Yeshiva University News » 2011 » April

SDA Israel Program Students Raise Money and Spirits for Children’s Hospital

Yeshiva University’s S. Daniel Abraham (SDA) Israel Program, in partnership with Here4theYear and Jerusalem’s Alyn Pediatric Rehabilitation Hospital, coordinated several exciting and meaningful volunteering opportunities and programs during Bein Hazmanim for students in Israel who were not planning to return home for the Passover holiday.

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“We thought it would be a great idea for our students to get involved with a meaningful cause during their time off,” said Rabbi Ari Solomont, director of the SDA Israel Program.

One such program included a charity bike ride in partnership with Alyn Hospital. Students raised funds, visited patients, met with staff and then set out on a bike ride from Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh. Aside from Alyn being known for its revolutionary rehabilitative care, the hospital is known for their 5 day charity bike ride that benefits the children of Alyn each year, the largest charity sporting event in Israel. Students were joined on the ride by hospital staff, and YU staff and Israel advisors, as well as two time Israeli Olympian, Tour D’ France competitor and triathlon champion, Erez Cohen.

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Students Document Holocaust Testimonies as Part of Yeshiva University High Schools’ Oral History Film Project

Growing up as Jews firmly entrenched in the Jewish education system, learning and hearing about the Holocaust was commonplace. Since we were children, we have been exposed to the atrocities of one of the darkest episodes of human history.

Students interview Rabbi Gershon Yankelewitz as part of the Names, Not Numbers program.

Students interview Rabbi Gershon Yankelewitz as part of the Names, Not Numbers program.

But viewing a documentary or reading a book is one thing. Bearing witness is another.

Through the extraordinary work of Mrs. Tova Fish-Rosenberg and Dr. Geoffrey Cahn, select seniors at the Yeshiva University High School for Boys, as well as five other yeshiva day schools, have been given the opportunity to make sure that the memories and experiences of those who went through the Holocaust—both those who perished and those who survived to tell their stories—are preserved.

The Names, Not Numbers program was designed in order to transform traditional history lessons into a lively, interactive, nontraditional curriculum that involves individuals who have actually lived through the history being taught.

Students are split into groups and spend months learning about the history of the Holocaust, filming and interviewing techniques, and researching a survivor that has been assigned to them. All of this preparation leads up to the climax of the project, which is a filmed interview with their group’s Holocaust survivor. The students then spend the next two months editing and consolidating the video of the interview into a 15-minute segment. These segments stand as their own film but are also incorporated into a larger documentary titled Names, Not Numbers.

The Names, Not Numbers program has helped to both preserve the memories of those who suffered during the Holocaust as well as instill modern-day students with a sense of duty to combat anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred and intolerance. Speaking with survivors is perhaps the most effective way to demonstrate the importance  of the charge to never forgot the victims of the Holocaust and to bear witness for those who are no longer with us.

The author, Michael Guggenheim of Passaic, NJ, is a senior at Yeshiva University High School for Boys. As part of the Names, Not Numbers Program, Guggenheim’s group interviewed Rabbi Gershon Yankelewitz, rosh yeshiva at YU’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS). A portion of their interview can be seen below.



About Rabbi Gershon Yankelewitz: Born in Lubcza, Poland in 1909, Rabbi Yankelewitz studied in the Radun Yeshiva until the death of its founder, the Chofetz Chaim. Rabbi Yankelewitz then continued his studies at the legendary Mir Yeshiva in Russia, before being forced to flee from the Nazis at the start of World War II. The entire yeshiva relocated to Kobe, Japan before eventually settling in Shanghai, China—where they remained until 1947. Rabbi Yankelewitz has given a daily shiur at RIETS for nearly 60 years.

Rabbi Yankelewitz's copy of the Rambam's Mishna Torah, printed in Shanghai during World War Two.

Presentations of the Names, Not Numbers films are shown each year at their respective high schools at a culminating event honoring the interviewees and showcasing the students’ work. This year’s screenings will be at Yeshiva University High School for Boys (MTA) on May 11 and Yeshiva University High School for Girls (Central) on May 18. The films have also been shown in synagogues, camps and community centers on Kristallnacht, Yom Hashoah and Tishah B’av.

Read more about Names, Not Numbers here.

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Tune into YU’s Weekly Internet Radio Show, Thursdays at 2 P.M.

