Yeshiva University News » 2005 » October

Oct 31, 2005 — Bhikhu Parekh, a member of the British House of Lords, will speak on “Is There a Case for Limiting Hate Speech?” at 1:15 p.m. on Monday, November 7, at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

The talk is the keynote address of a conference on the comparative law of hate speech regulation presented by Cardozo’s Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy. The conference begins Sunday, November 6, at 3:00 p.m. and continues through Monday, November 7, at Cardozo, located at 55 Fifth Avenue at 12th Street. For a full schedule visit

The House of Lords has recently been engaged in a pitched political battle over a proposal to extend existing prohibitions on the incitement of “racial hatred” to bar incitement of “religious hatred” as well. The change, which is supported by Prime Minister Blair’s government, passed the House of Commons but has had harder sailing in the House of Lords.

Educated at the Universities of Bombay and London, Bhikhu Parekh is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the Academy of the Learned Societies for Social Sciences and a Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Westminster.

He was chair of the Runnymede Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain (1998-2000), whose report, The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, was published in 2000. He is vice-chairman of the Gandhi Foundation, a trustee of the Anne Frank Educational Trust, and a member of the National Commission on Equal Opportunity.

His main academic interests include political philosophy, the history of political thought, social theory, ancient and modern Indian political thought, and the philosophy of ethnic relations.

Professor Parekh is the author of Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory (2000); Gandhi (2001); Colonialism, Tradition and Reform (1999); Gandhi’s Political Philosophy (1989); Contemporary Political Thinkers (1982); Karl Marx’s Theory of Ideology (1981); and Hannah Arendt and the Search for a New Political Philosophy (1981).

To register for the conference, please call (212) 790-0200, x6700.


Oct 27, 2005 — Dr. Vern Schramm, Professor and Ruth Merns Chair of Biochemistry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, has been selected to receive the Repligen Award for 2006 from the Biological Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society.

The award, presented to individuals whose outstanding contributions help improve our understanding of the chemistry involved in biological processes, recognizes Dr. Schramm’s contributions to the field of mechanistic enzymology.

A member of the Einstein faculty since 1987, Dr. Schramm is world-renowned for his research into the “transition-state structure” of enzyme-catalyzed reactions — the shapes that reacting molecules assume when enzymes catalyze chemical reactions.

As he describes it, “Enzymes govern virtually all of the chemical transformations necessary for biological life but can also influence cells to become cancerous. By knowing the transition-state structure of enzyme-catalyzed reactions, we can design powerful inhibitors that can block those enzymes from acting and thereby treat or prevent cancer and other diseases.”

Two of the inhibitors designed by the Schramm laboratory have entered clinical trials. One shows promise for treating leukemia that does not respond to other therapy. The second is in clinical trials as a possible treatment for eventual application to autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel disorders and for preventing tissue transplant rejection for organ transplantation.

In more than 35 years as a researcher and academician, Dr. Schramm has received numerous honors recognizing his contributions to both research and teaching within the field of biochemistry. These include election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Rudi Lemberg Award from the Australian Academy of Science, the George A Sowell Award for Excellence in Teaching from Temple University School of Medicine, and the Harry Eagle Award for Outstanding Basic Science Teaching from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.


Oct 22, 2005 — Yeshiva University embarks this year on an exciting initiative to bring a series of relevant films to the YU community in the private confines of the Beren Campus’ Geraldine Schottenstein Cultural Center, 239 E. 34th Street. Films shown throughout the coming year focus on the theme “Combating Crisis: Confronting Jewish Identity in a Changing World”. The films vary from American classics to new Israeli films brought to us by the Israeli Consulate. After each showing, there will be a brief discussion by professors, historians, film critics, and/or the director and/or writer of the film presented.

For questions or reservations, please email

Seats are limited, and without reservations, people will be seated on a first come first serve basis


Wednesday, November 30, 2005, 7:30 pm

Eicha and other short films (2001): Eicha is a young, religious girl living in a typical West Bank settlement. Her unique and unusual name is the Hebrew title of the biblical scroll of lamentations read on Tisha B’av, the annual fast day commemorating the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem 2000 years ago. Tisha B’av is also Eicha’s birthday. Upon reaching 18, she decides to change her name and try to establish her own identity. A film by Eliezer Shapiro.

