Yeshiva University News » 2005 » January

Jan 27, 2005 — Hakarot ha’tov (expressions of gratitude) was the motivation and theme of a recent trip to the Republic of Palau by 10 students from Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy—Yeshiva University High School for Boys. The students embarked Jan. 9 on the 10-day journey to show their appreciation for the tiny North Pacific nation’s steadfast support of Israel in the United Nations.

Other than the United States, the three nations of Micronesia—the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Marshall Islands, and Palau—are the only nations who consistently vote in favor of Israel when resolutions condemning Israel come before the UN General Assembly.

View photo gallery from mission to Palau

“Government to government, Palau has a good relationship with Israel, and is the recipient of Israeli diplomatic and foreign aid,” said Daniel Schuval, director of student affairs at MSTA and trip coordinator. “But many Palauans had never met Jews before, and this was an opportunity for us to explain who we are and why the Jewish community outside of Israel is so grateful for their support.”

Schuval said the trip was the first of its kind to Palau, and that people there enthusiastically embraced the students’ symbolic gesture of friendship.

The trip was the culmination of a months-long project that began when MSTA junior Avram Sand became interested in why the three Micronesian countries so consistently support Israel. His phone call to the Micronesian Mission to the UN led to its ambassador speaking at the high school last spring and to Sand working at his office last summer.


Rabbi Ely Bacon

Jan 24, 2005 — A new resource on the Wilf Campus has proven valuable in enhancing the quality of student life.

The sgan mashgichim (assistant mentors) Rabbis Ely Bacon, Josh Blass, Daniel Hermann, Yissachar Krakowski, and Chaim Marcus are on hand to listen and offer guidance on the many challenges students face during their college experience.

In addition, the sgan mashgichim are helpful in easing students’ transition from their year of study in Israel to their new home in Washington Heights.

The five energetic, young rabbis are eager to meet with each undergraduate. They encourage confidential discussions on issues such as maximizing learning opportunities, choosing chavrutas, and finding places to spend Shabbat and Chagim, in addition to questions about academic responsibilities and social pressures.

“Our goal is to create personal relationships to further enhance the support network on campus,” said Rabbi Bacon, sgan mashgichim coordinator. “In addition to having our own YU experiences to share, we employ our professional training as counselors to help students achieve success at YU and beyond.

Located in the Ruth and Hyman Muss Residence Hall, the sgan mashgichim are present in the batei midrash and lead evening chaburot (informal group classes) on issues of student interest. Each holds office hours from morning until late at night.

They coordinate their efforts with Rabbi Yosef Blau, mashgiach ruchani (spiritual counselor).

For more information and to contact the sgan mashgichim, visit

Rabbi Ely Bacon (

Rabbi Bacon attended Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh in Israel and is a graduate of Yeshiva College. He has semikhah from RIETS, a master’s degree in education from the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, a master’s degree in social work from New York University, and is a licensed clinical social worker. Rabbi Bacon has taught and been a guidance counselor in several yeshiva high schools including The Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy/Yeshiva University High School for Boys (MSTA), The Frisch School, and Rabbi Teitz Mesivta Academy. He has also worked for the Jewish Family Services of Central New Jersey servicing the greater Elizabeth community.

Rabbi Josh Blass (

Rabbi Blass attended Yeshivat Ohr Yerushalayim in Israel and is a graduate of Yeshiva College. He earned semikhah from RIETS and also attended Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. He spent the past seven years at MSTA and Hebrew Academy of Long Beach high schools, where he served as a rebbe and guidance counselor. He is currently rabbi of the Albert Einstein Student Synagogue and Camp Morasha.

Rabbi Daniel Herrmann (

Rabbi Herrmann attended Yeshivat Mercaz Hatorah in Israel and is a graduate of Yeshiva College. He received a PsyD in clinical psychology from Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology and semikhah from RIETS, and attended Azrieli. Rabbi Herrmann taught psychology at Stern College for Women and has lectured widely on various psychology and education topics. In addition, he has worked in a leadership capacity for New Jersey National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) for the past decade.

