In Search of Communal and Educational Careers, Hundreds Attend Yeshiva University Jewish Job Fair
Hundreds of job-seekers in search of potential careers in the Jewish communal and educational fields filled Furst Hall on Yeshiva University’s Washington Heights Wilf Campus on Thursday, February 24 for the annual Jewish Job Fair, co-sponsored by YU’s Institute for University-School Partnership and Center for the Jewish Future (CJF).
More than 35 day schools from across the country were represented at the fair to accept and review resumes and conduct interviews, including Maimonides Academy (Los Angeles, CA), Yeshiva Har Torah (Little Neck, NY), Greenfield Hebrew Academy (Atlanta, GA), Yeshiva of Flatbush (Brooklyn, NY) and Yavneh Academy (Paramus, NJ). Participating organizations included Aish NY, Camp HASC, Frumster, Gateways, iVolunteer, Nefesh B’ Nefesh, NCSY, OHEL, Orthodox Union and Yeshiva University.
“I walked away very impressed with the quality of candidates and encouraged by the talent that is deciding to enter the field of Jewish education,” said Rabbi Ari Segal, head of school at Houston’s Beren Academy. “It is no small measure due to the efforts of YU, the School-Partnership and the CJF. They are elevating the profession and I think that is having far-reaching ramifications in the quantity and quality of people entering the field.”
In addition to teaching positions and other career prospects, the fair offered a wide array of opportunities ranging from fellowships and scholarships for master’s programs and internships.
Adina Brizel, a Stern College for Women graduate currently enrolled in YU’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, came to the job fair in search of a teaching position and was “impressed by the large turnout from so many different schools.”
Fellow Azrieli student, Zach Lebwohl, agreed.
“There was quite a turnout and there were a lot more schools and institutions at the fair this year than in previous years,” said Lebwohl, who credited Azrieli for preparing him for a future in education. “I’ve really enjoyed taking classes in educational technique and theory,” said Lebwohl. “They’ve helped me to plan and think as a teacher.”
Scott Goldberg, PhD, director of the YU School Partnership, noted that “Yeshiva University is not only where many day school graduates go to school, but has become the place where the day schools themselves go to school.
“We are proud to prepare and place teachers and school leaders around the country, provide them with continuing education and ongoing support and work with schools to strategically plan for the future. “
To learn more about how you can benefit from the resources available at the YU School Partnership visit www.yuschoolpartnership.org.
Yiddish Club Reignites Passion for Mame-Loshn at Yeshiva University
The game is familiar: one team member glances at a word on a card and throws out increasingly frenzied clues to his or her partner, who tries to guess it before the time’s up. This word, however, is a stumper. “Yankev,” suggests one student. The other shakes his head. “Neyn, neyn. Nit tate, nit shvester.” “Avrohom?” he tries. “Der bruder?” “Genug!” calls another student, pointing to his watch. The match is over. The correct answer was “Yishmael”—the brother, or “bruder,” of Isaac.
This is not your everyday game of Taboo. It’s called “In Gedank,” or “In Your Mind,” and the students playing it in this Furst Hall classroom belong to the Yiddish Club, a student-run group that aims to provide a forum for further exploration of Yiddish language and culture at Yeshiva University. Organized by Shaul Seidler-Feller, the club meets weekly to discuss Yiddish literature and film, hone conversation skills through games and informal instruction, and learn about the history of the language from Itay Zutra, a Yiddish professor at Yeshiva College who helps structure the group’s meetings.
“Yiddish retains a lot of cultural wealth and power,” said Zutra, who designs special lectures and activities to tackle issues of common interest to the group. “I try to instill in the students that on one hand it’s a familiar language, but it’s also much more than that. In many ways Yiddish is key to understanding our history.”
That is part of the draw for students in the club, who range in fluency from native speakers to first-timers. Some are currently enrolled in Zutra’s Yiddish course but just as many are not. Natan Koloski, a history major in his first year on campus, wanted to trace back the roots of his Ashkenazi heritage. “I am half-Sephardic, so I feel like I didn’t have as much Yiddish culture growing up,” he explained. “I want to learn more about that side of my family, as well.”
“I’ve always been obsessed with Jewish culture,” said Yaelle Frohlich, a graduate student in Jewish history at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies who hopes to develop a more seamless interface with beloved stories and texts. Her quest to master the language began when she read an English translator’s apology at the beginning of Sholom Aleichem’s “Tevye and His Daughters” for his inability to capture the nuances of Tevye in English. “My dream is to read Yiddish literature in Yiddish,” she said.