With Pesach over and summer right around the corner, join Mayer Fertig and Miriam L. Wallach today on “Who’s on Furst?” as they welcome Dov Perkal, executive director of the SHMA Camps, a family of camps known as camps Sternberg, Heller, Mogen Avraham, Kesher and Chaverim.  He’ll discuss camping in the northeast, his inspired and original approach to summer camps and how he as a child personally changed camping legislation that has affected us all. In addition, Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg, noted Holocaust educator and speaker, will discuss Holocaust education in 2011 and the impact of a 280 page catalogue filled with organizations dedicated to the Holocaust. All this, plus a review of the stories making headlines in the Jewish media, live Thursday @2 p.m. on www.yu.edu/radio and www.nachumsegal.com.

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Harvard Economist Alvin Roth Details Life-Saving Theory at Annual Brody Lecture

At first glance, the search for a life-saving kidney donation may not seem to have much to do with economics. But Harvard University Professor Alvin Roth applies to that process the same market principles that drive global trade.

Professor Alvin Roth

Professor Alvin Roth

It’s all about “a practical application of economics to achieve an efficient outcome,” he told an audience on April 11 at the annual Alexander Brody Distinguished Lecture in Economics on the Wilf Campus.

“The framework about markets in general is to think about what marketplaces do to promote markets,” said Roth. “When many people want to transact, it’s hard to manage all transactions.”

Disturbed at the slow rate of kidney transplants in the United States—only 16,830 transplants were performed in 2009, out of more than 80,000 on waiting lists—Roth has pioneered the New England Program for Kidney Exchange. It is based on the principles that a flourishing market must be thick, uncongested and safe.

A growing share of transplants comes from live donors, but because some family members are not compatible with their ailing loved ones, Roth’s database matches up pairs of donors who can provide compatible kidneys to each other’s designated recipient.

This is logistically challenging since four separate operations must be performed simultaneously to assure that no one backs out and breaks the chain, since there is no legally binding contract.

James Kahn, Henry and Bertha Kressel Professor of Economics at YU

The Exchange involves making the market “thicker” by assembling a database of donors and their blood types, coordinating hospital resources and using an algorithm that makes it safe to participate, based on game theory principles that put everyone on equal footing.

The sale of organs is illegal in the United States based on an act of Congress in 1984 banning transplants in exchange for “valuable consideration.” An amendment in 2007, however, made clear that this does not apply to paired donation.

Roth said that in strictly logistical terms there is a strong argument for allowing organ sales. Pairing sets of donors requires “double coincidence,” or people in identical circumstances, which is rare. “One of the advantages of money is that you don’t need double coincidence, you could buy whatever you want.”

But markets, he added, are affected by what society considers repugnant, citing as one example the phenomenon of “dwarf tossing,” which involves willing, paid participants in a sometimes popular form of entertainment that has been banned in many countries and decried by the United Nations because it is considered an affront to human dignity.

Allowing organ selling, Roth said, could lead to objectification, coercion and a slippery slope that could lead us to “devolve into a less sympathetic society than we would like to be.”

Polling the audience, Roth found that some supported the idea of selling kidneys or eyes, but none supported the selling of hearts, which would mean killing the donor, but could be an eventual result of that slippery slope.

Roth has also established the National Resident Matching Program, which has placed some 20,000 doctors a year in American hospitals.

“Dr. Roth attracted a large and diverse audience, and gave a fascinating talk about his application of economics and mathematics to enable more matching of kidney donors and recipients—work that has saved many lives and has the potential to save thousands more,” said Dr. James Kahn, the Henry and Bertha Kressel Professor of Economics at YU.

The Alexander Brody Distinguished Service Lecture is presented annually by the Department. It is named for Alexander Brody, a professor of economics and history who died in 1968 after a 34-year tenure at YU.

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RIETS Presents May 19 Shiur for Former Students of Rabbi Mordechai Willig

Yeshiva University affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) will host a reunion shiur for the talmidim of Rabbi Mordechai Willig on Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. in the Jacob and Dreizel Glueck Center for Jewish Study, Room 307, 185th Street between Audubon and Amsterdam Avenues, New York City. Rabbi Willig will speak on the subject of Sefiras Ha’Omer and Lag Ba’Omer.

Rabbi Mordechai Willig

Rabbi Willig is Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Dr. Sol Roth Professor of Talmud and Contemporary Halachah and has served as rosh yeshiva at the Yeshiva Program / Mazer School of Talmudic Studies since 1973 and as rosh kollel at RIETS. He is the spiritual leader of the Young Israel of Riverdale in the Bronx and deputy av beis din of the Beth Din of America.

Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP and reserve free parking by registering online at www.yu.edu/ravwilligreunion, or contact Genene kaye at 212-960-0137 or gkaye@yu.edu.

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Foreign Relations Experts Discuss Revolutions in Middle East and the Implications for American Policy at Robbins-Wilf Lecture

As collapsing Middle East governments and unease about United States involvement in Libya dominated news headlines, Bloomberg View Executive Editor and former Assistant Secretary of State James P. Rubin and New York Times Chief Washington Correspondent David E. Sanger met at Yeshiva University’s Schottenstein Cultural Center to share their take on the events unfolding overseas.

From left, Daves, Rubin and Sanger discuss Mideast turmoil

From left, Daves, Rubin and Sanger discuss the implications of recent turmoil in the Mideast.

The discussion, titled “Toppling Middle East Dictators,” was part of the Dr. Marcia Robbins-Wilf Scholar-in-Residence program at Stern College for Women. Moderated by Bryan Daves, clinical assistant professor of political science at Yeshiva University, Sanger and Rubin debated the New York Times’ handling of WikiLeaks, in which Sanger played a major role, as well as the strengths, weaknesses and determining factors of the Obama administration’s approach to revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and the upheaval in other countries in the region. The two also speculated about the costs and benefits of U.S. military force in Libya for the Obama presidency and American interests abroad.

Sanger suggested that Obama wanted to avoid the errors of his predecessors. “Governments, like all of us in our individual lives, are influenced by the last mistake they made,” he said, citing the Clinton administration’s widely-criticized decision not to go into Rwanda on the one hand and the Bush administration’s struggle to pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq on the other. Adding to that tension, Sanger noted, were also concerns about how Iranians would view an American decision to stay out of Libya: “The lesson that the Iranians might emerge with from that might be, ‘This is a president who’s not willing to use military force under any circumstances, perhaps including to back up his other statement[s] that Iran would never be permitted to build up a nuclear weapons capability.’ ”

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“The [fear] of Iran getting a nuclear weapon has been, if anything has been, the organizing principle of Obama foreign policy,” said Rubin. “If that was truly part of the argument for using force initially, the Iranians certainly will not believe we’ll use military power against them when this is through,” suggesting that he did believe that this was a clear indicator of U.S. resolve. He added: “What we’re dealing with right now is a time when the President of the United States has said very loudly and clearly that he doesn’t see our role as one of leadership. I think that’s unfortunate in a time when the world needs leadership because these momentous changes are occurring in places that really do matter to the United States, both for our own national security interests and the interests of our friends like Israel.”

Both speakers brought years of experience in international politics to the table: Rubin served as assistant secretary of state for public affairs under President Clinton and as chief spokesman for the State Department from 1997 to 2000, while Sanger is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner known for his lucid analysis of foreign policy and national security.

New York Times Chief Washington Correspondent

David E. Sanger, New York Times Chief Washington Correspondent

“It was very exciting to hear some of the terms I hoped would come up, like ‘internationalism’ and the proper use of strategy,” said Josh Reynolds, a political science major who hopes to go into public policy. He is currently enrolled in Media and Politics; Mideast Politics; and War, Security and Defense at Yeshiva College. “It’s cool to see that terms used in the classroom are not just used by academics,” he said. “Tonight we got to see political theory in its real context.”

For Howard Brookman, an attorney who attended the lecture, the discussion of possible implications for Israel was especially important. “This talk was extremely relevant for the YU and Jewish American community because of our connection to the state of Israel,” he said. “Israel will be deeply affected by whatever happens in the region and it’s certainly good to hear the perspective of people who are knowledgeable in this area.”

“I can’t think of two people who would be possibly more informed or better able to discuss the events in the Middle East, the U.S. reaction to it and the implications for US policy,” said Daves. “This lecture series has become an important venue for students and members of the university community to hear about major political and foreign policy issues currently at the center of policy discussions in this country, from people who are currently involved.”

The Robbins-Wilf Scholar-in-Residence program was established and funded by Dr. Robbins-Wilf, a founding member of the Stern College Board of Directors. It brings top scholars, authors, artists and opinion makers to Stern College, offering students unique perspectives on the world.

