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YESHIVA UNIVERSITY TODAY May 2008

YESHIVA UNIVERSITY TODAY May 2008

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YESHIVAUNIVERSITYMAY 2008 • VOLUME 12 NO. 2
 yu.edu/publications
YUToday
      I      N      S      I      D      E
ROOTSRECLAIMED
High SchoolReaches Out toBelarus andLithuania
 Page 5
STIGMAREMOVED
Speaking Out About Students’Mental Health
 Page 6
TALENTSRENOWNED
Basketball TeamsEnjoy WinningSeason
 Page 7 
SOURCESREVEALED
Debra KaplanReconstructs EarlyModern Jewish Life
 Page 2
D
imona is a hardscrabbletown in the Negev desert,home to emigrants fromRussia and Africa, many of whom are unemployed. It was a quietplace until Feb. 4, when a Palestinianterrorist blew himself up at a mall,killing one woman and injuring 38.This summer, it will be the destinationfor a group of YU students hoping tomake a difference in the lives of Dimona’s residents. The YU StudentService Corpstrip will be made possibleby a grant from the Charles and LynnSchusterman Family Foundation.“The Student Service Corps educatesstudents for leadership and service byproviding opportunities to deepentheir commitment to the enduring Jew-ish value of 
tikkun olam
[healing theworld],” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander,dean of the Center for the JewishFuture, which develops the programs.“The trips supported by theSchusterman Foundation set up anexchange between our students andother Jews with a variety of views andpractices, as well as with the commu-nity at large.”The grant enables YU to increasethe number of students it can send onservice-focused travel programs bymore than 30 percent.The grant funded winter break tripsto the West Coast and Israel. Studentson both trips interacted with a broadpopulation of people and lent a handto the needy, from painting a class-room for disadvantaged teenagers inLos Angelesto working at a soupkitchen serving struggling Israelis.In Dimona, the students will teamup with Israeli counselors to run asummer camp for Jewish youthfrom
Schusterman Grant Expands Student Outreach to Needy
Y
eshiva Universitycelebrated the cen-tral role that theState of Israel playsin its mission during theSecond Yeshiva University Col-loquium in Israel in March.The week’s events highlightedthe educational, religious, andcultural strands that weavethe university and the Israelipeople together.The celebration, which coin-cided with Israel’s 60th anni-versary, was part of a traditionthat began two years ago whenthe inaugural colloquium washeld. This year, YU honoredfour Israelis who embody theinstitution’s philosophy of Torah Umadda [the synthesisof Torah learning with secularstudies] at a special academicconvocation ceremonyattendedby more than 450 people at theRenaissance Jerusalem Hotel.Honorary doctoral degreeswere awarded to: Rabbi Dr.Chaim Brovender ’62Y, ’65B,’65R, president of the Acad-emy for Torah Initiatives andDirections in Jewish Educa-tion, who President Richard M. Joel called “a visionary archi-tect whose pioneering workfor both men and women hasbrought us into a modern era”;Professor Jonathan Halevy,MD, director general of theShaare Zedek Medical Centerin Jerusalem, who President Joel said applies “the valuesborne of Torah and the wis-dom of scientific research forthe welfare of humanity”; ClaraChaya Hammer, founder of theChicken Fund that helps250 needy Israeli families aweek with food and basic neces-sities, who, at age 97, waspraised as “the stuff of legend”by President Joel; and Profes-sor Michael Rosenak ’54Y,PhD, the Mandel ProfessorEmeritusof Jewish Educationat the Hebrew University of  Jerusalem who “defined andshaped the discipline of Jew-ish education.”
Colloquium Highlights YU’s Ties with Israel
President Joel Confers Honorary Degrees on Four Israelis at Convocation in Jerusalem
Students on the West Coast winter breakmission served breakfast to the homeless. While in Israel, President Richard M. Joel and his chief of staff, Rabbi Josh Joseph, visited Yeshivat Mercaz Harav, whereeight students were massacred by Palestinian terrorists aweek prior to the Colloquium.“Yeshiva University’s links with Mercaz Harav go back toa series of letters between my predecessor, Dr. BernardRevel [the first president of what is now Yeshiva University],and Rav Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook [the first Chief Rabbi of Israel for whom the Mercaz is named],” said PresidentJoel at the convocation that launched the Second YUColloquium in Israel.Back in New York, over 300 people mourned the victimsat a community-wide memorial service on the Beren cam-pus where speakers included Israeli government dignitaries,local community leaders and students.
continued on page 6
Honorary degree recipients (back row, L–R) Rosenak, Halevy,Brovender, and (front row, L–R) Hammer with President Joel.
continued on page 6
L–R: Joel, Joseph, Rabbi Hershel Billet YH, ‘71Y, ‘74R, ‘82B,and Yitzchak Dadon, a student at Mercaz Harav.