Seidler-Feller agreed. “It gets lost in translation,” he said. “The structure of words in Yiddish relies on Jewish culture, halacha [Jewish law] and history which become built-in and self-understood. Every term contains a deeper meaning which is difficult to translate.”
Seidler-Feller’s own interest in Yiddish began with one of Zutra’s courses, which he took to fulfill Yeshiva College’s foreign language requirement. “I had encountered it a little bit at home,” he said, “but my mother was not fluent in it—she would sprinkle her conversations with Yiddish words.” Intrigued, he took two years of Yiddish and began an independent study, translating Yiddish divrei Torah and other texts. He started a “Yiddish-Word-of-the-Week” email to share his interest with others and formed the club last semester as a gathering place for other curious students. Ultimately, Seidler-Feller hopes to write his honors thesis on the use of Yiddish in Orthodox circles.
“ ‘Yiddish’ means ‘Jewish,’ ” Zutra said. “You can’t separate Yiddish from Yiddishkayt [Jewishness]. You need one to understand the other.”
Rabbi Meir Alter Horowitz, the Bostoner Rebbe of Jerusalem, stopped by Yeshiva University’s Seforim Sale on Monday, February 21. Rabbi Horowitz spoke to the students, signed copies of his sefer, Pirush HaMeir (which offers commentary on the Rambam’s Mishna Torah), and offered Seforim Sale goers brachos and words of inspiration.
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Yeshiva University Hosts 2011 Wittenberg Wrestling Tournament
More than 180 wrestlers from across the country filled the Max Stern Athletic Center on Yeshiva University’s Washington Heights’ Wilf Campus on February 21 for the championship finals of the 2011 Henry Wittenberg Wrestling Tournament. The tournament, now in its 16th year, is the highlight of the yeshiva high school wrestling year.
The weekend included a YU-sponsored Shabbaton, featuring words of inspiration from Alan Veingrad, a former NFL offensive lineman turned observant Jew.
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“Wittenberg gives Yeshiva high school students an opportunity to experience competition with likeminded students who not only share an interest in wrestling but also share the same Jewish values as well,” said Dr. Hillel Davis, vice president for university life at Yeshiva University.
When the dust settled, the Ida Crown Jewish Academy (Chicago, IL) wrestling team took first place at the tournament, with Torah Academy of Bergen County (Teaneck NJ) and The Frisch School (Paramus, NJ) placing second and third, respectively. Other participating schools included Yeshiva Atlanta (Atlanta, GA), North Shore Hebrew Academy (Great Neck, NY), DRS High School (Woodmere, NY), Rav Teitz Mesivta Academy (Elizabeth, NJ), Fuchs Mizrachi (Beachwood, OH), Kushner Academy (Livingston, NJ) and Yeshiva University High School for Boys / MTA (New York, NY).
The tournament is named for YU’s former wrestling coach and legendary Olympic medalist, Henry Wittenberg. Wittenberg founded the school’s wrestling program in 1955 and was the team’s first coach. He passed away last year at the age of 91.
For a list of team scores and results visit the Yeshiva Wrestling Web site.
In Honor of Presidents’ Week, A Look Back at Yeshiva and the US Presidency
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Yeshiva University Hosts Annual Job Fair for Communal and Educational Careers on Feb. 24
While economic difficulties have led to a challenging employment market, there are a number of opportunities available in the Jewish communal and educational fields. For all those aspiring to such careers, Yeshiva University is holding its annual Jewish Job Fair on Thursday, February 24 at Furst Hall on YU’s Wilf Campus at 500 West 185th Street, New York City. The conference is open to YU students and alumni beginning at 6 p.m. and to the general public from 7 until 9 p.m.
Dozens of Jewish day schools and community organizations from across the country will be in attendance to accept and review resumes and conduct interviews. Participating organizations include Aish NY, Camp HASC, Frumster, Gateways, iVolunteer, Nefesh B’ Nefesh, NCSY, OHEL, Orthodox Union and Yeshiva University. More than 35 day schools will be participating including ASHAR, Ben Porat Yosef, Beren Academy, Emek Hebrew Academy, HANC, Maimonides School, SAR Academy, Shalhevet School, Yavneh Academy of Dallas, Yeshivat Noam.
