CJF Winter Missions to Tackle Humanitarian Aid and Leadership Development in Haiti and Jewish Communities Across U.S.

Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) will send 36 undergraduate students on two innovative service learning programs during the University’s upcoming winter intersession. From January 10-18, student leaders will take part in an array of hands-on community building projects on a humanitarian aid mission to Haiti and another group will travel across the United States to analyze how individuals can become active and make a difference in the country’s diverse Jewish communities.

On the JDC Insider Service Trip to Haiti, 15 Yeshiva University students will collaborate on several Jewish service learning projects and meet with JDC-partner organizations to learn about Haiti’s history and the humanitarian issues present in Haiti following the massive earthquake in January 2010. The JDC, the world’s largest Jewish humanitarian assistance organization, provides multifaceted programming developed for the Haitian population, including medical relief, emergency services, access to clean water and food, physical rehabilitation, education, post-trauma relief, and job training.

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Revel Student’s Research Examines Daily Legalities of Biblical Life Through a Comparative Lens

Judaism relies heavily on its legal library: written discussions of the law are almost synonymous with the religion, describing practices that date back to the beginnings of the Bible and beyond. But what did those practices actually look like in the day-to-day lives of ancient Israelites? Like many civilizations of the time, the Jews of the biblical era used papyrus for everyday business affairs; few artifacts from the era survive to illustrate how the rules and regulations found in the canonical Torah were observed.

20141223_yael_wermuth_06For Yael Landman Wermuth, a doctoral student at Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, the key to understanding these texts lies not so much in the history of ancient Jews, but in that of their neighbors.

Landman Wermuth’s doctoral thesis examines areas of biblical law through a comparative lens, drawing on examples from the contemporary Mesopotamian and Hittite law codes, which contain many similarities to that of the Bible, as well as ancient Near Eastern contracts, letters, trial records and other documents that offer a glimpse of legal practice in everyday Mesopotamian life.

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Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus Rabbis Across North America Maintain Close RIETS Ties

Graduates of YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) serving as Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) rabbis at east coast college campuses returned to Yeshiva University to reconnect and meet with Roshei Yeshiva and administration on December 24.

RIETS - JLIC Panel

RIETS graduates and current JLIC rabbis returned to Yeshiva University on December 24 to reconnect and discuss issues they face on college campuses.

JLIC, a program administered by the Orthodox Union and Hillel, “helps Orthodox students navigate the college environment and balance their Jewish commitments,” explained Rabbi Ronald Schwarzberg, director of the Morris and Gertrude Bienenfeld Department of Jewish Career Development and Placement Center for the Jewish Future-RIETS.

He added, the JLIC couples are there “to inspire and learn with Orthodox affiliated students on campus, to open their homes and create an atmosphere where students will feel welcome and continue to remain engaged with their Judaism while on campus.”

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At 93 Percent, Match Rate for Ferkauf’s Clinical PsyD Program is One of Best in the Country

With 93 percent of students placed in internship programs, the clinical PsyD program at Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology had one of the highest match rates of similar programs in the United States over the past four years, according to a recent report by the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers. The report is one of the factors that potential graduate students weigh when deciding where to pursue their doctoral degree.

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A Look Back at Some of 2014′s Most Memorable Moments at Yeshiva University

From orientation, advanced research, and outstanding athletic achievements to commencement and the Celebrate Israel Parade, 2014 proved to be another memorable year at Yeshiva University. The past 12 months were filled with exciting events and notable speakers, including a record Chag HaSemikhah and President George W. Bush keynoting YU’s 90th Hanukkah Convocation. Take a look back at some of 2014′s most memorable moments.

View additional Yeshiva University photos on Flickr.

Inaugural Rabbi Allan Mirvis Lecture Confronts and Contrasts Jewish Leadership Roles

Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik, director of Yeshiva University’s Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, delivered the inaugural Rabbi Allan Mirvis lecture on Sunday morning, December 21, at the Shenk Community Shul on YU’s Wilf Campus. More than 150 attended the presentation, “Kohen, King, Rabbi, Rosh Yeshiva: Models of Jewish leadership from the Maccabees to Today,” part of the Abraham Arbesfeld Kollel Yom Rishon and Millie Arbesfeld Midreshet Yom Rishon Sunday Torah learning series.

Rabbi Meir Soloveichik

Rabbi Meir Soloveichik

In his presentation, Rabbi Soloveichik cited rabbinic sources, British coronation customs, and connected the weekly and Chanukah Torah readings and historical and personal anecdotes in comparing the roles of the Kohanim [priests] and Jewish kings with the current roles and actions of roshei yeshiva [professors of Talmud] and shul [synagogue] rabbis. He recounted the short-lived victory of the Hasmoneans over the Seleucids during the Second Temple, with the rededication of the Beit Hamikdash [Temple] in 165 BCE, noting the achievement of Jewish sovereignty “should be a holiday” but that it went “downhill from there” due to the subsequent behavior of the Hasmoneans.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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