Yeshiva University News » 2009 » October

Student Club Brings Speakers to Campuses to Shed Positive Light on Israel’s Image

Much attention has been given to anti-Israel activism on college campuses, but a group of Yeshiva University students is working to change Israel’s image as a place of conflict and political turmoil in the eyes of university students across America.

Alexander Fischman, a junior majoring in political science at Yeshiva College (YC), is the president of the Student American Israel Political Education Club (SAIPEC), an organization he founded in 2008. SAIPEC’s aim is to frame Israel in a more positive light on college campuses across North America, countering its negative image on most secular campuses. Other members of the up-and-coming club are YU students Steven Hagler, Eitan Slomovic and Shalvi Berger.

In March 2008, Fischman was working on a pro-Israel event with New York University (NYU) students in response to Israel Apartheid Week, an international Palestinian solidarity effort across college campuses. He realized that though YU already had an Israel Club, no organization existed to focus solely on changing the negative perception of Israel among students on other campuses.

“Anti-Israel attitudes don’t exist at YU, but there is an enormous amount of potential in students here to help sway attitudes of students at other campuses towards a more positive view of Israel,” said Fischman, who worked for John McCain’s presidential campaign and most recently interned for the U.S. Department of Defense this past summer.

While YU’s Israel Club focuses on events on the YU campus, SAIPEC is focused on outside events at schools such as NYU and Columbia University, which both have pronounced anti-Israel atmospheres.

“I always felt an affinity for Israel,” explained Fischman, who participated in his high school’s Israeli advocacy group and led a lobbying mission to Washington, D.C. “And I was always disturbed by the culture of anti-Israel sentiment at colleges. SAIPEC’s goal is to open the eyes of college students to Israel’s many achievements in areas such as science, technology and humanitarian aid.”

SAIPEC is behind the weeklong celebration “Not Just Hummus,” which will take place from Nov. 2-9 this year. Co-sponsored by the Israel education group StandWithUs, “Not Just Hummus” will highlight Israel’s technological and environmental contributions to society, its democratic government and its humanitarian efforts, and will feature speakers such as Aryeh Green, a former policy advisor to Natan Sharansky; and Micha Halpern, Israel columnist for AOL.

Events are set to take place on several campuses in the tri-state area, including Columbia, Barnard College, Queens College, Rutgers University and NYU, and will culminate in a talk at YU by Gabriela Shalev, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, on the Goldstone Report to students from multiple campuses on Nov 10.

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Dr. Tawil shows a facsimile of the Crown, which is held in the Gottesman Library Collection.

Hayim Tawil’s Latest Book Sheds New Light on Biblical Hebrew by Way of Akkadian Language

A new lexicon by Dr. Hayim Tawil, associate professor in Hebrew languages and literature at Yeshiva College (YC), is expected to lead to a more precise and accurate understanding of the Bible and its language.

An Akkadian Lexical Companion for Biblical Hebrew is the “greatest contribution to biblical study published in the past 100 years,” said Dr. Richard White, a lecturer of Semitic languages at YC. “Professor Tawil’s lexicon allows certain expressions in Tanach to be elucidated by their parallels in Akkadian literature,” Professor White explained. “[It] provides a connection between the text of the Bible and the world in which the Bible grew up.”

Tawil said that the lexicon, due out in November from Ktav Publishing, is the first to provide a comparison and study of word relationships between Biblical Hebrew, Akkadian and Aramaic, and will establish “a more precise and accurate meaning of words and idioms,” he said. More nuanced meanings are possible in Akkadian, which has a vocabulary of 50,000 words compared to biblical Hebrew’s 8,000, he explained, “so imagine what light Akkadian can shed on biblical Hebrew?”

A prolific writer, Tawil has a second book coming out in early 2010 with co-author Bernard Schneider. And while there are scholarly elements to Crown of Aleppo: The Mystery of the Oldest Hebrew Bible Codex, it reads like a thriller. The book considers the volatile history of the Codex or “Crown” of Aleppo, a bible manuscript written in about 930 C.E. and considered by scholars to be the most authentic version now in existence.

Preserved by Jewish communities in Jerusalem, Tiberias and Cairo, the Crown found a home in the 15th century in the Great Synagogue of Aleppo, Syria where it was housed for almost five centuries. When riots broke out in Syria in 1947, it was thought destroyed but a significant part of it resurfaced in 1958 and was smuggled with the help of then President Yitzchak Ben-Zvi to Israel, where it is housed at the Israel Museum under the custodianship of the Ben-Zvi Institute.

