Thursday, February 19, 2015

Financial/Estate Planning Expert offers free service to AFYBA supporters

Glenn and Barbara Gabin
at Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Neve Ruchama in Jerusalem
Glenn Gabin, and his wife Barbara Gabin, from Scarsdale, NY, visited two YBA schools this week  to learn first-hand how YBA schools help students with leaning disabilities achieve full high school Bagut (matriculation) Certificates - the key to higher education in Israel. The couple visited Ulpanat Bnei Akiva (UBA) Reut in Petach Tikvah and UBA Neve Ruchama in Jerusalem.

Glenn is a veteran Board Member of AFYBA, and for the past three years has served as the organization's treasurer. 

He is also the owner and principal of Wealth Preservation Associates, and an expert in all fields of financial and estate planning.  His clientele encompasses some 20% of the Fortune 100 companies as well as some of the world's wealthiest individuals.

As part of Glenn's commitment to supporting YBA in its mission to Training Israel's Future, he has generously offered to provide YBA supporters a customized, confidential financial and estate plan, free of charge and with no obligation, to maximize their current after-tax income and minimize future tax exposure. 

"Wealth Preservation Associates is able to recommend the use of specialized trusts, generation-skipping techniques, tax-deferred annuities, tax-free life insurance, and other cutting-edge investment options and tax strategies to meet specific needs, while at the same time providing a source of charitable income for AFYBA, at no net cost to the donor," Glenn explained.

Contact the AFYBA office to set up a personal appointment with Glenn if you wish to take advantage of this unique offer.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Alumni profile: Uri Orbach, z"l, YBA Nachlat Yitzchak, Nechalim

Uri Orbach recalled for his sharp wit and uncommon sincerity

Popular minister’s passing sparks flood of fond memories of one of Knesset’s most 

beloved personalities
 Times of Israel,  February 16, 2015, 7:01 pm

It was only at his death that fold singer Arik Einstein's centrality to modern Israeli culture and sensibilities became clear. It was only in his passing that the vast bonds of affection for the Sephardi spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef were reified in the hundreds of thousands of Israelis, including many non-Sephardim, who attended his funeral. Pensioners Affairs Minister Uri Orbach's passing on Monday carried with it a similarly telling outpouring.

