Yeshiva University News » 2008 » November

Nov 26, 2008 — As part of an extensive adult education program at the Young Israel of Woodmere, Yeshiva University (YU) is offering a series of lectures on the timely issue of “Ethics in the Workplace” to the Five Towns community. The speakers are well known figures in their respective fields of medicine and law. Individuals who attend the lectures will be awarded Continuing Medical Education credits at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Continuing Legal Education credits at YU’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Young Israel of Woodmere is located at 859 Peninsula Boulevard in Woodmere, New York. All lectures will take place at 8:15 PM. The following speakers will address the Five Towns community at Young Israel over the upcoming months:

Joseph Feit, Yale Law School graduate and past president of NACOEJ (North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry, will discuss “Law, Politics, and the Forgotten Jews of Ethiopia” on Wednesday, December 11.

Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman, RIETS graduate and member of the Board of the Halachic Organ Donor Society, will speak on “Reinventing Life and Reexamining Death: Medical Halacha for the 21st Century” on Wednesday, January 14.

Rabbi Aharon Glatt, president and CEO of New Island Hospital and over 25 years of academic medical practice experience, will discuss “Acting Ethically and Being Shomer Shabbat in the Workplace and in Graduate Schools” on Wednesday, February 11.

Ellen Yaroshefsky, Clinical Professor of Law and the Executive Director of the Jacob Burns Ethics Center at YU’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, will speak about “Ethics in the Interviewing of Witnesses” on Thursday, March 19.

Rachel Mansdorf, associate in the Trusts and Estates group at Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein and Breitstone, LLP, will discuss “Matters of Life and Death – Crafting a Halachic Estate Plan” on Wednesday, May 6.

The lecture series is part of YU’s ongoing commitment to providing both a halachic and professional education to its alumni and members of the Five Towns community. For more information on the “Ethics in the Workplace” series or to learn about additional YU adult education programming please contact Lisa Horowitz at 212-960-0848 or


Nov 25, 2008 — The American Cancer Society, the nation’s largest non-governmental funder of cancer research, has given its highest award, the Medal of Honor, to four Americans who have made outstanding contributions to the fight against cancer. Among the honorees is Susan Band Horwitz, Ph.D., distinguished professor and co-chair of the Department of Molecular Pharmacology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, who is recognized for her groundbreaking research on the cancer drug Taxol (paclitaxel), which has been used by more than 1 million patients around the world to treat cancers of the ovary, breast and lung.

Other honorees include Senator Ted Kennedy, scientist Mina J. Bissell, Ph.D., and philanthropist Jon M. Huntsman. The awards were presented during an evening gala at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. What follows are excerpts from a conversation with Dr. Horwitz on her major contributions to cancer treatment.

“When I started working with Taxol in the 1970s, there was absolutely no indication that it would be useful in the clinic,” says Dr. Horwitz. “Of course I hoped, but I had no reason to think that it would turn into a drug that would help more than a million cancer patients.”

Bark from the Pacific Yew tree (Taxus brevifolia) was collected in 1962 by two botanists who were hired by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a branch of the National Institutes of Health, to find natural products that might cure cancer. The isolation of Taxol from the bark by medicinal chemists at Research Triangle Institute was published in 1971.

Research into Taxol languished for years. The Yew tree was relatively rare and produced little of the compound. What’s more, isolating and extracting Taxol from the tree’’s bark was difficult. It wasn’’t until the mid-1970s that NCI researchers confirmed that Taxol had anti-tumor properties, but they couldn’’t figure out how it affected cells.

For that, they turned to Dr. Horwitz, a promising young researcher at Einstein who was known for her studies of naturally occurring small molecules and their use in cancer treatment.

Within months of receiving samples of the compound in 1976, Dr. Horwitz and her colleagues discovered Taxol’s mechanism of action. Some anti-cancer drugs kill cancer cells by wrecking the proteins needed to make microtubules, filament-like structures that play a crucial role in cell division.

But as Dr. Horwitz found, Taxol works in a completely different manner. Instead, the molecule sends cells into overdrive, churning out extra microtubules that clog up the cells’ innards. Taxol freezes the microtubules into bundles, preventing them from disassembling. As a result, cancer cells have no way to divide, and they soon collapse and die.

It was a stunning discovery, setting the stage for a whole new class of cancer chemotherapeutic drugs.

