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SPECI A L COM M ENCEM ENT ISSU E

YUTODAY

YESHIVA UNIVERSITY

SUMMER 2016
VOLUME 20 NO. 2

Meet the Class of 2016


Profiles of the Graduating Students of Yeshiva University

PAGE

Though they are of varying


ages and backgrounds,
these remarkable individuals
embody the unique values
that unite all YU students
and alumni: to enrich the
lives of others and make a
lasting impact on the world
around them.

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In this special commencement issue of YUToday,


we are proud to feature a
select group of graduates
from our various schools
reflecting on their Yeshiva
University experience, their
passions and their future
aspirations. These new
alumni came to YU to pursue
a range of professional and
personal dreams, from
scientific research and
medicine to business, law,
Jewish education and the
creative arts.

Yeshiva University Celebrates 85th Commencement


In Keynote Address, Robert Kraft Tells Graduates to Dream Big

wear a cap and gown for the first time at


eshiva Universitys Class of 2016
commencement, and finally, youve becelebrated its 85th commencecome a doctor!
ment on May 25 at the Theater
The ceremonys keynote speaker was
at Madison Square Garden in New York
Robert Kraft, chairman and CEO of the
City.
Kraft Group and owner of the New EngRabbi Abraham Lieberman 86BR,
land Patriots. In conferring an honorary
head of school at Yeshiva of Los Angedegree upon Kraft, President Joel praised
les High School, delivered the invocahim for practicing a philanthropy that
tion, followed by introductory remarks
did not stop with Israel or Jewish causes;
from YU Board of Trustees Chairman
it has actually spread far beyond to causes
Moshael Straus.
including education, child and womens
Yeshiva University is unique in the
issues, cancer research, Jewish-Christian
world, and our commitmentstronger
dialogue, youth sports and many more.
today than ever beforeis to Torah, to rigYou model for each of us what it means to
orous curricula, to intellectual explorawear our Jewishness with pride.
tion and to service to community so that
After receiving the award, Kraft gave
every one of our students leaves our cama heartfelt speech about how much joy
puses prepared to lead a meaningful life,
his father, Harry Kraft, would have felt if
Straus said.
he could see his son receiving this degree
President Richard M. Joel bestowed
from Yeshiva University. Watching his
the Presidential Medallion on Dr. Ruth
son deliver the commencement address
Bevan, David W. Petegorsky Professor of
New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft delivers keynote address
at Yeshiva would be far more rewarding
Political Science, with much gratitude
to him than all of our Super Bowl successes combined, he said.
and affection for her work in creating a superb political science department shaped
In speaking to the graduates, Kraft focused on gratitude, courage and responsibilby her wisdom, care and unswerving devotion. Bevan has served as a member of YUs
ity. The compassionate heart of his father taught Kraft how to conduct a life committed
faculty since 1965 and is the director of YUs Rabbi Arthur Schneier Program for Interto the highest ethical standards, while his mother, Sarah, taught him that theres no
national Affairs.
bad that doesnt have some good attached to it. Keep coming back like the tide when it
President Joel then conferred an honorary degree upon Rabbi Hershel Billet
doesnt go your way. If you dont give up, you can make your dreams come true.
67YUHS, 71YC, 74R, 82BR, rabbi at the Young Israel of Woodmere in Long Island. He
Kraft encouraged the graduates to have a chalom gadola big dreamthat wakes
recalled that when Rabbi Billet entered Yeshiva College, he planned on being a doctor
you up in the morning ready to attack your day, to persevere and persist until you accoman ambition that was never realized. He also noted that when he graduated, Rabbi Billet
plish it: dont play conservatively between the 40-yard lines. Dont just play it safe bedid not pay the $30 it cost for the cap and gown, choosing instead to donate the money
cause making improbable dreams happen is the story of our people. Continued on Page 8
to charity and attend the ceremony in a suit and tie. So today, said President Joel, you

YUTODAY

Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

YU|DIGITAL

Amit Noor

enjamin N. Cardozo School of Law graduate Amit Noors interest in immigration


and human rights law grew out of personal
experience. Originally from Bangladesh, Noor
moved to New York in 2002 at the age of 10. Traveling with his brother and mother, a political refugee, they were unsure whether they would be able
to remain in America. They had been separated
from Noors father for over a decade. I eventually
received help from an amazing lawyer at Human
Rights First, he said. She was instrumental in
getting my fathers visa approved.
The experience sparked Noors desire to pursue a career in public service. During this time, I
began to realize how important the law is and how
it can be used to help people, said Noor, who
earned a bachelors degree in business journalism
from the City University of New York. I wanted to
make a meaningful impact on someones life just
like that lawyer did for me and my family.

For Noor, Cardozo was a natural choice. I decided to attend Cardozo due to the schools growing reputation and, specifically, because I wanted
to be a part of its Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic, which is very well known for its
work and training, he said. It was a very demanding clinic, and we worked extremely hard, but our
class bonded over this amazing experience.
In addition, Noor served as a staff editor for
the Cardozo Public Law, Policy and Ethics Journal,
secretary of the Public Interest Law Students Association and vice president of For Immigrant
Rights and Equality. He interned at the Human
Rights and Atrocity Prevention Clinic and externed
at the Health Care Reform Field Clinic. He also
participated in Cardozos Intensive Trial Advocacy
Program, a two-week immersion course in which
students learn effective strategies for courtroom
litigation.
At Cardozo, Noor won asylum for his client at the Human Rights Clinic. Seeing her smile
and the tears roll down her friends faces was a
moment I will always remember, he said. Being
able to assist someone in need of good legal servicesdespite not having the finances to hire an
attorneywas the most rewarding aspect of my law
school career.
Noor recently became a U.S. citizen and expressed gratitude to his parents for supporting
him. I consider my mother and my father to be my
heroes because of the sacrifices that they made for
me, he said.
After graduation, Noor accepted a two-year
clerkship with the Department of Justice Honors
Program at the New York Immigration Courtthe
very court where he sat with his mother at her
2009 hearing as she was granted asylum. n

VIDEO

Robert Kraft delivers YUs 85th Commencement address


k yu.edu/kraft

VIDEO

Watch the 2016 Commencement highlights


k yu.edu/commencement16

PHOTO

Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration

Chana Libedinsky

fter a decade in Jewish


education and communal leadership as a
teacher and rebbetzin in Santiago, Chile, Chana Libedinsky knew that she wanted to
refine her skills and incorporate innovative techniques
into her classroom and lectures. But finding the right
program to help her get there
was a struggle. I always felt
the need to continue growing
in the area of chinuch [education], but in Chile, the option
to pursue a masters degree in
Jewish education just doesnt exist, she said.
So when Libedinsky discovered that the principal of the school where she taught had enrolled
in an online program at Yeshiva University, she
began to explore YUs other online options and was
thrilled to learn that the Azrieli Graduate School of
Jewish Education and Administration offered an
online masters in Jewish education. The program
was a perfect fit.
One of the unique advantages of the online
masters is that I can learn as if I were there, said
Libedinsky. The ability to work at her own pace was
also important. I could study with amazing teachers in a professional program while still managing
all the things I needed to do as an educator, mother
of five children and the wife of a rabbi with communal responsibilities. I also received scholarship
assistance to make it possible for me to attend.
Even though she was thousands of miles away

Check out graduation pictures from across all YU schools


k yu.edu/commencementpics

and studying in another language, Libedinsky felt a personal connection with the
faculty. Since Im Chilean,
my mother tongue is Spanish,
and even though Im fluent in
Hebrew and English, it can
still be challenging, she said.
Dr. Ilana Turetsky opened up
a world of educational strategies for me and was always
there to answer questions and
give positive feedback, and Dr.
Jeffrey Glanzs Understanding
Diverse Learners and Curriculum and Assessment courses
made me push myself to higher levels of professionalism. Dr. Aviva Wasser made me rethink my
ideas about teaching and the impact we have on
students. Whenever I felt I could put into practice
something I learned at Azrieli, I felt a strong sense
of purpose and accomplishment.
But for Libedinsky, her most exciting achievement was graduating from the masters program
while working in the field and raising her family. She cant wait to start integrating what shes
learned into her classroom. I want to focus on applying each of the educational principles I learned
in Azrieli with my students and keep refining my
skills in the areas of administration and curriculum
development, she said. I take great pride in my
newly acquired skills as a teacher, I have a broader
vision about the importance of the job Im doing
and I feel empowered to continue growing and becoming better. n

W W W.YU.EDU/NEWS SPECIAL COMMENCEMENT ISSUE SUMMER 2016

YUTODAY

YESHIVA UNIVERSIT Y
SUMMER 2016
VOLUME 20 NO. 2

MOSHAEL J. STRAUS

Chairman, YU Board of Trustees


RICHARD M. JOEL

President
PAUL OESTREICHER

Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs


YUTODAY
MATT YANIV

Director of Marketing and Communications,


Editor in Chief
YAFFI SPODEK

PEREL SKIER HECHT

GISEL PINEYRO

Editor

Associate Editor

Art Director

Daniel Abraham, Joe Bednarsh, Aliza Berenholz, Michael Bettencourt, Dina Burcat,
Yaelle Frohlich, Caitlin Geiger, Linda Hsia, David Khabinsky, Adena Stevens
Contributors
yutoday@yu.edu

www.yu.edu/cpa

YUToday is published 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 Universitys undergraduate and graduate divisions and affiliates. The
newsletter covers academic and campus life, faculty and student research, community
outreach and philanthropic support. It showcases the Universitys 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 2016 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, Chair, Board of Overseers, Yeshiva College; Shira Yoshor, Chair, Board of
Overseers, Stern College for Women; Steve Uretsky, Chair, Board of Overseers, Sy Syms School
of Business; David P. Samson, Chair, Board of Overseers, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law;
Froma Benerofe, Chair, Board of Overseers, Wurzweiler School of Social Work; Mordecai D.
Katz, Chair, Board of Overseers, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies; Dr. Carol
Bravmann, Chair, Board of Overseers, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology; David Rauch,
Chair, Board of Overseers, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration;
Rachel Laufer and Edward Stelzer, Co-chairs, Board of Overseers, Yeshiva University Museum;
Roger W. Einiger, Chair, Board of Trustees, (affiliate) Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Joel M.
Schreiber, Chair, Board of Trustees, (affiliate) Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary; and
Miriam P. Goldberg, Chair, Board of Trustees, (affiliate) YU High Schools.
Board listings as of June 7, 2016

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YUTODAY

Stern College for Women

Rachel Rolnick

ext year, Stern College for Women


graduate Rachel Rolnick will be
headed to Yale Law School to lay
the foundation for a career in human
rights law or government and public policy work. But when she first arrived at
Stern, the Teaneck, New Jersey, native
had never envisioned herself as a lawyer.
It wasnt until she took Comparative
United States and Talmudic Law, a course
taught by Stern alumna Dr. Adina Levine,
that she discovered her passion for legal
discourse.
I loved every minute of that course,
she said. I realized I had to explore my
interest further.
Rolnick was also deeply influenced
by Politics and Shakespeare, taught by Dr.
Matt Holbreich, resident scholar at the
Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for
Torah and Western Thought. It not only
taught me the beauty and significance of

Shakespeares works but transformed my


entire worldview, she said.
As a history major with a minor in
political science, Rolnick was fascinated
by the way philosophies and events from
the past continued to be relevant to todays breaking news cycle. Her senior
thesis focused on the development of the
concept of human rightsa topic Rolnick
spent a lot of time thinking about this
past year when she served as the international criminal chair at YUs National
Model United Nations (YUNMUN), an
annual competition run by YU students
that brings together high schoolers from
around the world for an interactive simulation of the inner workings of the United
Nations.
I participated in YUNMUN for
three years and made some of the most
meaningful memories of my YU experience there, she said.

