Rabbi Dr. David Shatz on the Challenge of Perpetuating the Legacy of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik
Editor’s note: This essay by Dr. David Shatz,professor of philosophy at Yeshiva University, is reprinted, with minor modifications, from Memories of a Giant, a collection of eulogies for the Rav edited by Michael A. Bierman and originally published by the Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik Institute and Urim Publications in 2003, in commemoration of the 10th yahrzeit of the Rav. Memories of a Giant is being republished by Maimonides School and Urim Publications in 2013 in commemoration of the 20th yahrzeit. We thank Maimonides School for permission to reprint the essay. References have been reformatted and slightly abridged.
The death of a great individual often leads to exaggerated expressions of his virtues and inflated assertions of irreplaceability. With time the sense of loss is lifted, as new leaders emerge to take the person’s place. Yet looking back at the eulogies delivered for the Rav zt”l with the benefit of much hindsight, what is striking is that if delivered today they would be expressed with the very same pathos and sense of irreplaceability.
Today, a considerable time after the Rav’s death, our sense of loss is every bit as acute as it was then—maybe even more so. Orthodoxy in America, while in some respects stronger today than in the Rav’s time, suffers every day from his absence. Issue after issue inflames passions and divides the community, while no voice speaks as the final authority for his constituency. Over the years, different people proclaim what the Rav did or did not stand for, drawing from their perceptions various lessons for decisions confronting Orthodoxy today. There is thus an intense struggle to keep the Rav alive so that he may continue to be our guide. I offer here some reflections on that struggle. Whereas the eulogies in the book [Mentor of Generations—Ed.] are retrospective, focusing on what the Rav was, this essay is prospective, as it focuses on what the future holds. Read the rest of this entry…
Yeshiva University Commemorates 20th Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik with Day of Learning
Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Rabbinical Theological Seminary (RIETS) and Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) will commemorate the 20th yahrtzeit [anniversary of death] of “the Rav,” Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt”l, Torah luminary and YU Rosh Yeshiva with a full-day learning program for all audiences on Sunday, April 14 on YU’s Wilf Campus, 500 West 185th Street, New York City. The program will run from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and will include lectures, discussions and presentations on the Rav’s life and legacy.
YU will commemorate the Rav’s 20th yahrtzeit with a day of learning on April 14.
“Over the course of almost half a century, Rabbi Soloveitchik served as a mentor and role model for tens of thousands of Jews around the word and ordained close to 2,000 rabbis. Through his landmark public lectures and writings he became, and remains, well-known for his unparalleled Talmudic scholarship and religious leadership,” said Marvin Bienenfeld, a member of the RIETS Board of Trustees and the chair of the event. Read the rest of this entry…
More than 200 YU Students and Alumni Attend Career Center Fair; 95% of Graduates Employed or in Grad School
Two hundred Yeshiva University students and alumni had an opportunity to connect with more than 45 employers in 17 industries, ranging from finance and technology to fashion and healthcare, at the YU Career Center’s Spring Career Fair on March 15.
Employers such as the American Red Cross, Kenneth Cole Productions, Simon & Schuster and Young & Rubicam participated in the fair—networking with and interview promising YU students and graduates. “We came here because we’ve heard YU has a lot of great programs and as an IT company, we thought we’d find the people who have the background we’re looking for here,” said Jean Paul Jean-Louis, a representative for Capgemini. “It’s our first time here but we’ve already met a few very talented people with a lot of potential.” Read the rest of this entry…
Eruvin Exhibition and Lecture Add Context and Insight to Daf Yomi Study
What purpose do eruvin [ritual enclosures] serve? Where can they be constructed? What makes them kosher?
As Jews around the world delve into the subject of eruvin for daf yomi, the daily cycle of Talmud study, Yeshiva University and the Orthodox Union sought to shed light on an ancient practice that is still very relevant to Jewish life today. An evening of programming on March 13 fused the historical, cultural and practical dimensions of eruvin showcased in a new Yeshiva University Museum exhibition with rich halakhic grounding provided by RIETS Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Hershel Schachter. A leading halakhic authority, Schachter delivered a shiur [lecture] titled, “Eruvin: The Streets, the Strings and the Shabbat.”
“Seeing the issues faced by Manhattan and other Jewish communities in completing an eruv—when a train track goes up and when it goes down, is the sea wall kosher or not—and hearing from such a wide range of people who struggled to bring klal Yisroel out of their homes on Shabbat takes Torah learning to a unique and different level,” said Edward Stelzer ’90YC, a member of the YU Museum’s board of directors. “Many of us don’t have an opportunity to check an eruv on any given Friday, but this museum has the power to help us internalize the issues of eruvin and experience them almost firsthand by bringing the topic home to us in an immersive, powerful way.” Read the rest of this entry…
Yeshiva College Associate Dean’s Visit to Israel will Strengthen YU-Bar-Ilan Connection
Dr. Raji Viswanathan, associate dean of academic affairs and professor of chemistry at Yeshiva University’s Yeshiva College, was recently selected as a Fulbright Specialist. The competitive position will enable her to create new opportunities for collaboration between YU and Israel’s Bar-Ilan University as well as share her own research in computational chemistry with an advanced cadre of Israeli scholars.
