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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Yeshiva University, Baylor University and Catholic University of America Presidents Reflect on Unique Role and Mission of Religious Universities

Before an overflow crowd gathered at the National Press Club’s Edward R. Murrow Room, Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel, Catholic University of America President John Garvey and Baylor University President Ken Starr discussed a number of issues facing higher education and specifically faith-based universities, including government ratings systems, academic freedom and the value of a faith-based education.

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YU President Richard M. Joel (Robert Rogers/Baylor Marketing and Communications)

President Starr began the conversation, titled, “The State of Higher Education and the Calling of Faith-Based Universities,” by noting that one of America’s oldest laws, the Northwest Ordinance, had already deemed “religion, morality and knowledge” a necessary combination for “good government and the happiness of mankind,” suggesting that education grounded in religious and ethical principles was considered essential to the cultivation of the mind as well as spirit. Speaking of the shared values-driven missions of institutions such as YU, Baylor and CUA, President Starr said, “I think we all agree that education is more than a transmission belt, it’s more than attending classes and doing lab work. But what is it?”

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Koren Ani Tefilla Siddur Named National Jewish Book Award Winner

The Koren Ani Tefilla Siddur, the Hebrew/English weekday siddur [prayer book] with translation by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Kressel and Ephrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought at Yeshiva University, and commentary by Rabbi Dr. Jay Goldmintz, adjunct professor at YU’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, has been named a Winner in the Jewish Book Council’s 2014 National Jewish Book Awards.

Ani Tefilla - Ashk openThe Koren Ani Tefilla Siddur is an engaging and thought-provoking siddur for the inquiring high school student and thoughtful adult. It is designed to stimulate an intellectual, visual, and emotional connection to the prayers for every user. The unique, multi-tier commentary consists of four categories: Biur Tefilla, Iyun Tefilla, Hilkhot Tefilla and Ani Tefilla, each designed to enrich one’s understanding and connection the prayers. Additional features include three different layouts for the amida [silent prayer] that allow users to maximize their concentration, inspiring narratives, a collection of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ on prayer, tips on enhancing one’s kavana [concentration], and more.

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The Birthplace of Standup Comedy and One of its Offspring Come Together at Yeshiva University Museum Borscht Belt Event

More than 100 fans of the Catskills braved severe winter weather to warm themselves with a nostalgic evening of Borscht Belt comedy at the Yeshiva University Museum on Monday, February 2, at a program that dovetailed exhibition Echoes of the Borscht Belt: Contemporary Photographs by Marisa Scheinfeld with the viewing of the film “When Comedy Went to School.”  The event, presented by the YU Museum and the Center for Jewish History, was followed by a discussion with Robert Klein, noted comedian, singer, actor and the narrator of the film.

February 2, 2015 Q&A with Robert Klein (Actor, left), Lawrence Richards who conceived and wrote this film as well as a produced it and Mevlut Akkaya (Director, Producer of the film) following screening of the movie When Comedy Went to School at Yeshiva University Museum at 15 West 16th street.

Comedian Robert Klein

The film lightly sketches the development of standup comedy, and the preponderance of Jewish practitioners, in the Catskill hotels during the early and mid 1900s. As cited in the film, 600, hotels, bungalow colonies, and summer camps made their home in the Catskills then, in Sullivan and Ulster Counties, known as the Borscht Belt. These hotels also became, according to comedian Jerry Lewis a “laboratory” for stand-up comedy.

The event, said Dr. Jacob Wisse, director of the Yeshiva University Museum, was inspired by Scheinfeld’s contemporary photographs of Catskill hotels, many of which have been abandoned and fallen into disrepair. In their heyday, the Catskills teemed with Jewish patrons seeking a respite from the heat and congestion of city life and a vacation that included good food and entertainment, including the noted Borscht Belt comedy.

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Yeshiva University and Montefiore Health System Reach Agreement to Establish Joint Venture for Einstein

Dear Members of the YU Community,

I am pleased to report that our ongoing work has resulted in a dynamic plan to create a joint venture for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The Montefiore Health System and Yeshiva University made an announcement confirming that the key terms of an agreement have been reached, with the unanimous endorsement of their respective Boards. The parties are committed to finalizing this as soon as possible.