Dr. Anatoly Frenkel Receives NSF Grant


Dr. Anatoly Frenkel, co-chair of the Department of
Physics, has received a three-year grant of $447,438
from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study
how to create a new class of what are called electrostrictors. The project will be an international effort,
with Frenkel collaborating with Professor Igor Lubomirsky from Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot,
Israel.

For Rolnick, these kinds of opportunities played an important role in her decision to attend YU. I had a lot of options,
but I knew that here I could shine and
achieve anything I wanted. That really
turned out to be truenot just with YUNMUN, but in the way I was able to become
involved in the student government and
form close relationships with faculty who
continue to guide me.
As president of the Stern College for
Women Student Council, Rolnick had
the chance to see many of her ideas become reality. Exploring her strengths and
weaknesses as a leader was a defining part
of her college experience, and it helped
her develop the confidence and determination to emerge from the rigorous law

school application process with acceptances to a number of top-tier schools.


Still, for Rolnick, the moments of
greatest satisfaction came from stepping
back and watching a dream take shape.
The best moment is when youre
standing on the sidelines of a program you
invested months of hard work and planning into and watching it unfold, she
said. For example, seeing 800 students
having a great time at Chanukahfest, or
joining a sea of Stern women dancing at
the Yom Haatzmaut chagiga. Times like
thesewhen the streets are filled with
YU students celebrating togetherreally
exemplify that feeling of nowhere but
here. n

Yeshiva College

Yosef Frenkel

es a scientist, an actor and an


emergency medical technician
and for Yeshiva College graduate
Yosef Frenkel of Riverdale, New York,
thats usually all in the same day.
As a biology major, Frenkel was often
found hard at work in his rigorous science classes or performing research in
Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Josefa
Steinhauers genetics laboratory, both of
which played an integral role in his undergraduate experience. He was also frequently spotted on stage as an actor in one
of the Yeshiva College Dramatic Societys
productions or behind the camera with
MacsLive, the broadcast team that covers Yeshiva athletics, where he served as
chief technology officer. I loved Macs-

In Memoriam:
Dr. Thomas Otway

Live because it allowed me to combine my


passion for cool technology and sports to
make sure family and friends of the players could watch their games, he said.
Then, too, there were times when the
radio at his belt crackled with an urgent
call and the undergraduate student transformed into a seasoned Hatzalah EMT as
he ran for his truck. As a pre-med major,
working as an EMT gives you opportunities to try to figure out whats wrong with
patients and help them get better, while
adding that human dimension, said
Frenkel.
Medical school has been a dream of
Frenkels for a long time. Applying my
love of the sciences and problem solving
to make a difference in the lives of others

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was something I always knew I wanted to


do, he said. But he also knew that there
were many routes to achieve that dream,
and he didnt want it to come at the expense of his spiritual development. I
didnt want to attend a school where I
could just stay Jewish. I wanted a place
where I could grow my Jewish identity,
said Frenkel. And I had heard how amazing the prehealth advising was here and
knew they would help me throughout the
entire process.
At YU, Frenkel has been able to enjoy
fascinating high-level courses in Bible
and Jewish law alongside cutting-edge
science and research opportunities, but
he also discovered a camaraderie among
his peers that can be rare in higher education. Everyone here wants to help you
succeedits like a team sport, he said.
The bond between students here was
unparalleled, and I really valued that.
Still, for Frenkel, who will be attending YU-affiliated Albert Einstein College
of Medicine this year and was selected to
represent the graduating class of Yeshiva
College as valedictorian, the crowning
moment of his undergraduate career is
easy to name. To have that first acceptance in your hand is to know that all the
late-night studying and hard work over
the last four years have paid off, he said.
I have the letters on my wall right now to
help me remember that its real. n

Yeshiva University mourns the


passing of Dr. Thomas H. Otway,
professor and chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences.
Over the course of his 25 years at
YU, Otway taught courses in mathematics, physics and astronomy,
and delivered lectures around
the globe. His research interests
included elliptic-hyperbolic partial
differential equations, applications
to plasma heating, computational
time series analysis and geometric
analysis. Tom was a consummate
team player, a trusted advisor, a profound thinker and a writer of lyrical
emails, said Dr. Karen Bacon, the
Mordecai D. Katz and Dr. Monique
C. Katz Dean of Undergraduate
Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

SPECIAL COMMENCEMENT ISSUE SUMMER 2016 W W W.YU.EDU/NEWS

YUTODAY

Sy Syms School of Business

Joseph Ammar

or Sy Syms School of Business graduate and student-athlete Joseph


Ammar, attending Yeshiva University was an opportunity to become a little more independent and responsible
and connect with his heritage. I wanted
to get closer to Judaism while continuing
to play basketball and represent the Jewish nation while doing so, he said.
Born in Paris, France, Ammar
moved with his family to Miami, Florida,
at the age of 4. At YU, which boasts a large
contingent of French students, Ammar
found a peer group with whom he could
really connect. It was great to be around
students who were also from Paris and be
able to have a good laugh and speak my
native tongue with them, he said.
At Syms, Ammar majored in finance
and minored in management, and he

Ephraim Kanarfogel
Named to Prestigious
Advisory Board

Dr. Ephraim Kanarfogel, E. Billi


Ivry University Professor of Jewish History, Literature and Law,
was appointed to an international
academic advisory board that will
provide scholarly expertise to the
Rhineland region in Germany. The
board is seeking to have the Jewish communities of Speyer, Worms
and Mainz (Shum in Hebrew) designated as a World Heritage site
by the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Center. The
board is tasked with articulating
and highlighting the creativity and
cultural heritage of medieval Ashkenaz, alongside the monuments
and documents.

particularly enjoyed the classes of Dr.


Rachel Calipha, visiting professor of finance. She was a great teacher and always cared so much about her students,
he said.
This year, Ammar plans to work in
real estate finance to learn the ins and
outs of business and get the most experience and education possible at the outset
of his career.
Outside the classroom, Ammar
maintained an impressive assortment
of commitments. He was involved in
YUs Finance Club for undergraduate
students, held internships at two large
investment firms (Raymond James Financial and Morgan Stanley), worked
part-time for a high-end catering company and volunteered with mentally disabled individuals. Additionally, Ammar

was a student mentor in MTAs LEAD


program, in which college students teach
YU High School students about entrepreneurship. He also worked with three
students to develop a food truck business
plan, and he pointed out different ways
to maximize the products efficiency and
the potential challenges they might face.
The experience taught me how to further develop a product and also how to
be a teacher and mentor for younger students, he said.
But Ammar noted that some of his
most memorable moments at YU were
on the basketball court, where he played
forward for the mens NCAA Division III
basketball team. In February, he helped
lead the team to victory against St. Josephs CollegeLong Island, clinching
the Maccabees first home playoff game
since 2002, scoring nine points on three
consecutive three-point plays in the second half. Then in March, he captained
YUs team to the National Hillel Basketball Tournament championship, beating
out more than 30 teams from across the
country and winning MVP.
The team forged an unforgettable
camaraderie as they represented the
University and the community. The
home playoff game, when all the students
and fans sang Hatikvah as a group, was
one of the greatest feelings, Ammar recalled. At YU, I had many memorable
moments with a great group of friends
who I know will always be there for me as
I grow older. n

David Shatz Named


Stanton University
Professor

President Richard M. Joel has


named Dr. David Shatz 65YUHS,
69YC, 73R, 73BR the Ronald
P. Stanton University Professor
in Philosophy, Ethics, and Religious Thought. The Stanton Chair
is named for Ronald P. Stanton,
who in 2006 gave $100 million to
Yeshiva University to establish the
Stanton Legacy, from which funds
are used to enhance undergraduate and Jewish education.
Dr. Shatz is a world-class
scholar, a dedicated teacher and
a consummate YU citizen, said Dr.
Selma Botman, provost and vice
president for academic affairs. We
take great pride in his accomplishments and in his deep commitment
to his students, his discipline and
this University.

Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies

Gabriel Wasserman

or newly minted Bernard Revel


Graduate School of Jewish
Studies PhD graduate Gabriel
Wasserman, piyyut [Hebrew liturgical poetry] is more than just the subject of his dissertation; its his lifes
passion and the manifestation of living ritual within Judaism.
Wassermans interest in piyyutim began in childhood, while looking
through his fathers Jewish holiday
prayer books. I saw that the piyyutim
were a special, unique liturgy for each
of the holidays, he said. And I loved
the idea of a variegated, interesting
liturgy for each day.
That led me down a path, as a
teenager, to seek out more and more
special liturgy, eventually to write
some in my 20s and become a researcher into unpublished material, continued Wasserman, a New York native.
Wassermans dissertation, which he
defended in March, presents and contextualizes piyyutim that were recited in
medieval European synagogues on Chanukah. He explained the various regional
liturgical rites to which each of the poems
belongs and the different midrashic [rabbinic interpretations] and other sources
that the poets used to weave the narrative
and non-narrative themes of their poems.
Wasserman praised his adviserDr.
Ephraim Kanarfogel, E. Billi Ivry University Professor of Jewish History, Litera-

W W W.YU.EDU/NEWS SPECIAL COMMENCEMENT ISSUE SUMMER 2016

ture and Lawfor giving him the leeway


to choose a creative topic that was off the
beaten path. I think it was his energy in
the class that made me want to work with
him, he said.
Beyond his dissertation, Wassermans most prized achievement is his
self-published edition of the Passover
Haggadah. He began the project in 2010
and has completed six editions since.
Wasserman intends to find a publisher
for future editions.
The Haggadahin Hebrew and English, with sprinklings of Yiddish and Ladinois a product of his astounding

scholarly acumen and poetic creativity. It


contains historical halachic analysis and
numerous piyyutim from the Middle Ages
as well as piyyutim that he wrote himself.
To explain his larger philosophy of
piyyut, Wasserman utilized an unlikely
parallel: how Liza Minnelli incorporated
dramatic performance into her musical
numbers after realizing that her voice
couldnt match that of her mother, Judy
Garland. Similarly, not everyone can be a
Cantor Moshe Koussevitzky or Yossele
Rosenblatt, he said. But everyone can
perform Yetziat Mitzrayim [the Exodus]
with song and praise and piyyut. n

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ALUMNITODAY

YESHIVA UNIVERSITY
SUMMER 2016

Alumni Mark Milestone Reunions


As part of our commencement issue, AlumniToday features three noteworthy alumni who celebrated their 60th, 50th and 40th
Yeshiva University reunions this year. Representing the classes of 1956, 1966 and 1976, these alumniRabbi Julius Berman,
Rabbi Benjamin Yudin and Amy Katzhave carved out successful careers, from law to the rabbinate to Jewish communal work,
while embodying the Torah Umadda ideals of YU.

JULIUS BERMAN: A LIFETIME OF SERVICE TO THE JEWISH COMMUNITY

Julius Berman 56YC, 59R can pinpoint the moment his life changed forever.
While attending Yeshiva College in the 1950s, he was walking past the beit
midrash [study hall] while Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik zl, the Rav, was
delivering his annual yahrzeit shiur [lecture upon the anniversary of death]
in memory of his father, Rav Moshe Soloveitchik zl. Although Berman had
heard about the Rav, he had never seen him or listened to him speak before.
Berman believed that it was hearing the clarity of
analysis and beauty of exposition delivered in flawless
classic Yiddish enveloped in the unique charisma
reflected by the Rav that engaged him then and enraptures him still. Hearing the Rav set the course of my life,
he said.
Berman was born in Lithuania and arrived in the
United States in 1940, after the Germans invaded Poland
in 1939. His family settled down in Hartford, Connecticut, where his father worked as a schochet [ritual slaughterer]. The Hartford Yeshiva had been established a few
months before his arrival, and the first years of his education took place there. When there werent enough students to form an eighth grade, his parents decided to
send Yudelas Berman was known in Yiddishto New
York City to attend Torah Vodaath, where he graduated
in 1952. He then moved on to Yeshiva College, where he
earned a BA, and graduated from New York University
School of Law, where he was first in his class. Berman
then joined the New York City law firm of Kaye Scholer
LLP, where he has been ever since.
Even after his formal schooling was over, the effect
of hearing the Ravs teachings never left him. Berman
attended the Ravs shiur [lecture] for many years until he
earned semicha [ordination] at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan

I want to contribute to building this


society as a full member. But I will also
be my own person when it comes to
my relationship with Hashem.
Rabbi Julius Berman

Theological Seminary (RIETS) in 1959. He continued attending the Ravs


Tuesday night lectures for decades, which the Rav prepared for graduates,
both rabbis and others making their forays into their professional careers.
After the Ravs wife passed away in 1967, he asked me to take possession of
the contents of several filing cabinets in his home with the direction that
they be preserved and published, Berman recalled. They were pieces the
Rav had written in English, and they were on every topic.
After the Rav passed away, Berman worked with the Ravs family to
form the Toras HoRav Foundation to publish the works. There are now 10
published volumes, with more planned. Berman calls these works a treasure trove of thought that will contribute to the continuation and advancement of the everlasting principles of authentic Judaism for centuries to
come.

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The Ravs teachings and guidance have served Berman well throughout
a long and illustrious career as a leader in numerous national and international Jewish organizations, along with a full-time professional legal career.
Since 2002, he has been president of the Conference on Jewish Material
Claims Against Germany (known as the Claims Conference). He also served
as chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish
Organizations and the American Zionist Youth Foundation and as president

of the Orthodox Union, the Jewish Telegraph Agency and the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs, to name just a few of the organizations he has led. In addition, he has been a board member of the Jewish
Agency for Israel, the World Zionist Executive, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the UJA-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of
New York.
Back at YU, Berman chaired the Board of RIETS for 12 years and now
serves as chairman emeritus. He is also a member of the YU Board of Trustees. He cites with pride the fact that his wife, Dorothy 59S, 60F was the first
Stern College for Women graduate to receive a masters degree at Yeshiva,
from Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, and notes that his sons, Zev
82YC (married to Judy 84S) and Rabbi Eliott 83YUHS, 87YC, 91R (married to Dr. Miriam 84YUHS, 88S) Berman and many of his grandchildren
and extended family are alumni as well.
I am overwhelmingly optimistic about Jewish life in the 21st century,
Berman said. Looking through the prism of the Ravs teachings, I sense that
we are on the right path. On the right, they say a person cant be frum [pious]
in this world and must, therefore, dissociate oneself from participating in
the hustle and bustle of life. On the left, they opt for full membership in society via jettisoning from oneself the trappings of religious life and becoming
a full member of society.
But Berman said that this is what the Rav counseled, quoting the selfdescription of Abraham: Ger vetoshav anochi imachemI am both a stranger
and a resident among you. We can be bothwe must be both, he said. I
want to contribute to building this society as a full member. But I will also be
my own person when it comes to my relationship with Hashem [God]. Its
Continued on Page 6
doable.

ALUMNITODAY 1

ALUMNITODAY
CLASSNOTES
YOUR NEWS IS OUR NEWS!

Class Notes is where Yeshiva


University 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 emailing
alumni@yu.edu 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.

1940s
Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm 49YC, 51R,
66BR was honored with the Rabbinic
Leadership Award at the Manhattan
Jewish Experience Annual Dinner.
Marilyn and Rabbi Alvin Marcus 44YUHS,
48YC, 52R, 52W were honored with the
Legacy Award at the 50th Annual AABJ&D
Shul Dinner.

1950s
Seymour Hoffman
56YC edited
Psychologist, Acquire
a Teacher for Yourself:
Views and Responsa
of Rabbis Regarding
Psychological Treatment
(Golden Sky Books,
2016).

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updates for YU alumni.
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news and information.
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alumnidirectory today!

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2 ALUMNITODAY

Sylvia Barack Fishman


64S, published her
eighth book, Love,
Marriage and Jewish
Families: Paradoxes of
a Social Revolution.
(Brandeis University
Press, 2015).

Judah Klein 52YUHS, 56 YC, 56TI, 72F


reviewed Menachem Begins Zionist Legacy
at Congregation Torah Ohr in Boca Raton,
Florida.

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein


58R, 77BR received an
Honorary Doctorate from
Bar-Ilan University.

Michael (Mechy)
Frankel 64YUHS, 68YC,
71R joined Johns
Hopkins University
Applied Physics
Laboratory as a National
Security Fellow. His paper
Non-Strategic Nuclear
Weapons, published in
the Air and Space Power
Journal of the US Air Force, was recently
translated and published in Chinese.
A second paper, Electromagnetic
Propagation from Underground Nuclear
Explosions, was published in the Journal
of Radiation Effects. He also delivered an
invited talk at Harvard University to a
conference on threats to civilization in
turbulent times.

1960s
Sara and Rabbi Aharon Angstreich
65YUHS, 70YC, 72F, 73R announce
the birth of their great-granddaughter
Maya Chava, born to Yaacov and Yehudit
Chen Travits.
Toni 65YUHS, 69S and Phil Chernofsky
69YC announce the Bar Mitzvah of
their grandson Lavi Zeev, son of Miri and
Dr. David Schler.
Miriam and Gil Ellenberg 67YUHS, 71YC,
75E announce the birth of their granddaughter Nechama Leba to their children
Danielle and Josh Ellenberg.
Dr. Howard R.
Feldman 62YUHS
published: The
Jehoash Affair: A
Personal Reflection
in Ancient Near East
Today (October 2015,
Vol. III, No. 10) and
presented a paper
with Dina Beck,
Teaching Paleobiology to Children with
Autism at the Geological Society of
Americas Annual Meeting in Baltimore,
Maryland. Dr. Feldman also published his
book, Paleontology and Geology of the
Martinsburg, Shawangunk, Onondaga and
Hornerstown Formations (Northeastern
United States) with some field guides
(Academic Studies Press/Touro College
Press, 2015).

Dr. Lois (Schwartzfarb) 71S and Irving


Grabin 70YC and Mindy (Ganz) 74S,
99BR and Rabbi Dr. David Ribner 68YC,
72R, 72BR, 74W on the birth of a granddaughter, Netta Shifra, born to Gabi and
Sara Grabin. Dr. Lois and Irving Grabin also
announce the birth of their grandson Harel
David, born to Yehonatan and Dana Grabin.
Halana and Alan Greenberg 79YUHS,
82YC, 85C announce the birth of their
granddaughter Livia Hallie to their children
Raquel 13C and Judah Sosnick.
Leah and Philip Kazlow 76YC announce
the birth of a grandson to Chani 13S and
Natan Friedman.

Ellen Seigel 78W


published Be
Happy No Matter
What5 Steps to
Inner Freedom
(Clear Path
Publishing,
December 2012).

Zvi Gastwirt 62YC announces the marriage


of his granddaughter Hadas Gastwirt to
Shachar Karasanti.
Barbara and Dov Gilor 67F announce the
birth of a great granddaughter to Eliyahu
and Rivka Goldstein.
Lia and Dr. Leslie Honikman 66E
announce the birth of a grandson, born to
their children Sara and Naftali Honikman.

Rabbi Dr. Joel Rosenshein 52YUHS,


56YC, 58R has established a mental health
award at Torah Umesorah, which will be
given annually to a principal or rebbe who
has excelled with his school or students in
dealing with mental health issues.
Fay and Rabbi Yitzchak Sladowsky
50YUHS, 54YC, 56R announce the
marriage of their granddaughter Elky
Krupka to Duvie Goldofsky, and also
announce the birth of a great grandson to
their grandchildren Ora and Aryeh Dauber.

