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YuToday Spring 2011

YuToday Spring 2011

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Published by: Yeshiva University on Jul 22, 2011
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Yeshiva UniversitY
sPrinG 2011
Volume 15 • No. 2
Class o 2011 Challenged to
Seek a New Horizon
utside the Izod Centerin East Rutherord, NJ,where Yeshiva Uni-versity hosted its 80th annualcommencement ceremony onMay 26, there was a palpable,sun-kissed eeling o joy as morethan 3,500 amily and riendscame together to celebrate thetrue value o a YU degree.“It’s pretty exciting,” saidDaniel Gordon o Toronto, who,along with his wie, Ellen, was onhand to celebrate the graduationo their son, Avi, rom YeshivaCollege. “This is our third gradu-ation o a amily member. Mydaughter graduated rom Stern,my son-in-law went to YeshivaCollege, and my next son willhopeully be graduating in twoyears.”Gordon explained that hisamily chose YU because “no-where else has the ability orus to have such a solid Jewisheducation combined with a solidgeneral education in one ellswoop… there is no place thatcomes close to the quality o YU.”That quality, said Gordon, hasallowed his son “to get oersrom some o the top graduateschools in the world.”Mijal Bitton, a newly mintedgraduate o Stern College orWomen and a recipient o aWexner ellowship, mentionedthe high quality o her educationbut emphasized the close-knitcommunity in which it is deliv-ered. “YU gives you the oppor-tunity to become very close tothe aculty and ellow students.It’s not just a classroom; it’s like aamily. I’m very grateul.”Adam Berman, the valedic-torian o Yeshiva College, agreed.“One o the highlights o my YUexperience has been being parto a vibrant, young and exciting Jewish community.”Berman plans to attendmedical school, but will spendthe coming year studying at YU’sRabbi Isaac Elchanan Theologi-cal Seminary (RIETS) and devel-oping Torah-learning curriculaor the Center or the Jewish Fu-ture’s service learning programs.“YU has opened my eyes to theglobal Jewish community. I amcontinually amazed at how many
YU graduates (l–r) Joseph Novetsky, Ariel Urkowitz, Dov Lerner, Tzvi Feiel, Jonathan Seligsohn, Aron Kaplan and Daniel Eisman celebrate commencement at the Izod Center on May 26
Continued on Page 6
Zahava and Moshael Straus Create Landmark Centeror Torah and Western Thought
eshiva University Presi-dent Richard M. Joel an-nounced the creation o the new Zahava and MoshaelStraus Center or Torah andWestern Thought in April. Thecenter’s mission is to develop acadre o Jewish thinkers well-versed in the moral, philosophi-cal and theological questions o our age, who will also dissemi-nate Jewish ideas to the world.The center will carry thename o Zahava and MoshaelStraus in honor o their git orits establishment and endow-ment. Moshael Straus, an invest-ment executive, is a member o the Yeshiva University Board o Trustees and a graduate o Ye-shiva College. Zahava Straus isa graduate o YU’s Benjamin N.Cardozo School o Law.President Joel also an-nounced the appointment o noted theologian Rabbi Dr.Meir Y. Soloveichik as directoro the Straus Center. Rabbi So-loveichik, the associate rabbi atCongregation Kehilath Jeshu-run in New York, is a graduateo Yeshiva College who received
[rabbinical ordination]rom YU’s Rabbi Isaac ElchananTheological Seminary (RIETS).He also was a Fellow in theBeren Kollel Elyon, the semi-nary’s highly select advanced or-dination program, and earned adoctorate in religion rom Princ-eton University.The motivation or the gitand the establishment o the cen-ter came about because, “I waslooking or something that couldbe a game-changer,” MoshaelStraus explained. “In ModernOrthodoxy, we talk about howthe world impacts on our Ortho-doxy. We don’t always talk abouthow our Torah impacts on themodern world. I envision thatthis center will create a two-way street, by developing Mod-ern Orthodox Jewish thinkers,scholars who think big thoughtsand go beyond the theoretical tobring their ideas or the beneto the larger Jewish communityand society.”