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Faculty Fast Facts

August 26th, 2014 by azimmer

Daniel TsadikDr. Daniel Tsadik is an Assistant Professor of Sephardic and Iranian Studies at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. He received his PhD from Yale University in 2002 and wrote a book in 2007 called Between Foreigners and Shi‘is: Nineteenth-Century Iran and its Jewish Minority (Stanford: Stanford University Press). Dr. Tsadik was recently granted tenure along with seven other faculty members from across YU’s undergraduate and graduate schools, in fields ranging from art history to mathematics and Judaic studies. His teaching and research interests include the history of the Jews in Islamic lands; modern Iran; Shi’i Islam; Iran’s religious minorities; and Iran’s Jewry.

1. What did you do before you joined YU as a faculty member?
I taught at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in its Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Department and its History of the Jewish People Department.

2. What is your favorite aspect of your job at YU?
I love interacting with students, teaching them and learning a lot from them.

3. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I would be probably teaching kids in elementary school or own a small bookstore.

4. What is your goal as a scholar, and what is your goal as a teacher?
In general, I would be happy to further explore and research the history and culture of Iran and its Jews; specifically, I would like to pursue my projects on Iranian Jewry’s rabbinical literature and on Shiite perceptions of Jews and Judaism. My goals as a teacher are to  make the material I teach as clear and as enjoyable as possible, and to make my students understand the significance of the material for their past and occasionally for their present, as well.

5. What would your current and former YU students be surprised to learn about you?
I almost got accidentally shot when I was 20 years old during my army service by my own commander.

 

 

Ross Gordon ’05SB: Accicdental Entrepreneur

August 26th, 2014 by azimmer

Ross GordonWhen Ross Gordon ’05SB took over operations for the Morg Mart, the popular student-run convenience stand in the basement of Yeshiva University’s Morgenstern dormitory on the Wilf Campus, he was just looking for a way to make a few extra dollars. Instead, he says, his entrepreneurial spirit began to flourish.

“Our famous Wednesday Night Chinese Food became a campus hit, and students flocked to the crowded basement to get their General Tso’s and hear tunes from Credence Clearwater Revival, which became our customary soundtrack,” said Gordon.

Gordon had originally majored in Marketing at YU’s Sy Syms School of Business, intending to go into advertising, but after a few English Composition courses, he realized his passion for writing. He switched his major to English with a focus in creative writing, planning to be a copywriter at an ad agency, with a minor in Business.

“Once I was in the English program, my writing continued to improve every semester,” said Gordon. “I won ‘Best Short Story’ in the annual writing contest in 2004, which was definitely one of the highlights for me at YU. I also found a lot of other outlets at YU for the things I loved, like playing basketball on the varsity team for a semester and a stint playing in the YU jazz band.”

“After Gordon graduated, he found it difficult to break into the advertising industry; many candidates had worked on their portfolios for their entire time at college, and competition for jobs was stiff. “Because I was getting married and needed a job, I took an unpaid internship at a small web-design firm run by Sholom Strick ’99SB,” said Gordon. “The internship became a full-time position by the end of the summer and was a do-it-all role as a copywriter, project manager, account manager, and garbage taker-outer, and I quickly learned the ins and outs of the web-design process.”

After two years, the firm closed, and Gordon got a job as a digital project manager at Arc Worldwide, the marketing services arm of Leo Burnett Worldwide, Inc., that specializes in digital communications, direct and database marketing, promotions and brand navigation. There, he played a more creative role on a few different projects by offering ideas and coordinating the process, and was eventually approached by the Vice President of Creative, who wished to gauge Gordon’s interest in becoming a copywriter. “Of course, I said yes right away,” said Gordon.

In his role as a copywriter, Gordon worked on national campaigns for Purina, Whirlpool, Kellogg’s, and a few other major brands. “My main account was Purina and I helped re-brand Fancy Feast,” said Gordon, who, despite this coveted role for any copywriter, admits to not being a cat person. “At one point, Purina had a competition among a few different agencies for an interactive campaign. Each agency had to vote on their favorite idea, and my idea won.”

