coming year!

I want to invite all the parents to please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about your child’s upcoming school year.  Be assured we are on the premises, working hard over the summer to complete minor constructions projects and preparing  the school so that we are ready to begin the year with renewed spirit and positive energy.

With regards to all and best wishes for the continuation of summer fun,

Rabbi Sion Setton