YU Home
News and Views RSS

Dr. John Ruskay to Keynote YU’s Commencement on May 22

April 24th, 2014 by ross

John-Ruskay-731x1024Dr. John S. Ruskay, executive vice president and CEO of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, Inc., will deliver the keynote address and receive an honorary doctorate at Yeshiva University’s 83rd Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 11 a.m. at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, NJ. YU President Richard M. Joel will also confer honorary doctorates upon Joshua Gortler, president of The Kline Galland Center Foundation and alumnus of YU’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work, and YU Benefactor Dorothy Schachne. Dr. Morton Lowengrub, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, will receive the Presidential Medallion.

Ruskay has served as the executive vice president and CEO of the UJA-Federation since 1999. He has served as the educational director of the 92ndStreet Y; vice chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America; senior consultant to the Wexner Foundation and the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies; and chaired the Publication Committee of the Journal of Jewish Communal Service and the Professional Advisory Committee of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program. Ruskay has written extensively and speaks nationally on how the American Jewish community can most effectively respond to the challenges and opportunities of living in an open society, the critical role of Jewish philanthropy, and the central role of community.

“John Ruskay personifies all of our award recipients as an individual of stature, commitment, warmth, goodness, Jewish ideas and Jewish ideals,” said President Joel. “In this way, all four recipients through their personal example serve as the final undergraduate lesson for our graduates.”

In all, some 600 students from Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women and Sy Syms School of Business, will be awarded degrees from Yeshiva University during its commencement season.

YU and Einstein Students Volunteer as Part of Project TEACH for Children in Hospitals

April 24th, 2014 by ross

Project TeachExplosive milk fireworks, bridges built from gumdrops and suspenseful egg drop competitions: they may sound like wacky science experiments gone awry, but these are all fun and educational activities for children that may soon be coming to a hospital near you.

Welcome to Project TEACH – Together Educating All Children in Hospitals, a joint initiative from Yeshiva University undergraduates and students at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in which volunteers design, develop and implement a series of science and humanities modules for pediatric patients. The program currently operates in eight hospitals in New York, with over 270 volunteers running informational and recreational activities for children and their families. Its largest event took place this spring, when more than 30 YU students constructed volcanoes with patients at Columbia University’s Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.

Yosefa Schoor, now a senior at Stern College for Women, and Yair Saperstein, a Yeshiva College graduate who is studying at Einstein, co-founded the program last spring. Last fall, Rachel Leah Victor, also a senior at Stern, joined the team as co-director.

“After shadowing a pediatric neurologist, I saw that the kids in hospitals, both patients and their siblings, were kids who lacked social interactions,” said Schoor, explaining the impetus behind the creation of the program. “There were so many of my friends interested in teaching who wanted to help, so we decided to do something.”

Dr. Edward Burns, executive dean at Einstein, personally funded the pilot program and later assisted in securing funds from Einstein’s Community Based Service Learning, which helps students who serve vulnerable populations and have an impact on health and social justice issues through community engagement.

“Our hopes and dreams for all YU students is that they internalize the lessons of our timeless Torah both in their personal behavior as well as their contributions to society,” said Dean Burns. “The students who dedicate their free time to educating hospitalized children as part of Project TEACH personify the melding of Torah values, compassion and a commitment to tikkun olam [repairing the world]. I am very proud of them as representing YU’s finest.”

Schoor also credits Dr. Brenda Loewy, clinical associate professor of biology and director of pre-health advising at Stern and Dr. Karen Bacon, Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of Stern, for helping to get Project TEACH off the ground by offering their guidance and providing contacts at various local hospitals.

Project TEACH volunteers reach out to child life specialists at different hospitals to explain the rationale behind the program and why it would be valuable for each specific hospital and its patients.

“By utilizing the altruism of university students to help provide for the children who are confined to a hospital, both sides benefit: the students eager to volunteer and the children in the hospital, eager for social interaction,” said Schoor. “TEACH is that and more, as it unfolds these benefits within an environment of teaching and learning.”