Eliezer Shapiro will discuss the making of the film.


Oct 21, 2005 — Members of the 100-year-old Beth Israel Congregation of New Orleans, the city’s only Orthodox synagogue, had a Torah for Yom Kippur this year, thanks in part to Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF).

After the synagogue was flooded and its seven Torah scrolls destroyed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, CJF and the Department of Synagogue Services of the Orthodox Union sent YC and RIETS alumnus Rabbi Robert Shur and undergraduates Elyasaf Schwartz and Menachem Butler to New Orleans to deliver a Torah and assist the congregation after it reached out to both organizations for help with conducting Yom Kippur services. Held in a local hotel, it was the synagogue’s first such gathering since disaster struck at the end of August.

“Yom Kippur services would not have been possible but for all your hard work and generosity, for which we will never be able to properly thank you,” wrote Eddie Gothard, a past synagogue president, in thanks to YU.

Some 10 feet of water had submerged the synagogue for three weeks. Now dry, the building remains unusable.

“Not even the images of ZAKA (the Israeli disaster-response organization) officials wading through the water-filled sanctuary retrieving the Torah scrolls could prepare us for the devastation that we saw on Erev Yom Kippur. It was not to be believed,” said Mr. Butler, a YC senior, after synagogue members took the group to see the devastation.

Mr. Butler, who is president of the Student Organization of Yeshiva (SOY), led Shaharit (morning) and Mincha (afternoon) services and blew shofar; Mr. Schwartz, a YC junior, served as baal koreh (Torah reader); and Rabbi Shur led Mussaf (additional), Neilah (culminating), and Maariv (evening) services and delivered a d’var Torah (sermon).

“This experience is yet another example of how CJF is responding to community needs of all kinds through YU’s greatest resources—its students and alumni,” said Rabbi Ari Rockoff, director of community initiatives at CJF. “We hope that these students’ efforts will have been a first step in the rebuilding process of the New Orleans Jewish community.”


Oct 14, 2005 — During the week of October 17 through October 23 medical students at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine will take part in a weeklong program, “Breaking Down Barriers to Health Literacy,” designed to promote health literacy in the Bronx community and to provide first- and second-year medical students with an opportunity to practice effective communication with future patients.

“Health literacy refers to a patient’s capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions,” explains Dr. Peter Selwyn, professor and chair of family medicine at Einstein. “When literacy is low, it can greatly affect an individual’s understanding of written or spoken medical advice, hamper communication between doctor and patient, and inadvertently lead to health disparities. Our goal is to improve patient understanding while reducing the possibility for disparities to occur, and the program is a part of our effort.”

As part of the program, students will be able to attend workshops where they will learn ways to communicate effectively with patients about information pertinent to their health, while overcoming language, cultural and educational barriers. These workshops will be led by Einstein faculty and certified health educators from Montefiore Medical Center.

During the week, students will also conduct health education programs at local schools and at a local community center whose clientele primarily speaks English as a second language. In addition, Dr. Selwyn will conduct a “community medicine talk” for students on caring for HIV/AIDS patients.

“The health fairs offer an excellent opportunity for our students to take initiative in reaching out to the local community, offering screening and assessment while also providing useful information about how individuals can receive primary care,” Dr. Selwyn said.

The program’s events have been coordinated by Kevan Akrami, a second-year student who also is the action committee chair at Einstein for the American Medical Student Association – a national organization that is the student arm of the American Medical Association. In his leadership role, Mr. Akrami has spearheaded the medical school’s outreach efforts to the local Bronx community.

Earlier in the year, he organized a crew of 36 first- and second-year Einstein students, supervised by Einstein faculty and Montefiore residents, to bring a community health fair hosted by St. Anne’s Rectory (Bainbridge Avenue and Gunhill Road).

Through the health fair, community members received screenings for blood pressure, body mass index (an indicator for obesity), vision, and diabetes. The 139 community members who attended also received information on helpful health practices.

