Yeshiva University News » 2010 » February » 11

Hundreds of Students Laugh and Learn at Jake and Amir Event
The excitement was palpable as more than 500 students packed into Lamport auditorium to hear Internet comedy duo Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld of on Tuesday night, February 9. The event—co-sponsored by the Sy Syms School of Business Student Council and the newly created Business Leadership Club—created significant buzz on Facebook in the days prior, which helped draw a large crowd from Yeshiva University, as well as other colleges and high schools.

The presentation was interspersed with lighthearted jokes and comical stories. In an increasingly conservative economic climate many felt it refreshing to hear a success story about following one’s heart and taking chances.

“I had a great time listening to them talk about their experiences. The event was a really cool way to showcase a business model predicated on working in areas which aren’t necessarily conventional but which you are passionate about,” remarked Aliyah Guttmann of Stern College.

The pair talked about their beginnings uploading short improvisational skits online, which eventually led to the creation of their popular blog, They discussed their internships at and how it led to their own series “Jake and Amir” in which the characters they play are caricatures of their real life personas.

They also provided an inside scoop on the creative process involved in writing, shooting and editing their famous videos and showed a few favorites. A highlight of the night was the Question and Answer session during which students submitted questions on everything from how their Jewish backgrounds inform their comedy to personal questions about their lifestyles and their future plans. The pair was in top form, fielding the questions with humorous responses and clever comebacks that had the audience roaring with laughter.

“The Business Leadership Club was founded with the goal of providing the Sy Syms student body with practical business advice from those who weren’t afraid to break the mold,” explained Steven Bram, the founder and co-president of the Business Leadership Club, along with Littal Kravetz. “We decided to host Jake and Amir because they are the perfect example of two guys that followed their dreams and were successful because of it.”


Stern Students Lead Health Mission to Nicaragua
Driven by their passion to help people in developing countries, Eveline Mordechai and Annie Press, Stern College seniors, initiated the first student-run health mission at YU. In January, ten students traveled to Limon, Nicaragua under the auspices of the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC) as a result of their efforts. In September, Eveline and Annie created a chapter of the organization at Stern with the goal of heightening awareness about global health among the student body. All the students raised money on their own to pay for their travel arrangements as required by FIMRC.

See photo gallery.

Armed with lofty ambitions and heartfelt idealism, the students assembled pots and pans, utensils, kosher food and the necessary accoutrements for a proper Shabbat as part of their preparation for the mission. “We hired a cook in the village and one of the boys got up every morning to bring out the utensils and ignite the fire for the wonderful local woman who was helping us to ensure that everything was kosher,” said Eveline.

As pre-med students, they arranged to volunteer at a clinic to help treat children and shadowed a doctor and nurse in a tiny clinic in Limon. “On the second day, we went to Rivas, the “big” city near Limon, and observed a number of surgeries at the local hospital,” said Annie. “We observed pediatric, bone and eye surgeries and were able to stand right next to the patients’ beds.”

A father of one of the students is a dentist and he donated 100 toothbrushes which some students used to educate the local children about brushing their teeth. Others spoke to women whose children suffer from malnutrition disorders and also tried to provide them with information about taking better care of their health during pregnancy.

When the group returned to Limon, they learned that the community had lost power in the hospital for three days and that there wasn’t any running water. The students took up a collection and donated funds for a massive water tank that would provide them with fresh water and they would no longer have to rely on the sporadic electricity.

“We plan to continue our chapter for years to come and to keep sending missions to Limon,” said Eveline. “We launched an opportunity for YU students to be active in the developing world and will make sure to keep the ball rolling.”


Feb 11, 2010 — On Sunday, March 7, 2010 Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and the Yeshiva University community will celebrate the ordination of the most recent class of musmakhim [ordained rabbis] at their Chag HaSemikhah Convocation, which will take place at Nathan Lamport Auditorium in Zysman Hall, Amsterdam Ave. at 186th St. in New York City.

