Yeshiva University News » 2011

Rabbi Michael Taubes Named Head of School at Yeshiva University High School for Boys

Rabbi Michael Taubes, an educator with more than three decades of experience in Jewish education and administration, has been named rosh yeshiva / head of school at Yeshiva University High School for Boys (YUHSB) / Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy. The appointment is the culmination of an extensive international search that involved parents, faculty, board members and YU administrators.

Rabbi Michael Taubes will serve as head of school and rosh yeshiva at YU High School for Boys

“Our students and faculty are fortunate to be led by Rabbi Taubes who can bring them to levels of greatness in Torah studies, general studies and ethical and moral behavior,” said Miriam Goldberg, chair of Yeshiva University High Schools Board of Trustees.

Taubes, who has served as interim head of school since September, will continue to work closely with Dr. Seth Taylor, principal for general studies, to ensure that YUHSB is constantly growing to its next horizon and maximizing its relationship with its parent institution, Yeshiva University. With the vibrant beit midrash of a premier Torah institution, the state-of-the-art facilities of a national research university, and world-class roshei yeshiva and professors just steps away, YUHSB’s students and faculty will continue to benefit from their connection to YU.

“Rabbi Taubes brings to our school years of experience as an educator and a role model,” said YU Vice President and Chief of Staff Rabbi Josh Joseph, who directly oversees the high school. “Through his interim leadership role, we’ve noticed a shift in the school’s mood and atmosphere, one that is all for the better and we expect that he will continue to work with our first-class faculty and dedicated parent body to ensure that our students turn into mentschlich bnei torah and future scholars that can only be trained at a place like MTA.”

An alumnus of Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel, Taubes attended Yeshiva College, where he was honored upon graduation in 1980 with an award for excellence in Talmud. He earned his semicha from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, where he studied in the shiur of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik, zt’l, and holds a master’s degree in Jewish Education from YU’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. Taubes, his wife, Bassie and their children, reside in Teaneck, NJ, where he serves as the spiritual leader of Congregation Zichron Mordechai.

To learn more about Yeshiva University High School for Boys visit


YUHSB Senior Fellowship Offers Students College-Level Research Experience

The Senior Fellowship at Yeshiva University High School for Boys (YUHSB)/ Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy— recently began its fourth year of pairing motivated and inquisitive seniors with Yeshiva University faculty to conduct thorough research in a variety of fields.

Taking advantage of its physical and institutional proximity to the University, YUHSB offers students a unique opportunity to gain exposure to world-class professors and advanced ideas through its Senior Fellowship program.

“We wanted to make it a win-win for both the high school and YU,” said Dr. Ed Berliner, executive director of science management and clinical professor of physics at YU and director of the YUHSB Honors College. “For YU, it is an opportunity to expose our most impressive students to the high-caliber YU education, and in terms of the students, it is a truly unique opportunity to be paired with the best and brightest professors in their fields.”

Berliner noted that many of the graduates of the program continue their studies at Yeshiva College.

Studying topics as diverse as global economics, literary theory, U.S. relations with China, literary modernism, peptide bonds and early biblical interpretation, students have been paired with YU faculty including Dr. James Kahn, Dr. Evan Resnick, Dr. Elizabeth Stewart, Dr. Raji Viswanathan and Rabbi Dr. Jeremy Wieder, among others.

“I have been very impressed with the sophistication and drive for intellectual advancement of the students I have mentored,” said Wieder, the Gwendolyn and Joseph Straus Professor of Talmud at YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Wieder is currently working with his students on producing prototypes of commentaries on the Hebrew Bible—work that requires his students study in depth the intricacies of biblical Hebrew and literary Aramaic.

Yosef Kornbluth worked with Wieder in 2008 and 2009 on biblical targumim (Aramaic translations of the Bible) and is currently a sophomore in Yeshiva College. Kornbluth especially appreciated how, by the end of his year, he began noticing “the fine nuances in translation and their impact on the meaning of the text.”

Doni Schwartz, a current senior fellow, has thoroughly enjoyed the beginning of his fellowship year spent researching aspects of the Eherenfest Urn Model with Dr. Fredy Zypman, professor of physics at Yeshiva College. “Since my introduction to physics last year I have been enamored with the subject,” said Schwartz. “I am hoping to pursue this field well into my college years. This was a rare opportunity for a high school student and I am honored to have been chosen for it.”


Presidential Fellowship in University and Community Leadership 2012-2013 Applications Now Open to Qualified Seniors

Yeshiva University’s Presidential Fellowship in University and Community Leadership provides a unique opportunity for graduates of Stern College for Women, Syms School of Business, and Yeshiva College. Qualifying graduates of the class of 2012 will be selected to spend eleven months (August 2012 – June 2013) as Presidential Fellows. They will be challenged to involve themselves in and affect many aspects of campus life while engaged in an in-depth learning experience.