Politicians from across the political spectrum recalled his devotion to the land of Israel – Orbach was an opponent of territorial withdrawals from the earliest days of the Oslo peace process – and his groundbreaking work as a religiously observant journalist in a largely secular profession.
But these prepared statements from cabinet ministers and lawmakers shed little light on the 54-year-old father of four. It was at the lower levels of Israel’s political class, among aides, journalists and activists outside the narrow elite that puts out press releases where the most telling memories were vividly relived on Monday.
“I invited Uri to my wedding,” recalled a Knesset employee who asked not to be named. “He told me he couldn’t make it because his son’s wedding was the day before.”
The employee worked as an aide for a competing party to Orbach’s Jewish Home, so it was unlikely the popular lawmaker and well-known former journalist could glean any political benefit from attending the wedding.
But it was that very fact that vexed him. “He was so worried I would think he was just giving me an excuse not to come,” the aide recalled, “that he brought me an invitation to his son’s wedding as proof of where he’d been.”
It was an incident the Knesset aide never forgot, and is of a type with the memories that surfaced in conversations and Facebook posts after news of Orbach’s death became public on Monday afternoon. That kindness and sympathetic instinct did not diminish as Orbach’s acclaim as a journalist grew or, in his last years, as his political standing won him a seat at the cabinet table.
Many also recalled his honesty.
In September 2012, political reporter Tal Schneider wrote about tensions between Likud and Jewish Home that came to the fore when Sara Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, asked then-MK Orbach not to support “those who are hostile to the Likud” – a reference to Orbach’s support for Naftali Bennett’s leadership of his party. Schneider wrote at the time that Orbach was embarrassed about the incident when reached for comment, and found the need to personally criticize or contradict his opponents distasteful.
But despite his discomfort he told Schneider after their conversation that as a matter of principle he does not speak “off-the-record,” she recalled on Monday. “He said I can quote anything he’d said, as long as I didn’t distort it.”
There was little doubt on Monday that his religiosity formed an important part of the personality so admired by his friends, colleagues and acquaintances.
One non-religious Knesset aide recalled Monday that Orbach used to chastise secularist politicians who voted to cut the generous child benefits the state offered to large, primarily ultra-Orthodox families.
“He used to ask, ‘Why are you cutting subsidies to religious families?'” the aide recalled. “‘Where do you think secular Israelis come from? There will be fewer of you, not them,’ he would say.”
His was a sense of humor that cut through the raw emotions such sectoral clashes over public funds often generated in the Knesset. “He could tell the secular public that they depended on the religious, but in a way that also told the religious their own kids were joining the secular public,” the aide said.
In a statement from center-left Zionist Union leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, Orbach, a decidedly right-wing ideologue, was praised not only for bringing “wit and humor into the plenum,” but for this ability to “unite and connect all the streams of Zionism and all Israelis.”
Channel 2 anchor Sivan Rahav-Meir posted to Facebook a page from the children’s book “I promise,” penned by Orbach. On the page was a poem: “We reach Heaven / after 120 years / the poor / and the rich alike. / There they don’t ask / if you bought houses / and streets, / there the main thing / is that you collected good deeds.”
“When the children get home from kindergarten,” Rahav-Meir wrote simply, “we have to tell them he has passed.”
In an official statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remembered Orbach for his accomplishments as a “minister in the government of Israel, author, journalist, intellectual, Jewish patriot,” and praised his “knowledge and wisdom.”
But there was a moment in the prime minister’s Monday statement when the overwrought epitaphs gave way to a simple sentiment, proffering from the summit of Israeli politics the feelings shared by those below: “I have never met someone who knew him and didn’t like him,” Netanyahu said.
The Israeli political class was stung by the loss on Monday not of a cabinet minister, but of a man who would go out of his way to avoid offending a junior aide in a competing party, an ex-journalist who didn’t believe in “off the record,” a polemicist and advocate who brought to the most fraught issues on the national agenda the sincerity and guilelessness of the children’s books he authored.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Netanya Deputy Mayor: "YBA Yad Avraham brings great pride to the city."

YBA Yad Avraham student, Sagi Giat, receiving award
Sagi Giat is just 18 years old, but he has already invented a small gasoline engine that is 3% more energy efficient than motors in use today.

Sagi is a 12th grade student at YBA Yad Avraham in Netanya. Six months ago his Physics teacher, Dr. Mark Geller, recognizing his potential, encouraged Sagi to enter an international contest for 'Renewable Energy - Eco-friendly Transportation' co-sponsored by the Ministry of Infrastructure, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the Israel Center for Renewable Energy, a number of Israeli high-tech firms and the Eilat-Eilot Regional Council.

"I joined another Israeli and a student from Italy to form a team to compete with other teams in developing an original idea to be start-up ready," explained Sagi. "We chose to investigate applying advanced friction reduction technology to standard 2-stroke gasoline engines, commonly used in lawn mowers and electric generators. 20% of the gas used to fuel these engines is wasted on overcoming friction. We submitted a ground-breaking motor that reduced friction and increased efficiency by 3%."

Sagi's team was one of the four finalists to present their projects to a panel of distinguished judges at a renewable energy conference held in Eilat last January. In the end, Sagi's team was awarded second place, just behind a team of students from Serbia.

Dr. Geller proudly explained that "Sagi tinkered with the motor and succeeded in reducing friction significantly. His invention proved effective when used to generate electricity, but in the future this same technology may well be applied to increase the fuel efficiency of cars, trains and jet planes!"

Dr. Avital Laufer, Deputy Mayor in charge of the Education Portfolio said: "This is evidence of the very clear and praiseworthy trend toward academic excellence in the school. The students are led by great teachers; talented and dedicated to identifying the strengths of each of their students, and accompanying them with wisdom and love to reach exceptionally impressive achievements. The school brings great pride to the city of Netanya."

YBA Yad Avraham Beit Midrash
YBA Yad Avraham was founded in 1960 and serves 450 boys from Netanya and the surrounding area in grades 7-12.  The campus is located on a hill on the outskirts of Netanya, on an area of about 35 acres surrounded by lush greenery, giving a comfortable and pleasant atmosphere.

