Yeshiva University and RIETS Family Mourn Passing of Rabbi Gershon Yankelewitz zt”l

Yeshiva University and its affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) are saddened by the loss of longtime senior Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Gershon Yankelewitz, who passed away on August 19.

“Rabbi Yankelewitz by his nature and learning so represented both our history and our destiny,” said YU President Richard M. Joel. “For over half a century he taught his students how to learn and how to live. We will always remember him.”

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Students Explore Literary and Scientific St. Petersburg on Summer Honors Courses

It’s the birthplace of some of the world’s most celebrated works of literature and significant scientific discoveries—but has also witnessed the rise and fall of one of its most powerful empires in recent history.  Understanding the nuanced history of Russia’s second-largest city, Saint Petersburg, is critical to understanding the remarkable impact its natives have made in fields ranging from art to physics. This summer, two courses in the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Progam at Yeshiva University decided to ground students in the city’s rich, complicated context by making all of Saint Petersburg their classroom.

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Members of the course with Dr. Gabriel Cwilich (fourth from right) at the Memorial to Victims of Political Repression along the Neva River

“Saint Petersburg is such a unique city, and not only for its extraordinary collection of some of the top art museums, art theaters and great palaces of the world,” said Dr. Gabriel Cwilich, director of the Honors program. “It was conceived by its founder Peter the Great as a window to the west but at the same time it is so rooted in the history of Russia, an example of the rationalist mind that created it in the eve of the 18th century, but also steeped in tradition. Where else can you find a city in which every single square or corner remembers and celebrates their prodigal sons or daughters, almost all musicians, painters, writers, scientists or engineers?”

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With Latest Publication, Dr. Stuart Halpern Edits 10th Book for YU Press

mitokh haohel coverA third book in the Mitokh Ha-Ohel series featuring collections of essays by Yeshiva University faculty is being released this week. The first of a three-volume series on prayer, From Within the Tent: Essays on the Weekday Prayers from the Rabbis and Professors of Yeshiva University (The Michael Scharf Publication Trust of RIETS/Yeshiva University Press and Koren Publishers, 2014) is a compilation of writings from over three dozen YU faculty members — including Roshei Yeshiva, deans and professors — who draw upon a range of diverse sources to help readers gain a better understanding of the weekday prayers.

The book was edited by YU Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman, who is also a professor at Sy Syms School of Business and executive editor of YU Press, and Dr. Stuart W. Halpern, who serves as an academic advisor on YU’s Wilf campus, assistant director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought and assistant director of Student Programming and Community Outreach at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies.

For Halpern, the release marks a personal milestone, as this is the 10th book he has edited for YU Press over the last five years.

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New Students Look Forward to Unique Opportunities—and Success—at Yeshiva University

This fall, hundreds of new students will begin their academic careers at Yeshiva University, where they will learn to balance a rich and vibrant range of academic, extracurricular and spiritual pursuits, dedicate themselves to rigorous Torah and secular study, discover their passions, champion their beliefs and form lasting friendships.

The incoming class is made up of men and women from across the United States, Europe, Canada, Israel and Latin America. Many are starting their first year on campus following a year of Torah study in Israel, but others are beginning their college careers right after graduating high school this spring, and still others are joining YU from other colleges or universities. Daniel Amar, of Dimona, Israel, is one of the latter. After two years on an athletic scholarship for soccer at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, he is excited to start his coursework in business and marketing at YU’s Sy Syms School of Business this fall—a place he describes as “the perfect fit.”

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Incorporating a Modern Business Education Philosophy, New Curriculum Will Offer Students More Flexibility and Options

Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business will launch a new curriculum and a new major in Business Intelligence and Marketing Analytics this fall.

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Sy Syms Associate Dean Avi Giloni

Incorporating state-of-the-art technique in modern business education philosophy, the new curriculum is designed to grant students the flexibility and options to create a customized, unique educational experience perfectly tailored to suit their career interests. “There’s a recognition now that we are all entrepreneurs of our own careers,” said Dr. Moses Pava, dean of Sy Syms. “We believe that this new and exciting curriculum, with its continued emphasis on communications skills, critical thinking, functional skills, entrepreneurial leadership, professionalism, social responsibility, and ethics will be attractive to both current and prospective students and will provide them with the education necessary to succeed both professionally and personally in today’s fast-changing, interconnected global economy.”

