Yeshiva University News » 2004 » March

Peninnah Schram

Mar 31, 2004 — Yeshiva University students, alumni, and faculty will mark 350 years of Jewish life in America at a celebration April 20 that features historical and literary readings.

Bundles, Hopes, and Dreams: Jewish Immigrant Stories, with education as the theme, begins at 7:30 pm at YU’s Geraldine Schottenstein Cultural Center, 239 East 34th Street. The program is part of a yearlong series of celebratory events across the United States and in Israel.

Award-winning author and storyteller Peninnah Schram, associate professor of speech and drama at YU’s Stern College for Women, will lead participants through readings from poems, short stories, and autobiographical excerpts, as well as a scene from The Education of Hyman Kaplan, Leo C. Rosten’s 1937 fictional work of Jewish integration in 20th century America.

The readings will trace the saga of Jewish immigrants to America that began in 1654 when 23 Sephardic refugees from Brazil were granted asylum in New Amsterdam despite the opposition of Gov. Peter Stuyvesant.

Prof. Schram points out that the selections’ prime focus will be on the new Americans and their children’s encounter with the culture of their new country. They also reflect the struggle to educate their youngsters while preserving their traditions in a new environment.

Bundles, Hopes, and Dreams: Jewish Immigrant Stories is open to the public. For reservations, contact the YU Alumni Office at 212-960-5373 or


The Yeshiva University Archives recently acquired the Herbert S. and Rebecca Collection, thanks to a generous gift from Michael Jesselson, a member of the YU Board of Trustees. Mr. Jesselson’s gift continues his family’s tradition of enriching the library collections.

Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein (1890-1970) was a seminal figure in American Orthodox Judaism. He was best known as rabbi of the Institutional Synagogue, founded in Harlem in 1917, the forerunner of today’s West Side Institutional Synagogue. He and his wife, Rebecca (1891-1961), daughter of Harry and Jane Fischel, prominent Orthodox philanthropists and major contributors to Yeshiva College and the YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, were both active in the Orthodox Union (OU). The support for the OU furthered the long-term growth of Orthodoxy in this country, as documented in the collection.

Rabbi Goldstein was president of the OU and Mrs. Goldstein was president of its women’s branch during the 1920s. Rabbi Goldstein’s message at the Union’s annual convention in November 1927, a 21-page document, delineated several forward-looking ideas—including establishing a symbol that would become ubiquitous in the kosher consumer market. The document read, “In addition to the kosher crackers of the Loose-Wiles Sunshine Biscuit Company, we have persuaded Heinz (of 57 varieties fame) to place on the labels of such products, 26 in number, as do not contain animal fat and which are periodically inspected by us, the letter U in the letter O, indicating Orthodox Union.”

Rabbi Goldstein’s leadership model for the Union encouraged concrete action on behalf of Orthodox Jewry, based on the philosophy he espoused in his opening remarks at the 1927 convention: “Our faith is ancient and at the same time modern just as truth is ever old yet ever new. Every generation has called itself modern. The 15th century was the modernity of its time and the 20th century is the modernity of our time. Yet the Torah in its completeness has lived through all these modernities because it is truth.”


Mar 24, 2004 — Seniors Ryan Almaleh and Eric Antes led Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy of Overland Park, KS, to victory at the 13th Annual Red Sarachek Basketball Tournament of Yeshiva University, as the Rams defeated top-seeded and previously unbeaten Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy/Yeshiva University High School for Boys (TMSTA), 50-34, in the championship game March 22.

The Sarachek tournament, March 18-22, is the most prestigious basketball tournament for Jewish high schools and attracts hundreds of students from across the US and Canada who compete for the championship trophy. TMSTA hosted the 18-school tournament at YU’s Max Stern Athletic Center on the Wilf Campus in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan.

YULA, the defending champion and fourth seed, finished third with a 53-46 win over Torah Academy of Bergen County in the Tier I consolation game. YULA players Michael Freidman and Robert Karpeles were named Tournament All-Stars.

This year’s championship was the first for the Rams, who have participated in the Sarachek tournament since 1999 and were runners-up last year. The team entered the tournament as the number-three seed – its highest ranking ever – and qualified for Tier I with a 74-35 win over Fuchs Bet Sefer Mizrachi in Cleveland in the opening round. That was followed by a 49-45 quarterfinal win over Valley Torah of Los Angeles and a 59-47 defeat of Torah Academy of Bergen Academy in the semifinals.

“It was a wonderful tournament, the best I’ve seen in my seven years at Yeshiva University: Good competition, excellent sportsmanship, and a wonderful spirit and sense of camaraderie among the athletes, coaches, chaperones, and parents,” said Dr. Richard Zerneck, YU director of athletics and physical education.

Almaleh led the team with 19 points and averaged 12.8 points over the four games en route to being named Tournament MVP. Antes, who averaged 13.5 points, added 10 points in the final and was selected to the All-Tournament Team. Hyman Brand junior Alex Caster scored 17 points in the final, averaged 15.8 for the tournament, and was named an All-Star. TMSTA players Nathaniel Cohen and Reuben Berman were Tournament All-Stars.