About a third of the Crown is still missing, although portions of it continue to be rediscovered (most recently, last year when a fragment turned up in the wallet of a survivor of the Aleppo riots).

Tawil said he and Schneider wrote the book in the hopes of stirring interest in finding the missing pages. Scholars say it may well help. “Their book is an important contribution towards bringing the story of the Aleppo Codex to the attention of a wide audience,” said Michael Glatzer, academic secretary at the Ben-Zvi Institute. “Finding the missing pages is an effort that deserves the greatest attention.”

In addition to the two upcoming books, Tawil has written two novels, countless scholarly articles and in 1998, Operation Esther: Opening the Door for the Last Jews of Yemen, the story of a five-year effort he spearheaded to bring the remaining 1,200 Yemenite Jews trapped in Yemen to Israel. For these efforts, the professor was nominated for an Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights in 2002.

Tawil, who has been teaching at YU since 1988, was chosen by students as Professor of the Year in 2003 and 2005.

The professor is working on a thematic commentary on Shir haShirim [the Song of Songs] and completing work on a novel about the founding of the Jewish community of Savannah, GA. Asked how he manages to juggle his research and writing with teaching a full schedule of classes, Tawil laughed and said, “I work at night. I get very little sleep.”

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Rabbi Kenneth Brander (center) was invested as The David Mitzner Dean of the Center for the Jewish Future. Pictured with him are President Richard M. Joel (left) and Ira Mitzner (right), David's son and a YU Trustee.

Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary Honors Four Dedicated Leaders at Annual Dinner of Tribute

Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) honored four dedicated leaders and educators—Dr. William and Debbie Schwartz, Dr. Alvin I. Schiff and Rabbi Yaakov Neuburger—and marked the formal investiture of Rabbi Kenneth Brander as The David Mitzner Dean of YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) at its Annual Dinner of Tribute on Oct. 27 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.

Click here for a gallery of photos from the event.

Utilizing the theme of “Celebrating the Jewels in our Torah Crown”, President Richard M. Joel heralded the honorees, noting that “we have so much to celebrate in terms of vitality and we celebrate four individuals that we hope to be.”

President Joel lauded guests of honor Dr. William and Debbie Schwartz for their “guidance and example that have helped steer the yeshiva [RIETS] and Yeshiva University to unprecedented heights with a philanthropy and vision that have advanced the mission of the yeshiva and produced young rabbis of the highest quality.”

A YU graduate and member of the RIETS Board of Trustees, Dr. William Schwartz is the founding president of the Rockland County Jewish Federation, a former vice president of the Adolph Schreiber Hebrew Academy of Rockland, a former member of the board of the Community Synagogue of Monsey and a former campaign chairman of the State of Israel Bonds Doctors Division for Rockland County. His wife, Debbie, serves as a vice president of the Yeshiva University Women’s Organization and is a former member of the board of directors of Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Dr. Alvin I. Schiff, the founder of YU’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, was recognized for his lifetime achievement in Jewish education. “With a strong commitment to the perpetuation of the Jewish tradition, you infused your life with a passion for pedagogy that permeates throughout your litany of professional achievements,” cited President Joel. “You have cultivated contemporary Jewish life as so much of Jewish education has been molded, touched or fashioned by you.”

An internationally recognized authority on education, Schiff, distinguished professor emeritus of education at Azrieli, has been a visiting professor at prestigious universities around the world. In 2005, he was awarded the Israel President’s Prize for his contribution to the enhancement of Jewish life, inspirational educational leadership, influential Hebraic scholarship, prolific research and writing, and the founding of important institutions of Jewish life.

Rabbi Yaakov Neuburger received the Rabbinic Leadership Award with President Joel noting that, “For more than 20 years, your talmidim [students] have had the privilege of learning from your erudition and your example. You teach all of our children that they can profoundly matter in the world and by doing so enrich the Jewish people and humanity.”

The spiritual leader of Congregation Beit Avraham in Bergenfield, NJ, Rabbi Neuburger serves as rosh yeshiva [professor of Talmud] at the Yeshiva Program/Mazer School of Talmudic Studies, an undergraduate school for Talmudic studies at YU. A Toronto native, Rabbi Neuburger received semicha [rabbinic ordination] from RIETS in 1979.