Rabbi Chaim Marcus (

Rabbi Marcus attended Yeshivat Har Etzion and is a graduate of Yeshiva College. He has semikhah from RIETS and attended Azrieli and Wurzweiler School of Social Work. Rabbi Marcus served for several years as a rebbe and madrich at Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim in Israel and is currently rabbi of Congregation Israel in Springfield, NJ, and teaches at Bruriah High School for Girls.

Rabbi Yissachar Krakowski (

Rabbi Krakowski attended Yeshivat Torat Moshe in Israel, is a graduate of Yeshiva College, and is an ordained rabbi. He also holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. Rabbi Krakowski has taught at the James Striar School Summer Program and at Bat Torah Academy in Suffern, NY. He has also worked as a psychologist in the Bikur Cholim Department of Clinical Services in Monsey, NY.


Jan 31, 2005 — Hundreds of high school students from across North America will debate topics ranging from improving women’s healthcare to illicit weapons trade in the Balkan states at the 15th Annual Yeshiva University National Model United Nations (YUNMUN) conference, Feb. 6-8.

This simulated meeting of the United Nations will attract more than 500 students from 38 high schools.

Established and hosted by Yeshiva University, the conference is the largest Jewish high-school event of its kind, according to Michael Kranzler, YU director of admissions.

Each school represents at least one member country of the United Nations. Students are assigned to one of 15 committees, including the World Food Program, Disarmament and International Security, and the Middle East Summit. As committee members, students present their countries’ positions on various matters. YUNMUN models procedures used by the real United Nations.

Beyond learning about politics, public speaking, and negotiation, students will meet and work with peers from other high schools. The event will be held at the Hilton Parsippany (New Jersey) in a professional conference environment.

For more information on YUNMUN, visit the conference’s Web site at

Participating Schools:

·Akiva Hebrew Day School, Southfield, MI
·Ben Lipson Hillel Community High School, North Miami Beach, FL
·Beth Tfiloh Dahan High School, Baltimore, MD
·Block Yeshiva High School, St. Louis, MO
·Bnei Akiva Schools, Downsview, Ontario, Canada
·Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto Richmond Hill, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
·Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto Tannenbaum Centre, Downsview, Ontario, Canada
·Ezra Academy, Forrest Hills, NY
·Fuchs Mizrachi, University Heights, OH
·Gray Academy of Jewish Education, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
·Hebrew Academy of Five Towns and Rockaway, Cedarhurst, NY
·Hebrew Academy of Nassau County, Uniondale, NY
·Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
·Hillel Yeshiva High School, Ocean, NJ
·Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, Overland Park, KS
·Ida Crown Jewish Academy, Chicago, IL
·Kushner Yeshiva High School, Livingston, NJ
·Maayanot Yeshiva High School, Teaneck, NJ
·Magen David Yeshiva, Brooklyn, NY
·Maimonides School, Brookline, MA
·Margolin Hebrew Academy, Memphis, TN
·Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy/Yeshiva University High School for Boys, New York, NY
·Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy, Rockville, MD
·Moshe Aaron Yeshiva High School, South River, NJ
·North Shore Hebrew Academy, Great Neck, NY
·Rabbi Alexander S. Gross Hebrew Academy, Miami Beach, FL
·Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva University High School for Girls, Holliswood, NY
·Shalhevet High School, Los Angeles, CA
·Stern Hebrew High School, Philadelphia, PA
·The Ramaz Upper School, New York, NY
·Torah Academy of Bergen County, Teaneck, NJ
·Trocki Hebrew Academy, Egg Harbor Township, NJ
·Weinbaum Yeshiva High School, Boca Raton, FL
·Westchester Hebrew High School, Mamaroneck, NY
·Yavneh Academy of Dallas, Dallas, TX
·Yeshiva of Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY
·Yeshiva University High School of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
·Yeshivat Rambam High School, Baltimore, MD


In Madrid, Prof. Michel Rosenfeld (right) joined Juan Jose Lucas Gimenez, second vice president, Spanish Senate, at the 25th anniversary celebration of the Spanish Constitution.

