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Approximate number of times Dr. Eliezer Schnall’s findings on religious service attendance and optimism were cited in the media
∞ WINTER 2012 ∞ VOLUME 16 • NO. 1
Annual Dinner Shines Light on Honorees
United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand keynotes Yeshiva University’s 87th Hanukkah Dinner and Convocation
NIH grant money awarded to Stern College science faculty
PAGE 4 YU President Richard M. Joel bestowed an honorary doctorate degree on U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at the 87th Annual Hanukkah Dinner and Convocation. At right, Stern student Avital Chizhik lights a candle on the symbolic menorah, as one of eight Point of Light honorees at the dinner.
Countries represented by the 250 international students enrolled at YU
International scholars who participated in a prestigious research project led by YU’s Dr. Mordechai Cohen
nited States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand delivered the keynote address at Yeshiva University’s 87th Annual Hanukkah Convocation and Dinner on Sunday, Dec. 11 at The Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. YU President Richard M. Joel bestowed an honorary doctorate upon Sen. Gillibrand, describing her as “a voice for vulnerable citizens,” and her career as one in which “fervor for family fuels [her] political passions.” “Whatever issue you bring, you bring from principle, not partisanship or ideology,” said President Joel. “You devote your professional career to opening the eyes of so many who don’t want to see.” At the convocation, President Joel also conferred honorary degrees upon technology executive Philip Friedman, a member of YU’s Board of Trustees since 2009 and a former board member of YU’s Syms School of Business; real estate developer Ira Mitzner, a trustee of YU since 2007 who established the David Mitzner Deanship of the Center for the Jewish Future; and commercial real estate executive Stephen B. Siegel, a 25-year board member at YU’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. “These recipients of honorary degrees are a shining light on YU and the world, and their lights are life lessons to our students and to all of us,” said President Joel. “Tonight, we celebrate the successes of an amazing, noble enterprise, and resolve to keep it strong and sacred.
“Like the ancient Maccabees, we reaffirm our commitment to life and values, to success and purpose, to faith and freedom, to teach and to touch, to rights and responsibilities,” he said. “Yeshiva teaches its students to dream and to achieve. The Jewish people, the United States, Israel, indeed the whole world, needs to reignite the passion of purpose, the belief in ideas, the access to achievement and the possibilities of tomorrow.” In her convocation address, a heartfelt message replete with both personal anecdotes and political aspirations, Sen. Gillibrand praised YU for ingraining in all its students a defining mantra of giving and leadership, and inspiring students to reach out and make a difference in the lives of others all over the world. “I am most grateful for the leadership taught here at Yeshiva University … a quality education built on a foundation of faith and values,” said Sen. Gillibrand. “When times are dark and unstable, this leadership is seen in its greatest light and we need to share these opportunities for vision and commitment.” She told the story of Josh Teitcher, a YU student who participated in a summer program called Counterpoint Israel, making it his mission to work tirelessly with a speech-impaired child, giving him hope and inspiration. “He was determined to make a difference in a little boy’s life,” the senator said. Continued on Page 6 ç
YU and YUHSG students who lobbied for Israel on a mission to Washington
Leadership and Longevity: Coach Jonathan Halpert’s 40 Years with the Macs
shiva University, and their story is the story of Yeshiva,” said YU President Richard M. Joel. “The passion and professionalism that Coach Halpert has brought to his four decades as coach are simply a manifestation of the passion and commitment that he has as an alumnus and as a committed Jew. That’s what makes this opportunity to honor Coach Halpert and to formally recognize his incredible years of service to YU so special.” Halpert has also been recognized twice as a Skyline Conference Coach of the Year and was a two-time winner of the College Basketball official Sportsmanship Award. After a group of past players met to decide on how best to honor the coach, they conveyed their ideas to President Joel, who challenged them to raise a minimum of $250,000 to name the court. Daniel Gibber ’91YUHS, ’96SSB and coach of the MTA Lions, was instrumental in developing the idea. “Forty years is an incredible amount of time to so selflessly dedicate to a university and a basketball program,” said Gibber. “Hundreds, even thousands of players, students and people who have gained from Jonny’s teachings about basketball and life and have benefited immensely from him. When I realized that there was a high school team in our own league that named their court in honor of Continued on Page 6 ç
YU students who mentor local students as part of the Heights Initiative
PAGE 8 Interesting new facts about YU all the time. Check in often at blogs.yu.edu/news
orty years ago, Dr. Jonathan Halpert ’62YUHS, ’66YC, ’78F began leading the Yeshiva University Maccabees basketball program, serving as coach, mentor and guidance counselor to scores of young men at YU. This year, those former ball players are giving back in a big way. Halpert’s four-decades-long tenure at the helm of YU’s basketball team is a remarkable feat in a field where most basketball coaches change schools several times during their career. To recognize Halpert’s lasting influence on his players and his legacy at the University, YU is joining athletic alumni to honor the coach by endowing a scholarship fund in his name for undergraduate students, and by renaming the basketball court over which he preCoach Jonathan Halpert sides in his honor. Halpert has a long history with YU. During his student years, he was a basketball player, serving as team captain in his senior year, and later attended YU’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. Halpert’s father, Dr. Max Halpert, also attended YU and worked for the school’s development office for more than 30 years. The coach’s brother and children are also products of YU, and his grandchildren are now continuing the legacy. “In so many ways, the Halpert family is synonymous with Ye-
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YU Scholars Visit Teaneck for Community Shabbaton
eshiva University made a quick trip across the George Washington Bridge for Shabbat on Nov. 11–12 as the Teaneck Shabbaton Teaneck and Bergenfield communities hosted many of November 11-12, 2011/ 15 Cheshvan, 5772/ Parshat Vayera YU’s leading scholars and personalities in various shuls ! We lo you ok forw ard to spending Shabbat with throughout the community. The Shabbaton—organized by YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF)—featured President Richard M. Joel; Rabbi Kenneth Brander, David Mitzner dean of the CJF; Rabbi Hershel Schachter, rosh yeshiva at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary; Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter, professor of Jewish History and senior scholar at the CJF; and Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, vice provost for undergraduate education, among others. “The responsibility to reach out to communities in North America and forge an ongoing relationship is one which we embrace, but we cannot forget communities right in our own backyard,” Rabbi Brander said. “It is important for us to celebrate the synergy between YU and the Teaneck Jewish community.” Rabbi Brander noted that 307 current YU students, as well 2,500 alumni, hail from Teaneck. Speakers spent Shabbat rotating among several different shuls in the area. Lectures covered a multitude of topics, including “Modern Orthodoxy and the Collapse of Wall Street,” “The Chosen People: A Superiority Complex or Recipe for Jewish Success?” and “When Science and Halakhah Clash.” The Shabbaton also included a Friday night event for high school students, as well as an interactive panel discussion on “Spirituality and Jewish Identity.” “YU impacts the Teaneck community, and the Teaneck community impacts YU,” said President Joel. “Mutual influence is felt all the time. Occasionally it is important to take notice and celebrate together. That’s what was so special about the Shabbat that we spent together.” n
Yeshiva University Invites you to a
RICHARD M. JOEL
President, Yeshiva University Bravmann Family University Professor y Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary r
RABBI HERSHEL SCHACHTER
The David Mitzner Dean, Center for the Jewish Future
RABBI KENNETH BRANDER
Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary r
RABBI OZER GLICKMAN
RABBI LAWRENCE HAJIOFF
Judaic Studies Faculty, Stern College for Women
Head of School, Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva University High School
MRS. CB NEUGROSCHL
DR. RONA NOVICK
Director, Doctoral Program, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education
RABBI DR. JACOB J. SCHACTER
Senior Scholar, Center for the Jewish Future University Professor
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
PROFESSOR LAWRENCE H. SCHIFFMAN
Director, YUConnects, Center for the Jewish Future
DR. EFRAT SOBOLOFSKY
Menahel, Yeshiva University High School for Boys - Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy
RABBI MICHAEL TAUBES
Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary
RABBI JEREMY WIEDER
87th Annual Hanukkah Dinner and Convocation
Look online at our photo gallery, with hundreds of pictures from the event
k Download mobile reader at http://scan.mobi and enjoy additional web content throughout YUToday.
Syms to offer Executive MBA program, beginning in August
YU’s Program for Jewish Genetic Health and the Center for the Jewish Future host rabbinic symposium on genetics
YU Study Links Religious Service, Optimism
ttending religious services regularly can mean a more optimistic, less depressed and less cynical outlook on life according to a new study headed by Dr. Eliezer Schnall, clinical associate professor of psychology at Yeshiva University. To follow up on his 2008 investigation, which found that attending services was associated with decreased risk of mortality during the study period, Schnall and his research team again examined data from more than 92,000 post-menopausal women, drawing his national sample from the ethnically, religiously and socioeconomically diverse participants of the Women’s Health Initiative. “We looked at a number of psychological and social factors,” said Schnall. “Religious activity seems to be associated with better Dr. Eliezer Schnall mental health, greater social support and reduced social strain.” According to the report, which was published in the Journal of Religion and Health, those who attend services frequently were 56 percent more likely to have an optimistic life outlook than those who don’t and were 27 percent less likely to be depressed. Furthermore, those who attended services weekly were less likely to be characterized by cynical hostility, compared with those who did not report any religious service attendance. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funded the study. Schnall’s findings were reported or mentioned more than 5,100 times on television and radio, and in newspaper and online reports, such as CBS News, CNN and Reuters, as well as on social media platforms. n
Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks lectured on faith and democracy at the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought. k yu.edu/rabbisacks
More than 200 students participated in a lobbying mission to Washington, D.C. in November, organized by YU’s Political Action Committee k yu.edu/yupac
DR. HENRY KRESSEL
YESHIVA UNIVERSIT Y ∞ WINTER 2012 ∞ VOLUME 16 • NO. 1
Chairman, YU Board of Trustees
RICHARD M. JOEL DR. NORMAN LAMM
MAYER FERTIG YAFFI SPODEK GISEL PINEYRO
Editor in Chief
YU Press Releases Sequel to Mitokh Ha-Ohel
Yeshiva University has published a follow-up to Mitokh Ha-Ohel, its widely praised collection of original essays by rabbis and professors from the school on the weekly parshiot [Torah portions], this time focusing on the haftarot, the weekly selections from the books of the Prophets. The new 700-page volume, titled Mitokh Ha-Ohel: The Haftarot, is sponsored by the Michael Scharf Publication Trust of Yeshiva University Press and was released by Maggid Books, an imprint of Koren Publishers Jerusalem, in November. Like its predecessor, the second installment of Mitokh Ha-Ohel (literally “from within the tent”) brings together a diverse group of YU’s scholars to elucidate and explore the haftarot from a wide range of approaches, including textual analysis, homiletic exposition and halachic analysis. “Sharing the profound Torah insights of YU’s scholars, the Mitokh HaOhel series enriches all who peruse its pages,” said YU President Richard M. Joel. “The contributors display the breadth and the depth of YU in a way that complements and yet is different from the first volume. It is my hope that as the wisdom emanating from YU reaches larger audiences, the tent of the Jewish people will prove stronger and more inviting than ever before.” n
Bruce Bobbins, Enrique Cubillo, Shimon Fried, Yaelle Frohlich, Norman Goldberg, Eitan Kastner, Tova Ross, Perel Skier, Nava Unterman, V. Jane Windsor, Matt Yaniv Contributors firstname.lastname@example.org www.yu.edu/cpa
YUToday is published quarterly by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs and is distributed free to faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and friends. It keeps them informed of news from across Yeshiva University’s undergraduate and graduate divisions and affiliates. The quarterly newsletter covers academic and campus life, faculty and student research, community outreach and philanthropic support. It showcases the University’s mission of Torah Umadda, the combination of Jewish study and values with secular learning, through stories about the diverse achievements of the University community. © Yeshiva University 2012 • Office of Communications and Public Affairs Furst Hall Room 401 • 500 West 185th St. • New York, NY 10033-3201 • Tel.: 212.960.5285
Stanley I. Raskas, Chairman, Board of Overseers, Yeshiva College; Shira Yoshor, Chairman, Board of Overseers, Stern College for Women; Alan Kestenbaum, Chairman, Board of Overseers, Syms School of Business; Ruth L. Gottesman, Chairperson, Board of Overseers, Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Leslie E. Payson, Chair, Board of Overseers, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law; Froma Benerofe, Chair, Board of Overseers, Wurzweiler School of Social Work; Mordecai D. Katz, Chairman, Board of Overseers, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies; Carol Bravmann, Chair, Board of Overseers, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology; Moshael J. Straus, Chairman, Board of Overseers, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration; Julius Berman, Chairman, Board of Trustees, (affiliate) Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary; Miriam Goldberg, Chairman, Board of Trustees, YU High Schools; Theodore N. Mirvis and Michael Jesselson, Co-Chairs, Board of Directors, (affiliate) Yeshiva University Museum. Board listings as of January 1, 2012.