In 2008, Gordon quit ARC to start his own digital advertising agency, at first called Tribe9 Interactive, which focused on affiliate marketing. Gordon further refined his skills in writing and digital branding for a diverse group of companies, including those dedicated to home improvement. Eventually, the company morphed into CraftJack, a lead generation/software company dedicated solely to home improvement contractors. In June 2012, the company was acquired by HomeAdvisor (itself owned by IAC).

Shortly after, Gordon helped found a subscription commerce company called Mystery Tackle Box, which sends a monthly box of fishing supplies to subscribers. “A lot of people don’t realize that the fishing market is a $45 billion industry,” said Gordon. “More people fish than play baseball. Fishing is especially huge in the South, where plenty of people fish exclusively in their free time. I grew up in Minnesota and had become interested in the industry early on, so it made sense to start a company that focused on it.”

Mystery Tackle Box has grown to become the leading subscription company in the fishing space. Encouraged by its success, Gordon next founded a fishing lure manufacturing company called BioSpawn Lure Company, which launched to an auspicious start this past summer.

“I wasn’t one of those kids who set up a lemonade stand at five years old and just knew he was going to be a captain of industry,” said Gordon. “Even with my Morg Mart experience, I didn’t envision going into business. I became an entrepreneur in a very organic, steady way, and woke up one day to realize that I owned three companies.”

For Gordon, the biggest challenge is staying focused on one project at a time. “I have a lot of ideas and see a lot of opportunities and I always want to get involved, but starting a company is a lot of work and sometimes taking on too much at once can be a distraction,” said Gordon. “But there is nothing as rewarding as seeing something you thought of and built being used by tens or hundreds of thousands of people. Getting daily e-mails of gratitude for building a great service is a wonderful feeling and helps encourage me in times of doubt.”

Gordon partially credits his success with his experience at YU, where the writing fundamentals he learned there still play a major role in everything he does. “The YC classes I took made me a better writer, thinker, and doer, and I strongly encourage anyone thinking of majoring in business to consider taking a few extra classes in YC, particularly writing classes,” he said.

For budding entrepreneurs at Syms who are hoping to one day build their own successful companies, Gordon suggests this tried but true simple tip: hard work. “An idea is important but it’s also virtually worthless if you don’t put in the work and attention to detail,” he explained. “It’s the execution of an idea that makes a company ultimately successful.”

Gordon lives in Chicago with his wife, Alyssa ’04S, and their three children: Caley, 6, Coby, 4, and Zack, 3 months.

Alumni News: Alumni Who Hire Summer Interns Pay it Forward: Giving Back through Mentorship

August 26th, 2014 by azimmer

The partnership between alumni and current students provides an essential professional network that benefits everyone. Hundreds of alumni participate in programs of the YUCareer Center, including student mentorship, participation on career panels, and opportunities to hire students as interns at their own companies.

“Yeshiva University alumni are an amazing resource for career information and the most ardent advocates of our students in the job market today,” said Jocelyn Coalter, the Director of Employer and Alumni Relations. “They give so much of their time and energy to help YU students succeed and achieve their goals. Here at the Career Center, we feel very strongly that one of our roles is to facilitate and manage those alumni-student connections.”

Daniel Krul ’10SB, a senior analyst at Sunrise Securities, hired four students to intern in his firm this past summer. Working at Goldman Sachs for five years both during college and after graduating from YU, Krul met many alumni and saw firsthand the strong network of committed alumni willing to offer professional assistance.

“When I first began working at Goldman, I had a mentor named Dorian Levy ’01SB, who worked at Lehman Brothers, and I spoke to him weekly,” said Krul. “I asked him why he helped in this way, and he told me that there was a YU alum who mentored him when he was just starting out and he wanted to pass that benefit along. It inspired me to continue carrying that torch, and I’ve helped recruit and train YU students for interviews at Goldman and other major banks in this industry.”

