On Center for the Jewish Future Missions, Students Help Haiti and Explore American Jewish Communities 

Over a whirlwind eight days, 36 Yeshiva University students took part in a humanitarian aid mission to Haiti and actively participated in the inner workings of small Jewish communities across the United States as part of two winter service learning programs organized by YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF). The undergraduates signed on to expand their educational horizons through the missions, from January 10-18, with one group of 15 students on the JDC (American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) Insider’s Trip to Haiti and another group of 21 on Jewish Life Coast to Coast.

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Michal Segall, a participant on the mission to Haiti, teaches songs to students at the Prodev school in the town of Zoranje.

“For some, winter break is a chance to relax and reenergize before the beginning of a new semester,” said Rabbi Yaakov Glasser, David Mitzner Dean of CJF. “But for these students it was a life-transforming experience that instilled a deep commitment to the broader Jewish community and the world.”

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Six-Week Program to Explore Jewish Ethics and Israel’s Foreign Policy

Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) will present the spring installment of its Community Beit Midrash program beginning February 3 with a six-week series of talks by two distinguished members of YU’s faculty, Ambassador Danny Ayalon, Rennert Visiting Professor of Foreign Policy Studies, and Dr. David Shatz, University Professor of Philosophy, Ethics and Jewish Thought. The program is open to the community and runs for six consecutive Tuesdays at the Yeshiva University Museum, 15 West 16th Street, New York City.

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Left, Professor Danny Ayalon; right, Professor David Shatz

The first lecture of each day, titled “Israel’s Foreign Policy: Diplomacy in Practice,” will be delivered at 10:30 a.m. by Ayalon. The second lecture, at 11:45 a.m., will be presented by Shatz on “Pursuing the Right and the Good: Themes in Jewish Ethics.”

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Program for Jewish Genetic Health Initiative Provides First Affordable Testing for Common Ashkenazi BRCA Mutations to Low Risk and Uninsured

An unprecedented initiative from the Program for Jewish Genetic Health, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Yeshiva University and Albert Einstein College for Medicine in conjunction with Montefiore Health System, will enable men and women of Ashkenazi heritage to undergo testing for the three most common Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA mutations at a fraction of the commercial price. The first of its kind in the United States, the initiative will provide testing to individuals regardless of their BRCA-related cancer histories or their insurance or financial situations, which have been barriers to date.

450853983“Most insurance companies currently require people to already have had family members with cancer if they want to be covered for  genetic testing,” said Dr. Susan Klugman, medical director for the Program for Jewish Genetic Health,  director of the division of reproductive genetics at Montefiore and professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology and women’s health at Einstein. “We aren’t willing to wait for that.”

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Study Co-Authored by Abraham Ravid Highlights Impact of Directors on Movies’ Financial and Critical Success

Film studios looking to strike gold with their next release should worry less about signing A-list actors and more about landing a proven director, according to new research conducted by Dr. S. Abraham Ravid, professor of finance at Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business.

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Sy Syms Professor of Finance S. Abraham Ravid coauthored the study

“Experienced directors, who have survived Hollywood because of their skills and success, have a large, measureable effect on the financial and critical success of every film they make,” said Ravid. “It’s much more important to choose the director than the star.”

Ravid’s study, conducted in collaboration with Kose John of New York University and Jayanthi Sunder of the University of Arizona, shows that directors are drivers of both financial value and esthetic success of movies. Using a unique hand-collected data set that covers the entire career path of all film directors who directed their first film in 1985-86, Ravid’s work follows the directors for 25 years. In addition to finding that experienced directors can have a crucial, positive impact on the financial and critical success of their film project (as opposed to stars, who had no demonstrated impact in a previous study conducted by Ravid), his findings disprove the popular Hollywood adage that directors are only as good as their last movie.

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Students Present North America’s Largest Jewish Book Sale February 1 – March 1

The students of Yeshiva University  will hold their annual Seforim Sale, North America’s largest Jewish book sale, from February 1 to March 1, 2015, in Belfer Hall, 2495 Amsterdam Ave on YU’s Wilf Campus in Manhattan. The sale is operated entirely by YU students—from ordering to setting up the premises, marketing and all the technology the project entails.

yu seforim sale spotLast year the acclaimed Judaica book sale drew more than 12,000 people from the tri-state area and grossed more than $850,000 in sales. The annual event provides discounted prices on the latest of more than 10,000 titles in rabbinic and academic literature, cookbooks and children’s books. The 2015 Seforim Sale will also offer a wide range of music and Judaica options from around the world.

