Madison Square Garden’s WaMu Theater was alive with energy, excitement and emotion at Yeshiva University’s 78th Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, May 14. President Richard M. Joel conferred honorary degrees upon Rabbi Dr. Jacob Haberman, founder of real estate ownership and management company Haberman & Haberman; Sylvia Axelrod Herskowitz, former director of the YU Museum; Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld of Young Israel of Kew Garden Hills, NY; and Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and star of the Broadway hit In the Heights. Dr. David Shatz, the highly popular professor of philosophy at YU’s Stern College for Women gave the commencement address and was awarded the Presidential Medallion, the highest honor bestowed on a member of the faculty or administration for excellent service.
A curious person by nature, Shane Fischman of Woodmere, NY had been interested in learning more about Western culture’s obsession with weight, overall appearance and its unrealistic “ideal” body image. Fischman, a senior at Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva University High School for Girls (YUHSG) in Holliswood, New York, was particularly interested in seeing how this phenomenon occurred among Jewish girls in the Orthodox community. After spending a year and a half studying the subject, Fischman wrote a research paper entitled “The Effects of Parental Pressure and Community Pressure on the Body Image of Adolescent Girls in the Typical Orthodox Jewish Community.”