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Student–Run Medical Ethics Conference Explores Jewish Perspectives on Public Health
undreds of students, alumni and medical professionals gathered on the Wilf Campus in early November 2011 for discussions about vaccinations, the importance of breast cancer screening, the permissibility of alternative medicine, contemporary controversies surrounding circumcision, perspectives on Jewish responsibility toward public health around the world and a number of other hot-button topics—all part of the Yeshiva University Student Medical Ethics Society’s (MES) sixth annual Fuld Family conference. One of the largest and most celebrated student-run initiatives of the year, the conference, titled “In the Public Eye: Jewish Perspectives on Public Health,” brought luminaries of the medical and halachic realms together to share their insights. The conference was sponsored by Rabbi Dovid and Anita Fuld and chaired by Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman. The opening plenary discussion focused on the health and halachic issues surrounding obesity and smoking tobacco. “It is our obligation to study and continue to understand the development of humanity through the lens of medicine and halacha,” said MES President Rachel Blinick. “It is our hope that this conference will help impact our participants to become active members of the Jewish community, informing healthier lives for us and our children.” “A discourse on public health begs the questions of who is responsible, what are we accountable for and how far can we extend those responsibilities within our community, our country and around the world,” said Daniel Elefant, co-president of MES. “Today we have been given tremendous tools and opportunities to help in the battle against many public health issues.” John Banzhaf III, a professor of public interest law at George Washington University Law School, recounted his experiences combating the tobacco industry in the legal realm. He described how his actions led to the proliferation of anti-smoking advertisements, the banning of smoking in many public places and a raised awareness
The Medical Ethics Society held its sixth annual conference in November, exploring Jewish perspectives on public health
of the dangers of secondhand smoke. He stressed to the audience that anyone can spread a message of healthy living regardless of their job. Following Banzhaf’s remarks, Rabbi Asher Bush, chairman of the Rabbinical Council of America’s Va’ad Halacha Committee, discussed why his organization ruled that smoking cigarettes is strictly prohibited according to Jewish law, offering many traditional sources to bolster his position. Speakers at the full-day event included YU roshei yeshiva and other faculty members, rabbinic specialists on medical issues, as well as experts in medicine and other health-related fields. The presenters shared their wisdom in the plenary sessions or in breakout sessions throughout the day. “I do not come to YU as often as I would like, so I used this fascinating conference on issues I am inter-
ested in as an excuse to visit,” said Yona Saperstein ’10YC, a medical student who also hopes to receive rabbinic ordination from YU. Ruth Fried, chair of the science department at the Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva University High School for Girls, attended with several of her 11th grade biology students. “We attend every medical ethics conference,” she said. “I think it is one of the best-run programs YU has, and I love how it exposes my students to the whole University and the wonderful initiatives of the student body.” One of Fried’s students, Golda Aharon, shared her excitement about being there. “We try to always be continuous learners and we try to experience science outside the classroom,” said Aharon. “This conference is a great way to do that.” n
Einstein and Cardozo Collaborate to Improve Healthcare With Bioethics
our patient has been diagnosed with cancer but her family requests that you tell her she has a rare blood disease; they worry she will not be able to cope psychologically with a cancer diagnosis. The patient, however, is fully lucid and functional. As a physician, what should you do? You have been tasked with managing a governmentsubsidized healthcare program with a limited budget. There is a patient who requires an expensive, but effective, chemotherapy treatment. With thousands of other patients who need care, do you approve the treatment? Dilemmas like these confront medical professionals, lawyers and policymakers every day. The academic discipline dedicated to tackling these complex issues is known as bioethics. The dynamic field brings together medicine and law, while promoting ethical awareness and critical reasoning to provide guidance on challenging healthcare decisions. In 1978, internationally renowned bioethics expert and attorney Nancy Dubler established one of the country’s first bioethics consultation services at Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital for YU’s Einstein College of Medicine. Such services allow a patient, family member or any member of the healthcare team to request help in assessing the ethical aspects of medical decision-making. In 1995, in response to the growing demand for professionals trained in bioethics, Dubler created the Certificate Program in Bioethics and Medical Humanities, a year-long, interdisciplinary program of rigorous instruction and hands-on experience in bio-
ethics. Now, in partnership with YU’s Cardozo School of Law, Einstein has developed a full-fledged EinsteinCardozo Master of Science in Bioethics. Dr. Tia Powell, director of the masters and certificate programs and head of the Montefiore Einstein Center for Bioethics, notes that the program’s goal is better patient care. “What we’re trying to focus on is how bioethics can help people live longer, have less pain or feel more satisfied with their healthcare,” explained Powell. “It’s quite disturbing that a lot of people who do bioethics consultation have little or no training in clinical bioethics.” The master’s program attracts a diverse group of students, from social workers, lawyers and members of the clergy, to mid-career doctors and nurses. “This is a unique program, which applies the distinct disciplines of law and medicine to critical ethical questions,” explained Ed Stein, vice dean and professor of law at Cardozo. “The program combines rigorous legal theory and its real-world application with the goal of positively impacting people’s lives.” Michelle Goldsammler, an intern with the Montefiore-Einstein Center for Bioethics and an Einstein student, strongly believes that these perspectives will impact the quality of care she will deliver to her patients. “Being able to look at a patient—not just their illness or what their medical issue is—but the whole picture and all aspects of what they’re feeling … will make me a better physician,” she said. n
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sis of shifting cultural encounters with sacred scripture—the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Bible and the Qur’an—in the three overlapping faith communities. Cohen directed the group with Dr. Meir Bar-Asher, professor of Islamic studies at Hebrew University. The project, titled “Encountering Scripture in Overlapping Cultures: Early Jewish, Christian and Muslim Strategies of Reading and Their Contemporary Implications,” and its findings, will be prenity, requiring mastery of old languages such as Hebrew, Greek, Syriac, Latin and Arabic and complex hermeneutical traditions,” Cohen explained. “Our group had the benefit of the presence of top scholars in all of these fields, enabling us to exchange views at the highest levels.” The diverse make-up of the group fostered what Cohen described as “an unparalleled atmosphere of interdisciplinary research.” Members came from institutions across the globe, including the Catholic University of America, the University of Glasgow, Harvard University, the University of Rome and Yale University. Toward the end of the six months, Cohen presented some of the group’s findings in a public lecture in Jerusalem. The group identified previously unrecognized connections among the three faith communities, and came to appreciate differences that separated them. Cohen’s own research emphasized the connections between Judaism’s tradition of scriptural interpretation with ways of understanding sacred scripture in Islam and Christianity. His work reveals how Maimonides synthesized various elements from Arabic learning to create a well-defined interpretive theory—the subject of his most recent book, Opening the Gates of Interpretation. The project is ongoing. In addition to the volume that Cohen and Berlin are editing, Cohen is organizing a follow-up conference in Jerusalem in July 2012 that will reunite the group to explore how their initial comparative project has informed their subsequent scholarship. n
Scripture in the Sacred City
Dr. Mordechai Cohen directs research group in Jerusalem
International Students Find a Home at YU
nderstanding what transpired in the minds of sages such as Rashi, Abraham ibn Ezra and Maimonides, and what made their commentaries distinctive, is a primary goal of Dr. Mordechai Cohen’s scholarship. With two books and dozens of articles to his name, Cohen is a renowned expert on Jewish Bible interpretation, a Bible professor at Yeshiva University for over two decades and associate dean of the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies since 2008. Cohen’s most recent accomplishment is quite unusual. In the world of academics, interdisciplinary analysis of scriptural interpretation in the three Abrahamic faiths is a rarity, and the ability to convene scholars in these fields for an extended period of time is uncommon as well. But Cohen spent much of last year in Jerusalem leading an international team of 14 scholars who gathered for a six-month collaborative research project to study Jewish, Christian and Muslim interpretation and its relation to literature, literary theory and legal interpretation. The scholars convened at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute for Advanced Studies from September 2010 through February 2011. The group’s work was academic, and not of a religious or interfaith nature, and its purpose was to engage in a close comparative analy-
Dr. Mordechai Cohen
sented in a volume consisting of a chapter from each scholar. Cohen is editing the book together with Dr. Adele Berlin, emerita professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Maryland, and a member of the research group. “It takes many years to become proficient in the tradition of scriptural interpretation in any one faith commu-
Science Faculty Awarded $1 Million in NIH Grants
Dr. Margarita Vigodner
Dr. Chaya Rapp
Dr. Emil Prodan
hree Yeshiva University professors—Dr. Margarita Vigodner, Dr. Chaya Rapp and Dr. Emil Prodan—have been awarded federal grants totaling more than $1.2 million to pursue cutting-edge research at Stern College for Women. “By winning these awards, they are raising YU’s name recognition with science agencies,” said Dr. Anatoly Frenkel, chair of the division of natural sciences and mathematics at YU, noting that the grants are particularly remarkable for coming at a time when science agencies are targeted for budget cuts. Vigodner’s grant, a $500,000 Academic Research Enhancement Award R15 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will facilitate laboratory studies of the process of sperm forma-
tion. Rapp’s grant, also an R15, allots $250,000 to support research in the field of computational chemistry. Prodan was granted $425,000 to study the developing field of topological insulators, a new class of materials that may be useful in future technologies, under the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) prestigious Faculty Early Career Development program. This marks Prodan’s second NSF grant. His first, awarded in July 2011, focuses on problems in quantum physics that can impact the field of nanoscience. For all three professors, student involvement will be a key component of their work. Rapp and Vigodner’s grants support three years of summer fellowships for undergraduates, with student-professor research collabora-
tion throughout. Prodan’s grant includes scholarships for three undergraduates for five years, featuring workshops for students and scientists. “The robust research agendas of our faculty contribute daily to the superb education of our science students,” said Dr. Karen Bacon, the Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean at Stern. Zeeva Levine, a junior at Stern who conducts research with Rapp, felt that the sense of excitement among the faculty added to her passion. “Seeing that our professors are so dedicated really nurtures my own love of science,” said Levine, who aspires to be a chemical engineer. n
k For more information on our faculty accomplishments, please visit yu.edu/facultyaccomplishments
