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Columnist George Will and NYU President John Sexton Discuss “Baseball, Tradition and God” at Straus Center Event

A rapt audience of 200 filled the seats of Yeshiva University’s Shenk Community Shul on Wednesday, December 17, to hear Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will and New York University President John Sexton discuss baseball and its relationship to religion and democracy. The event, titled “Baseball Tradition, and God,” was the latest in a series of “Great Conversations” presented by YU’s Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought.

George Will, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik and John Sexton discuss "Baseball, Tradition, and God."

George Will, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik and John Sexton discuss “Baseball, Tradition, and God” at December 17 Straus Center event.

Introducing Will and Sexton as “two extraordinary athletes of the mind,” Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik, director of the Straus Center and moderator of the talk, opened his remarks by asking if baseball is simply a game or does it also teach us about the virtues of love, loyalty, fidelity and faith. He also connected the discussion to Chanukah, citing the clash of Hellenistic and Jewish culture.

Will, a Chicago Cubs fan, said he appreciates baseball for the game itself but asked why we, as a society, care so much. “We attach ourselves to a team and acquire a tribal identity.”

Rabbi Soloveichik said that Cubs fans accept “their fate with good cheer” and that it builds strong character—even if you try hard and long enough you’ll still lose. 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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Michael Gamson, Judith Weiss and Anita Zucker Honored at Yeshiva University’s 90th Hanukkah Convocation and Dinner

Former President George W. Bush was the special guest and keynote speaker at Yeshiva University’s 90th Annual Hanukkah Convocation and Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City on Sunday, December 14. More than 750 people came to show their support for the University and to witness YU President Richard M. Joel confer an honorary doctorate upon the 43rd U.S. president.

“What an honor it is to have you as part of the Yeshiva University family,” said President Joel in his introduction of President Bush. “We celebrate you for the steadfastness of your integrity, for your commitment to democracy, and your clarity of vision that only in a democratic society can people achieve and grow and thrive. Put simply, you taught Americans that democracy is a condition for civilization.”

He added, “We applaud you for the loyalty of your friendship and commitment to the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”

In his keynote address, President Bush said, “Yeshiva University is a prestigious university and I am proud to accept this degree.” Read the rest of this entry…

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New Design Will Create Updated Student-Focused Research and Study Center

The Mendel Gottesman Library, research center and student hub at Yeshiva University’s Wilf campus, will soon undergo a major renovation. Thanks to a generous donation from David S. Gottesman, former chairman of the YU Board of Trustees, and his wife, Ruth, the library is receiving a complete overhaul that will see the ground level through the fourth floor revamped. Mr. Gottesman, a grandson of Mendel Gottesman, also participated in the planning and design of the library.

The library renovations will feature new floor-to-ceiling windows

The library renovations will feature new floor-to-ceiling windows

“The library was completed in 1969 and has really terrific features, but modes of study and learning have changed significantly since then,” said Dean of YU’s Libraries Pearl Berger. “Fifty or 60 years ago, the primary function of library buildings was to house collections. While library collections retain great significance, today’s university libraries are student-centered and are designed to support the variety of learning activities in which students engage. The planned renovation is focused upon our students, with the aim of creating library environments that support student needs.” Read the rest of this entry…

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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.’

jesse itzkowitz

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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Straus Center Presents December 17 Conversation with Columnist George Will and NYU President John Sexton

Yeshiva University’s Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought presents a conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will and New York University President John Sexton on “Baseball, Tradition and God” on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at Shenk Community Shul, 560 West 185th Street, New York City. The discussion, moderated by Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik, director of the Straus Center, will begin at 7 p.m.

George WIll

George Will

Will is one of the country’s most widely-read political columnists, as well as its foremost conservative voice. His popular twice-weekly column for The Washington Post syndicate reaches nearly 475 newspapers throughout the United States and Europe. Read the rest of this entry…

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Former NBA Commissioner David Stern Shares Career and Business Strategies with YU Students

More than 200 students welcomed former National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern to Yeshiva University’s Max Stern Athletic Center on November 18.

davidsternAt an event organized by YU’s Sports Management student club, Stern reflected on his three-decade tenure as commissioner, which ended this past February, and how he transformed the NBA from a sports league to a global icon. Stern is credited for advancing the NBA’s operations, public service, global marketing and digital technology.

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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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