Natalie Sopinsky

New AFYBA board member Jeff Goldstein visits YBA schools

Jeffrey M. Goldstein, Esq., a lawyer from Teaneck, NJ, visited the YBA Yeshiva High School for Environmental Studies – Sussya and YBA Orot Yehuda in Efrat this week, as part of his orientation as a new board member of AFYBA.

Rabbi Kimche (L) and Jeff Goldstein
in a classroom under construction
YBA Orot Yehuda Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Shlomo Kimche, took Jeff to visit the construction site of the school’s new campus in Efrat, which is scheduled to open in September 2015. He also toured the campus and unique “green” dormitories at YBA Sussya in the southern Hebron Hills region, led by the school's director, Haim Bar-Hai.

Jeff and Natalie at the top
of the Rudjum Fortress
Following the tour of the campus AFYBA Associate Director, Natalie Sopinsky, who lives in Sussya, took Jeff to climb the Rudjum Fortress, a short walk to the north of the school. The fortress was built in Hasmonean times (circa 200 BCE) and served as a Jewish stronghold during the Bar Kochba revolt against Rome. The site was excavated in 1994, and the yeshiva students are voluntarily preparing the site as a tourist attraction, paving stone pathways, installing benches, lighting, etc.

"My visit showed me how vital it is to support the YBA educational network,” Jeff said. “YBA schools are literally grooming the next generation of Jewish leaders for the state of Israel. Catching a glimpse of the learning going on at YBA Sussya and Orot Yehuda strengthened my confidence that the students are receiving an education that is above average, compared to the rest of the yeshiva world."

YBA Orot Yehuda hosts Simchat Beit HaShoeva in Efrat

Natalie Sopinsky (second from L) with the YBA Orot Yehuda
Event Committee members
On Saturday night, Oct 11th, YBA Orot Yehuda sponsored a Simchat Beit HaShoeva at the local community center in Efrat. 

The event featured a huge concert performance of the Gatt Brothers, who gained fame as the "Israeli Simon & Garfunkle" for their renditions of The Boxer and other 70"s classics on the Israel version of "The Voice." 

While they may sound like Simon & Garfunkle, the Gatt Brothers look NOTHING like Simon & Garfunkle, dressed in their traditional Hassidic garb. 

YBA Orot Yehuda Rosh Yeshiva,
Rabbi Shlomo Kimche
Following the Gatt Brothers performance the bandstand was taken over by the YBA Orot Yehuda band, and the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Shomo Kimche took the microphone and invited everyone to stick around for dancing. 

There was a well-stocked sukkah by the entrance, with a looping photo montage of the yeshiva activities, and a short film showing the recent progress of the new building now under construction. The new campus is due to be completed by June 2015, and will have enough room to double the number of students in the school. 

YBA Orot Yehuda is widely praised as one of the best high schools in Israel for teen-aged Olim from North America, with a large percentage of English speaking students from Efrat, Gush Etzion, Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem. The school is a non-residential high school yeshiva, and the boys are bussed-in every day for the long day of learning (from 7:00 am until 6:00 pm). 

The committee responsible for planning the Simchat Beit HaShoeva was established by Natalie Sopinsky, Associate Director of AFYBA, and included the following mothers of current students: Elana Singer, Tiora Siman Tov,  Diana Rosenfelder, Leora Bejell, Chani Ugowitz, Tracy Zeit, and Eva Kesselman.