avid Levy and Eddie Nuvakhov, undergraduates at Yeshiva University, have produced The Community, a short documentary about international students on YU’s Wilf Campus. “One of the most important aspects of college is diversity,” said Levy. During a Shabbat meal on campus, the two realized that the 11 people seated at their table originated from nine different countries. “We knew then that we had to show the greater YU population the unique community that exists on our campus,” said Nuvakhov, who hails from Russia. Yeshiva University’s undergraduate population consists of approximately 250 international students from some 25 countries around the world, from Panama and Brazil to Tunisia and Uzbekistan. “I never heard of Stern College for Women before,” said Tsipora Huisman, who comes from the Netherlands. “But during a visit, I sat in on a biology class and a Jewish class and was really impressed that they were both on such high levels. Having grown up in Amsterdam, a place without many Jews, it was really cool to be in a Jewish institution.” In her three years at Stern, Huisman has become a fluent English speaker, competed on the tennis team, served as a peer mentor, a student ambassador and a Beren Campus tour guide, and is a two-time winner of YU’s science poster competition. “When I first came, I didn’t speak the language and didn’t know anyone,” she said. “Now I have many friends, I’m doing well in my studies and I’m applying to medical school. I’m not only happy here; I feel comfortable and grounded.” Sasan Peimani, a management major at Syms, escaped Iran with his family when he was 10 years old. After moving to Florida, Peimani met Rabbi Kenneth Brander, the David Mitzner dean of YU’s Center for the Jewish Future, who was then rabbi of the Boca Raton Synagogue. After several discussions, Peimani opted to attend YU. “One of my favorite parts about Yeshiva is all of the great friends I have made, friends who I know will be my close friends for many years to come,” said Peimani. Recruited from Kfar Saba, Israel, for the YU men’s basketball team, Chen Biron is similarly appreciative of the friends he has made. “I’m happy that there are good people around me,” said Biron, a veteran of the Israel Defense Forces and current Syms student. “My favorite part about YU, aside from the basketball games, is the chagigot [celebrations]. Even in Israel, I didn’t get that experience.” Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Ayala Raichlin says that being at Stern has allowed her to develop her passions. “I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I can achieve,” she said. “YU has given me more opportunities than I ever thought possible.” n
k To see the documentary about YU’s international
students, please visit yu.edu/internationalstudents
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YESHIVA UNIVERSITY WINTER 2012
Ari Zoldan ’99SB and Dani Zoldan ’99YUHS Keep Family and Friends in Business
s CEO of Quantum Networks, Ari Zoldan ’99SB frequently travels the out next year, Startup Karma, a leadership and management manual which globe looking for the next big technological innovation. He has press focuses on infusing the laws of karma into one’s business. credentials for the United Nations, the Senate and the House of RepSpeaking to current YU alumni who are struggling to find a job, Zoldan resentatives, and contributes to Talk Radio News Service, a Washington, D.C. offers some sage advice. “Finding a job is a full-time job, and graduates need to newswire, as well as national news outlets. And to think, for several months be open to avenues other than what they initially intended.” in 2000–01, he was living on his mother’s couch going on job interview after Zoldan is not the anomalous workhorse in the family; his brother Dani interview, waiting for a position in finance that never materialized. Zoldan ’99YUHS is currently holding several demanding jobs of his own as Zoldan’s story begins at Yeshiva University. A native of Lawrence, NY, well as numerous ventures on the side. A self-professed “nontraditional, offand a graduate of HAFTR, Zoldan always knew he would go to YU and benefit the-beaten track” kind of guy, Dani credits his drive to succeed and ambition from its superior education and warm Jewish environment. “I knew I wanted to his various successes, traits he says are indicative of the Zoldan brothers. to go into business as I have a passion for entrepreneurship, and YU’s business Admittedly not a very devoted high school student, Dani Zoldan worked school, Syms, was a big draw for me,” said Zoldan. “The challenge was getting for an architect throughout high school and for a year after before deciding a handle on the dual curriculum and trying to find a balance between studyhe didn’t want to pursue that line of work. His mother and stepfather, who ing, extracurricular activities and work. I worked had moved to Manhattan while he was an MTA throughout my time at YU to help support myself. student, lived in the NYU area, and since he was It was a pretty full day.” hanging out there already, he figured he might as Along with working diligently to complete well officially attend. “I called NYU and told the his major in finance at Syms, Zoldan worked woman who answered the phone that I have terripart-time at Bankers Trust, and he envisioned ble high school grades and SAT scores—how can I parlaying this job into a full-time position once get into NYU?” She directed him to NYU’s School he graduated. However, the company was bought of Continuing and Professional Studies, where, by Deutsche Bank and his department was disshe said, high school grades didn’t matter as much banded, instantly dissolving his plan. After gradas intelligence and drive. Zoldan was admitted uating, Zoldan began a search for a job in the and began in the fall semester. Eytan Wiener & Ari Zoldan in the White finance industry. But despite his degree, impresThinking he would then go into the enterHouse Press Gallery sive resume and significant work experience, tainment business, Dani majored in media studies there were no bites. and took classes in film production and history. “At that point, I really had nothing to lose, After two years, he left school to chart his own so I decided to start my own company,” he concourse. “At this time, Ari was working on Launch tinued. “I researched emerging fields and hit 3 Communications and wanted to get more into upon voiceover technology. I identified certain the equipment side of the telecom business, so he niches in the industry that weren’t being served brought me in to manage the communications side and pounced on them.” Zoldan soon founded and brought David to manage Launch 3 Ventures small startup Voice over Internet Protocol, or with him,” said Dani, who was also working on VoIP, for companies all over the world, especially developing an online music company. Dani Zoldan in Asia and Africa. In 2001, he officially estab“We all worked in the same office, we were all lished Launch 3 Communications, a VoIP, and in our twenties, and we all had different styles of then founded Launch 3 Ventures with his brother working—basically, we wanted to kill each other,” David in 2004, which bought distressed assets from telecommunications he recalled. After eight months, he struck out again on his own and founded companies and sold the parts overseas. He sold both companies to his two Titan International, a company he describes as similar to the wholesale minbrothers—Launch 3 Communications to Dani ’99YUHS in 2004 and Launch 3 ute business of Launch 3; but where Launch 3 arbitrages and brokers out Ventures to David in 2007—and focused on starting a new company, Quantum long-distance minutes, Titan actually goes overseas and builds local phone Networks, a technology incubator focused on emerging and next generation networks. In 2004, when Ari Zoldan decided to sell Launch 3, Dani Zoldan technology. merged it with Titan, which currently has 12 full-time employees. “I had a bunch of failures in between selling the business to my brothers Not content to rest on those laurels, Dani Zoldan scouted a prestigious and founding Quantum, but entrepreneurs can’t be afraid of failure,” Zoldan but rundown comedy club for sale on the Upper West Side—Stand Up New said. “The experience of failing time and again before landing on something York—near his home where he lives with his wife and daughter. He quickly that succeeded was probably one of the greatest things I needed to master.” called an old friend, Gabriel Waldman ’08W, an amateur stand-up comedian. Quantum is not only a success story but a unique place to work; Zoldan and “Let’s buy the club and renovate it,” he suggested to Waldman. The two soon his management team have carefully developed an atmosphere that encourbecame proud co-owners of Stand Up New York, which draws high-profile ages an open and proactive work environment with a hands-off approach to comics such as Chris Rock and Susie Essman. Zoldan was later approached management. With more than 25 employees, most are in their early twenties, by Ari Pelcovitz ’02YC (son of Dr. David Pelcovitz, the Gwendolyn and Joseph intuitive decision-making is at the core of Quantum’s business model. Straus Chair in Jewish Education and Psychology at the Azrieli Graduate Zoldan’s co-partner and COO at Quantum is Eytan Wiener ’05YC, whom School), who wanted to found a daily deal site similar to Groupon, but geared he met several years ago. “Working for Ari, I’ve come to see what an amazing toward the bar scene in New York. Pelcovitz convinced Zoldan to become an guy he is, both in terms of his character and the consideration with which investor in “Urban Boozer” and the site recently launched to great acclaim. he treats his employees,” said Wiener. “He also has astounding vision and When asked how he manages his time, Dani said that, despite being a foresight for what works and what will not. I sometimes think of Ari’s life as free spirit and owner of a trendy club in the city that never sleeps, organized a chess game, because he is always planning moves 10 steps ahead and then workdays and eight hours of sleep each night allow him to wear all these hats. waits patiently as they play out according to plan.” “I wouldn’t be happy working in a 9-to-5 job or in a more traditional career Zoldan’s next steps include branching into media. He considers this a like law or medicine—I’ve always felt the need to do my own thing,” he said. natural progression, since he’s always enjoyed writing and often visits hotThe Zoldan brothers serve as inspirations to others who are compelled to beds of political and military strife. His writing is published in various outwalk the road not taken but are afraid to take that first step. n lets and on his own Web site, www.arizoldan.com, and he has appeared on Fox News Channel and Fox Business, NBC and CNN Money, among other k To read about other inspirational YU graduates, visit the alumni Web site at www.yu.edu/alumni/ national broadcast outlets. Although his time is limited, he manages to be a profiles and check out the alumni profiles; or, to share your own achievements, submit a Class Note popular motivational speaker on the lecture circuit and has a book coming at www.yu.edu/alumni/notes.
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YOUR NEWS IS OUR NEWS!
Class Notes is where YU celebrates the milestones and accomplishments of its alumni. In this section, you can catch up on everything your classmates have been up to over the years, from marriages and births to professional and personal achievements. Submit your class note by e-mailing email@example.com with the subject line “Class Notes,” or by visiting www.yu.edu/alumni/notes to complete the online form. We hope that you enjoy reading about your fellow alumni and friends, and we look forward to hearing about your achievements.
Chaya ’59S and Rabbi Elihu Marcus ’53YC, ’56R, ’99F celebrated the bnei mitzvah of their twin grandsons, Eliran and Josh. Mazel tov to parents, Devora (Rosner) ’83S and Rabbi Nahum Marcus ’83YC, ’86R. Judy (Grossman) ’58YUHS, ’62S and Rabbi Yitzchak Rosenbaum ’60YC, ’62R, ’63BR celebrated the bar mitzvah of their grandson, Yehoshua Binyamin. Mazel tov to parents, Elisheva (Rosenbaum) ’92S and Rabbi Dr. Michael Berger. Liza and Rabbi Benjamin Samson ’57YC, ’60BR, ’60R announce the birth of their grandson, Asher Pinchas, born to Susie (Bahn) ’92S and Dr. Yisroel Samson ’87YC, ’91E. Mazel tov to grandparents Annette (Karlin) ’58YUHS, ’62S and Dr. Saul Bahn ’53YC. Freida and Rabbi Elihu Schatz ’50YUHS, ’54YC, ’57RE announce the birth of their ninth great-grandchild, Gilat, born to Shani and Meir Lieberman. Honey and Rabbi Dr. Joseph Sungolowsky ’55YC, ’58R, ’99C announce the birth of their grandson, born to Scharone and Robert Sungolowsky. Naomi (Baumol) and Dr. Erich Zauderer ’59YC, ’62R announce the birth of their grandson, Yehuda, to Ahuva and Rabbi Dovid Zauderer in Toronto.
Dean David Schnall ’65YUHS, ’69YC, ’71BR,’72R and Dr. Moshe Sokolow ’64YUHS, ’69YC, ’74BR are the co-editors of the recently published Azrieli Papers: Dimensions of Orthodox Day School Education. Helen and Rabbi Howard Shub ’69YC announce the marriage of their daughter, Holly, to Eliezer Seidenfeld. Mazel tov to parents Ruthi and Eliot Seidenfeld. Rabbi Neil Winkler ’65YUHS, ’69YC, ’72R, ’72BR published Bringing the Prophets to Life: A Timely Look at a Timeless Story (Gefen Publishing House, 2011). Rabbi Benjamin Yudin ’66YC, ’69R was profiled in “Everyone’s Rabbi: Rabbi Benjamin Yudin” in the Sept. 14 edition of Mishpacha Magazine. Rabbi Tzvee Zahavy ’66YUHS, ’70YC, ’73R, ’73BR published God’s Favorite Prayers (Talmudic Books, 2011), which introduces six ideal personalities of Jewish prayer, the archetypes within Jewish liturgy, and is available at www.godsfavoriteprayers. com. Rabbi Zahavy also translated Talmud Bavli Hullin as part of the 1995 series, The Talmud of Babylonia: An American Translation, edited by Jacob Neusner.
Tobi and Rabbi Zvi Friedman ’77YC, ’81W, ’81R announce the birth of their grandson, Yaakov, born to Aviva and Eliav Friedman ’05W. Yaakov is named after his greatgrandfather, HaRav Yaakov Kamenetzky zt”l. Barbara ’76S and Rabbi Shmuel Goldin ’69YUHS, ’73YC, ’76F, ’76R announce the births of their grandchildren: Julia Beth born to parents Dr. Rena (Moses) ’98S, ’01F, ’05F and Avi Goldin ’95YUHS, ’99SB; and Mordecai Reuven born to parents Noa (Leibowitz) ’08S and Yehuda Goldin. Stephen Gordon ’76YC published his first novel, a mystery/thriller called In The Name of God (Apprentice House, 2011).
Rabbis Herman Rosen zt”l ’23R, Samuel Rosen zt”l ’26R, and “The Flying Rabbi” Louis Werfel zt”l, ’40R were listed on a monument dedicated to the 14 Jewish U.S. military chaplains who lost their lives while actively serving in either World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War. The dedication took place on Oct. 24, 2011, at the Arlington National Cemetery. Oct. 24th also marked the 150th anniversary of the first Jewish chaplain in the U.S. who served during the Civil War. To learn more, visit http://www.jcca.org/ category/jwb/.
