Yeshiva University News » Faculty

In Professor Roee Holtzer’s Lab, Mentorship and Innovative Research Foster Impressive Student Publications

Jennifer Yuan, a doctoral candidate in Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, recently published an article about her pre-doctoral research as a first author in Human Brain Mapping, a high-impact peer-reviewed scientific journal. It’s a rare and significant achievement for a student in a PhD program—but in Yuan’s case, as a researcher in Dr. Roee Holtzer’s Neuropsychology and Cognition Lab, she’s actually in good company.

Ferkauf students

From left: Melissa Shuman-Paretsky, Janna Belser-Ehrlich, Jennifer Yuan, Elyssa Scharaga and Sarah England

Over the course of the last academic year, four of Holtzer’s doctoral students—Yuan, Sarah England, Janna Belser-Ehrlich and Elyssa Scharaga—and one recent alumna—Melissa Shuman-Paretsky—were listed as first-authors on articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

“Our students consistently achieve high clinical competence levels, as evidenced by our higher than 90 percent match rate for competitive yearlong clinical internships around the country,” said Holtzer, professor of psychology and neurology at Ferkauf and director of its PhD program in clinical psychology with a health emphasis. “But to have this number of students publishing first-authored empirical studies in peer-reviewed journals constitutes a major accomplishment for our doctoral students.”

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Rabbinical Seminary Honors Communal Leaders and Educators at Annual Dinner

Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), an affiliate of Yeshiva University, will celebrate dedicated leaders and educators of the Jewish community at its Annual Gala Evening of Tribute on Sunday, March 8, 2015 at The Grand Hyatt in New York City. The dinner will honor the memory of Herb Smilowitz, z”l, as well as Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the Orthodox Union Kosher Division, and Rabbi Ronald Schwarzberg, director of the Morris and Gertrude Bienenfeld Department of Jewish Career Development and Placement at YU’s Center for the Jewish Future.

“Vital in its approach and vibrant in its tradition, RIETS has provided an unsurpassed educational experience in the classic mold of the great yeshivot for more than a century,” said Joel Schreiber, chair of RIETS. “The seminary is a fountain of great Torah wisdom and a pre-eminent source of professional rabbinic leadership for the next generation and beyond.”

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Azrieli Online Master’s Program Provides Teachers Around the Globe with Degree in Jewish Education

When Jana Libidensky, an educator and rebbetzin living in Chile, was ready to take her teaching skills to the next level, she knew exactly what school she wanted to attend: Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration.

The fact that it was located more than 5,000 miles away didn’t trouble her in the least. That’s because Azrieli is making cutting-edge Jewish education accessible to teachers and communities across the globe with a fully accredited online master’s degree.

azrieli online image“What’s most exciting about this opportunity is providing students around the world with the same extraordinary Azrieli content that in the past was only available to those who could come in and meet us,” said Azrieli Dean Dr. Rona Milch Novick. “Our online program combines all the knowledge, skills and affinities that accrediting bodies believe is important for modern teachers to have, but melds it with an appreciation for Jewish tradition and Jewish education that isn’t normally available to many teachers in their local communities.”

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Legal Website Provides English Translations of Decisions of The Israeli Supreme Court

Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law has announced a new website, Versa: Opinions of the Supreme Court of Israel, providing English translations of selected decisions of the Israeli high court. Versa is a unique resource that will increase awareness of how Israel’s high court rules on hundreds of cases, with important implications for democracy and international law. The site also includes essays and scholarly dialogue on the jurisprudence of the Court, the role of the Court in Israeli society, and on comparative approaches to the legal issues the Court has addressed.

The new website is part of the Israeli Supreme Court Project (ISCP) at Cardozo, which is devoted to disseminating, understanding, and engaging in academic discussions of the work of the Court.

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Wurzweiler’s Block Program Offers Israelis Cutting-Edge Social Work Education

As a high school English teacher in Jerusalem, Rivkah Weiss found students frequently turned to her for advice and guidance. But although she loved helping them navigate the personal challenges they faced, Weiss was frustrated by the sense that she could only do so much for them. “I felt like I was limited in my capacity to help them and had this strong desire to further develop my skillset so I could expand my work in this area,” she said.

2014 graduates of the Israel Block Program, left to right: Amikam Schweber, Zvia Altar and Yehuda Ish Shalom

2014 graduates of the Israel Block Program, left to right: Amikam Schweber, Zvia Altar and Yehuda Ish Shalom

Weiss decided to begin her master’s degree in social work at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work’s Block Program in Israel. Consisting of three summers of formal classroom social work education at Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus in New York City and two years of supervised field experience in Israel, the program is designed to enable aspiring Israeli social workers to gain cutting-edge training without having to relocate.

“The Block Program allowed me to remain in Israel where I live throughout the year and at the same time complete my studies in three summers,” said Weiss. “Wurzweiler and the Block Program particularly are known for their high academic standards and success rate in terms of job placements, and my fellow students and I also became a very close-knit group of religious and secular Israeli, American and Canadian men and women.”

