Yeshiva University News » 2012 » January » 26

Students on CJF Winter Mission Explore Justice and Social Justice in Israel

Tucked away in an office in South Tel Aviv, a group of unlikely bedfellows engaged in some weighty conversation. Stav Shafir, one of the most prominent leaders of the social protest movement that shook up Israel this past summer and a group of Stern College for Women students of Yeshiva University in New York talked tachlis [substance] about social justice.

YU's Devorah Deutsch, center, with a student from the Reali School on the Tzedek V'Tzedaka mission.

“This wasn’t a protest just about housing – housing was the symbol for all of our social services,” explained the 26-year-old Shafir as she delved into the issues that prompted hundreds of thousands of Israelis of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities to demonstrate for a more just society.

This encounter was just one stop on a multi-tiered, eight-day winter break Israel trip for Yeshiva University undergraduates run by the University’s Center for the Jewish Future. Titled, “Tzedek V’Tzedakah,” the mission of two separate groups of 15 men and 15 women explored concepts of justice and social justice in a modern democratic Jewish State.

Through meetings with everyone from top Israeli rabbis and government officials to prison inmates and social activists, these January missions gave students a chance to examine such charged topics as corporate social responsibility and the challenges Israel faces in enforcing justice while being bound to both Jewish law and democratic Western values.

The Tzedek V’Tzedakah groups did not shy away from controversial issues, either. A special panel of haredi and non-haredi residents of Beit Shemesh was added to the itinerary in the aftermath of the violence there against girls at the hands of extremists. Tzedek V’Tzedakah is sponsored in part by the Jim Joseph Foundation.

“Every year we send hundreds of students on various types of experiential and service learning trips around the world,” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander, the David Mitzner Dean of Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF). “Our goal is for them to realize how they can be agents of change.” Read full article in eJewishPhilanthropy


Students Present North America’s Largest Jewish Book Sale from February 5 to 26

The students of Yeshiva University will hold their annual Seforim Sale, North America’s largest Jewish book sale, from February 5 to 26 in Belfer Hall, 2495 Amsterdam Ave on YU’s Wilf Campus in Manhattan. The sale is operated entirely by YU students—from ordering to setting up the premises, marketing and all the technology the project entails.


Last year the acclaimed Judaica book sale drew more than 15,000 people from the tri-state area and grossed more than $1 million in sales. The annual event provides discounted prices on the latest of more than 15,000 titles in rabbinic and academic literature, cookbooks, children’s books, and music.

The Seforim Sale has become a highlight for the Yeshiva University community, as students, alumni and members of the community congregate to visit their alma mater, see old friends and add books to their personal libraries. Proceeds from the sale support various initiatives, including student activities on campus and undergraduate scholarships.

Scheduled events at the sale include:

  • Alumni Family Day and Meet-the-Alumni-Author Event (Feb. 12), featuring a musical workshop with the Y-Studs, arts-and-crafts with educators from the YU Museum and story-telling with Stern College Professor Penninah Schram, followed by a panel discussion with noted alumni authors: Rabbi Benjamin Blech ’54YC, ’56R; Sara Diament ’96S, ’98BR; Ann Koffsky ’93S; and Rabbi Dr. Saul Hillel Landa ’65YUHS, ’69YC
  • Book signings with Susie Fishbein and Mazal Alouf-Mizrahi
  • Live musical performances by YU’s own a cappella groups, The Maccabeats and Y-Studs, as well as Ta Shma, The Groggers, Except Saturday and Shlomo Gasin
  • Lectures by the Bostoner Rebbe, Rabbi Nati Helfgot, Rebetzin Smadar Rosensweig, Rabbi Natan Slifkin, and Rabbi Gil Student

Those who cannot attend the sale can take advantage of the great prices and vast catalog selection by ordering online on the Seforim Sale’s Web site. For a complete listing of dates and times, to purchase gift certificates or to view the online catalog, visit

All YU graduates with valid YU Alumni ID cards will receive five percent off their Seforim Sale purchases on Alumni Day. To obtain your YU Alumni ID card, please submit a request by February 6 to

Read The New York Times coverage of last year’s Seforim Sale…


Coach Jonathan Halpert Recruits from Israel as His Way of Thanking Those That Served in the IDF

To the average fan, it is no more than another mediocre basketball game in Division III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. However, for Dr. Jonathan Halpert it means a whole lot more. For Halpert, the Yeshiva University team he coaches represents not only a private Jewish school from New York, but the entire Jewish people.

Coach Halpert

Coach Halpert

Halpert is in his 40th season as the basketball coach of the Maccabees, who currently have seven players from across Israel on their roster. Halpert, 67, comes to Israel twice a year to recruit local talent, hoping to find players worthy of representing not only Yeshiva University, but Jews everywhere.

“When Maccabi Tel Aviv plays in the Euroleague they are not only representing Maccabi, they are representing Israel and the Jewish people,” Halpert said during his recent visit to Israel.

“Whether Israelis want it or not, in the eyes of the world Maccabi is representing the Jewish state. When Yeshiva University goes out on court we are ‘the Jewish school.’ We are ‘the Jewish players.’ “There’s an opportunity to represent much more than yourself and the name of the school. For me to be able to represent the Jewish people 25 times a year is an opportunity I couldn’t get any place else. In Israel you can coach different teams and have that opportunity, but in America there is only one place I can do that so that is pretty special.” Read the full article in The Jerusalem Post