Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary Sephardic Council of Overseers

Sephardic Community Program n Jacob E. Safra Institute of Sephardic Studies Institute of Yemenite Studies n Dr. Joseph and Rachel Ades Sephardic Outreach Program
Volume XXXIV

No. 1


Spring 2010

Naumi Alcalay Honors Her Parents by Establishing New Chair in Sephardic Studies

Ronnie Perelis Appointed to the Alcalay Chair
Dr. Ronnie Perelis is the newest addition to Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. He began his appointment as the Chief Rabbi Dr. Isaac Abraham and Jelena (Rachel) Alcalay Assistant Professor of Sephardic Studies in the 2009 fall semester. Perelis is now teaching courses in Jewish history and Sephardic studies in both Yeshiva College and in the Bernard Revel Graduate School. Before completing his doctorate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at New York University in 2006, Perelis spent five years studying in Israel at Yeshivat Hamivtar and Bar-Ilan University. Perelis’ doctoral thesis, “Marrano Autobiography in its Transatlantic Context: Exile, Exploration and Spiritual Discovery,” traces the life stories of three crypto-Jews searching for religious freedom and enlightenment in the 16th and 17th centuries. Perelis’ intimacy with Spanish literature and culture deepen his examination of cryptoJudaism in Spain, Portugal and the New World, opening up new avenues of exploration into the Jewish past. His research and teaching examine the connections between Jewish and Hispanic culture from the Golden Age of Sephardic Jewry
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Yeshiva University has created a new chair in Sephardic studies through the generosity of Naumi Alcalay, a psychotherapist who chose to perpetuate the memory of her parents by funding a chair in their honor. Dr. Ronnie Perelis was appointed to the new Chief Rabbi Dr. Isaac Abraham and Jelena (Rachel) Alcalay Chair in Sephardic Studies (Judeo Spanish) in August, 2009.

Chief Rabbi Dr. Isaac Abraham and Jelena (Rachel) Alcalay.

For Naumi Alcalay, who passed away in 2006, honoring her parents’ legacy and supporting Sephardic studies at Yeshiva University were top priorities. Her parents, she believed, would be thrilled to know that today’s students can learn about the history and culture of Jews from countries such as Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia. Ms. Alcalay’s father, Rabbi Dr. Isaac Abraham Alcalay, and her mother, Jelena Alcalay, dedicated their lives

to serving Sephardic Jewry in Europe and America. Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, Rabbi Alcalay attended the University of Vienna and the Vienna Rabbinical Seminary (Hochshule fer Judische Wissenschaft). Appointed Chief Rabbi of Serbia in 1910, Rabbi Alcalay simultaneously served as an emissary of the Serbian government, visiting the United States in 1918 on behalf of the Serbian government. His article that year for the American Jewish Yearbook allowed American Jews, for the first time, to read about Jewish life in the Balkans. In 1923, Rabbi Alcalay founded and became the first president of the Rabbinical Federation of Yugoslavia. The following year, he became Yugoslavia’s Chief Rabbi. As rabbi and political statesman, Alcalay attended the first Sephardi Congress in 1925 and was elected vice president of the World Sephardi Federation. In 1932, King Alexander of Yugoslavia appointed Rabbi Alcalay as Senator, and he became the first Jew to join the country’s parliament, serving for nine years. Equally devoted to scholarship and literary pursuits, he spoke six languages and served as an editor for the Rabbinical Federation’s annual Jevrejski Almanah. Rabbi Alcalay fled German-occupied Yugoslavia with his family in 1941, and after a short period in Palestine, settled in the United States where he continued to
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New Chair in Sephardic Studies
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serve as Chief Rabbi of Yugoslavia’s government-in-exile. In 1943, he was appointed to the prestigious position of Chief Rabbi of the Central Sephardic Jewish Community of America, and proved to be instrumental in unifying the Sephardic communities in the United States. In Yugoslavia, Rabbi Alcalay was the revered teacher and mentor of the late Hakham Solomon Gaon, of blessed memory, who later became the Chief Rabbi of Sephardic Jewry in the British Commonwealth, and eventually helped to initiate Yeshiva University’s Sephardic Studies Program.

