Yeshiva University News » 2010 » August

Presidential Fellows Give Back to the University While Studying Community Leadership

The seventh cohort of Yeshiva University’s Presidential Fellowship in University and Community Leadership, a program that prepares top graduates for leadership roles through mentorship, graduate study and hands-on experience, began its yearlong tenure in roles across the University this month.

The Presidential Fellowship, established by President Richard M. Joelin 2004, pairs each of this year’s 16 fellows with a senior mentor in departments that span the institution, from the Office of the President to the YU Museum. Fellows will have the opportunity to learn leadership techniques in situ as they observe and work closely with their mentors. They will also contribute to the University, in both departmental capacities and beyond, as they develop innovative initiatives and work on projects of importance to YU.

In addition, these handpicked new alumni, selected through an intensive screening process based on academic performance, campus leadership and involvement within the Jewish community, will learn about YU from the inside out. That includes everything from brainstorming solutions to the most pressing crises facing the Jewish world today to studying management techniques for nonprofits and learning about organizational infrastructure.

“The program has motivated its participants to reflect on the positive experiences they have had at Yeshiva University and examine the opportunities in the Jewish community—in both lay and professional capacities—in light of their interests and skills,” said President Joel. “The fellowship inspires them to reach for the nobility and responsibility that come with leadership.”

For some, the fellowship presented the perfect opportunity to put their appreciation of a meaningful undergraduate experience into action. “Yeshiva University gave me so much to be thankful for,” said Zehava Birman of Brooklyn, NY and a graduate of Stern College for Women who will be working in the Center for the Jewish Future’sLeadership Training department. “Not only was I not ready to leave YU, but I wanted to give back to the University and the Jewish community as a whole.”

Jennifer Poliak of Hollywood, Florida, wanted to enhance the leadership skills she had already cultivated as a student. “Aside from being a rigorous school, YU allows for its students to be involved and spearhead programs and projects,” explained Poliak, who studied political science for her undergrad and will work in the Office of the General Counsel. “Being a presidential fellow fosters this same sense of responsibility.”

Alumni of the fellowship have certainly proved that true. They have gone on to work in every field from Jewish communal service with the Orthodox Union and the UJA-Federation of New York to key positions at firms like Ernst & Young and Goldman Sachs. Other fellows have pursued graduate study in public service, psychology, law, dentistry, medicine, the rabbinate and fine arts.

The fellowship is directed by Rabbi Josh Joseph, YU vice president and chief of staff, and coordinated by Elysia Stein ’04S, a former presidential fellow.

The 2010-11 Presidential Fellows are listed below, along with their placements:

• Susan Berger, The Beatrice Diener Presidential Fellow; Stern College for Women, Office of the Dean
• Zehava Birman, The David Mitzner Presidential Fellow; Center for the Jewish Future, Leadership Training Department
• Rachael Fried, The Ronald P. Stanton Presidential Fellow; Office of Communications and Public Affairs
• Daniel Gordon, The Toni and Irving Rosen Presidential Fellow; Office of the President
• Clara Hersh, The Jesselson Family Presidential Fellow; Yeshiva University Museum
• Evan Hertan, The Robert M. Beren Presidential Fellow; Yeshiva College, Office of the Dean
• Deena Klein, Presidential Fellow; Office of Student Affairs, Beren Campus
• Judah Leeder, Presidential Fellow; Office of Grant Support
• Benjamin Mizrahi, The Sy Syms Presidential Fellow; Sy Sym School of Business, Office of the Dean
• Eitan Novick, The Doris and Aaron Turk Presidential Fellow; Office of the Provost
• Joseph Offenbacher, Presidential Fellow; Office of Student Affairs, Wilf Campus
• Jennifer Poliak, The Robert M. Beren Presidential Fellow; Office of the General Counsel
• Ester Stiefel, The David Mitzner Presidential Fellow; Center for the Jewish Future, Office of the Dean
• Daniella Weprin, The Eisenberg Presidential Fellow; Department of Institutional Advancement
• Sam Weprin, The Ronald P. Stanton Presidential Fellow; Office of Admissions
• Aliza Wolynetz, Presidential Fellow; Office of the Vice President for Business Affairs

To sponsor a fellow or for more information, please contact Susan Meyers at 212-960-0885 or meyers@yu.edu.

