Yeshiva University News » 2012 » November

Student Medical Ethics Society Examines Controversial Health Care Bill from Practical, Ethical and Halakhic Perspectives

American health care is facing its most comprehensive overhaul since 1965, and everyone from doctors to patients to employers will be affected. Often referred to as “Obamacare,” the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) became one of the most contested topics in this year’s presidential election, and its political, financial and ethical implications are still widely debated. On November 26, Yeshiva University’s Student Medical Ethics Society sought to debunk the myths and misconceptions about the controversial health care bill at an event that provided students with a practical walkthrough of the complex bill and analyzed it through the lens of ethics and halakha.

From left, Dr. Kevin O’Halloran, Dr. Herb Leventer and Rabbi Yosef Blau address students at “Obamacare: The Enigma Unveiled.”

Titled “Obamacare: The Enigma Unveiled,” the event began with a crash course in American medical history by Dr. Kevin O’Halloran, a senior resident at the Montefiore / Albert Einstein College of Medicine Department of Orthopedic Surgery who recently published a review article on Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), a facet of PPACA. O’Halloran highlighted the factors that set the stage for health care reform in 2010, noting that more than 16 percent of the population was uninsured that year, private and public health care expenditures in the United States had totaled more than 15 percent of the country’s GDP, and America ranked seven out of seven developed countries for “quality, efficiency, access, equity and healthy lives” according to the Commonwealth Fund. Read the rest of this entry…


CJF-RIETS Virtual Lecture Series Teaches Rabbis Effective Methods for Addressing Relationship Issues at Every Stage

Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) and affiliate Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Rabbinical Theological Seminary (RIETS) has launched a comprehensive “Rabbinic Marriage Counseling” course that aims to develop communal rabbis’ skills and techniques in assisting couples through every stage of relationship—from dating and marriage to crisis, death and divorce.

The first of its kind, the yearlong online lecture series will explore the “rabbi’s role” in various situations and how he can effectively collaborate with couples, their families and mental health professionals in formulating and implementing a counseling plan. The course, which boasts 40 participants from across North America and Israel, began on October 15 with an in-depth look at dating.

“While communal rabbis are interested in attending conferences to enhance and inform their rabbinic education, the availability of time and money for such enrichment are real obstacles. This course provides a cost- and time-effective way for rabbis to update their skills in a way that will allow them to serve their constituents better,” said Rabbi Levi Mostofsky, director of RIETS CJF Continuing Rabbinic Education and Support. Read the rest of this entry…


From O.J. Case to Gaza War, Alan Dershowitz Confronts Moral Complexities at Straus Center Event

As Israel grappled yet again with the complex strategic and moral challenges of self-defense, Alan M. Dershowitz delved into a nuanced analysis of the obligations, merits and dangers of human justice in a conversation presented by Yeshiva University’s Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought on November 20.

Alan Dershowitz and Rabbi Meir Soloveichik at the November 20 Straus Center event

Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik, director of the Straus Center, drew on many recent publications by Dershowitz, a world-renowned lawyer and political commentator and the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, in juxtaposition with the biblical travails of Abraham to frame the discussion, which addressed topics as far-reaching as capital punishment, post-Holocaust Germany and Dershowitz’s own part in the defense of O.J. Simpson against murder charges.

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White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew to Keynote December 16 Convocation; Stanley Raskas, Moise Safra and Diane Wassner to be Honored

White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew will be the keynote speaker at Yeshiva University’s 88th Annual Hanukkah Convocation and Dinner on Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. at The Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The University will bestow honorary doctorates upon Lew, as well as Stanley Raskas, chairman of Yeshiva College Board of Overseers, Moise Y. Safra, renowned communal leader, philanthropist and financier, and Diane Wassner, national vice president of the Yeshiva University Women’s Organization.

Jack Lew will keynote the annual Hanukkah Convocation and Dinner.

The annual Hanukkah Convocation and Dinner draws nearly one thousand of the country’s leading Jewish philanthropists and community leaders. Past speakers at the black tie gala have included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (then Senator), Senator John McCain, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Vice President Al Gore, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Jack Lew is currently serving as President Barack Obama’s chief of staff. Prior to this role, he was the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a position he held from 1998 to 2001. Before joining the Obama Administration, Lew, who began his career in Washington in 1973 as a legislative aide, co-chaired the Advisory Board for City Year New York and was on the boards of the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Brookings Institution Hamilton Project and the Tobin Project. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Academy of Social Insurance and the bar in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. Read the rest of this entry…


Tamar Avnet: Can Late-Night Shopping Reclaim the Young Consumer?

Over the past several years, merchants have essentially turned Black Friday into Black Thursday by starting sales shortly after most Americans put away their last turkey leftovers. While longer hours may seem like common sense, in reality we may be seeing businesses shrewdly combining shopping and the social experience to draw young consumers back into their physical stores.

Dr. Tamar Avnet is associate professor of marketing at Sy Syms.

