Yeshiva University News » 2008 » May

Dr. Anatoly Frenkel

May 30, 2008 — Dr. Emil Prodan, assistant professor in the Physics Department at Stern College for Women, has been awarded a two-year, $45,000 grant by the Research Corporation, a Tucson, Arizona-based foundation for the advancement of science. The grant will enable Dr. Prodan to start a Molecular Electronics Research Program.

Also, Stern College physics professor Dr. Anatoly Frenkel received a renewal of a 1995 US Department of Energy grant to continue his work on the mechanism of catalysis, a process that makes chemical reactions more efficient. The renewal guarantees $1 million for the next three years.

Dr. Prodan’s research program will build on his recent contributions to the modern formulation of tunneling transport, which studies how electrons can be forced to “tunnel” through molecular wire that is attached to metal electrodes, creating a small electrical current that can have various technological applications. He hopes to investigate the transport characteristics of organic molecules linked to gold and silicon electrodes, as well as other experiments.

The grant, which will be matched with $9,000 from Yeshiva University, will be used primarily for infrastructure, including computer equipment and workstations, as well as stipends for up to five undergraduate students from Stern College, who will assist with input files, testing, output analysis, and interpretation of results.

After an initial review phase, Dr. Prodan will design and test molecular electronic devices that can be integrated into molecular chips and also look for devices that have highly sensitive transport characteristics. While the grant is exclusive to his work, he does plan to involve other institutions.

“At Stern, we will conduct data analysis and simulations, while my collaborators at Columbia and Princeton will conduct experiments, which we will work together to understand,” Dr. Prodan said. “I’d like for the students involved in this project to see how others do research in this field.”

Dr. Frenkel’s original application was for the creation of a Synchrotron Catalysis Consortium, with funds divided between Yeshiva University and the University of Delaware and spent on upgrading and building new facilities dedicated to catalysis and nanoscience research at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Suffolk County, NY.

According to Dr. Frenkel, the new grant will help run the consortium, fund summer research internships for two YU and University of Delaware undergraduates, hire additional support staff for the more than 300 annual visitors from other universities and industry, and establish more infrastructure, including the development of new X-ray detectors that will combine the project’s current X-ray absorption spectroscopy with X-ray diffraction. He will continue overseeing the research and education activities of the consortium with the other principal investigators, Prof. J. Chen of the University of Delaware and Dr. R. Adzic of Brookhaven.

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Dr. Harry Shamoon, right, is director of the Einstein-Montefiore Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. Dr. Brian Currie, left, is co-director.

May 29, 2008 — The National Institutes of Health has awarded Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center one of its coveted Clinical and Translational Science Awards totaling $22 million over five years. The grant will support the new Einstein-Montefiore Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR), whose overarching goal is to collaboratively expedite the transfer of research discoveries at Einstein and Montefiore to patient care.

“With this award, Einstein and Montefiore join an elite group of biomedical research institutions, now comprising 38 academic health centers in the nation,” said Dr. Allen M. Spiegel, The Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean of Einstein. “The goal of this nationwide consortium is to revolutionize how clinical and translational research is conducted, enabling researchers to provide new treatments more quickly to patients. Translational research in the genome era can fundamentally change the way medicine is practiced.”

“This prestigious grant will provide resources and the stimulus for our clinical and research teams at Montefiore and Einstein to refocus long-existing collaborative programs in cancer, heart, diabetes and other devastating conditions,” said Dr. Steven Safyer, president and CEO of Montefiore Medical Center. “Our goal is to work together to develop new therapies, such as stem cell transplantation and novel surgical methods so we can offer unique treatment options to our patients.”

“Translational medicine” is the concept, encouraged by the NIH in recent years, that the traditional bench-to-bedside approach to finding therapies is really a two-way street. Basic scientists provide clinicians with new tools for use with their patients and for an assessment of their impact, and clinical researchers make novel observations about the nature and progression of disease in patients that often stimulates basic investigations. The grant awarded to Einstein and Montefiore is a result of this new NIH initiative recognizes and promotes the collaborative and synergistic nature of the research being done by integrated teams from both organizations.

The grant will support the development of new methods and approaches to clinical and translational research; improve training and mentoring to ensure that new investigators can navigate the increasingly complex research system; design new and improved clinical research informatics tools; assemble interdisciplinary teams that cover the complete spectrum of medical research; and, forge new partnerships with private and public healthcare organizations.