VISIT TO TARGET OF TERROR SHOOTING
 
2YUToday
May 2008
W
hat was it like tobe a Jew 500 yearsago? Ask Dr. DebraKaplan,assistantprofessor of Jewish history atYeshiva College and BernardRevel Graduate School of Jew-ish Studies. She teaches herstudents about Jewish life inthe early modern period—from1450, just afterthe medievalperiod, to1750—throughthewords of the actual people wholived it. It was a time of majorchange for Jews as wellas therest of the world.One of the first professorsat YU to focus on the period,Kaplan reconstructs Jewish lifeduring that time through theletters of the common menandwomen who lived then, poetry,intellectual writings, artwork,and architecture of the period.These primary sources,shesays, give her students anopportunity to “see for them-selves what’s going on” andhow scholars used thesekindsof materials to write history.“The early modern periodis when the printing presswas invented, new countrieswere being discovered, andnew ways of warfare werebeing developed. Jews thenwere establishing new com-munities in different places.Primary sources give studentsinsight into what it was liketo be Jewish during thattime,” said Kaplan.It’s an approach that hasresonated with her students,who voted her the Lillian F.and William L. Silber Professorof the Year at Yeshiva Collegelast spring.Her students have “a lot of reasons to be interested in Jew-ish history,” she said. Theycome with deep analyticalskills in reading Hebrew textsthat students at other univer-sities may not be able to read.“They’re extremely engaged,so I encourage discussion thatfocuses a great deal on how tothink about a text criticallyand from the historical per-spective,” the professor said.Kaplan came on boardYeshiva in 2005 andwasnamed occupant of the Dr.Pinkhos Churgin MemorialChair in Jewish History lastSeptember. Her appointmentmarks the 50th anniversary of the death of Churgin, arenowned scholar of Jewishhistory and an influentialleader during YU’s early years.Dr. Morton Lowengrub,provost and senior vice presi-dent for academic affairs, saidKaplan was “the perfect choice”for the chair in Jewish history.“Her strong commitmentto teaching and mentoringexemplifies the life of the lateDr. Churgin, who devotedmore than 30 years to thefieldof Jewish history and to theuniversity,”Lowengrubsaid.“As a Jewish historian, I’minterested in the ways religionand history impact eachother—how Jews interactedwith their neighbors, whatboundaries they drew betweenthemselves and the peoplethey lived with,” said Kaplan,a summa cum laude graduateof Barnard College at ColumbiaUniversity who earned her PhDat the University of Pennsyl-vania. Since then, she has beeninvited by institutions world-wide to speak on topics inearly modern Jewish history.One theme that interestsKaplan is Jewish-Christianrelations during the early mod-ern period, which is the sub-ject of her forthcoming book,whose working title is
 Beyond  Expulsion: Jews, Christians, and  Early Modern Strasbourg 
. Nowin France, Strasbourg was partof the Holy Roman Empireduring her period of interest.“Jews living there wereexpelled in 1391, scattered to thecountryside. Duringthe 400years they were forbidden toreturn, the Jews neverthelesscontinued doing businesswith their former Christianneighbors and also found waysto fulfill their religious obliga-tions while living in placesthat lacked communal institu-tions such as synagogues, mik-vahs, and schools,”said Kaplan.“Reconstructing the lives of these Jews reveals a social his-tory that would otherwise haveremained concealed.”This August, Kaplan isorganizing the Fifth AnnualEarly Modern Workshop co-sponsored by YU’s Center for Jewish Law and ContemporaryCivilization at Benjamin N.Cardozo School of Law. Thegathering will allow scholarsof early modern Jewish historyfrom Israel, Europe, andacross the United States toshare with one anotherthework they are doing withtexts from that period.Yeshiva College Dean DavidSrolovitz said of Kaplan, “Sherepresents the best the collegehas to offer—a truly compellinginstructor, an up-and-comingscholar, anda wonderful col-league. She makes Jewish his-tory come alive for studentsand,as a result, is alreadyoneof their’ favorite professors.”
I
Seeker of the Source
 YESHIVAUNIVERSITYMorry J. Weiss,
ChairmanYU Board of Trustees 
Richard M. Joel
President 
Dr. Norman Lamm
Chancellor 
Georgia B. Pollak
Vice President for University Communications and Public Affairs 
Joshua L. Muss, Chairman, Board of Directors, Yeshiva College; Marjorie Diener Blenden,Chairman, Board of Directors, Stern College for Women; Bernard L. Madoff, Chairman, Board of Directors, Sy Syms School of Business; Ira M. Millstein,Chairperson, Board of Overseers, AlbertEinstein College of Medicine; Kathryn O. Greenberg, Chairman, Board of Directors, BenjaminN. Cardozo School of Law; Robert Schwalbe, Chair, Board of Governors, Wurzweiler School of Social Work; Mordecai D. Katz, Chairman, Board of Directors, Bernard Revel Graduate Schoolof Jewish Studies; Katherine Sachs, Chair, Board of Governors, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology; Moshael J. Straus, Chairman, Board of Directors, Azrieli Graduate School of JewishEducation and Administration; Julius Berman, Chairman,Board of Trustees, (affiliate) RabbiIsaac Elchanan Theological Seminary; Theodore N. Mirvis and Michael Jesselson, Vice Chairs,Board of Directors, (affiliate) Yeshiva University Museum.