Krul is just one of over 300 alumni who are part of YU Info Link, a database of alumni available to assist with career development . Alumni conduct mock interviews or discuss graduate school programs and careers with aspiring students.  They also regularly visit campus to conduct one-on-one informational interviews about their industry.  The Career Center manages a “Women in Business” mentoring program and co-coordinates an accounting mentoring program. Recently, the Career Center collaborated with the pre-law advisor to initiate a pre-law mentoring program.

“Yeshiva University’s mentoring program for pre-law students provides incredible engagement potential among alumni and current students,” said Eliana Baer ’06S, an attorney at Fox Rothschild LLP who mentored two pre-law students last year. “Not only that, but the larger alumni community benefits.  A strong alumni network makes for a stronger Yeshiva University, and increases the value of each of our degrees. For Yeshiva University to continue to be a strong university, a strong alumni network is essential.”

The YU alumni network is already quite vibrant, enhanced by the interconnectedness of our alumni through families, communities and the professional world.  As Krul said, “Yeshiva University’s alumni network is unique, and if utilized correctly, doesn’t compare to any other university’s network that I’ve encountered,” continued Krul. “The extent to which a YU alum will help a current student is unparalleled.”

With so many ways to give back, alumni can easily find the right fit for them:

  • The Career Center coordinates more than 100 programs and events each year for students. Last year, more than 90 alumni participated in programs such as Being Orthodox in an Unorthodox World, How to Succeed at Work, Mock Interview Night, Careers in Psychology, and Hot Tech Careers. Alumni and their firms can recruit students by posting internship and job opportunities, presenting company and career information sessions on campus, attending career fairs, and conducting on-campus interviews. The Career Center currently works with several thousand alumni in this capacity. To post a job or internship, click here.
  • Every year, 20-40 sophomores participate in a job shadowing program over their winter break in January. Students visit the work site of an employer in their field of interest for a day, learning more about that career path and industry. The Career Center also coordinates site visits where a group of 10-20 students can tour a company and hear about the different types of opportunities available.

And, when alumni reach out and give back, it inspires ripple effects for future students.

“Over the years, I have had the pleasure of providing various internship and other job opportunities to Yeshiva students, and I am confident that they will do the same for the students who come after them,” said  David Rabinowitz ’80YC,  Director of Equity Research and Head of International Equities and Portfolio Manager at ING Investment Management, who has taken interns in his department last few summers.

The Career Center invites alumni who might have creative ideas regarding programming or ways to contribute their assistance to contact Jocelyn Coalter at coalter@yu.edu or 646-592-4140.

The Center for the Jewish Future Marks Its Ninth Counterpoint Israel

August 4th, 2014 by azimmer

Glasser-199x300This summer marked the ninth year that Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) operated Counterpoint Israel, which is tailored for Israeli teens from low socio-economic development towns in Southern Israel. This program is operated in collaboration with local municipalities and the mental health agencies in the region. Rabbi Yaakov Glasser, the newly-installed David Mitzner Dean of the CJF, wrote the following in light of the situation in Israel this past summer that saw many programs change course:

“In past years, our students were greeted enthusiastically by the government, the communities, the campers, and their families; this summer, they were greeted as well with missiles, and we needed to reorient to ensure they were always within close proximity of communal bomb shelters. Counterpoint and all other summer programs were forced to shut down in Kiryat Gat and Kiryat Malachi. Along with our partners in the South, we have searched for ways to provide the Israeli teens with a sense of continuity – an opportunity to enjoy what Counterpoint has to offer – in a careful and safe way. Dimona has been under attack, and as a result we transported the teens from Dimona to a campsite in Arad, so that they too can have the summer experience they had been waiting for. “

 

Eve Stieglitz ’07SB: Conquering The Professional and Volunteer Realms By Doing, Not Talking

July 30th, 2014 by azimmer

Eve_StieglitzFor Eve Stieglitz ’07SB, talk is cheap. Doing, however, is much more valuable, and as a testament to her strongly-held beliefs, Stieglitz does things—a lot.

