Jewish and Psychological Perspectives for Helping Children, Adolescents, as well as Adults, to Cope with Loss and Terror

It is with deep sadness and profound outrage that we learned of the murders of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach. For the past few weeks, the lives of these boys, and the incredible faith of their families, have made an enduring impact upon each and every one of us, and upon the entire Jewish people.3-boys-memory Our devotion to Tefilah and unified sense of “Am Yisrael” was palpable throughout our community. Families joined together in prayer, lighting additional candles for Shabbat, posting signs on our lawns, and flooding social media with a movement to raise global awareness of their plight. We embraced the families of the boys as heroes of our faith, and marveled at the remarkable strength they maintained and provided to the entire Jewish people. They spoke to the heart and transcended all divisions within our people that only weeks ago seemed entrenched as part of Jewish life.

There are no words to truly capture the pain of our nation’s loss. Yet, our children will turn to us for guidance and understanding regarding the emotional and spiritual challenges that arise in such a devastating experience. Please find a number of resources compiled by Yeshiva University from both internal sources, and from Chai Lifeline that provide strategies and insights in addressing these circumstances with your children.

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Yeshiva College Professor Wins $34,500 Grant for Project that Tackles the Inherent Value of Immortality—Or Lack Thereof

20140617_aaron_segal_19What’s so great about living forever?

It may seem like a no-brainer, but Dr. Aaron Segal, assistant professor of philosophy at Yeshiva University’s Yeshiva College, isn’t convinced. While the pros and cons of immortality have been heatedly debated in the philosophical community for thousands of years—If we could extend our lives indefinitely, should we? If living is good, is living longer better?—the qualities that make immortality desirable haven’t been clearly defined.

“The arguments that have been offered are usually arguments that attempt to show that there is something wrong or bad about us being immortal, like we would be terminally bored or not able to value what makes life meaningful,” said Segal. But he believes there is a more basic question philosophers have yet to answer: What would make immortal life so great in and of itself that couldn’t be achieved, at least in theory, during a more limited lifetime?

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Awards Honor Dedicated Alumni, Staff and Employer Liaisons

The Yeshiva University Career Center has announced the 2013-2014 recipients of its annual Partners of the Year Awards.

Bestowed in three areas, the awards highlight the efforts of alumni, faculty and staff, and employer liaisons to help students and new graduates further their careers. “The Career Center Partners have all, in their own ways and through their efforts and collaboration with us, contributed to the growth and success of our YU students in the area of career development,” said Marc Goldman, executive director of the Career Center. “Through education, advice, and access to opportunities, these partners have gone above and beyond to frequently work with the Career Center to enhance its efforts for YU students pursuing employment and/or graduate and professional school options.”

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Ninth Annual Service Learning Program to Empower 300 Israeli Youth, Receive Support From Local Municipalities

The Yeshiva University Center for the Jewish Future’s (CJF) Counterpoint Israel Program, an immersive service-learning initiative that aims to empower the next generation of Israeli youth via an exciting, Jewish values-driven summer camp experience, has been retooled to maximize manpower efficiency and its impact on the Israeli communities it serves.

COunterpoint

YU students will help empower some 300 underprivileged youth throughout Israel this summer as part of the Counterpoint program.

Over the last several years, undergraduate students from Yeshiva University ran four separate summer camps in the cities of Arad, Dimona, Kiryat Gat and Kiryat Malachi concurrently. Basing itself on the North American Jewish camping system, this year’s program will offer two separate camp sessions, making it possible for YU students to focus their undivided attention and complete creativity on two cities at a time.

The YU students, natives of North America, Colombia and Chile, will run camps in Kiryat Gat and Kiryat Malachi from June 29 – July 10 before relocating to Dimona and Arad for the second session, scheduled for July 13 – 24.

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Newly Graduated, Yeshiva University Alumni Find Career, Graduate School Success  

job fair 2As undergraduates, Yeshiva University students learn to balance a rich and vibrant range of academic, extracurricular and spiritual pursuits, dedicating themselves to rigorous Torah and secular study while discovering their passions, championing their beliefs and forming lasting friendships. So it’s no surprise that after commencement, they hit the ground running: more than 90 percent of YU graduates were employed, in graduate school, or both within 6 months of graduation, according to the most recent survey by YU’s Career Center.

“The fact that for the last six years, we’ve been at or above that 90 percent rate is impressive,” said Marc Goldman, executive director of the Career Center. “In particular, full time employment has risen even higher than in past years, with more than 85 percent of those employed working in full time positions—that number rises to more than 90 percent when you look at those who aren’t also in graduate school.”

