Yeshiva University News » 2004 » January

Jan 30, 2004 — Albert Einstein College of Medicine will honor Richard M. Joel, the new president of Yeshiva University, and philanthropists and community leaders, Rita and Philip Rosen, at its annual Palm Beach Gala, Sunday, February 15, at The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach.

President Joel, who was inaugurated as the fourth president of Yeshiva University in September 2003, will be recognized for his dedication to the mission of Einstein and the University, and for his exemplary achievements as an educator and an international communal leader. Mr. and Mrs. Rosen will receive the Einstein Lifetime Achievement Award for their more than four decades of extraordinary service to the College of Medicine.

Rita and Philip Rosen have been making a difference in the lives of the sick and less fortunate for more than four and one-half decades, with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine enjoying a special place close to their hearts. Einstein Benefactors, they have used their energies and talents to help the College of Medicine grow and flourish, and the Philip and Rita Rosen Department of Communications and Public Affairs is named in their honor.

Mr. Rosen is a founding member of the College’s Men’s Division. He served as the Division’s third chairman and is currently a member of its Executive Board. Elected to the Einstein Board of Overseers in 1977, he has been a vice chairperson since 1994.

Mrs. Rosen, who was elected an Einstein Overseer in 1983, is an honorary president of the Division and a founder of the Westchester/Fairfield Chapter, where she currently chairs the Board of Directors. She is a Board member of the Division’s New York Chapter. An accomplished actress and Einstein’s “resident film-maker,” she has produced and narrated several multi-image and video presentations that depict the history and accomplishments of the College.

Mr. and Mrs. Rosen have been widely recognized for their good deeds and are recipients of the Einstein Humanitarian Award. Yeshiva University conferred an honorary doctorate on Phil in 1992 and on Rita in 2000.

The Rosen’s philanthropic leadership extends beyond the Einstein campus to many other worthy organizations including JBI International (formerly the Jewish Braille Institute), where Phil serves as a vice president. Their numerous honors also include awards from the National Council of Christians and Jews and the Anti-Defamation League. Benefactors of Technion–Israel Institute of Technology, the Rosens are also major supporters of Israel Bonds and UJA-Federation.

A recipient of the Harriet Jonas Award of the American Jewish Committee, Mrs. Rosen will receive the Lizette H. Sarnoff Award for Volunteer Services at Einstein’s Spirit of Achievement Luncheon this coming May. The College’s Men’s Division honored her in 1999 for her creative and inspiring community leadership.

Mr. and Mrs. Rosen’s children—Phyllis Raskin, Wendy and Robert Landes, and Michael and Stephanie Rosen—are active in behalf of Einstein and other worthy causes.

President Joel extolled the “superlative and ethical import” of science and medicine at Einstein in his inaugural address and other speeches. Einstein science, he says, includes pioneering research in genetics, cardiology, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and other diseases. Central to President Joel’s vision is the ability of Einstein and other YU graduate schools to ensure that learning and knowledge advance society ethically and intellectually, as well as professionally.

Chairing the dinner-dance are Renée and Robert A. Belfer and Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz. Proceeds will benefit the College of Medicine’s capital campaign.

Further information about the Palm Beach Gala may be obtained by telephoning (561) 659-5637 or (888) 788-4206.

The Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University is one of the nation’s premier centers for medical education and biomedical research. Since it first opened its doors to students in 1955, the impressive accomplishments of its scientific investigators and the excellence of its programs in basic and clinical research have been widely recognized. The College consistently ranks among the nation’s leaders in basic research support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH.) The medical school also has earned “Center of Excellence” status from the NIH in six major biomedical fields—autoimmune disease, brain research, cancer, diabetes, liver disease, and sickle-cell disease.


Jan 30, 2004 — In the December 19, 2003, New York Law Journal, a story and chart of the bar pass rates for New York law schools indicated that Cardozo’s 2003 bar pass rate for first time test takers was the third highest in New York City.