The accomplished corporate recruiter currently holds a full-time position at MediaVest, a leading full-service media specialist company, and a part-time job managing professional development seminars at New York Institute of Technology. Despite her busy professional life, Stieglitz—who, like many other young Jews, frequently discusses causes of concern to the Jewish community—turns talk into action. She has helped organize and run a host of events, rallies and committees for various Jewish causes, including her most recent success: a Pro-Israel Solidarity rally to express support for Israel and its ongoing military operation against Hamas and to call for peace in the beleaguered region.

Stieglitz was instilled with a strong sense of Jewish identity and communal involvement growing up in Providence, Rhode Island. “It was a small, very tight-knit Jewish community where everyone , no matter their affiliation, did things together and got along,” said Stieglitz, who began volunteering at the age of ten at the local Jewish Community Center by making fundraising phone calls. “I thought every Jewish community worked like that and was surprised to learn later on that it wasn’t the case.”

After freshman year in a public high school, Stieglitz chose to attend the Maimonides School, a Modern Orthodox school in Brookline. “Continuing my Jewish education was very important to me, and without those years at Maimonides, I might not have had a religious anchor today,” said Stieglitz. “Realizing the critical role Jewish education plays in life was a big part of the reason I also decided to attend Yeshiva University.”

At YU’s Sy Syms School of Business, Stieglitz loved the New York City locale and the smaller environment that Syms offered—the type of setting in which she thrived. In addition to devoting time to her studies and majoring in Marketing, Stieglitz served on the Sy Syms Student Council and managed the marketing and scheduling at YUWR, Yeshiva’s student-run radio station. There, she co-hosted her own show with fellow Syms student Yoni Shenkman ‘07SSB called The Random Tandem. “We were on the air on Wednesday nights in a great time slot, which I freely admit was only due to my influence as scheduling manager,” laughed Stieglitz.

In the classroom, Stieglitz found great support in her peers. “We studied together and cheered each other on, and no one was selfish when it came to succeeding in class,” said Stieglitz. “We supported one another, and it helped that we were all similarly motivated to succeed professionally. Most of us had several internships while we were students, and I think something like 90 percent of us had jobs already secured before we graduated.”

Stieglitz wasn’t sure what kind of career she wanted; real estate, perhaps. But when she attended a Sy Syms alumni and board networking event at Abigael’s during her junior year, she took a proactive approach and scanned the guest list prior to the event to see where—and next to whom—she wanted to sit. “I asked to be placed next to Phil Friedman, a member of the YU Board of Trustees who owned Computer Generated Solutions,” said Stieglitz. “Most of the other professionals there worked in accounting and finance, and I knew I didn’t want to pursue those fields.”

She and Friedman got along famously, and by the end of dinner, he had offered her an internship at his company as a recruiter. “I hadn’t thought of recruiting before that, but I liked doing it, and I was good at it,” said Stieglitz simply.

She secured a position at a powerhouse New York executive recruiting firm in February of her senior year, and went to work two weeks after commencement. After five years, she obtained her current position at MediaVest, where she recruits top talent in the advertising and digital media space. Along her professional journey, she kept in close contact with Deborah Cohn, one of her professors at Syms, who often served as a reference. And it was this line of communication that led Cohn to recruit Stieglitz to help manage professional enrichment seminars at New York Institute of Technology, where Cohn now teaches.

But Stieglitz, imbued with the spirit of social action in the Jewish community at such a young age, needed an outlet for that part of her, too, and so she began seeking opportunities to get involved. “After a family trip to explore our roots in Poland, I was really inspired and wanted to give back in a relevant way,” said Stieglitz. “I did some reading and discovered that there are tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors at or below the poverty level. It was tough to learn that we’re not taking care of our own. I volunteered for an organization called Blue Card, which provides direct financial assistance to needy Holocaust survivors. They liked my work so much that they created a young leadership committee so that I could chair it.” Since then, Stieglitz has run five fundraising events, each raising between $18,000-$20,000, and helped launch a program for people to visit survivors who are hospitalized.