“The record number of schools registered for this year’s Jewish Job Fair draws attention to the emergence of the school as the center of the Jewish community,” said Scott J. Goldberg, PhD, director of the Institute for University-School Partnership. “We are dedicated to supporting these schools, as it is our collective responsibility to ensure that we educate the next generation.”
In addition to teaching positions and other career prospects, the fair offers a wide array of opportunities ranging from fellowships and scholarships for master’s programs and internships.
Before the fair, the school representatives will be invited to participate in an On Campus Chinuch [education] Recruitment program on the Beren Campus , 245 Lexington Ave., Room 518. The program will feature a networking lunch and panel discussion with principals on “Opportunities and Challenges in Jewish Education Today.”
These events are free and open to the public. For more information, to register your organization or school, or to submit a resume visit the Jewish Job Fair site.
See The Jewish Week’s video from last year’s job fair below.
Hundreds of High School Students from Around the World Gathered at Yeshiva University’s Annual Model UN Conference
Hundreds of high school students from around the world debated important issues as part of Yeshiva University’s 21st National Model U.N. (YUNMUN) from February 6-8. The students, from nearly 50 different high schools from four continents, represented nearly all of the United Nations’ member countries in 15 different committees, and debated topics ranging from the peaceful uses of outer space to the elimination of discrimination against women.
The annual event took place at the Stamford Plaza Hotel in Stamford, Conn. According to Michael Kranzler, director of undergraduate admissions at YU, the conference is the largest Jewish high school event of its kind.
The students, who were assigned their representative member countries months before the conference, spent all year preparing their position papers so they could debate about the issues and work together to draft resolutions. They also studied the procedures of the United Nations, as they were required to follow its methods of discussion and deliberation. The students had the opportunity to not only work on their public speaking and knowledge of politics and negotiating but also to meet and work with peers from Jewish high schools around the world.
On Sunday night, the students enjoyed Super Bowl XLV before UN Secretary General Steven Paletz officially opened the conference. “The conference will illustrate the inherent difficulties but uplifting possibilities of effecting true change,” said Paletz. The knowledge gained at YUNMUN can help the students increase their enthusiasm and “apply their passions, not just in their individual high schools and communities but across the globe.”
Eliora Katz, one of the participating students, said that she “realized that compromise is not just an exercise during a committee session…we must live and breathe to allow the wide spectrum of people’s opinions and lives to merge and succeed.” Her school, the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy from Rockville, Md. took home the Best Delegation Award, placing first of the 48 schools at the conference.
Michi Hayman, a Yeshiva College senior and chair of the International Law Commission, said, “The atmosphere of all these Jewish high schools coming together is amazing.”
Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel, who delivered the keynote address, spoke of the challenges that the students’ generation will face and the lessons they can learn from YUNMUN: “Maps are not eternal. Boundaries shift, sympathies change—it’s all up for grabs. Some of it is healthy but most of it is scary. …The UN is a metaphor. It’s a metaphor of whether or not we believe in civilization, in civility. Do we believe as a people we can build something together? If we don’t, it’s back to rules of force. We need to know how to disagree agreeably.”
View slideshows from the conference here.
Yeshiva University Summer Program Offers Students ‘Year in Israel’ Experience in Just One Month
Yeshiva University announced today that registration has begun for the fifth annual “July in Jerusalem Program,” a month-long Israel experience—combining Torah learning, volunteering and group touring—for college students with limited backgrounds in Jewish studies. The program, scheduled to run from July 5 through August 2, is geared towards men and women who are unable to spend a full gap year in Israel and are interested in an in-depth exploration of their Judaism.
A project of the University’s Mechinah/Basic Jewish Studies division, the program’s classes are taught at a basic level and allow students to learn for the joy of learning without the pressures of tests and homework. Still, students not enrolled at Yeshiva University can earn college credits for their participation in the program.
“Our goal is to give college students from across North America the full ‘year in Israel’ experience – complete with classes, community service projects and trips – in just one month,” said Rabbi Zev Reichman, director of the Mechinah Program for Men. “For many students, the program affords them the rare chance to immerse themselves in Jewish learning while participating in a variety of meaningful, Jewish-identity building activities.”