Doreen 78S and Beryl Eckstein 75YUHS,


79YC received the Friends of Sderot award
at the annual Sderot dinner.

Eva Kahana 62S was


awarded the 2016
Frank and Dorothy
Humel Hovorka Prize,
given to those who have
made extraordinary
contributions to their
academic field.

Lisa (Treitman) Solomon 79S announces


the marriage of her daughter Channah to
Rabbi BenTzion Lazovsky, and the marriage
of her daughter Zahava to Gabe Edery. She
also announces the birth of a granddaughter
to Rabbi and Mrs. Eliezar Solomon.
Debbie 99TI and Rabbi Pesach
Wachsman 71YC announce the birth of
a grandson, born to Pinny and Vivi Scharf.
The Wachsmans also announce the birth
of a great-grandson.
Beth and Dr. Paul White 75YC announce
the engagement of their son Noam to
Elisheva Rosenwasser.

Phyllis Curchack Kornspan 69S


announces the birth of a granddaughter,
Talya Hodaya, to Terry and Amir Kogan.

Ezra Wohlgelernter
78YC of Feldman
Shepherd Wohlgelernter
Tanner Weinstock Dodig
LLP has been installed
as President of the
Philadelphia Trial Lawyers
Association (PTLA).

Ruth and Dan Krasner 62YC announce


the Bar Mitzvah of their grandson Nachum
Herzl, son of Haviva and Jacob Ner David
in Israel.
Dr. Rochel Landesman 64S and Rabbi
Henoch Millen 60YC, 62R, 74BR
announce the birth of a great-granddaughter to their grandchildren Arara and
Shlomo Askotsky.
Naomi (Minder) Lehrfeld 64S announces
the birth of a grandson Eliezer Yehudah to
Brocho and Yoni Lehrfeld.
Rhoda and Joel Paul 67F announce the
birth of a granddaughter to Chani and Bram
Bregman.
Dr. Joel B. Wolowelsky 69BS recently
edited Memory and Meaning, a collection of
19 masterful meditations on Yizkor by Rabbi
Dr. Norman Lamm, published by Koren and
YU Press.

1970s
Shulamith Berger 76YUHS, 84BR had
a chapter of a Yiddish book she has been
translating, Mr. Friedkin and Shoshana:
Wandering Souls on the Lower East Side,
published in the 2016 translation issue of
Pakn Treger, the Yiddish Book Centers
magazine.
Esther and Dr. Shalom Buchbinder
75YC, 81E announce the marriage of their
son Yochanan 11YUHS to Jenny Korman.

1980s
Lori 82S and Jonathan Caplan 81YC
announce the birth of a grandson to their
children Emily and Joey Caplan.
David Chernoff
80YUHS, 95W recently
joined the staff of Great
Circle, a statewide
behavioral health
nonprofit in Missouri.

Miriam Dobin 88S


published her new book
I Am Because of You
(CreateSpace, 2015).

Debra (Dresher) 80S and Dr. David


Fischman 81YC, 83F announce the
marriage of their daughter Neema 12S
to Michael Adler 10YC.

Laura 90SB and


Yossi Goldman
88SB announce
the Bar Mitzvah
of their son,
Zachary.

SEARCH THE ALUMNI DIRECTORY FOR CLASSMATES AT WWW.YU.EDU/ALUMNIDIRECTORY

Lynn (Miller) 87S and Sheldon Hanau


87YC announce the engagement of their
daughter Alicia to Avi Packer.

Cindy (Wagner) 92S and Joshua Haynes


announce the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter
Jessica Aliza.

Leah 88S and Jon Jacobson 90SB


announce the engagement of their daughter
Carol 15S to Shuey Mirkin.

Janice 93S and Steven Jacobs 91YUHS,


95SB announce the Bat Mitzvah of their
daughter Kira.

Hannah and Daniel Katsman 81YC, 84R,


87BR announce the Bat Mitzvah of their
daughter Tzviya. Mazel tov to grandfather
Philip Katsman 51YC, 54R.

Matthew Klein
93YC created
The Martial Arts of
Wellness, merging
his experience as a
Kung Fu Master and
science to create a
method of healing
and wellness for
the body.

Chana and Rabbi


Joshua Kupchik
80YUHS, 85YC, 88R
announce the
engagement of their
daughter Michal
Tikvah 11YUHS, 15S
to Aryeh Sklar 15YC.
Randi and Arthur Luxenberg 81YC, 84C
announce the engagement of their daughter
Jacqueline to Jonathan Spiegel.
Rachie 89YUHS and Lee Niren 90YC,
96W announce the birth of a grandson to
their children Tamar and Daniel.
Daniella (Shloush) 94S, 96A and Rabbi
Josh Rudoff 84YUHS, 87YC, 91R
announce the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter
Matana Yaffa.
Judy 81S and Rabbi Ronald Schwarzberg
80YC, 82F, 83R announce the engagement
of their daughter Shayna 16SB to Noam
Itzhak 16SB.

Dr. Marc Singer


81YC, 85E was
named one of the 13
Doctors of Distinction
by Long Island Pulse
Magazine.

Francine Love 91C


announced the formation
of her own law firm,
Love Law Firm, serving
businesses on Long Island
with their corporate and
employment matters.
Rachel Ornstein
Packer 91W
published her first
Jewish childrens
picture book,
Sky-High Sukkah
(Behrman House,
2016).

Lisa and Eric Pinkis


99SB announce the
birth of their son
Aitan Moshe.

Jennifer and Ezra Pollak 96YC announce


the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter Ilana.
Ayala 96YUHS and Rabbi Dani Rockoff
01YC, 03R, 05A, 09BR announce the
birth of a son.

Wendy 89S, 89W and Avi Spiegelman


87YC announce the marriage of their
daughter Naama to Tzvi Wapner. Mazel tov
to grandparents Naomi and Rabbi
Mordechai Spiegelman 55YC, 59R.
Zahava 80C and Chairman of YU Board of
Trustees Moshael Straus 70YUHS, 74YC
announce the marriage of their daughter
Eliana to Matthew Greenberg. Mazel tov to
Matthews parents Halana and Alan
Greenberg 79YUHS, 82YC, 85C.
Deborah 85S and Joe Weisblatt 83YC
announce the marriage of their daughter
Yael to Aviv Hashmaty.
Rachelle (Weinberg) 89S and Mark
Zomick 84YUHS, 88YC announce the
marriage of their daughter Shoshana to
Kenny Rub.

1990s
Meira (Schneider)
98S, 04F and Simcha
Atik 94YUHS
announce the Bat
Mitzvah of their
daughter Bat-Tzion.

Feigy 00SB and Josh Cantor 97YC


announce the Bar Mitzvah of their son Ethan.
Daniel Y. Gielchinsky
98SB, 01C was elected
Commissioner in the
Town of Surfsides
municipal election in
March.

Dr. Dale Rosenbach


99YUHS, 03YC was
invited to Victoria, British
Columbia, to give a
full-day lecture to the
Victoria & District Dental
Society in May 2016.
The morning session was
entitled Atraumatic Exodontia: Principles,
Concepts and Techniques, and the
afternoon session was entitled Critical
Considerations for Sinus Augmentation
for the Referring Dentist.
Penina Rybak 92S
published Autism
Intervention in the
iEra: Practical Social
Communication
Strategies for
Integrating Toys and
Tech in Treatment
(AuthorHouse,
2015).
Rabbi Eliezer Schnall,
PhD 95YUHS, 00YC,
02F, 03R, 06F,
professor of psychology
at Yeshiva College,
authored an article
illustrating how the new
field of positive psychology can be adapted by
religious educators to encourage student
growth and development. The article was
coauthored by Rabbi David J. Schnall,
University Professor of Jewish Culture and
Society and Dean Emeritus of the Azrieli
Graduate School of Jewish Education and
Administration. Their research, which was
supported by Azrieli, will appear in the
journal Religious Education.

Rabbi Gideon Shloush 93YC, 97R


assumed the presidency of the New York
Board of Rabbis.
Rabbi Ari Weiss
97YUHS, 03YC has
been named the new
Executive Director of
Cornell Hillel.
Daniel Wise 91YC was
named a Guggenheim
Fellow in Mathematics
by the Guggenheim
Memorial Foundation.

Warsaw Uprising to Nazi POW, the


Holocaust memoirs of his grandfather,
Charlie Lelonek (CreateSpace Independent
Publishing, 2016).
Shari 97S and Yaakov Markovitz 97YC
announce the Bar Mitzvah of their son David.
Rena Mirzoeff 08YUHS, 12S announces
her engagement to Shloime Berkowitz.
Sara 07S and Eric Pollak 08YC announce
the birth of a baby girl. Mazel tov to grandparents Beatrice 74YUHS, 77TI and Rabbi
Gary Menchel 74YUHS, 78YC, 81R.

Ari Zoldan 99SB, CEO


of Quantum Networks,
served as the emcee
for the VIP gathering
to celebrate the first
anniversary of the
founding of the Orthodox
Jewish Chamber of Commerce (OJC) and
the official launch of the 2016 J-Biz Expo.

2000s
Lori 03SB, 05C and Shai Barnea 03YC
announce the birth of a baby girl.
Nicole Bodner 07S announces her
engagement to Dr. Marc Murinson.
Dr. Michael Cohen
93YC delivered the
second Kristine Luken
Memorial Lecture at the
Galilee Center for Studies
in Jewish-Christian
Relations at the Max
Stern Yezreel Valley College on the topic of
The Zionist Debt to Christians: We Didnt
Do it Alone.

Susanne (Goldstone) 02S and Evan


Tex Rosenhouse 05SB, 10W announce
the birth of their son Alexander David.
Naomi and Rabbi Ari Schwarzberg 07YC,
09A, 10R announce the birth of a baby boy.
Alyson 07W and Shamir Seidman 14SB
announce the birth of twin sons.
Pnina Seplowitz 00SB has been named
the next Executive Director of OneFamily
USA, the Teaneck-based national
organization that provides rehabilitation
and financial support to families and victims
of terror in Israel.

Jason Eisenman 09SB announces his


engagement to Ariana Weissman. Mazel tov
to Jasons parents Judi and Alan
Eisenman 74YUHS.
Naomi Friedman 09YUHS, 13S and
Ari Friedman 14YC announce their
engagement. Mazel tov to their parents
Ilana 86S and Dr. Seth Friedman 84YC,
and Shayna and Dr. Gerald Friedman
83YC.
Rena Garbow 09S and Dov Winston
14YC announce their engagement.
Raziel and Perel
(Skier) Hecht
09S announce
the birth of
Shimshon Aryeh.
Mazel tov to
grandparents
Channe and Dr. Mark Skier 87YC, 91E
and Rabbi Benjamin and Naomi Hecht.
Rabbi Simcha Hopkovitz 02YC, 14R
published Yismach Moshe, a new sefer with
a collection of novella on tractate Bava
Kamma.