Jelena (Rachel) Alcalay

Chief Rabbi Dr. Isaac Abraham Alcalay with Dr. René Cassin (Nobel Laureate, President of Alliance Israelite Universelle).

As head of the New York Sephardic community, Rabbi Alcalay inspired and strengthened the effort to develop the Sephardic Home for the Aged which would provide for the needs of the elderly and serve as a cultural center for Sephardic

life in the greater New York area. Rabbi Alcalay also helped neighborhood congregations join together, and promoted the use of traditional liturgical melodies in these synagogues. Rabbi Alcalay also helped establish educational programs for Sephardic youth to connect with their heritage, assisted American Sephardim with finding their relatives abroad, and continued to act on behalf of Sephardim through his membership on the boards of international Jewish organizations such as the World Jewish Congress, Joint Distribution Committee and International B’nai Brith Organization. By 1950, Rabbi Alcalay could report 59 referrals over the course of one month in which clients of the community received assistance on everything from job placement to health care to resolving family disputes. When Rabbi Alcalay’s famous student, The Hakham, Rabbi Dr. Solomon Gaon visited Yeshiva University and agreed to oversee the development of a Sephardic Studies Program, as suggested to him by the late, revered Dr. Samuel Belkin, the

president of YU, he heartily endorsed the idea and became actively involved in promoting the establishment of the Sephardic Studies Program. Rabbi Alcalay lectured and participated in many events at YU. In 1968, Rabbi Alcalay retired as head of the community and, with his wife, accepted an offer from the Sephardic Home for the Aged to take up residence and serve as its chaplain. He passed away in 1978 at the age of 97, leaving behind a lifetime of unflagging communal service, scholarship and religious commitment. Naumi Alcalay earned her master’s degree in social work from Columbia University and worked as a psychotherapist for nearly 50 years. She belonged to the distinguished group of Jews who provided transcripts for the New York Public Library-American Jewish Committee’s Oral History Collection. Like her parents, Naumi Alcalay ensured that Sephardic Jewish life would be remembered for its vibrant past, and sustained for a prosperous future. n

Chief Rabbi Dr. Isaac Abraham Alcalay

Ronnie Perelis Appointed
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in medieval Spain to the path-breaking odyssey of the Sephardic Diaspora throughout the world. Prior to coming to Yeshiva, Perelis taught at New York University, the University of Pennsylvania and Brandeis University. In the 2009 fall semester, Perelis offered an undergraduate course exploring the vibrant cultural history of the Sephardim. This course, Convivencia and Conflict, introduced the students to the creativity and volatility of the Sephardic experience

in medieval Spain. In addition to this course, Perelis also taught a graduate course, Marranos and Other Heretics: Varieties of Heresy in the Iberian World, which focused on the history and structure of the Inquisition and the spiritual resistance of those caught in its net. Perelis sees Sephardic history as a story with global reach. The Sephardim were part of a worldwide network connected by family ties, religious bonds, language and international commerce. The Sephardim combined a deep faith in the religion of their fathers with an intense immersion in the commercial and intellectual currents

of their day. In this sense, the history of the Sephardim can serve as a compass for the modern Jew looking to navigate the demands of tradition and the challenges of modernity. Perelis is excited about being part of an institution that appreciates the unique contributions of the Sephardim and understands their potential to continue their leadership in all areas of Jewish life. He looks forward to working with the students of YU and the wider Sephardic and Jewish communities in developing dynamic programs to highlight the vitality of Sephardic life, history and culture. n



Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky to be Honored at Chag HaSemikhah
Every four years, the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary celebrates the young men who have accepted the calling of the rabbinate and mastered the scholarship necessary to receive rabbinic ordination. We proudly salute our new musmakhim (rabbinic graduates) as they join the more than 3,000 RIETS rabbis, thousands of whom are serving in pulpits, schools, hospitals, outreach positions and Jewish organizations in America, Israel and beyond. We wish them continued success and growth in their holy endeavors and continually welcome them back to RIETS— their spiritual home—for continuing education, inspiration and contact with their mentors and rabbinic colleagues. This year, we honor the more than 180 musmakhim of the classes of 5766–5770 (2006–2010). From the group of musmakhim receiving ordination there will be a record high of 12 men who are from the Sephardic community. This represents the largest ever number of Sephardic rabbis to be ordained at Yeshiva in a fouryear period. Two special RIETS alumni have been selected as honorees at this momentous event. One will be Rabbi Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky, vice president for University Affairs and co-founder of the Sephardic Studies Program at Yeshiva, who will receive the Harav Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik (zt”l) Aluf Torah Award. Dr. Dobrinsky’s fellow graduate of the mid-1950’s, Rabbi Marvin Bienenfeld, will receive the prestigious Eitz Hayim Award. In 1964, Dr. Dobrinsky, with the leadership of then University President Dr. Samuel Belkin a”h and The Hakham Rabbi Dr. Solomon Gaon a”h, and with the support of Ivan Salomon a”h, established the Sephardic Programs at YU with a vision that has played a vital role in educating our Sephardic youth and nurturing their communities’ growth by assisting them to build properly run synagogues and educational institutions. Today, that vision has yielded tremendous results and has won the respect and admiration of Jewish religious and lay leaders and of countless Sephardim around the world. Indeed the Sephardic communities of America are indebted to Dr. Dobrinsky, whose tireless efforts on behalf of Sephardic education and communal leadership continue. Rabbi Dobrinsky’s doctoral research was in Sephardic minhagim and halakhah, and was published originally in 1986, and then again in 1988 and 2001 under the title “A Treasury of Sephardic Laws and Customs.” This monumental work has become one of the most authoritative household reference volumes for Sephardic minhagim and is used by educators at the high school and college level as a textbook and learning guide. The Sephardic Programs at YU still benefit from the leadership of Dr. Dobrinsky, who among his many duties at YU, serves as special consultant to the Sephardic Programs and is integrally involved in its daily operations. Members of the Sephardic community and the Sephardic Council of Overseers have been invited to participate in celebrating the largest ever number of Sephardic rabbis to be ordained in a four year period and to join in the tribute to the rest of the 180 musmakhim and to honor Dr. Dobrinsky and Rabbi Bienenfeld. The Chag HaSemikhah will take place Sunday, March 7 (21 Adar) at 11 a.m. The ceremony will take place in Lamport Auditorium, Amsterdam Avenue and 186th Street. Please arrive early to secure seating. n

Professor Daniel Tsadik presents lecture at Beit Hadassah
Sephardic Heritage Alliance, Inc (SHAI); Iranian American Jewish Federation of New York (IAJF); and 30 Years After (New York Chapter) invited Yeshiva University assistant professor Dr. Daniel Tsadik to Great Neck to speak on the topic, “Secrets of Jewish Survival in Iran.” Tsadik’s presentation spanned millennia of history of Iranian Jewry. The original research, undertaken by Tsadik, addresses the question of how it came to be that Jews survived, and even flourished, during different epochs of history in the Persian Empire, which later became Iran. Representatives and lay leaders from leading Iranian and Jewish organizations were present, as well as many members of the Iranian community in Long Island. n

Saeed Amerian, Raymond Hakimian, Rabbi Moshe Tessone, Mr. Nazarian, David Eshaghian (Chairman YU’s Sephardic Council of Overseers, SCO), Lee Harounian, Unidentified, Dr. Daniel Tsadik, Michael Harounian, Ellie Cohanim Potter, Josephine Mairzadeh, Fred Ohebshalom, Ronen Khordi.




Renowned Economist Nouriel Roubini Presents at YU’s Brody Lecture
There is a light at the end of the tunnel; however, that light is further away than most people realize. That was the general message delivered by Dr. Nouriel Roubini, the renowned economist who, in 2006, accurately predicted the current recession. Roubini, a Sephardic Jew of Iranian (Mashadi) descent, was the guest lecturer at Yeshiva University’s Alexander Brody Distinguished Lecture in Economics, where he recently addressed a capacity crowd of students, staff and special guests in Weissberg Commons at the Wilf Campus of Yeshiva. Also present were nearly a dozen leaders from the Persian Jewish Community of Great Neck, L.I., and Manhattan (see photo below). Roubini offered his outlook for the United States and global economies and financial markets. “Everyone agrees this is the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression,” said Roubini, professor of economics and international business at the New York University Stern School of Business. “The consensus view — the optimists — believe the worst is over and that we will start seeing positive growth in the second half of this year. My views are more bearish.” Citing consumer shock, limited income, and falling industrial production and home sales, Roubini went on to declare that there are no clear signs that the recession has bottomed. “Unfortunately, my take is that things aren’t improving as quickly as the optimists say.” “While I do agree that the rate of contraction won’t be as sharp as the last two quarters, we won’t reach positive growth by the end of the year,” said Roubini. Instead, he expects a “long, protracted and ugly global recession.” The lecture followed a dinner and awards ceremony for YU’s economics students. “This was a tremendous thrill for our students,” said Dr. Aaron Levine, the Samson and Halina Bitensky Professor of Economics at YU who has organized the Brody lecture for more than 30 years.