Stieglitz also volunteered for pro-Israel events, but it was only recently, with the events unfolding in Israel, that she was inspired to take even further action. When her good friend Uri Turk ’07SB—who served as paratrooper in the IDF for two years—called to tell her that he was founding Bring Back Our Boys NYC in the wake of the kidnapping of three Israeli teens, she quickly signed up to help, and co-chaired a Bring Back Our Boys fundraiser on June 25 at a Lower East Side lounge that raised over $16,000. “Just because we’re in the U.S. doesn’t mean we can just sit back,” Stieglitz told The Jerusalem Post at the time.

And, when the terrible news came that the teens had been murdered, and with the escalating violence in Israel and negative world opinion, Stieglitz had more work to do. Along with a few friends and within the span of just six days, Stieglitz organized a major pro-Israel rally and solidarity protest attended by thousands of New York-area Jews at which she spoke publicly on stage. The protest was widely covered in the Jewish press, and Stieglitz was interviewed by numerous media outlets, including CBS, ABC, and Shalom TV.

“It’s a little sad that it takes something like this to unify the Jewish people, but it was beautiful to see so many people present in a space with no hatred or politics,” said Stieglitz. “I was speaking to a friend on Facebook before the rally, and he was bemoaning the current state of world affairs and I challenged him to come to the event. He didn’t show up, and that’s very hard for me to respect. There’s talking, and then there’s doing.”

Rousing people into action is a natural fit for Stieglitz, as she sees the corporate recruitment she does as integral training for her volunteer communal work. “My job is getting people from point A to B to C,” said Stieglitz. “And that’s what the Jewish community really needs: its members, its family, to actually show up.”

New Leadership at YU Helps Bring YU into the Future

July 30th, 2014 by azimmer

As Yeshiva University reaffirms its commitment to offer an outstanding education in both Jewish and secular studies, we extend a warm welcome to new leaders who will be spearheading the future and strengthening academic affairs. Below, we highlight their plans for moving the University forward.

For Dr. Selma Botman, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, the road ahead is paved with opportunities. “YU should build upon its storied past while at the same time create a 21st-century university that continues to be indispensable to the Jewish community and the greater world,” said Botman. “As a 21st-century university, YU will continue to innovate and reimagine its academic and intellectual offerings. Two special task forces charged with considering the role of technology in instruction, among other areas, have just concluded their work.”

Indispensable to technology-assisted instruction are the faculty, said Botman, who will be an integral part of this plan by adapting their course materials for online courses and courses that are taught in a blended fashion. “I’m looking forward to working with the entire Office of Academic Affairs and with the various deans, faulty, and faculty council to ensure that the highest quality of instruction is maintained and student success is ensured,” said Botman.

Dr. Scott Goldberg, the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning at YU, will help lead various initiatives at YU’s undergraduate and graduate schools that use 21st-century methods and media. Goldberg is not a newcomer to YU: he joined the YU faculty in 2002, and eventually assumed the inaugural position of director of the Institute for University-School Partnership (YUSP). He taught at Stern College for Women and at the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, where he served as director of the Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Division of Doctoral Studies and where he is currently a tenured associate professor.

Though some may express a sense of anxiety about online education and blended instruction, Botman and Goldberg are confident that it will only enhance the field of education in general and education at YU in particular.

“I think there’s a real misinterpretation of the role of technology in education, and I can’t even imagine how we would be marginalizing the role of the educator,” said Botman. “Online learning gives students who have wildly diverse learning styles the opportunity to learn from faculty and fellow students as well as access to global resources that are much bigger than any one university could provide.”

For Goldberg, any anxiety surrounding this progressive method of learning is nothing new. “The pencil was denounced, too, when it was first invented,” he said. “Online and blended learning is just another communal response to create something that creatively engages the world. In the field of education, innovation is key: technology-assisted instruction is just what’s next. What is learned and how and when it is learned may change, but universities must continue to be centers of teaching and learning.”