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Aug 31, 2010 — The seventh cohort of Yeshiva University’s Presidential Fellowship in University and Community Leadership, a program that prepares top graduates for leadership roles through mentorship, graduate study and hands-on experience, began its yearlong tenure in roles across the University this month.

The Presidential Fellowship, established by President Richard M. Joel in 2004, pairs each of this year’s 16 fellows with a senior mentor in departments that span the institution, from the Office of the President to the YU Museum. Fellows will have the opportunity to learn leadership techniques in situ as they observe and work closely with their mentors. They will also contribute to the University, in both departmental capacities and beyond, as they develop innovative initiatives and work on projects of importance to YU.

In addition, these handpicked new alumni, selected through an intensive screening process based on academic performance, campus leadership and involvement within the Jewish community, will learn about YU from the inside out. That includes everything from brainstorming solutions to the most pressing crises facing the Jewish world today to studying management techniques for nonprofits and learning about organizational infrastructure.

“The program has motivated its participants to reflect on the positive experiences they have had at Yeshiva University and examine the opportunities in the Jewish community—in both lay and professional capacities—in light of their interests and skills,” said President Joel. “The fellowship inspires them to reach for the nobility and responsibility that come with leadership.”

For some, the fellowship presented the perfect opportunity to put their appreciation of a meaningful undergraduate experience into action. “Yeshiva University gave me so much to be thankful for,” said Zehava Birman of Brooklyn, NY and a graduate of Stern College for Women who will be working in the Center for the Jewish Future’s Leadership Training department. “Not only was I not ready to leave YU, but I wanted to give back to the University and the Jewish community as a whole.”

Jennifer Poliak of Hollywood, Florida, wanted to enhance the leadership skills she had already cultivated as a student. “Aside from being a rigorous school, YU allows for its students to be involved and spearhead programs and projects,” explained Poliak, who studied political science for her undergrad and will work in the Office of the General Counsel. “Being a presidential fellow fosters this same sense of responsibility.”

Alumni of the fellowship have certainly proved that true. They have gone on to work in every field from Jewish communal service with the Orthodox Union and the UJA-Federation of New York to key positions at firms like Ernst & Young and Goldman Sachs. Other fellows have pursued graduate study in public service, psychology, law, dentistry, medicine, the rabbinate and fine arts.

The fellowship is directed by Rabbi Josh Joseph, YU vice president and chief of staff, and coordinated by Elysia Stein ’04S, a former presidential fellow.

The 2010-11 Presidential Fellows are listed below, along with their placements:

• Susan Berger, The Beatrice Diener Presidential Fellow; Stern College for Women, Office of the Dean
• Zehava Birman, The David Mitzner Presidential Fellow; Center for the Jewish Future, Leadership Training Department
• Rachael Fried, The Ronald P. Stanton Presidential Fellow; Office of Communications and Public Affairs
• Daniel Gordon, The Toni and Irving Rosen Presidential Fellow; Office of the President
• Clara Hersh, The Jesselson Family Presidential Fellow; Yeshiva University Museum
• Evan Hertan, The Robert M. Beren Presidential Fellow; Yeshiva College, Office of the Dean
• Deena Klein, Presidential Fellow; Office of Student Affairs, Beren Campus
• Judah Leeder, Presidential Fellow; Office of Grant Support
• Benjamin Mizrahi, The Sy Syms Presidential Fellow; Sy Sym School of Business, Office of the Dean
• Eitan Novick, The Doris and Aaron Turk Presidential Fellow; Office of the Provost
• Joseph Offenbacher, Presidential Fellow; Office of Student Affairs, Wilf Campus
• Jennifer Poliak, The Robert M. Beren Presidential Fellow; Office of the General Counsel
• Ester Stiefel, The David Mitzner Presidential Fellow; Center for the Jewish Future, Office of the Dean
• Daniella Weprin, The Eisenberg Presidential Fellow; Department of Institutional Advancement
• Sam Weprin, The Ronald P. Stanton Presidential Fellow; Office of Admissions
• Aliza Wolynetz, Presidential Fellow; Office of the Vice President for Business Affairs

To sponsor a fellow or for more information, please contact Susan Meyers at 212-960-0885 or meyers@yu.edu.