The dinner included the formal investiture of Rabbi Kenneth Brander as The David Mitzner Dean of CJF. “Our family is honored that Rabbi Brander is to become the inaugural David Mitzner Dean of the Center of the Jewish Future,” noted Ira M. Mitzner, the son of David Mitzner and a member of the Yeshiva University Board of Trustees. “Rabbi Brander’s energy and commitment to the ideals and values that our family and Yeshiva University hold so dear make him the ideal leader to continue the strengthening and growth of both YU and our North American kehilot [congregations].”

RIETS also recognized members of its 50th, 40th and 25th anniversary classes (1959, 1969 and 1984) and to its roshei yeshiva [professors of Talmud]. At the Dinner of Tribute, Lance L. Hirt and Joel M. Schreiber, members of the RIETS Board of Trustees, served as dinner chairmen. Also participating in the program were Dr. Norman Lamm, Rosh HaYeshiva of RIETS and Chancellor of YU; Rabbi Yona Reiss, The Max and Marion Grill Dean of RIETS; and Rabbi Julius Berman, Chairman of the RIETS Board of Trustees.

For more information about RIETS and CJF, including the Chag HaSemikhah on March 7, 2010, please contact Andrew Goldsmith, director of institutional advancement, at andrew.goldsmith@yu.edu or 212.960.0852.

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Jeffrey Gurock Appears on Shalom TV Cable Network Throughout Week of Nov. 1-7

Dr. Jeffrey S. Gurock, the Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University, appeared on Shalom TV, a national Jewish cable network, from Sunday, Nov. 1 through Saturday, Nov. 7. Gurock was featured in the first part of a series looking at the history of Orthodox Judaism in America.

Gurock is the author of a new book, Orthodox Jews in America, published by Indiana University Press. He is the author or editor of 13 books including Judaism’s Encounter with American Sports; A Modern Heretic and a Traditional Community: Mordechai M. Kaplan, Orthodoxy and American Judaism, which he co-authored with Jacob J. Schacter; American Jewish Orthodoxy in Historical Perspective, a compendium of 15 of his most important essays on the history of Orthodoxy in the United States; and American Jewish History, a 13-volume series that reproduces over 200 of the most important articles written in the field of American Jewish history, which he selected and edited.

Gurock was recently elected a fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research, the oldest professional organization of Judaica scholars in North America. He has served since 1982 as associate editor of American Jewish History, the leading academic journal in that field.

Interested viewers should go to www.shalomtv.com and click on “Find Us” on the menu line to find a cable provider that Shalom TV is on.

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Oct 23, 2009 — This year’s Yeshiva University Medical Ethics Conference—organized by over 50 students in conjunction with YU’s Center for the Jewish Future and supported by the Fuld family—discussed the latest advances in detecting some 1,600 genetic diseases, coupled with perspectives of leading rabbinic authorities on the issues that have emerged.

The conference, titled “The Human Blueprint: Jewish Perspectives on Modern Genetics,” featured experts in biology, halacha [Jewish law] and groundbreaking medical research on reproductive science and endocrinology in a full day of plenaries and breakout sessions attended by over 400 students, faculty, alumni and guests.

The Oct. 18 event was organized entirely by the Student Medical Ethics Society under the guidance of Dr. Edward Reichman, associate professor of clinical emergency medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a rabbi who was ordained by Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS). The students in the Medical Ethics Society receive mentoring and leadership skills from staff at the CJF.

“In Bereishit we learned that God made man from the dust of the ground but scientists have proven that every one of us has an intricate pattern of genetic information that makes us unique,” said Tali Bauman, co-president of the Medical Ethics Society with Sam Weprin. “Our obligation is to continue to understand the development of humanity through the lens of halacha.”

Weprin said the society’s goal was “to put education and awareness of medical ethics issues and halacha not only into our learning but beyond the University’s walls as well.”

The conference, webcast to an audience in Israel, discussed genetic issues relating to cancer, reproduction, DNA, forensics, aging and longevity. It featured medical experts such as Dr. Harry Ostrer, professor of pediatrics, pathology and medicine and director of the Human Genetics Program at New York University School of Medicine; Dr. Susan Lobel, the founder of Metropolitan Reproductive Medicine; and Dr. Wayne A. Rosenkrans, a distinguished fellow at the Center for Biomedical Innovation at MIT.

