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Yeshiva University and RIETS Present December 25 Yarchei Kallah 

Yeshiva University and the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) will present a communitywide Yarchei Kallah [gathering for Torah study] Thursday, December 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Jacob and Dreizel Glueck Center for Jewish Studies, 515 West 185th Street, New York City.

Sessions will focus on current issues facing the land of Israel, including shemittah [the Sabbatical year], the Temple Mount, halachic [Jewish law] ramifications of Israel’s proposed conversion bill, archeology in Jerusalem, as well as communal and social matters. Read the rest of this entry…

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Students, Faculty and Alumni Honored as Points of Light at Hanukkah Dinner

Students, faculty and alumni who embody the mission of Yeshiva University were recognized as “Points of Light” during the dinner portion of Yeshiva University’s 90th Annual Hanukkah Dinner and Convocation, held at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria on December 14.

“The lesson of Hanukkah is that the Jewish people must cast the light of our values onto the world,” said YU President Richard M. Joel. “Tonight, we publicize the lights that represent the past, present, and future of Yeshiva University.”

Read more about the Points of Light below. Read the rest of this entry…

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Yeshiva University Celebrates Rabbi Dr. Bernard Rosensweig’s 38 Years of Dedicated Service

After 38 years of molding students’ minds and expanding their Torah horizons at Yeshiva College, Rabbi Dr. Bernard Rosensweig, visiting professor of Jewish history, literature and philosophy at Yeshiva University, will be retiring at the end of this semester.  On Thursday, December 11, some 100 friends, relatives and colleagues came to pay tribute and celebrate the beloved educator’s career at a reception held at Weisberg Commons on the Wilf Campus.

“Rabbi Dr. Rosensweig has touched thousands of talmidim [students] with his warmth, wisdom, wit and passion for Jewish history and the Jewish community,” said Rabbi Menachem Penner, Max and Marion Grill Dean of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and Undergraduate Torah Studies. “He is beloved by students and colleagues. I, myself, was a talmid several decades ago, and have never ceased being a talmid.” Read the rest of this entry…

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Yeshiva University Offers Online Child Abuse Prevention Course for Rabbis

Early each Monday morning, from 1:30 to 3:30 a.m., Rabbi Alon Meltzer wakes up and logs on to his computer, joining 20 other rabbis from countries around the world who are participating in a new online Yeshiva University course designed to help rabbinic leaders identify and protect their communities from the dangers of child abuse. As rabbi of the ACT Jewish Community, Inc., in Canberra, Australia, he considers the sleep loss a small price to pay.

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Victor Vieth

“It’s imperative that we, as rabbis in the Orthodox world, understand as much as we can about child abuse if we are going to navigate the complexity of emotions and pain of congregants, or anyone who has experienced an atrocity like this, as they seek guidance,” said Meltzer. “Continuing my education is paramount and the opportunities afforded to me through YU grants me, and by extension my community, access to the brightest minds in an array of fields.”

Jointly offered by YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF), YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center, the course, “Addressing Child Abuse: Defining Roles, Enhancing Skills,” takes place over 12 weeks and features experts in fields that run the gamut from synagogue safety to emotional healing.

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Research from Sy Syms and Seton Hall Finds Alphabetical Bias When Picking Stocks

There are probably many reasons why Apple and Amazon are among the most highly-traded stocks on the market, but one of them is surprisingly simple: they both start with the letter ‘A.’

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Dr. Jesse Itzkowitz, assistant professor of marketing

According to a new study by Dr. Jesse Itzkowitz, assistant professor of marketing at Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business, in collaboration with his wife, Jennifer Itzkowitz, assistant professor of finance at Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business, and her colleague, Scott Rothbort, chief market strategist at Stillman, early alphabet stocks trade more frequently and at higher valuations than later alphabet stocks because individual investors tend to settle on an acceptable option as soon as they find one, instead of evaluating all options based on rigorous analysis in search of the absolute best choice. That tendency is exacerbated by the overwhelming amount of information about the market that’s available to potential investors these days.

“Simply said, investors are lazy,” said Jesse Itzkowitz. Read the rest of this entry…

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Yeshiva College Hebrew Instructor Places First in 2014 U.S. National Bible Contest

Yair Shahak, Hebrew instructor at Yeshiva College, was crowned the winner of the 2014 United States National Bible Contest for Adults on Sunday, November 30 in New York City.

Yair Shahak

Yair Shahak will represent the U.S. at the upcoming International Chidon HaTanach.

Shahak, a graduate of Yeshiva College and the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and a current student at the Belz School of Jewish Music, persevered against 12 talented challengers to claim the first place spot and the opportunity to represent the United States at the International Chidon HaTanach (Bible Contest) for Adults in Jerusalem on December 23, 2014.