Dr. Raji Viswanathan
The Fulbright Specialist program promotes linkage between American academic and professionals and their counterparts at host institutions overseas. Project activities focus on strengthening and supporting the developmental needs of host institutions abroad and can include short-term lecturing, conducting seminars, teacher training and special conferences of workshops, as well as collaborating on curriculum planning or institutional and faculty development. Each application is peer-reviewed.
“My goal is to initiate faculty and student exchange,” said Viswanathan. “We already have some connection with BIU through our summer science research program, which places talented undergraduates from Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women in one of the state-of-the-art research laboratories of BIU’s life science, exact science or engineering faculties.” Read the rest of this entry…
YU High School for Boys Sophomore Brings Shakespearean Objects to Life
Hillel Jacobson, a sophomore at Yeshiva University High School for Boys, faces challenges and acts on them.
Inspired by Shakespeare, YUHSB sophomore Hillel Jacobson built a stock similar to the one used in King Lear.
In his study of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Jacobson took a strong interest in the Globe Theater, where the plays were performed. Along with his father, Jacobson constructed a model of the theater, capturing the beauty and intricacies of the stages and seating as well as the area where the groundlings stood.
Recently, when studying King Lear in Harriet Levitt’s English Sophomore Honors class, Jacobson became fascinated by the stocks—a punishment apparatus used in the story to hold Kent. With the help of his father, Jacobson constructed a solid wood, five-foot structure, replicating the stocks used in King Lear. Read the rest of this entry…
Twenty Yeshiva High School Teams Take Part in YU’s Annual Sarachek Basketball Tournament
From March 7-11, 20 yeshiva high school basketball teams from across the U.S. and Canada met at the Max Stern Athletic Center on Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus in Washington Heights to battle it out for the top spot in YU’s 22nd Annual Red Sarachek Invitational Basketball Tournament. When the buzzer sounded, the Shalhevet High School Firehawks of Los Angeles, CA were crowned the tournament’s Tier I champions.
In a thrilling championship bout, the Firehawks defeated the Frisch School Cougars of Paramus, NJ by the score of 62-53. Playing before a packed crowd and a broadcast audience in the thousands, Shalhevet shooting guard and Sarachek MVP Joseph Fallas held off a determined Frisch squad with an impressive 25 points. Read the rest of this entry…
NBA Agent to the Stars, Leon Rose, Shares Strategies of Success with Yeshiva University Students
On March 7, members of Yeshiva University’s Sports Management Club had the opportunity to ask their biggest questions to someone who knows a little about the business.
NBA agent Leon Rose spoke about his career at a Sports Management Club event on the Wilf Campus.
That would be Leon Rose, attorney and sports agent, who represents National Basketball Association stars including Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, and formerly LeBron James. During the informal discussion on YU’s Wilf Campus, which was attended by dozens of students and community members, as well as visiting participants of the Annual Red Sarachek Invitational Basketball Tournament, Rose recalled his journey from aspiring basketball coach to legal professional and, eventually, adviser to some of the biggest names in the game. Read the rest of this entry…
Biotechnology researcher or social entrepreneur? Entertainment lawyer or city engineer? Pulpit rabbi or web developer?
At Yeshiva University, students can pave their way to all of these exciting careers and more. But for those just beginning their university studies, the wide range of options can, at times, be overwhelming. How do you know which field—or which track in that field— is the right fit for you?
To help students answer this question, academic advising will host two events next week. On March 11, a Majors Panel (Rubin Shul, 5:45-6:45 p.m.) will convene students from a wide array of majors chosen by their department chairs to speak about their experience choosing and pursuing their major and take questions from fellow students. On March 13, major-hunters will have the opportunity to meet and speak directly with department chairs of each major at the Majors Fair (Furst Hall 501, 5:45-6:45 p.m.) to learn more about specific fields, network with faculty mentors and plan their academic career. Deans, academic advisers and Career Center representatives will also be on hand.
“These are great opportunities for students to get a sense of what they can do here and what professions or fields play to their strengths and interests,” said Dr. Stu Halpern, academic adviser on the Wilf Campus. Below, Halpern offers five tips for students deciding on a major. Read the rest of this entry…
The MTA Lions go for their league record tenth championship Sunday, March 10.
After a dramatic comeback in their semi-final matchup against Davis-Renov-Stahler Yeshiva High School, which saw the Lions score two goals in the final two minutes of a 3-2 victory, the Lions are set to face off against the Torah Academy of Bergen County Storm in the Varsity Championship Game. Read the rest of this entry…