Board listings as of April 1, 2008.
 YESHIVAUNIVERSITYTODAY Valerie Peters
Editor-in-Chief 
Kelly Berman
Editor 
Boris Volunuev
Designer 
Gila Berkowitz, Enrique Cubillo, Steve Eichinger, June Glazer,Norman Goldberg,Lois Goldrich, Andrea Kahn, Ryan Khaldar,Celia Regan, Peter Robertson, Raphael Rosenzweig, Arlene Schulman,Hedy Shulman, Mike Spinner, V. Jane Windsor 
Contributors 
 yutoday@yu.eduwww.yu.edu/publications
YU Today 
is published every two months during the academic year by the Yeshiva University Department of Communications and Public Affairs, 401 Furst Hall, 500 West 185th St., New York, NY 10033-3201 (212-960-5285).It is distributed free to faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors, and friends. © Yeshiva University 2008
YUToday
 VOLUME 12 • NUMBER 2
Faculty Profile: Debra Kaplan
Debra Kaplan was voted 2007 Professor of the Year by her students.
“Reconstructing the lives of these Jews reveals a socialhistory that would otherwisehave remained concealed.”
YESHIVA COLLEGE
Two Profs Appointed Journal Editors
T
wo Yeshiva College pro-fessors were recentlynamed editors of twodistinct journals. StevenFine, PhD, professor of Jewishhistory and director of the Cen-ter for Israel Studies, is one of four editors of 
 Images: A Journalof Jewish Art and Visual Culture,
while Lauren Fitzgerald, PhD,associate professor of Englishand director of the YeshivaCollege Writing Center, wasappointed co-editor of 
TheWriting Center Journal
.
 Images
is a scholarly jour-nal on Jewish visual culture inall disciplines—including archi-tecture, painting, sculpture,graphics, textiles, and photog-raphy—from Greco-Romanantiquity to the present.Published by Brill AcademicPublishers, it also containsreviewsof books and exhibi-tions, and notices of scholarlyconferences or symposia on Jewish art.
The Writing Center Journal
isan official, peer-reviewed pub-lication of the InternationalWriting Centers Association. Itis a bi-annual journal publishingarticles, reviews, and announce-ments that explore issues ortheories relatedto writing cen-ter dynamics and administra-tion. Fitzgerald was chosen bya selection committee for herbroad understanding of writingcenter scholarship, her experi-ence with writing center admin-istration,andher publicationand editorial experience.A longtime writing profes-sional, Fitzgerald was recentlyelected to the executive com-mittee of the Conference onCollege Composition andCommunication, a professionalorganization for researchingand teaching composition.
I
Dr. Steven FineDr. Lauren Fitzgerald
 
May 2008
YUToday3
A
lbert Einstein Col-lege of Medicinewill establish amajor research pro-gram within its Cancer Center,thanks to a $7 million gift fromlongtime benefactorsMarilynand Stanley M. Katz.The Marilyn and Stanley M.Katz Comprehensive CancerPre-vention and Control Programwill bring together Einsteinscientists to design new meth-ods for promoting the health of Bronx residents. It will includepopulation studies to identifylifestyle andenvironmentalfactors that cause cancer, as wellas cancer prevention initiativesfocusingon smoking cessa-tion, exercise,healthy nutri-tion, and preventing obesity.“The program created bytheir gift will expand the scopeof population-based researchat the center and lead to newapproaches to the preventionand early detection of cancer,”said Dr. I. David Goldman,director of the Cancer Centerand the Susan Resnick FisherProfessor of Brain Cancer Re-search at Einstein. “This pro-gram will benefit not just ourcommunity, but will contri-bute to cancer control effortsthroughout the US.”Marilyn and Stanley M. Katzare members of Einstein’s Boardof Overseers. As founding chair-person of the EinsteinCancerCenter’s Cancer Research Advi-sory Board, Mrs. Katz has fos-tered many of the center’sresearch programs over thepast 10 years.In announcing her gift,Mrs. Katz noted that she had asister who died from cancer.“I’ve dedicated my life tohonoring the memory of some-one I loved dearly by doing allI can to help find a cure,” Mrs.Katz said.“Stan and I have such won-derful memories of growing upin the Bronx, so it’s especiallygratifying to be able to giveback to the community in thisway,” she said. “I know that ourinvolvement in this impor-tant program would make myparents very proud.”