New York University was first with a pass rate of 97%, Columbia was second with 96%, and Cardozo was third with 88%. Cornell Law School in Ithaca, New York, had a pass rate of 94%. For the first time, Cardozo surpassed Fordham, which had a 86% pass rate. St. John’s had 85%, Brooklyn and Syracuse, tied for 7th, had pass rates of 84%. The New York State average was 76%. Other city and state law schools fell below the state average.

Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law is well known for its prolific and high profile faculty as well as top-ranked programs in intellectual property, corporate and criminal law, entertainment and communications law, legal theory, and Jewish law. The Law School’s clinical program has been cited as one of the best in the country. Cardozo has graduated more than 7,500 students since its founding in 1976.


Jan 28, 2004 — Rabbi Benjamin Blech will share highlights from two of his best-selling books at a lecture kicking off YU’s annual Student Organization of Yeshiva (SOY) Seforim Sale. He will focus on selections from Taking Stock: A Spiritual Guide to Rising Above Life’s Financial Ups and Downs, which was recently reviewed by The New York Times, and If God is Good Then Why is the World So Bad?

The fifth annual lecture, sponsored by the Yeshiva College Alumni Association, will take place Sunday, Feb. 15, at 12:30 pm in Gloria and Jesse Weissberg Commons, Belfer Hall, 2495 Amsterdam Avenue on Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus in Manhattan. The book sale opens at 2 pm in Belfer Hall, Room 502. Rabbi Blech will autograph copies of his books following his talk.

Rabbi Blech, who joined the YU faculty in 1966, received his BA from YU, his MA from Columbia University, and his ordination from YU’s affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He has appeared on numerous television programs, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, and was recently ranked 16th on a list of the 50 most influential Jews in America. He is also the author of nine books, including three on Judaism in the popular Idiot’s Guide series.

The acclaimed Judaica book sale (Feb. 12-29) draws hundreds of students, parents, and educators from across the tri-state area. Titles range from classical rabbinic works to cookbooks, children’s literature, tapes and CDs. For a complete listing of dates and times, visit

Past speakers include YU Chancellor Norman Lamm ‘49Y, R, B; Dr. Ephraim Kanarfogel ‘77Y, R, B, E. Billi Ivry Professor of Jewish History; Dr. David Schnall ‘69Y, R, dean, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration; Rabbi Shalom Carmy ‘70,Y, R, B, assistant professor or Bible; and Dr. David Shatz ‘69Y, R, B, professor of philosophy.

The lecture is free and open to the public. To attend, please contact the Office of University Alumni Affairs at 212-960-5373, fax 212-960-5336, or


L-R: Jona Rechnitz, Eli Renov, Yummy Schachter, and Isaac Winkler at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron

Jan 27, 2004 — While some students escaped the cold weather during winter break or went home to visit family, another group chose to spend their vacation in Israel, visiting Hebron and organizing a concert that raised $20,000 for families of terror attack victims, and travelling to sunny Florida – not to hit the beach but to create a Modern Orthodox community.


Organized by Hindy Poupko, president of the Israel Club; Yummy Schachter, president of the YC Student Union; and Jona Rechnitz, a junior at Sy Syms School of Business, the Jan. 13 day trip to Hebron included visits to several landmarks and a meeting with President Richard M. Joel, who was in Jerusalem.

“I have never in my life felt more proud to be a part of YU,” Ms. Poupko said. “I think YU is the only institution that can make a trip like this possible. We all felt like we were on a mission.”

The Hebron trip started at the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem, where students boarded two armed, bullet-proof buses to Hebron. Their first stop was to the Cave of the Patriarchs, where Mr. Schachter led a morning shacharit service.

The group of about 100 YC and Stern College students visited the ancient synagogue, Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, and a kollel (institute for advanced Talmudic study) in Hebron.

That evening, they were taken to Tel HaShomer, a hospital that provides rehabilitation for survivors of terror attacks, and then to the Sheraton Plaza Hotel in Jerusalem, where President Joel met with them in a small and informal setting.

Mr. Schachter, who has visited Hebron several times, said this trip allowed him to really understand the people who live there.