Fellows are selected from a competitive applicant pool and assigned to a University office where they are mentored by a University administrator.  Through work in their offices, Fellows are involved in many facets of University operations and are responsible for special projects.  In addition, all Fellows participate in a year-long graduate seminar in leadership, where they interact with University administrators and faculty in addition to academic and communal leaders invited to campus. Fellows receive a stipend of $24,000 for the year.

Fellowship placements are available in the following departments for 2012-13:

In addition to adding energy, creativity and inspiration to Yeshiva University, Fellows will gain skills and perspectives that will enable their success in whatever graduate or professional enterprise they choose to pursue. Students should consider the Fellowship regardless of their career objectives if they value service to the Jewish community and exposure to university administration.

An online application form and instructions are available here. Applications and all supporting documents must be received by January 31, 2012.


Heart Care International Offers Einstein Students New Perspective

While many automated e-mail signatures note: “Sent from my BlackBerry™ handheld mobile” or Note: Privileged/Confidential information may be contained in this message and may be subject to legal privilege,” fourth-year medical student Megan Long’s e-mail disclaimer features a quote from Margaret Mead:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Fourth-year student Megan Long with Dr. Robert Michler, founder of Heart Care International

Fourth-year student Megan Long with Dr. Robert Michler, founder of Heart Care International

This Einstein ethos is no more evident than in the recent trip to Peru that Ms. Long undertook in conjunction with Dr. Robert Michler, chair of cardiovascular & thoracic surgery and of surgery at Einstein and director of the Montefiore-Einstein Heart Center, and his team from Heart Care International (HCI). Ms. Long was part of the team of doctors, nurses, surgeons and students who went to Peru to perform an array of complex and sophisticated cardiac surgeries on the neediest of patients – children and young adults suffering and dying from heart disease.

With a broad range of experiences that include working at Small Miracles International between undergrad and medical school, travelling to Guatemala on medical missions, spending the last four years deeply involved in Einstein’s student-run ECHO clinic, and working last summer with the Indian Public Health Service in Montana, Ms. Long thought she had a well-rounded perspective on underserved populations and lack of care. Yet the medical mission with Heart Care International (HCI) to Peru brought a whole new dimension to her medical education.

“Now that I have more medical training, I notice the differences in medical care,” said Ms. Long. She observed that, in the midst of a major metropolitan hospital, one of the biggest questions became how to toe the line of cultural and experiential differences to balance providing care with providing training for doctors.

That balance is the guiding principle behind HCI, which was founded by Dr. Michler in 1994. Dr. Michler had traveled to China to do surgical operations in 1992 and, upon his return, was asked by a Guatemalan pediatric cardiologist to accept patients from Guatemala for open heart surgery. Stymied by the costs and upheaval involved for the patients, their families and the hospital, Dr. Michler decided to bring the care to them.

He took his first team and 15,000 pounds of equipment to Guatemala City in 1994. In one week, they operated on 25 children.

“It was an extraordinary experience,” said Dr. Michler. “But, when we came back I didn’t have plans to do it again. It was so exhausting and time-consuming from a planning perspective. I hadn’t considered it. And, then, the calls started coming.” Read full article at Einstein News


Hundreds Attend Annual YU Chanukah Concert Featuring Shwekey, Y-Studs and Shimon Craimer

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”yeshivauniversity” id=”72157628539210903″]


A Look Back at the Memorable Moments of 2011 at Yeshiva University

From Orientation, the Salute to Israel Parade and Commencement to Purim ChagigotArts Festivals, and Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut celebrations, 2011 proved to be another memorable year at Yeshiva University.


Students traveled the world on various service learning missions, protested Durban III at the United Nations and took part in post-hurricane disaster relief efforts. Hundreds of alumni returned to campus for the first YU Homecoming in more than a quarter of a century and for the annual student-run Seforim Sale, North America’s largest Jewish book sale.

Check out pictures from Yeshiva University throughout the year on Flickr.


College EDge Informs, Educates Underrepresented NYC High School Students About College

On Friday, December 16, College EDge—a Yeshiva University student-run organization founded to inform and educate underrepresented public high school students about college—ran its first event of the academic year. Titled “Design Your Future: Choosing Your Career Path,” its goal was to inform students about the wide variety of career and trade options available to them and how to begin on their journey. The event, sponsored by SCWSC, YCSA and YSU, attracted 42 students from nearby George Washington Public High School in Washington Heights.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”yeshivauniversity” id=”72157628529221539″]

The event began with Laurie Davis, director of counseling & programming at YU’s Career Development Center, presenting on numerous career options, current hot job sectors and general tips on resume-building and job interviews. Following Davis, Lolita Wood-Hill, director of Yeshiva College pre-health advisement, spoke about how students can play to their strengths in choosing a career, drawing on her own personal experiences as well as her years of experience in academic advisement.