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Simon Goldberg, President of the Student Holocaust Education Movement at YU, on Maintaining Humanity in Inhumane Times

On a spring day five years ago, I stood inside the Permanent Exhibition at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and prayed. I sought fervently to believe that what appeared so heartbreakingly before me was an illusion. That it could not have happened so transparently. I imagined the world from inside a German cattle car, which, only 65 years prior, served to actualize Hitler’s genocidal ambitions by carrying tens of thousands of Jews to the gas chambers.

I promised the six million souls looking down on me that I’d always remember them. But I have since, intermittently, found myself contemplating the ramifications of that commitment. What exactly are the responsibilities of the rememberer? Is he to sing? To safeguard? To study? Perhaps simply to know—to be aware of the horrors that once besieged a European Jewry in the heart of the Europe?

Too often, in the weeks leading up to Yom Hashoah, we forget how to remember. The lessons that emerged from the Holocaust—though all rooted in tremendous gravity—are not all centered around pain and suffering. Anecdotally, as well as in diaries, journals, and survivor testimonies, we bear witness to stories of profound decency in unthinkable conditions. We draw strength from the arresting bravery of some 400 ghetto fighters who mounted a rebellion in Warsaw on the eve of Passover 1943, with just a few automatic weapons. We learn of the poet Paul Celan who translated William Shakespeare’s sonnets while imprisoned in Romania. We turn our gaze to the pervasive stream of paintings, drawings, music and writing that were left behind in the camps. One teenager, Marcel Chétovy, wrote on a wall in Drancy that he and his father were leaving the deportation camp in France “with very good spirits and the hope of returning soon.” They were never heard from again, but we would do well to make them heard—aside from talking about of their tragic fate, to also speak of their lives—of the hope and humanity that their spirits exuded.

In the eyes of scholar John Felstiner, creative resistance is “more human than blowing up a train, because of everything it takes to make a piece of art or a poem. The personhood is what the Nazis were trying to destroy, to try to erase from the globe.” The rememberer, in my mind, exists primarily to champion the victory of personhood. To emulate the daring pronouncement so many victims made—that they were, albeit in bleak and deplorable circumstances, alive and breathing. He exists to assert the legacy of the victims as impenetrable and lasting.

We need to pay tribute to these courageous individuals because, in many ways, they show us how to live and how to remember; that to remember is to live, and that we have a choice now—as they did then—to maintain our humanity in a cry of tolerance against fascism or to remain reticent, apathetic and uninvolved.

In reflecting on the future of memory, Hedi Fried, survivor of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen and founder of the Stockholm Storytelling Project, admits that the younger generation ought to learn her story because she can hardly understand it herself. But she begs us to remember another imperative: namely, that “democracy dies if you don’t work for it.” It crumbles, much as it did across this century of blood and loss—in Cambodia, in Rwanda, in Bosnia and now in Darfur.

We are not helpless, but we are also not as helpful as we could be. At this historic crossroads, we have a unique responsibility to validate the lessons of the past. At this juncture between life and death, between what we can see and what remains to be seen, passive commemoration does not suffice. It cannot. If we are to build a world centered on dignity, tolerance and respect for the Other, we have to make it such. Yom Hashoah, as the name implies, lasts for 24 hours. Yet the realities of the Holocaust are eternal. They require us to be constantly cognizant and vigorously vigilant.

Many today still do not taste the liberties a young Sophie Scholl once dreamed of when she left the word “Freedom” on a scrap of paper before being led to her execution. There are still dictatorships impinging on people’s basic human rights; there are still maligning grips of revisionism—those which seek to distort, deflect, twist and undermine our collective consciousness. There are still violent expressions of racism, bigotry and anti-Semitism—all of which threaten the welfare of our livelihoods. In some ways, none of us are really free—not until we have risen to the challenge that memory has bestowed upon our generation. For the world shakes as I write; it erupts with uncertainty and flings to the fore a barrage of recurrent tensions and chaos.

Our only hope lies in remembering how to remember.

Simon Goldberg is a third-year student at Yeshiva College majoring in history and political science. In 2009 he founded SHEM, the Student Holocaust Education Movement (SHEM) at Yeshiva University. On Monday night, May 2, SHEM will present a Yom Hashoah Ceremony featuring Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis in YU’s Lamport Auditorium at 8:30 p.m. The event will be webcast live at www.yu.edu/yomhashoa.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkvh1Woush4

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YU Establishes Graduate Level Professional Certification Program in Experiential Jewish Education

Yeshiva University’s commitment to Jewish education, its success in sending thousands of students internationally on Service Learning missions and its impact on communal life through its many leadership training programs has laid the foundation for a Certificate Program in Experiential Jewish Education.