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Gad Elbaz Concert, Sponsored by Lori Schottenstein, Caps off Exciting Orientation Week

Neon lights—green, blue and red—flickered across the stage. The sustained rasp of a cymbal and a deep, echoing bass filled the theater. More than 300 students began a slow, steady clap, raising their hands high above their heads, as Gad Elbaz took the stage at Yeshiva University’s Geraldine Schottenstein Cultural Center on Thursday night, August 26.

Mah shlomchem? [How are you]?” he called to the crowd. “You ready to have fun?”

The overwhelming response? “Yeah!”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svFIMRjYqV8&feature=player_embedded

That fun was made possible by Lori Schottenstein, whose family, based in Columbus, Ohio, has established a legacy of caring and community-building at YU through multiple charitable gifts, and who herself has already brought other megawatts in the Jewish music world, like Avraham Fried and Dudu Fisher, to the University. Those concerts, like Thursday’s, were free for YU students and booked to the hilt.

‘Simcha’ can mean a lot of things. It can mean song, and it can also mean participation, involvement,” noted Dr. Karen Bacon, The Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of Stern College for Women, in her address to students before the concert. “Our whole University is about involvement—intellectual involvement in the classroom, spiritual involvement on Shabbat—and I think that’s Lori’s hallmark and a theme in Gad Elbaz’s music as well.”

[flickrslideshow acct_name="yeshivauniversity" id="72157624840835264"]

Elbaz, an Israeli Jewish singer, has already achieved international success at age 26 with three number one hit songs, “Halayla Zeh Hazman,” “Or” and “Al Neharot Bavel.” His music appeals to both observant and secular listeners by mixing original and biblical texts with ballads, harmonies, Middle Eastern rhythms and modern pop. And he believes that dynamic can make music like his a powerful tool in uniting Jews from different communities and lifestyles.

“He makes this great soulful music; it has a rock feel, but it’s religiously oriented,” explained Sy Syms School of Business senior Or Pikary, who grew up on Elbaz’s work. “And it’s awesome to have a free chance to hear him.”

“Awesome” pretty much sums up the energy in the Cultural Center that night. Glow sticks were tossed out into the audience, becoming neon headbands, necklaces and bangles. Students rose to their feet and joined arms, swaying slowly as they sang “Jerusalem of Gold” in unison, while Elbaz kept time and later joined the audience.

“Having an Israeli artist perform is a great way to cap off Orientation,” said Naomi Friede, who along with four other Stern College women staffed the registration table and also snagged an autograph and a picture with Elbaz. “A lot of new students are just coming back from Israel, and it’s great to have an Israeli performer to show them that connection continues here, too.”

For Eli Shavalian, a freshman psychology major, the concert was just one example of the vibrant atmosphere that drew him to YU. “If you go to the Web site, there are all these exciting events lined up,” he said. “There are so many things offered. I figured, why not try them all?”

In addition to Lori Schottenstein’s concert series, her family’s donations have also established Yeshiva College’s Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program; the Jerome and Geraldine Schottenstein Residence Hall for Stern College on East 29th Street; the Schottenstein Student Center on West 185th Street on the Wilf Campus; and, in 2000, the Geraldine Schottenstein Cultural Center, where Thursday night’s concert took place.

The coolest part of the night? “Hands down, that brocha he just made,” said Zvi Wiesenfeld, referring to the operatic, cymbal-dusted blessing Elbaz recited before taking a sip from his water bottle.

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Rivka Weiner instructs her class at Azrieli's Hebrew Ulpan.

Aug 3, 2010 — “Let’s come up with a sentence that uses this phrase,” said instructor Rivka Weiner, in Hebrew, to the group of students in her Ulpan (a Hebrew term for an intensive Hebrew language course). “‘As the result of this’, that occurred. Anyone?”

Rabbi Enan Francis, principal of Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy, raised his hand. “I came to the Ulpan. As the result of this, I can teach my students in Hebrew.”