Program participants will attend daily morning classes, including Hebrew Ulpan, Bible, Jewish Philosophy and Jewish Law, taught by respected rabbis and teachers—experts in each field of study—and spend their afternoons volunteering at hospitals, orphanages, soup kitchens, food distribution centers and various terror relief projects in Sderot, and touring Israel’s most famous sites. Activities have also included kayaking down the Jordan River, exploring ancient caves, hiking, snorkeling and spiritually uplifting Shabbat programming in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Over the last four years, the “July in Jerusalem Program”—generously sponsored by Gerald and Mary Swartz—has brought more than 85 students from Yeshiva University and many other North American colleges to Israel for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“This unique program has been transformational for all who have participated,” adds Shoshana Schechter, director of the Basic Jewish Studies Program for Women. “Students begin to see themselves as part of the chain of Jewish history and continuity, they realize that they are an integral part of the Jewish community and are inspired to continue learning, growing and developing their Jewish identities.”
Apply for the 2011 July in Jerusalem program here.
New Interdisciplinary Seminar Explores the Complexities of Womanhood
It’s a psychology course.
And an art history course. And a Jewish studies course. But wait, it also deals with economics, American history, Jewish history, sociology, and French and English literature.
Each of these subjects is fundamental to Women’s Studies Interdisciplinary Seminar, a new course offered at Stern College for Women designed by Associate Professor Nora Nachumi to analyze women’s experience through many lenses. In the classroom Nachumi, whose own specialty is English, acts as a guide, introducing students to guest speakers in a slew of fields as they present unique research on women’s roles within their discipline and in relation to it. Later, in online discussions and follow-up classes, Nachumi facilitates student discussion of lectures that range from Rabbi Saul Berman’s The Status of Women in Halakhic Judaism to Professor Marnin Young’s presentation on the dearth of well-known female artists. By the end of the semester, Nachumi hopes students will possess a richer understanding of how each discipline has colored women’s experiences of themselves and the worlds they inhabit, as well as how these perceptions impact current work in those fields.
This understanding is one many fields have only recently come by, according to Nachumi. “For instance, 50 years ago it was all wars and presidents and events women weren’t involved with in history books,” she said. While academia has grown more inclusive of women’s perspectives over the years, the seminar in part explores this inattention and its consequences, shedding light on the remarkable and often overlooked contributions of women in specific fields. The seminar will also focus on current research and debate relevant to women today. “Ultimately, we’d like to get students thinking about how their interest in women’s issues can complement work within their major and later careers,” said Nachumi. “The study of issues involving women is relevant in all disciplines.”
The class’s composition is a testament to that. The 18 students enrolled major in everything from prelaw to biology and literature, including one student, Sarah Lazaros, who is pursuing the first shaped major at Stern focusing on women’s studies. Lazaros plans to become an obstetrician. “I’m very passionate about the topics women’s studies addresses,” she said. “I think this background will be helpful to anyone in any field. It examines issues like fair and equal rights for women that come up in law, in social work, in psychology, everywhere.”
Her enthusiasm is shared by fellow students like Tirtza Spiegel, a biology major who serves as co-president of the Women’s Studies Society with Rebekah Friedman and Nicole Grubner. The students, all women’s studies minors, were deeply affected by an introductory women’s studies course taught by Nachumi two years ago. “We created the club to raise awareness of women’s issues on a personal, communal and global level, with the recognition of the unique challenges pertaining to Jewish and Orthodox women,” Spiegel explained.
However, despite the success of events that covered issues such as female sexuality and fair compensation, the women wanted a deeper inquiry into women’s studies. Last year they approached Nachumi with the request for an advanced course. “We felt it would be beneficial to create a formal arena for professor-student dialogue,” said Spiegel. That request led to the creation of the interdisciplinary seminar, a course whose roster includes recent graduates who have returned to audit it. “Students have been asking for this course for years,” said Nachumi.
Dr. Robin Freyberg, the David and Ruth Gottesman Chair in Psychology and a guest speaker whose lecture dealt with the study of gender differences, thought the course’s popularity and impact on students in a women’s college were intuitive. “On a fundamental level, these are women that we’re teaching,” Freyberg said. “Women have made important contributions to a lot of different subjects being covered in this course, and their contributions and perspectives are often neglected in more general courses. We want students to have the opportunity to see women’s roles in these areas and encourage them to make discoveries in their own fields.”
For Spiegel, the most important discovery has already been made. “Women’s studies is not solely an academic inquiry,” she said. “It’s about improving the status and quality of life for women, both inside and outside Stern College.”