Jan 13, 2005 — The academic year ended on an extremely high note for Michel Rosenfeld when he received word that on June 4, 2004 French President Jacques Chirac signed a decree awarding the Cardozo professor the Legion of Honor, the French government’s highest and most prestigious award.

It was bestowed in recognition of Rosenfeld’s outstanding contribution as a legal scholar and his keen interest in French law and culture. Each year about 10 Americans are recognized as Knights of the Order of the Legion of Honor, founded by Napoleon I in 1802. Past recipients include Ronald Reagan, Colin Powell, Neil Armstrong, Gregory Peck, Robert De Niro, and Estée Lauder. Awards to foreign academics are exceedingly rare.

Rosenfeld will formally receive the honor on March 8, 2005 at the French Conuslate in New York.

When asked about the award, Rosenfeld said, “I was surprised and gratified to hear that I had received this honor. To be recognized in this way and be in the company of such noted Americans is an extraordinary honor.”

This award capped a year of triumph for Rosenfeld. In January, prior to stepping down as president of the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL), a position he had held for five years, he was honored in Santiago, Chile, where he received the key to the city from the mayor and became an honorary citizen. He was in the Latin American country to preside over the Sixth World Congress of IACL, making an address before the Senate, attended by government officials, diplomats, and more than 500 Association participants from 62 countries.

He spoke about the new challenges facing constitutional law in the 21st century as countries deal with the issues of terrorism and globalization and those countries new to democracy let go of autocratic regimes and systems. His proficiency in several languages was on display as he responded to the Vice President of Chile and the head of the Senate in Spanish, read a letter from former President Giscard d’Estaing and responded and spoke on transnational constitutions in French, and gave his address in English. During the Congress, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos hosted Rosenfeld at a luncheon at the National Palace.

Immediately upon his return to the United States, Rosenfeld became president of the United States Association of Constitutional Law, an organization he helped found and that is a member of the International Association. The USACL has among its 400 members federal and state supreme court judges, law professors, and select practitioners. Supreme Court Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, and Scalia are honorary members. Rosenfeld succeeds Prof. Norman Dorsen of NYU. Among the activities Rosenfeld has planned for 2005 is a debate to be held in Washington, DC
between Justices Breyer and Scalia on using foreign jurisprudence in US constitutional decisions. Rosenfeld, a leading expert in comparative constitutionalism, believes that the US Supreme Court should look to international court decisions when deciding difficult cases.

Professor Rosenfeld also serves as editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Constitutional Law, I•CON. In that role, he was co-organizer and a panelist at Altneuland: The Constitution of Europe in an American Perspective, sponsored by NYU School of Law and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Among his many other international activities during the 2003-­04 academic year, he was one of three foreign speakers at the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Spanish Constitution held in November 2003 in Madrid. The President of the Spanish Senate chaired the panel where Rosenfeld spoke on “Fundamental Rights under Stress in the Twenty-First Century.”

He also spoke in Paris at a symposium on Equality and Justice: American and French Perspectives, organized by the University of Paris X and American University Washington College of Law, and lectured to graduate students at the University of Paris I. Later he gave faculty seminars at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid Law School and University College in London, and taught courses on Comparative Constitutional Equality at the Central European University in Budapest and on the Theory of Political Rights at the European University Institute in Florence.


L-R: Rabbi Eliyahu Ben Haim, Maxwell R. Maybaum Chair in Talmud and Sephardic Codes (Halakhah); Rabbi Yamin Levy, academic director of the Sephardic Studies Program; Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky, vice president for university affairs; and Hazzan Moshe Tessone, director of Sephardic Community Programs.

Jan 13, 2005 — Yeshiva University’s Jacob E. Safra Institute of Sephardic Studies is commemorating the 800th anniversary of the death of Moses Maimonides—legendary Talmudist, philosopher, and physician—with a display of artifacts and books in the lobby of Furst Hall on the Wilf Campus.