But first, Taxol had to be brought from the bench to the bedside, which was no easy task. Early clinical tests showed the drug to be quite toxic, delaying human trials for years. But Dr. Horwitz was undeterred. “We felt that this was a special drug, because it had a unique structure and mechanism of action,” she says.
Researchers at Einstein and other institutions eventually figured out how to transform the compound into a formulation that was safe for human use.

Finally, in 1992, 16 years after Dr. Horwitz first began studying the compound, the FDA approved Taxol for the treatment of ovarian cancer. Later, it was approved for use against advanced breast cancer and small-cell lung cancer. To date, Taxol is the best-selling cancer drug ever manufactured.

“I am very honored to receive this award from the American Cancer Society,” says Dr. Horwitz. “It is so important to realize that basic scientists can make significant contributions to clinical care.”

“I feel strongly that this is not my personal award,” she adds. “It is for my entire laboratory—for all the students, fellows, visiting scientists, and collaborators that have worked with me all these years.”

The story of Taxol is not over. Some tumors are resistant to chemotherapy, while others develop resistance over time, and Taxol is no exception. Dr. Horwitz is now working to pinpoint the molecular mechanisms that underlie Taxol resistance, in the hope of providing another powerful target for combating cancer.

She is also developing combination therapies, in which Taxol is given along with other chemotherapy drugs. The idea is to attack cancer cells from multiple angles, hampering their ability to develop resistance.

In addition, Dr. Horwitz is studying the molecular biology of microtubules for clues related to Taxol resistance. More specifically, she is examining whether the presence of different forms of tubulin (a building block of microtubules) might explain why some cancer cells are more responsive to Taxol than others.

One offshoot of this work may be the development of biomarkers that can be used to predict which patients will respond well to Taxol. “Taxol has side effects, and we don’t want to give the drug to people who are not going to get any benefit,” she explains.

Today, Dr. Horwitz is more optimistic than ever about curing cancer. “We’ve learned a tremendous amount in the 35 years since I got my first research grant, which was from the American Cancer Society,” she says. “I believe that with enough financial support, and with the brightest and the best young people going into cancer research, we should be able to overcome this disease.”


Ta Shma won first place.

Nov 25, 2008 — Over 350 students crammed into a packed-to-capacity Schottenstein Cultural Center to see eight bands compete at the YU Battle of the Bands competition.

First place went to Ta Shma, which won 10 hours of premium recording time at Jantelis Studios, two gigs at the Roc-House café on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and a performance slot at the Yeshiva University Hanukkah Concert, on Dec. 18.

Ta Shma is an Aramaic phrase that is found often in the Talmud, and is translated as “come and listen.” Ta Shma was founded in 2002, and has since been playing at engagement parties, wedding and bar/bat mitzvahs.

“It wasn’t only being up there, but being up there with the whole crowd behind you—it’s really an amazing feeling,” lead singer Yakov Block, a junior at Sy Syms School of Business, said. “We are really excited and can’t wait for the Hanukkah Concert.”

Other bands vying for top spot at the event, sponsored by the Yeshiva Student Union and the Stern College for Women Student Council, were Sefarad, Shkia, After Burn, The Jon Lamm Jam, The Finders and Reality Addiction, many of which included YU students.

The Yeshiva University Social Justice Society held a raffle, raising over $500 for the Metropolitan Council for Jewish Poverty.

Stephanie Zisholtz, a senior at Stern College for Women, said, “Battle of the Bands was so enjoyable! Reality Addiction was amazing, and the energy in the room was palpable.”


Nov 25, 2008 — At the age of nine, Simon Deng, a member of the Shilluk tribe in southern Sudan, was abducted and given as a gift to an Arab family. His job was to draw water from the Nile River and carry it back to the household, work typically assisted by camels.

Deng spoke about his experience as a child slave at “Slavery Unshackled: An Exploration of Modern Day Slavery,” a panel discussion co-sponsored by the student-run Social Justice Society, the Center for Ethics at Yeshiva University and the Marcia Robbins-Wilf Scholar-in-Residence Program on Nov. 19.

Hundreds of Yeshiva University undergraduates gathered in Rubin Shul on the Wilf Campus to hear the story of Deng, now an American citizen and anti-slavery activist. He shared the podium with Mary Temple, volunteer coordinator for Free the Slaves, which works to eradicate slavery while liberating slaves around the world, and Rabbi Shalom Carmy, assistant professor of Bible at Yeshiva University, who offered a Biblical perspective on the topic.