Ira L. Herman ’75YUHS, ’75YC of Thompson & Knight was on the Oct. 2, 2011 New York Super Lawyers list. Ira is a partner in the firm’s corporate reorganization and creditors’ rights practice group and focuses his practice on business bankruptcies, corporate restructuring and litigation affecting debtors and creditors. Sherri ’72S and Rabbi Basil Herring ’70YC, ’73R, ’78BR announce the birth of their grandson, Akiva Shalom. Rabbi Ari D. Kahn ’78YUHS, ’83YC, ’86R, ’89BR published Echoes of Eden: Insights into the Weekly Torah Parshiot (Gefen Publishing House, 2011). Cookie ’70S and David Klavan ’69YC, ’71R announce the birth of their grandson, Malachi, to Tikva and Yuval Volhendler. Debra ’75S and Barry Laufer ’71YUHS announce the birth of their grandson, Ezra Noam, born to Aviva and Jonathan Edelstein. Beatrice ’74YUHS and Rabbi Gary Menchel ’74YUHS, ’78YC, ’81R announce the birth of their granddaughter, Rina. Rifka (Richman) Monderer ’72YUHS, ’75TI announces the birth of her granddaughter, Rena, to Elisheva and Yonatan Edel. Avery E. Neumark ’70YUHS, ’74YC was interviewed by NY1 on Sept. 1 for his financial expertise and insights into capital preservation funds. The CEO of Brisk Beverages Ltd., Joseph Offenbacher ’76YUHS, ’79YC, has shared news of installing Freezee machines in eight cities in Israel including six stores in Jerusalem alone.
Dr. Donald Bleich ’64YUHS was honored by Hillel as a “distinguished educator.” He is currently a professor in the department of finance, real estate and insurance at California State University, Northridge. Dr. Bleich is also the founding director of the CSUN Center for Real Estate. Sheryl (Ashenberg) ’64YUHS, ’68S and Michael Cooper announce the birth of their grandson, Nachman Yitzchak, to Lauren ’96S and Jonathan Cooper ’93YC, ’96C. Eileen and Rabbi Moshe Fine ’64YUHS, ’68YC, ’68BR, ’70R announce the birth of their granddaughter, born to Batsheva and Yerachmiel Scheiner. Mazel tov to grandparents, Marsha and David Scheiner. Shelley ’64YUHS and Dr. Jonathan Helfand ’66YC, ’69R, ’79BR celebrated the bar mitzvah of their grandson, Shmuel. Mazel tov to parents Dina ’06BR and Yehoshua Blank. Mazel tov to great-grandfather, Abraham Okun ’36IBC. Rabbi Dr. Saul H. Landa ’65YUHS, ’69YC published a coffee table book, A Timeless People: Photo Albums of American Jewish Life (Gefen Publishing House, 2011).
Leona and Rabbi Chaim Zev Bomzer ’45YUHS, ’48YC, ’51BR, ’51R, ’84F and Rochel ’72S and Rabbi Moshe Bomzer ’75R, ’75BR celebrated the bris of their great-grandson and grandson respectively, Ariel Tzvi, born to Leebie and Shragie Bomzer. Mazel tov to Leebie’s parents, Aidel and Rabbi Chanoch Teller. Rabbi Yaakov I. Homnick ’43YUHS, ’47YC, ’52R published Holiday Sermons, a collection of sermons on each of the yomim tovim.
Sharon ’72S and Rabbi Shimon Altshul ’72YC, ’76R, ’76F announce the birth of their grandson, Yinon Yehuda, born to Anat and Rabbi Asher Altshul. Dov Apfel ’72YUHS received the Dan Cullan Memorial Award for National Lifetime Achievement from the executive board of the birth trauma litigation group of the American Association for Justice for his advocacy of children born with birth injuries. Apfel’s most recent article, “When Every Minute Counts,” appeared in the May 2011 issue of Trial Magazine. Classmates E.J. Solomon Berman and Estee Rosenblum Shor, both graduates of the Stern class of ’76, announce the engagement of their children Rebecca and Josh. E.J. and Larry Berman live in Edison, NJ, and Estee and Stuart Shor live in Holliswood, NY. Faye Debbie (Klaff) ’71S and Herby Dan announce the birth of their grandson, Yosef Aharon Bormaster, to Shana and Boaz Bormaster. Rachayl ’75S and Rabbi Dr. Hillel Davis ’73YC, ’75BR, ’75R announce the birth of their granddaughter, Shira Nechama, to Tali ’09S and Shaya Gartner ’10SB. An extra mazel tov to Rachayl and Hillel on recently making aliyah. Esther and Steven Edell ’73YC, ’76W announce the engagement of Steven’s daughter, Yael, to Shmuel Rosenmann.
Dina and Rabbi Dr. Herbert Dobrinsky ’50YUHS, ’54YC, ’57R, ’80F, Edith and Walter Kramer, and Elizabeth and Mendel Zinner announce the birth of their greatgranddaughter, Shalhevet. Mazel tov to parents Aliza and Elie Deutsch; grandparents Drs. Deborah and Michael Kramer ’73YUHS, ’77YC, ’10R and Miriam and Alan Deutsch; and great aunt and great uncle Helena and Marvin Goldstein ’69YUHS, ’73YC. Sarah (Lebowitz) ’55YUHS, ’58TI and Rabbi Hersh Moshe Galinsky ’51YUHS, ’55YC, ’58R announce the marriages of their grandsons: Harel Yishai Galinsky to Illana Fine and Yair Yeshayahu Shtul to Avital Shrosman. Claire and Rabbi Joshua Hertzberg ’51YC, ’55R announce the births of great grandchildren: Tova Bracha to Gila ’99S and Rabbi Meir Arnold ’91YUHS, ’95SB, ’98R; and Avraham Shlomo to Tali ’06S and Yosef Friedman. Ray Kestenbaum ’54YC recently made a career change from journalism to real estate, focusing in Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens Hills and Fresh Meadows.
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Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg ’69YC, ’74R, ’74F, ’92A was the keynote speaker for Edison, NJ’s 9/11 memorial service and for the Fraternal Order of Bendin-Sosnowicer: The Sick and Benevolent Society’s annual yizkor commemoration on Oct. 2. The Sept. 30 edition of Jewish World included his article, “Hineni, We Need to be Present: An Exposition on Rav Soloveitchik’s Philosophy on Evil and Suffering.”
Maureen (Goldsmith) ’74E, ’74SG and Rabbi Lippy Friedman ’66YC, ’69BR, ’69R celebrated the bar mitzvah of their grandson, Uriel Shraga Ra’avad and the bat mitzvah of their granddaughter, Yehudit Lifshitz. Mazel tov to Yehudit’s grandparents Naomi and Yisrael Lifshitz ’66YUHS, ’70YC, ’73R.
SEARCH THE ALUMNI DIRECTORY FOR CLASSMATES AT WWW.YU.EDU/ALUMNIDIRECTORY ß
Class Reunions & Commencement 2012
R eunion 2012
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Peninah (Segal) ’73YUHS, ’77S, ’80W and Marc Rabin announce the birth of their granddaughter, Aviv, to Tamar and Ohad Laufer and the birth of their grandson, Yishai Avichai, to Ora and Ram Peled. Phyllis Schieber ’77F published her fourth novel, The Manicurist (Bell Bridge, 2011). Jachter ’81YUHS, ’86YC, ’88BR, ’92R; Aharon Lichtenstein ’53YC, ’59R; Yona Reiss ’87YC, ’91R, ’02R; David Shatz ’65YUHS, ’69YC, ’73BR, ’73R; Gedalia Dov Schwartz ’46YC,’49R; Mordechai Willig ’68YC, ’71R; and RIETS rosh yeshiva and Cardozo professor, Rabbi J. David Bleich. Rabbi Moshe Erlbaum ’88YC, ’92R published Rabbi Moshe Atik’s Torah Teasers: Offbeat Questions, Tantalizing Queries, and Challenging Riddles on the Parsha Hashavua (CreatesSpace, 2011). Jacki ’80S and Rabbi David Gorelik 74YUHS, ’79YC, ’82R, ’90BR and Sarah and Rabbi Moshe Gorelik ’53YC, ’55R announce the marriage of their son and grandson, Yechezkel Gorelik, to Sacha Fabian. Rabbi David Hertzberg ’81YUHS, ’85YC, ’89R received his doctorate from St. John’s University in modern world history. His dissertation was on “Intelligence Sharing in Counterterrorism.” Jeff Ifrah ’89YC, ’92C, ’93BR, ’97R is the founding partner of Ifrah PLLC (www.ifrahlaw.com). The firm, which focuses its practice on white collar criminal litigation, has recently moved to new offices at 1717 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. Rena ’84S and Rabbi Avrohom Kanarek ’78YUHS, ’83YC, ’86R announce the birth of their grandson, Simcha Tzvi, born to Miriam and Yehuda Kanarek. Mazel tov to great-grandparents Rhoda Kanarek and Dr. Irving ’55YUHS, ’59YC and Ricky Goldsmith ’58YUHS. Former NCSY Chicago regional president Sheri (Chasin) ’86S and former NCSY national treasurer Rabbi Shimon Kurland ’79YC, ’82C will be the lead NCSY alumni awardees at the Ben Zakkai Honor Society National Scholarship Reception in January 2012. Jacqueline (Klausner) ’86S and Rabbi Dr. Marc Mandel ’79YUHS, ’83YC, ’88R, ’88W announce the marriage of their daughter, Kayla, to Yaakov Lasson. Mazel tov to Dr. and Mrs. Elly Lasson of Baltimore, MD. Marcy (Vann) ’87S and Rabbi David Marcus ’82R, ’91F celebrated the bar mitzvah of their son, Yehoshua. Mazel tov to grandparents, Chaya ’59S and Rabbi Elihu Marcus ’53YC, ’56R, ’99F.
Alumni from the Classes of 1962, 1972 and 1987 are invited to celebrate their milestone reunions this spring. Please join us on May 23–24 to commemorate your 50th, 40th and 25th reunions, visit the YU campuses, and reconnect with classmates. We welcome your participation on the Reunion Committee. To learn more about YU’s exciting two-day class reunion events or how you can contribute to a class gift, please visit www.yu.edu/reunion, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212.960.5412.
Fran and Dr. Stuart Morduchowitz ’84YUHS, ’88YC, ’92E celebrated the bat mitzvah of their daughter, Tamara Ruth. Mazel tov to grandparents Ada and Rabbi Abraham Morduchowitz ’50YUHS, ’54YC, ’56R and Lily and Rabbi Alfred Friedman ’52YUHS. Dr. Esther ’86S,’95F and Rabbi Meir Orlian ’83YUHS, ’87YC, ’90R, ’93BR announce the marriage of their daughter, Sara, to Avrahami Rosenberg of Petach Tikva. Mazel tov to grandparents: Stern College for Women Associate Dean Ethel Orlian ’57YUHS, ’61S, Associate Professor of Bible Dr. J. Mitchell Orlian ’54TI, ’55YC, ’60F, ’73BR, YUHS faculty member Dr. Riki Koenigsberg, and Dr. Mordecai Koenigsberg ’59YC, ’63A. Ariela and Dr. Jeff Port ’83YC announce the engagement of their daughter, Aviva, to Neve Daniel. Mazel tov to great-grandparents Marlene and Dr. Yale Port ’53YC, ’56R, ’59F. Laurence J. Rabinovich ’82YC joins Hiscock & Barley as a partner in the New York office to continue his practice in insurance coverage and transportation law. Rabbi Moshe Rosenberg ’82YC, ’84R published his book, Morality for Muggles: Ethics in the Bible and the World of Harry Potter (KTAV Publishing House, 2011).
David Anziska ’96YUHS, ’99YC launched the Law Offices of David Anziska. His practice specializes in class action litigation.
Sandy (Himmelstein) ’70S and Moshe Speter announce the birth of their grandson, Ilan Harry, born to Tova Speter and Peter Sperber. Mindy and Rabbi Robert Zeiger ’77YC, ’81R announce the marriage of their son, Eliezer Menachem, to Nadine Faur.
Rabbi Yoel Finkelman ’94YC, ’94BR published his book, Strictly Kosher Reading: Popular Literature and the Condition of Contemporary Orthodoxy (Academic Studies Press, 2011).
Leora and Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh ’89YUHS, ’97R, ’98BR announce the birth of their daughter, Ruchama Leah. Judy (Wolpoff) and Dr. Marc Berger ’80YUHS, ’83YC, ’87E announce the birth of their daughter, Sydney Ella. Mazel tov to grandparents, Carol (Freiman) ’56YUHS and Dr. Donald Berger ’45YUHS, ’49YC and Florence and Martin Wolpoff. Rabbi Binyamin Blau ’86YC, ’89R has been elected the rabbi of Green Road Synagogue succeeding Rabbi Melvin Granatstein ’62YC, ’67’BR, ’67R who is retiring after serving for 37 years. Gedaliah Borvick ’87YC, ’94C, who lives in Israel, created My Israel Home, a real estate agency focused on helping families from abroad navigate the often challenging process of purchasing and selling a home in Israel. Boryick is also a contributing editor and columnist on the Israel real estate scene for The Jewish Home. His articles can be found at www.myisraelhome.com The Westwood Kehilla in Los Angeles, CA, honored Batyah and Rabbi Asher Brander ’89YC, ’92R, ’96A for their 17 years of leadership, learning and inspiration. Rabbi Brander also recently published Teachings: In-Depth Reflections on the Parshah (Mosaica Press, 2011). Rabbi Michael Broyde ’82YUHS, ’84YC, ’89R,’93R, professor of law at Emory University, compiled and edited Contending with Catastrophe: Jewish Perspectives on September 11th (K’hal Publishing, 2011), with contributions from the following: Chancellor Norman Lamm ’49YC, ’51R, ’66BR, Rabbis Chaim
Galia (Hassid) Galansky ’93YUHS announces the birth of her daughter, Gabriella Eve.