Many classes at YU currently integrate media content and online instruction into their curricula, particularly in some of YU’s graduate schools. Azrieli launched an online master’s degree last spring, and, last summer, a Principles of Financial Accounting class at the Sy Syms School of Business was taught entirely online, marking the first such course for a YU undergraduate school.

Another feature of Goldberg’s position is to reach untapped markets by broadening the University’s reach through new degrees, certificate programs and continuing education opportunities on campus, abroad and online, and developing partnerships with businesses.

To play a key role in building a sustainable University, YU welcomed Seth Moskowitz, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, in June. Moskowitz brings a wealth of development experience and leadership to YU’s fundraising team.

“I plan to follow up on the successful development efforts of Dan Forman, who oversaw the raising of nearly $1 billion since 2006, and to continue expanding the role of YU in securing a strong future for the greater Jewish community,” said Moskowitz, who previously served as the senior vice president for the American Society for the Technion and has held positions with American Friends of the Israel Democracy Institute, Nefesh B’Nefesh, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Jewish National Fund, and the United Jewish Appeal. “We have an important role to play in Jewish life both here and in Israel, and we need to continue educating bright, leadership-minded Jewish men and women who contribute and give back to the world. We have a strong fundraising team in place with a fantastic track record, and I am confident that we will excel in transmitting our message to the greater community.”

Regarding internal finances, Jacob “Jake” Harman will serve as Vice President of Business Affairs and Chief Financial officer. He will lead the University’s finance functions and play an integral role in developing and implementing financial and operational plans to meet the strategic goals set by the University. He will serve on the executive cabinet and work closely with Senior Vice President Josh Joseph on strategic initiatives.

“Jake brings to YU a deep skill-set with more than 35 years of experience as a seasoned well-rounded financial executive,” said President Richard M. Joel. “We are confident that Jake will provide new energy, focus, and commitment to YU’s finance operations at this important juncture in the University’s development of a long-term sustainable business model.”

Prior to joining YU, Harman spent his career at KPMG, where he most recently served as a senior audit partner in the firm’s Office of General Counsel.

Israel Under Attack

July 11th, 2014 by azimmer
israel under attack

Our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael find themselves under attack, and we stand united in prayer for their safety. The citizens and soldiers of Israel are constantly in our hearts, as we devote ourselves to Tefilah and Torah learning in their merit. Below you will Tehillim and Shiurim that may be of interest at this time.

Tehillim
Sefer Tehillim Online Text (English and Hebrew)
The recitation of perakim 83, 130 and 142 are recommended, followed by the tefila of Acheinu.

Misheberach for the IDF

Relevant Shiurim
Shiurim on Israel

Torah Perspectives on Amud Anan
(Israel’s previous anti-terror operation)
The Ethics of War

May there be only peace in Eretz Yisroel speedily!

YU Professionals Kick Off the Summer Season with Networking Events

July 2nd, 2014 by azimmer

The siren call of the beach and vacation was put on hold while YU’s professional networking groups organized two outstanding events for alumni and industry professionals in June.

On Thursday, June 19, the YU Wall Street Group presented “Current Trends in Activist Investing” featuring Peter W. May, President and founding partner of Trian Partners, in conversation with Andrew Conway, Managing Director at Credit Suisse.

YUWSG_eventThe event, hosted by Credit Suisse, attracted more than 150 alumni and friends of YU who work in various roles in the finance industry. “In addition to learning from Peter May’s life experiences and investment advice, it also enabled friends to reconnect with former classmates, and for attendees to network and create new relationships that will hopefully assist them in furthering their careers,” said Ovadyeh Aryeh ’02SB, a director at Credit Suisse. “Yeshiva played an integral role in enabling me to be in my current position today, and it continues to play an active role in my career advancement through the ongoing educational and networking opportunities it creates for alumni who work in finance.” View photos here.

On Thursday, June 26, the YU Real Estate Professionals hosted Bruce Ratner, Chairman of Forest City Ratner, in conversation with Michael Stoler, host of The Stoler Report at the New York Times building.