Deng thanked the sponsoring organizations for allowing him to be “the voice of the voiceless.”

He said that most people think slavery is a thing of the past, but he is living proof that it continues to exist in modern times.

After three and half years as a slave, Deng was liberated by a man from his former village who recognized him and arranged for his escape.

“Some of you might feel bad about what happened to me, but we can’t take it back,” Deng said. He sees his main role as an advocate, and is hopeful for the future, “knowing it will take someone who is free to free someone who is not.”

Mary Temple highlighted the difference between historic and modern-day slaves. “A historic slave was seen as a capital expenditure and was given clothing, shelter and food in order to allow for the most substantial return on investment,” Temple explained. “In the past 50 years, the price has collapsed and the average price of a slave is now $90. People have become disposable.”

Temple urged students to join the fight against slavery by “getting educated,” writing to their political representatives and being conscious of the products they buy and whether they were processed through slavery.

Rabbi Shalom Carmy shed light on the complex depiction of slavery in the Torah. He noted that a close analysis of Biblical and halakhic [Jewish legal] texts reveals “that to be a slave is… regarded throughout as a misfortune, as a curse,” because slaves are dependent on their master’s will. A Jewish slave owner however, Carmy added, must require their gentile slave to observe mitzvoth [commandments] so he will feel that God is his ultimate master.

Gilah Kletenik, a member of the Social Justice Society, explained the impetus for the panel discussion: “Our collective experience as slaves long ago and as victims throughout history suggests that we have a unique opportunity to free those enslaved, to be the custodians of justice throughout the world.”


Nov 25, 2008 — With Jewish communities emerging throughout the US and across the globe, the need for qualified rabbis and educators has grown. Oftentimes, the search for a suitable rabbi can be a somewhat daunting task.

Serving as the community arm of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), Yeshiva University’s (YU) Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) assists congregations, schools, organizations and communities in their search for rabbis. For over a century, RIETS, the Western Hemisphere’s leading center for Torah learning, has trained over 2,700 of the world’s most distinguished Orthodox rabbis, scholars, and teachers.

“We’ve place hundreds of rabbis over the years,” said Rabbi Ronald Shcwarzberg, director of the Gertrude Bienenfeld Department of Jewish Career Development and Placement at CJF. “With our talented pool of RIETS and RCA (Rabbinical Council of America) rabbis we are able to match communities with candidates who are best prepared to meet their needs.”

Rabbi Moshe Davis, a Yeshiva University and RIETS graduate began serving as an assistant rabbi of Houston’s United Orthodox Synagogues in August after working with CJF’s Rabbinic Placement Office. “They demonstrated keen, hands-on knowledge of many of the Jewish communities across America,” said Rabbi Davis of CJF’s involvement.” I really felt that I had people advocating on my behalf.”

Rabbi Chaim Strauchler, rabbi of the 700-family member congregation, Shaarei Shomayim in Toronto, credits RIETS and CJF for where he is today. “My experience at RIETS gave me the basic skills that are crucial to my work as a teacher of Torah,” said the former Rhodes Scholar. “The exposure to the personalities of both chaverim [friends] and rabbanim have guided my work as a communal rabbi.”

As for the process, “the CJF served as the shadchan [matchmaker] to connect me with Shaarei Shomayim,” said Rabbi Strauchler. “They were involved in every step of the process, providing advice from the interview stage through the contract and beyond. My family and I love our community and our shul.”

Another former YU graduate, Rabbi Elchanan Jay Weinbach, approached CJF with a somewhat complex request: “Find me a position that will allow me to do something truly meaningful for the world of Jewish education.” In a short time, CJF approached Rabbi Weinbach about Los Angeles’ Shalhevet School—the only modern Orthodox K-12 school in the city.

“Throughout the challenging process, Rabbi Schwarzberg and his staff were there to lend support and advice,” said Rabbi Weinbach, who currently serves as the head of school at Shalhevet. “Thanks to the support from YU and CJF, my wife Yocheved (Stern College ’89) and I are living the Jewish educator’s dream.”

Rabbi Zvi Engel recently began serving as rabbi of Congregation Or Torah in Skokie, Illinois. “The Rabbinic Placement Office gave me a high level of confidence in their ability to shepherd me throughout the entire search process,” said Rabbi Engel. “They guided me towards congregations that were appropriate for me and my family.”