The announcement read as follows:

“Building on the agreement originally announced in May, the Boards of Trustees of Montefiore Health System and Yeshiva University announced today that they have agreed on the principal terms of an agreement with respect to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. While subject to final documentation and regulatory approval, the parties are proud to continue their longstanding relationship as part of Einstein’s future as a top-tier medical school and research institution.

The agreement deepens the bonds between Montefiore and Einstein, further integrates the institutions’ faculty, students, and staff, and aligns operations to best advance science and medicine. Montefiore and Yeshiva look forward to sharing further details about this historic agreement in the months ahead.”

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Yeshiva High School Wrestlers From Across the Country to Take Part in Annual Competition

Yeshiva University will host the 20th annual Henry Wittenberg Wrestling Tournament from February 13 – 16, at the Max Stern Athletic Center on YU’s Wilf Campus. Sponsored entirely by Yeshiva University, the program will bring together 250 wrestlers from 15 yeshiva high schools across the country.

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The Wittenberg Wrestling Tournament runs February 13-16

In addition to the exciting competition, the long weekend will also include a Shabbaton complete with communal meals, spirited games, a tribute to YU Wrestling Coach Neil Ellman and tournament coordinator Brian Ostrow, and an inspirational lecture by two-time Paralympic Games gold medalist Marlon Shirley, the “World’s Fastest Amputee.”

“This weekend is the highlight of the yeshiva high school wrestling calendar,” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander

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February 26 Job Fair Offers Opportunities and Connections in Jewish Communal and Educational Fields

Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) and Institute for University-School Partnership (YU School Partnership) will host their annual Jewish Job Fair on Thursday, February 26, 2015 in Furst Hall on YU’s Wilf Campus, 500 West 185th Street in New York City. The event is free and open to the public from 7-9 p.m., with priority admission for YU students and alumni beginning at 6 p.m.

In addition to showcasing a variety of professional opportunities at well-respected Jewish schools, organizations and non-profits, the event provides a robust networking forum for job-hunters seeking information on everything from scholarships and internships to career development programming.

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Murray and Basheva Goldberg Dedicate Pastoral Psychology Program at RIETS

For Murray and Basheva Goldberg, of Teaneck, New Jersey, a gift to support Yeshiva University was an opportunity to make a lasting impact on as many people as possible. When the Goldbergs learned of the pastoral psychology program at YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), where students studying for the rabbinate learn how to best guide their congregants and community members through both celebratory and challenging times, they knew they’d found their philanthropic match.

Murray and Basheva Goldberg

Murray and Basheva Goldberg

“By supporting the pastoral psychology program, we’re not only affecting the men sitting in the classrooms at a specific time, but we’re also positively impacting everyone those students will go on to serve as rabbis,” said Basheva Goldberg ’65YUHS, ’69S, who remembers her time at YU fondly. “We also feel confident that these young men will take the message of YU—its hashkafah [outlook] of Torah Umadda—and successfully give that message over to so many.”

For many in the Jewish community, their rabbi is the first person they turn to when seeking guidance on meeting personal challenges or addressing questions concerning faith, family and friends. The pastoral psychology program at RIETS explores some of the basic concepts, principles and requisite skills for rabbis who seek to be effective counselors and educators. Topics include mental health issues, domestic violence and substance abuse. Training is also offered on how to develop listening and communication skills and how to apply the basic types of psychotherapeutic approaches in a pastoral setting. Even students who are obtaining semicha [rabbinical ordination] but are not planning to enter the rabbinate are required to take courses in pastoral psychology since the fundamentals from these classes are beneficial to myriad other professions.

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More Than 450 Students From Around the World to Tackle Global Issues February 8-10

Some 450 students from Jewish high schools around the world will gather at the Stamford Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Stamford, Connecticut, February 8-10, to participate in the 25th annual Yeshiva University National Model United Nations conference (YUNMUN). Simulating the countries and committees from the real United Nations, student delegates from 44 yeshiva high schools and community day schools across 3 continents will discuss a wide range of issues, including gender roles, human rights and international law.

12491827615_b8e8a1fdf5_zMore than 60 YU undergraduate students and 65 faculty advisers will be on-hand at the event to ensure that the student-run simulation runs smoothly, allowing participants to learn about the complex landscape of international diplomacy.

“Yeshiva University hosts a Model United Nations because it is critical that we educate students about our mandate to matter. We must consistently reinforce a responsibility for helping shape the destiny of civilization,” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander, YU’s vice president for university and community life.

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