“Joint participation in the Institute by Einstein and Montefiore will also cultivate critical partnerships with New York City’s Department of Health and its Bronx District Public Health Office, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and with regional colleges and universities — ultimately leading to improved human health,” says Dr. Harry Shamoon, director of the Institute and Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research at Einstein. “Within clinical medicine, we plan to use the funds to foster a range of new research, such as expediting clinical trials in breast and colon cancer; developing advanced methods of treating congestive heart failure; and, encouraging preventative programs in diabetes.”

“On a patient care level, the newly-created Institute provides an unprecedented opportunity to more rapidly develop treatments and cures for the most important health problems confronting society,” said Dr. Brian Currie, co-director of the Institute, Vice President and Medical Director for Research at Montefiore, and Assistant Dean for Clinical Research at Einstein. “And on an operational level, this partnership between Einstein and Montefiore will create a centralized infrastructure to integrate the computerized information systems and research databases at our two institutions.”

“Ideally, translational medicine functions as a two-way street, with laboratory findings leading to clinical benefits but also with information gained in the clinic and in the field feeding back into basic research. We have an exciting challenge ahead of us in enhancing the flow of information from the population and clinical sciences back to the laboratory,” said Dr. Paul Marantz, co-director of the Institute and Associate Dean for Clinical Research Education at Einstein.

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May 29, 2008 — Joanne Jacobson, associate dean for academic affairs at Yeshiva College, and Gabriel Goldstein, associate director for exhibitions and programs at the Yeshiva University Museum, have been awarded a $40,000 grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to create a museum exhibit about American Jews in suburbia.

The grant was awarded by the We The People program of the NEH, which supports initiatives that preserve and teach American history and culture.

Jacobson, a professor in the college’s English department, says the show will debut at the YU Museum in 2010 or 2011, depending on additional funding, after which it will travel around the country.

The grant will allow co-curators Jacobson and Goldstein to create a broad-based, analytical exhibit that will examine the significance of suburbia to American Jews and American society and culture in general.

“We are delighted to once again be awarded an NEH grant to help the museum create an innovative and publicly engaging research-based multidisciplinary exhibition,” said Goldstein. “We are delighted to be working with University faculty to explore new topics and to educate and engage our audiences.”

Provisionally titled “Grass/Roots,” the exhibit will investigate a variety of suburban areas throughout the United States rather than focusing on a particular community or region. It will recreate a typical 1950s-style suburban home, divided into various living spaces, including a kitchen, family room, and yard, so that viewers can imagine themselves in a range of suburban situations. A Website will enable participants across the world to contribute material on their own suburban histories.

NEH panelists at the proposal’s evaluation were enthusiastic about the idea and its leaders, noting in their report that it had an “excellent project team with a stellar group of humanities scholars.”

“I’m proud that the team we’ve put together has already had a major success in being awarded this grant,” said Jacobson, whose interest in mounting this exhibit grew out of public programs she organized after the publication of Hunger Artist, her memoir about growing up Jewish in suburban Chicago. “My collaboration with the museum and with other academics and urban planners from around the country has already been one of the great pleasures and learning experiences of this project.”

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Valedictorians L-R: Jessica Weiss (Stern, Jewish Studies), Daniella Ulmer (SSSB), Moshe Chinn (Mechinah Program), Oren Nadelbach (SSSB), Yosef Bronstein (MYP), Dror Galamadi (IBC), and Oren Wachstock (YC). Not pictured are Daniel Elovic (BMP) and Limor Wigder (Stern, General Studies).

May 23, 2008 — Calling “Never Again” the 11th commandment “etched in the aftermath of Auschwitz,” Abraham Foxman—national director of the Anti-Defamation League and keynote speaker at YU’s 77th Annual Commencement Exercises Garden on May 22—exhorted the graduates gathered at the WaMu Theater in Madison Square to turn that message into a universal mandate to speak out and act against bigotry in all its forms. Foxman, a world-renowned leader in the fight against anti-Semitism received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from YU President Richard M. Joel.

View photo galleries of YU’s Commencement.

“The gas chambers did not begin with bricks—they began with words,” Foxman said, “ugly, hateful words that demonized, degraded, and debased Jews. And those words became ugly, hateful deeds.”

Drawing on his personal history of being saved from the Holocaust by his Polish Catholic nanny, Bronislawa Kurpi, and reclaiming his Judaism thereafter, Foxman emphasized the importance of knowing about atrocities and the power of good people to save lives.

“Respond with words backed by reasonable action, and both words and action impressed with the full weight of the ethical values imparted to you by Jewish tradition,” he told the graduates. “Do that and you will answer the question “What if?” by being one of many who will give hateful words and hateful deeds no quarter.”