14560694975_47f7a14850_m“The event was an informative and fun forum for us to learn from Bruce Ratner about who he really is and what has made him successful. The close friendship he shares with Michael Stoler was apparent, and their easy interaction allowed us a real glimpse into the person Ratner is behind the title of titan of industry,” said Jennifer Prince ’99SB, who was profiled here by Alumni News in 2012. View photos here.

Prince’s friend Ellee Kim said, “The dialogue between two industry superstars, Michael Stoler and Bruce Ratner, was not just interesting and entertaining but also very inspiring. YU organized an incredible event at the architecturally-significant New York Times building.”

Finally, on Tuesday, July 22, YU Legal Professionals present “Silicon Wadi: A Guide to International Lawyering in Israel,” (CLE credits available) featuring Jeremy Lustman ’96YC, a partner at DLA Piper, and Benjamin Waltuch ’88YUHS, ’92SB, a partner at Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer Baratz. Both Lustman and Waltuch are Americans who practice law in Israel. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. and the program begins at 8:30 a.m.  Register today! 

 

Stern College Art Exhibition Showcases Talent of Graduating Seniors

July 2nd, 2014 by azimmer

The 5th annual Stern Student Art Show is on display at the Yeshiva University Museum at the Center for Jewish History through July 27.

Stern Art 2014The multimedia exhibition features selections from studio art majors in the class of 2014. The studio art program, part of Stern College’s Jewish and liberal arts curriculum, is a foundation-based program that deepens students’ skills of visual and artistic expression, and prepares them for careers in diverse art-related fields. Students are encouraged to find and nurture their individual artistic voices. The exhibition, designed by the students, highlights the character of the artistic process and the range of choices made by artists from conception to completion.

“The Student Art Show is an excellent opportunity for the fine art students at Stern to be able to showcase their work in a public setting. After years of hard work, long hours in the studio, and deep dedication crafting art, the women are able to celebrate their work in a museum,” said Joanna Ross-Tash ’13S, the Presidential Fellow for the Museum this past year.

The Stern students featured in the Senior Art Show are Shelley Adelson, Michelle Atri, Ellie Blanco, Victoria Chabot, Devora Cohen, Sharon Cohen, Haley David, Tova Lahasky, Adina Eizikovitz Rubin, Nicole Freund Ariella Fried, Leah Gottfried, Esther Hersh, Halina Hreisukh, Yael Roberts, Amanda Schaum, Anastasiya Siniakovich, Ellie Sonnenwirth, and Emily Wolmark.

If you don’t get a chance to visit and see the creativity of the graduates in person, click here for a link to the gallery of their artwork.

Rabbi Yitzchak Schechter ’95YC, ’99F: Data Solutions to Benefit the Jewish Community

June 6th, 2014 by azimmer

Isaac_SchechterDr. Yitzchak Schechter ’95YC, ’99F knows all about the problems facing the Orthodox Jewish community, among them mental health issues, the so-called “shidduch crisis,” and kids at risk. But to find the data to support the theories of these communal issues, Schechter founded the Applied Research and Community Collaboration Institute (ARCC) which works to collect and analyze information and develop workable solutions for the mainstream and ultra-Orthodox communities.

As director of the Center for Applied Psychology (CAPs) mental health clinic at Monsey’s Bikur Cholim, a position he has held since 2000, Schechter has worked closely with the Modern Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox communities. Over time, he has seen the stigma of receiving mental health treatment slowly dissipate.

“I think that my YU learning and experience has greatly prepared me for this kind of role serving the Hasidic and more yeshivish community. They see that I am dedicated to treating them with sensitivity and understanding,” said Schechter. “I have an open ear and engage in dialogue with rabbis and leaders of the YU community, and the chasidish and yeshivish communities recognize how committed I am to both the Torah world and the professional world. I think they respect where I am coming from.”

Schechter knew he would attend YU when it came time for college because YU’s Torah Umadda philosophy fit perfectly with his family’s core values of serious learning and engagement with the professional world and society at large.