The response at participating hospitals has been overwhelmingly positive, and there has been such a high volume of interest from YU students that there are often more volunteers signed up than the hospitals can accommodate.

“That’s what’s really unique about YU—the enthusiasm that students have,” said Saperstein. We used to run modules just once a month and now we have them as often as 14 times a month because student interest is incredible. This project lets us reach out to so many people beyond our immediate community—to all patients and their families in need.”

Project TEACH eventually hopes to expands its programming to include students from other universities and is exploring additional ways to grow and secure grants and partnership opportunities with other hospitals and organizations.

Stern College Student Named Goldwater Scholar

April 3rd, 2014 by ross

Kayla Applebaum, Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Award WinnerKayla Applebaum, a junior at Stern College for Women, has been awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, a highly competitive grant that supports undergraduates who intend to pursue careers in science, math or engineering.

Only 271 college sophomores and juniors across the country are selected for the scholarship, which covers the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Applebaum, a molecular biology major, will use her scholarship to continue her study of the targeting molecular pathways of breast cancer in hands-on research with Dr. Marina Holz, associate professor of biology at Stern College, who she has worked with for the last three years.

“From a young age I’ve loved puzzles,” said Applebaum. “My passion for research stems from that same fascination: I like looking at the details, hypothesizing a way to make them work together, and piecing together the bigger picture.”

That passion led Applebaum to her interest in the underlying mechanisms of cancer after she lost two grandparents to the disease. “Understanding the devastating consequences of cancer, I wanted to investigate this topic further with the hope that I could ease human suffering,” Applebaum said. “During the course of my projects, I discovered that I could take an idea and carry it to completion with conclusive results that could transform the way our society treats cancer. I hope one day to be able to make a difference in the life of at least one person.”

After graduation, Applebaum, who is also a member of the S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program at Stern College and a recipient of the Anne Scheiber Science Academic Scholarship, hopes to attend medical school and launch her own career in cancer research.

“Kayla is motivated, hard-working and always aims to achieve the best possible educational experience for herself,” said Holz. “She exemplifies one of the core missions of Stern College: to promote women in science and support their aspirations to succeed in their chosen career paths.”

Stern College Student Selected for Prestigious Undergraduate Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Honor Society

March 24th, 2014 by ross

NaomiSchwartzNaomi Schwartz, a senior studying molecular biology at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women and president of the Stern College Biology Club, has been named as one of only 37 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Undergraduate Honor Society members nationwide.

The Honor Society recognizes exceptional undergraduate juniors and seniors pursuing a degree in the molecular life sciences at a college or university that is a member of the ASBMB Undergraduate Affiliate Network (UAN). Stern College’s Biology Club started a UAN chapter this fall.

“The Biology Club organizes many events throughout the year, such as research seminars featuring prominent scientists—even two Nobel laureates—and career workshops and fundraising drives among other things,” said Dr. Marina Holz, associate professor of biology at Stern, who serves as the club’s faculty member. “Last year, we decided to take it to the next level by joining a national undergraduate society. There are numerous advantages of belonging to the ASBMB: unique scholarship opportunities, travel awards, networking and the exchange of ideas with other undergraduate chapters.”

Schwartz, who hopes to pursue medical school, decided to get involved with the Biology Club as a junior because she enjoyed organizing events that were helpful and informative to the student body and sharing her excitement about science.

“My favorite biology club events have been the Torah U’madda lectures, such as our event this semester with Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman about medical ethics, because I think they really encapsulate the reason I go to Stern: for the balance of Torah values and worldly knowledge,” she said.

Schwartz views her selection to the Honor Society as not only an opportunity to further her own research but to benefit her peers as well. “Becoming a member of the Honor Society grants me access to the Society’s mentoring activities, but it also gives our UAN chapter several benefits, such as the ability to request an Honor Society Speaker,” she said. It will also allow the Stern College chapter free access to the undergraduate program consulting services of the ASBMB and support from the ASBMB and UAN in hosting approved regional UAN Scientific Meetings.