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President Richard M. Joel’s Statement on The Tragic Attacks in Paris

Yeshiva University joins with France, with the Jewish community and all who cherish freedom around the world to reject all forms of violence, including those in the name of religion. Our thoughts are with the families, loved ones and everyone affected by these acts of terror.

Winter Break Torah Study Program Draws 72 Students

It may be cold outside but inside Yeshiva University’s Glueck Beit Midrash the warmth of Torah learning continues during winter break. Rather than traveling to warmer climes, 72 undergraduate students have opted to stay in yeshiva for the popular Bein HaSemesterim [Between the Semesters] program that runs from January 6 – 19.

Yeshiva University“That so many talmidim [students] stay is a real testament to the strength and vibrancy of the Torah environment and energy the Yeshiva has to offer and a real testament to the talmidim,” said Rabbi Elisha Bacon, assistant dean of undergraduate Torah studies.

Now a program of YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), Bein HaSemesterim originally began seven years ago after two students presented the need for such an effort to President Richard M. Joel, said Rabbi Bacon.

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$1.4 Million Grant Will Train Students to Work With Vulnerable Youth  

Drug abuse, multiple trauma experiences, underachievement and a 10 percent high school dropout rate are just some of the problems faced by adolescents growing up in high-risk environments, often leading to mental health disorders that need to be addressed. A new grant awarded to the Wurzweiler School of Social Work aims to boost the number of social workers trained to work with these vulnerable adolescents.

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Wurzweiler’s Dr. Ronnie Glassman is the principal investigator for a $1.4 million grant that will train students to work with high-risk youth

Wurzweiler recently received a $1.4 million training grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services to fund over 100 social work students in clinical field placements with at-risk youth in New York City over a three-year period.

“The primary purpose of the project is to increase the number of social workers with strong clinical competencies who will work with adolescents and transitional-age youth at risk for developing or who have developed a recognized behavioral health disorder,” said Dr. Ronnie Glassman, Wurzweiler’s director of field instruction and the principal investigator for the grant. “This will be accomplished by the creation of increased social work clinical internships.”

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Leading Online Torah Study Resource Surpasses Major Milestone 

Begun as an ad-hoc gathering of shiur [lecture] recordings, YUTorah has become a formidable force in the spread of Torah learning worldwide, reaching a major milestone upon passing the 100,000 shiur mark this January.

yutorah“The growth of YUTorah has been exponential,” said Rabbi Robert Shur, director of YUTorah since 2007. “What started in 2004 with a little over 1,000 shiurim grew to 10,000 about two and a half years later. It took another five years to get to 50,000, with the second 50,000 taking less than three years.”

The list of contributors and lecturers is extensive, from across Yeshiva University and around the world. While some contributors have just a handful of recordings, there are 20 rabbis or lecturers with more than 1,000 uploaded to the site. Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Nathan and Vivian Fink Distinguished Professorial Chair in Talmud, and Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz, a daf yomi [daily Talmud study] contributor and host of the “Ten Minute Halacha” series on the site, each have more than 4,000. The recent addition of some 3,500 shiurim of Rabbi Moshe Weinberger, mashpiah at YU, now available free to the public for the first time, helped YUTorah break the 100,000 mark.

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Matthew Diller to Conclude Six Years of Service as Cardozo’s Dean in June 2015

Matthew Diller will leave his position as the dean of Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at the end of the academic year in June 2015 to become the dean of Fordham Law School, where he spent 16 years as a professor and associate dean.

Diller“Dean Diller’s achievements for Cardozo have been outstanding,” said David Samson, chairman of the Cardozo Board of Overseers. “Cardozo has been fortunate to have Matthew’s leadership, and we wish him all the best as he returns to his original academic home.”

During his tenure, Dean Diller worked with board members and faculty to expand ties within the New York legal community; to create new clinics, including the Indie Film Clinic, the Tech Startup Clinic, the Youth Justice Clinic, and the Civil Rights Clinic; and to expand fundraising campaigns. He built on Cardozo’s leadership in intellectual property law with new courses and initiatives in Internet and information law, e-discovery, technology, fashion, and entertainment law; and he pioneered a first-of-its kind job program for recent graduates based on a medical residency model.

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