“This victory means a great deal to me because I have been involved in Bible study all my life,” said Shahak, a native of Brooklyn, New York. ”It was a very emotional win, as I felt as though I was coming full circle while battling it out against some very capable Bible scholars. I fell in love with the stories and language of the Bible at a young age, and there is still nothing that gives me more joy than sharing my love of the Bible with my students at Yeshiva University.” Read the rest of this entry…

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Scholars Gather for Symposium on Flood Story’s Depiction in Bible and Film

The recently released movie “Noah” brought together top academic minds on Sunday, November 30, at the Yeshiva University Museum for a symposium titled “Modeling the Flood Story: Midrash and Movie,” presented by the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, Yeshiva College and YU Museum. The scholars analyzed popular Noah movies past and present in the context of the Torah’s account of Noah, interpretations of that account in Midrash [rabbinic biblical exegesis], and the flood story as deciphered in clay cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia.

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Panelists Finkel, Steinmetz and Rubenstein

The 2014 movie, directed by Darren Aronofsky, and written by Aronofsky and Ari Handel, was criticized for deviating from the biblical story by Dr. Irving Finkel, curator and an authority of cuneiform on clay tablets from ancient Mesopotamia at the British Museum. In contrast, Dr. Devora Steinmetz, who serves on the leadership team for special programs at Drisha, said that the movie made her go back to the text.

More than 100 participants came to hear Finkel, Steinmetz and Dr. Jeffrey Rubenstein, professor of Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University, discuss the flood story. Dr. Eric Goldman, adjunct professor of cinema at Yeshiva University, presented film clips of three older Noah films and two clips from the 2014 version. The three academics were joined by Rabbi Hayyim Angel, instructor of Bible at Yeshiva University, for a panel discussion on the current film and its deviations from the Bible’s narrative. Read the rest of this entry…

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Yeshiva College Research Team Publishes Findings on Protein Structure in Leading Crystallography Journal

A research team led by physics professors Dr. Neer Asherie and Dr. Sergey Buldyrev discovered a new way to control the crystallization of proteins so that researchers can more easily determine a protein’s 3D structure. These findings were published in Acta Crystallographica D, a leading crystallography journal. The paper was co-authored by five former and current Yeshiva College students.

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Dr. Neer Asherie

The team, which includes Dr. Bruce Hrnjez at Collegiate School and Dr. Jean Jakoncic at Brookhaven National Laboratory, discovered that adding a specific class of small molecules to water solutions of proteins not only induces the proteins to crystallize, but can also control the type of crystal formed.

“Protein crystals are used to figure out the structure and function of proteins, which is important for understanding certain diseases and for drug development,” said Asherie. “However, proteins are difficult to crystallize. Our research suggests a new way to control protein crystallization and – we hope – increase the success rate of making crystals. The results are new and lay a fertile ground for future studies. ”

The article describes several years of work, to which both past and current YU students contributed by carrying out experiments, simulations and data analysis. Read the rest of this entry…

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Fine and Holz Appointed Endowed Chairs; Shatz Named University Professor

In recognition of their outstanding achievements, Yeshiva University recently honored two faculty members at Stern College for Women and one at Yeshiva College.

At Stern College, Dr. Marina Holz has been named the Doris and Ira Kukin Chair in Biology and Dr. David Shatz has been appointed University Professor of Philosophy, Ethics and Religious Thought. Dr. Steven Fine has been named the Dean Pinkhos Churgin Chair in Jewish History at Yeshiva College.

“Each of these individuals is a leader and an innovator whose work advances education and research at Yeshiva University,” said Dr. Selma Botman, vice president for academic affairs and provost at YU. “We recognize their accomplishments with the highest honors the University bestows: named chairs and a University professorship. David, Marina, and Steve represent for students and their colleagues what is worthy and noble about the life of the mind. The advances they have made in science and the humanities come through dedicated and tireless work, relentless focus and the joy that new knowledge brings.”

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Dr. Marina Holz

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In Sy Syms Social Media Marketing Course, Students Become the Experts

They’re brainstorming viral campaigns, submitting budget proposals, developing websites, pitching to media and conferencing with clients—and that’s just during this week’s class sessions.

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Sy Syms students in the Social Media Marketing course taught by Professor Steven Chan (center) offer personal finance help in Washington Square Park as part of their campaign.

They’re students in the new Social Media Marketing course at Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business, and if their workload sounds more like a typical day at a marketing agency than a college lecture, it’s no accident. There are no textbooks and few required readings for this course. Instead, the class operates on one simple principle: learn by doing.

“Social media has become a phenomenon in our culture, something that can’t be ignored by any kind of business or anyone who’s trying to communicate anything online,” said Assistant Professor of Marketing Steven Chan, who designed and is leading the course. “There’s no foundation to teaching this kind of thing because it’s a new medium that’s just come about in the last few years. To me it would be boring and beside the point to teach it in a textbook way.” Read the rest of this entry…

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