Yeshiva University News » Faculty

In Inaugural Lecture, Joe Lieberman Reflects on His Past Work and The Future of Jewish Politics

Former U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman may have retired from politics, but his eye hasn’t strayed far from the political scene. On October 28, 2014, at Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus, Lieberman addressed hundreds of YU students, faculty and staff in a lecture titled “Judaism and Public Service.” The lecture, the first of a three-part series, inaugurated Lieberman’s role as the Joseph Lieberman Chair in Public Policy and Public Service at YU, a position made possible through a gift from University Benefactors Ira and Ingeborg Rennert.

President Richard Joel introduced Senator Lieberman

President Richard M. Joel delivered introductory remarks.

In his introductory remarks, YU President Richard M. Joel called Lieberman’s appointment, along with the recent addition of other prominent visiting professors such as Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Ambassador Danny Ayalon, “the icing on the cake of a fabulous faculty.”

Lieberman sees the new chair in public policy and public service as a significant part of YU’s mandate to provide a comprehensive education, secular and religious, to its students. “I believe that this chair has a unique and important mission in the years ahead, which is to help YU educate coming generations of Orthodox Jewish women and men in public policy and inspire and prepare them for public service.” Read the rest of this entry…

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November 14 Conference Will Explore Psychosocial Care for Elders, Caregivers and Serious Illness

Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social of Work will host the Joanna Mellor Annual Gerontology Conference on November 14. This is the fourth palliative care conference that Wurzweiler has organized in recent years and the first one that will address issues relating to elder care and palliative care concurrently.

“Elder care and palliative care are not separate issues; they’re complementary,” said Dr. Rozetta Wilmore-Schaeffer, associate professor and co-chair of the Gerontology Sequence at Wurzweiler, and one of the conference organizers. “It’s important to recognize that all people dealing with palliative care are not elders, but all elder care includes palliative care.”

Joanna Mellor, for whom the conference is named, died two years ago and had been at Wurzweiler for 10 years. Read the rest of this entry…

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Dr. Steven Fine Presents Online Lesson on Relief From The Arch of Titus

Dr. Steven Fine, the Dr. Pinkhos Churgin Professor of Jewish History, recently collaborated with Khan Academy to produce a video about the relief from the Arch of Titus for the “Judaism and Art” division. Khan Academy is a not-for-profit with a goal of changing education by providing free online content in the areas of math, science, economics, art and computing, available to students across the world.



Fine’s video, recorded alongside Dr. Beth Harris, dean of Art and History at Khan Academy, builds on the existing Arch of Titus restoration project and features pictures from Fine’s recent trips to Rome. The Arch of Titus Digital Restoration Project began with a pilot study of the Arch’s menorah and now plans to reconstruct the original colors and explore other elements of the arch. Read the rest of this entry…

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Wurzweiler’s Susan Bendor to Retire in January After Five Decades Dedicated to Social Work 

Over half a century after she began her career as a social worker, Dr. Susan Bendor will retire in January, capping off 26 years at Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work and a remarkable 52 years in the field.

Dr. Susan Bendor

Wurzweiler’s Dr. Susan Bendor has dedicated her career to helping others.

Born in Budapest, Hungary, Bendor survived the Holocaust as a young child by hiding in a cellar for nine months. By the time she was 21, she had lived in six countries—Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, Israel and Germany—and by 25, she had earned her master’s degree. Her interest in social work can be traced back to her family’s early years in Canada.

“Thanks to a wonderful hospital social worker who helped our immigrant family through a very rough crisis and lightened the burden on our young shoulders, giving all of us a sense of hope, I realized how important and satisfying it must be to make such a difference in the lives of families coping with a variety of challenges beyond their control,” said Bendor. “I decided to follow in his footsteps. It was a privilege to enter a profession that is committed to social justice and to treating everyone with dignity, as were the individuals who saved our lives during World War II and continue to inspire me even today.” Read the rest of this entry…

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Former U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman Delivers First YU Lecture on October 28

Former United States Senator Joseph Lieberman will deliver his first public seminar as a member of the Yeshiva University faculty on Tuesday, October 28 at 7 p.m. in Weissberg Commons,  2495 Amsterdam Avenue, New York City. Lieberman’s lecture, titled “Judaism and Public Service,” will be followed by a Q & A session with students.

Lieberman will deliver his first lecture as a member of the YU faculty on October 28.

Joseph Lieberman will deliver his first lecture as a member of the YU faculty on October 28.

“I am very much honored to begin my work at Yeshiva University this semester,” said Lieberman. “I see this as a great opportunity to share my experiences in government and politics with the students and hopefully engage and spark their interest in public policy and public service.” Read the rest of this entry…

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Straus Center and Honors Program Event Provides Practical Comparison of American and Talmudic Law

Why do appellate courts exist? What role do fellow judges play in the decision-making process? What is the most difficult legal case you have ever decided?