Francis is one of 15 teachers, graduate students and administrators participating in a summer course for Judaic studies instructors to strengthen their Hebrew instructional skills. Offered June 28 – Aug. 5 by Yeshiva Univeristy’s Institute for University-School Partnership, a division of the Azrieli Graduate School for Jewish Education and Administration, the Ulpan includes a wide range of Jewish denominations and communities, from Aliza Geller, a graduate student in the Jewish Theological Seminary’s William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education, to Stefanie Wisselman of the Hillel School of Tampa, Fl.

“Many day schools have a mandate to graduate fluent Hebrew speakers, but lack enough Judaic personnel with the skills to support ongoing immersion in the language,” explained Dr. Scott Goldberg, director of the Institute and expert in second language acquisition. “This program begins to answer this need for well-trained Judaic studies teachers who can support Hebrew language development and Jewish learning with the necessary social understanding of American youth.”

The Ulpan builds confidence and familiarity with Hebrew by engaging teachers in an immersive three-part program. In the mornings, Weiner, who also teaches at Stern College for Women and is a doctoral candidate at Azrieli, instructs participants in language and introduces new classroom methodologies with a heavy emphasis on innovative technology—all in Hebrew. Participants put their learning into practice by modeling lessons for Deganit Ronen, associate principal of Judaic studies at SAR Academy, and Anne Gordon, adjunct instructor of Judaic studies at Yeshiva College, and receive a solid grounding in dikduk [grammar] from Dr. Moshe Sokolow, associate dean of Azrieli.

“We have to connect to the teachers who are challenged by the Hebrew language and show them how to connect to their own students,” said Weiner. She sees interactive technology as a valuable cross-cultural tool. By employing pictures, video and audio clips and creating her own computer games online, Weiner demonstrates how teachers can create an immersive Hebrew experience for students even if their own language skills are still developing.

The Ulpan includes not only teachers already in the field, but also Azrieli students. “Azrieli has a tradition of professional and academic excellence in preparing mehanhim [religious studies teachers],” said Dean David Schnall. “Our goal is to promote their facility in Hebrew for conversation and understanding, but also as a platform for Jewish learning. We hope not just to advance fluency among teachers, but to build their capacity to instruct and inspire students for whom Hebrew is very likely a second language. We are proud to offer this program and we look forward to extending it further as needs dictate and resources permit.”

For Francis, who drives four hours each day to attend, the Ulpan is worth the commute. “Our goal this year is to create a meaningful, Hebrew-speaking environment in our classrooms,” he said. “The Ulpan produces a culture of Hebrew speakers, from those [teachers] who could barely make conversation to those who possess a whole lexicon of Hebrew vocabulary from advanced degrees and study in Israel, but have no idea how to put words together.”

The program’s response has been so enthusiastic that the institute plans to offer the Ulpan again next summer and is considering an alternative version during the year.

To visit the Ulpan’s blog, which features exercises and links to audio and video clips used in class, go to http://www.milim-israel.blogspot.com.

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Aug 30, 2010 — Neon lights—green, blue and red—flickered across the stage. The sustained rasp of a cymbal and a deep, echoing bass filled the theater. More than 300 students began a slow, steady clap, raising their hands high above their heads, as Gad Elbaz took the stage at Yeshiva University’s Geraldine Schottenstein Cultural Center on Thursday night, August 26.
OK
Mah shlomchem? [How are you]?” he called to the crowd. “You ready to have fun?”

The overwhelming response? “Yeah!”

[flickrslideshow acct_name="yeshivauniversity" id="72157624840835264"]

That fun was made possible by Lori Schottenstein, whose family, based in Columbus, Ohio, has established a legacy of caring and community-building at YU through multiple charitable gifts, and who herself has already brought other megawatts in the Jewish music world, like Avraham Fried and Dudu Fisher, to the University. Those concerts, like Thursday’s, were free for YU students and booked to the hilt.

‘Simcha’ can mean a lot of things. It can mean song, and it can also mean participation, involvement,” noted Dr. Karen Bacon, The Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of Stern College for Women, in her address to students before the concert. “Our whole University is about involvement—intellectual involvement in the classroom, spiritual involvement on Shabbat—and I think that’s Lori’s hallmark and a theme in Gad Elbaz’s music as well.”