“The last time I was there, I just visited the Cave of the Patriarchs and left,” he said. “But this time, it strengthened me to meet the people who live there and see their courage.”

A Night of Music

Co-sponsored by YU and The Jerusalem Post, the concert held in Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue on Jan. 17 raised money for One Family Fund, an organization that provides financial and psychological assistance to families of terror attack victims. Mr. Schachter spotted Marc Belzberg, chairman of One Family Fund, and suggested to him they hold a concert as a fundraiser.

About 1,600 people attended the “All Together Now Concert,” created by YU student leaders and Marc Belzberg, chairman of One Family Fund, to hear bands Blue Fringe and Oyf Simches, and singer Yehuda Glantz.


Also during winter break, President Richard M. Joel; Dr. Karen Bacon, the Monique C. Katz Dean of Stern College for Women; Dr. Norman Adler, dean of Yeshiva College; and Dr. Charles Snow, dean of Sy Syms School of Business, visited Israel to meet with various officials and YU students studying there.

While there, they were joined by a group of Distinguished Scholars for a visit to a laboratory that produces tekhelet (Biblical blue dye) for coloring tzizit (fringes on a four-cornered garment worn by men as a Biblical commandment to recall the exodus from Egypt).

The laboratory, started by YC alums Ari Greenspan ‘82Y and Baruch Sterman ‘80Y, produces the blue dye from Murex snails. Their foundation, Ptil Tekhelet, is a non-profit organization that gives lectures to shuls, community centers, and kollels, and provides multimedia presentations on tekhelet to Hebrew day schools.

Some scholars dispute the new science of producing tekhelet and others question the need to resurrect a “lost” tradition. In Tekhelet: The Renaissance of a Mitzvah (Yeshiva University Press, 1996), Chancellor Norman Lamm and Rabbis Moshe D. Tendler and Hershel Schachter support the new science in a series of addresses.

OJEP: YU in Florida

The Marder home is the only kosher one in Orlando, Fla., a city with a Jewish population of 30,000.

So Josh Marder, ‘02YC, a second-year student at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, brought a group of fellow classmates to Orlando in 2002 to imbue the Orlando Jewish community with spirituality and learning.

And with the help of the Max Stern Division of Communal Services (MSDCS), the Orlando Jewish Enrichment Program (OJEP) was born.

“The Orlando Jewish community has no higher learning or adult education programs,” Mr. Marder said. “It lacks a certain amount of inspiration, and a lot of people are not affiliated with any shuls, especially college-aged kids.”

This year’s program, held Jan. 9-18, featured various programs and lectures, including talks by “scholars-in-residence” Rabbis Daniel Feldman and Tzvi Sobolofsky. The group, which comprised eight RIETS and Mazer Yeshiva Program students, held classes in synagogues and at the Hebrew Day School. Lectures were also given at University of Central Florida and Rollins College and OJEP even sponsored “Israel Activism Night” to drum-up support and discuss ways of helping Israel.

Robert Shur, ‘01YC, a fourth-year RIETS student who worked with Mr. Marder in developing OJEP, said the response has been so great that a group of residents are looking for ways to obtain additional funding for more OJEP programs.

“We bring a lot of soul,” Mr. Shur said. “We provide a vibrant Judaism, it’s very emotional, and it’s a good feeling to know that you’re creating a Jewish community where there isn’t one.”

OJEP’s ultimate goal is to create a vibrant Modern Orthodox community in Orlando, one where the only kosher home isn’t Randa and Jay Marder’s, the parents of Mr. Marder.

“OJEP has given Orlando a chance to be a part of something, to experience shabbat, and it’s why they have embraced it,” Rabbi Ari Rockoff of MSDCS said. “YU’s best resource is our students. Other programs just provide money and materials, but we provide the full package.”


Jan 27, 2004 — President Richard M. Joel will hold two Town Hall meetings, one on the Israel Henry Beren Campus and another on the Wilf Campus on Feb. 4 and 5, respectively.

Both meetings will begin at 2:45 pm and end at 3:45 pm.

The meeting on the Beren Campus will take place at 215 Lexington Ave., Levy Lobby Commons, and the Wilf Campus meeting will be in Belfer Hall, Weissberg Commons.