Americans’ obsession with after-Thanksgiving shopping dates back to 1939, when U.S. retailers asked President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to move the holiday to the fourth Thursday of November instead of its traditional date, which had been the last Thursday of the month.

Retailers reasoned that this subtle change would prolong the shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, giving consumers more time to spend their money on gifts—and they have worked for seven decades to figure out how to maximize this spending window.

Their latest attempt focuses on using Black Friday to specifically target a younger shopping audience.

The strategy starts with a good old-fashioned sales principle: that consumers are not necessarily rational thinkers. Read the rest of this entry…

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Shalsheles and Edon to Headline December 13 Annual Chanukah Concert

Edon Pinchot headlines YU’s annual Chanukah Concert on Dec. 13.

Edon Pinchot, the teen music sensation who burst onto the scene this year as a semifinalist on the TV show “America’s Got Talent,” and veteran Jewish music group Shalsheles, will headline this year’s annual Yeshiva University Chanukah Concert on Thursday, December 13 at 8 p.m. YU a cappella group, the Y-Studs, will open the show. The concert will take place at YU’s Lamport Auditorium, 2540 Amsterdam Ave. in Washington Heights. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

The concert is organized by Yeshiva University’s undergraduate student councils. Read the rest of this entry…

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December 2 Performance of “12 Angry Men” Honors Longtime Yeshiva College Dramatics Society Member and Mentor Rabbi Dr. John Krug; President Richard Joel to Cameo

The Yeshiva College Dramatics Society will celebrate one of its most beloved members when it hosts a special performance of “12 Angry Men” on December 2 at 3 p.m. on Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus, 185th Street between Audubon Ave. and St. Nicholas Ave. The performance—the 100th production by the school’s dramatics society—will honor Rabbi Dr. John Krug for his 42 years of dedicated service to YCDS.

John Krug will be honored at the Dec. 2 performance.

John Krug will be honored at the Dec. 2 performance.

For first time in its history, YCDS will produce a play that it has performed before, reprising “12 Angry Men,” the play with which it debuted in 1965. Read the rest of this entry…

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Latin American Business Club Hosts Mexican Consul General Carlos Sada

On November 13, Carlos M. Sada, consul general of Mexico in New York, spoke to Yeshiva University students on the Wilf Campus about the country’s growing economic opportunities, its struggle to defeat organized crime, and its relationships with the United States and Israel—in response to a Facebook invitation from the president of YU’s Latin American Business Club.

Consul General Carlos Sada answers students’ questions at the YU Latin American Business Club event.

Daniel Simkin, a sophomore majoring in business and mathematics at YU’s Sy Syms School of Business, had initially posted the request on outgoing Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s Facebook wall. “I felt that Latin America has so many exciting things happening that people don’t know about and there are a lot of great opportunities there for my fellow students,” said Simkin, explaining why he and club founders Daniel Benchimol and Arieh Levi had reached out to many Latin American leaders.

“I also wanted students to be more aware of the relationship the United States has with Latin America that is mutually beneficial and how each country, from Mexico to Panama to Venezuela, has a distinct culture and connection to the United States.”

To Simkin’s surprise, Calderon personally returned his call. Read the rest of this entry…

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Yiddish Club Event Reveals Meanings Behind East European Jewish Family Names

What’s in a Yiddish name? At the Yeshiva University Yiddish Club’s opening event of the year on Tuesday, November 13, students and faculty members got the opportunity to explore this fascinating piece of Jewish history. Titled “A Rosen by Any Other Name: Secrets within East European Jewish Family Names,” the event featured a lively lecture by Dr. Robert Shapiro, a professor of Judaic Studies at Brooklyn College.

Dr. Robert Shapiro explained the origins of Ashkenazic last names at the Yiddish Club’s first event of the academic year.

The origins of their surnames intrigue many Jews, and the names themselves may reveal a wealth of information. “Surnames are cultural, historical, religious and familial artifacts of Jewish life,” said Shapiro, who has published several scholarly works on the Holocaust and other topics in East European Jewish history. “Those family names carry a message about the values, experiences, hopes and ambitions (and even the sense of humor) of previous generations of Jews who probably did not dream about the opportunities that became available to their great, great, great grandchildren in the 21st century.” Read the rest of this entry…

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At YU School Partnership Conference, Educators Are the Experts

More than 70 Jewish day school leaders from 62 schools gathered on Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus this week to pool experiences, ideas, connections and resources in a uniquely structured conference that put participants, rather than experts or speakers, in the spotlight.

Organized by YU’s Institute for University-School Partnership (YU School Partnership), the two-day convention, “CFG 2012,” ran from November 11-12 and built on previous Critical Friends Groups (CFG) which have been meeting regularly under YU School Partnership guidance for three years. Each group is a professional learning community of educators, administrators or school staff who come together in person and online to improve their practice through collaborative learning. Read the rest of this entry…

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