Adina 07S, 09A and Aaron Steinberg


06YC, 10W announce the birth of their son
Noah Simon.
Tzivia 09S 11W and Bezalel Wasser
09YC announce the birth of their daughter
Rivka Adira.
Rabbi Jay Weinstein 05SB, 09R delivered
the invocation before the United States
House of Representatives.
Rabbi Tuly Weisz 02YC, 04C, 05R
launched a new innovative Tanakh website,
TheIsraelBible.com, to highlight the land
of Israel.

2010s

Tali 04S, 12A and Rabbi Eric Ifrah 04YC,


07R announce the birth of a daughter.
Rabbi Joshua Kahn 02YC, 05R, 08A has
been named the new head of school at
Yeshiva University High School for Boys.
Esti 09S and Rabbi Avi Kilimnick 05YC,
08R, 09A announce the birth of a baby boy.
Naomi 03S, 06W and Rabbi Eli Kohl
06YC, 08R announce the birth of their
daughter Talia Rina.
Dr. Gary Lelonek 04YC, 10E published
We Fought Like Lions: A Polish Jewish
Soldiers Odyssey through the Holocaust:

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Tamar Berger 15S and Gideon


Herschander 15YC announce their
engagement.
Gilad Besterman 12SB announces his
engagement to Danielle Warn.

ALUMNITODAY 3

ALUMNI IN ACTION
Professional Networks Connect Alumni and Entrepreneurs
THE BUSINESS OF SPORTS (MAY 9, 2016)

THE REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS GROUP HOSTS BILL RUDIN (MAY 16, 2016)

The Wall Street Group hosted The Business of Sports, a conversation with David Samson
93C, president of the Miami Marlins; Mark Wilf, owner and president of the Minnesota
Vikings; and Ahmed Zayat 83YC, owner of American Pharoah and Zayat Stables, moderated
by Lawrence Burian 91YC, executive vice president of the Madison Square Garden Company
and MSG Networks Inc.

The Real Estate Professionals Group hosted Bill Rudin, CEO and vice chairman of Rudin
Management Company and chairman of the Real Estate Roundtable, in conversation with
Michael Stoler.

m Yudi Teichman 89YC; Wall Street Committee member Lance Hirt 87YC; and
Lior Hod 88YC

m Josh Muss 58YUHS, 62YC, chair of the Yeshiva University Real Estate Committee,
with presenters Michael Stoler and Bill Rudin

m Moderator Lawrence Burian 91YC with panelists David Samson 93C, Mark Wilf and
Ahmed Zayat 83YC

m Michael Stoler (center) with Josh Muss (second from right) with Muss family: daughter
Robin, son Jason 93YC and granddaughter Tova 17SB

THE WALL STREET GROUP HOSTS LEON COOPERMAN (MAY 17, 2016)

The Wall Street Group hosted a presentation by Leon Cooperman, founder, chairman and CEO of Omega Advisors, Inc.

m Wall Street Committee member Bennett Schachter 97SB, speaker Leon Cooperman
and Wall Street Committee co-chair Lawrence Askowitz 87YC

m Wall Street Committee member Marc Gelbtuch 91YUHS, 96SB, Josh Baldinger,
Josh Joseph 12SB and Andrew Gelbtuch 05YUHS, 10SB

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k The Yehsiva University professional networks are proud to continue connecting YU alumni and friends with leading experts across industries. If you would like more information, please email alumni@yu.edu

4 ALUMNITODAY

DOWNLOAD THE YU ALUMNI SMARTPHONE APP AT WWW.YU.EDU/ALUMNI/APP

Alumni Celebrate Reunion 2016


REUNION (MAY 24, 2016)

Alumni from the classes of 1956, 1966, 1976, and 1991 gathered for Yeshiva University Reunion 2016 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

m Stern College for Women Class of 1966 alumnae Miriam (Tennenbaum) Feller and
Elisheva (Rabinovitch) Teitz with their husbands Jerome Feller 62YC and Eliezer Teitz

m Class of 1991 alumnus Ami Aharon with Raphael Aharon, Class of 1976

m Class of 1991 alumnae Michelle Chrein, Shoshana (Levine) Schechter, Rachel (Mohl) Abrahams, Larraine (Karp) Gersten and
Karen (Muth) Raskas

m Class of 1991 alumni Daniel Oshinsky, Dov Lando, Evan Maron and David Matkowsky

m Shoshana (Levine) Schechter 91S, director


of the Mechina Pathways Program,
reminisces about her time as a student
and tells the audience about what YU
is like today

m Victor Didia 66YC presents the class


gift to the University and imparts the
importance of giving back to YU

m Class of 1966 alumni Rabbi Tobias Feinerman and Dr. Julian Gordon, with their wives
Roslyn Feinerman and Ilka Gordon

m Professor of Jewish Studies Rabbi Saul Berman delivers a shiur before dinner on
Blessing Our Children with Birkat Kohanim

CHECK OUT WHAT ALUMNI EVENTS ARE HAPPENING ON CAMPUS AND AROUND THE WORLD AT WWW.YU.EDU/ALUMNIEVENTS

m Yeshiva College Class of 1966 alumni


Standing: Rabbi Lawrence Grossman
and Victor Didia; Seated: Barry Greengart
and Arthur Feinerman

ALUMNITODAY 5

ALUMNITODAY
Alumni Mark Milestone

Continued from Page 1

RABBI BENJAMIN YUDIN: LEADING FROM THE PULPIT

The journey that transformed Rabbi Benjamin Yudin 66YC, 69R, 69BR into the
spiritual leader of Congregation Shomrei Torah in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, began in
the 1950s in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where he was born and raised.
He attended the local day school,
Crown Heights Yeshiva, and also
spent time in the beit midrash
[study hall] of the Lubavitcher
Rebbe. He attended the Rabbi
Jacob Joseph School on the Lower
East Side and also spent time at the
Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters at
770 Eastern Parkway.
These and other educational
experiences, such as studying with
Rabbi Moshe Chait in Crown
Heights and Rabbi Zvi Dov Kanotopsky at Eastern Parkway, were
enough to convince him that he
wanted to play a part in guiding the
life of the Jewish people. In 1962,
he enrolled in Yeshiva College to
pursue this dream. I knew, when I
started at Yeshiva, that I wanted to
be a rabbi, he said. So he became a
history major, figuring that historical knowledge would be helpful in
his quest because history repeats
itself, and its always important to
ask your elders.
After graduating from Yeshiva
College, he took the next step on
his rabbinical journey by enrolling
in a dual program where he
received a masters degree in Jewish history from Bernard Revel
Graduate School of Jewish Studies
and, at the same time, earned semicha [rabbinical ordination] from
RIETS.
Rabbi Benjamin Yudin
The year 1969 would prove to
be a busy one for Yudin. In addition
to graduating, he assumed the leadership of Congregation Shomrei Torah and, at the same time, began teaching at Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy/Yeshiva University High School for Boys. Each
morning I had a carpool of local boys that I drove to the city, and thats how we
started the daily minyan, he recalled. My wife, Shevi, made them breakfast, and so
they showed up a little earlier. For the minyan, there were several boys, a few balabatim [regular folks] and one rabbi10 total.

In many respects,
I have never left YU
because, for a certain
population, YU represents continuity, pride
and one of the most
significant lifelines to
Judaism.

Meira 10A and Rabbi Ari Federgrun 10YC,


15R announce the birth of their daughter
Aliza Nechama.
Elie Freilich 10YC announces his engagement to Aliza Nussbaum.
Ben Hershkowitz 16SB announces his
engagement to Yudit Gluck.

Shifra 12S
and Benjy
Leibowitz
10YC, 12A,
13R announce
the birth of a
baby boy.

Mitchell Leff/NBC

Yitzchak Schwartz 11YC, 15BR announces


his engagement to Galit Wernick 14S.

Andi and Josh Krisch 13YC announce the


birth of a baby boy.

6 ALUMNITODAY

Ilana Gadish 11S, 13W and Moshe Peters


12YC announce the birth of their daughter
Lila Pnina.

Batya Sadek 13S announces her engagement to Nissim Franco.

Shoshana (Adler) 10S, 15A and Jordan


Kaplan announce the birth of their twin sons
Aharon Meir and Daniel Yochanan. Mazel tov
to grandparents Nitza 87S and Russell
Adler 85YC and Penny and Michael Kaplan.

Bianca Lerer 16F and David Pineles 11YC


announce their engagement.

Stacie and Rabbi Hartley Perlmutter 13R,


13A announce the birth of a baby girl.

Eliana 15S and Marc Poleyeff 15YC


announce the birth of their daughter Adina
Bracha.

Ahuva Miller 16SB and David Adelson


15SB announce their engagement.

Yitzchak Hier 14YC announces his


engagement to Adira Reback.

Sara Lebowitz 10S and Meir Gross


06YUHS, 12SB announce their
engagement.