Henry Rubin Esq. with Dr. Nouriel Roubini and YU student.

“The lecture has always been a big event, but this one surpassed all others in the size of the audience and in the enthusiasm of its reaction. Professor Roubini is both the acknowledged prophet of the current meltdown and the foremost guru on how to reverse the collapse.” Ending off his lecture on a somewhat optimistic note, he believes the good news is that “we are going to avoid a neardepression” thanks to aggressive government policies. “I have been right until now, but it’s a very uncertain world and things can turn out better than I expect,” said Roubini, offering a glimmer of hope. n

Henry Rubin Esq., Dr. and Mrs. Michael Khadavi, Ellie Cohanim Potter, Shahram Yaghoubzadeh, David Eshaghian (Chairman SCO), Nasser Mokhtarzadeh, Eli Reinitz, Dr. Nouriel Roubini, Bob Kamali, Rabbi Moshe Tessone, Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky.




YU Sephardic Shabbaton in Omaha
The Beth Israel community enjoyed an authentic Sephardic Shabbat experience which included interactive explanatory Sephardic services that were led by Rabbi Tessone. During the services, Rabbi Tessone introduced melodies and customs from middle eastern Balkan and other Sephardic communities from all over the world. All three Shabbat meals were served in the synagogue for the entire community. The lavish Friday night kiddush, Shabbat lunch, and Seuda Shelishit featured exotic and mouthwatering Sephardic cuisine. Each of the meals was followed by the singing of traditional Pizmonim and Shabbat songs. During this special Shabbat, Rabbi Tessone presented a Torah sermon, a lecture on “Contemporary Sephardic Communities,” and an interactive discussion on Judeo-Arabic and Judeo-Spanish liturgy. He also led a general question-and-answer session about Sephardic life. Thanks to the efforts of Rabbi Gross and the Matalon family of Omaha, the Beth Israel community became more familiar with Sephardic halakhot, minhagim and liturgical music, while gaining an understanding of the development of contemporary Sephardic communities throughout North America. The Shabbat experience was one of the community’s most successful and wellreceived events, and was in fact just one of many such programs at Beth Israel that aims to educate its members on vital Jewish topics, to enrich the spiritual experience of the prayers and to connect the community to the Jewish people as a whole. n

Hillel Yeshiva High School Visit to YU Campuses
This past fall semester, Hillel Yeshiva High School of Deal in New Jersey visited Yeshiva University for a day of campus tours and activities. During the visit, Hillel students sat in on Torah and general studies classes as they experienced the learning and excitement of campus life.

Rabbi Jonathan Gross with Rabbi Moshe Tessone

Beth Israel Congregation, the only Orthodox Jewish community in Omaha, Neb., recently hosted its first ever Sephardic Shabbaton. The guest scholar in residence was Rabbi Moshe Tessone, director of the Sephardic Community Program at YU and a YU faculty member. The Shabbat program was organized by the community’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Jonathan Gross, who is a rabbinic graduate of RIETS (2006), and a student of Hakham Eliyahu BenHaim, one of the Sephardic roshei yeshiva at YU. The event chairs were Dr. and Mrs. Guy Matalon, a Sephardic family who reside in Omaha and are active in the lay leadership of Omaha’s Orthodox community. Yeshiva’s Sephardic Community Program was also very active in assisting with the plans and preparations for this Shabbaton.