As a passionate supporter of the State of Israel and a voice for peace in the Middle East, Foxman was a member of the President’s United States Holocaust Memorial Council, appointed by Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton. He is the author of The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control and Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism.

President Joel also conferred an honorary degree on Dr. Edie Goldenberg, professor of political science and public policy at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. As the first female dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan, Goldenberg completed what is believed to be the most successful fundraising campaign by a public arts and sciences college at that time, which raised $110 million. She instituted the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, which increased the number of endowed chairs and enhanced the quality and number of undergraduate seminars. Goldenberg is an accomplished author and the recipient of several awards including the Goldsmith Research Award from Harvard University in 1993.

This year’s Presidential Medallion, the highest honor that YU bestows on a member of the faculty or administration for excellent service, was awarded to Rabbi Zevulun Charlop, the Max and Marion Grill Dean of YU’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS).

President Joel paid tribute to Rabbi Charlop’s “brilliant mind, gentle hand, and sensitive heart” in leading the seminary for more than 35 years.

Under Rabbi Charlop’s distinguished leadership, RIETS experienced enormous growth, graduating thousands of rabbis, educators, and Jewish scholars. He is relinquishing his position effective June 30, 2008. He will continue to serve as one of the Masmichim, those who administer ordination exams, and will maintain his special relationship with the Kollelei Elyon (advanced study groups). Rabbi Charlop will remain full time as dean emeritus of RIETS, and will serve as special advisor to the YU President on yeshiva affairs with cabinet rank.

President Joel also announced the creation of the Rabbi Zevulun Charlop Chair at RIETS, thanks to an endowment from the Legacy Heritage Fund Limited.

The university used the occasion to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Israel and to highlight its many ties with the Holy Land. “Today we mark the dream and celebrate its reality,” said President Joel. He recalled the memory of Moshe Perlstein ’46Y, a Palmach guard and scout who was the first American to lose his life in the massacre of the Lamed Hey, a group of 35 soldiers who were attempting to bring aid to the beleaguered Gush Etzion, which in January 1948 was under attack by the invading Jordanian Legion. “Today would have been his 62nd alumni anniversary,” the President said.

The final honor at this year’s ceremony went to Dr. Sheldon E. Socol, a loyal YU staff member who was among the Yeshiva College Class of 1958. Socol, special advisor to the dean and to the Chairman of the Board of Overseers Building Committee at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, received a proclamation recognizing 50 years of service and dedication to the university. A graduate of YU class of 1958, he began his career as assistant bursar that same year. His many posts included that of director of student finances, secretary of the university, and vice president for business affairs. Effective July 1, 2008, Dr. Socol will serve as advisor to the Office of the President of YU.

More than 2,000 graduate students in the fields of law, medicine, social work, education, Jewish studies, and psychology, as well as undergraduate students from Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, and Sy Syms School of Business, are being awarded degrees this commencement season.

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The men's baseball squad was one of three Yeshiva University teams to earn a Team Sportsmanship Award from the Skyline Conference.

May 22, 2008 — Yeshiva University has been selected to receive the inaugural Skyline Conference Sportsmanship Trophy after displaying outstanding team sportsmanship during the 2007-08 academic year. The conference instituted the trophy to gauge team sportsmanship among its member schools.

“Of the many honors and awards our athletic programs and student-athletes received during the 2007-08 year, this is the one I am most proud of,” said Yeshiva University Director of Athletics Joe Bednarsh. “Earning the Sportsmanship Trophy is a reflection of the commitment of our athletics staff, coaches, and student-athletes to the Division III philosophy that intercollegiate athletics are a vital component of the student experience, and an enhancement of the academic pursuits of those involved in athletics. This award makes it clear that our athletics community has embraced our philosophy, and that – win or lose – we compete with the right ideals in mind. I commend everybody involved with Yeshiva University Athletics for a job well done, and it is my hope that we achieve this honor every year.”

A school earns points toward the trophy based upon a 10-point scale in each sport. Opposing coaches rate each team on a scale of one to 10, with a one considered poor sportsmanship and a 10 considered outstanding sportsmanship. A school’s scores in each sport are then added together and divided by the total number of points that could possibly be earned.

Yeshiva University compiled 59.82 points out of a possible 80 (eight sports), for an overall rating of .748. St. Joseph’s, which also captured the Skyline Conference Presidents Cup for overall sports excellence, finished second with a rating of .679. Mount Saint Mary was third with a rating of .662.