Maimonides was the most influential Jewish thinker of the Middle Ages, and his work had a profound effect on philosophers on both the Christian and Modern Jewish traditions.

“We feel it is important that students, faculty, administration, and visitors remember the influence and legacy the great teacher Maimonides,” said Rabbi Yamin Levy, academic director of the Sephardic Studies Department.

The Sephardic Studies Department is planning a lecture this spring to celebrate Maimonides’ contributions.

In 2004, YU hosted two conferences, which featured internationally recognized Maimonides scholars. Sessions covered Maimonides’ views on Jewish law, philosophy, science and medicine, and his influence to this day.


Richard C. Bieler

Jan 11, 2005 — Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel today announced the appointment of Richard C. Bieler to the post of Senior Executive Director for Community Affairs, effective immediately.

“Richard Bieler is a skilled and caring professional. He is an important addition to the talented team that will bring the extensive educational and communal resources of Yeshiva University to communities around the nation and Canada. He will play a vital role in developing and nurturing the university’s relations with the alumni of our many colleges and schools and will cultivate the considerable support this initiative will require,” said President Joel.

Rabbi Bieler will establish community councils throughout North America, consisting of community leaders, members of Yeshiva University boards, parents of YU students, and alumni. The councils will help the university to evaluate the particular needs of each community, advance lifelong education, foster leadership training, create support and funding, as well as strengthen partnerships with alumni. He will be a senior professional in the Department of Development, and will have supervisory responsibility for the offices for alumni affairs.

Rabbi Bieler has more than 20 years experience in advancement and outreach to the Jewish community. For the past 14 years, as director of development at OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services, Bais Ezra, and the Lifetime Care Foundation for the Jewish Disabled, he was a central figure in those organizations’ success and mission to help build and rebuild lives and families, through community education, counseling, foster care, programs in domestic abuse, and in summer camp for children with disabilities. He directed the national fundraising campaign of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America from 1986 to 1990, and was director of special projects at YU from 1982 to 1986.

He is a 1974 Yeshiva College alumnus who received ordination from YU’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary in 1978 and an MS from YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies in 1979. Rabbi Bieler and his wife, Lois, have three children and live in West Hempstead, NY.


Jan 8, 2005 — BRONX, NY — In their latest finding on the brain’s role in controlling appetite and weight, researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have shown that reducing levels of fatty acids in the hypothalamus causes rats to overeat and become obese. Their results suggest that restoring fatty-acid levels in the brain may be a promising way to treat obesity. The study, published in the January 15th on-line edition of Nature Neuroscience, was led by Dr. Luciano Rossetti, director of the Diabetes Research Center at Einstein. (The paper will appear in print in the February issue.)

The brain’s hypothalamus keeps track of the body’s nutritional status by monitoring the blood levels of several different hormones and nutrients. Taking this information into account, the hypothalamus regulates our energy intake and metabolism. In a study published last year in Science, Dr. Rossetti and his colleagues showed how the hypothalamus monitors and regulates glucose levels in the body. The present study shows that this brain region also monitors fatty acid levels and responds by controlling appetite.

The study focused on malonyl CoA, a molecule suspected of being one of the critical nutrients influencing hypothalamic regulation of eating behavior. Previous studies had shown that hypothalamic levels of malonyl CoA increase markedly after meals and are suppressed by fasting.

The Einstein researchers wanted to know whether sustained suppression of this nutrient within the hypothalamus could result in obesity. To find out, they piggybacked an enzyme known to degrade malonyl CoA onto an adeno-associated virus and injected the virus into the hypothalamus of rats. The injections caused a chronic decrease in malonyl CoA levels, which dramatically increased the rats’ food intake and led to obesity that was maintained for at least four months.