Following the presentations, participants lunched with 16 trained College EDge mentors from Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women who volunteered to assist with the event.

“This event also accomplished one of the many indirect but important goals of College EDge: the integration of Yeshiva University with its community—bridging the gap, breaking the barrier,” said Jonah Rubin ’12YC, founder and president of College EDge.

After lunch, each of the mentors met with groups of students to discuss how to apply what they learned at the earlier presentations to their individual interests. The Career Development Center provided professional career assessment packets to help guide the discussion. The event concluded with a brief discussion about college and college life, led by Brian Sanders ’13YC, director of public outreach for College EDge.

To learn more about College EDge or to get involved visit


Local High School Students Face Off at Annual Yeshiva University Debate Tournament

Wandering the corridors of Furst Hall at the Yeshiva University Wilf Campus on Sunday, December 18, would have revealed an unusual sight. Nearly every classroom on the second and third floors contained six individuals in business dress—some with rolled-up sleeves, others swiftly taking notes—all methodically but passionately arguing over the intricate nuances of the ethics of scientific research.

Yoni Zolty and Elan Stochel represent YUHSB at The Great Debate.

Taking part in the 23rd annual Great Debate, these aspiring orators belonged to 11 Jewish high schools in the greater New York metropolitan area. Started by Harriet Levitt, English teacher at Yeshiva University High School for Boys (YUHSB)—The Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy, in 1988, the Great Debate offers Jewish high school students an opportunity to participate in a large formal deliberation among their peers from other schools, a relatively difficult task as most debate meets occur on Saturdays.

This year’s participating schools included the Ezra Academy, Hebrew Academy of Nassau County (HANC), Maayonot, Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, Ramaz High School, Rambam, SAR High School, SKA High School, Torah Academy of Bergen County (TABC), YUHSB and Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva University High School for Girls, with the Jewish Educational Center and DRS High School observing.

YUHSG's Shani Pollack and Mindy Schwarts debate Eli Shulman and Meir Freidenberg of YUHSB.

The Great Debate joins the ranks of the Red Sarachek Basketball Tournament, the Wittenberg Wrestling Tournament and the Yeshiva University National Model United Nations as one of the many annual events that exposes Jewish high schools to the Yeshiva University community.

Teams either had to argue for or against the resolve that stated, “The scientific community should make use of results obtained from unethically performed research.” The results? TABC took first place and YUHSB placed second.

“Debate has the power to change students from self-absorbed individuals into deep-thinking intellectuals,” said Levitt. “Once they get into debate, they turn into different creatures. They realize that there are two points of view on everything. I notice that students on the debate team in my classes are much more likely to speak up with confidence.”

YUHSB's Freidenberg and Shulman

The student participants expressed a variety of reasons for attending. Ari Himber, a senior at HANC, aspires to attend law school in the future and wanted to hone his skills. Zachary Fineberg, a senior at TABC, had a different reason. “I guess I am just a polemical guy,” he said. “I love debating people.” Others simply enjoyed the intellectual exercise, like SAR senior Aviva Leshaw, who said, “I feel alive when I am debating and picking apart an argument.”

Many enjoyed the social aspects of meeting new people within the greater community and studying new topics. “This is a great opportunity to meet new people and learn more about different controversies in our world,” said Shifra Arnheim, a Maayonot senior.

Many of these students had participated in other YU-sponsored events in the past: from previous great debates to attending the Yeshiva University Dramatics Society Production of 1776 or the annual Seforim Sale.


Past Men’s Basketball Captains Honored at Alumni Day Maccabees Game

With his opponents attempting to swat away the basketball, Yeshiva University Maccabees center Shlomo Weissberg dribbled to the basket. “Who’s ready?” Weissberg shouted. Quickly, he passed the ball underhand to a teammate, who made the shot. The two exchanged high-fives.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”yualumni” id=”72157628499690951″]

Weissberg had to bend down a little. His teammate, Guy Zaibert, was six years old.

Zaibert came to YU’s Wilf Campus with his father, ’97-’98 Macs captain Alon Zaibert, to participate in a unique Alumni Day celebrating past captains of YU’s men’s basketball team. Forty three former captains spanning eight decades gathered at the Max Stern Athletics Center on December 18 to reunite with team members and perennial coach Jonathan Halpert, shoot some hoops, and to be honored at a halftime ceremony during the Macs’ 2 p.m. home game against the St. Joseph’s College Golden Eagles.