Rabbinic authorities included Rabbi Moshe D. Tendler, the Rabbi Isaac and Bella Tendler Professor of Jewish Medical Ethics and rosh yeshiva at RIETS; Rabbi Mordechai Willig, rosh yeshiva and the Rabbi Dr. Sol Roth Professor of Talmud and Contemporary Halachah at RIETS; and Rabbi Herschel Schachter, the Nathan and Vivian Fink Distinguished Professor of Talmud at RIETS and head of its Marcos and Adina Katz Kollel.

Rabbi Kenneth Brander, The David Mitzner Dean of the CJF, explored the theological implications of our ability to perform genetic embryo screening through Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). He highlighted the religious mandate to proactively obliterate genetic illness while pointing out that we are God’s junior partner in the creation process.

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RIETS Annual Dinner to Honor Dr. William and Debbie Schwartz, Dr. Alvin I. Schiff and Rabbi Yaakov Neuburger

In celebration of Torah excellence, Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) will honor dedicated leaders and educators of the Jewish community at its Annual Dinner of Tribute on Oct. 27 at The Grand Hyatt in New York City.

Honorees include Dr. William and Debbie Schwartz, guests of honor; Dr. Alvin I. Schiff, who will be recognized for his lifetime achievement in Jewish education; and Rabbi Yaakov Neuburger, who will receive the Rabbinic Leadership Award. The dinner will include the formal investiture of Rabbi Kenneth Brander, The David Mitzner Dean of YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF).

RIETS will also pay recognition to members of its 50th, 40thand 25th anniversary classes (1959, 1969, and 1984).

A YU graduate and member of the RIETS Board of Trustees, Dr. William Schwartz is the founding president of the Rockland County Jewish Federation, a former vice president of the Adolph Schreiber Hebrew Academy of Rockland, a former member of the board of the Community Synagogue of Monsey and a former campaign chairman of the State of Israel Bonds Doctors Division for Rockland County. His wife, Debbie, serves as a vice president of the Yeshiva University Women’s Organization and is a former member of the board of directors of Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

An internationally recognized authority on education, Dr. Schiff, distinguished professor emeritus of education at YU’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, has been a visiting professor at prestigious universities around the world. In 2005, he was awarded the Israel President’s Prize for his contribution to the enhancement of Jewish life, for inspirational educational leadership, influential Hebraic scholarship, prolific research and writing and for the founding of important institutions of Jewish life.

Rabbi Neuburger, spiritual leader of Congregation Beit Avraham in Bergenfield, NJ, serves as rosh yeshiva [professor of Talmud] at the Yeshiva Program/Mazer School of Talmudic Studies, an undergraduate school for Talmudic studies at YU. A Toronto native, Rabbi Neuburger received semicha [rabbinic ordination] from RIETS in 1979.

For more information, please contact Andrew Goldsmith, director of institutional advancement for RIETS and CJF, at 212.960.0852 or rietsdinner@yu.edu

More info about the dinner is available here.

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Seminar at Cardozo Tackles Thorny Issue of Patenting Breast Cancer Genes

A federal lawsuit filed in May by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), which is housed at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, could alter the current practice of gene patenting by corporations.

Challengers to the status quo, along with one defender, participated in an Oct. 19 seminar at Cardozo titled “The Breast Cancer Genes, Patents, and Access.” The evening’s host was Daniel B. Ravicher, associate director of the law school’s Intellectual Property Program and executive director of its PUBPAT—and plaintiffs’ co-counsel in litigation against Myriad Genetics, Inc., and th US Patent & Trademark Office.

Patents held by Myriad on genetic mutations commonly known as BRCA1 and BRCA2—which indicate high probabilities of cancers—give the Salt Lake City firm a monopoly on the diagnostic tests, resulting in exorbitant fees and, according to challengers, little incentive to license innovative research elsewhere.

“Patenting human genes is counter to common sense, patent law and the Constitution,” said Ravicher, who bases his argument on the First Amendment guarantee of free-flowing information. He added, “Aggressive assertion of gene patents denies patients access to critical medical information and prevents scientists from furthering research into understanding and hopefully one day curing society’s most devastating diseases.”

