Sen. Hillary Clinton with YU board chair Morry J. Weiss (left) and YU President Richard M. Joel (R).

Dec 13, 2005 — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed unequivocal support for Israel and described the United States and Israel as partners against terrorism in her address at Yeshiva University’s 81st Annual Hanukkah Dinner and Convocation on Dec. 11, at The Waldorf-Astoria.

Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel conferred honorary degrees on Sen. Clinton and five other community leaders––Linda Altman, Jay Feinberg, Kathryn O. Greenberg, Jack M. Nagel, and Rose Yavarkovsky––at the annual convocation.

Hanukkah Dinner photo gallery

The senator paid tribute to the university, calling its mission “essential” to the country’s efforts to build a better world.

“When faced with a determined and ruthless enemy, we must prepare our young people to take what ever action is necessary to protect ourselves and our allies, and to triumph over nihilistic violence,” she said. “We cannot ignore the challenges before us and we cannot ignore our duties and responsibilities. Yeshiva University is teaching and acting on that fundamental belief every day through its dedication to the community here in New York and its strong historic bonds with the state of Israel and the people of Israel.”

Speaking about her trip to Israel in November to mark the anniversary of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, Sen. Clinton called Israel a “dynamic democracy.”

“If people in the Middle East are not sure what democracy means, they should look to Israel,” she said. “The bonds between the United States and Israel are forged in a common struggle for human rights, democracy, and freedom.”

She spoke about her visit to see the security fence and her stand against the International Court of Justice in defense of Israel’s right to build it, and drew a round of applause from the audience of over 700 people when she expressed her joy at the inclusion of Magen David Adom in the International Red Cross.

Opening the proceedings, President Joel said: “Tonight we celebrate Yeshiva University and look to the future with hope and challenge. The recipients of honorary degrees exemplify the life lessons and models of leadership that we seek to teach our students.”

Jay Feinberg, a leukemia survivor, has devoted his life to educating and encouraging people to be tested for bone marrow registries around the world through his founding of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, which seeks to increase the number of registered Jews, many of whom lack extended family because of the Holocaust.

Linda Altman is a member of the board of overseers and president of the National Women’s Division of YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine. As a member of the division’s Westchester-Fairfield Chapter, Ms. Altman rose quickly in the organization and served as chapter president from 1988 through 1990. She and her husband are Benefactors and members of the Society of Founders at Einstein.

Kathryn O. Greenberg is the first graduate of Bernard N. Cardozo School of Law to serve as chair of its board of directors. After graduating cum laude, she joined the law firm of Shea & Gould and served as a supervising attorney at Cardozo’s Bet Tzedek Legal Services Clinic. In 1990, Ms. Greenberg founded the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) to provide free civil legal services for low-income New Yorkers. She and her husband, Alan, are Benefactors of YU.

Jack M. Nagel, a Holocaust survivor, is chairman of the West Coast Friends of Bar-Ilan University and a member of Bar-Ilan’s Global Board of Trustees. He is also a Benefactor of Yeshiva University and dedicated a floor of the 215 Lexington Ave. building at the university’s Israel Henry Beren Campus in Midtown Manhattan. He and his wife, Gitta, are founders of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. His companies, Decron Properties Corporation, Decron Management Corp., and Nagel Construction Co., manage and develop commercial and residential properties.

Rose Yavarkovsky is a member of the Executive Council and a founding board member of the Atlantic Beach Chapter of the Yeshiva University Women’s Organization. Through YUWO, she established the Rose Yavarkovsky Scholarship at YU’s Stern College for Women. Mrs. Yavarkovsky and her son, Ira, are Benefactors of YU and founders of YU’s Sy Syms School of Business. They also established four scholarships at Wurzweiler School of Social Work and are Fellows of Cardozo School of Law.

The dinner in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom included a video capturing YU’s mission to bring wisdom to life through its first-rate faculty and the students they teach. The president also singled out a group of students and faculty who comprised the “seven points of light” as “exemplars of the best of who we are and what we do,” he said.

Morry J. Weiss, chairman of YU’s board of trustees, announced that the dinner raised about $1.5 million, the proceeds of which will go toward scholarships and other priority needs of the university.