The graduate-level program is one of the first of its kind, and in essence is formalizing the profession of informal education in the Jewish world. It is supported by the Jim Joseph Foundation Education Initiative, which has provided a total of $45 million in grants to YU, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Hebrew Union College to increase the number and enhance the quality of Jewish educators working with Jewish youth and young adults.

“Yeshiva University is proud to pioneer this program in Experiential Jewish Education, a field dedicated to shaping Jewish life in frameworks ranging from camps to campuses and from classrooms to communities,” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander, the David Mitzner dean of YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF). “Our goal is to professionalize the passion of individuals who are committed to Jewish faith, practice, identity and peoplehood and dedicated to utilizing this amalgam in the promotion of the experiential to empower vibrant Jewish life.”

“While preparing the program, we recognized if we are to train and support professionals we need to rethink how we understand the field,” said Shuki Taylor, who is overseeing the development of the program. “We have defined four foundations of Experiential Jewish Education that will be focused upon in the program: Imparting Values, which focuses on content development, spiritual growth, values education; Creating Experiences, which focuses on use of space and environment, innovation and multi sensory education; Cultivating Communities which focuses on the psychology and sociology of learners, staff, boards and donors; and Self Development which focuses on organizational skills, authentic use of self and the balance of personal and professional life.”

The one-year program, which will initially be open to 20 graduate level students consists of four seminars, each lasting about five days during breaks in the academic calendar. Each seminar will focus on one of the four foundations of Experiential Jewish Education. In addition, the seminars offer concentrations in Jewish camping, service learning, youth engagement, emerging adulthood and social innovation. Each seminar will culminate with an exposition called Merkaz Maase, providing participants with access to a world of practical applications relevant to the field of Experiential Jewish Education.

“Over the course of the year, participants will be privy to cutting edge seminars and retreats, ongoing networking and mentorship opportunities, and exposure to world-renown educators,” added Rabbi Brander.

The first seminar will begin in late May of this year, the second in January, and the third and fourth in June of 2012. The will also be a distance learning component, as well as a final project.

The funding from the Jim Joseph Foundation will also be utilized to create the Yeshiva University Innovators Circle, a year-long incubator project for select students of the certificate program who have a vision and venture that address local needs in the realm of education and social activism. Fellows of this circle will create, build, and facilitate their own ventures while receiving ongoing mentoring and support from professionals at YU. In addition to annual stipends and seed funding for their ventures, a full scholarship to the certificate program will be provided.

For more information, contact eje@yu.edu, call 212-960-5400, ext. 6826, or visit www.eJewisheducation.com


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Student-Run Program Assists Local High School Students in College Admissions Process

On Friday, April 8, more than 70 high school students from public high schools in Washington Heights and throughout New York City gathered on Yeshiva University’s uptown Wilf Campus to attend a college preparation day organized by the YU student-run College EDge program. High school students had the opportunity to hear about the different higher education options available and attend workshops on navigating the college admissions process.

Jonah Rubin ’12YC, came up with the idea for College EDge last December while tutoring students at neighboring George Washington High School through the Yeshiva University President’s Circle Literacy Program. “We realized that these students wanted to go to college but had very little knowledge on how to achieve that goal.” When he mentioned these concerns to Mrs. Lolita Wood-Hill, the pre-med advisor at Yeshiva College, she encouraged him to think of a way to “fix the issue.”

With Wood-Hill’s guidance over the next few months, Rubin developed a program that would help underrepresented students understand the college admissions process. What originally started out as an idea to offer admissions seminars ultimately transformed into a more dynamic program called College EDge, which would provide information about college life, as well as strategies for admissions and finance for college-bound students. As Rubin explained, “many of these students plan to attend college but lack crucial knowledge of its organizational structure and demands. We hope for College EDge to take the first step towards rectifying this situation.”

Invitations were sent out to different public schools across the five boroughs to send their students to Yeshiva University for a college planning day. Marsha Milan-Bethel, who works at George Washington High School and knew Rubin from his involvement in the tutoring program, readily accepted the invitation and played an integral role in reaching out to her colleagues at other schools to attend.