Giela (Nussbaum) ’95YUHS, ’99S and Ben Gellis announce the birth of their daughter, Mira Salit. Big brothers Adir, Mayteev and Elyon are excited to have a little sister.
Professor Smadar and RIETS Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Michael Rosensweig ’80YC, ’80R, ’86W, ’96BR celebrated the bat mitzvah of their daughter, Elisheva. Mazel tov to Elisheva’s grandparents, Miriam and Rabbi Dr. Bernard Rosensweig ’47YC, ’50R, ’70BR. The Aug. 22 New Jersey Jewish News profiled Rabbi Elie Tuchman, Ed.D. ’89YC, ’92R, ’94A, ’10A as he trained for and participated in the 26.2-mile Ocean Drive Marathon. Completing the race in five hours and 39 minutes, Rabbi Tuchman raised more than $8,500 for the Yeshiva at Jersey Shore’s tuition assistance. Yocheved (Evebeth Blond) ’89S and Rabbi Elchanan Weinbach ’86YC, ’90AZ, ’89R announce the marriage of their daughter, Ora, to Rabbi Yakov Weiner.
Israel’s President Shimon Peres conferred the 2011 Presidential Citation for Volunteerism to Joseph Gitler ’92YUHS for his founding and leadership of Leket Israel, www.leket.org, Israel’s national food bank and food rescue network. Visit yu.edu/ alumni/profiles to read more about Joseph Gitler and his impressive work. Ellie ’99YUHS, ’03S and Elly Goldenberg ’03SB announce the birth of their daughter, Ava Tamar. Mazel tov to grandparents Esther ’80S and Dr. Kenneth Nyer ’80YC, ’84E. Dr. Howard M. Goldfischer ’92YC was named clinical manager of the medical rehabilitation program and senior neuropsychologist at Easter Seals Capital Region & Eastern Connecticut. Carolyn and Judah Kaplan ’92SB announce the birth of their daughter, Esther Samantha. Yael Bitton ’98YUHS and Matt Krieger ’00YC announce the birth of their son.
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YU Alumni Who Write, Publish and Sell
People of the Book
Stern College gave me many opportunities to develop and grow a Jewish intellectual platform, particularly with the guidance of a number of my professors with whom I am still in contact...
Dr. Erica Brown ’88S
ews are people of the book—and thus, many can be found in the book and magazine publishing industry. Though publishing is a notoriously difficult and often cutthroat profession to break into, especially in New York, many YU alumni have found a way to succeed and make their mark in the industry.
Dr. Erica Brown ’88S studied philosophy and Judaic studies at Stern College for Women. After obtaining a master’s degrees in religious education and rabbinics from the University of London and another master’s degree in near eastern languages and civilizations from Harvard University, she obtained a PhD from Baltimore Hebrew University and settled into a position as scholar-in-residence for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. She teaches classes in Jewish thought and ethics, as well as leadership development, and lectures widely on subjects of importance to the Jewish community. She writes an online essay, “Weekly Jewish Wisdom,” that has appeared on the Newsweek/Washington Post’s “On Faith” Web site. And, on the side, she finds time to write books of contemporary Jewish interest. Much of what Brown has learned about Judaism, she credits to her professors at Stern. “Stern College gave me many opportunities to develop and grow a Jewish intellectual platform, particularly with the guidance of a number of my professors with whom I am still in contact. I don’t know how many people could make that claim in other universities,” Brown said. “I felt that many of my professors, more than just teaching a subject, showed me positive models for living an authentic and meaningful adult life. I was forced to think in a very sophisticated way about my Judaism and that lives with me every day.” Brown’s books on Judaism include Inspired Jewish Leadership, a National Jewish Book Award finalist; Spiritual Boredom; Confronting Scandal; and The Case for Jewish Peoplehood (of which she is co-author). Her latest book is In the Narrow Places: Daily Inspiration for the Three Weeks. However, she is most proud of a book that she wrote over a decade ago, and which has yet to be shared with a wider readership. The Sacred Canvas: The Hebrew Bible in the Eyes of the Artist contrasts paintings of the same scene to understand how artists read Biblical texts. “It’s a meshing of many important worlds for me, and I hope one day I can share it with others as a published work,” Brown explained. Brown strongly believes that writing is a serious process that requires considerable dedication. “If you want to write seriously, it has to be a daily discipline,” she said. “When I’m writing a book, I write at least 1,000 words a day. They may be awful and I may have to delete 900 of them, but at least I know that I am in the rhythm of writing.”
Brown’s world of teaching informs the topics she chooses to write about. “What I’m experiencing personally, or what Jewish life is undergoing that few people have written about or that needs extra emphasis, is what I choose to focus on,” she said. “This explains my book on spiritual boredom and my book on scandal. I also read a great deal and in many different genres. That keeps me thinking in different ways about different things, a more nimble and creative way of thinking and engaging ideas.” Many women who balance a busy work life with an equally busy home life struggle to find a sense of equilibrium. Brown’s many professional pursuits look daunting when you consider she is also a wife (to Dr. Jeremy Brown) and mother to four children (Talia, Gavriel, Yishai and Ayelet). However, Brown has a unique view of the situation. “I don’t struggle with the work versus life equation. I think that’s way too linear a breakdown,” she said. “We are complex beings. We have to entertain complexity as a facet of life, not as something we’re trying to quash and tame. I feel blessed that my life has many different parts to it, and often contradictions prove to be a blessing.” Brown recommends that students and alumni who hope to become serious writers and published authors have many readers look at their work, and accept literary criticisms with an open mind. “I take no offense when I get edited and enjoy heavy editing because it means that someone else is taking my work seriously. Writing is for reading, and if an outside reader doesn’t understand what you’ve written, then you haven’t done your job,” she explained. “Find someone who will read and critique your work and offer the same service in return. Too many people fall in love with what Faulkner called ‘all their little darlings’—words and expressions that they get so attached to that they can’t delete them. It says in Mishlei that if you correct a wise person, he’ll love you, and if you correct a wicked person, he’ll hate you. Good writers are wise writers. They know that good editing makes writing sing.”
THE ACCOUNT MANAGER
Most women can remember their first issue of Seventeen magazine. The unofficial magazine of choice for the average American teenage girl is one of the most successful youth-oriented publications of all time. Tova Heiney ’01S works as an account manager for the magazine, and is responsible for selling ad pages in each issue. As an English major at Stern College for Women, Heiney said she often walked by the Hearst building, located near Stern in midtown Manhattan. “When I walked by Hearst Tower, I often thought how cool it would be to work for a magazine. When I realized I knew someone at Natural History magazine, I applied for an assistant job and got it.” Heiney noted that this was a very small, privately owned magazine and her
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I like to help young adults as they are just starting their careers, when they are trying to figure out what they want to do in life and how to achieve it.
Tova Heiney ’01S
I had previously taken a literature course called ‘Medical Narratives’ and, remembering how much I enjoyed the class, decided to switch my major to English.
Yishai Seidman ’05YC
salary was very low. “I had to work two jobs to support myself for those six months but it was worth it for me to break into the industry,” she said. “From there I was cold-called by Conde Nast, a larger company, and was hired as a sales assistant at The New Yorker.” At The New Yorker, Heiney was quickly promoted to the marketing department, and was launched into the world of magazine publishing. She spent six years marketing several different publications before deciding sales was most suitable for her. “The move from marketing to sales is not easy. I was lucky that my current position called for a salesperson with a marketing background. Other people wanting to make this switch might leave the magazine industry to get a sales job in another arena, or get a sales job at a very small publication, only to return to a major publishing house once you have solid sales experience,” Heiney said. Selling ad pages for Seventeen includes working with the marketing department to create PowerPoint presentations or mailings to clients and potential advertisers, managing her account list and ensuring client satisfaction. “There are also some great perks to my job,” said Heiney. “I am constantly out and about, meeting new people and entertaining them through lunches and manicures—relationship building is key. The editing team also holds beauty sales, where all the staff members get to buy fun products that may have recently been featured in the magazine for only a dollar, with all proceeds going to charity.” Speaking to current Stern students who are hoping to find their own niche within the publishing industry, Heiney highly recommends obtaining an internship while still in college. “It will make getting an assistant job easier once you graduate. There are always spring, summer and fall internships available,” she said. Heiney shared this advice with students aspiring to enter the publishing field at an alumni career session in the spring, where she spoke about her job and the duties it entails. “I like to help young adults as they are just starting their careers, when they are trying to figure out what they want to do in life and how to achieve it,” she said.
When he first entered Yeshiva University in 2005, Yishai Seidman said he thought he had three career choices: to become a lawyer, an accountant or a doctor. He picked the last path but, after a few semesters, recognized something was amiss. “I realized that as much as I wanted to be a doctor, my talents didn’t lie in the sciences. I just had no idea what else to pursue,” recalled Seidman. “I had previously taken a literature course called Medical Narratives, and, remembering how much I enjoyed the class, decided to switch my major to English.” Though he had only three semesters left before graduating, Seidman decided to study what truly interested him, and to figure out a career later. “That was a big change in my undergraduate experience,” he said. “A lot of people, including me,
go to college with a preconceived notion of what they want to do so they can pursue a specific career after they graduate. But I realized that it doesn’t always work out that way and that I might as well study what I enjoy.” While taking seven literature courses in his last two semesters at YU, Seidman took a class with Dr. Liel Leibovitz, a visiting creative writing professor and a published author. “Professor Leibovitz brought in a panel of people in the publishing industry including his editor, his agent and a children’s book editor,” said Seidman. “They talked about their respective roles in the publishing industry, and then took questions from the class. It was a great experience, and the first time I was exposed to different opportunities within the publishing field.” Seidman was particularly interested in agency work so he pursued an internship at a literary agency after graduating in May ’08. He was hired to intern at Artists and Artisans, a full-service literary management company in midtown Manhattan. Five months later, he was hired by Writer’s House, another literary agency. “The agency has an unbelievable internship program, almost like a minigraduate school,” he explained. When his internship ended in January, he was hired as an office manager, on a temporary basis, for someone who took leave for several months, which gave him an opportunity to make some great connections. “Many people in this business get the jobs they have thanks to connections they’ve made as they worked their way up,” said Seidman. He joined the literary agency, Dunlow, Carson & Lerner, on a full-time basis not long after. He has been blessed to work with some wonderful writers, he said, and spends much of his free time reading, since the workday is devoted to contract negotiations and reading query letters—one-page “pitches” from authors trying to sell their works. “Right now I am mostly working with literary fiction, but there’s no hard rule about what I’m looking for. It’s definitely important to me that stories have interesting characters and are written in a strong voice,” Seidman remarked. “Believe it or not, I actually struggle more with books that deal with Jewish themes or topics. It’s sometimes hard for me to distinguish whether they are objectively interesting or only interesting to me because they’re familiar.” To current YU students who might consider a career as a literary agent, Seidman advised, “I would definitely encourage taking creative writing courses. You need to observe what your peers are writing to learn what you think works and what doesn’t—that’s your intro to analysis of contemporary writing. I would also say to pursue internships during school or when you graduate, as it is a fairly competitive field and experience plays a big part in getting your foot in the door, getting jobs and making those important connections.” n
k To read about other inspirational YU graduates, visit the alumni Web site at www.yu.edu/alumni/profiles
and check out the alumni profiles; or, to share your own achievements, submit a Class Note at www.yu.edu/ alumni/notes.