CJF Rabbinic Programming follows rabbis into the field, encouraging continued professional growth, providing continued guidance and counsel, and supporting the personal development and well being of rabbis and their wives. An array of such programs are provided by the Legacy Heritage Fund Rabbinic Enrichment Initiative (LHREI), including skill building, seminars, conferences, web resources and tools for networking. LHREI is generously supported by Legacy Heritage Fund Limited.

“The CJF has remained in constant contact,” said Rabbi Strauchler. “I have benefited from a close connection with Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter (YU’s Professor of Jewish History and Jewish Thought and senior scholar at CJF) who has given so much to young rabbis through the LHREI (Legacy Heritage Fund Rabbinic Enrichment Initiative) Yarchei Kallahs program.”

Mr. David Nadler, head of Shaarei Shomayaim’s rabbi search committee, was very pleased with CJF’s efforts throughout the process. “Rabbi Schwarzberg and his staff started by visiting Toronto for a day of meetings with rabbis, community leaders, and the search committee,” said Nadler. “They vetted all the candidates and allowed our shul to have finalists that represented the elite of RIETS. We are very pleased with the results of our search. ”

To find out more information about CJF’s Gertrude Bienenfeld Department of Jewish Career Development and Placement please contact or visit us online at


Nov 21, 2008 — David Rudenstine, author of the acclaimed book “The Day the Presses Stopped: A History of the Pentagon Papers Case” and dean of Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, was honored at the 2008 Alumni Association Dinner held at New York City’s Gotham Hall Nov. 10.

Cardozo Alumni Association Chair Marc A. Lieberstein ’92C presented Dean Rudenstine, who is also the Sheldon H. Solow Professor of Law and vice president for legal education, with an award recognizing the tremendous growth the law school has seen under his leadership.

Click here for a photo gallery of the event.

The program featured speeches from prominent alumni including David Samson ’93C, president of the Florida Marlins; NY State Supreme Court Justice Dianne T. Renwick ’86C, Appellate Division, First Department; Randi Weingarten ’83C, president of the United Federation of Teachers; and Bonnie Steingart ’79C, partner of Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP, who also serves as a vice chair for the Cardozo Board of Directors.

“I feel greatly honored by this award and am deeply touched by the feelings and affection it represents. Serving as Cardozo’s dean has been a special privilege and it has been profoundly gratifying. I am grateful to our alumni, faculty, administrators, and friends and supporters for their trust and support over the years,” Dean Rudenstine said.

David Rudenstine was selected by the Alumni Association’s 50-member Executive Committee as this year’s honoree. During his tenure, Cardozo has undergone a dramatic physical renovation and has experienced remarkable growth in admissions, career services, academic programs and centers, faculty, student morale, parent involvement and alumni participation.

“No dean has done more to bring alumni back to Cardozo and to make them an integral part of the law’s school’s daily life than Dean Rudenstine,” Lieberstein said. “His untiring dedication and commitment to Cardozo has left an indelible mark on all members of the community.”

Dean Rudenstine, who was named dean in 2001, is the first appointed from the ranks of the Cardozo faculty, which he joined in 1979 before the first class graduated.

He is completing work on “Trophies for the Empire: The Tale of the Parthenon Marbles,” a history of the famous dispute between Greece and Britain. In 2000-01, he was an inaugural fellow in Princeton University’s Program in Law and Public Affairs.

Prior to joining the Cardozo faculty, he was a project director, associate director, and acting executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union; counsel to the National News Council; a staff attorney in the New York City Legal Services Program; and director of the Citizen’s Inquiry on Parole and Criminal Justice, Inc., a not-for-profit research corporation. He is the primary author of “Prison Without Walls: Report on New York Parole” and author of “Rights of Ex-Offenders.”

He was a fellow in the New York University Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program and spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda. He received a B.A. and M.A.T. from Yale University and a J.D. from New York University. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws from St. Francis College in 2002, and in 2004, New York University School of Law bestowed upon him the Law Alumni Association Legal Teaching Award.


British Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks will address the students at the Renaissance Hotel in Jerusalem.

Nov 21, 2008 — Over 500 students studying at Israeli yeshivot and seminaries as part of YU’s S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program are expected to attend a shiur with British Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks on Nov. 28.