“It’s a great feeling to know that YU is recognized as a nationally competitive center of academic excellence,” said Holz.

YU Torah Scholars to Receive Katz Prize

March 12th, 2014 by ross

Rabbi-Hershel-Schachter1-214x300Yeshiva University Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Nathan and Vivian Fink Distinguished Professorial Chair in Talmud at YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Rabbinical Theological Seminary (RIETS), and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Kressel and Ephrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought, will be presented with the 2014 Katz Award for their contributions to the practical analysis and application of halakha [Jewish law] in modern life.

The award is to be bestowed by Katz Family Foundation committee members, including former Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Hebrew University President Professor Menachem Ben-Sasson, and noted Talmudic scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, at a ceremony at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on Thursday, May 27 at 6:00 p.m.

“Rav Schachter and Rav Sacks are among the greatest Jewish minds of this generation, and we are so pleased that they are being recognized appropriately for their scholarship, works of profound clarity and rabbinic genius that have not only informed but transformed the way we relate to Jewish thought and religious observance,” said YU President Richard M. Joel. “At Yeshiva University, we consider ourselves fortunate for the opportunity to engage with these Torah giants on a daily basis.”

A renowned Talmudic scholar and a prominent authority in matters of Jewish law, Rabbi Schachter published an expansive collection of books and articles – many of which focus on the teachings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik z”l, including Eretz HaTzvi, Nefesh HaRav, and Divrei HaRav.

Formerly the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, Rabbi Sacks is known the world over for his mastery of the spoken and written word. The author of over 25 titles and the editor of many more, Rabbi Sacks is the recipient of numerous accolades for his written works, including the Jerusalem Prize and three American National Jewish Book Awards, most recently this year for the Koren Sacks Pesach Machzor.Rabbi-Sacks-300x200

The Katz Prize has been awarded annually since 1975 to honor the memory of Golda Katz, the Katz family’s matriarch. Past prize recipients include Professor Menachem Alon, Nechama Leibowitz, Professor Zeev Lev, and Rabbi Yosef Kapach.

Rabbi Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg, the Rosh Yeshiva of both the Hasidic yeshiva of Sadigura and the Jerusalem College of Technology and the co-author of the Rabbinical Council of America’s prenuptial agreement, and Rabbi Yehoshua Yeshaya Neuwirth z”l, the late rabbinic scholar who authored Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchatah, the authoritative work on the laws of Shabbat and Yom Tov, will also be recognized at the award ceremony in Jerusalem.

Stern College Professors Engage Students in Novel Cancer Research

March 12th, 2014 by ross

Faculty and students fight cancerAn apple a day keeps cancer away?

According to research by Dr. Alyssa Schuck and Dr. Jeffrey Weisburg, Doris Kukin Chair in Molecular Biology—both clinical assistant professors of biology at Stern College for Women, apples, along with cranberry juice, pomegranates, and green and black tea, contain common cancer-fighting compounds: nutraceutical polyphenols. Found in natural foods and plants, these polyphenolic extracts were proven by Weisburg’s and Schuck’s studies to be selectively toxic to cancer cells, leaving normal cells unaffected.

“We all know that a lot of drugs used to treat cancer have harmful side effects that damage normal tissue,” said Schuck. “Unlike many other studies, which only test the effects of chemicals on cancer cells, we take care to test the effects of the extracts on normal cells. Eventually, this could potentially lead to the development of a cancer therapy that would not negatively impact healthy, normal cells to the same extent as conventional chemotherapeutic agents. Our other goal is to determine the mechanism that enables these natural products to kill cancer cells.”

“Our work could also be significant in understanding some of the benefits of a healthy diet,” added Weisburg. “Many health benefits have been attributed to natural products and our work further elucidates how those products contribute to cancer prevention.”