CHECK OUT WHAT ALUMNI EVENTS ARE HAPPENING ON CAMPUS AND AROUND THE WORLD AT WWW.YU.EDU/ALUMNIEVENTS
Dr. Joshua Landa ’95YUHS, ’00YC completed his spine surgery fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic and joined Atlantic Spinal Care in New Jersey, specializing in minimally invasive and endoscopic spinal surgery. Kesher Israel Congregation in Harrisburg, PA, hosted Naomi ’96S and Rabbi Bini Maryles ’97SB, ’01R,’10A as scholars-inresidence. Naomi Maryles delivered a talk entitled, “Tales from the Beth Din” and Rabbi Maryles delivered various presentations including “In the Era of Twitter: How to Best Advocate for Israel in 20 Seconds or Less.” Jonathan “Yoni” Oppenheim ’99YUHS, a co-founder of the 24/6 theatre company, presented a limited engagement performance of Ibsen’s The Doll’s House at the off-Broadway theatre The Tank in early April 2011. Oppenheim, the director of the performance, adapted a Purim theme into the play. The 24/6 theatre group does not perform on Shabbos. YU Director of Events Aliza (Berenholz) Peled ’92YUHS, ’96S married Yehuda Leon Peled on Nov. 14, 2010. They also announce the birth of their son, Chaim Daniel, in late August. Mazel tov to grandparents Manya and Rabbi Heshy Berenholz ’60YUHS and Elana and Jack Peled. Dr. Rivka and RIETS bochen and rosh yeshiva Rabbi Ezra Schwartz ’96YC, ’01R, ’05BR, ’07R, ’07A announce the birth of their son, Yosef Dov. Alisha and Joshua Summers ’97YUHS, ’01YC, ’04C announce the birth of their son, Aaron Michael. Deborah and Rabbi Shlomo Weissmann ’92YUHS, ’96YC, ’01R announce the birth of their daughter, Ahuva Rivka. Rabbi Michoel Zylberman ’96YUHS, ’00YC, ’03R, ’03BR published a new sefer, Sefer Tov Lev on Maseches Psachim.
“CHARITABLE GIVING AND HALACHA” AT GRANT THORNTON LLP FEATURING RABBI HERSHEL SCHACHTER (DECEMBER 1, 2011)
o Emcee Jack Katz and Rabbi Hershel Schachter ’58YUHS, ’62YC, ’67R
The following 10 Yeshiva University graduates are participating in the 2011–2012 Legacy Heritage Teacher Training Fellowship program. They will be placed in schools across North America and receive ongoing support and training from the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration: Kyle Borenstein ’11SB Ariella Gorman ’10S Alyson Jacobs ’10S Rachel Lee ’08S Daniel Loewenstein ’10YC Sara Schwartz ’08S Ruthie Skaist ’10S Devora Stechler ’09S Aryeh Wasserman ’11YC Noam Weissman ’08YC
k Jack Katz, (top–right corner), kicks off the event with a capacity crowd of 65
ALUMNI DAY AT THE MACS BASKETBALL GAME (DECEMBER 18, 2011)
The following graduates are participating in the GiveBack Fellowship, a postcollege year-long commitment to work in a Jewish day school: Joshua Liggett ’07SB Matthew Williams ’10YC Alyssa (Meyers) and Dr. Arie E. Pelta ’96YC announce the birth of their sixth child, Moshe Leib.
m Julie ’86YUHS, ’89S and Shabsi Schreier ’81YUHS, ’85YC stand before the interactive display they gifted to YU
Rabbi Menachem Penner ’91YC, ’95R is now the associate dean of operations for RIETS.
SAVE THE DATE
Tribute to Coach Jonathan Halpert and Court Dedication Ceremony in recognition of 40 years of service to Yeshiva University and the Maccabees
SUNDAY | APRIL 29, 2012 | 11 A.M. Max Stern Athletic Center
m Past Macs captain Bruce Wenig ’72YUHS, ’76YC reunites with Coach Jonny Halpert ’62YUHS, ’66YC, ’78F
m Don “Denny” Geller ’45YUHS, ’49YC, ’99W returns to YU to accept his recognition as a past Macs captain (’48-’49) from President Richard M. Joel ’68YUHS
Ilana and Rabbi Jeffrey Saks ’91YC, ’93BR, ’95R announce the birth of their fourth child, Adi Azriela, in Jerusalem. Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Schnall, PhD ’95YUHS, ’00YC, ’02F, ’03R, ’06F, professor of psychology at Yeshiva College, was the subject of an Aug. 11 New York Times article reviewing his research, “Irving Janis’s Groupthink and the Sanhedrin of Ancient Israel.” He presented this research on Aug. 7 at the American Psychological Association’s 119th annual convention in Washington, D.C. He also lectured on “An Overlooked Minority: Recent Assessments of the Orthodox Jewish Community” at the 74th annual convention of the New York State Psychological Association. m Future Macs participate in a shooting contest with the current team players
m Past Macs captains Dovid Cohen ’93YC, Daniel Aaron ’90YUHS, ’94YC and Elisha Rothman ’92YC
o Brothers Lior Hod ’88YC and Ayal Hod ’88SB are honored as past Macs captains alongside their children and President Richard M. Joel ’68YUHS
SUPPORT THE ANNUAL FUND AT WWW.YU.EDU/ONLINEGIVING ß
YU HOMECOMING (SEPTEMBER 18, 2011)
q On Sept. 18, more than 600 members of the Yeshiva University community came together for a day of celebration and reconnection at YU’s Homecoming. It was a day with something for everyone: an assortment of college classes and shiurim [lectures], face-painting and carnival games, a club fair, live music, balloon-making, hot pretzels and cold smoothies. Current students and alumni of all ages met old friends and made new ones, sharing memories of their college experience and a feeling of pride and belonging to the larger YU family.
A NIGHT OF FASHION AND GLAMOUR (NOVEMBER 8, 2011)
o Doris Travis, SCW board member; Rochel Weiss
q (l–r) Sheryl Katz, Karen Federbush, Andrea Reichel ’90S, Pam Hirt ’90S, Mindy Davidoff ’87S and Batya Paul ’94S
o (l–r) Suzy Friedman, Elyssa Schertz, Malki Rosen ’85S, Chani Klein, Yael Schertz ’08S, ’09W and Bonnie Schertz ’82S
m Abby Herschmann ’97S; Aimee Cement ’95S; Aimee Turner ’00S
k Hadassah Bienenfeld ’54TI, SCW board member, guest and Shira Perl ’89YUHS, ’93S
s WE WANT TO HE AR YOUR IDE AS FOR PROGR AMMING IN YOUR REGION. CONTACT ILL ANA FEIGLIN AT FEIGLIN @YU.EDU OR 212 .960. 5247.
Nechama (Grunseid) ’09S and Jon Ackerman ’05YC announce the birth of their daughter, Ashira. given by the Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life each year to an outstanding Jewish educator and named in honor of donors Gene and Adele (z”l) Hoffman. Shira ’05S and Rabbi Bryan Kinzbrunner ’01YC, ’03BR, ’07R announce the birth of their son. Joshua A. Klarfeld ’02YC joins Ulmer & Berne as an associate in the product liability practice group. Joshua will focus his practice on pharmaceutical, medical device and mass tort litigation in the Cleveland, OH area. Lavie Margolin ’02SB participated in the Day of Chesed on Sept. 11 at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale by providing one-on-one resume evaluations. Jake Marmer ’00SB recently published his book of poetry, Jazz Talmud (Sheep Meadow, 2011). Bethany ’01S, ’06A and Rabbi Joshua Strulowitz ’01YC, ’05R announce the birth of their son, Akiva. Mazel tov to grandparents, Sheila and Larry Strulowitz ’71YC. Rabbi Jordan Rosenberg ’10R created www.MyAgingFolks.com, a Web site that provides free expert answers and a proprietary call service that caregivers can use to connect with thousands of eldercare professionals and lawyers around the country. The August 2011 edition of The Jewish Press featured an article entitled “Peace of Mind with Faith and Trust” by Rachael (Goldberg) Rothstein ’10S and Devora (Greer) Shabtai. Shelhevet “Shelli” (Hoffman) ’05YUHS, ’11A married Chaim Sussman ’02SB in the first kosher wedding held at Citi Field in New York City. Batya ’10S and Yosef Sharbat ’09YC announce the birth of their son. Ariella ’11S and Dovid Zirkind ’09YC announce the birth of their daughter, Amira.
Rebecca ’07A and Rabbi Eli Belizon ’07SB, ’10R announce the birth of their son, Akiva. Gigi ’09S and Dovi Bergman ’07YC announce the birth of their son. Yael ’07S and Michael Bleicher announce the birth of their daughter, Meira. Sarah (Weinerman) Cheses ’06S is the yoetzet halacha, a trained halachic adviser, at Yale’s Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC), a program that partners with the Orthodox Union and Hillel International. She is one of only seven yoetzet halacha in North America and serves in her role with her husband, Rabbi Noah Cheses ’08YC, ’11R. Visit yu.edu/alumni/profile to read more about Sarah Cheses and her unique work. Rabbi Eli Cohn ’00YUHS, ’05YC, ’08R married Ilana Levin ’07S. Aviva (Laufer) ’00S, ’05BR and Jonathan Edelstein ’01YC announce the birth of their son, Ezra Noam. Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn ’01YC, ’04R, ’09A published his sefer, Maayse Choshev. For a free download of the sefer, visit www.hebrewbooks.org/50816. Faigy and Rabbi Arie Folger ’03R announce the birth of their son, Menachem Meir, and Rabbi Folger’s new role as community rabbi of Munich, Germany. Former presidential fellows Michal ’07S and Yoni Frankel ’07YC announce the birth of their son, Elisha Aaron. Aviva ’03S and Rabbi Josh Friedman ’97YC, ’01R announce the birth of their son, Binyomin. Alise and Yoni Gold ’09YC announce the birth of their daughter, Ayelet Chana. Judy ’01S and Aryeh Goldberg ’01SB announce the birth of their son and future graduate in the YU class of 2032, Eliezer Shlomo. Elyssa (Gershater) and Ezra Goldschmidt ’08YC announce the birth of their son, Yitzchak. Devorah ’08S and Yakov Grun ’09YC announce the birth of their son, Yisrael Baruch. Sarah and Rabbi Evan Hoffman ’02YC, ’03BR, ’06R announce the birth of their son, Eliyahu Yitzchak. Rabbi Shimshon Jacob ’06YC, ’07A, ’10R teaches Talmud, Gemara and woodshop at the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston, NJ and is also the 2011 recipient of the Hoffman/ Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education, an award
Ayala and Rabbi Michael Teitcher ’07YC, ’10R announce the birth of their son.
Samuel Berger ’51YUHS Samuel William Bloom ’42YUHS, ’46YC Moshe Fenichel ’68YUHS, ’72YC Rabbi Emanuel Frankel ’54YC, ’04BR Rabbi Moshe (Milton) Furst ’39YUHS, ’43YC, ’46R. David Goldberg ’72YUHS Dr. Jacob E. Goldman ’40YC Bella Harris ’86W Meyer Kimmel ’27YUHS, ’35R Dr. Martin Lilker ’41YUHS, ’45YC, ’77F Dr. Allen Mandelbaum ’45YC Rabbi Dr. Alvin M. Poplack ’58BR Meira Reimer ’05SB Rabbi Akiva Schlussel ’57R Frank Schonfeld ’35 YUHS, ’39 YC Dr. Judith Socolov ’72F Baruch “Brian” Stone ’83YUHS Rabbi Mordechai Summer ’54YC, ’56R, ’60F, ’94A
Chaim Theil ’03SB is a student in the MBA program at Columbia Business School. For the past four years, Theil has been a corporate attorney at the law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in New York. He received his JD from the New York University School of Law in 2007. Tamar (Grun) ’07S and Joshua Vogel ’07YC announce the birth of their son, Simcha Gedalya. Mazel tov to grandparents Cheryl ’80S and Alan Vogel and Yehudit and Jacob Grun. Joshua S. Weinberg ’07YC joined the corporate and securities department of Honigman, a leading business law firm based in Michigan with an international practice. Rabbi Matan Wexler ’05SB, ’09A, ’09R married Yaffi Spodek ’08S. Mazel tov to parents Paula ’72YUHS, ’74TI and Rabbi Ira Spodek ’71YC, ’74BR, ’74R and Bonnie and Reid Wexler. Dr. Rachel and Rabbi Akiva Wolk ’06YC, ’08A, ’10R announce the birth of their daughter. Mazel tov to grandparents Annette ’74S and Rabbi Howard Wolk ’70YUHS, ’74YC, ’77F, ’77R. Natania Wright ’03S, ’07F, ’10F married Dmitry Ostrovsky. Orit (Meyers) ’09S and Moshe Zharnest ’10SB announce the birth of their son, Shimon Gedalya. Mazel tov to grandparents Faye and Leon Zharnest and Fay and Rabbi Hillel Meyers.