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In recent days, you have likely seen various articles about Yeshiva University’s investment performance, debt,  and endowment. We stated we will not engage with the media further in this regard, but we believe it is important that you, as critical partners in Yeshiva’s present and future, know some key facts about Yeshiva’s financial situation, investment performance and policies.

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Jewish Educational Leadership and Innovation Progam Will Use Blended Learning Techniques to Reach More Educators

Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration will soon be offering a new doctoral degree in Jewish Educational Leadership and Innovation. Slated to begin in the fall, the program will combine virtual learning opportunities with live sessions periodically throughout the year and will replace Azrieli’s existing doctoral degree in Jewish Education and Administration.

Dr. Rona Novick

Dr. Rona Novick, incoming dean at Azrieli

While Azrieli’s current program featured a more traditional model of 14-week semesters and three-credit courses and was accessible only for those living locally, the new program aims to reach a broader group of educators beyond the New York area, through blended learning techniques and a more hands-on approach to learning.

“Azrieli’s and YU’s mission is not limited to the New York geographic region, and we aim to serve Jewish day schools in New York and beyond,” said Dr. Rona Novick, director of the Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Doctoral Program and incoming dean of Azrieli, effective July 1. “The idea of a day school leader having to leave their community to access our resources is not ideal. In the past, we’ve had inquiries from people all over the globe and had to turn them away. We want this program to be available to a wider range of educators and communities.”

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Students Gain Unique Perspective of Germany And Connect With Local Jewish Community on CJF Program

As the spring semester drew to a close, a select group of 16 students traveled to Germany May 25-June 2 as part of Germany Close Up, a week-long program organized by Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) for participants to learn about Germany’s contemporary Jewish community and the effects of the Holocaust on its growth.

Germany Close Up is a youth encounter program administered by the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace in cooperation with the New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Foundation and is funded by a grant from the German Government’s Transatlantic Program, which draws on funds from the European Recovery Program of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.

Remains of the Berlin Wall

The group at the remains of the Berlin Wall

Accompanied by Rabbi Yaakov Glasser, associate dean of the CJF, and Aliza Abrams, director of the CJF’s Department of Jewish Service Learning, students enjoyed a unique multi-dimensional experience that allowed them to reflect on their own Jewish identity on an intellectual and emotional level, while connecting to the local Jewish community as well.

“Traveling to Germany is an emotionally charged experience,” said Abrams. “As a Jew you are confronted with many questions and think about every step you take in Germany and every person you interact with. Our group had very meaningful interactions with both the Jewish community and members of the non-Jewish community who are committed to sharing their country’s history in an effort to ensure that a Holocaust will never happen again.”

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Yeshiva College Senior Mark Weingarten is Researching Bioethics at the Hastings Center
Mark Weingarten, student

Mark Weingarten, a senior at Yeshiva University, was selected to conduct research as part of the Emily Murray Fellowship at the Hastings Center for Bioethics in Hastings, New York this summer.

The three-week program began at the end of May and is open to undergraduates who are preparing a senior thesis in bioethics. Weingarten’s research will focus on two projects that integrate Torah, biomedical science and law. One will explore the ethical considerations that arise from the publication of irreproducible or seemingly fraudulent scientific data, in addition to developing systems approaches to enhance research integrity. The other will examine ethical issues with respect to animals, particularly regarding the controversy over the humane killing of animals for food, and the interplay between religion, history, law and ethics in determining policy.

“I hope to use this research to investigate the broader questions that underlie many elements of the biomedical field in general, and the way in which legal and religious traditions engage advancements in science and technology,” said Weingarten, who is majoring in history at Yeshiva College and also pursuing semicha (rabbinic ordination) at YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. “I hope that this study will further my ability to synthesize the knowledge and sensitivities that I have gleaned from my rabbinical studies and biological research to address personal and societal ethical scientific dilemmas.”

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After 13 Years at the Helm, Outgoing Azrieli Dean Sheds Light on Advances in the Field

YU-121412-Dr-Schnall (1)On June 30, Dr. David Schnall will step down after 13 years as dean of Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration. An author and Fulbright Scholar, he expects to resume teaching and publishing at YU after a brief sabbatical. Schnall, who was recently named University Professor of Jewish Culture and Society, sat down with YU News to share his unique perspective and insight into the communal changes that are redefining the field of Jewish education and to discuss new frontiers for both the field and Azrieli.

Q: How have you seen the field of Jewish education change during your tenure as dean of Azrieli?

DS: To my mind, the focus of Jewish community life, particularly Orthodox Jewish life, has moved from social services and the synagogue to the school. The famous Mishna in Avot tells us that the world rests on three props: the study of Torah, prayer, and acts of mercy and compassion. It’s been suggested that Jews in the United States have accomplished all that, but in reverse order.

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