The visit included a group of women who visited Stern College for Women on the Beren Campus in Midtown Manhattan and a group of men who toured Yeshiva College on the Wilf Campus in Washington Heights. The trip was organized and hosted by YU’s Admissions Office and the Sephardic Community Program. Students were greeted by Michael Kranzler, director of Undergraduate Admissions, and by Rabbi Moshe Tessone. n

Rabbi Yitzchak Mizrahi, Rabbi Yaakov Weiss, Josh Gurock, Rabbi Gross, Rabbi Tessone, Dr. Guy Matalon.




Our Students and Faculty in Action

Sephardic faculty and staff meeting with Max Coslov at YU. Sephardic women from Stern College visiting Wilf Campus for Selihot.

Rabbi Tessone addressing faculty members.

Dr. Tsadik lecturing at Queens College.

Students studying in the Sephardic Beit Midrash with Rabbi Eliyahu Ben-Haim.




President Joel with YU’s Sephardic Students
YU President Richard Joel and Dr. Elie Abadie with students.

Dr. Barry Eichler, dean of Yeshiva College, and Max Coslov, program director for the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation.

President Joel, Max Coslov, Dr. Dobrinsky, and Dr. Abadie with YU students.

YU Sephardic student Mathew Williams.

YU Students Eveline Mordehai Amram and Raquel Amram.

President Joel in conference with Sephardic students at YU.

Dr. Dobrinsky and Max Coslov in President Joel’s office.

Rabbi Yosef Yanetz (Shoel U’Maishiv, Sephardic Beit Midrash and a RIETS Kollel Elyon Fellow) Dr. Abadie, Max Coslov, Dr. Dobrinsky.




Joel With Sephardic Students
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Caron Kuessous
Caron Kuessous, a 2009 graduate of YU’s Azrieli Graduate School for Jewish Education and Administration, has become a valuable asset in the Jewish educational community at large, particularly in her work within Sephardic circles and with special needs children. After earning bachelor’s degrees and then a master’s degree, Kuessous became a Stern College alumna and embarked upon her lifelong dream, the pursuit of a doctorate. She eventually earned her EdD at the Azrieli Graduate School for Jewish Education at Yeshiva University. Her dissertation focuses on a study of Orthodox Jewish girls and is entitled, “Eating Attitudes, Behaviors, and Body Image of Orthodox Jewish Girls in Grades 3 through 8.” Kuessous’ career has spanned both special education and general education classrooms, and she has taught both at the middle school and high school level. Currently, she also uses her talents in the educational field as a mentor and an educational consultant for teachers in schools in the Brooklyn area. Among the teachers she has trained and mentored are those who serve in schools such as Ateret Torah, Shaare Torah, Chush, Mikdash Melech, Lev Bais Yaakov and more. Additionally, as a graduate professor, Kuessous is involved in graduatelevel training of both Ashkenazic and Sephardic students who are aspiring to become special education teachers. Kuessous also functions as a private remedial therapist who firmly believes in meeting the needs of each of her individual students, whether adult English language learners or students with dyslexia, by teaching with a multisensory approach. Indeed, Kuessous’ accomplishments have been remarkable in a relatively short period of time, and she has higher aspirations for her future work in the field of Jewish education, with young Sephardic educators. We wish her much success for years to come. n

Jacob Sasson
Rabbi Jacob Sasson is currently in his second year as a member of the Bella and Harry Wexner Kollel Elyon at Yeshiva University, a program that offers rabbinic alumni of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) an opportunity to extend their learning and rabbinic training to an even higher level upon completion of their rabbinic ordination. Rabbi Sasson is of Syrian descent, and hails from a family of rabbis from the Aleppo community of Syria. Rabbi Sasson holds a BS in applied mathmatics from Columbia University School of Engineering and received rabbinic ordination from RIETS in 2008. Additionally, he has spent time studying in Israel at Yeshivat Shaalvim and Yeshivat Mir in Jerusalem. Rabbi Sasson attempts to bridge the gap between Sephardic and Ashkenazic Talmudic learning styles by focusing both on conceptual Talmudic analysis known as lamdut, in the style of the Lithuanian yeshivot, while simultaneously keeping an emphasis on the practical halakhic application of Talmud, in the tradition which is true to the authentic Sephardic method of learning. More recently he has served as a Shoel U’Meishiv (Talmudic mentor) in the Beit Midrash Program at Yeshiva University and has given shiurim (Torah lectures) at Congregation Keter Torah in Teaneck, NJ and at Columbia University. Rabbi Sasson is a faithful contributor to Beit Yitzchak, the annual Torah journal of RIETS, and served as co-editor of the 2004 edition. Accordingly, he is currently co-editing the 2009 Kol Tzvi, the Kollel Elyon’s annual Torah journal. Rabbi Sasson hopes and plans to continue to impact the Jewish community in the future through his continued efforts as a teacher of Talmud, both by interacting with students in the beit midrash environment, and through his extensive writing on Torah-related topics. n