Rabbi Ari Solomont, director of the S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program, reached out to the yeshivot to invite the students. Israel program staff keep in close contact with the students, visiting schools regularly and offering support and guidance

“This is an exciting learning opportunity with one of the premier leaders of the international Jewish community,” Rabbi Solomont said. “We are committed to providing the students with quality programming that will further enrich their year in Israel.”

The shiur and brunch, in conjunction with the Orthodox Union’s National Convention, takes place on Rosh Chodesh Kislev, Friday, Nov. 28 at 9:30 a.m. at the Renaissance Hotel in Jerusalem. There will be separate seating for men and women. RSVP’s are required for security purposes.

The event is exclusively for Yeshiva University students and the men and women studying at the YU Israel program schools. For security purposes, students are required to RSVP to

“We feel that introducing students to this dynamic Torah personality will enhance their learning and increase their appreciation for Jewish leadership worldwide,” Rabbi Solomont said.


Student Tani Prero sang Hebrew songs with Ethiopian children on a trip to an absorption center for immigrants.

Nov 19, 2008 — Yeshiva University sent a delegation of 30 rabbinical students from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) who are studying at YU’s Gruss Institute in Jerusalem – and their wives – to the UJC’s 2008 General Assembly (GA) to expose the young leaders to the “larger Jewish community,” through interactions with Jews from different streams.

Rabbi Kenneth Brander, dean of Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF), and Rabbi Yosef Blau, mashgiach ruchani [spiritual guidance counselor] at YU, headed the delegation, introducing them to leaders from across the Jewish world and encouraging attendance at sessions aimed at helping them understand concepts and ideas that they may revisit as teachers and spiritual leaders of North American Jewish communities.

“We, as teachers of Torah, have a responsibility not only to expose our students to text, but to help them understand the meaning between the lines as well,” said Rabbi Brander. “Bringing these students and their spouses to the GA is not just about meeting and interacting with other Jews, but rather helping our students understand, appreciate and respect the perspectives of all Jews.”

Student Tani Prero, a Chicago native now living in Jerusalem, felt that his experiences at the GA, including special programming and valuable face-to-face interactions, amounted to an intense “re-education” about North American Jewish life.

“I had always wondered what Judaism meant to someone who was not connected to Orthodox Jewish observance,” he said. “This experience allowed me to meet Jews from varied backgrounds and engage them in open and honest discussions, helping me understand what Jewish life means to them and appreciate where our views differ without being critical.”

Rabbi Blau contends that it is this understanding that breeds stronger, better prepared Jewish leaders.

“While Orthodox rabbinical seminaries could simply lecture about the viewpoints of other streams of Judaism, first-hand discussions with those who actually subscribe to these views are an invaluable learning experience that will help these young rabbis relate to their students and congregations in the future,” said Rabbi Blau.

The rabbinical students took part in tours to different areas organized by the GA, including a trip to a local absorption center for newly arrived immigrants. They met with a group of Ethiopian Jews and sang Hebrew songs with Ethiopian children.

Of the students selected for the initiative, approximately two-thirds plan on returning to North America after the completion of their rabbinical training, while the remaining third intend on making Israel their permanent home. Still, the goal for all of the students remains the same: to secure positions as congregational rabbis and Jewish educators in communities where they can make a difference.


Nov 14, 2008 — Based in the “melting pot” capital of the world, New York City, the Yeshiva University Men’s Soccer team boasts a tremendously diverse group of athletes. The Maccabees’ roster—comprised of athletes from Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, France, Israel, England, Chile, Belgium and the United States—represents a microcosm of the broad YU student body.

“International players are drawn to the program by Yeshiva’s academics, religious heritage and education,” said Michael Spinner, associate director of athletics at YU. “By virtue of being a University that attracts such a wide range of students geographically, we attract many students who grew up playing soccer. The challenge is teaching them the way the game is played at the collegiate level. With the addition of our new and experienced head coach in Tony Elmore, the progress this season has been stunning.”

Elmore, a former Skyline Conference Coach of the Year, brings over 30 years of coaching experience to the Maccabees. When taking on the role of head coach this offseason, he was presented with a daunting challenge—turning a multinational, diverse group of individuals into one cohesive unit.

“When I arrived here, the first thing I noticed was that the team was very cliquey,” said Elmore. “The Spanish speakers trained together. The French speakers trained together. I knew things had to change.” The coach quickly put an end to that, breaking up the groups and having them train with other players.