“What an incredible opportunity to be able to welcome back to campus more than 50 past players,” said Illana Feiglin, director of alumni affairs. “And then, on top of that, to have the chance to see them interact with their children, grandchildren and in some cases, great-grandchildren, in a space and capacity that was sacred to these men during their time as student-athletes was truly awe-inspiring.”

Before the game, current Macs players took the court to compete in mini 3-on-3 tournaments and shooting contests with team alumni and their families.

“It’s a huge thrill to have my son here,” said the older Zaibert, a software company executive from Atlanta who pushed his flight to Israel back a day so he could attend. During lunch—which featured a screening of “The History of the Macs,” a short documentary about the team—Zaibert shared a table with friend and former teammate Steven Kupferman, captain in ’96-’97, and Kupferman’s 9-year-old son Zev. While their children shared pizza, Zaibert and Kupferman reminisced about their favorite basketball moments.

“Definitely, my favorite game was the one we played in Madison Square Garden for the Eastern College Athletic Conference,” said Zaibert. “Or when we played Baruch College. We won ten seconds from the end.”

“There’s a sense of camaraderie you develop,” explained Kupferman, now a dentist. “I brought it with me to my practice.”

For Shabsi Schreier, ’83-’85 captain, that camaraderie extends to the teams that came before and after his own. On Sunday, he and his wife Julie unveiled an interactive display outside the Melvin J. Furst Gymnasium, featuring the history of the men’s basketball team, lists of past captains and 1,000 point scorers, and information about the current team. “We wanted to show the hemshech ha-dorot, the continuity from past to future,” he said.

Chen Biron, who along with Omer Haim is co-captain of the current team, feels a similar connection. “To hear about this historic event and all the players that were going to be here made me really excited and happy,” he said before Sunday’s game. “We’re going to play hard and make the school and the people in the stands proud.”

Don Geller, captain of the ’48-’49 Macs and the most senior captain in attendance, recalled organizing the Metropolitan Jewish Day School Basketball League with the advisement of then-coach Bernard “Red” Sarachek while still in college. “Red was a great coach,” said Geller. “He’d bring pro-ballers down to train us. We trained once with Red Holzman, coach of the New York Knicks.”

On Sunday, another great coach, Jonathan Halpert, a ’65-’66 Macs captain who has presided over more than 800 games and 40 years of YU basketball, was recognized. In Halpert’s honor, the University will name the basketball court for him at a special tribute to him in the spring. A group of former players  are raising money for the Coach Jonathan Halpert Scholarship Fund to help  future students attend  YU.

“When my guys run on the court, they have ‘Yeshiva’ written across their chests, as we did in our years,” said Halpert. “We are out there representing the Jewish people with class, dignity, skill and sportsmanship, so that when people talk about YU, they can say, ‘Yes, they’re leaders of the Jewish people, doctors, lawyers, businessmen, teachers—and they are basketball players on the collegiate level, too.’ ”

Watching the current Macs take the court against St. Joseph’s College later in the day, David Kufeld, the ’78-’80 captain—and only Maccabee ever drafted to the NBA—put it this way: “Basketball may not be the first thing you think of when you think of Jews, but at YU, it’s a part of our Jewish identity.”

View archived photos shared by former Maccabees here.


Ellen Yaroshefsky Appointed to New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that Ellen Yaroshefsky, professor at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law has been appointed to the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE).

Ellen Yaroshefsky

Prof. Ellen Yaroshefsky

As part of this appointment, Yaroshefsky will work with the 14-member board to investigate corruption in various levels of government. According to Governor Cuomo, the commission will help maintain integrity in state government. JCOPE will have expanded powers over the former Commission on Public Integrity. Their responsibilities include the power to investigate and impose penalties on executive employees and lobbyists, and to investigate potential violations of the law by legislators and legislative employees, and if violations are found, issue findings to the Legislative Ethics Commission, which will have jurisdiction to impose penalties.

Yaroshefsky has rich and varied experience in ethics work. She is the co-executive director of the Jacob Burns Ethics Center in the Practice of Law at Cardozo and a member of several attorney ethics review organizations, including the American Bar Association’s Ethics, Gideon and Professionalism Committee, the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Ethics Advisory Committee.

“I look forward to working with other members of the Commission to enhance accountability and respect for state government officials,” said Yaroshefsky.

JCOPE consists of six members appointed by the Governor and eight members appointed by legislative leaders. The Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the Assembly each appointed three members, and the minority leaders of both houses each appointed one member. Yaroshefksy was a legislative appointment, chosen by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver ’65YC.