Ariana ’08S and Adam Reich ’08YC announce the birth of their daughter, Ayelet Menucha. Mazel tov to great-grandparents Gloria and Marty Epstein ’61YC. Dr. Michelle (Waldman) ’00S and Rabbi Yehuda Sarna ’01YC, ’05R announce the birth of their son, Gershon Amital. Rabbi Yechiel Schrader ’00YC, ’03R married Chava Janovsky. Tsvi Selengut ’07SB married Tali Zucker. Rabbi Yechiel Shaffer ’07YC, ’11AZ, ’11R married Aliza Rosin ’04S. Mazel tov to Rabbi Shaffer’s parents, Machla and Rabbi Ian Shaffer. Eli Shapiro ’01W, ’11A is now the clinical director at Madraigos, which provides a wide array of innovative programs and professional services designed for teens and young adults to help them cope with the everyday challenges of life. Shapiro will oversee all aspects of the organization’s clinical office and work closely with Madraigos’ members and their families. Jonathan “Yoni” Shenkman ’07SB founded the Shenkman Wealth Advisory Group, based out of Morgan Stanley’s New York office. In this role he is responsible for leveraging the firm’s resources to provide tailored investment and financial planning solutions to individuals, families, and businesses both in the United States and abroad. Rachel ’05S and Rabbi Sandy Shulkes announce the birth of their daughter, Sarah Deena Devorah. Grant Silverstein ’05YC, ’07W works for the group buying Web site JDeal.com. He also received the Community Service Award from the Upper West Side synagogue, The Jewish Center, in June 2011. Rabbi Dr. Eric Siskind ’09R, ’09E published his baseball fantasy novel, Moment of Clutch (Amazon Digital Services, 2011), available via www. amazon.com.
THE OFFICE OF ALUMNI AFFAIRS
IS TRYING TO LOCATE ALUMNI WITH WHOM WE’VE LOST TOUCH.
TO DO THIS, WE NEED YOUR HELP! • For every graduate that you identify (and is confirmed), you will be in the running to win great prizes! Recent winners received two round-trip tickets sponsored by EL AL Israel Airlines and two tickets to the Yeshiva University Hanukkah Dinner. • Once confirmed, the lost graduate, too, will be entered to win a prize.
GET STARTED TODAY!
Visit YU Alumni Finder today at yu.edu/AlumniFinder to start searching for alumni you know.
Moshe Broder ’11YC married Batsheva Chapman ’11S.
Legend for school abbreviations: A: Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration • BR: Bernard Revel Graduate School • BS: Belfer Graduate School of Science • BZ: Philip and Sarah Belz School of Jewish Music • C: Cardozo School of Law • E: Albert Einstein College of Medicine • F: Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology • R: Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary • S: Stern College for Women • SB: Syms School of Business • TI: Teacher’s Institute • W: Wurzweiler School of Social Work • YC: Yeshiva College • YUHS: Yeshiva University High Schools
Yechiel Simcha Ciment ’11SB married Alexis Hailey Swedroe ’11SB.
Efrem Kleinberg ’11A married Tamar Gold.
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YU High Schools Partner With College Students to Expand Impact
On Nov. 30, they and other members of C-PAC joined more than 200 YU students on a mission to Washington, D.C. to lobby on Israel’s behalf. Partly sponsored by the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) Israel Advocacy Grant Program and the AVI CHAI Foundation, the trip also included meetings with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, with remarks by Jonathan Kessler, director of leadership development at AIPAC and Ester Kurz, an AIPAC lobbyist. “The main issue we face on YU campuses is that students all love Israel but do not realize that they need to actively support it,” said Muskin. “[Programs such as this lobbying mission] are the perfect vehicles to address this apathy.” n
Members of the YUHSG Political Action Club (C–PAC), from left to right: Tamar Berman, Shayna Rabin, Hudy Rosenberg, Dina Muskin, Aliza Arbesfeld, Golda Aharon, Rivka Abbe and Renee Wietschner
From Queens to Midtown to Washington, D.C., Israel advocacy creates new bridges throughout University
s the fall semester began, Yeshiva University High School for Girls (YUHSG) junior Rivka Abbe grew increasingly unsettled by the numerous challenges faced by Israel. In light of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) bid for statehood at the United Nations, Abbe wanted to mobilize her peers to assist the Jewish State. With the help of YU Vice President and Chief of Staff Rabbi Josh Joseph, who is overseeing the YU high schools, and YUHSG Assistant Principal Rabbi Seth Grauer, Abbe got in touch with the Yeshiva University Political Action Committee (YUPAC) and arranged for three representatives from Stern College for Women to offer an informational session on the PA statehood bid a day before it occurred at the UN. Following the presentation by vice president of YUPAC and AIPAC Campus Liaison Dina Muskin, YUPAC Campus Engagement Coordinator Tamar Schwarzbard and YUHSG alumna and
YUPAC core member Miriam Shapiro, Abbe realized that she could advocate for Israel from her home base in Queens. Along with fellow YUHSG student Coco Fischman, she founded the Central Political Activist Club (C-PAC). “We wanted to start something serious here at Central,” said Abbe. “If we can train ourselves while in high school to advocate for Israel, it can lead to a lifetime of support.” Aided by Muskin, who serves as the AIPAC liaison to C-PAC, the fledgling club plans to create a school publication, serve as the catalyst for school-wide education on Israel and act as the spearhead for lobbying politicians to continue supporting foreign aid grants to Israel. “After our informational session with the students, they clearly felt the need to get involved,” said Muskin. “They loved the empowering idea that they could influence policy. This club will certainly help further their activism when they make it to a college campus.” In early November, Abbe and Fischman attended AIPAC’s Schusterman Advocacy Institute High School Summit, a three-day conference for Jewish high school students from public and private schools across the country.
YUHSB seniors pair up with YU faculty in research fellowship
otivated and inquisitive seniors at the Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy — Yeshiva University High School for Boys (YUHSB) have an opportunity unavailable to their peers in other institutions to gain exposure to world-class professors and advanced ideas. The Senior Fellowship, now in its fourth year, takes advantage of the high school’s physical and institutional proximity to Yeshiva College by pairing the students with YU faculty to conduct thorough research in a variety of fields. “We wanted to create a win-win for both YUHSB and YU,” said Dr. Ed Berliner, a clinical professor of physics at Yeshiva College who teaches physics at YUHSB and directs the Senior Fellowship program. “For YU, it is an opportunity to expose our most impressive students to the high caliber YU educa-
tion. For the high school students, it is a truly unique opportunity to be paired with the best and brightest professors in their fields.” Many of the graduates of the program continue their studies at Yeshiva College, Berliner noted. Looking into topics as diverse as global economics, literary theory, United States relations with China, literary modernism, peptide bonds and early biblical interpretation, students have been paired with professors Dr. James Kahn, Dr. Evan Resnick, Dr. Elizabeth Stewart, Dr. Raji Viswanathan and Rabbi Dr. Jeremy Wieder, among others. “I have been very impressed with the sophistication and the drive for intellectual advancement of the students I have mentored,” said Rabbi Wieder, who works with students on producing prototypes of commentaries on the Bible. This work requires that his students study the intricacies of biblical Hebrew and literary Aramaic in depth. Yosef Kornbluth, currently an upper sophomore at YC, worked with Rabbi Wieder in 2008 and 2009 on biblical Targumim [Aramaic translations of the bible], while he was a student at YUHSB. He especially appreciated how, by the end of his year, he began noticing “the fine nuances in translation and their impact on the meaning of the text,” he said. Current fellow Doni Schwartz has thoroughly enjoyed the beginning of his fellowship year. Working with physics professor Dr. Fredy Zypman, Schwartz is researching aspects of the Eherenfest Urn Model that are useful in the study of thermalization (heat transfer). “Since my introduction to physics last year with Dr. Berliner, I have been enamored with the subject,” he said. “I am hoping to pursue this field well into my college years. This was a rare opportunity for a high school student and I am honored to have been chosen for it.” n
Alumni Offer Insight Into Religious Observance in the Workplace
September event on the Wilf Campus was titled “Being Orthodox in an Unorthodox World.” It featured YU alumni employed by some of the most prestigious law firms, investment banks and accounting firms in the city, including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorganChase, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Proskauer Rose LLP. “Tonight, we began the process of preparing our students for challenges they will face in the secular world and then gave them the tools, resources and support to determine how to handle these scenarios,” said Laurie Davis, director of counseling and programming at the Career Development Center (CDC), which sponsored the event. The gathering was part of a renewed effort by YU to prepare students for life after college through a variety of informational sessions covering a host of topics. One alumnus commented that he does not wear a yarmulke to work, but has witnessed such a surge in younger colleagues wearing one that he is considering doing so as well. A female executive spoke about hair coverings for women, stressing the importance of feeling comfortable while looking professional and explaining that wigs serve this purpose best. From wardrobe issues, the conversation moved to proper etiquette in attending a business lunch at a non–kosher eatery. Advice ranged from ordering fruit platters to respectfully recommending a reasonably priced kosher option. Challenges involving leaving early on winter Fridays to make it home before Shabbat, and taking off on Jewish holidays, garnered significant attention. The presenters stressed that while most superiors would understand, leniency must never be taken advantage of. Rabbi Yona Reiss, dean of YU’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary shared some of his experiences working in a Wall Street law firm. He related how his firm had a tradition that all newcomers dress as elves and hand out gifts to the other employees. Uncomfortable with this, he decided to dress as a Maccabee instead, to the delight of his coworkers. “Being open about observance creates a reminder to yourself and expectations in the case of others that you have a right and a responsibility to be different,” said Rabbi Reiss. “I have heard many stories about problems that can arise if you want to live an observant lifestyle in the corporate world,” said Benjamin Rosenberg ’11SB. “I came looking for advice and now that I heard these interesting stories, I better know what to expect when interviewing for a job.” n
Howard Wietschner ’88YC, head of the Hedge Fund Industry Group at Goldman Sachs, speaks to a student at the CDC event
ndergraduates heard career advice from their predecessors—a cadre of some of Yeshiva University’s most accomplished alumni professionals—who addressed real–world issues faced by many Torah–observant individuals upon joining the workforce. The
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Women student studying journalism, whose writing has been published around the world. A participant in the Center for the Jewish Future’s Counterpoint outreach program in the Ukraine, she is also active in YU’s political science club and Israel advocacy. • Rabbi Reuven Brand, an alumnus of Yeshiva College, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration and the Wexner Kollel Elyon of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.
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“He was a beacon of light … and we look to these students to be the bright lights and leaders of the future.” Senator Gillibrand—a member of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee— passionately emphasized her unwavering support for the state of Israel and reaffirmed its right to self-defense. “The only path to lasting peace is through direct negotiations at the negotiating table, and not through preconditions,” she said. The senator also shared a personal anecdote about her trip to the rocket-ridden town of Sderot, where she witnessed Israeli parents sending their children to school in fortified daycare centers and sleeping in bomb shelters, a daily routine which she described as “unimaginable.” The convocation and dinner—the University’s main annual fundraising event—drew more than 600 of the region’s leading Jewish philanthropists and community leaders and raised over $4 million. Past speakers at the black-tie gala have included Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (then senator), Senator John McCain, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Vice President Al Gore. During the dinner, President Joel also recognized eight Points of Lights— people who exemplify the mission of Yeshiva University—calling each one up to light a candle on a symbolic menorah.
