Building the Future Now
By: Abie Dayan And Jacob Franco
After just one year of operation, Yeshivat Darche Eres (YDE) has become synonymous with Yirat Shamayim (fear of Heaven) and academic excellence. As students of YDE we couldn’t be any prouder, or happier.
Only last September over eighty of us ninth and tenth graders found ourselves walking into a small building on Avenue I and East 10th Street with uncertainty. We were understandably nervous. After all, this was a brand new school and many of the students were first beginning high school. It didn’t take long for our hesitancy to be put to rest. We listened as our Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Meyer Yedid, together with our principal, Mr. Harvey Feldman, and YDE president, Mr. Michael Jemal, filled us with words of comfort and inspiration.
YDE follows the New York Regents curriculum – with the additional enrichment of Advanced Placement (AP) college courses. We have a full time Director of College Guidance, Mrs. Eva Hefter, who is recognized as a college guidance professional of distinction. This year, the school administered the PSAT tests as well as the PLAN tests to help prepare us for the college entrance examinations. Our scores were well above the national average.
YDE teachers are unique. It is common to hear them speaking daily about meeting student needs. A YDE education is a perfect mix of Judaic and secular studies. In addition to its strong limude kodesh (religious studies) program, YDE offers an equally impressive general studies program under the guidance of our principal Mr. Feldman, whose door is always open to us.
Coming to school under the guidance of Rabbi Yedid is something special to look forward to each and every morning. We walk into school knowing that every day is going to be a good day. Watching boys pray with kavana (concentration) is a wonderful sight to behold. After praying, we turn our attention to Gemara, where we strengthen our minds and souls. We also study Humash, Navi, Tefilla, Halacha, and Middot. We have unique rabbis who truly understand us and care about us. They not only teach in the classroom but spend much of their personal time with us. They will learn with a student at any given time and often they will invite us out for dinner or ice cream. We even spend time at their homes with their families. One of our rabbis actually took his entire class on a weekend getaway. Their dedication is truly amazing, and we are creating a lifetime bond with them.
The devar torah by Rabbi Yedid on erev Shabbat is a weekly highlight. The Rabbi helps us understand how to act towards each other, and how to live our lives in a Torah observant way. He constantly inspires us to be the best we possibly can be. As a group we have grown in our midot. We are firmly on the path to becoming bene Torah.
Our teachers in the secular department have been hand-picked by our amazing principal. They are experienced, knowledgeable, serious, dedicated and caring. They give clear instruction and their lessons are well planned and organized. We get homework on a nightly basis and the test schedule is planned out from the beginning of the year. Next year we will have a number of elective courses like statistics and psychology that we are really looking forward to.
Every Tuesday we are offered a wide variety of extra-curricular clubs that cater to all students. Students can learn the art of making sushi. There is the karate club, where the students learn some cool moves. Run by veteran teacher, Mr. Robert Zawatsky, the debate team discusses current events. There is a chess, hazanut, and computer club. Based on student recommendations more clubs are being added next year.
YDE also has several sports teams that compete in the Yeshiva league. The basketball team had an unbelievable first season making the playoffs. We made it to the quarter-finals. School spirit is always on display at games. Most of the student body, accompanied by rabbis and general studies faculty, regularly turn up to cheer the team on during their games. YDE’s hockey team is already holding practice sessions under our new coaches to prepare for next season. Our softball team had an undefeated regular season and made the playoffs with a first place finish in the division.
It’s not just about winning games, however. Players on YDE teams realize that the most important part of each matchup is to always exhibit good sportsmanship. Our teams have received compliments from other school coaches about our ability on the field, and most importantly, the way we play with respect and consideration for everyone.
In March we celebrated our first Shabbaton. Together with rabbis, principals, and their families, we spent Shabbat together at the Glen Cove Mansion on Long Island. On Friday, we went to laser tag and had a blast shooting our teachers! We also took ample advantage of the indoor pool, racquetball courts, outdoor basketball courts, and football fields. On Shabbat, We learned, sang pizmonim, ate delicious food, and got to know one another in a more meaningful way.
Having everyone together really made this Shabbaton special. The sense of closeness to our teachers and rabbis definitely enhanced our learning experience for the rest of the school year.
There have been many other exciting school trips. We went to Aviator, where we played sports and got to see the fun side of our teachers. Ice-skating was also a big hit. We had a great time at Friends Field where we organized a flag football tournament. YDE’s tenth graders were treated to an educational, yet fun experience at the Nets Corporate Offices where they had a backroom look into what it takes to get a sports team started. Our school President, Mr. Michael Jemal, arranged this special behind-the-scenes look at the business organization of the Nets. Students were amazed by how much effort is required behind the scenes at an NBA club.
On holidays we have guest speakers who inspire us to strive to be better. On Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) Rabbi Rami Cohen described his experiences during the Holocaust. On Yom Ha’atzmaut We were privileged to hear from former Israeli soldier Mr. Avi Cohen who spoke to us about Israel and his time in the Israeli army during the 1948 War of Independence.
The really exciting news is that YDE will, with Hashem’s help, bemoving into its own home this coming year. The new building – conveniently located within our community – will be much more spacious and comfortable, and will be able to accommodate our school’s growth. We are also excited about the amazing new additions to the faculty in both Judaic and Secular studies which were announced over the past few months. And though YDE doesn’t really advertise itself, these enhancements, together with the incredible student experience over the past year, have not gone unnoticed. That’s why in a few months, we will be welcoming another impressive enrollment of wonderful boys who have chosen to make YDE their new home for the next school year.
There’s no doubt that YDE will continue to improve educational standards for our community for years to come. But we’re especially gratified to know that many more boys will get an opportunity to enjoy the same great education and fantastic high school experience which we are privileged to have.