“Moshael Straus is a won-derul partner in the leadershipo Yeshiva,” said President Joel.“As an extremely devoted andengaged trustee, he, along withhis wie, Zahava, shares a visiono the Jewish uture that is onewith that o Yeshiva University.The Zahava and Moshael StrausCenter or Torah and WesternThought is a git not only to YU,but to all o humanity.”At the Straus Center, selectundergraduates rom YeshivaCollege and Stern, as well as rab-binical students at RIETS, willengage in courses that bridgea variety o disciplines and ex-pose the students to both hala-chic [Jewish law] and Westernschools o thought. There will
Continued on Page 2
Fo mo gYU umb 
lw coolo wc slum all Dglow ccpd( w iy Lgu)
page 3
YUhsG udmd fl  nw Yok Cyscc degg F
page 4
ducoccpd oazl’ ugulscool PpM’ Pogm
page 4
mploy  c c o cmpu
page 5
udcompd YU’ ulcol cook-o
page 6
nih g wdd oe d Fku
page 7
 Rabbi Dr. Meir Y. Soloveichik
spRIng 2011
ollow us on twItteR at www.twItteR.com/yunews
YUTodaY on The Web
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2011 Commcm
Look  ou ol poo glly,w o 180 poo om gduo
Download mobile reader at http://scan.mobi and enjoy additionalweb content throughout YUToday.
Fo YU ud, og uccd lk ucc
YU clb il  ul pd
video phoTo gallerY
YU udcommmo ilw Yom hzkod Yom h’zmu
Pd Jol dcuduco d Jwdy w hd Lwpoo al Dowz(do)
Yeshiva UniversitY
be ellowships, advanced tutorials and indepen-dent study courses, mentoring, summer seminarsand travel abroad that will aord students op-portunities to interact with leading thinkers andteachers.“Yeshiva University stands in a unique place,”said Rabbi Soloveichik. “Its students are theuture o Jewish ideas. It is only YU that promotes aproound commitment to the study o Torahand yet also engagement with the best o West-ern thought. The Straus Center will build uponthis unprecedented oundation by bridging animmersion in Torah study with ormative aca-demic experiences, thereby cultivating men andwomen who embody both Torah excellence andacademic excellence. In so doing, the center willseek to urther Yeshiva’s mission o Torah Umaddaand the University’s critical role in the uture o theAmerican Jewish community.”In addition to his pulpit responsibilities, RabbiSoloveichik teaches at the Ramaz School, wherehe leads the senior honors Talmud class. He alsolectures throughout the United States and abroad,to both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences on topicsrelating to Jewish theology, bioethics and Jewish-Christian relations. His essays, which have beenpublished in
Commentary, The Torah Umadda Journal, Azure
, among other pub-lications, address subjects central to the Jewishaith, including the theological meaning o chosen-ness, kashrut and Torah study. He is the grandsono the late renowned scholar and rosh yeshiva [pro-essor o Talmud] Rabbi Aaron Soloveichik and thegrand nephew o The Rav, the late Rabbi JosephSoloveitchik.While its primary ocus will be serving stu-dents, the Straus Center will also serve to enhance YU’s role as “an intellectual catalyst and beacon orall Jews,” Rabbi Soloveichik explained. To this end,the center will host public orums at the Univer-sity’s various campuses that address great humanquestions that have engaged Jewish and non-Jewish thinkers. Visiting aculty will be invitedto participate and to teach student courses. In therst year, many o the center’s programs, as well asmuch o the student coursework, will relate to thetheme “Biblical Ideas and American Democracy.”Moreover, the center will stage a series o one-day learning events in Jewish communitiesthroughout the United States, Europe and Israel.These symposia and lectures will promote ideas-ocused conversations about Jewish lie and theJewish uture across the generations.“Ultimately, the goal o the Straus Center isnot just to deepen our understanding o Judaism,”Rabbi Soloveichik said, “but also to help us under-stand how Jewish ideas have, and can continue to,prooundly impact the world.”