After starting as a computer science major, Schechter found that he was more interested in the way the mind—and not the computer monitor—works, as well as the way social systems function, and switched to a psychology major. He highlighted the courses he took with Joshua Bacon, Associate Professor of Psychology, as particularly illuminating.

Schechter went on to attend YU’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, during which time he also learned frequently with Rabbi Mayer Twersky at RIETS.

“My relationship with Rabbi Twersky and other rabbis at YU, and the ideals of Torah and Jewish values that I learned from them, informed my approach to my psychology studies, and, later on, my career,” explained Schechter. “I found that the best way I could actualize my avodas Hashem was to become a psychologist, and I credit that realization with the lessons I learned in the beis medrash.”

After obtaining his graduate degree from Ferkauf, Schechter worked at Rockefeller University and NYU’s Nathan Kline Institute. He also worked part time at CAPs and helped to build it until 2005, when the clinic was officially licensed by New York State, and then switched to a full-time position. Schechter and his staff at the clinic service the needs of the ultra-Orthodox, Hasidic community. This year alone, the clinic has served close to 1,000 clients who have visited the clinic nearly 20,000 times. His clients range from Modern Orthodox to yeshivish as well as ultra-Orthodox Jews from a variety of Hasidic sects, who travel to Schechter’s clinic from places like Monroe, Kiryas Joel, Williamsburg, Boro Park and Flatbush.

Schechter remains proud of his continuing identification with YU. In 2002, he started a doctoral internship program that employs many Stern, Yeshiva College and Ferkauf students interested in pursuing a professional career in psychology. One thing that’s very important to Schechter is that these students, as well as any other intern at his clinic, receive sensitivity training to better understand the cultural, religious and psychosocial issues at play within the Hasidic community. This steadfast allegiance to training sensitive and respectful therapists plays an important role in the decreasing stigma of the Orthodox community and its willingness to seek professional help.

Moreover, said Schechter, the experience serves as a learning one for the therapists, too. “At this point, I’ve trained over 100 clinicians to work in this community, including many people with YU backgrounds, and I’m proud that I can help bring these two communities together and create an environment of mutual respect for people of all different stripes,” he explained. “I employ therapists from across the spectrum of Orthodoxy, and we’re all engaged in the work of helping people with professional integrity and respect.”

He continued, “Sometimes, we get so caught up in our own little bubble that we don’t learn to appreciate what another community might have to offer, or consider things through another perspective. Yes, there are real differences, but there are also a lot of similarities.”

Schechter also taught the first Psychology of Religion course at Stern College for Women in 2000.

ARCC, Schechter’s newest venture, is a natural evolution of the increase in clients and lessening stigma attached to mental health. In other words, now that Schechter and his staff see what the problems are, they want to help solve them. ARCC’s goal is to help decision makers—parents, schools, rabbis and therapists—analyze data to make informed decisions. Schechter and his staff are in the midst of several long-term studies on obsessive-compulsive disorder and whether it really affects the Orthodox community to a greater extent than the general population, and whether premarital doubt translates into later challenges in a marriage, among others.

“It’s great to accomplish meaningful clinical work, but you can’t just stay there and not use the knowledge you’ve gained to help the wider community,” said Schechter.

Schechter’s eagerness to help people beyond the Jewish community is just another example of YU graduates seeking to use their education for the benefit of the greater good. And Schechter credits YU for much of his success and for forming his ideals about the kind of work he wants to do. His wife, Shoshana Schechter ’91S, is an Instructor of Bible at Stern College for Women and Director of the Basic Jewish Studies Program (Mechinah), and their oldest son is currently a student at the Yeshiva University High School for Boys.

“YU is part of something bigger, a larger mesorah and tradition,” said Schechter thoughtfully. “The connections my son has with his rebbeim and the older semicha students, as well as undergraduate college students, is very powerful. My family is proud to be a YU family.”

The Schechters have five children: Yoni ’15YUHSB, Ayelet, Yedidya, Noam and Nava.