A Team Sportsmanship Award is presented in each sport. Yeshiva earned Team Sportsmanship Awards in women’s tennis, men’s basketball and baseball. Yeshiva’s composite score of 8.78 in men’s basketball was the second-highest score for any team in any sport during the 2007-08 academic year.

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Senior Michael Pollack prepares to shoot a free throw as freshman Zachary Gordon looks on.

May 20, 2008 — Yeshiva University men’s basketball freshman Zachary Gordon and senior Michael Pollack were named to the 2007-08 Jewish Sports Review All-American team for Division II and III programs. Gordon and Pollack were instrumental in leading Yeshiva to an 11-16 season during which the Maccabees advanced to the Skyline Conference Semifinals.

Gordon was named first-team All-American after one of the finest individual seasons in the history of the Yeshiva men’s basketball program. He was previously voted first-team All-Conference by the Skyline Conference, the Skyline Conference Rookie of the Year, second-team All-Met, second-team All-ECAC for the Metro Region, the ECAC Metro Rookie of the Year, and All-Region by D3Hoops.com. He averaged 20.2 points per game to lead the Maccabees and finished second in the Skyline Conference in scoring. In addition, Gordon’s 7.5 rebounds per game led the Maccabees and were good for fifth in the Skyline Conference. Gordon also averaged 1.81 blocked shots per game to finish second in the Skyline, and his 51 per cent field goal percentage was the ninth best in the conference.

Gordon earned Skyline Conference Rookie of the Week five times, was named to the PrestoSports/MBWA Honor Roll four times, and was named to the D3Hoops.com Team of the Week twice for his outstanding season that included seven double-doubles, 20 games during which he scored 15 points or more, and 13 games during which he broke the 20-point plateau. He also registered a 31-point performance against Mount Saint Vincent on February 20, and an incredible 41-point effort against SUNY Old Westbury during the Skyline Conference Quarterfinals on February 26 as he led Yeshiva back from a 22-point second half deficit, and the Maccabees won 88-82 in overtime. Gordon finished the season with 525 points, and 195 rebounds putting him on a possible track to earn the rare distinction of a 2,000-point/1,000-rebound career.

Pollack distinguished himself as one of the best two-way players in the Skyline Conference, and was named honorable mention All-American for his efforts. The forward finished second in the Skyline Conference in both assists (4.27 per game), and steals (2.46 per game), and averaged 7.4 points per game. A four-year player, Pollack finished his YU career with more than 400 points, 150 steals, and 200 assists.

The Jewish Sports Review is a bi-monthly guide to the world of Jewish sports that has been in production for more than 10 years. The publication selects annual Jewish college all-American teams in baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, and lacrosse.

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May 20, 2008 — The Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation honored Yeshiva University with its 2008 Partners for Life Award at the foundation’s annual gala dinner on May 15. The university has facilitated more bone marrow transplants than any other institution via Gift of Life’s campus recruitment program. President Richard M. Joel accepted the award on behalf of YU students.

To date, more than 2,500 YU students have registered, and 23 have already saved lives via their donations. This past year, the YU Student Medical Ethics Society ran two hugely successful drives that registered over 500 people.

“I felt very proud and empowered to know that my team was directly involved with Yeshiva University’s recognition at the Gift of Life dinner,” said Yeshiva College junior Avi Amsalem, whose experience as a donor moved him to take a lead role in organizing the drives on campus. “Attending the dinner enabled us to see that our efforts have impacted not only the YU community, but the greater Jewish community as well.”

The gala is the largest gathering of donors and recipients in the nation. One of the highlights of the evening was the emotional introductions of bone marrow donors to their transplant recipients in front of the audience.

Gift of Life was founded by Jay Feinberg to facilitate bone marrow, blood stem cell and umbilical cord blood transplants for children and adults suffering from life-threatening illnesses globally. Its services include transplant coordination, donor recruitment, patient advocacy and public education. Through targeted recruitment in Jewish communities throughout North America, Gift of Life strives to overcome the loss of bloodlines following the Holocaust, a consequence that has made the search for genetically matched donors particularly difficult for Jewish patients.

“The stories of this year’s three featured bone marrow transplant pairs are a tribute to the strong spirit of chesed [kindness] in the Jewish community,” said Feinberg, whose own life was saved following a bone marrow transplant in 1995. “When total strangers become involved in saving a life, they are following the Talmudic admonition of ‘One who saves a life is as if he saved the entire world.’”