Rockeeller Partnership DeepensStudy o Neuroscience at Stern
s a child, Geulah Ben-David joked that herbrain was the most-usedmuscle in her body. As a psy-chology major with an emphasisin neuroscience at Stern Collegeor Women, she’s learning why.Ben-David is taking a newneurobiology laboratory courseat Stern, which has grown roma partnership with nearby Rock-eeller University. The course isled by Dr. Richard Hunter, a re-search associate at Rockeeller,and makes use o lab space at bothStern College and Rockeeller togrant students hands-on experi-ence in graduate-level research.“It’s 80 percent experiment-ori-ented,” said Hunter. “I guide theclass through everything romdissecting sheep brains in ourneuroanatomy module to study-ing the eects o caeine in ratsas we look at psychostimulants.”The new lab was developedas part o an expanding neurosci-ence curriculum at Stern, whichnow includes a neuroscienceconcentration in both the biologyand psychology departments.The partnership with Rock-eeller oers students the uniqueopportunity to study behavior inanimals, which in many cases isonly available in graduate school.“You have to be very criticalabout how you’re setting up yourprocedures and to understandthat because you’re the rst per-son doing this, you’ll make mis-takes,” Hunter said. “I want mystudents to know how to learnrom those mistakes.”And that learning processis exhilarating or Ben-David.“That’s what I love about thework we’re doing,” she said.“When you’re creative and in-novative, you can make newdiscoveries. You eel like you’researching the unknown andnothing is impossible.”Partnerships like the onewith Rockeeller allow YeshivaUniversity to oer its studentsspecialized experiences as wellas advanced study in their eldso interest. To expand student op-tions in the health and sciences,Stern has also recently createdtwo joint programs with New York University in the areas o nutrition and nursing. The agree-ment will give Stern students theability to take nutrition classes atNYU to complete a shaped majorin nutrition at YU, while an ar-rangement with NYU’s Collegeo Nursing will enable studentsto pursue a combined degree innursing at Stern and NYU.Other YU partnerships in-clude programs in occupationaland physical therapy, optometry,podiatry, social work, engineer-ing, business administration andmath and science education.
Z  m sr
Continued rom Page 1
Stern students experiment in a neurobiology lab
 Joint programs createdwith New York Universityin nutrition and nursing 
sPrinG 2011
Volume 15 • No. 2Dr. HeNry Kressel
Chairman, YU Board of Trustees
ricHarD m. Joel Dr. NormaN lamm
President Chancellor 
GeorGia B. PollaK
Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs
mayer FertiG yaFFi sPoDeK Gisel PiNeyro
Editor in Chief Editor Art Director 
Enrique Cubillo, Shimon Fried, Cecile George, Norman Goldberg,Stephen Nickson, Tova Ross, Perel Skier,V. Jane Windsor, Matt Yaniv
yutoday@yu.edu www.yu.edu/cpa
is published quarterly by the Oce o Communications and Public Aairs and is distributedree to aculty, sta, students, alumni, donors and riends. It keeps them inormed o news romacross Yeshiva University’s undergraduate and graduate divisions and aliates. The quarterlynewsletter covers academic and campus lie, aculty and student research, community outreachand philanthropic support. It showcases the University’s mission o Torah Umadda, the combina-tion o Jewish study and values with secular learning, through stories about the diverse achieve-ments o the University community.
© Yshia Unirsity 2011 • Ofc of Communications and Pubic Affairs
Furst Ha Room 401 • 500 Wst 185th St. • Nw Yor, NY 10033-3201 • T.: 212.960.5285
Stanley I. Raskas, Chairman, Board o Overseers, Yeshiva College; Shira Yoshor, Chairman, Boardo Overseers, Stern College or Women; Josh Weston, Chairman, Board o Overseers, Sy SymsSchool o Business; Ruth L. Gottesman, Chairperson, Board o Overseers, Albert Einstein Collegeo Medicine; Leslie E. Payson, Chair, Board o Overseers, Benjamin N. Cardozo School o Law;Froma Beneroe, Chair, Board o Overseers, Wurzweiler School o Social Work; Mordecai D.Katz, Chairman, Board o Overseers, Bernard Revel Graduate School o Jewish Studies; CarolBravmann, Chair, Board o Overseers, Ferkau Graduate School o Psychology; Moshael J. Straus,Chairman, Board o Overseers, Azrieli Graduate School o Jewish Education and Administration;Julius Berman, Chairman, Board o Trustees, (aliate) Rabbi Isaac Elchanan TheologicalSeminary; Miriam Goldberg, Chairman, Board o Trustees, YU High Schools; Theodore N. Mirvis and Michael Jesselson, Co-Chairs, Board o Directors, (aliate) Yeshiva University Museum.