From 1969 to 1983, Yudin taught at MTA, and in 1983, he began his tenure at
the James Striar School of General Jewish Studies (JSS), a program for students
who are less familiar with the Hebrew language and textual study but who desire a
broad-based Jewish philosophical and textual education. From 1983 to
1991, Yudin headed JSS and taught classes and he still teaches there today.
In my classes, I teach literally a League of Nations: Venezuela, Argentina,
France, El Salvador, Iran and the former Soviet Union are some of the
places where the boys come from, he said. You cant imagine what its
like to teach these boys. They arrive knowing nothing, and within weeks
theyre on fire with learning.
Over his four decades of leadership, Yudins congregation has grown
from 17 families to 300, and he has invested himself in outreach and pastoral care that emphasizes building a community that also feels and functions like a tight-knit family. Rabbi
Joseph Lockstein once said that the
ideal rabbi becomes a family member to each member of his community. This is what Shevi and I try to
do with our meals and services and
accepting all Jews into our kehillah
[Jewish community] no matter
where they come from, Yudin said.
He is also an author (ArtScroll
Transliterated Linear Machzor) and
a radio star, having offered a weekly
Torah address on Nachum Segals
84YC program JM in the AM for
over three decades. In 2013, Mosaica Press published a collection of
his radio talks, Rabbi Benjamin
Yudin on the Parsha.
Yudin has been fortunate to
lead the kind of Jewish life he had
envisioned when he first knew that
being a rabbi was his destiny. And
YU has played an irreplaceable role in helping him achieve that dream, given that
he has spent almost half a century of his life connected to the University, not only
through his own affiliations but through his family as well.
His wife, Shevi, 62YUHS, 64TI and many of his seven children and their
spouses are YU alumni: Chaviva and Rabbi Larry Rothwachs 99YC, 01R; Penina
and Dr. Bin Goldman; Rivka and Rabbi Andi Yudin 99YC, 02R; Ruth 93S and
Rabbi Nisanel Yudin 83YUHS, 90YC, 92R, 92A; Atara 00S and Rabbi Aryeh
Yudin 96YUHS, 00YC, 04A; Susan 91S and Joel Hirschey 88YC; and Dvora
92SB and Steven Hirschey 89YC.
In many respects, I have never left YU because, for a certain population, YU
represents continuity, pride and one of the most significant lifelines to Judaism,
he said. You need a synagogue for prayer and socialization and a school for education, and YU is unique in that it provides both Judaica on a high level as well as
good secular education. For me, personally, its been nothing less than a thrill to be
part of YU.
Continued on Page 7

RIETS student Akiva Neuman 15SB


competed on NBCs show American
Ninja Warrior.

Shira 10S and Josh Silber 08SB


announce the birth of a baby boy.
Ita and Jake Steinmetz 12YC announce
the birth of their daughter Chana.
Shoshana and Jonah Steinmetz 16YC
announce the birth of their son Shmuel. Mazel
tov to grandparents Elisheva 91S, 14A and
Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky 89YC, 92R and
Patti 75YUHS and Michael Steinmetz.

Racheli 12S, 13A


and Rabbi Yaakov
Taubes 11YC,
15BR, 16R,
announce the
birth of their
daughter Tikva
Chaya. Mazel tov
to grandparents Bassie and RIETS Rosh
Yeshiva Rabbi Michael Taubes 80YC,
82R, 82F and Adeena 73S, 75BR and
Rabbi Avrohom Ratner.
Miriam and Daniel Tennenbaum 10YC
announce the birth of a baby girl.
Chani Kovacs 10S married Rabbi Oran
Zweiter 07YC, 10R, 15BR.
Congratulations to the outstanding
Yeshiva University alumni recognized
in The New York Jewish Weeks annual
36 Under 36 listing for their significant
contributions to Jewish life:
Gila Block 10S, Carmelle Danneman
16S, Rabbi Steven Exler 07BR and
Nechama Price 01S, 06A, 09BR.

SUPPORT THE ANNUAL FUND AT WWW.YU.EDU/ONLINEGIVING

AMY KATZ: BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE

The bulk of Amy Katzs 72YUHS, 76S, 78W professional life has been dedicated to
building community, a mission she pursued for 15 years at Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston, 10 years in development with Combined Jewish Philanthropies and four years as executive director of Partnership for Excellence in Jewish
Education (PEJE).
This line of work perfectly mirrors her personal commitment to building and
sustaining a strong and loving family anchored in Jewish values.
In fact, these obligations are two sides of the same coin to Katz: The commitment to helping people shape a life that is grounded in Judaic teachings and practices that are vital, dynamic and enduring. As she said, Halacha guides my life.
Yeshiva University has been a vital part of Katzs understanding about how to
integrate family and community. After graduating from Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva
University High School for Girls,
she decided to attend Stern College
for Women because she wanted to
strengthen her Jewish identity. By
choosing Stern, I was making a personal decision to explore and
strengthen my own commitment to
a halachic lifestyle, and that was
very important to me, Katz
recalled. She loved Sterns social
life and academics because they
truly broadened my horizons and
helped develop my leadership
skills.
Katz continued her YU education at the Wurzweiler School of
Social Work, getting her masters
degree in community social work, a
fairly new area of study in the late
1970s. Completing her second-year
fieldwork at the New York Federation (now the UJA-Federation of
New York) set me on the course of
my whole career, she said.
Throughout her career, Katz
has seen many challenges to the ideal of making Jewish values and learning a
vibrant part of everyday life. As executive director of PEJE, she wrestled with finding the best ways to help Jewish day schools remain a crucial point of entry into
meaningful Jewish life at a time when there were multiple ways for people to
engage with their Judaism: summer camp, Israel trips, adult Jewish learning, independent minyanim and study groups, just to name a few. The Jewish community,
she said, has to find the ways to take the resulting curiosity, yearning, energy and
passion and turn it into increased Jewish engagement, organizational involvement,
philanthropic giving and ritual observance.
My education at YU gave me a sophisticated approach to Jewish texts, and the
ability to approach halacha in an authentic way that is not rote, where I can explore
it on my own, she said. She noted that the skills of being able to interpret and act

upon the texts are ones she uses every day of her life because they have been
absorbed into my psyche, into my system, and have become a living, vibrant guide
to my life.
The company of like-minded Jewish students was also beneficial. Being at
YU gives you the opportunity not only to explore but also to anchor your Jewish
identity with a cohort of friends, colleagues and professors who can help you go
forward as a much more confident and successful Jew.
In one area, though, she finds this struggle receding rather than progressing:
balancing family and work life, a problem that primarily, though not exclusively,
affects women. She felt dismayed that the discussions she was having in 1981, when
she had her first child, about how to be a good parent and still have opportunities
for career advancement are still being worked out three decades later.
In a 2012 article for JA Mag, titled Striking a Balance: Work & Family, she
wrote: Women have a critical role to play in the Jewish future, and it is important
to force the doors open to female leadership in the Jewish community.

Being at YU gives you the opportunity not


only to explore but also to anchor your Jewish
identity with a cohort of friends, colleagues and
professors who can help you go forward as
a much more confident and successful Jew.
Amy Katz

Valuing people for what they can give and do and adjusting environments to
make the best use of their assets is all part of Katzs desire to create a Jewish communal life that respects all individuals and invites them to enjoy the benefits of
Jewish values and wisdom. And YU is an essential partner in that quest. To me,
YU is engraved in my life, she said. I went to a place where so many of my family
members went, and because of that, it is very important and close to me.
To underscore this, she recalled being invited to be the keynote speaker in
2013 at the graduation for the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and
Administration. In her address, she was able to blend my professional passions
and what I had learned at YU and give them back to the graduates. Giving back,
moving forward, all guided by Jewish principles and teachingsfor Katz, these are
the ingredients of a life committed to the Jewish people.
Going to YU, she said, also continued a family tradition. Her grandfather was
a professor at the university; her father, William Herskowitz 48YC, 50W, 55R,
74BR, was a product of several YU schools; her mother, Sylvia Herskowitz, was
director of the Yeshiva University Museum for 30 years; and her husband, Nathan
77YC, is a Yeshiva College graduate.
And the tradition has continued with the next generation. The Katzes are the
proud parents of Tova, Ari 05YC, Noam 10YC, Eitan 13YC and Akiva 15YC. They
also have six grandchildren, who they hope will one day join the ranks of YU
alumni. n

s WE WANT TO HE AR YOUR IDE AS FOR PROGR AMMING IN YOUR REGION. CONTACT SUZY SCHWARTZ AT SUZY. SCHWARTZ @YU.EDU OR 212 .960.0848

ALUMNITODAY 7

ALUMNITODAY
Striving for Sustainability at YU and Beyond

eshiva University has the great fortune to be supported by a number


of remarkable philanthropists whose gifts have strengthened and
expanded the foundations of the University.
Steve Uretsky of Los Angeles, California, is among this number. As CEO
of Allied Feather & Down, he runs a company that is among the worlds leading manufacturers of ethically sourced high-quality downs and their blends,
as well as high-grade bedding.
Uretskys commitment to ecological business practices and his support of
YUs mission of Torah Umadda are very
much connected by the concept of sustainability: preserving and growing those
things, whether they be natural resources
or religious faith, that nourish us as individuals and keep our communities intact.
Though he did not attend YU, two
of his four children graduated from the
University and work at Allied: Jonathan
09SB is vice president and Tiffany 07S
heads human resources. Elder son Daniel
is the companys president and Uretskys
daughter Elizabeth will be attending
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in
the fall. Their connection to the University has drawn him and his wife, Murielle,
close to the institution.
Among his many contributions is the
establishment of the Steve and Murielle
Uretsky Scholarship Fund at Stern College for Women and the complete refurbishment, at a cost of $300,000, of the Sy
Syms School of Business lecture auditorium in Belfer Hall. He is also chair of the
Sy Syms Board of Overseers.
Uretsky is truly dedicated to ensuring that the religious education that children receive through Jewish day schools
and other institutions can be sustained
after they reach adulthood. At the age of
18 or 19, they can go off anywhere and be
exposed to many things, he said. This is
not necessarily a bad thing, but they are
Steve Uretsky
at a very susceptible age, especially with
the way politics are today, which makes
it important to ensure that they foster
friendships in an environment similar to the one in which they were raised.
That sense of security is exactly what Uretsky finds inspiring about YU.
At YU, a person raised in a certain way can find a continuation of the
beliefs that they grew up with, he said. This is why I think YU is so important. It not only promotes staying in the religion, but it also promotes a kind
of modern Orthodoxy that is centrist in its ideas and practices, which I think
means its doing the right things.

The consistency of purpose and integrity of vision Uretsky sees at the


heart of YUs mission mirrors the ethical management of his own business, an
approach he credits to the influence of his father. Uretsky grew up in Brooklyn in the 1950s and 1960s and attended Brooklyn College. His father was a
rabbi and an accountant, and his mother was a seamstress.
Toward the end of his life, my father said that after you strip everything
away, the most important thing was to
make sure you had a good name, Uretsky
recalled. It takes years to develop a good
reputation but just one second to lose it.
Our reputation as a company and for the
people who know us supersedes everything, and thats why were successful.
It is a reputation well deserved.
Allied is committed to a manufacturing
process that is environmentally-friendly
from beginning to end. The company
uses only sustainably sourced raw materials processed in environmentally
responsible ways, and exceptional care is
taken to protect the welfare of the workers and the animals all along the supply
chain. Allied is proud to have earned
the prestigious bluesign approval, and
it has worked with the North Face to
develop the Responsible Down Standard,
making Allied the first adopter and primary supplier of certified responsibly
sourced down for the outdoor industry.
Uretsky also finds his fathers concern about reputation and proper behavior echoed in Sy Syms emphasis on
business ethics. To Uretsky, the success
of the schools ability to transmit these
Jewish values to its students is a direct
result of the changes that Dean Moses
Pava and Associate Dean Michael Strauss
have brought to YU.
They have both been the driving
force in making Sy Syms the excellent
school that it is today, said Uretsky. It
was always good, but its better than its
ever been.
Uretsky has no plans to retire anytime soon, and he has high hopes for
Allieds continued growth. He enjoys handling the day-to-day administrative tasks as the company expands, with factories both in the United States
and overseas, and grows in providing bedding materials and developing real
estate interests.
My children are taking the company to a new level, he said. Theyre
not afraid to try new things. I know the business is in good hands with a great
future ahead. n

At YU, a person raised in a certain


way can find a continuation of the
beliefs that they grew up with.