The upcoming community health fairs, planned for Oct. 22-23, will take place at the ECHO Free Clinic, located at 1894 Walton Avenue (corner of 177th Street) and in the Highbridge community, on the Grand Concourse at 161st Street.

Einstein students and faculty will collaborate with Montefiore residents and their community health promoters to offer screenings for blood pressure, glucose, lipids/cholesterol, vision, depression, and body mass index/obesity. The screenings will be supplemented with educational displays and pamphlets on topics including cardiovascular/heart health, women’s health, mental health/depression, diet/nutrition/exercise, access to healthcare in the Bronx, environmental/occupational health, asthma/immunizations, smoking risks and cessation, general wellness/stress management, sexually transmitted diseases/HIV, and cancer risks.

“We want to provide useful information to help our Bronx neighbors understand all the healthcare options available to them,” says Mr. Akrami. “And in doing so, we hope to get a better sense of the predominant health problems faced by community members, as well as get a sense of what services they feel they need.”

For additional information about the two Einstein community health fairs, please call 718-920-4678.


Oct 13, 2005 — Yeshiva University is working with the American Jewish World Service to send 15 students to Honduras in January as part of the university’s first Alternative Break, a new humanitarian mission.

The YU delegation will travel to Honduras from January 15-22 to help a community build a school for children. The host community has never before been visited by a delegation to help them with sustainable development and building projects, and the trip is the first of its kind for Yeshiva University as well.

Applications can be completed online here. Registrations must be submitted by November 8. Interviews will begin as soon as applications are in, and the final participants will be chosen shortly thereafter. Students are responsible for raising $1,500 to cover the cost of the trip.

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is an international development organization that helps thousands of people in Africa, Asia, and the Americas move beyond poverty, illiteracy, disaster, and war. AJWS believes that empowering individuals and communities regardless of race, religion, or nationality advances human dignity and transforms the world for the better.

Upon acceptance to the program, students are obligated to attend three mandatory orientation sessions. It is at these sessions where vital information will be distributed, and important issues regarding the trip will be discussed.

The Center for Jewish Future will insure that this trip is run in full accordance with halakha.

For questions with the application process, contact Rebecca Stone at 212-960-5400 ext. 5440, or email at

Interested students may also contact Cindy Bernstein at to answer any questions or concerns about the nature of the trip. Ms. Bernstein spent her summer in Ghana with AJWS. Hillel Rapp will be coordinating the halakhic needs for the trip. For questions related to halakha on the trip, email Mr. Rapp at


Oct 7, 2005 — The New York Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society and Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law will host “On Double-Super-Secret Background: Managing Confidential Sources in the Post-Miller/Cooper Era” on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 6:30 pm at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, 55 Fifth Ave., Moot Court Room.

Three experienced investigative reporters and an attorney will discuss dealing with and protecting confidential sources in the post-Miller/Cooper era.

Panelists are:
Mark Bowden, National Correspondent, The Atlantic; author of Black Hawk Down, and Lowering My Shield: A Murder Case.
Mark Feldstein, Director of the Journalism Program and Associate Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University, author of upcoming book Poisoning the Press: Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson and the Rise of The White House Attack Machine.
Viveca Novak, Washington Correspondent, Time Magazine, co-author of Inside the Wire about the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
Victor A. Kovner, Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP; chair, Legal Affairs Committee of the Magazine Publishers of America.

The program will be moderated by David S. Korzenik, partner, Miller Korzenik Sommers LLP and adjunct professor, Cardozo School of Law.

Introduction and welcome by Dean David Rudenstine, Cardozo School of Law, Author of The Day the Presses Stopped: A History of the Pentagon Papers Case.

RSVP to 212-790-0258 by Oct. 10.


Oct 7, 2005 — The Hispanic Center of Excellence at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine has received $562,902 in federal funding from the Department of Health and Human Services. The funding, which will be used to prepare the next generation of medical students to address the healthcare needs of Latinos throughout the New York area, was announced by Congressman Joseph Crowley (Bronx-Queens).

Calling the college of medicine “a true resource for our entire city,” Congressman Crowley said he was proud to represent Einstein in its bid to identify federal funding for the Hispanic Center of Excellence.