Other participating high schools were: Ben Lipson Hillel Community High School (Miami, FL.), Ida Crown Jewish Academy (Chicago, IL.), Yavneh Academy (Dallas, TX), Yeshivat Atlanta (Atlanta, GA), Yeshivat Rambam (Baltimore, MD), Yeshiva Ohr Chaim (Toronto, Canada), Hebrew Academy of Miami (Miami, FL), Weinbaum Yeshiva High School (Boca Raton, FL.), Akiva Hebrew Day School (Detroit, MI), Eshkol Academy (Baltimore, MD), The Ramaz School (New York, NY), and Robert M. Beren Academy (Houston, TX).

Bernard “Red” Sarachek, the tournament’s namesake, coached YU’s basketball team in 1942 and 1943, and from 1945 to 1969. He amassed more than 200 victories throughout his career.


Mar 22, 2004 — Two students at Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva University High School for Girls (SWHSG) – freshman Mara Hershkovitz of Kew Garden Hills and junior Michal Soskel-Lozanov of Riverdale – were both awarded second prize in a recent March of Dimes essay contest. Students had to respond to the following topic: “Describe stem cell research and also discuss the social, medical, and ethical implications.”

Ms. Hershkovitz and Ms. Soskel-Lozanov were two of 180 students who participated in the competition. Ms. Hershkovitz was awarded second prize in the ninth- and 10th-grade level and Ms. Soskel-Lozanov in the 11th- and 12th-grade level. Both will receive a $400 award.

“Each of our students submitted excellent research papers, but our winners truly encapsulated the double-edge sword that each scientific advancement poses,” said Ruth Fried, chairperson of the SWHSG science department. “There is much hope in stem cell research, yet there is so much controversy surrounding the harvesting of these cells.”

In addition to Ms. Hershkovitz and Ms. Soskel-Lozanov, 49 other SWHSG students received honorable mentions.

“I am so proud of our young women and their commitment to the study of Torah and science,” said Rochelle Brand, principal of SWHSG.

Ms. Hershkovitz is the daughter of Elyse and Doron Hershkovitz and Ms. Soskel-Lozanov is the daughter of Ms. Sheryl Soskel.


Mar 21, 2004 — Some 800 years after his death, Moses Maimonides remains one of Judaism’s most enduring icons. And according to scholars attending a conference sponsored by Yeshiva University and New York University, his works remain relevant in addressing today’s moral and ethical challenges, including the causes and treatments for common depression.

“Maimonides realized the soul becomes weary and the mind dull by continuous reflections upon abstruse matters, just as the body becomes exhausted from undertaking difficult labors until it rests and returns to its equilibrium,” said Joel Kraemer, a University of Chicago professor of near eastern languages. Prof. Kraemer delivered the keynote address Sunday evening at the Center for Jewish History, home to the YU Museum. The March 21 gathering, Moses Maimonides: Talmudist, Philosopher, and Physician, commemorates the 800th anniversary of the death of the 12th century sage (1135-1204), known in rabbinical literature as “Rambam” from the acronym Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon.

Considered the greatest single figure in medieval Judaism in both philosophical and halakhic scholarship, Maimonides, said Prof. Kraemer, devoted his life to serving both his fellow Jews and the community at large, solidifying a central tenet of Jewish practice. He achieved both while living in Egypt, where he and his family found sanctuary after their forced departure from Spain.

Early on, Maimonides established his intellectual mettle as a rabbinic authority, codifier, Aristotelian philosopher, and royal physician. Prof. Kraemer said Maimonides’s vast intellectual powers found expression in his determination to create orderly and rational rhythms in everyday life. Before age 16, he completed his Millot HaHigayon (Treatise on Logic). Then, in 1158, he followed with his astronomical Maamar HaIbbur (Treatise on the Calendar). At 22, he completed his first major work, his Perush HaMishna (Commentary on the Mishna), which covered animals, plants, flowers, and natural history, as well as human psychology. It was in Egypt that he turned to codifying Talmudic law, the Mishneh Torah (the Torah Reviewed), his 14-volume compilation of Halakhah.

In his remarks, Prof. Kraemer focused on Maimonides’s most famous and remarkable work, his three-book Moreh Nevuchim (Guide for the Perplexed), in which the sage explains Jewish theology and philosophy. He said Maimonides took his medical career seriously and gained fame from his care for non-Jews, including Saladin’s vizier, Al-Fadi al-Baisami, from whom he received a salary.

According to Prof. Kraemer, Maimonides wrote extensively on diet, drugs, and treatment, while he lectured on physiology and therapeutics, as well as Jewish religion and law.

Maimonides’s approach to depression bore similarities to treatments for present-day maladies. “He wrote a great deal about melancholy,” said Prof. Kraemer, “not only because he suffered a yearlong depression after the death of his brother, David, but because it was a prevalent affliction from which his royal patients also suffered.”

Prof. Kraemer is one of an array of noted Maimonides scholars participating in the March 21-23 conference, under YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and NYU’s Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. For more information, visit

New York, NY, Mar 21, 2004 — In one of the most thrilling games of the Red Sarachek Tournament so far, the Ramaz Rams (1-1 Red Sarachek) defeated the Valley Torah Wolfpack (1-2 Red Sarachek) 39-37 in come-from-behind fashion.