In Memoriam
Arnold Bramson 52YUHS, 56YC
Leon Charney 60YC
Dr. Charles Cohen 55YUHS
Alvin Einbender Sy Syms School of
Business honorary overseer and
founder
Philip Fuchs 57YC
Susan Gartenberg 65YUHS
Rabbi Eli Greenwald 47YUHS,
51YC, 55R
Rabbi Emanuel Holzer 43YUHS, 50R
Meyer Korbman 49YC
Seymour Kramer 53YUHS

Remembering Sheldon Socol 54YUHS, 58YC


Rabbi Maurice Lamm 51YC, 54R,
73BR
Rabbi Yitzchak (Irwin) Pechman
51YUHS, 55YC, 58BR
Rabbi Joseph Radinsky 56YC
Rabbi Solomon Reichel 46YC, 59R
Professor Shmuel Shilo 53YUHS,
57YC
Rabbi Eli Skaist 48YC, 52R, 99F
Gary Turkel 92YUHS, 00YC
Elie Wiesel 73LHD, honorary trustee,
advisor to Cardozos Institute on
Holocaust and Human Rights

Yeshiva University mourns the passing of Dr. Sheldon


E. Socol zl, who served as vice president for business
affairs at Yeshiva University for nearly half a century.
Socol graduated from YU-affiliated Brooklyn Talmudical Academy and Yeshiva College, and earned a law
degree from New York University. He devoted much of
his life to advance YU and its values. Socol is survived
by his wife, Genia Ginger and their children, Jeffrey
(and Robyn), Steven (and Leslie), and Sharon (and Steven) Tuckman,
and their grandchildren.

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: Sy Syms School of Business TI: Teachers Institute W: Wurzweiler
School of Social Work YC: Yeshiva College YUHS: Yeshiva University High Schools

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ALUMNITODAY 8

YUTODAY

Wurzweiler School of Social Work

Moussia Hazan Kaplan

urzweiler School of Social


Work graduate Moussia Hazan
Kaplan was always interested
in peoples behavior and their way of
dealing with situations. Thats probably
what brought me into social work, recounted Kaplan. I loved helping people.
When I was older and faced with peoples bigger challenges, I felt that I didnt
always know how to help them.
Growing up in Milan, Italy, Kaplan
was also inspired by the example of her
parents, who serve as Lubavitch shluchim
[emissaries]. My parents dedicate so
much time to others; they do anything
possible to help someone else with love
and respect, she said.
Kaplan, who lives in Brooklyn with
her husband and two children, first
moved to New York in 10th grade to attend high school. After studying in a seminary in Israel and teaching first graders in
Italy for a year, she completed her bachelors degree in social work at Bar-Ilan
University.
While at Wurzweiler, Kaplan conducted her fieldwork with Orthodox
high school students in Brooklyn through
MASK (Mothers and Fathers Aligned
Saving Kids), a Jewish Orthodox referral agency that assists parents and their
at-risk children. She worked under the
supervision of Dr. Michael Katch, an experience that she called outstanding.
I am so grateful for the opportunity
I had there: to be exposed to such a wide
range of struggles people are faced with

and to meet with such dedicated people


who love what they are doing, going beyond whats expected of them to reach
out and help one more person in need,
said Kaplan.
In Brooklyn, Kaplans religious background was an asset, providing built-in
cultural sensitivity that her clients found
reassuring. They saw a person who
looked like them, and they didnt think
of me as a social worker but as an understanding person who they could talk to,
she said.
Kaplan was recently awarded a
Health Resources and Services Administration grant from the U.S. Department

of Health and Human Services, which is


designated to provide clinical services to
high-risk teenagers and requires a commitment of two years service. She will
also contribute to an upcoming trauma
study with Wurzweiler Interim Dean
Nancy Beckerman, who described Kaplan as one of the most poised, insightful, mature students with whom she has
worked. Dr. Ronnie Glassman, director of
field instruction, highlighted Kaplans exceptional depth of understanding of different cultural groups.
Kaplan expressed appreciation for
the outstanding instruction of Beckerman and Glassman as well as Profes-

sors Rozetta Wilmore-Schaeffer, Gavriel


Fagin, Richard Caputo and other Wurzweiler faculty, who she said taught riveting courses with clarity and fostered an
open, respectful learning atmosphere.
Everyone does their job with so much
passion, she said. From the first second
I came into this school, I knew Wurzweiler was the right place to pursue my education. It was so warm. It was not only a
university but also a place where people
really cared about you and wanted the
best for you, and gave you the best education possible.
Kaplan hopes to work in a professional setting alongside a wide variety
of mental health practitioners and social
workers. When you deal with people,
you are not dealing with machines; there
are no gamesits real life, she said. If I
want to be a social worker and take upon
myself the privilege and responsibility of
working with people, I must never stop
learning. n

Ferkauf PhD Program


Thrives
Faculty at Ferkauf Graduate School
of Psychologys Clinical Psychology
Health Emphasis Program recently
received a combined $12.7 million
in grant funding from the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), for
research projects that will continue
through the next two to five years.

Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology

Kristina Dumas

hen Siberian-born Kristina


Dumas immigrated to the
United States 10 years ago, she
knew she would need additional training in psychology to launch her career
even though she was already qualified to
practice in Russia. But the language barrier was a challenge. While Dumas concentrated on teaching herself English,
she worked at an animal shelters veterinary clinic in Washington, D.C. She was
deeply affected by a young girl she met
on the job: The child had been diagnosed
with severe autism and a seizure disorder
but had recently obtained a therapy dog
an adorable golden retriever puppy.
I began volunteering with the girl
and assisting her therapists, said Dumas.

I also helped train the puppy and learned


a lot about the benefits of animal-assisted
therapy from the dogs special trainer.
When I was deciding what kind of studies
I wanted to pursue in the United States, I
thought that clinical psychology would be
an ideal field for me because I could work
with individuals affected by various neurological conditions, including doing the
work that would involve animal-assisted
therapy.
So Dumas enrolled in the mental
health counseling program at the Ferkauf
Graduate School of Psychology, where
she focused on working with young adults
affected by autism spectrum disorders.
She also began researching multisensory
integrationthe set of processes through

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which the brain pieces together vision,


smell, touch and taste to make sense of
the world as a wholeat the nearby Albert Einstein College of Medicines neurophysiology laboratory. Dumas then
entered the clinical psychology PhD
(health emphasis) program at Ferkauf
to begin her training as a clinical neuropsychologist. There, she began to explore
how multisensory integration functioned
in older adults.
The ability to have a health emphasis and neuropsychology minor in a PhD
program is a very unique training combination that Ferkauf offers and was very
attractive to me, said Dumas.
She also loved the opportunities she
had to meet and learn from dedicated
neuropsychologists at many scientific
conferences. After graduation, Dumas
headed to Albuquerque, New Mexico,
for post-doctoral training in clinical neuropsychology. Ultimately, she hopes to
become a leader within the fieldand a
pioneer.
I hope to join several Russianspeaking neuropsychologists in working
to increase the availability of neuropsychological services to the Russian-speaking population in the United States,
particularly through the development
and adaptation of neuropsychological
tests, she said. Its a significant issue
that I am very passionate about. n

Dr. Roee Holtzer, director of the Clinical


Psychology Health Emphasis Program

The different projects investigate psychological outcomes in


various health settings for different
medical conditions. To have a program where 50 percent of faculty
have major NIH funding is really
quite incredible, said Dr. Roee
Holtzer, director of the program.
He added that its eight core faculty
members were authors on 89 publications in peer-reviewed journals
during the 201415 year, indicating
exceptional productivity.
The Clinical Psychology Health
Emphasis Program, accredited by
the American Psychological Association, is linked to the YU-affiliated
Albert Einstein College of Medicine,
and currently has 86 students. In
this years competitive cycle of clinical training internship placement,
students received a 100 percent
match rate.

SPECIAL COMMENCEMENT ISSUE SUMMER 2016 W W W.YU.EDU/NEWS

YUTODAY

Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva University High School for Girls

Rabbi Isaac Elchanan


Theological Seminary

Lior Pirouzian

efore coming to the Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva University


High School for Girls (Central), Lior Pirouzian attended
her local public school in Great Neck, New York. She was
happy, but it felt like something was missing. At some point I
realized that I wanted and needed more religion in my life, and
that was really why I applied to Central, recounted Pirouzian.
At Central, Pirouzian found an outlet for her passions
science, Israel and my Judaismas well as a welcoming atmosphere. The best thing about attending Central was the warm

and kind environment that always made me feel at home, she


said. Ive made amazing friends who will be by my side for a
lifetime.
While at Central, Pirouzian took advantage of the schools
high-level science offerings. This past year, she and three classmates created a research proposal that was accepted by the
Urban Barcode Project, a competition exploring DNA sequencing and its everyday applications in New York City. Additionally,
at the Agile Youth Challenge hackathon in March, Pirouzian
led a coding team, which won the Most Creative and Innovative
Design award.
Pirouzian noted her appreciation for her biology teacher,
Ruth Fried, whose class she said was very impactful and whom
she described as an amazing person.
During her time at Central, Pirouzian also served as the
head of both the Book Club and Computer Club, competed on the
soccer team and played violin in the school band.
Of all her academic and extracurricular feats, Pirouzian
considers her success in Judaic studies as her most meaningful
achievement. I think that my greatest accomplishment was settling into the Judaic studies classes and learning how to learn,
she said. It was kind of scary to me, but I was able to overcome
it, and now its much easier for me to learn and interpret what
Ive learned.
Pirouzian expressed particular appreciation for Rabbi
Mordechai Shapiros Halacha [Jewish law] class. He really instilled in me a love for halacha and gave me the skills to be able
to look something up when I dont understand why Im doing a
specific mitzvah or tradition, Pirouzian explained.
She said that her most memorable experience from Central
was the month and a half she spent on the 10th grade Ulpana
Exchange Program in Israel. I was able to experience and love
Israel in a whole new way.
This year, Pirouzian plans to study in Israel before starting
college and hopes to eventually become a pediatrician. I love
kids and I love science. I am also the resident physician at home if
my family has any questions. n

Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy/Yeshiva University High School for Boys

Shimmy Socol

e only just graduated from


high school, but Shimmy
Socol of Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy/Yeshiva University High School for Boys (MTA) has
already led an impressive career as a
photographer and videographer.
Since becoming fascinated with
the medium while editing his own bar
mitzvah video, Socol has run his own
film and photography production
company, working together with his
siblings to capture visually stunning
images for weddings, promotional
films and personal projects. Hes
been commissioned by organizations
that range from Yachad to the Harlem Globetrotters, which recently
ran some of his photos from a memorial shoot for Meadowlark Lemon at
Madison Square Garden.
As a sophomore, Socol and fellow student Yisroel Loewy 15YUHS
won an honorable mention and commendation from CSPAN for their
entryone of more than 2,500to its StudentCam documentary
competition. That documentary is just one of many projects that
hes invested his heart and soul in throughout his high school
years.
I try to be passionate about everything I do and get involved in crazy amounts of things, said Socol. His time at MTA
was a testament to that philosophy. Whether he was competing
with the schools debate team, winning first place in Battle of the
Bands, working as editor in chief of The Academy News, traveling
to Poland to learn the history of Eastern European Jewry or cov-

ering a basketball game as a member


of LionsLive, a broadcast team dedicated to MTA athletics, Socol was
constantly on the move. As my rebbe
says, If you want something done,
give it to a busy personwhats one
more thing? he said.
At MTA, Socol took advantage of
every opportunity to refine his craft.
In Covering a Century at MTA: 100
Years of Memories, he documented
the high schools centennial through
a course that combined history sessions with others that focused on
documentary filmmaking skills. With
friend Avraham Tsikhanovski, he has
also been behind the lens of Humans
of MTA, a photography project that
featured interesting students and faculty at the school.
What Socol is most proud of,
however, was his spiritual growth at
MTA.
I think my most important
achievement has been the relationships I built with my rebbeim, he said. Each rebbe I had was
so different, and it felt like a journey as I progressed through
each year.
When he graduated this past June, Socol had already accomplished more than most college students. But thats just the
beginning. He already has a pretty good idea of what he wants
his future to look like. I want to study in Israel, go to business
or film school, get semicha [rabbinical ordination] at Rabbi Isaac
Elchanan Theological Seminary, win an Oscar and make aliyah,
he saidin that order. n

W W W.YU.EDU/NEWS SPECIAL COMMENCEMENT ISSUE SUMMER 2016

Asher Schreier

hile studying at the Sy Syms


School of Business, Asher Schreier 14SB found himself drawn
as much to Yeshiva Universitys rich Judaic studies as its first-rate accounting
classes. I loved the learning and I became
especially close to Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Zvi
Sobolofsky, he said. Intrigued, he began
taking courses in the semicha [ordination]
program at YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS).
After graduating, he decided to pursue
semicha at RIETS while earning a masters in accounting at Sy Syms.
At RIETS, we had access to leaders like Dean Rabbi Menachem Penner,
who illustrated the positive impact rabbis can have on their communities, said
Schreier. It was also incredible to have
professionals like Dr. David Pelcovitz
and Dr. Norman Blumenthal devote their
time to helping us become better rabbis.
Schreier has also been deeply moved
by his experience as a rabbinic intern at
Kehillas Bais Yehudah (KBY) in Wesley
Hills, New York, where he serves alongside Rabbi Joshua Blass, mashgiach
ruchani [spiritual advisor] at YU. This
year, Schreier will continue his journey
in both accounting and the rabbinate,
working at Ernst & Young while traveling
to KBY on the weekends. Ultimately, he
hopes that, like his mentors at RIETS, he
can become a leader in the professional
and spiritual realms alike. The goal for
me is to be that presence that makes a difference to better the lives of others, said
Schreier. n

Rabbi Kahn Appointed


YUHSB Head of School;
Rabbi Taubes Appointed
RIETS Rosh Yeshiva
Rabbi Joshua Kahn 02YC, 06R,
09A has been named head of
school at the Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy/Yeshiva University
High School for Boys, culminating
an extensive international search.
Rabbi Kahn succeeds Rabbi
Michael Taubes 80YC, 83R, 83F,
who has been appointed Rosh
Yeshiva at YU-affiliated Rabbi
Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Rabbi Taubes will teach Yoreh
Deah in the semicha [ordination]
program and serve as Rosh Yeshiva
at the high school.

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YUTODAY

SNAP | SHOTS

p
In June, YUs Graduate Program in
Advanced Talmudic Studies presented
a five-week Talmud program on the
Israel Henry Beren Campus. n

p
Hundreds of YU students, staff and alumni marched in support of Israel at the Celebrate Israel Parade on June 5. n

p
Mens tennis reached the NCAA tournament after winning its third straight Skyline Conference championship. David Papis Elon
was named Skyline Conference Player of the Year for the second straight season and, along with teammates Dmitri Lebedyev and
Mike Ozery, earned First Team All-Conference accolades. Ozery was also named conference rookie of the year and Jon Rubinstein
was named the conferences coach of the year. n

p
In May, YU students hosted a 24-hour
community-wide hackathon designed
to foster Jewish technological innovation
and creativity. n

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Ujunwa Cynthia Okoye-Okafor

junwa Cynthia Okoye-Okafor


who grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and
moved to New York at age 15always desired to be a doctor. It was during
her pharmacology training as an undergraduate student at Stony Brook University that she began to consider a career
path that would eventually lead her to
YU-affiliated Albert Einstein College of
Medicine, where she graduated in May
with a dual MD-PhD degree.
Realizing my new interest in research, my undergraduate mentor, Dr.
Hsien-Yu Wang, informed me about the
availability of MD-PhD programs that
would allow me to integrate my passions
for medicine and research, Okoye-Okafor explained. After looking into various
programs across the country, I am very
happy that I applied to and was accepted
into the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) here at Einstein.
Okoye-Okafor defended her PhD
thesis in the laboratory of Dr. Ulrich
Steidl in 2014. I characterized the expression and function of a novel gene,
BX648577, that was identified as a gene
fusion in Hodgkins lymphoma, said
Okoye-Okafor, who has published several scholarly articles and won numerous awards for her research. I was also
involved in the study of a new inhibitor
compound for the treatment of IDH1 mutant acute myeloid leukemias.
She transitioned back to clinical

practice after the research portion of the


program proved to be a unique challenge.
Initially, the difficulties associated with
returning to the wards after four years
away were not obvious, but it took a lot
of focus, dedication, hard work and emotional support to overcome them, she
said.
But overcome them she did. OkoyeOkafor matched to the New York Uni-

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versity anatomic and clinical pathology


residency program, which she began
this summer. Her goal is to become a pathologist while maintaining a strong research career. Moving forward, I hope
to continue to participate in research
projects that have tangible translational
implications, as such studies can lead to
downstream future therapies, she said,
referring to the application of laboratory

findings to determine the best practices


for real-life medical situations.
In addition to her academic pursuits,
Okoye-Okafor participated in various
activities and associations outside the
classroom, including the Einstein Community Health Outreach Program, the
Student National Medical Association
and the New York Academy of Sciences
Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program.
She served as a board member of Einsteins MSTP student council and as the
acting president/vice president of the
Distinguished Nigerian Physicians of
Tomorrow, whose mission is to help find
solutions to the problems within Nigerias
healthcare system.
Okoye-Okafor credited Einstein for
fostering her growth as both a medical
professional and scientist. My principal investigator, Dr. Steidl, has made a
permanent and positive impact on me
as a scientist and an individual, said
Okoye-Okafor. I will always admire his
dedication to his scientific goals, career
aspirations and family.
She added, Einstein has done a
great job creating an environment that
fosters collegiality. I appreciate all the
support and guidance that has been provided by the deans and Dr. Myles Akabas.
The friendships I formed during my eight
years here have been truly memorable,
and I wholeheartedly look forward to
what the future holds. n

SPECIAL COMMENCEMENT ISSUE SUMMER 2016 W W W.YU.EDU/NEWS

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YU Celebrates 85th Commencement

Continued from Page 1

He finished with a call to action for the graduates to


take responsibility for the state of the world in which they
live. As my father said to me, which I think about every
day of my life, At the end of every day, as you lay your
head on your pillow, you should ask yourself a simple
question: Are the people you touched today richer and
better for having known you? Kraft said. Go forward
from here, my friends, and make peoples lives richer and
better because they have known all of you.
Following Krafts address, President Joel recognized
the undergraduate valedictorians as well as the Class of
1966, celebrating the 50th anniversary of their own graduation. Elianne Neuman, valedictorian of Stern College

for Women and of the Rebecca Ivry Department of Jewish Studies, spoke about how her belief in God, strengthened during her time at YU, would help her overcome the
fears that life outside of YU will inevitably bring her way.
The ceremony was especially meaningful for President Joel as he conferred degrees upon three of his
children: Penina and Avery, with doctorates from Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, and Noam, with a PsyD from Ferkauf Graduate
School of Psychology. As he noted in his remarks, he has
signed diplomas for his six children during his tenure, a
point of pride for the Joel family and testimony to their
belief in and dedication to the University.

After a benediction from Rabbi Jonathan Muskat


94YC, 94BR, 97R, rabbi of Young Israel of Oceanside,
and the singing of Hatikvah, some 5,000 people flowed
out of the Theater onto Eighth Avenue for more celebration.
In all, more than 1,700 undergraduate students from
Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women and Sy Syms
School of Business as well as graduate students in the
fields of law, medicine, social work, education, Jewish
studies and psychology were awarded degrees from YU
this commencement season. n

President Richard M. Joel and his wife Esther, with


their children Avery, Penny and Noam

Undergraduate valedictorians, standing (lr):


Jonah Steinmetz, Alex Abraham, Sima Gold,
Elianne Neuman and Josh Honig; Seated: Josh Wildes,
Yosef Frenkel, Yaacov Chein and Jacob Meir

Standing (lr): Chairman Emeritus Henry Kressel, President Richard Joel and Chairman Moshael Straus
Seated: Rabbi Hershel Billet, Dr. Ruth Bevan and Robert Kraft

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