These were all questions posed to both Judge Joseph Greenaway and Rabbi Yona Reiss at an engaging event hosted by Yeshiva University’s Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought together with the Stern College for Women’s S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program to discuss their experiences in law and how the American and Talmudic systems approach legal circumstances.

Professor Adina Levine, Judge Joseph Greenaway, Rabbi Yona Reiss

Professor Adina Levine moderates the discussion between Judge Joseph Greenaway and Rabbi Yona Reiss

The panel discussion, moderated by Professor Adina Levine, who is instructing the Stern Honors course, “Comparative American and Talmudic Law”—sponsored by the Straus Center—touched on issues of enforceability, criminal justice systems, anti-trust laws, and the role of lawyers in the court. In dynamic conversation with each other and the audience, Greenaway and Rabbi Reiss discussed parts of the legal decision process as well as instances when both American and Talmudic law must be considered.

“I have found that it is very helpful for a dayan [Jewish law judge] to have a legal background,” said Rabbi Reiss Read the rest of this entry…

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Rabbis David Horowitz and Dovid Miller to Deliver Annual NYC – Jerusalem Kinus Teshuva Lectures on September 30

Rabbi Dr. David Horwitz and Rabbi Dovid Miller, Roshei Yeshiva at Yeshiva University-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), will be the featured speakers at the 30th Annual Hausman/Stern Kinus Teshuva Lectures. The lectures, given between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, will take place in New York City and Jerusalem on Tuesday, September 30, the seventh of Tishrei. Read the rest of this entry…

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YU Scholars to Offer “Perspectives on Teshuva And The Yamim Noraim” Throughout September

Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future launched its Kollel Yom Rishon continuing adult education programming on Sunday, September 7, with lectures from Rabbi Meir Goldwicht, Joel and Maria Finkle Visiting Israeli Rosh Yeshiva at YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), and Mrs. Chaya Batya Neugroschl, head of school at YU High School for Girls. The lectures were the first offerings of a month-long series titled “Perspectives on Teshuvah and the Yamim Noraim.”

This special edition of the popular Abraham Arbesfeld Kollel Yom Rishon and Millie Arbesfeld Midreshet Yom Rishon Sunday Torah learning series will meet every Sunday in September at the Schottenstein Center, 560 West 185th Street in Manhattan, and will feature an all-star lineup of Torah scholars and rabbinic thinkers from throughout Yeshiva University. Read the rest of this entry…

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Dr: Jess Olson: The Yazidis and The Armenians of Musa Dagh

The crisis faced by the little-known religious minority, the Yazidis of northern Iraq, captured the attention of western humanitarians. Their capitulation to their pursuers, the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), whose strict interpretation of Islam regards the Yazidis as polytheists, would mean physical destruction. To escape, thousands of these practitioners of an obscure faith, who have dwelt in the Ninveh region for centuries, encamped on the desolate summit of Mount Sinjar, desperate for rescue by a foreign power.

Dr. Jess Olson

Dr. Jess Olson, associate professor of Jewish history

A remarkably similar story was told a little over eighty years ago by German-speaking Jewish novelist Franz Werfel, in his blockbuster novel The Forty Days of Musa Dagh. Virtually unknown today, the 900-page novel was widely read when it appeared. Just in time to serve as a prescient critique of Nazism, it was optioned by studio giant MGM in 1934 to produce an epic film starring a young Clark Gable, then on his way to winning an Academy Award for It Happened One Night.

Werfel’s inspiration was a footnote to the Turkish anti-Armenian atrocities of World War I. In June 1915, receiving news of mass expulsions and murder, the inhabitants of six Armenian Christian villages on the Mediterranean coast collected their few possessions and weapons, and fled to the summit of Musa Dagh, highlands on the coast of the Mediterranean, to escape the approaching Turks. The leader of the revolt, Moses Der Kalousdian, a European-educated Armenian gentleman, rallied the spirits of the villagers, held off assaults on their stronghold until, on the verge of capitulation, they were rescued by a passing French warship.

Although the revolt of 4,200 Armenians at Musa Dagh received scattered attention in the press, it was a small event in a much larger conflict. Read the rest of this entry…

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President Joel and Rabbi Penner Address Undergraduate Torah Studies Students on Wilf Campus

Undergraduate Torah Studies on the Wilf Campus officially kicked off on Monday, August 25 with an opening kennus to mark the beginning of a new zman at the Yeshiva University.

The kennus, which took place in the Lamport Auditorium, featured remarks from President Richard M. Joel and Rabbi Menachem Penner, Max and Marion Grill Dean of YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS),  all connected to the themes of ahavat Yisrael and the upcoming month of Elul.  In attendance were students, Roshei Yeshiva, faculty, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Dr. Henry Kressel.

“On the one hand, the zman already started because this morning the beit midrash was louder than ever before,” said Rabbi Penner. “But to establish something kodesh, we must have this special kennus.” Read the rest of this entry…

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