THE POINTS OF LIGHTS INCLUDED:
Members of the YU administration and honorary degree recipients convene at the annual convocation. Back row (l-r) Lance Hirt, dinner chairman and member, Yeshiva University Board of Trustees; Ira Mitzner, honoree and member, Board of Trustees; Dr. Henry Kressel, chairman, Board of Trustees; Philip Friedman, honoree and member, Board of Trustees; Dr. Felix L. Glaubach, convocation chairman and member, Board of Trustees Front row (l-r) Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, honoree and keynote speaker; Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel; Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, chancellor; Stephen B. Siegel, honoree and honorary member of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Board of Overseers
The YStuds, a Yeshiva College a cappella group, perform for YU President Richard M. Joel and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand before the dinner
• Yair Saperstein and Menachem Spira, two award-winning Yeshiva College science students, who, in addition to their extracurricular involvement in musical pursuits, debate clubs, journal publications and outreach to disabled children, began a program called START Science, in which YU students volunteer to teach science in local public schools. • Avital Chizhik, a Stern College for
He now leads YU’s Torah MiTzion Kollel in Chicago and also founded Lman Achai, a student organization dedicated to the needs of Jews in Israel. • Joseph “JB” Bensmihen, a Yeshiva College and Wurzweiler School of Social Work alumnus recently appointed to the Yeshiva College Board of Overseers. Born with spastic cerebral palsy, he overcame a doctor’s prognosis that he would be unable to walk, and operates Boca Home Care, a Medicare-certified home health agency in Florida. A father of four and a
former president of Boca Raton Synagogue, he also runs a charity foundation, providing scholarships to deserving students. • Heather Wright Bliss, a student pursuing a PhD at Wurzweiler, who overcame a cancer diagnosis and now channels her skills toward helping children in the foster care system. • Daniel O’Neil, a student at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who dedicates his time to working with disadvantaged populations in Uganda and training
health workers to provide them with a medical education. • Jennifer MacLean, a student at Cardozo, whose work for the Innocence Project helped exonerate a jailed man who had been wrongly convicted of a rape and murder and sentenced to 80 years in prison. Concluding the lighting ceremony, President Joel paid tribute to the honorees: “May their flames grow and may we continue to bask in their light.” n
Leadership and Longevityç
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their coach, and upon learning that other schools did so, I felt that it was time for YU to do the same.” So far, more than $150,000 has been raised from alumni, many of whom are still close to Coach Halpert decades after graduation. They recall their time spent under his tutelage as years that truly helped shape their lives. Daniel Aaron ’94YC of Hewlett, NY, recalls the years he played (’90’94) as a golden age in YU basketball, where games were packed every night and a strong bond was felt between team members. From Coach Halpert, Coach Halpert was back in action on the basketball court Dec. 18, as former players and their family he remembers learning to always bemembers looked on have with dignity. “Many of us had success on the basketball team and tive person, the coach always behaved within school and there was definitely the like a mensch and it is this trait that depotential for it to go to our heads,” refines him more than anything else.” called Aaron. “Coach Halpert really imMark Hoenig ’74YUHS, ’78YC had pressed upon us that you always have to the privilege of playing with Halpert lonremember who you are and that it’s ger than most other Maccabees. He first Yeshiva, and Judaism, that you are reprebecame acquainted with the coach at senting. Despite being a fiercely competi-
Camp Raleigh, a summer camp where Halpert was a head counselor, and later as a student at MTA, where Halpert coached basketball before moving to the university level. “Coach Halpert was really an early mentor in my life, and today, if there are about five people who I try to model my character and values on, he is one of them,” said Hoenig. “He has an amazing blend of passionate competitiveness, tempered with absolute integrity.” On Dec. 18, alumni brought their families to the Wilf Campus to cheer on the Macs as they played against St. Joseph’s College as part of Alumni Day. Before the game, children participated in mini tournaments with team players, followed by a buffet-style lunch where a new documentary called The History of the Macs was screened. After lunch, the game began; at halftime a tribute was paid to past team captains in the audience. Prior to the game, a new interactive
display was unveiled. It featured captains’ names, photos and bios; a message from Coach Halpert; and documentation of the history of the team. The display is now mounted on the wall just outside the Melvin Furst Gymnasium in the Max Stern Athletic Center. Shabsi Schreier ’YC85, a Macs captain from 1983–85, generously underwrote the gift. The Dec. 18 game also served as the official launch of the scholarship campaign, a major component of the gift to honor the Coach. All contributions to the scholarship fund will be recognized in a Scroll of Honor that will be displayed on a large screen at the dedication and ribboncutting ceremony for the court on April 29. At Coach Halpert’s request, the scholarship will be awarded to children of YU alumni living in Israel who wish to study at Yeshiva College, and who meet the University’s scholarship requirements. n
k To watch a brief video history of the Maccabees, please visit yu.edu/macsvideo
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Institute for University-School Partnership Unites Educators
host of new forums to unite Jewish educators across the country is being spearheaded by Yeshiva University’s Institute for UniversitySchool Partnership, with a focus on technology and online tools, as well as collaboration between schools. On a national level, the effort began with the North American Jewish Day School Conference, a gathering of more than 600 school leaders in Atlanta, GA on Jan. 15-17. The conference, now in its third year, focused on “Current Landscapes—Changing Horizons.” Drawing together Conservative, Reform, community and Modern Orthodox school networks, workshops addressed issues including 21st-century skills, reimagining and sustaining day schools, and innovations in Jewish education. One-on-one consultations tackled challenges unique to each group. “Fields are built on collaboration; not by individuals but by networks,” said Dr. Scott Goldberg, director of the YU-School Partnership. “So too with learning in 21st-century classrooms and schools. The conference advances the field of Jewish education through collaboration and learning through the convening of people with a shared purpose.” The School Partnership is also connecting professionals with that sense of shared purpose on a smaller scale. Cohorts, or Critical Friends groups, of school administrators meet to provide feedback and expand their thinking on critical issues. “School leaders are often
Programs run by the Institute for University-School Partnership aim to help educators provide a better learning experience for their students
isolated from their colleagues because of time constraints and politics,” explained Dr. Dina Rabhan, the institute’s director of recruitment, placement and induction. “A cohesive group emerges from each conference, with a profound appreciation for the struggles they share and a recognition that reflecting on their practice with colleagues leads to improving leadership.” With the help of modern technology, the YU-School Partnership is determined to expand that network of collaborative relationships around the globe, Online topic-driven forums serve as discussion boards and think tanks for educators and student services staff. “A community of practice is a group
of professionals who come together to learn how to improve the institutions they work in,” said Dr. Naava Frank, the YU-School Partnership’s director of continuing education and professional development. “The idea is that people have access to the community 24 hours a day so they can ask questions, share their experiences, and look back on an archive of collected conversations to see how others have dealt with challenges in the past.” Topics vary from support for new teachers or mental health professionals in schools to educators interested in developing online Judaic learning. An expert in the field facilitates each community and Frank estimates that close to 1,000 people are involved.
That focus on technology is also evident in the institute’s development of MaDYK (Mivchan Dinami shel Y’cholot Kriah), a set of screening tools that test Hebrew literacy skills of first and second graders. Based on DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Language Skills), a dynamic assessment of English literacy, MaDYK allows for early monitoring of Hebrew reading skills so teachers can assist struggling students faster. “The goal is prevention and early intervention rather than remediation,” said Dr. Elana Weinberger, who directs the program. “Our vision is for MaDYK to become common practice in all Jewish day schools so that all students can receive the interventions they need.” She added that the absence of such a standardized tool has been felt in the educational community and administrators find MaDYK to be a welcome addition. Currently in 18 schools nationwide, plans are in the works to expand MaDYK for kindergartners and students in the third grade and beyond. “It’s about sharing knowledge and resources and finding ways to partner together,” said Elysia Stein, director of operations at the YU-School Partnership. “In 2011, everyone in the field is feeling this push for collaboration. Having schools come together and establish connections between one another can only benefit each institution.” n
k Find out more about what the YU Institute of University-School Partnership at www.yuschoolpartnership.org and follow them on Twitter @yuschoolpartner
Once Upon A Time: Festival of Jewish Folktales Honors YU’s Peninnah Schram
Stern College for 42 years—work to ensure that true communication does not become a lost art, but continues to involve words, heart and soul.” The conference featured storytelling legends such as Dr. Dan Ben-Amos, professor of folklore and Near Eastern studies at the University of Pennsylvania and editor of the major series Folktales of the Jews; Rabbi Saul Berman, professor of Jewish studies at Stern College and an inaugural fellow of the Tikvah Center for Law and Jewish Civilization at New York University Law School; and Ellen Frankel, former CEO and editor-in-chief of the Jewish Publication Society. Stern College for Women, the YU Museum and the American Zionist Movement were co-sponsors. In addition to keynote lectures that highlighted the role of storytelling in Jewish education and tradition, performances explored tales that ran the gamut from a legend about the staff of Elijah to a young woman’s emotional first journey to the Western Wall. “Jewish tradition, being part of oral world literature, contains the jewels and the core of oral traditions the world over,” said Ben-Amos. “In that sense, storytellers like Peninnah are drawing upon a tradition that is dynamic, classical, and an influence on world literature. It’s a real pleasure to celebrate the contribution Peninnah has made in oral and written storytelling—she is a pioneer in the field.” “Folktales are an essential part of Judaism because of the way we tell ourselves about our past determining our future,” said Dr. Steven Fine, director of the Center for Israel Studies. “Bringing this element of the mesorah [transmission of tradition] to life is what YU is all about.” Schram’s colleagues and former students also spoke about her influence in their own development as storytellers. For Yaelle Frohlich, a former student of Schram’s at Stern who is currently pursuing a master’s degree at YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, the festival was an opportunity to celebrate a mentor and to delve deeper into a field that has fascinated her since childhood. “I came as a fan of Professor Schram’s, but also because I have a special love of Jewish folklore,” she said. “The chance to hear about it from an academic perspective was too good to miss.” The festival culminated with a heartfelt performance from Schram herself, as she shared the complex relationship that she, her grandparents, parents and children have with Israel in a piece called “Five Generations Rooted in Israel.” She was also presented with an honorary volume of collected folktales— Mitzvah Stories: Seeds for Inspiration and Learning. Published by Reclaiming Judaism Press and dedicated to Schram, the book contains 60 original stories by professional storytellers, members of the rabbinate, and others. “This is better than an Oscar,” said Schram, who is a recipient of the Covenant Award for Outstanding Jewish Education and the National Storytelling Network’s Lifetime Achievement Award. “An Oscar stays behind glass but this book is a living document with neverbefore-told stories centered around mitzvot—you can dive right in.” She added: “It’s up to each of us to take these stories in our rich Jewish repertoire and transmit them to the next generation. We must wear the mantle of responsibility to perpetuate the Jewish oral tradition.” n
Professor Peninnah Schram
rofessional storytellers, students, academics and members of the public gathered at the Yeshiva University Museum in early November 2011 to share tales rich with tradition, personal meaning and religious discovery during “Folktales of Israel: A Festival of Jewish Storytelling Honoring Professor Peninnah Schram,” organized by YU’s Center for Israel Studies. “So much of the story of the Jewish people is feeling and sharing the warmth of our tradition,” said YU President Richard M. Joel. “People like Peninnah Schram—who has been here with us at
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YU Students Initiate Positive Change in the Heights
college opportunities and career paths, College EDge works with numerous YU departments including the Career Development Center and the Writing Center, and runs an annual fair and seminar that helps prepare public school students for college. It drew 77 students from Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx last year. “We help students get the edge they need on their college education, both by exciting them about the prospect of attending college, and helping them achieve that goal,” explained Jonah Rubin, the program’s president. In March 2011, the New York City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus awarded an $8,000 grant to the Heights Initiative to help fund their community service projects. Other groups that are overseen by the Heights Initiative include YU Bridgers, where students run across the George Washington Bridge to clean it; Project START (Students, Teachers, and Researchers Teach) Science, in which students and professors from YU design and teach science lessons in a local public school; a bone marrow drive targeting eligible donors in the Hispanic community; and a business initiative to help local merchants improve their enterprises and increase revenue. “It is incredibly important to be involved in community service both inside and outside the Jewish community,” said Adam Berman, a former head of the Heights Initiative who currently serves as a mentor. “This is especially imperative when we live in a community that is not predominately Jewish. With that perspective in mind, I think that it is crucial that we do our best to make a positive contribution to our local neighborhood in any way we can.” The Heights Initiative runs a fair every semester for YU students to learn how to become involved in the various outreach opportunities. “Above all else, the Heights Initiative serves as a social-action think-tank, empowering our creative student leaders to make truly meaningful contributions to the Washington Heights community,” said Berman. According to faculty mentor Dr. Gabriel Cwilich, associate professor of physics and the director of the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program, the YU community is benefitting from these interactions as well. “I love when the YU students help out the surrounding community, but what is just as important is that we learn from [them] and bring those skills into our own community,” he said. n
YU students teach in local public shools as part of the START Science program
eshiva University students partaking in the Heights Initiative are mentoring their peers in public schools in the Washington Heights community. With well over 100 participants this year, it is one of the fastest growing student-run organizations in YU. College EDge is one of a number of successful student-run programs operating under the Heights Initiative. Founded to educate public school students about
YU President Richard M. Joel presents a plaque to Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, the Rabbi Henoch and Sarah D. Berman Professor of Talmud at YU’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, who was honored at the RIETS annual dinner in November, along with Dorothy and Rabbi Julius Berman, chairman of the board at RIETS
YU students gathered in September at the United Nations’ Dag Hammarskjold Plaza to protest Durban III, the UN’s controversial conference on racism
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