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Wurzweiler School of Social Work Celebrates Dr. Joyce Brenner’s 27 Years of Service to its Block Program

Upon her retirement, Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work celebrated Dr. Joyce Brenner’s more than 27 years of service to its Block Program in Israel by naming her the first recipient of its Distinguished Alumni Award at the Block Program Commencement on July 23.

2014 WSSW Block Program Commencement

Dr. Joyce Brenner delivered the keynote address at this year’s Block Program Commencement

“Dr. Brenner has literally been a part of Wurzweiler from its beginnings in 1957, entering our Masters of Social Work program in 1962,” said Dr. Carmen Ortiz Hendricks, Dorothy and David Schachne Dean of Wurzweiler. “She has single-handedly developed and strengthened the relationship between Wurzweiler and the Block Israeli Field Work Program for 27 years. She is the face of Wurzweiler in Israel and a respected leader of the social work profession as well. Dr. Brenner has earned the Distinguished Alumni Award, as she leaves a legacy of hundreds of professional social workers serving the people of Israel and the U.S.”

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Yeshiva University’s Philip and Sarah Belz School of Jewish Music Publishes Journal, Releases Double Album

The 32nd edition of the annual Journal of Jewish Music and Liturgy, edited by Cantor Bernard Beer, director of Yeshiva University’s Philip and Sarah Belz School of Jewish Music, has recently been published, and the school has also released its first album in the Nusah Legacy Recordings Project.

Now in its 32nd year, The Journal of Jewish Music and Liturgy has achieved national recognition as a model of scholarship that fills a critical need in the Jewish community. Offering essays on all aspects of Jewish music and prayer, its articles are written by distinguished rabbis, cantors, musicologists, physicians, professors, psychologists and educators. Thousands subscribe to the journal and numerous lecturers, writers and laymen use its pages as a source of reference.

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With Rockets Soaring Overhead, YU Students Take Part in Successful Archaeological Excavation in Biblical City of Gath 

Most college students haven’t had the opportunity to immerse themselves in centuries-old history through a hands-on archaeological dig in Israel, and even fewer have done so amid blaring sirens warning of impending rocket attacks.

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Yael Eisenberg, Shani Guterman, Dr. Jill Katz, Sarale Pool, Sima Fried and Asher Perez dig for artifacts in Tell es-Safi, Israel.

For five Yeshiva University undergraduates, a summer course that focused on investigating the archaeology, ecology and history of Tell es-Safi, the biblical city of Gath, took an unexpected twist when they found themselves in rocket range during Israel’s current Operation Protective Edge military offensive against Hamas in Gaza. The YU group, led by Dr. Jill Katz, clinical assistant professor of archaeology, was at Kibbutz Revadim on the southern coast of Israel near the Ashdod and Ashkelon regions when the conflict began.

“We were located 40 kilometers from Gaza and thus had about 45 seconds to run into a bomb shelter once we heard the siren,” said Katz. “While the kibbutz where we were staying had many accessible shelters, the dig site did not, and our instructions were simply to lie down in our excavation trenches for several minutes when the siren went off at the nearby power plant.”

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RIETS and Revel Student Daniel Goldberg Participates in Prestigious Fellowship at Auschwitz for Study of Professional Ethics

A newly ordained Catholic priest from Kenya, a Mennonite theological student at Princeton University, a Muslim student in a hijab from Harvard Divinity School, and Daniel Goldberg, a semicha [rabbinic ordination] student at Yeshiva University-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, walked into a Polish synagogue.

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FASPE Seminary Fellows walk to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

It may sound like the setup to a great joke, but for Goldberg, it was one of many eye-opening experiences during his two-week Fellowship at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE), a highly selective program for future clergy that explores the history of the Holocaust through the lens of contemporary ethics and firsthand visits to Auschwitz and other sites throughout Germany and Poland.

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In Its Second Year, Cardozo Book Loan Program Makes 1,800 Textbooks More Affordable for Students

It began with a simple observation.

At the end of the fall 2012 semester, Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law students Matthew Kriegsman and Kenneth Renov noticed that a lot of their peers were dumping the extremely expensive textbooks they’d just purchased that summer in the trash because, once used, the books had little to no resale value. It seemed like a terrible waste. “One of those books could cost $100 to $200 and you only use it for two months,” said Kriegsman.

Cardozo student Matthew Kriegsman helps oversee the Cardozo Law Book Loan Program, which coordinates the low-cost rental of 1,800 textbooks to qualifying students

Cardozo student Matthew Kriegsman helps oversee the Cardozo Law Book Loan Program.

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