On the morning of the event, 18 student volunteers from Stern College for Women and Yeshiva College gathered to welcome the students and give them brief tours of the Yeshiva University campus. Gabriel Cwilich, director of the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program and Barry Eichler, dean of Yeshiva College, also spoke to the high school students. Wood-Hill moderated a panel discussion with representatives from Columbia University, CUNY, Fordham University, Hostos Community College and SUNY about the different options for college education.

Students heard about the different processes for admissions, as well as the variety of opportunities to take advantage of when in college, including sports activities, and student and cultural clubs. Students were then led on campus tours, seeing firsthand how a college laboratory is run, as well as other aspects of college life, such as the gym and library.

After a quick pizza lunch where the students had the chance to talk in a relaxed, informal setting with YU volunteers, seminars were held in SAT prep and financial aid opportunities, as well as a workshop session on writing a personal statement, given by members of the Wilf Campus Writing Center. The program concluded with a college fair comprised of some 25 colleges and trade schools.

Looking towards the future, Rubin hopes to make College EDge more than an annual event. “We are extremely gratified by the turnout of both colleges and high school students in this, our rookie year, and we are moving forward with plans to further improve and expand College EDge. This will hopefully generate even more YU student involvement, attract more schools to attend, develop the organization and ensure its continuity.”

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Yeshiva University Mourns the Passing of Rabbi Dr. Aaron Levine

The University is saddened by the loss of Rabbi Dr. Aaron Levine, Samson and Halina Bitensky Professor of Economics at Yeshiva College, who passed away on April 20. A noted authority on Jewish commercial law, Rabbi Levine’s research specialty was the interface between economics and halakha [Jewish law], especially as it relates to public policy and modern business practices.

Aaron LevinElected to Phi Beta Kappa at Brooklyn College, Rabbi Levine received his MA and PhD from New York University. He was ordained in Jewish ritual and civil law at the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School. Rabbi Levine was widely published on the topic of Judaism and economics.

“Rabbi Dr. Aaron Levine, devoted much of his intellectual career in creating an academic discipline which brings the long tradition of Jewish law and thought  to bear on the field of economics—its theory, business practice and ethical problems,” said Barry Eichler, dean of Yeshiva College and professor of Bible and Cuneiform studies. “Students of Jewish law and ethics have always delighted in the knowledge and wisdom gained from reading his many monographs on this subject. More recently Rabbi Levine’s work has gained the attention of a wider audience of economists and ethicists. Such recognition is reflected in Oxford  University Press’ publication of  Dr. Levine’s The Oxford Handbook of Judaism and Economics (2010), which has been acclaimed by such eminent  professors as Robert Aumann (Hebrew University), co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic for 2005, Benjamin Freidman (Harvard University), and Dennis Carlton (University of Chicago).

“When we spoke this fall, he quietly mentioned in his characteristically modest and unassuming way, that the Oxford Press had encouraged him to create an entire series devoted to studies in Economics and Jewish law.  His untimely passing is a tragic loss to us at Yeshiva  College and to the entire academic community at large.”

Rabbi Levine’s books include Free Enterprise and Jewish Law (1980), Economics and Jewish Law (1987), Economic Public Policy and Jewish Law (1993), Case Studies in Jewish Business Ethics (2000) and Moral Issues of the Marketplace in Jewish Law (2005). He served as associate editor of Tradition, was a member of the advisory council for the International Center for Jewish Business Ethics and a fellow at the World Jewish Academy of Science.

“Dr. Levine was a dedicated scholar and teacher, and a fine human being,” said James Kahn, the Henry and Bertha Kressel Professor of Economics at YU. “Right up to the end he continued to teach and to write despite his illness. He was extremely gracious and helpful to me when I came in 2009 and took over the department that he had so capably run for decades. We will miss his presence and strong voice in the economics department.”

Rabbi Levine, longtime rabbi of Young Israel of Avenue J in Brooklyn, NY, was also active in the area of conflict resolution and served as an ad hoc rabbinical judge and arbitrator in the bet din of the Rabbinical Council of America.

“Rabbi Levine was a prodigious Torah scholar, a gentle and humble person, and a quintessential Torah Umadda personality,” said Rabbi Yona Reiss, the Max and Marion Grill Dean of YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS). “As an economics professor and a dayan [judge], he masterfully demonstrated how Torah principles relate to contemporary economic issues and provided a framework for ethical behavior in business situations. Rabbi Levine was also an embodiment of the Torah values that he taught and was a deeply beloved figure at Yeshiva.”

We ask students and colleagues to share their condolences in the comments section below.

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