Board istings as of May 16, 2011.
spRIng 2011www.yu.edu/news
ollow us on acebookwww.acebook.com/yeshIvaunIveRsIty
Tracing an Alumna’s Remarkable Journeyrom Chechnya to Stern to Harvard
lla Digilova, a 2010 graduate o Stern Col-lege or Women and soon-to-be Harvard lawstudent, has come a long way since she arrived inBrooklyn at age 14. She and her amily came rom Nal-chik, a city in Southern Russia, thanks to a loan rom theHebrew Immigrant Aid Society. Fleeing war and strie,Digilova’s parents relied on welare to get by, while hermother studied toward a degree in nursing to improvethe amily’s situation.Nurturing her desire to become a scientist, Digilovaentered Brooklyn Technical High School, a specializedscience school, where she excelled despite her limitedknowledge o English. She also co-ounded an organiza-tion to promote women’s rights in the workplace.One o the only observant Jewish students atBrooklyn Tech, Digilova reveled in the atmosphere o Flatbush, Brooklyn, where Judaism ourished openly.“When I rst arrived in New York, and saw all the Jew-ish people walking proudly to shul on Shabbat in theirnest clothing, it was so beautiul to me because in Russia,Judaism is not something that was encouraged publicly,”she said. “When it came time to continue my educationin college, I knew I wanted to be in a place where myJudaism could thrive.”When she heard about Yeshiva University, with itsdual curriculum and Jewish environment, coupled withthe prestigious S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program,Digilova was hooked. As an honors student at Stern withalmost ull tuition coverage, Digilova majored in bothbiology and economics, and discovered that legal com-plexities ascinated her, especially the laws surrounding patents or medicine. For her senior project, she workedunder the tutelage o Dr. Marina K. Holz, assistant pro-essor o biology, to research new mechanisms o breastcancer cell regulation.“Alla has always been one o my top students, andI have been impressed with her drive, ambition andcheerul disposition,” Holz said. “She co-authored, withme, an article based on our research together or hersenior project that was published in a peer-reviewed journal [the
 Journal o Biological Chemistry
 ], which isquite an accomplishment or an undergraduate student.”When Digilova decided to apply to law school, shestudied on her own or the LSATs. By November 2010,she was accepted into Columbia, the University o Pennsylvania, New York University and Harvard, among other top-tier schools. She chose Harvard or its strong program in intellectual property, and she hopes to workon patent laws and biotechnology, in addition to cases inhumanitarian law.“It’s rare to come across a student as capable, poisedand well-spoken as Alla,” said Dr. Cynthia Wachtell,ounding director o the S. Daniel Abraham HonorsProgram. “She’s an incredibly impressive young womanwho has demonstrated remarkable academic accom-plishment, and her achievements are made even morestriking by the atypical journey that brought her toStern.”Never one to let an opportunity pass her by, Digil-ova spent this year learning at the Shearim College o Jewish Studies or Women in Jerusalem. She will beginHarvard Law School in the all along with at least two Yeshiva College alumni.Digilova attributes her strong work ethic to herearly struggles in Brooklyn, and the inspiration shereceived rom her mother. “When we got to Brooklynand lived in a small apartment, sleeping on mattresseson the oor and struggling or every dollar, it was quite apsychological blow,” Digilova recounted. “Nevertheless,I think it also helped me turn all my energies and ocustoward becoming successul in my academics, as I knowthat is the best way to better my lie.”