Max Coslov visiting YU campus. campus

YU student Jonathan Cohen speaks with students in President Joel’s conference room. room

YU Sephardic student Daniel Sultan.



Montreal Convocation Honors Rabbi Howard Joseph of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue
A “YU in Canada” convocation and dinner was held in Montreal in June, 2009, with almost 600 in attendance including Canada’s rabbinate and members of the broader Jewish community. The event, which drew the largest turnout of any YU program held in Canada to date, was held at Congregation Shaar Hashamayim in Westmount. Among the three notable Jewish community leaders that were honored was YU rabbinic alumnus Rabbi Howard S. Joseph ’61Y, ’64R, ’64BR, leader of the prestigious Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue Shearith Israel in Montreal. Rabbi Joseph, longtime rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, began to lead his synagogue, the oldest in Canada, in 1970, establishing it as a major foothold of Modern Orthodoxy and building its membership from 300 to 900 families. The other two honorees were the Honorable Justice Morris J. Fish, a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada; and the Honorable Yoine J. Goldstein, Senator for Quebec (Rigaud). Mo Lidsky ’06Y, national director of Canadian Friends of Yeshiva University (CFYU) who organized the event with Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky, vice president for university affairs, paid tribute to the event’s co-chairs—Samuel E. Aberman, Morton Brownstein, C.M., and Renée Lieberman—as well as CFYU president Robert Eli Rubenstein and chairman Samuel Z. Eltes. “The caliber of leadership that this special convocation and dinner had was unprecedented, and the success of the evening was due in great measure to their dedicated efforts,” said Lidsky. “Thanks to each of them, this event was a historic occasion that will renew and strengthen the long-standing relationship between the Montreal community and Yeshiva University.” Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky reported that the occasion raised just over $1 million, most of which will be used for scholarships for Canadian students. Of the more than 200 Canadians who are enrolled in Yeshiva’s undergraduate programs, approximately 92 percent receive significant scholarships from YU. “Yeshiva University’s Torah Umadda education is crucial to the Jewish communities of Canada,” stressed Dobrinsky. “There is nothing close to our caliber of higher education in Canada. It is therefore our responsibility to enable young Canadian men and women to study at our New York campuses.” n

Sephardic Students From West Coast Visit YU

Rabbi Daniel Bouskila, Rabbi Tessone, Rabbi Chaim Bronstein, Dr. Dobrinsky with students from Los Angeles visiting YU.

During the spring 2009 semester, Rabbi Daniel Bouskila, spiritual leader of Sephardic Congregation Tifereth Israel in Los Angeles, led a group of his high school students on a visit to YU. This trip was sponsored by the Tifereth Israel community and involved the participation of 22 students, one of whom has already been accepted for admission in the fall 2010 semester and is very excited about studying at Yeshiva later this year. Trip organizers included Rabbi Daniel Bouskila ’89Y, ’94R; Yossi Malka, the Hebrew school principal; and Melissa Thompson, administrative assistant to the rabbi. n

Dr. Dobrinsky addressing students from West Coast at YU.

Supreme Court of Canada Justice Morris J. Fish (honorary degree recipient), YU President Richard Joel, Senator Yoine J. Goldstein (honorary degree recipient), Rabbi Howard S. Joseph (honorary degree recipient), Dr. Bernard Shapiro (former Principal of McGill University), Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky.

Rabbi Bouskila with his students in front of Furst Hall.