Elbaz, an Israeli Jewish singer, has already achieved international success at age 26 with three number one hit songs, “Halayla Zeh Hazman,” “Or” and “Al Neharot Bavel.” His music appeals to both observant and secular listeners by mixing original and biblical texts with ballads, harmonies, Middle Eastern rhythms and modern pop. And he believes that dynamic can make music like his a powerful tool in uniting Jews from different communities and lifestyles.

“He makes this great soulful music; it has a rock feel, but it’s religiously oriented,” explained Sy Syms School of Business senior Or Pikary, who grew up on Elbaz’s work. “And it’s awesome to have a free chance to hear him.”

“Awesome” pretty much sums up the energy in the Cultural Center that night. Glow sticks were tossed out into the audience, becoming neon headbands, necklaces and bangles. Students rose to their feet and joined arms, swaying slowly as they sang “Jerusalem of Gold” in unison, while Elbaz kept time and later joined the audience.

“Having an Israeli artist perform is a great way to cap off Orientation,” said Naomi Friede, who along with four other Stern College women staffed the registration table and also snagged an autograph and a picture with Elbaz. “A lot of new students are just coming back from Israel, and it’s great to have an Israeli performer to show them that connection continues here, too.”

For Eli Shavalian, a freshman psychology major, the concert was just one example of the vibrant atmosphere that drew him to YU. “If you go to the Web site, there are all these exciting events lined up,” he said. “There are so many things offered. I figured, why not try them all?”

In addition to Lori Schottenstein’s concert series, her family’s donations have also established Yeshiva College’s Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program; the Jerome and Geraldine Schottenstein Residence Hall for Stern College on East 29th Street; the Schottenstein Student Center on West 185th Street on the Wilf Campus; and, in 2000, the Geraldine Schottenstein Cultural Center, where Thursday night’s concert took place.

The coolest part of the night? “Hands down, that brocha he just made,” said Zvi Wiesenfeld, referring to the operatic, cymbal-dusted blessing Elbaz recited before taking a sip from his water bottle.

Comments

Rabbis Elchanan Adler and Aharon Lichtenstein to Deliver Hausman/Stern Kinus Teshuva Lectures in NYC and Jerusalem on Sep. 14

Rabbi Elchanan Adler and Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein will be the featured speakers at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary’s (RIETS) 26th Annual Hausman/Stern Kinus Teshuva lectures. Both lectures, given between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, will take place in New York City and Jerusalem on Tuesday, September 14 at 8 pm. The lecture series is run by Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future.

Rabbi Elchanan Adler

A rosh yeshiva at RIETS, Rabbi Adler, who occupies The Eva, Morris and Jack K. Rubin Memorial Chair in Rabbinics, will speak on “Mechila in Human and Halachic Terms: How Can I Ever Forgive You? Can I Not?” at Weissberg Commons in Belfer Hall on YU’s Wilf Campus, 2495 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY. Rabbi Adler’s address will be webcast live at www.yu.edu/torah.

Rabbi Lichtenstein, the Rabbi Henoch and Sarah D. Berman Professor of Talmud and Rosh Kollel and director of the Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Institute in Jerusalem, will discuss “Teshuva: The Flight of the Alone and Collective Quest” at 40 Duvdevani Street in Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem.

The Hausman/Stern Kinus Teshuva lecture series was established by philanthropist Judy Hausman and the late Gerson Hausman, supporters of YU and RIETS, to honor the memory of Elias J. and Mary Stern and Moshe and Chava Hausman.

Light refreshments will be served at both events. For more information on the lectures, parking, or directions please contact lectures@yu.edu or call 212-960-5263.

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Rabbi Elchanan Adler

Aug 25, 2010 — Rabbi Elchanan Adler and Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein will be the featured speakers at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary’s (RIETS) 26th Annual Hausman/Stern Kinus Teshuva lectures. Both lectures, given between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, will take place in New York City and Jerusalem on Tuesday, September 14 at 8 pm. The lecture series is run by Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future.