Azrieli Graduate School Launches M.S. Program
 Day School Teachers on Long Island Comprise First Cohort o 16
eshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School o Jewish Education and Administration is launch-ing a School Partnership Master’s Program thisall, unded by the Jim Joseph Foundation. The initiativeoers classes over ve semesters to educators who wishto pursue a master’s degree in Jewish education whilecontinuing in their teaching careers.“I elt that this would be a antastic opportunity toparticipate in graduate-level studies in Jewish educa-tion at the acclaimed Azrieli School o Jewish Educationwhile still being able to continue in my current position asa rebbe,” said participant Rabbi Yossi Bennett ‘98YUHSB,a 12th grade Judaic studies teacher at Mesivta Ateres Yaa-kov in Lawrence, NY. “I eel that a degree rom Azrieli willopen many new doors or me in the eld, both in the edu-cation and administration areas, in addition to educating,equipping and preparing me or new challenges to come.”The inaugural cohort is comprised o 16 participants,both male and emale, who currently teach at yeshiva dayschools in the Five Towns and other areas o New York’sLong Island. The program builds upon existing relation-ships with these schools that were developed throughAzrieli’s Institute or University-School Partnership. Par-ticipants o the program will receive ull scholarships, sup-ported by Azrieli and the Jim Joseph Foundation, as wellas by the local yeshivas. To oster a sense o unity among the area yeshivas, a dierent school will host the weeklyclasses each semester.“This program ts in with Azrieli’s general mission,which is a deep and abiding commitment to
 [spreading o] Torah, using the most modern techniquesand technologies,” explained Dr. David Schnall, the deano Azrieli. “We have a very interesting mix o people andbackgrounds, those with strong credentials who havebeen teaching or many years, and those who are newto the eld.” The program will include coursework incognition, educational psychology, models o teaching,classroom management and curriculum assessment, ac-companied by programs given at Azrieli. These include anorientation on proessional development and workshopson using a Smart Board and other technology. Classes willbe taught by Azrieli aculty, with all semester courses ledby Dr. Rona Novick, director o the Fanya Gotteseld HellerDoctoral Program and Dr. Chaim Feuerman, the GoldaKoschitzky Chair in Jewish Education and chair o theMendheim Student Teaching and Administrative Intern-ship Program. Each participant will also be observed andsupervised in a classroom setting while they teach. In ad-dition, they will take classes on dierentiated instruction,which oer strategies and techniques to enable teachers tomeet the needs o more students more o the time. “Wewant our graduates to be aware o student dierences andthe various types o learning, and how to respond to andaccommodate a mix o students,” said Dr. Jerey Glanz,the director o the master’s program at Azrieli. Close to20 schools were asked to nominate two teachers, and thenominees then applied and were chosen by Azrieli aculty,based on their admissions essays.Participating teachers come rom Hebrew Academyo the Five Towns and Rockaways (HAFTR), HebrewAcademy o Long Beach (HALB), Hebrew Academy o Nassau County (HANC), Mesivta Ateres Yaakov, TorahAcademy or Girls (TAG), Yeshiva Darchei Torah, YeshivaKetana o Long Island and Yeshiva o South Shore.Next year, Azrieli hopes to expand the program toeducators in other communities. Long Island was chosenas a starting point, because “we have a long relationshipthere, and it is an intense educational community witha large concentration o yeshivot that we eel would bestbenet,” said Glanz.
 Alla Digilova
Ri l pi b  Ji hi
Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, chancellor o YeshivaUniversity and Rosh HaYeshiva o the Rabbi IsaacElchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) has written
Festivals o Faith: Refections on the Jewish Holi-days
. Published jointly by RIETS/Yeshiva UniversityPress and OU Press, the book is a compilation oinsights on the Jewish holidays, portraying them asnot only joyous celebrations but also repositorieso proound teachings on personal and communalpriorities, as Rabbi Lamm explores the holidays’lessons or parenting, education, nancial integ-rity and religious intensity. The book was edited byDr. David Shatz, proessor o philosophy at YU andeditor o
The Torah Umadda Journal 
. Shatz selectedand edited the material rom Rabbi Lamm’s archives,assisted by Rabbi Simon Posner, executive editor oOU Press and associate editor o this volume.

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