I
R
everend Dr. Frederick “Jerry” Streets’81W, ’97W, the Carl and DorothyBennet Professor of Pastoral Coun-seling at WurzweilerSchool of SocialWork, was recently awarded a Fulbright Fel-lowship to conduct researchat the University of PretoriainSouth Africa.Streets is spending thespring semester in the uni-versity’s department of prac-ticaltheology studying howthe HIV/AIDS crisis is affect-ing South Africa. He hopes togain a deeper understandingof faith-basedcommunities’collaboration with publichealth organizations toaddress the crisis, as well as the challengessuch partnerships present to both religiousand nonsectariancommunities.As an ordained Baptist minister andlicensed social worker, Streets is accustomedto bridging the divide between religious andsecular organizations. “The University of Pretoria’s department of practical theology’sinterdisciplinary approach to dealing withchildren and families coping with HIV andAIDS is consistent with my experience of pas-toral care research and teach-ing courses in professionalschools of theology, socialwork, and counseling,” saidStreets, who received his MSWand PhD from Wurzweiler.“I want to leave here witha better understanding of how South Africa’s responseto HIV/AIDS can contributetoour world community’seffortsto address this pan-demic,” he said.Sheldon R. Gelman, PhD, Dorothy and DavidI. SchachneDean of Wurzweiler, said, “We areimmensely proud of Jerry’s accomplishmentand look forward to his return in the summerwhen we will all benefit from the research heconducted in South Africa.”
I
I
f Dr. Greta L. Doctoroff has her way, the childrenof the Archdiocese HeadStart program will belearning faster, behaving bet-ter, and—most important—smiling widerthan ever.Thanks to funding fromthe New York City Council,Doctoroff, assistant professorat Ferkauf Graduate Schoolof Psychology, and her graduatestudents, along with the EarlyChildhoodCenter at the RoseF. Kennedy Center at AlbertEinstein College of Medicine,are developing a project to pro-vide additionalstaff trainingand mental healthconsulta-tion services to the Head Startprogram.The project—the SupportivePartnership for Child, Family,and Staff Wellness—aims toenhance Head Start’s existingsupport for mental health.Among its goals:to improveHead Start staff’s understand-ing of children’s emotionaland behavioral developmentand to support teachers andparents as they guide childrenin developing their self-regu-lation skills.Doctoroff and her studentswill conduct classroom obser-vations to assess thechildren’sneeds and help teachersandfamily workers become “behav-iordetectives” in order tounderstand the challenges thechildren face.Doctoroff describes herapproach to supporting staff training as “strength-based.”Because most of the childrencome from backgrounds bur-dened by poverty and socialdisadvantages, she insiststhatthe program “be very positive”and consider their strengthsaswell as their challenges. Fur-thermore,the focus is on whatthe staff is doing right, addingto their toolbox of strategiesto promote mental health andcoaching them to experimentwith new techniques.Doctoroff has done exten-sive research in the devel-opment of preschool-age chil-dren. For example, she and hercolleagues have foundthatparent involvement correlateswith children’s reading success,regardlessof the family’s socio-economic status.Doctoroff hopes that thenew project will lead to futureprograms that build social-emotional competence in chil-dren, families, and staff atHead Start. She also looks for-ward to conducting researchinto strengthening the resil-ience of children and familiesfacing multiple risks.
I
FERKAUF GRADUATE SCHOOL OF PSYCHOLOGY
Psychologist Gives SchoolKids a Head Start
WURZWEILER SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK
Reverend Heads to South Africa for Fulbright Research on AIDS
Marilyn and Stanley Katz are longtime benefactors at Einstein.Dr. Greta Doctoroff Dr. Freddy Streets
ALBERT EINSTEIN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
New Program Seeks Ways to Prevent Cancer
IDT CHIEF ADDRESSES STUDENTS
Howard Jonas (left), chairman of IDT Corporation,spoke candidly about his career as a leadingentrepreneur and founder of the global telecom-munications company to Sy Syms School of Business (SSSB) students in March as part of theKukin Entrepreneurial Lecture Series. Jonasdescribed some of the challenges along the wayto becoming a successful entrepreneur. IDT,which has established a customer service center in Jerusalem, is one of the city’s largest employers.Jonas said he opened the center to support jobgrowth in Israel. He advised the students to staytrue to their values and to foster an environmentof integrity in the workplace. “There simply isno substitute for hard work,” he said. The KukinSeries is a unique opportunity for SSSB studentsto have direct contact with outstanding entre-preneurs and executives.
I

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