A rosh yeshiva at RIETS, Rabbi Adler, who occupies The Eva, Morris and Jack K. Rubin Memorial Chair in Rabbinics, will speak on “Mechila in Human and Halachic Terms: How Can I Ever Forgive You? Can I Not?” at Weissberg Commons in Belfer Hall on YU’s Wilf Campus, 2495 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY. Rabbi Adler’s address will be webcast live at www.yu.edu/torah.

Rabbi Lichtenstein, the Rabbi Henoch and Sarah D. Berman Professor of Talmud and Rosh Kollel and director of the Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Institute in Jerusalem, will discuss “Teshuva: The Flight of the Alone and Collective Quest” at 40 Duvdevani Street in Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem.

The Hausman/Stern Kinus Teshuva lecture series was established by philanthropist Judy Hausman and the late Gerson Hausman, supporters of YU and RIETS, to honor the memory of Elias J. and Mary Stern and Moshe and Chava Hausman.

Light refreshments will be served at both events. For more information on the lectures, parking, or directions please contact lectures@yu.edu or call 212-960-5263.

Comments

Aug 24, 2010 — Six Yeshiva University students will intensify their focus on advanced undergraduate-level research this year as part of the Henry Kressel Research Scholarship program. The scholarship—established by Dr. Henry Kressel, chairman of the YU Board of Trustees, managing director of Warburg Pincus LLC and a Yeshiva College graduate—offers students the unique opportunity to craft a year-long intensive research project under the direct supervision of University faculty.

“This is the third year of the program and I am delighted with the achievement of the scholars,” said Dr. Kressel. “Our goal was to provide the opportunity for promising students to perform creative research with our outstanding faculty. Not only have these students gone on to excellent graduate and professional schools, but they have also received prestigious fellowships, including our first ever Carnegie and Fulbright Fellowships, as well as a National Science Fellowship.”

This year’s recipients are Joseph Attias, a philosophy major; Or Pikary, accounting; Ben Rosenzweig, psychology; Michael Turkel, English; and physics majors Dassi Shulman and Aaron Yevick.

The students’ research, each conducted under the mentorship of a faculty member, will focus on a variety of subjects.

Shulman will be mentored by Dr. Emil Prodan, assistant professor of physics at Stern College for Women, and will explore several fundamental aspects of a recently discovered state of matter called the topological insulating state.

“Having access to high-tech science facilities where I can pursue my physics and engineering studies and research opportunities such as the Kressel Scholarship has enabled me to develop my understanding and love of science and propel me forward in my career,” said Shulman, who hopes to pursue a career in structural engineering.

Pikary, the first Sy Syms School of Business student to be awarded the scholarship, will be conducting his research under the guidance of Dr. Joseph Kerstein, associate professor of accounting at Sy Syms.

“Through Yeshiva University’s strong offering of both Judaic and secular education, I’ve been able to grow both academically and as a Jew with strong ethical values that can better society,” said Pikary. “I have therefore become particularly interested in researching what types of corporate governance are associated with firms who choose to act ethically to meet their responsibilities under SEC disclosure rules.”

The scholars will each receive a stipend of $7,500 for the year, along with travel money and appropriate research-support expenses. Following their research tenure, Kressel Scholars will present their work to the student body to stimulate a larger intellectual discussion on their topics.

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Aug 24, 2010 — More than 600 men and women from all corners of the world flooded Yeshiva University’s Wilf and Beren campuses this week to begin their undergraduate study at the only institution that promises to enrich both their secular and spiritual knowledge.

Hailing from more than a dozen countries as far as India and Panama and states across the country, these students were drawn to YU by its unique mission, articulated by President Richard M. Joel in his opening address to new Yeshiva College students at an orientation barbeque. “A lot of young people today ask, ‘Do I matter?’ ” President Joel said. “I believe you’ve come to a makom [place] where together, individually and collectively, we can build worlds. Here, living by Torah values, you can equip yourselves to be great talmedei chachumim [Torah scholars], great scientists, great poets, great teachers…you can advance the sacred story of our people: G-d’s partnership with Avraham and Avraham’s partnership with G-d.”