Town Hall Meetings are university-wide forums to which faculty, staff, and students are invited, and are intended to address all issues related to the YU community. President Joel will give a brief talk, followed by a question-and-answer session.


Mikey never missed a chance to share his passion for drumming at NCSY Shabbatonim.

Jan 27, 2004 — The Yeshiva University community is saddened by the passing of Mikey Butler, a Yeshiva College alumnus and friend of many. A memorial was held Tuesday, January 27 at 12 pm in Lamport Auditorium on YU’s Wilf Campus.

Chancellor Norman Lamm delivered a hesped (eulogy) for Mikey, calling him a legend. He lived a life of Torah and ahavat habriot (concern for others), and accomplished more in his 24 years than most people accomplish in a lifetime. “Mikey had legions of admirers and evoked the better angels of our nature.”

Dr. Lamm said that Mikey Butler is a role model for us all in his courageous battle over his illness. “His example challenges us to overcome difficulties in our own lives and persevere in our commitment to Torah values.”

Shira Reifman of NCSY and Yaakov Green, close friends of Mikey, spoke eloquently of how he touched their lives and enriched the lives of others.

Mikey’s funeral took place in Pittsburgh at Congregation Poale Zedek at 12:30 pm. A delegation of more than 150 Yeshiva University students led by President Richard M. Joel and Vice President for University Life Hillel Davis attended the funeral.

Refael Michael Yitzchok ben Nechama Sarah (1979-2004)


Jan 26, 2004 — Ellen Schrecker, professor of history at YU, will speak at a social research conference in New York City on Saturday, Feb. 7, as part of a three-day conference entitled, “Fear: Its Political Uses and Abuses.” Vice President Al Gore will open the conference on Feb. 5 with a keynote address.

During the conference, Prof. Schrecker will discuss “McCarthyism: Political Repression and the Fear of Communism.” Her talk will focus on the early years of the Cold War and how American policy makers used “scare tactics” to invoke a fear of communism in order to generate support for US foreign policy.

Prof. Schrecker will be joined by E. Valentine Daniel, professor of anthropology at Columbia University, and Jessica Stern, lecturer of public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and author of Terror in the Name of God (2003). The session will be moderated by Aristide Zolberg, Eberstadt Professor and University in Exile Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the New School University.

The conference will take place at Tishman Auditorium at the New School University, 66 West 12th Street. Full-time students with valid identification are admitted free.

For further information and to register, call (212) 229-2488 or visit the conference’s Web site at


Jan 22, 2004 — Eleven Yeshiva University (YU) students, rabbinical students enrolled in YU’s affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary(RIETS), traveled across Germany—from Munich to Frankfurt, Worms to Berlin—in a program supported by the German government called Bridge of Understanding: The Jewish Experience of Modern Germany.

The YU students experienced first-hand the Jewish experience in Germany—the historic sites of their destruction, including Worms, the city whose Jewish presence dates back to the late 10th century, and Munich, the birthplace and center of the Nazi Party. The 11-member delegation explored the resurgence of Jewish life in modern Germany, evidenced by the influx of some 100,000 Jew from the former Soviet Union in recent years.

The students visited the German Bundestag (parliament), where they met with members of parliament from the FDP (Liberal), SPD (Social Democrat), CDU (Christian Democrat) parties, and a member of the Green Party.

They also visited the memorial site at Ravensbruck. In Munich they were hosted by the community rabbi, Rabbi Steven Langnas, a YU alumnus, and in Frankfurt they were greeted by Rabbi Binyamin Krauss, also a YU alumnus, director of the Lauder Chorev Midrasha of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in Frankfurt.

In Berlin, the group was the guest of Rabbi Joshua Spinner, director of the Beit Midrash and of Lauder operations in central and Eastern Europe. They studied, prayed, and ate with more than 23 students, natives of the former Soviet Union, Germany and other Eastern European countries, and gained insight into community building and fostering Jewish life and learning.