The center is a multi-discipline program that helps new physicians provide care targeted to the specific needs of Latinos and recruits Latinos for careers in medicine. It focuses on seven areas: improved student performance, faculty development, information resources, faculty and student research, student training, a competitive applicant pool, and cultural competency.

“With the Bronx having a large Hispanic population, the college is now better able to serve its community by promoting research on Hispanic health and health disparities, by assuring that our students and faculty are culturally competent,” said Hal Strelnick, MD, director of the Hispanic Center of Excellence and the Institute for Community and Collaborative Health at Einstein.


Oct 6, 2005 — Rabbi Eliahu Baruch Shulman of Brooklyn, bochen (examiner) and rosh yeshiva (professor of Talmud) at Yeshiva University’s affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), has been named a maggid shiur in the Yeshiva Program/Mazer School of Talmudic Studies (MYP) at Yeshiva University (YU). His new responsibilities are in addition to the position of bochen he has held with distinction since 1992.

Rabbi Zevulun Charlop, MYP dean and Max and Marion Grill Dean at RIETS, said that Rabbi Shulman, who will teach senior students as well as students in RIETS, “is an outstanding and accomplished talmid chacham [scholar] who will prove to be a great addition to our brilliant complement of roshei yeshiva.”

Rabbi Shulman received his rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Yaakov Joffen, head of the Beth Yosef Yeshiva of Novarhadok, and was a chaver (fellow) in RIETS’ former Gruss Kollel Elyon. He also studied under Rabbi Nachum Pertzovich at the Mirrer Yeshiva in Jerusalem and under Rabbi Schneuer Kotler at Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ.

He is rabbi of the Young Israel of Midwood and has served as both author and editor of a number of volumes of the acclaimed Schottenstein edition of the Babylonian Talmud. In the words of the chief editor: “Many of the forms and approaches that have come to characterize this work had not yet been fully developed. For that reason, the groundbreaking manuscript (Rabbi Shulman) produced is all the more remarkable, and an eloquent tribute to his outstanding knowledge, scholarship and pedagogy. Our great thanks to him.”

Rabbi Shulman also is the author of three scholarly works on Talmudic themes: Binyan Av (1985); Yesamach Av, vol. 1 (Yeshiva University Press, 1991); and Yesamach Av, vol. 2 (Yeshiva University Press, 1999).


Oct 6, 2005 — Rabbi Eliakim Koenigsberg of Spring Valley, NY has been appointed a rosh yeshiva (professor of Talmud) in the Yeshiva Program/Mazer School of Talmudic Studies (MYP) at Yeshiva University (YU).

Rabbi Zevulun Charlop, MYP dean and Max and Marion Grill Dean at YU’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), said that Rabbi Koenigsberg’s published writings and chaburos (Talmudic seminars) have established him as a first-rate talmid chacham (scholar) and teacher of Torah.

Rabbi Koenigsberg was a chaver (fellow) of RIETS’ former Gruss Kollel Elyon and previously served for five years as rebbe (instructor) in the Stone Beit Midrash Program, another of YU’s Jewish studies program for undergraduate men. At MYP, he will teach a class in Talmud for entering students.

Rabbi Koenigsberg is a 1988 alumnus of YU’s undergraduate Yeshiva College, from which he graduated summa cum laude. He received ordination from RIETS in 1992. A sought-after lecturer, he has served RIETS and YU in other capacities as well: as director of an honors seminar in Sefer Shev Shmaitsa; as sgan mashgiach/shoel u’meishiv (mentor and guidance advisor to students); director of RIETS’ Presidential B’kiut Program; rosh kollel (head) of YU’s summer kollel in Silver Spring, MD; shoel u’meishiv for 10th-grade students at Yeshiva University High school for Boys; and as a teaching assistant there for 11th-grade students.

He is the author of two annotated volumes of selected shiurim (lectures) by the Rav — the late Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, RIETS rosh yeshiva and chief spiritual guide of contemporary Orthodox Jewish life in America until his death in 1993— in a series called Shiurei HaRav. One volume is on mourning and Tisha b’Av; the other is on ritual slaughter and kashrut.

He recently published a collection of his notes on Tractate Yevamos called Kuntres He’aros al Maseches Yevamos.