YBA Yad Avraham Beit Midrash interior view
Like all schools in the YBA educational network Training Israel's Future, YBA Yad Avraham combines values education, Jewish education and social education, with academic excellence in general and scientific subjects to help its students reach maturity as well-rounded individuals. There are special tracks for excellence in Talmud, Mathematics, Physics, and Biology, and a unique Pre-medicine track in which students study a variety of medical issues in cooperation with Laniado Hospital in Netanya.

YBA Yad Avraham believes that the role of every teacher is to be an educator – not only to teach the curriculum, but to provide each student with all the tools he will need to succeed in all walks of life.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

29% of Operation Protective Edge medal winners were religious Zionist soldiers

IDF Medal of Honor Award Ceremony (photo:
When the IDF Spokesman's Office released the names of the 24 combat soldiers who earned the IDF Chief of Staff Medal of Honor for acts of bravery under fire during Operation Protective Edge, one statistic stood out: seven of the 24 (a disproportional 29.2%) were graduates of religious Zionist educational institutions, including one student and three graduates of Hesder Yeshivot.

This is yet another testimonial to the revolution of leadership in Israeli society that the Yeshivot Bnei Akiva Educational Network has led over the past 75 years, Training Israel's Future

Cpl. Yehuda Wishlitski being congratulated by
IDF Chief of Staff  (photo:

At YBA, we like to think of our graduates as Torah Warriors™; on the front lines for Israel’s survival, and in the forefront of Jewish Education.

Eitan Ozery, the Director General of the Hesder Yeshiva Association in Israel, expressed it best when he said, "Hesder Yeshivot educate toward the Jewish value of 'mesirut nefesh' (self-sacrifice) in the face of battle. The Beit Midrash (study hall) is their source of fortitude; and their strength of character stems from the Torah."

The seven religious Zionist medal winners are:

  • Cpl. Yehuda Wishlitski, a student at Yeshivat Hesder Beit Shean
  • Staff Sgt. Erez Halfon, a graduate of Yeshivat Hesder Beit El
  • Sgt. Matanya Maguri, a graduate of Yeshivat Hesder Yaffo
  • Lt. Elishama Jacobs, a graduate of Yeshivat Hesder Alon Moreh
  • Sgt. Yuval Heyman, from Efrat, whose family received the medal posthumously
  • Lt. Eitan Feund, from Jerusalem, who risked his life charging into a tunnel to retrieve the body of his fallen fellow officer, Lt. Hadar Goldin
  • Sgt. Roni Jackson, a religous female soldier from Kochav Hashachar, who spotted a band of terrorists emerging from a tunnel near Kibbutz Sufa and directed cannon fire to the site, thus saving many lives.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Torah Warrior Profile: Kineret Kabda

Edna, Eliav and Kineret Kabda
Thirty years ago, Eliav and Edna Kabda arrived in Israel from Ethiopia via Sudan; two of the 6,000 Jewish Ethiopians to make Aliyah in Operation Moses. Much of that journey they covered on foot, risking their lives to fulfill their dream of living in Israel. They settled in Petach Tikvah, where they integrated well into the community and raised their seven children.

Eliav served in the IDF's Engineering Corp, and during one stint of reserve duty he earned a medal of honor for saving many lives, when he shot dead a suicide bomber at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron before she managed to detonate her bomb,

Eliav and Edna are proud that three of their children are presently serving in IDF combat units, including their oldest daughter, Kineret Kabda, who just completed boot camp in the "Karakal" (Desert Bobcat) Infantry Unit.

Like the vast majority of religious girls in Israel, Kineret volunteered for a year of National Service (Sherut Leumi) after graduating Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Yeshurun in Petach Tikvah. But as the year progressed, it became clear to her that she wanted to do more to contribute to the country. She felt the need to follow in her father's and brothers' footsteps as a combat soldier in the IDF.

"My father talked to us all the time about the importance of dong a significant combat service in the army," she says, "so choosing to enlist in a combat unit was a foregone conclusion. I'm very happy with the choice I made."

Avi and Kineret Kabda
What about the fear of her dangerous assignment ahead: patrolling the Egyptian border? "It's scary, but so is any other combat assignment. Every soldier takes into consideration that something might happen to him. That's part of the job; what we have to be prepared to give to the State."