To test the mechanisms that allow nutraceuticals to target cancer cells exclusively, Schuck and Weisburg use an in vitro culture system, working with human cells derived from the oral cavity to study the effects of natural extracts containing nutraceuticals. The idea to use cells from the mouth came from Dr. Harvey Babich, chair of the biology department at Stern College, who reasoned that because the research was testing the effects of natural products which most people consume orally, it would be important to study the impact of those products on the part of the body that first encounters them in their original state, before they can be metabolized or diluted.

Weisburg and Schuck make a great team: their individual areas of expertise, human physiology and immunology for Weisburg and protein analyses and microbiology for Schuck, enable them to tackle nutraceuticals from multiple angles at the same time. Working together with Babich, as well as with Dr. Harriet Zuckerbraun, clinical associate professor of biology at SternCollege, the two found that each of the natural extracts tested was more toxic to cancer cells than to normal cells, but their methods of killing cancer cells differed. Some extracts caused oxidative stress in cancer cells, leading to their death; other nutraceuticals caused cancer cell death by an alternate mechanism, which is likely to be direct interactions between the extract’s molecules and components of cellular signaling pathways.

Students are a vital part of Weisburg’s and Schuck’s research, working alongside them in the lab to gain hands-on experience with everything from cultivating the cells to performing toxicity tests.

“I had a terrific experience at Stern as a student, and I think the mentoring I experienced there prompted me to go down the career path I chose,” said Schuck, who graduated from Stern College in 1999 before pursuing a PhD at New York University’s Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. “Now that I’m teaching at Stern, I try to do the same things for students. We work with students very individually in the lab, and it’s rewarding to really get to know them and see them succeed in accomplishing their goals and moving on to graduate and professional school.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Ferkauf and Wurzweiler Discuss Eating Disorders in the Jewish Community

March 5th, 2014 by ross

Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology and Wurzweiler School of Social Work will host a presentation on “Dispelling Myths: Eating Disorders in the Jewish Community,” on March 31 at YU’s Israel Henry Beren Campus in midtown.

Eating disorders—which affect people of all ages and ethnicities and have the highest premature mortality rate of any mental illness—are often kept hidden, complicating treatment and prevention efforts. Recognizing the seriousness and increasing prevalence of eating disorders, Ferkauf and Wurzweiler are training more psychologists and social workers to diagnose and treat people who suffer from these devastating illnesses.

The event, cosponsored by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), will be open to the public and feature three experts in the field: Dr. Esther Altmann, an educator and clinical psychologist in private practice who served as an eating disorders consultant to Jewish organizations; Ilene V. Fishman, a social worker specializing in the treatment of eating disorders who taught Wurzweiler’s first elective course on the topic last fall; and Dr. Yael Latzer, professor at Haifa University and director of the Eating Disorders Clinic of Rambam Medical Center, which she founded in 1992.

“Eating disorders are a significant aspect in mental health today that’s far too common and it’s important that anyone involved in higher education in social work know how to identify eating disorders and how to treat them,” said Fishman, who helped found NEDA and was named to its Board of Directors last December. She also served on the national board of the American Anorexia Bulimia Association. “Eating disorders are becoming increasingly prevalent, especially in the Orthodox Jewish community, and people are becoming more aware of them. Events like these help people become more educated and help the community become more open in dealing with the problem.”

The event will be the second partnership between Wurzweiler and NEDA. Last April, they co-sponsored an educational public seminar at the Yeshiva University Museum for professionals to enhance awareness, empathy and expertise in how to treat patients with eating disorders. The funding for the conference came from the Karyn Tendler NEDA Conference Fund, established by family members in memory of Karyn Tendler, who lost her battle with anorexia several years ago.

“Now that there is a well-established collaborative relationship in place between Wurzweiler and NEDA, I am confident the relationship will lead to additional social research and community interventions, and to training more social workers to help those with eating disorders across North America,” said Dr. Carmen Hendricks, the Dorothy and David I. Schachne Dean of Wurzweiler. “Wurzweiler has an international student body and, as a result, the potential to make a great impact in many different communities.”

