David Brooks Delivers Keynote Address; Jack Belz, Dr. Susan Horwitz, Harvey Kaylie and William Zabel Honored
Acclaimed journalist and New York Times columnist David Brooks delivered the keynote address at Yeshiva University’s 89th Annual Hanukkah Convocation and Dinner on Sunday, December 8 at The Waldorf Astoria in New York City. President Richard M. Joel bestowed an honorary doctorate upon Brooks, calling him “a noble exemplar of what we hope our students will become” and drawing on the words of American poet Robert Frost to praise the morality in Brooks’ writing: “In a world which has moved inexorably down a path paved with hyperbole, cynicism and categorical one-dimensionality, you have mustered the courage and integrity to take the road less traveled.”
“How fitting it is to host you tonight at this annual assembly honoring Yeshiva University and the value which it adds to the world,” said President Joel. “Ultimately, the mandate of Yeshiva University boils down to this belief: our responsibility is to partner with God, not in retreating from but engaging with the wide world around us, forever informed by the eternal values of our tradition. That, too, is a road less traveled by, a road which necessitates patience, sensitivity and bravery.”
Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, left, and Dr. Alex Jassen discuss major themes in Outside the Bible.
“I think it is a remarkable tribute to this University that two of our three lead editors on this monumental 12-year, 70-scholar project serve on the faculty here, as do several other notable contributors,” said Rabbi Barry Schwartz, director of JPS, as he introduced the evening, which began with a communal candlelighting ceremony led by YU President Richard M. Joel to mark the seventh night of Hanukkah.
“We have to advance earnest and meaningful Jewish literacy, and this book demonstrates so much the beauty and importance that lies beyond the basics,” said President Joel. “A reading of these volumes—filled with apocalyptic visions and prophecies, folktales and legends, collections and sayings, laws and rules of conduct, commentaries and ancient prayers—builds a more colorful and textured understanding of our Jewish history and Jewish story.”
Researchers to Study Diabetes Self-Management and Behavioral Interventions
More than 25 million Americans have diabetes, yet as many as 60 percent of type 2 diabetes patients do not follow treatment plans prescribed by their health care provider and about 50 percent fail to meet treatment recommendations for control of blood glucose levels. Consistent adherence to oral medications and injectable insulin, both used to keep blood glucose levels in check, is particularly challenging among young patients and ethnic minorities. Consequences are significant: lack of adherence can lead to or exacerbate eye disease, kidney disease and nerve damage.
Half a Century Later, Sephardic Studies Continue to Expand at Yeshiva University
A program at Yeshiva University that began with a handful of participants will soon mark its 50th year, and it has never been stronger.
Rabbi Simon Basalely, the Edmond J. Safra Sgan Mashgiach for the Sephardic community, learns with students in the Sephardic Beit Midrash
The Sephardic Studies Program at YU, co-founded by Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky, YU vice president of university affairs, started out with just seven students in 1964 and has steadily flourished and expanded over the last five decades. Today, the Sephardic Community Program (SCP) boasts more than 300 undergraduate men and women and serves an additional 100 graduate students, including a dozen rabbinical students.
At the time, “we didn’t feel satisfied that the Sephardic students who came to YU left with the necessary skills and didn’t benefit to the maximum in terms of learning about their own traditions,” said Dobrinsky.
Yeshiva University Takes Part in National Campaign to Raise Scholarship Funds
While most of us are familiar with the post-Thanksgiving shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, last year, a new day was created, dedicated to another tradition that makes America great: charitable giving.
Dubbed “Giving Tuesday”—the Tuesday after Thanksgiving—the national campaign is aimed at transforming how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season through various promotions, including its own dedicated social media hashtag, #GivingTuesday. To date, more than 6,700 organizations and nonprofits, including Yeshiva University, have joined the effort, which takes place on December 3 this year.
At YU Event, MK Naftali Bennett Shares Dream of Israeli Light in the Darkness of Mideast Conflict
Sharing his vision for Israel at a November 19 event on Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus, Knesset Member Naftali Bennett asked the crowd of close to 300 to imagine a lighthouse.
“A lighthouse has strong foundations, which Israel has in our Torah, our very good economy and the most powerful army in the Middle East,” he said. “But any tower has strong foundations. The most important thing a lighthouse does is project light.” Referring to recent unrest in the region, he added, “There is a storm going on and it’s here to stay, from Pakistan to Iran, from Damascus to Yemen. Israel needs to be the lighthouse in that storm.”
Rabbi Benjamin Blech on the Similarities, and Essential Differences, between Thanksgiving and Hanukkah
It will never again happen in our lifetimes – unless you are somehow still alive 70,000 years from now.
Rabbi Benjamin Blech
This year the first night of Hanukkah will coincide with the American holiday of Thanksgiving. The latkes will share their prominent place at the festive meal with the turkey. Small wonder that some have already humorously decided that this year we ought to call the day by a new name – Thanksgivukkah.
In all seriousness, a “coincidence” of this magnitude requires some reflection. This is a perfect time to give some thought to the essential difference between the motivation for the American day of expressing gratitude to God and the Jewish rationale for our Festival of Lights.
At Robbins-Wilf Lecture, Bob Woodward Offers Behind-the-Scenes Perspective on Obama-era Washington
As public approval ratings for Congress and the Obama administration plummeted to record lows in the wake of the recent government shutdown, veteran investigative reporter Bob Woodward shared his theory about where it all went wrong at a lecture under the auspices of Yeshiva University’s Dr. Marcia Robbins-Wilf Scholar-in-Residence Program, held at the Center for Jewish History on November 13.
Bob Woodward, left, and Professor Bryan Daves discuss the political climate in Washington.
Titled “Washington’s Broken Politics,” the program focused on the origins and impacts of Washington’s dysfunctional politics, using Woodward’s unique experience covering numerous presidential administrations, including Obama’s, as a lens to reflect on the current political climate.
First Multidisciplinary Research Day Highlights Undergraduate Students’ Work in Wide Range of Fields
On November 15, Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women hosted their first joint Research Day across multiple disciplines. The event celebrated the research of undergraduates in fields ranging from the humanities to natural and mathematical sciences and allowed students to share their work and hone their presentation skills, while providing attendees an opportunity to learn from their peers and get a taste of the rich, exciting world of research.
A student explains her research to Dr. Rachel Mesch, one of the event’s judges.
The program began with keynote presentations from students representing the social sciences, natural sciences and the humanities. Yael Farzan, a Stern College student whose research focused on religion and expressive writing as predictors of prosocial behavior, noted that despite their differences, researchers in these fields shared similar qualities. “To be a good psychologist you need to ask questions, open your eyes and be curious about the world around you,” she said. “We are all by nature psychologists and sociologists.”