Yeshiva University News » 2007 » October » 15

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.

Judy Collins
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.

Founding Faculty
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.


Oct 15, 2007 — Philanthropist and industrialist Michael Gamson and his wife, Barbara, residents of Aspen, CO and Houston, TX, and renowned New York immigration attorney Leon Wildes will be honored at the annual dinner of Yeshiva College on Sunday, October 21, 2007 at Pier Sixty Chelsea Piers in New York City.

Chairing the dinner, which begins at 6 pm, are: Beryl Y. Eckstein of West Hempstead, NY, and Sempra Trading; Stanley I. Raskas of New Rochelle, NY, and Mettle Oxbridge; Rabbi Mark Wildes of New York, NY, and Manhattan Jewish Experience, and Englewood (NJ) Mayor Michael Wildes.

Michael and Barbara Gamson:
Michael and Barbara Gamson will be honored for their leadership role as committed philanthropists. The couple is involved with several charities and serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations including: the Aspen Art Museum; The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; Congregation Beth Yeshurn in Houston; the Emery Weiner Day School in Houston, where one of their two daughters attends; the UJA Federation; the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, and Planned Parenthood.

With their philanthropic work, the Gamsons follow the example of Mr. Gamson’s father, Dr. Bernard Gamson, who was a longtime member of the Board of Directors at Yeshiva College. In memory of Mr. Gamson’s father, the Gamsons have endowed new state-of the-art physics laboratories at Yeshiva College.

Mr. Gamson is senior partner and group manager at Vitol, a multi-billion-dollar oil trading company. He received his Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern California. The Gamsons divide their time between Houston, TX and Aspen, CO.

Leon Wildes:
A forerunner in immigration law, Leon Wildes will be honored for his prominence as a community leader. He is the founder of Wildes & Weinberg, the premier law firm specializing in immigration and nationality issues, where he serves as senior partner. In his best known case, Mr. Wildes successfully represented former Beatle John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, in high profile deportation proceedings that were initiated by the Nixon administration. As a result of the case, several new aspects of immigration law were advanced.

Mr. Wildes has served as the national president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and serves as a member of its board. As a representative of AILA, he has testified before Congressional committees on matters pertaining to immigration legislation. Awarded the Edith Lowenstein Memorial Prize for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Immigration Law, Mr. Wildes is the recipient of the Elmer Fried Prize for Excellence in Teaching Immigration Law.

A magna cum laude graduate of Yeshiva College, Mr. Wildes serves as a treasurer of the college’s Board of Directors. He holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Law degrees from the New York University School of Law and is an adjunct professor of law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University.

The Class of 1971 will also be feted at the gala. Moreover, three alumni of Yeshiva College will receive prestigious Revel Awards, given in memory of the first Yeshiva University President, Rabbi Dr. Bernard Revel. The recipients are: Rabbi Tzvi Flaum ’71Y of Lawrence, NY, and Congregation Knesset Israel; Rabbi Doniel Z. Kramer ’70Y of Brooklyn, NY, and VA Hudson Valley Healthcare System; and Dr. John Loike ’71Y of Jamaica, NY, and Columbia University.

Founded in 1928, Yeshiva College is the undergraduate college of arts and sciences for men of Yeshiva University. It is located on YU’s Wilf Campus on the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. Approximately 1,100 students from 25 states and as many foreign countries, including students registered at Sy Syms School of Business, attend classes at Yeshiva College. Students at Yeshiva College pursue a rigorous dual educational program that combines liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional studies with the study of Torah and Jewish heritage, reflecting YU’s unique educational philosophy of “Torah Umadda,” which translates loosely as “Torah studies and secular learning.”

Founded in 1886, Yeshiva University brings together the heritage of Western civilization and the ancient traditions of Jewish law and life. More than 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students study at YU’s four New York City campuses: the Wilf Campus, Israel Henry Beren Campus, Brookdale Center, and Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus. YU’s three undergraduate schools –– Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, and Sy Syms School of Business ––– offer a unique dual program comprised of Jewish studies and liberal arts courses. Its graduate and affiliate schools include Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, and Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. YU is ranked among the nation’s leading academic research institutions.