Yeshiva University Sephardic Graduates 2009

Master of Social Work Dana Ayal Andrey L. Davydov Margo Hanan Ruthie E. Israeli Shlomo Kabakov Ayelet Mashiach Certificate in Jewish Communal Service Andrey L. Davydov

Doctor of Philosophy Shiphra Bakhchi David A. Maroof

Master of Science Moshe M. Tessone Doctor of Education Caron Kuessous

Doctor of Medicine Arash Mozayan Isfahani

Claudia Esther Amzallag Ilona Aranov Bryna Meira Azizollahoff Johanna Baloul Vanessa Jaclyn Barcessat Raquel Lynn Behar Myriam Camhi Alexie Castiel-Cohen Andrea Chetrit Geraldine Ivonne Dayan Rachel-Alia Elbaz Melissa Elfersi Kimia Eshaghzadeh Clara Ginette Ghighi Sina Hadad Claudia Harary Michelle Rachel Hassan Rebecca Hazan Esther Naomie Kadoch Miryam Kashanian Esther Meira Levy Odelia Levy Sharon Madeb Gavriella Rut Mahpour Valeria Malka Alexie Melloul Peninit Roditi Judith Elana Sason Malka Sasson Sara Devorah Shamouilian Amy Shamsiev Rachel Laura Shandalov Lael Adina Siman-Tov Anais Toledano Ilana Tordjman Ilanit Zafrany Leah Zarabi Michelle Dana Zeitouni-Zohar Bachelor of Arts Agnes Nathalie Abitbol Merry Abitbol Dinah Rachel Afrah Claudia Esther Amzallag Ariella Esther Azaraf Ilanit Azfrany Johanna Baloul Esther Reyna Baruh Myriam Camhi Rachel-Alia Elbaz Jacqueline Elkaim Kimia Eshaghzadeh Claudia Harary Michelle Rachel Hassan Rebecca Hazan Esther Naomie Kadoch Miryam Kashanian Esther Meira Levy

Odelia Levy Sharon Madeb Peninit Roditi Judith Elana Sason Malka Sasson Sara Devorah Shamouilian Lael Adina Siman-Tov Leah Zarabi Michelle Dana Zeitouni-Zohar

Yosef Sharbat Ephraim T. Shoshani Ezra C. Sutton

Associate in Arts Yahya D. Azeroual Jeremy Bodkh Simon J. Dahan Charles A. Kattan Navaz Nourollah Tal Ovadia Isaac A. Soussan Emmanuel P. Touboul

Associate in Arts Reuben Abitbol Eliran Dayan Steven Ebrani Dror Fold Josua M. Hassan Joseph A. Hedaya Arshia Hourizadeh Jonathan Illouz Errel Khordipour

Bachelor of Science Reuben Abitbol Yahya D. Azeroual Michael J. Bengio David Jonathan Bitton Jeremy Bodokh Ruben R. Braka Simon J. Dahan David Dayan Eliran Dayan Aaron Ebrani Steven Ebrani Tony Ghermezian Joseph A. Hedaya Samuel E. Houri Arshia Hourizadeh Jonathan Illouz Meyer E. Laniado Yaniv N. Moradi Harold I. Naon David Ohana Tal Ovadia Michael I. Perez Leonid Ruvinov Benyamin A. Segan-Kohanim Isaac. A. Soussan Abe S. Sutton David Tordjman Emmanuel P. Touboul

Master of Laws Alain D. Bensimon Elise Bensimon Shay Moyal Juris Doctor Michael E. Gindi Michelle E. Haddad Akiva Romanoff David Soofian

Associate in Arts Talia Mazal Abadie Mazal Tov Abenaim Sarah Abesera Agnes Nathalie Abitol Merry Abitbol Dinah Rachel Afrah

Bachelor of Arts Yaacov S. Amar Avraham Amsalem Aharon Z. Arazi Mark A. Azizian Simon D. Chamama Daniel M. Douek Saul J. Haimoff Michael M. Harary Joshua M. Hassan Charles A. Kattan David Khaski Errel Khordipour Navaz Nourollah Yaakov Y. Sabghir Saman Y. Saghian Sion Setton Mousa Shamouilian

Bachelor of Science Talia Mazal Abadie Mazal Tov Abenaim Sarah Abesera Ilona Aronov Raquel Lynn Behar Alexie Castiel-Cohen Andrea Chetrit Geraldine Ivonne Dayan Sina Hadad Valerie Malka Alexie Melloul Amy Shamsiev Miryam Sara Shushan Anais Toledano Ilana Tordjman




