Nearly a dozen members of Yeshiva University’s faculty came to San Francisco this fall to participate in the annual conferences of the American School of Oriental Research, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the American Academy of Religion. In addition to participating and presenting their research at the conferences, five faculty members served as scholars-in-residence at three synagogues in the Bay area over the 11/17 Shabbat. Dr. Ari Mermelstein served as scholar-in-residence at Congregation Adath Israel in San Francisco; Dr. Shalom Holtz and Dr. Aaron Koller were the featured speakers at Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland; and Dr. Moshe Bernstein and Dr. Chaviva Levin lectured at Congregation Emek Bracha in Palo Alto.
“The professors and rabbis at Yeshiva University are a rare breed, capable of synthesizing Torah study of the highest order with first-rate biblical scholarship,” said Rabbi Judah Dardik ’01R of Oakland’s Beth Jacob Congregation. “As a student there I had exposure to some of the greatest minds in the world today and I treasure the opportunity to bring a taste of this level of learning to my community.”
During President Richard M. Joel’s visit to Los Angeles in early December, he spoke with students at YULA Boys and Girls Schools and Shalhevet and visited with YU alumni serving as teachers and administrators in those schools. He also served as a scholar-in-residence at Yeshivat Yavneh in Hancock Park over the 12/2 Shabbat, where he spoke on the topic “Dare to Dream: Charting Our Future for the Next Generation.” President Joel was hosted at the home of Helena and Steven Usdan ’92YC for a Yavneh Trustees Society Shabbat luncheon, where the group of 50 guests participated in a lively Q&A.
Dr. Scott Goldberg, director of YU’s University-School Partnership, participated in the OU West Coast Convention on December 15 in Los Angeles and served on a panel with other leaders in the field of Jewish Education at LA’s Beth Jacob Congregation discussing issues and solutions involved in funding Orthodox Day School Education. He also served as scholar-in-residence at Beth Jacob Congregation of Irvine over the 12/16 Shabbat where he spoke on “Motivation in the iWorld: Raising Children and Students who Crave Learning, Not Just the Highest Grade.“
YU Rosh Yeshiva Rav Hershel Schachter also participated in the OU West Coast Convention. He gave a pre-Shabbat rabbinic enrichment shiur, a presentation at the LINK Kollel Friday night oneg, a Shabbat morning drasha at Adas Torah, a Shabbat afternoon shiur at the Young Israel of Century City on “The Rav’s Approach to Tefilla” and participated in the Kashrut Event at the Young Israel of Hancock Park speaking on “The Kashrut of Fish.”
The second seminar of YU’s Experiential Education Certificate Program will be held at the Camp Shalom Institute in Malibu January 5-12. The group consists of a cross-section of 20 practicing and emerging educators from across the Jewish denominations, working in settings ranging from classrooms to campuses, camps and community centers, who will gather to explore cutting-edge methodologies, models and techniques for creating powerful Jewish experiences. For more information about the program, run with support from the Jim Joseph Foundation, visit ejewisheducation.com.
Finally, YU’s Center for the Jewish Future will be running its popular Jewish Life Coast to Coast mission January 12-22 for 20 current Yeshiva University undergraduate students centered on Jewish communities in the Northwest, specifically San Francisco, Seattle, WA, and Vancouver, Canada. Through this program, students will learn about the vast and innovative landscape of Jewish education. Along the way they will meet rabbis, educators, and communal leaders who will inspire them to make a difference in their own communities. Rabbi Kenneth Brander, the David Mitzner Dean of the Center for the Jewish Future, will join the group in Oakland and serve as a scholar-in-residence at Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland over the 1/13 Shabbat.