“Every four years, RIETS celebrates the commitment of its devoted students who join the ranks of our world-class musmakhim,” said President Richard M. Joel. “The Chag Hasemikha is our way of acknowledging their years of hard work and signifies our profound pride in their commitment to the Jewish people.”

This year over 190 musmakhim—the largest group ever—from the classes of 2006-2010 will join the thousands of young men who have passed through the batei midrashim [study halls] of RIETS and gone on to become distinguished Orthodox rabbis, scholars, educators and leaders around the world.

RIETS will also honor Marvin S. Bienenfeld, a distinguished member of its board, with the Eitz Chaim Award and Rabbi Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky, vice president for university affairs, with the Harav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt”l Aluf Torah Award. Those who received semikhah 50 years ago – members of the RIETS classes of 1957, 1958 and 1959 – will also be honored.

The record class of rabbis represents an internationally diverse group, hailing from five continents and 59 North American cities. While most of the musmakhim will remain engaged in either full-time post-semikhah Torah study or in religious work—Jewish education, the pulpit, outreach, or non-profit work—many will pursue careers in other professions, including 12 doctors and 15 lawyers. The majority of those pursuing rabbinic careers will be spreading the Torah of RIETS outside the tri-state area in communities such as Memphis, Oakland, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Columbus, Boca Raton and Toronto, among others.

The musmakhim will enter their calling well-equipped with the unique training that only a RIETS education can offer. Along with its rich history of unmatched Torah scholarship, the Seminary has implemented an enhanced Rabbinic Professional Education Program. Designed to meet the communal and spiritual needs of our time, the innovative program offers students an extensive curriculum on topics ranging from pastoral psychology and public speaking to leadership training and community building—all taught by renowned experts and rabbis. In addition, students are exposed to contemporary halachik [Jewish law] issues they may encounter in fields such as bioethics, technology and business—embodying the Torah U’Madda philosophy.

“Our semikhah program represents the gold standard of excellence,” said Rabbi Yona Reiss, the Max and Marion Grill Dean of RIETS, who will oversee his first Chag HaSemikhah since joining RIETS as dean in 2007. “Aside from the erudition and scholarship – which remain the emphasis of our program – we are also producing professionally qualified and sensitive individuals who have received the requisite professional skills to serve as community leaders.”

Founded in 1896, RIETS is the leading center for education and ordination of Orthodox Rabbis in North America. To learn more about the Chag Hasemikhah, please call 212-568-7093, email or visit


Feb 11, 2010 — Eager for an opportunity to sample the Yeshiva University experience firsthand and spend an evening engaged in high-level learning, as well as reunite with friends and counselors from camp and enjoy delicious food, 225 high school students gathered at Stern College for Women’s Beren Campus on Thursday, February 4. The night of learning—part of the Torah Leadership Network (TLN), a program coordinated by the YU Center for the Jewish Future (CJF)—focused on women in Tanach.

The students came from 11 participating tri-state area high schools, including Bruriah, HANC, Kushner, Ma’ayanot, Shalhevet, Shulamith, SKA and Yeshiva University High School for Girls.

The girls broke up into small chaburot [groups], each being led by one of 60 Stern College student madrichot [advisors], and had a choice of attending two shiurim [lectures] given by Rebbetzin Smadar Rosensweig and Mrs. Yael Leibowitz, both renowned Judaic studies faculty at Stern.

“One of the goals of this program was to provide Stern College students with the invaluable experience of both producing the program behind the scenes and acting as actual teachers and mentors to the girls,” said Sarah Emerson Helfand, director of women’s programming for the CJF. “In turn, the high school students are exposed to college-level Judaic studies.”

Leah Moskovich, head madricha for TLN for Women, found it to be an inspiring overall experience. “It was wonderful seeing so many girls sitting together and studying Torah,” she said. “These high school students got a great taste of what Stern has to offer.”