Awards and Honors


Dr. Isidor Margolis Memorial Award for Excellence in Bible
Jonathan Illouz

Mildred Schlessberg Accounting Society Alumni Award for Service in Accounting
Jonathan Illouz

Between Foreigners and Shi’is: Nineteenth-Century Iran and its Jewish Minority

Dean Pinkhos Churgin Memorial Award for Excellence in Jewish History
Reuben Abitbol Joshua Hassan

Jacob Bluttal Award for Excellence in Behavioral Sciences
Rebecca Hazan

Blanche Attas Zuckerman Memorial Award for Excellence in Sephardic Studies
Reuben Abitbol

Mathematics Department Award for Excellence in Mathematics
Sara Kotlicky Shamouilian

The Dean David Mirsky Memorial Award for Excellence in Writing
Michelle Hassan

The Rabbi Judah Feinerman Memorial Award
Yosef Sharbat

The Yechezkel and Channah Liepziger Memorial Award
David J. Bitton

Marcia Pearlstein Memorial Award for Excellence in Hebraic Studies
Jacqueline Elkaim

The Fannie and Asher Scharfstein Memorial Award for the Best Paper on Gemilat Hesed
Maayan Elyashiv

Langfan Family Constitutional Oratorical Prize (Third Place)
Tal Ovadia

Malka Fishhaut Memorial Award for Excellence in Jewish Studies
Ezra Sutton

Constance Schwartzappel Memorial Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education
Esti Levy

Gloria Schrenzel Sheer Memorial Award for Excellence in Jewish Studies
Lael Siman-Tov

Joseph Herbst Award for Excellence in Accounting
Jonathan Illouz

Dean’s Award for Scholastic Achievement in Account
Reuben Abitbol

Dean’s Award for Scholastic Achievement in Finance
Simon Dahan Geraldine Dayan

Dr. Daniel Tsadik’s Between Foreigners and Shi‘is: Nineteenth-Century Iran and its Jewish Minority traces the religious, social and political life of Iranian Jewry in 19th century Iran, specifically during Nasir al-Din Shah’s reign (1848–1896). Tsadik, assistant professor in Sephardic and Iranian studies at YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School, and a historian specializing in the history of modern Iran, Shi‘te Islam, and Iran’s religious minorities, supports his brilliant analysis using rare archival and primary sources.in Arabic, Persian, Judeo-Persian, Hebrew and European languages. The first comprehensive scholarly work of its kind, this highly acclaimed book provides an excellent perspective on the life of Iranian Jewry during a major turning point in Iranian history, when Europe was increasingly intervening in the Middle East. Tsadik, a Fulbright scholar who received his PhD in history from Yale University, begins by discussing Shi‘ite laws that pertain to Muslims in their daily relations with Jews, in areas of life such as cleanliness, inheritance, intermarriage and so on, and demonstrates the Jews’ subordinate legal, social and political status in the early 19th century. He then depicts and analyzes the transformations in the Jews’ lives, largely caused by foreign—both Jewish and non-Jewish— intervention on the Jews’ behalf during the latter part of that century. A student of Iran and Shi‘te Islam, Tsadik also illustrates how the case study of the Jewish minority illuminates broader processes sweeping over Iran and Shi‘te Iranian society at large. This book is enjoyable, intriguing and informative, making it appealing to scholars, students and laymen alike. It is bound to sharpen our understanding of the rise of Shi‘te clerics to power in recent decades, as well as of Iranian society’s attitudes toward Jews and Judaism in modern times.
Stanford University Press, 2007






Many foreign Sephardic students from Canada, France, Morroco, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Bukhara and elsewhere are eager to enter Yeshiva University. We are launching an urgent scholarship appeal for these foreign students to raise the necessary funds to accommodate them. The cost for tuition, dormitory and the minimum food plan, plus fees, is $42,474 per student. Please complete and detach this form and send it with your tax deductible scholarship gift made out to: Yeshiva University Sephardic Student Scholarship Fund c/o Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky, Yeshiva University 500 West 185th Street, New York, NY 10033-3201
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