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Medical Ethics Kollel Yom Rishon to Discuss Ethical and Halachic Implications of BRCA Screening and Elective Egg Freezing

On Sunday, February 15, Yeshiva University’s Student Medical Ethics Society, Center for the Jewish Future, Abraham Arbesfeld Kollel Yom Rishon and Millie Arbesfeld Midreshet Yom Rishon will partner to present a two-part program, “Taking Control: Ethical and Halachic Implications of BRCA Screening and Elective Egg Freezing.” The event will take place at the Schottenstein Center on Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus at 560 West 185th Street, New York, NY, 10033, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

The first half of the program, “Testing for Cancer Risk in the Jewish Community: Medical and Halachic Perspectives,” will feature a discussion led by Dr. Edward Reichman, professor of emergency medicine and professor of education and bioethics at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Dr. Nicole Schreiber-Agus, director of the Program for Jewish Genetic Health. Reichman and Schreiber-Agus will provide halachic and medical insight into the prevalence of BRCA gene mutations in Ashkenazi Jewry and the ways that genetic testing and counseling can reduce the risk of carriers developing certain cancers in the future.

The second part of the program, “Oocyte Cryopreservation: Freezing Eggs, New Technologies to Help Single Women and Cancer Patients,” will take a close look at the painful question of whether Orthodox Jewish women who may not be able to have children later in life—whether because of illness, future cancer treatments, or marriages close to or beyond menopause—should take advantage of a new medical technique called oocyte cryopreservation, which enables women to freeze their eggs and maintain the potential for the future conception of a child. As cryopreservation technologies are constantly being re-innovated and improved, Rabbi Dr. Zalman Levine, the director of the Fertility Institute of New York and New Jersey, and Rabbi Kenneth Brander, an expert in reproductive technology bioethics and halacha in addition to his position as vice president for university and community life at YU, will give an overview of the emerging halachic discussions that arise in this ever-changing field.

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Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology’s Older Adult Program Recognized by Council of Professional Geropsychology

Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology’s Older Adult Program has received the 2014 Innovative Training Award from the Council of Professional Geropsychology Training Programs. The national award, created in 2011, is given to one program each year that demonstrates excellence and creativity in geropsychology training and is meant to encourage innovative training in the field.

Dr. Richard Zweig

Dr. Richard Zweig

The Ferkauf Older Adult Program (FOAP) is directed by Dr. Richard Zweig, associate professor at Ferkauf and the Council’s past chair, and is a collaborative effort between the faculty of Ferkauf, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Jacobi Hospital Medical Center.

“The program’s goal is to bridge the growing gap between demand for geropsychology services and an under-supply of well-trained psychologist practitioners,” said Zweig. “It’s a real honor to receive this award from the national organization that sets the standards for training geropsychologists around the country.” Read the rest of this entry…

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Six-Week Program to Explore Jewish Ethics and Israel’s Foreign Policy

Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) will present the spring installment of its Community Beit Midrash program beginning February 3 with a six-week series of talks by two distinguished members of YU’s faculty, Ambassador Danny Ayalon, Rennert Visiting Professor of Foreign Policy Studies, and Dr. David Shatz, University Professor of Philosophy, Ethics and Jewish Thought. The program is open to the community and runs for six consecutive Tuesdays at 215 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016, on YU’s Israel Henry Beren Campus.

Ayalon_Shatz

Left, Professor Danny Ayalon; right, Professor David Shatz

The first lecture of each day, titled “Israel’s Foreign Policy: Diplomacy in Practice,” will be delivered at 10:30 a.m. by Ayalon. The second lecture, at 11:45 a.m., will be presented by Shatz on “Pursuing the Right and the Good: Themes in Jewish Ethics.”

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Study Co-Authored by Abraham Ravid Highlights Impact of Directors on Movies’ Financial and Critical Success

Film studios looking to strike gold with their next release should worry less about signing A-list actors and more about landing a proven director, according to new research conducted by Dr. S. Abraham Ravid, professor of finance at Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business.

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Sy Syms Professor of Finance S. Abraham Ravid coauthored the study

“Experienced directors, who have survived Hollywood because of their skills and success, have a large, measureable effect on the financial and critical success of every film they make,” said Ravid. “It’s much more important to choose the director than the star.”

Ravid’s study, conducted in collaboration with Kose John of New York University and Jayanthi Sunder of the University of Arizona, shows that directors are drivers of both financial value and esthetic success of movies. Using a unique hand-collected data set that covers the entire career path of all film directors who directed their first film in 1985-86, Ravid’s work follows the directors for 25 years. In addition to finding that experienced directors can have a crucial, positive impact on the financial and critical success of their film project (as opposed to stars, who had no demonstrated impact in a previous study conducted by Ravid), his findings disprove the popular Hollywood adage that directors are only as good as their last movie.

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$1.4 Million Grant Will Train Students to Work With Vulnerable Youth  

Drug abuse, multiple trauma experiences, underachievement and a 10 percent high school dropout rate are just some of the problems faced by adolescents growing up in high-risk environments, often leading to mental health disorders that need to be addressed. A new grant awarded to the Wurzweiler School of Social Work aims to boost the number of social workers trained to work with these vulnerable adolescents.

Dr. Ronnie Glassman

Wurzweiler’s Dr. Ronnie Glassman is the principal investigator for a $1.4 million grant that will train students to work with high-risk youth

Wurzweiler recently received a $1.4 million training grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services to fund over 100 social work students in clinical field placements with at-risk youth in New York City over a three-year period.

“The primary purpose of the project is to increase the number of social workers with strong clinical competencies who will work with adolescents and transitional-age youth at risk for developing or who have developed a recognized behavioral health disorder,” said Dr. Ronnie Glassman, Wurzweiler’s director of field instruction and the principal investigator for the grant. “This will be accomplished by the creation of increased social work clinical internships.”

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