Valley Torah led the game throughout behind the precision shooting of Simon Brookim, who finished with 20 points.

Led by the strong guard play of Sam Goldberg and Zack Berg and the post play of Daniel Joels and Ben Parker, Ramaz was able to steal a victory from the Wolfpack at the Max Stern Athletic Center.

Ramaz took their first lead of the game 35-34 after two clutch free throws down the stretch by Joels. With the score tied at 37-37 with 4.5 seconds to play, the Rams found Parker down low for the wide open layup. Valley Torah called a timeout in which they designed an inbounds play that freed-up guard Reshef Loza. Loza drove to the basket and was fouled as he went up for the shot. After missing the first of two free throws Loza missed the second one intentionally hoping for an offensive rebound and a putback to send the game into overtime, but the ball didn’t fall Valley Torah’s way today at the Max Stern Athletic Center.

Parker, whose 10 points led Ramaz, secured the rebound and the victory for the Rams.

©Macslive Reporting Services
New York, NY, Mar 21, 2004 — On a day that promises to be big, the Yeshivat Rambam of Baltimore Red Storm got things going with a bang.

Jason Allen scored on a short jumper with just under 10 seconds to go, breaking a 50-50 tie to defeat the Hebrew Academy Warriors at the Max Stern Athletic Center today.

Sunday’s action, commonly known as “Big Sunday” because of the nine games on the schedule, started slowly at first, as Hebrew Academy jumped out to an early lead and Rambam unable to find a way to stop Hebrew Academy’s full-court pressure.

A calmer Rambam emerged for the second half, led by the energetic play of junior Noam Heller. Heller, whose low point total doesn’t reflect his overall contributions to the game, played tough defense and provided some key offensive sparkplugs.

The game seemed to turn midway through the third quarter, as Hebrew Academy fell apart at the seams. With a comfortable lead shrinking, coach Larry Gordon was called on a technical foul for an illegal substitution. Soon after, Zach Gordon was whistled for a technical.

The extra free throws certainly helped the Red Storm’s cause, and they eventually tied the game at 33 with a timely 3-pointer from Avi Goldberg. Rambam led by as many as 6 during the 4th quarter, but saw Hebrew Academy, led by the strong passing of Tzvi Haber and the clutch layups from Josh Gordon, cut the lead to three with under a minute to go.

With 30 second remaining, Josh Gordon drained a 3–pointer to tie the game. Rambam took the ball downcourt and quickly got it to Allen, their junior forward, who drove toward the lane trying to draw a foul. Instead, he found himself nearly open for the game-winning shot. Hebrew Academy had a chance to tie, but Ariel Grobman missed a running jumper at the buzzer, giving Rambam the spot in the 5th place game tomorrow at TABC.

Hebrew Academy will play against Valley Torah in the 7th place game, also tomorrow at TABC.

©Macslive Reporting Service

New York, NY, Mar 21, 2004 — In yet another exciting finish at the Max Stern Athletic Center, Yavneh held off the lower seeded Lions of Eshkol.

Eshkol jumped out to a 7 –0 lead early on and held the advantage throughout the first three quarters. Trailing by one going into the fourth quarter, Dallas, turned it up a notch. Yavneh played intense defense with a full court press employed most of the game.

While the press did give Eshkol trouble, they were able to run an effective offense once they set it up. The offense was run by Yaniv Sela and Moshe Spira with Yakir Or providing the inside presence. Or however, fouled out with about two minutes to go and Eshkol was unable to overcome his departure.

For Yavneh the game turned after the third quarter break. Trailing by one going into the fourth, Yavneh star Todd Nathan took over. With a clutch 3-pointer and great drives into the lane, HH became the spark his team needed.

Yavneh goes on to face the Hillel Hurricanes in the Tier III final at 8 am Monday morning.

©Macslive Reporting Services
New York, NY, Mar 20, 2004 — Yeshiva of Boca Raton (1-1 Sarachek) scored the first 17 points of the first game of Saturday night. And although Beren of Houston (0-3 Sarachek) was able to play them to a near stalemate the rest of the way, the outcome was never in doubt as the Storm defeated the Stars, 50-32.

Jon Struhl scored 23 points for Boca. Chaim Perl led all Houston scorers with 20.

©Macslive Reporting Services
New York, NY, Mar 20, 2004 — This is what Sarachek is all about.

Two teams playing on a Saturday night. Not the best teams in the tournament – Eshkol was seeded 16th coming in, Akiva 18th – but very evenly matched and bringing scores of screaming fans with them, they squared off for the relatively obscure Tier III quarterfinal.

Featuring runs, comebacks, and lead changes, the 6th seeded Eshkol Lions (1-1 Sarachek) ultimately defeated the favored #3 Akiva Pioneers (1-2 Sarachek), 51-49.

For Eshkol, Yakir Or scored 17 points, and Moshe Spria contributed 14 more. Daniel Teger of Detroit led all scorers with 22 points.

©Macslive Reporting Services