Kevin E. Noonan, a Chicago-based molecular biologist and patent lawyer, disagreed with Ravicher and fellow panelists Dr. Adrienne Asch, the Edward and Robin Milstein Professor of Bioethics at YU and director of the Center for Ethics, and Anne-Marie Kunzler, a patient advocate and member of the National Breast Cancer Coalition.

Noonan said short of waiting for a patent expiration date, the government could be persuaded to exercise “march-in rights” allowing broader research and testing.

“Lawsuits are not the only way,” he said. “Politics is another way.”

Kunzler, who lost her medical research job and employee health insurance decades ago after being diagnosed with breast cancer, asked Noonan, “We women, we should march on the White House?”

“This is not a women’s issue,” insisted Asch. “Men get breast cancer. Men have connections to women with breast cancer.”

Prior to the panel talk, Chicago filmmaker Joanna Rudnick screened a documentary about her own experience a few years ago when, at age 31, Myriad tests revealed that she had inherited a BRCA genetic mutation from her mother. The diagnosis means Rudnick has an 80 percent chance of developing breast cancer and a 50 percent chance of developing ovarian cancer in her lifetime, a risk that can only be reduced by removing her breasts and ovaries, which her doctors recommend she do immediately despite her desire to one day have children.

In order to get a second opinion–something impossible to do in the United States due to Myriad’s patent entrenched monopoly over the test–Rudnick traveled to Canada where a doctor she declined to name administered an abbreviated genetic test that confirmed the Myriad diagnosis. The fee in Canada was $25.

In the documentary, Rudnick asked geneticist Mark Skolnick, founder of Myriad, “Why is the test still $3,000?” Skolnick replied, “That’s a good question.”

Asch offered this response: “Private corporations should not own the difference between life and death.”

Defendants in the ACLU/PUBPAT lawsuit have filed motions for dismissal. Ravicher said he expects a ruling on those motions by the end of October.

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Tali Bauman (left) and Sam Weprin (right), co-presidents of the Student Medical Ethics Society, spearheaded the conference.

Student-Run Conference Tackles Latest Advances in Genetic Diseases from Perspective of Jewish Law

This year’s Medical Ethics Conference—organized by over 50 students in conjunction with the Center for the Jewish Future and supported by the Fuld family—discussed the latest advances in detecting some 1,600 genetic diseases, coupled with perspectives of leading rabbinic authorities on the issues that have emerged.

The conference, titled “The Human Blueprint: Jewish Perspectives on Modern Genetics,” featured experts in biology, Halacha [Jewish law] and groundbreaking medical research on reproductive science and endocrinology in a full day of plenaries and breakout sessions attended by over 400 students, faculty, alumni and guests.

The Oct. 18 event was organized entirely by the Student Medical Ethics Society under the guidance of Dr. Edward Reichman ’86Y,AE,R, associate professor of clinical emergency medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a rabbi who was ordained by Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS). The students in the Medical Ethics Society receive mentoring and leadership skills from staff at the CJF.

“In Bereishit [Chapter 1 of the Bible], we learned that God made man from the dust of the ground but scientists have proven that every one of us has an intricate pattern of genetic information that makes us unique,” said Tali Bauman, co-president of the Medical Ethics Society with Sam Weprin. “Our obligation is to continue to understand the development of humanity through the lens of Halacha.”

Weprin said the society’s goal was “to put education and awareness of medical ethics issues and Halacha not only into our learning but beyond the University’s walls as well.”

The conference, webcast to an audience in Israel, discussed genetic issues relating to cancer, reproduction, DNA, forensics, aging and longevity. It featured medical experts such as Dr. Harry Ostrer, professor of pediatrics, pathology and medicine and director of the Human Genetics Program at New York University School of Medicine; Dr. Susan Lobel, the founder of Metropolitan Reproductive Medicine; and Dr. Wayne A. Rosenkrans, a distinguished fellow at the Center for Biomedical Innovation at MIT.

Rabbinic authorities included Rabbi Moshe D. Tendler, the Rabbi Isaac and Bella Tendler Professor of Jewish Medical Ethics and rosh yeshiva [professor of Talmud] at RIETS; Rabbi Mordechai Willig, rosh yeshiva and the Rabbi Dr. Sol Roth Professor of Talmud and Contemporary Halacha at RIETS; and Rabbi Herschel Schachter, the Nathan and Vivian Fink Distinguished Professor of Talmud at RIETS and head of its Marcos and Adina Katz Kollel.