“We showed in this study that disrupting malonyl-CoA levels in this region of the brain impairs the nutrient-sensing mechanism by which the hypothalamus modulates food intake to maintain normal weight,” says Dr. Rossetti, who is also the Judy R. and Alfred A. Rosenberg Professor of Diabetes Research at Einstein. “Figuring out a way to re-adjust malonyl-CoA levels in the human hypothalamus could lead to innovative therapies not only to treat obesity but to help prevent diabetes and other consequences of being overweight.”


Jan 7, 2005 — Yeshiva University (YU) students have launched a campaign to raise awareness of widespread poverty in Israel. The grassroots, student-run campaign called L’man Achai (for the sake of our brothers) will educate and strive to enable the American community to alleviate poverty in Israel. University President Richard M. Joel endorsed the initiative and commended the students for undertaking this effort.

According to recent reports in The Jewish Week, Jerusalem Post and UN Global Policy Forum, one in every five families and one in every three children in Israel live below the poverty line. This year, 1.4 million Jews in Israel are considered poor, a crisis that affects all segments of the population. The funds raised by YU students will be distributed to reputable organizations in Israel that provide food to the Israeli hungry (soup kitchens, food packages).

L’man Achai is coordinating with YU’s Israel office and President Joel’s adviser in Israel, Howard Weisband. Under the direction of YU’s Max Stern Division of Communal Services, the campaign is planning to partner with American schools and communities nationwide to raise funds and plan events such as learn-a-thons, high school programs, and shiurim. The seven-week campaign begins in February and concludes after Purim, when matanot levyonimin, gifts for the poor, will be distributed throughout Israel.

For further information, please call Rebecca Stone at 201-452-8214.


Jan 5, 2005 — Yeshiva University students spending winter break in Israel will be able to enjoy several exciting events and participate in chesed opportunities organized by YU’s Israel Club.

Activities include:

Friday, Jan. 14

10 am: A walking tour of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Tuesday, Jan. 18

9:30 am-12:30 pm: YU alumni who recently made aliyah share their experiences during a question and answer session. Featured speaker is Rabbi Joshua Fass, founder of Nefesh B’ Nefesh.

1-5 pm: Lend a hand to help hungry families in Jerusalem.

6 pm: Join President Richard M. Joel and YU deans for a gala dinner at the Renaissance Hotel in honor of the Koby Mandell Foundation. Featured speaker is Natan Sharansky, Minister of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs.

Thursday, Jan 20th

10am: Travel to Hebron and Kever Rachel with Rabbi Simcha Hochbaum.

8pm: Enjoy an evening of Torat Eretz Yisrael with a leading Torah scholar at the OU Center.

For further information and to make reservations, visit


Jan 5, 2005 — New York, NY, Jan. 5, 2005 – Yeshiva University’s Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams travel to Florida later this month to compete against teams from the Miami metropolitan area.

The women’s team faces Florida Memorial College in Miami Gardens on Jan. 20, 7 pm. The Men tip off against Johnson & Wales University in Miami on Jan. 22, 8:30 pm. Both the women and men will play Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach on Jan. 24; the women at 5 pm and the men at 7 pm. All games count toward each team’s regular schedule and standings.

“We are, of course, very excited about bringing the YU teams to the Florida community,” said men’s head basketball coach Jonathan Halpert.

The trip marks the first such visit of a YU team to Florida since 1987.

In addition to the four games played by YU’s basketball teams, players and coaches from YU will lead a basketball clinic and sponsor a three-on-three tournament for area Yeshiva high school students. The clinic and tournament will take place at the Michael Ann Russel JCC, 18900 NE 25th Avenue, in North Miami Beach.

Young Israel of Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale will host the YU contingent for Shabbat.

Each year Yeshiva University athletic teams travel out of state to compete in their respective sports. Wrestlers, fencers, and basketball players have visited and competed in Boston, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

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The Yeshiva University basketball teams are known as the Maccabees (Macs). The women’s team is referred to as the Lady Macs. The men belong to the Skyline Athletic Conference and the women to the Hudson Valley Women’s Athletic Conference. Karen Green is head coach of the Lady Macs.