Kineret's brother, Avi Kabda, himself an officer in the IDF Givati Brigade, says, "none of us put any pressure on Kineret to enlist, but we all knew that she would do it. She saw how we all contributed in the army and there was no way that she was going to allow herself to stand on the sidelines."

A growing number of YBA ulpana graduates are choosing to enlist in the IDF rather than serving for one or two years in the National Service, although very few volunteer for active combat duty as Kineret has done. A recently released study revealed that the majority of religious female soldiers in recent years felt that their commitment to Torah and mitzvot was strengthened, rather than weakened, by their experience in the IDF.

Kineret is yet another example of how the 74 schools in the YBA educational network are Training Israel's Future. We wish Kineret well in her tour of duty.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

YBA students volunteer as Junior Fire Fighters
 All YBA network schools put a heavy emphasis on extracurricular voluntary experiences in teaching the Jewish value of Tikun Olam as a fundamental part of Training Israel’s Future.™ 

Besides volunteering in soup kitchens, kindergartens, nursing homes and shelters, many of our students undergo rigorous training to become paramedic assistants or Civil Service volunteers to man Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulances and Israel Police patrols in their spare time.

Israeli Junior Firefighter Cadets (israel21c)
Now, for the first time, a group of twenty students from YBA TO”M at Moshav Herev Le’et, have completed an intensive training course as Junior Fire Fighters, and have begun volunteering at the nearby fire station in Hadera.

“These students in effect double the size of the force we can send out in case of emergency,” said Alexei Girsky, the volunteer coordinator for the Hadera Fire Department.

One of the students summed up the motivation of the entire group saying, “I think that fire fighters are true heroes. They have very important jobs; full of action and responsibility. I saw this as an opportunity for me to volunteer and make a significant contribution to society saving lives. That’s why I signed up for the training course.”

Mincha prayer services at YBA TO"M
The school name, YBA TO"M, stands for Torah u’Mada (Torah and Science). It was established in 1958 as an offshoot of the first Bnei Akiva yeshiva high school at nearby Moshav Kfar Haroeh, and over the years has served as a Youth Aliyah Village for new immigrant boys who were trained in the technical professions where they could make a contribution to society. Over 2,000 technically trained YBA TO”M graduates have helped make Israel the ‘start-up nation’ it is today.

The majority of today’s 280 students are immigrants from Ethiopia, while others include native Israelis and immigrants from the former Soviet Union, India and France. Students may choose from computer, electrical and mechanical engineering tracks.

View this Hebrew language video to see the YBA TO”M award-winning campus and program: 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Jewish Basketball? You bet!

All of Israel is rooting for the Cleveland Caveliers to take the NBA championship this year, since favorite son David Blatt took over coaching the team. Last year David, who made aliyah decades ago from the US to play basketball for Maccabi Tel Aviv, led the club to the European League championship. 

At our YBA network of schools, physical education is an important part of Torah education and Training Israel's Future. Our schools encourage sports activities so that our students will be models of the Jewish axiom: Nefesh briah b’guf bari’ (a healthy soul in a healthy body).

YBA Hadarom basketball champions (
We are excited to announce that YBA Hadarom in Rehovot won the championship of the Israeli Yeshiva High School Basketball Tournament in January. Over thirty yeshiva high schools from all over the country participated in the annual tournament, now in its thirtieth year. In a very physical and evenly matched championship finale, YBA Hadarom bested Yeshivat Darchei Noam of Petach Tikvah, 46:38, to take the title for the second year in a row.

“I was very impressed by the high level of the players and the spirit of good sportsmanship the students displayed throughout the tournament,” said the tournament organizer, Yaki Saada, from the Givat Washington Community College, where the event took place.

YBA Hadarom, Rehovot
Yeshivat Hadarom joined the YBA educational network in 2010 after over 50 years of being one of the largest and most esteemed yeshiva high schools in the southern region of Israel. The school was founded in 1947, and has been associated with the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) since its inception. During the 1950's and 60's, Yeshiva University regularly sent its rabbinical students to study for a year in Israel at Yeshivat Hadarom. Today YBA Hadarom serves over 600 students from Rehovot and the surrounding region, including many from lower socio-economic level families.