Jan 12, 2004 — Like the age-old question involving the chicken and the egg, the role of low blood pressure (or hypotension) as cause or consequence of dementia has long been studied by scientists. While many studies have suggested that low blood pressure is a consequence of dementia, recent findings by researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine demonstrate that low blood pressure may, indeed, be a cause of dementia as well. Their research was published in the journal, Neurology.

“In individuals with persistently low blood pressure, there was increased risk for dementia developing,” says Dr. Joe Verghese, assistant professor of neurology at Einstein. “And those participants whose blood pressure was lowered through treatment for high blood pressure also demonstrated an increased risk for dementia.”

Dr. Verghese and his colleagues at the Einstein Aging Study followed 406 elderly individuals over age 75, who all were dementia-free at baseline, at 12-to 18-month intervals. Over the 21 years that participants in the observational study were tested, 122 developed dementia. Having a low diastolic blood pressure was associated with a significantly increased risk of developing dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia in the elderly.

At enrollment, a detailed medical history was taken, including notations of any prescription or over-the-counter medication participants were using. Participants underwent a physical examination as well, which also included detailed blood pressure measurements and neuropsychological tests. On subsequent, annual, follow-up visits, the participants had detailed clinical and neuropsychological evaluations to determine the presence of dementia.

“The direction of the relationship between blood pressure and dementia in our older participants is opposite of that which has been found in middle-aged populations where high blood pressure, not low, increases the risk of dementia,” notes Dr. Verghese. “This may be due in part to a significant age effect.

“Aging is accompanied by significant structural and functional cardiovascular changes, leading to raised pulse pressure in the elderly,” he explains. “The rise is a consequence of arterial stiffness. Therefore, in the very elderly, higher pressures may be needed to maintain adequate blood flow in the brain – and may explain why previous studies of older populations, over age 75 have also reported low blood pressure as a risk factor for developing dementia.”

Dr. Verghese also addresses his team’s converse finding regarding the treatment of hypertension. “In younger populations, treating high blood pressure has been associated with reduced risk of dementia,” he says. “Our findings suggest that overtreatment, or treatment that is too aggressive, may contribute to the adverse effects we found in our elderly participants. Few other studies have represented very old individuals over age 75.

“Our findings also suggest that treatment guidelines for addressing high blood pressure in the elderly might help ameliorate the risk of dementia developing.”

With low blood pressure both a cause and consequence of dementia, the question is: “Can maintaining blood pressure at optimal levels reduce the risk of dementia in elderly individuals?” It is a question that Dr. Verghese and his colleagues plan to explore.


Jan 21, 2004 — Film historian and critic Dr. Eric A. Goldman will present “Looking at Ourselves: The American Jewish Experience on Film” at the 2004 Morris Epstein Forum on the Arts lecture Tuesday, February 10, at Yeshiva University.

The public lecture will take place at 7:30 pm at YU’s Geraldine Schottenstein Cultural Center, 239 East 34th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) in Manhattan. Through film clips and discussion, Dr. Goldman will explore how filmmakers created and packaged their own unique concepts of the Jew.

An expert and lecturer on Yiddish, Israeli, and Jewish film, Dr. Goldman is founder and president of Ergo Media, a New Jersey-based video publishing company specializing in Jewish and Israeli video. He is author of Visions, Images, and Dreams: Yiddish Film Past and Present.

Dr. Goldman is former director of the Jewish Media Service, which was a national clearinghouse on film and television for the North American Jewish community. He was curator of film for the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and moderates the film program for YIVO at the Center for Jewish History in New York.

Dr. Goldman received a PhD in cinema studies from New York University and was a fellow of the Max Weinreich Center for Advanced Jewish Studies. He holds graduate degrees in contemporary Jewish studies and theater from Brandeis University. Dr. Goldman has also produced and directed for radio, television, film, and video.

The Morris Epstein Forum on the Arts is sponsored by Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women. It honors the longtime Stern College English professor who died in 1973. Professor Epstein authored several children’s books and edited World Over magazine, published by the New York Board of Jewish Education. He was also a drama and book critic for WEVD radio in New York.