[flickrslideshow acct_name="yeshivauniversity" id="72157624783490030"]

This year’s Orientation was jam-packed with vibrant and exciting events. New students on the Beren Campus got acquainted with club leaders at a “Chillin & Grillin” barbeque, engaged in chavruta learning at the new Lea and Leon Eisenberg Beit Midrash in Stanton Hall and explored New York City’s rich cultural offerings on a walking tour of the Brooklyn Bridge. Students on the Wilf Campus shared high tea with their new faculty mentors and heard about engaging opportunities to contribute to the global Jewish community from members of the University’s Center for the Jewish Future. And there’s always room for sheer fun: along with their counterparts at Stern College for Women, first-year students headed to New Roc City for a night of bowling, laser-tag and arcade games.

The excitement and ambition of these new beginnings is palpable. For Aliza Loshinsky of Brooklyn, NY, Stern College was the perfect place to cultivate her talents and interests while maintaining a strong connection to the Jewish community. “I hope to be able to use this opportunity to learn more and grow in my Judaism and to develop my strengths in a way that will benefit my family, my people and the world,” she said. Loshinsky is considering psychology as a major.

Davida Kollmar of Edison, NJ, felt drawn to the warm atmosphere fostered at Stern College. “I was impressed by the individual attention given to each student to help her achieve her goals,” she said. She intends to pursue a degree in math or science.

Shlomo Weissberg of Chicago, IL, wanted the opportunity to meet students from a wide range of backgrounds and Jewish traditions in a friendly environment. Hoping to major in accounting at Sy Syms School of Business, he is also excited to engage the learning community at YU. “The new beit midrash is really gorgeous,” he said.

Entering the college arena can be overwhelming. Yet Brad Karasik, associate dean of students at Yeshiva College, urged new students not to be afraid to dive in. “It’s your campus,” he said. “There are so many things waiting for you to take charge of and become active in. Student clubs range from academic interests to Israel advocacy to chessed [volunteer] opportunities and we have hundreds of students on campus for Shabbat every week. The atmosphere here is incredible.”

Zelda Braun, associate dean of students at Stern College, agreed. “Be open to new experiences, to meeting new people, to exploring new areas of interest,” she said. “You have a world of opportunity available to you.”

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Jonathan Schwab is a member of the teaching fellowship program’s inaugural cohort.

Aug 24, 2010 — This fall, the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program will offer senior honor students and newcomers alike a rare opportunity: to mentor and be mentored by their own.

Dr. Gabriel Cwilich, director of the Honors Program, has announced a new teaching fellowship program in which senior honors students in the process of writing their final theses are assigned to select courses that typically enroll a high number of incoming honors students. As teaching assistants, seniors will help professors flesh out courses and curriculums in addition to coordinating supplementary extracurricular activities and holding review sessions or tutoring individual students, depending on the course’s requirements.

“The student acts as a teaching assistant,” Cwilich explained, “but at the same time, he acts as a role model for incoming freshmen and is able to share with them insights into the process of writing a thesis and discuss his particular research.”

The student-initiated program has several objectives. By providing faculty with enthusiastic and motivated teaching assistants, the program aims to develop more comprehensive courses whose activities expand beyond the classroom. The program will also forge a critical connection between upper and lower classmen, as new honors students will have the chance to observe seniors in the final stages of the thesis-writing process and share experiences with upper classmen who have recently been in their place.

The program is equally valuable for the senior honors students, many of whom intend to pursue graduate study. “To be on the ‘other side’ of the instructor’s desk is a rare opportunity that I think will not only help my studies this year but hopefully give me a deeper understanding of collegiate education as a whole—a perfect culmination to my four years here,” said Jonathan Schwab ’11 YC, a member of the program’s inaugural cohort and the Honors Student Council, who proposed the idea to the Honors Steering Committee last year. He will be assigned to Dr. David Lavinsky’s Conversion and Religious Identities in Medieval Literature class.

For the program’s first year, teaching fellows have been assigned to eight courses, including Freshman Honors Seminar in Art and Literature in the Age of Photography, Freshman Honors Seminar in Reading Medicine and General Honors Physics.

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