Rabbi Kenneth Brander, The David Mitzner Dean of the CJF, explored the theological implications of our ability to perform genetic embryo screening through Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). He highlighted the religious mandate to proactively obliterate genetic illness while pointing out that we are God’s junior partner in the creation process.

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Dr. Hurvitz shows President Richard M. Joel a photo of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Al-Fustat, Old Cairo, where the geniza materials were found.

Elazar Hurvitz’s Book on Cairo Geniza Catalogs Rich Life of Middle Eastern Jews

Dr. Elazar Hurvitz’s recently published two-volume book, The Cairo Geniza Fragments in the Westminster College Library, published by the Cairo Geniza Institute of Yeshiva University, is the culmination of three decades of research he conducted on the Westminster College collection in Cambridge, England.

Hurvitz painstakingly catalogued 2,500 document fragments from the Cairo geniza in Egypt that together paint a portrait of the rich life of Middle Eastern Jews for a millennium. The documents include biblical texts, Maimonides’ writings, poetry by the Andalusian philosopher Solomon ibn Gabirol, communal records, legal documents and correspondence between the heads of yeshivot, merchants and individuals.

A geniza is a store-room or depository in a synagogue or cemetery housing Jewish holy texts or documents that cannot be thrown away because they contain one or more of God’s names. The Cairo geniza is the oldest and most famous of these.

The geniza material was removed at the end of the 19th century from the ancient al-Bassatin Cemetery and the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Al-Fustat, Old Cairo.

Hurvitz, the Dr. Samuel Belkin Professor of Judaic Studies at Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, noted that the Cairo geniza shows that our biblical and oral law texts of today are unchanged from when the fragments were written, some as far back as the eighth century.

“Our tradition is alive; we preserved the text as it was,” said Hurvitz, who has taught Biblical and Talmudic literature at YU for about 45 years. He acknowledged the support of YU and the assistance of former presidents, Dr. Samuel Belkin and Dr. Norman Lamm in conducting and publishing his research.

Hurvitz said that the geniza discoveries have for the last 100 years greatly influenced Jewish studies and the writing of Jewish history. He was especially intrigued by the Maimonides documents, which show edits made by the 12th century philosopher and Torah scholar also known as the Rambam. “You can see how the Rambam is correcting and changing while he’s writing, how he formulates the text,” Hurvitz said.

Dr. David Berger, Revel’s dean, said that Hurvitz has produced a work of unusual range. “This work combines meticulous recording and description of the documents in a major collection of geniza materials with an overview of the history of the geniza’s discovery, the synagogue in which it was housed and aspects of the history of Egyptian Jewry in late antiquity and the Middle Ages,” Berger said.

Hurvitz has incorporated his research into his teaching at Revel. “The geniza material serves as an educational tool at YU and many of my students have written papers and dissertations based on the fragments,” he said. He is working on a third volume featuring the most important texts that were found.

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Oct 12, 2009 — Yeshiva University (YU) invites the public to attend a Yom Iyun [day of learning] entitled Heroes and Villains in Tanach on Sunday, November 1 at YU’s Wilf Campus, 500 West 185th Street, New York, NY. The day will begin with registration at 9:15 am and conclude at 1:30 pm, followed by mincha.

The first shiur will begin at 9:30 with Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter, University Professor of Jewish History and Jewish Thought and senior scholar at YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF), addressing Must Biblical Heroes Be Perfect? Following Rabbi Schacter, participants will be able to choose from a variety of lectures focusing on a broad range of biblical characters and interesting topics.

The Yom Iyun will feature noted rabbis and scholars including Rabbi Kenneth Brander, the David Mitzner Dean of CJF; Rabbi Menachem Leibtag, founder of the Tanach Study Center; Dr. David Berger, dean and Ruth and I. Lewis Gordon Professor of Jewish History at YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies; and Dr. Smadar Rosensweig, professor of Bible at YU’s Stern College for Women.

The event is free to YU students with a five dollar suggested donation for all others. Refreshments will be served. The Yom Iyun is a project of YU’s CJF and the Office of Student Affairs. For dedication and sponsorship opportunities please call 212-960-5400, ext. 6728 or email yuyomiyun@yu.edu.

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