Arie Blum, a co-captain from Santiago, Chile has been with the team for three years – experiencing three different coaches. “Playing for the soccer team my first and second year, there was a constant struggle between the various nationalities,” said the senior. “We all wanted to do the right thing but we didn’t know who to follow. With Tony, we have all have something in common now. We have a leader.”

Elmore, originally from London, stresses two fundamental principals to his players: have fun and work as a team.

“It’s not about individual efforts or statistics, it’s about the team,” he said. “To succeed as a team, one player has to help the other.”

Co-captain, Achiya Yaffe, a Jerusalem native, is impressed with the team’s transformation. “Last year it was just about playing soccer. This year it’s about playing on the soccer team,” said the sophomore. “We are all friends and not just teammates. It’s like being part of a big family.”

Second year team member Joshua Pransky of Philadelphia concurred. “This year is different,” he said. “Guys joke around together and hang out outside of practice more than in the past. There is a real energy and excitement among the players.”The coach also understands that Yeshiva’s players are different. “They are students first and athletes second,” Elmore said. After a dual-curriculum that can end at six or seven PM, the team practices from nine to eleven, every night. “They may not be able to practice as much as the other schools, but they’re just as dedicated.”

“Our record doesn’t accurately show how much improvement we’ve made and that is unfortunate,” said Pransky. “But Coach has taught us that it doesn’t matter. He’s shown us that our commitment to a dual curriculum is something to be fiercely proud of, regardless of wins and losses.”

Indeed, this year may be the most competitive men’s soccer team YU has fielded in years. Playing against the elite teams in the Skyline Conference, the Maccabees have lost three games by only one goal (including a double-overtime loss to a solid Medgar Evers College team on Sept. 12). In fact, the coaches of every opponent on YU’s schedule thus far have commented on the team’s dramatic improvement.

This year’s team was awarded the Skyline Conference Sportsmanship Award; an achievement the coach and the University take tremendous pride in. “I try educating the young men—not only about strategy, but about life,” said Elmore. “Working hard, having a good time, and being accountable for your actions—these aren’t just soccer lessons, these are life lessons that I hope they take with them into the real world.”

A player recently emailed the Elmore, thanking the coach for all he’s learned. “Not only have you made me a better player,” read the email. “You have made me a better man.”

Replied Elmore, “That feels better than any award or record.”


Nov 14, 2008 — Rabbi Yona Reiss, the Max and Marion Grill Dean of Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), will be visiting the Brookline and Newton communities as a scholar in residence for Shabbat Chayei Sarah, November 21 to the 22.

Rabbi Reiss will visit the Young Israel of Brookline over Shabbat, speaking about “The Past, Present and Future of Batei Din in America” on Friday night; “The Shidduch Crisis – Insights from the Parshat Hashavua” on Shabbat morning; and “Contemporary Resolutions to the Agunah Problem” at Shalosh Seudos. Rabbi Reiss will draw upon his experiences as the former director of the Beth Din of America (1998 to 2008) where he confronted many challenging contemporary issues.

On the Saturday evening of November 22nd at 7:30, the Newton community is invited to hear Rabbi Reiss at the home of Sharon and Joseph Jacobson. Rabbi Reiss will address the topic of “The Role and Relevance of Beit Din in Contemporary Society” and discuss how future rabbinic leaders are being trained at RIETS to confront these and other pressing issues of the day.

“The Brookline community eagerly anticipates Rabbi Reiss’ visit,” said Rabbi Dr. Gershon C. Gewirtz, Rov of Young Israel of Brookline. “It is a privilege that he comes to us under the RIETS banner, furthering our community’s relationship with Yeshiva University.”

Rabbi Reiss is a summa cum laude graduate of Yeshiva College and received his rabbinic ordination from RIETS. He went on to receive his law degree from Yale Law School, where he was senior editor of the Law Journal. Rabbi Reiss is a member of the New York Bar Association, a certified mediator for the City of New York court system, and a member of the Family and Divorce Mediation Council for New York. Rabbi Reiss serves on the editorial board of Tradition magazine. A frequent writer on a variety of topics relating to both Jewish and secular law, he has published widely in Jewish publications, as well as in the Wall Street Journal and New York Law Journal.

For more information on this event please contact the synagogue offices: Young Israel of Brookline at (617) 734-0276 and Congregation Beth El- Atereth Israel of Newton at (617) 244-7233. To learn more about RIETS visit us online at or email Andrew Goldsmith at