Oct 15, 2007 — Legendary singer, songwriter, and mental health advocate Judy Collins will be the special guest speaker when Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology celebrates its 50th Anniversary at a gala on Sunday, October 28.
The dinner, beginning at 5 pm in the Delegates Dining Room at The United Nations, will honor prominent philanthropists Eugene and Estelle Ferkauf, residents of Great Neck, NY and Pompano Beach, FL who are the founding benefactors of the school. Mr. Ferkauf is the founder of the legendary discount retailer E. J. Korvette.
Drs. Moshe Anisfeld of Teaneck, NJ and Boston, MA; Irma Hilton of New York City; and Lillian Zach of Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, all founding faculty at the school, will also be saluted.
Dr. Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber of New York City, a member of the Ferkauf class of 1998 who is a world-renowned expert on the relationship between antidepressants and suicide in children, will be cited as this year’s Distinguished Alumna.
Also being honored will be the late Samson Bitensky, the first chairman of the Ferkauf Board of Governors, who died last year. His exemplary leadership significantly advanced the school and helped bring it to its present level of excellence and prestige. Ferkauf’s nationally recognized programs prepare doctoral level psychologists and master’s level counselors for successful and rewarding careers by providing extensive coursework, practicum and externship experiences, and research opportunities.
Proceeds from the gala will benefit the school’s scholarship and expansion initiatives. The school is currently working to create additional space for classrooms, research laboratories, and faculty offices.
Dr. Robert Gordon, class of 1986, and Dr. Robin Hirtz Meltzer are serving as dinner co-chairs. Honorary chairs are Dr. Esther Joel, class of 1983; Dr. Giti Bendheim, class of 1991; and Dr. Carol Bravmann, class of 1982. Honorary vice chairs are Lenore Ferkauf Bronstein and Robert Bronstein, a daughter and son-in-law of the Ferkaufs; Bobby Ferkauf Kurzweil, another daughter of the Ferkaufs; Dr. Beth Myers, class of 1986, chair of the Ferkauf School’s Board of Governors, and daughter of Samson Bitensky; and Dr. Lawrence J. Siegel, the Dean of the school.
Few artists have the staying power as music icon Judy Collins, who is celebrating her 40th year of recording with 37 albums, top ten hits, Grammy nominations, and gold and platinum status. It is certainly no wonder that this artist was the muse for the classic rock song, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.”
Collins is also known for her books and watercolors. She wrote the bestseller Sanity and Grace, which focuses on suicide recovery, and is based on her own experience with the tragic loss of her son’s life. Her new book, Morning Noon and Night: Living the Creative Life, is an enthralling peer into her creative process, breaking down each day of the process into morning, noon, and night, and inspiring others to enhance creativity in their own lives.
Collins is still paving new ground; her new label, Wildflower Records, will release approximately two recordings per year and plans to record with new artists in the future. In keeping with Collins’ lifelong commitment to social causes and human rights, the label will contribute a portion of its proceeds to charity and non-profit organizations.
Eugene and Estelle Ferkauf
Pillars of the community, the Ferkaufs have made a lifelong commitment to bettering the world—epitomized by their transformational gift to Yeshiva University to establish the Eugene and Estelle Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology.
For many years, Mr. Ferkauf served with distinction on the Board of Trustees of Yeshiva University, beginning his tenure in the early 1960s, when the university was launching an ambitious expansion program. In 1987, the Ferkaufs established the Ferkauf-Silverstein Chair in honor of their parents, Harry and Rose Ferkauf and Isidore and Rose Silverstein.
A Brooklyn native, Mr. Ferkauf founded Korvette’s, one of the most successful discount retail chains in the history of merchandising, after returning from World War II in 1948. Lauded for his business success—landing on the covers of Time and Business Week—he preferred life outside of the spotlight, at home in Queens with Estelle and their three daughters. Through the family’s relationship with Rabbi Israel Mowshowitz of the Hillcrest Jewish Center, the Ferkaufs became acquainted with Dr. Samuel Belkin, Yeshiva University’s second president, and his wife, Abby.
The Ferkaufs’ generosity goes far beyond Yeshiva, through the establishment of the Eugene and Estelle Ferkauf Foundation, which funds a number of worthy causes, including Jewish charities and health organizations.
Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber
Gerstenhaber, named one of New York magazine’s “Most Influential” people, is the principal investigator of an FDA-commissioned study examining the relationship between antidepressants and suicidality in children. As part of this groundbreaking work, her team developed standards for identifying suicidal behaviors, a system that is now being applied when vetting other drugs as well. To aid in the effort, she founded and is principal investigator of the Suicidality Classification Center. She is also director of clinical services of the Research Unit for Pediatric Psychopharmacology at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University.
Dr. Moshe Anisfeld, who began teaching at Ferkauf in 1969, is a pioneer in the field of cognitive and linguistic development who specializes in the areas of infancy, attachment, psycholinguistics, memory, and bilingualism. His research has been published in numerous periodicals, including The American Journal of Psychology and International Journal of American Linguistics, and he has lectured worldwide on such topics as neonatal imitation and early grammatical development.
Dr. Irma Hilton’s innovative research focuses on the critical intersection of psychology and women’s health, looking at trends and phenomena that have a direct impact on the social and economic fabric of our time. Her prolific body of work has addressed issues such as eating disorders, teenage pregnancy, the design of pregnancy prevention programs, and child abuse. She is researching the challenges inherent in balancing work and family life. Her research is often cited in the media, and in publications such as Psychology Today.
Dr. Lillian Zach has been involved in the development of Ferkauf and its mission of “tikkun olam”—repairing the world. She served as associate dean from 1979 to 1985, and has also directed the School Psychology Program and chaired the Department of Educational Psychology. Her areas of expertise include school learning problems, educational evaluation, and school/teacher evaluation. For more than 40 years, she has partnered with public school systems, including the New York City Board of Education, on the issue of effective school psychological services.
For more information on Ferkauf’s 50th anniversary dinner on Oct. 28, call Doris Holz at 212-960-5393.