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May 17, 2008 — Yeshiva University (YU), the country’s oldest and most comprehensive institution combining Jewish scholarship with academic excellence, will bring its unique message and mission of Torah U’madda, the synthesis of Jewish learning with secular knowledge, to the Chicago Jewish community on Friday, June 13 through Sunday, June 15. Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel will spend Shabbat in the West Rogers Park area, Rabbi Kenneth Brander, dean of Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future will be scholar-in-residence in Skokie, and Rabbi Reuven Brand, rosh kollel of The Yeshiva University Torah Mitzion Kollel in Skokie, will be scholar-in-residence in Lincolnwood, and Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky, a rosh yeshiva (professor of Talmud), will be scholar-in-residence in Lincolnwood.

Other members of YU’s administration and faculty will also join alumni, parents and friends in celebrating YU’s new partnership with the Chicago Jewish community which has the largest number of out-of-town students on the YU campus. The celebration continues on Motzei Shabbat with a Melave Malka at Congregation Or Torah featuring “Jewpardy,” a spoof on the popular program “Jeopardy,” and continues on Sunday morning with the first YU Kollel Yom Rishon and Midreshet Yom Rishon sessions in Chicago.

The visit will also highlight the formation of the Yeshiva University Torah Mitzion Kollel in Chicago. “The Yeshiva University Torah Mitzion Kollel will consist of a permanent cadre of Torah scholars who will reside in Chicago and enrich the entire local Jewish community with exciting learning programs for men, women and youth,” said President Joel. “The Kollel will foster a transformational experience in Chicago and be an incubator for klai kodesh, lay leaders, by attracting young couples to move to Chicago, seeding the community with educators and rabbis to lead and inspire local synagogues.”

The Kollel will be a satellite of YU’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and will be a “Beit Midrash (study hall) without walls” serving as a beacon of Torah U’madda and Religious Zionism for the entire Jewish community. Guest shiurim will be led by RIETS roshei yeshiva, HaRav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Av Beit Din of the Chicago Rabbinical Council and the Rabbinical Council of America, and other community rabbis.

“This Kollel represents our continuing efforts to shape the Kollel paradigm and create programs that will enrich Jewish life in Chicago via outreach and inreach,” said Rabbi Brander. “They also represent a vibrant initiative to enable communities to experience the wealth of resources and presence of Yeshiva University right in their backyard.”

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May 16, 2008 — Contrary to long-held assumptions, high-salt diets may not increase the risk of death, according to investigators from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. They reached their conclusion after examining dietary intake among a nationally representative sample of adults in the U.S.

The Einstein researchers actually observed a significantly increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) associated with lower sodium diets. They report their findings in the advance online edition of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The researchers analyzed data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), which was conducted by the federal government among a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. These data were then compared against death records that had been collected by the government through the year 2000.

The sample of approximately 8,700 represented American adults who were over 30 years of age.

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May 14, 2008 — In the 50 years he has taught psychology at Stern College for Women, Dr. Marcel Perlman has seen his department grow from a one-man show to a thriving department that boasts six full-time faculty members.

“Over the years Dr. Perlman has been central to enlarging the psychology department as well as serving as an ‘elder statesman’ for the faculty,” Dr. Karen Bacon, The Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean at Stern College, said at a party the school recently held in celebration of his 50th anniversary teaching there.

Faculty, family, and former students of the psychology professor gathered at the Ivry Lounge on the Beren Campus for an evening of memories and inspiration.

“Dr. Perlman’s careful and thoughtful style, his optimistic outlook, and undoubtedly his training as a clinical psychologist have been the key ingredients to making him the insightful colleague and beloved professor to scores of faculty and generations of students,” Dean Bacon said.

Perlman, an alumnus of both Yeshiva College and Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology (where he earned his MS and PhD), began instructing at Stern College in 1958 and went on to become a full professor in 1978. He also taught at Yeshiva College and Ferkauf, and been either a member or chair of numerous YU committees including Middle States, Dean’s Search, and Faculty Welfare. He serves as chairman of the division of social sciences.

Former student Shira Koenigsberg said that what draws so many students to Perlman’s classes is his ability to make the subject matter exciting and relevant. “His style of weaving casework into his classes from his private practice, court, surveying, and work at psychiatric facilities illuminates the material and brings psychology to life,” Koenigsberg said.

Perlman has seen the university grow into a major research institution with a reputation for excellence nationwide. He attests to a greater level of seriousness and involvement in scholarship from both the administration and students.

But what has kept him committed to YU? “The students, the students, and lastly the students. The colleagues aren’t too bad either,” said Perlman. “It’s been a heck of a ride, and I’m grateful that it’s not over yet.”

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