The Karyn Tendler Scholarship Fund at Wurzweiler also supports the education of promising students who wish to specialize in the field of eating disorders and focus their field placements on working in relevant hospitals and agencies. To donate to the fund or to find out more about the March event, scheduled for 5:45 p.m. in the Koch Auditorium at 245 Lexington Avenue, please email wurzweileradvancement@yu.edu.

YU’s CJF Addresses Child Sex Abuse Issue in Jewish Communities

March 4th, 2014 by ross

Victor-Vieth-1024x682On February 25, Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future hosted an educational and training session for rabbinic leadership focusing on the unique challenges of addressing and preventing child sexual abuse in religious communities.

The conference was one of several programs and efforts by YU to promote child sexual abuse prevention and awareness and provided an overview of the latest research about abuse in faith-based communities as well as guidelines to help synagogues institute policies and procedure aimed at preventing and addressing allegations of child sexual abuse. The program included addresses from Andrew (Avi) Lauer, Esq., vice president for legal affairs and secretary and general counsel at YU; Dr. Shira Berkovits, a postdoctoral psychology fellow at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine‘s Early Childhood Center, part of the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center /Rose F. Kennedy Center, and a student at YU’s Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School; and national child sexual abuse expert Victor Vieth, director emeritus of the Gundersen Health System’s National Child Protection Training Center.

Read the rest of the article here.

Dr. Mark Schoenberg Named as Chair at Einstein

March 4th, 2014 by ross
Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, NY, have named Mark Schoenberg, MD, professor and university chair of the department of urology. He will assume his new position in April 2014.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Schoenberg to Montefiore as chair of urology. He is a distinguished leader in the field with a passionate commitment to research and multidisciplinary patient care. Dr. Schoenberg will lead a team with a solid record of clinical, educational, and research excellence, and build upon this record to continue to advance the care of our patients,” said Steven M. Safyer, MD, president and CEO of Montefiore.

Dr. Schoenberg joins Montefiore from Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, where he currently serves as the Bernard L. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Urology and director of urologic oncology.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Schoenberg to Montefiore as chair of urology. He is a distinguished leader in the field with a passionate commitment to research and multidisciplinary patient care. Dr. Schoenberg will lead a team with a solid record of clinical, educational, and research excellence, and build upon this record to continue to advance the care of our patients,” said Steven M. Safyer, MD, president and CEO of Montefiore.

Dr. Schoenberg joins Montefiore from Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, where he currently serves as the Bernard L. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Urology and director of urologic oncology.

- See more at: http://urologytimes.modernmedicine.com/urology-times/news/dr-schoenberg-named-chair-albert-einstein#sthash.XHkPMA4j.dpuf

Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, NY, have named Mark Schoenberg, MD, professor and university chair of the department of urology. He will assume his new position in April 2014. – See more at: http://urologytimes.modernmedicine.com/urology-times/news/dr-schoenberg-named-chair-albert-einstein#sthash.XHkPMA4j.dpuf

YU Hosts National Model UN Conference

February 24th, 2014 by ross

ModelUNOver 450 delegates convened from February 9-11 for the Yeshiva University National Model United Nations (YUNMUN) conference, held at the Stamford Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Stamford, CT. YUNMUN XXIV brought together student ambassadors from 46 yeshivas and community day schools across three continents, hailing from 15 states and 39 cities around the world. In addition, 60 YU undergraduates and 65 faculty advisers joined the conference, which is a student-run simulation of the workings of the real United Nations that allows participants to learn about the complex landscape of international diplomacy.

“YUNMUN is unique as an opportunity for high school students to meet with their peers from across North America, Brazil and South Africa,” said Michael Kranzler, YU’s director of undergraduate admissions. “Throughout the three days, they learn from each other in the context of an academic, intellectual and social event that is run and entirely coordinated by undergraduate students. These student role models at this professionally run conference are the most effective ‘recruiters’ for YU.”

Read the entire article here.