Dallas Philanthropist Receives Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree for Contributions to the University

Philanthropist Ethel Gruen was honored at a special March 19 reception at the Dallas home of Ruthy and Steven Rosenberg.

From left to right: Ruthy and Steven Rosenberg, Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky, Ethel Gruen and YU President Richard M. Joel

From left to right: Ruthy and Steven Rosenberg, Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky, Ethel Gruen and YU President Richard M. Joel

A Yeshiva University Benefactor, Gruen received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from YU President Richard M. Joel in recognition of her contributions to the University. Her late husband, Ronald, received an honorary degree from Yeshiva at a 2004 Dallas convocation.

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Yeshiva University Celebrates Largest Class of Rabbis at Chag HaSemikhah Convocation

On March 23, no early spring chill could deny the warmth and excitement on Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus as hundreds of voices lifted in joyful song and cheering soared high above Amsterdam Avenue. The street flooded with celebration as more than 230 new musmakhim [ordained rabbis] linked arms and hands and danced together in front of Zysman Hall, pausing only to receive hugs or words of congratulations from their esteemed Roshei Yeshiva, mentors, family and friends.

Representing the largest cohort in history, the musmakhim were celebrating their ordination from YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) at its Chag HaSemikhah. In a day filled with festive song and dance and brimming with pride, the graduates of the 2011-2014 classes joined more than 3,000 rabbinic alumni who have gone on to become distinguished Orthodox rabbis, scholars, educators and leaders around the world.

“At a very crucial time in Jewish history, you are uniquely trained and qualified to reach out to Jews of all backgrounds with an authentic Torah message,” Rabbi Menachem Penner, the Max and Marion Grill Dean of RIETS and Undergraduate Torah Studies at YU, told the musmakhim. “In you, we see the bright future of our community.”

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Naomi Schwartz Selected as American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Undergraduate Honor Society Member

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Naomi Schwartz

Naomi Schwartz, a senior studying molecular biology at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women and president of the Stern College Biology Club, has been named as one of only 37 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Undergraduate Honor Society members nationwide.

The Honor Society recognizes exceptional undergraduate juniors and seniors pursuing a degree in the molecular life sciences at a college or university that is a member of the ASBMB Undergraduate Affiliate Network (UAN). Stern College’s Biology Club started a UAN chapter this fall.

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Abraham Foxman to Deliver April 2 Hillel Rogoff Memorial Lecture

Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League since 1987, will discuss “Reflections on Current Events: Anti-Semitism in 2014” at the Hillel Rogoff Annual Memorial Lecture at Yeshiva University on April 2 at 8 p.m. in the Israel Henry Beren Campus’ Koch Auditorium at 245 Lexington Avenue, New York City.

Foxman, author of Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism, is a world-renowned leader in the fight against anti-Semitism, bigotry and discrimination. At the forefront of significant issues, including terrorism, religious intolerance and the Holocaust, he consistently speaks out against hatred and violence.

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Meet the Musmakh: Rabbi Noah Cheses Builds a Spiritual Home for Yale University Students

Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and the Yeshiva University community will celebrate the ordination of its largest class of musmakhim [ordained rabbis] at its Chag HaSemikhah Convocation on March 23, 2014. The record class of rabbis represents an internationally diverse group, hailing from five continents and more than 50 North American cities. While most will remain engaged in either full-time post-semikhah Torah study or religious work—Jewish education, the pulpit, outreach or non-profit work—many will pursue careers in other professions, including medicine and law.

In the weeks leading up to the celebration, YU News will introduce you to several of these remarkable musmakhim

Rabbi Noah Cheses“Compassion” and “trust” were the two words that led Rabbi Noah Cheses to a career in the rabbinate. As a curious high school junior in Newton, MA, he’d approached local congregation leader Rabbi Benjamin Samuels ’94YC, ’94BR, ’96R, about his calling. “He told me that becoming a great pulpit rabbi requires opening your heart, sharing your mind and forming relationships of trust with your congregants,” said Cheses.

It was a deeply intriguing message, and Cheses took it to heart. After graduating from the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program at Yeshiva College, he decided to enroll in the semikha program at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Simultaneously, he pursued a master’s degree in Jewish philosophy at YU’s Bernard Revel School of Jewish Studies. He also studied in YU’s Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Institute in Israel for two years while completing coursework for his master’s degree in Family Counseling and Therapy at the Family Institute in Jerusalem.

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Meet the Musmakh: Rabbi Yosef Bronstein Continues His Father’s Devotion to Torah Scholarship at RIETS

Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and the Yeshiva University community will celebrate the ordination of its largest class of musmakhim [ordained rabbis] at its Chag HaSemikhah Convocation on March 23, 2014. The record class of rabbis represents an internationally diverse group, hailing from five continents and more than 50 North American cities. While most will remain engaged in either full-time post-semikhah Torah study or religious work—Jewish education, the pulpit, outreach or non-profit work—many will pursue careers in other professions, including medicine and law.

In the weeks leading up to the celebration, YU News will introduce you to several of these remarkable musmakhim

Yosef BronsteinAs a young boy growing up in Bayswater, NY, the prominent Torah scholars at Yeshiva University-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary were household names in the home of Rabbi Yosef Bronstein. His father, Rabbi Chaim Bronstein, was a musmakh of the yeshiva and had worked as an administrator there since before Yosef was born. “The study and teaching of Torah were heavily-emphasized values in our home,” recalled Bronstein. “We regarded the faculty at RIETS as respected Torah leaders and role models.”

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I’ve promised to keep you apprised of significant developments as we continue the important work of building a sustainable Yeshiva University for generations to come.

A number of positive initiatives are underway, but I am writing to you primarily to report that the University has just entered into an agreement to sell 10 residential properties in close proximity to our Wilf Campus in Washington Heights. This sale delivers a tremendous return on the University’s original investment and provides an infusion of cash that will be used to strengthen our financial position and enhance our ability to invest in our core objective: delivering an unmatched educational experience for our students.

Yeshiva University has been a presence in Washington Heights for almost a century and we couldn’t be prouder to call this vibrant neighborhood our home. YU’s purchase of the buildings seven years ago was intended to enhance our presence here and to benefit all of Washington Heights, a neighborhood whose diversity makes it so exceptional. That objective has been achieved, and the buyer respects what we have built around Wilf Campus and shares our commitment to preserve the special flavor of the community.

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YU Faculty Offer Insight into Historical, Political and Religious World of Esther

It’s the only book in the Bible to omit all mention of God, the Torah and the land of Israel. Aside from Genesis, it’s also the most written-about biblical work in the Talmud. Throughout the ages, the unique tension in the Book of Esther has made it one of the most fascinating books in Jewish tradition, and also one of the most deeply complex. On March 10, in honor of the upcoming festival of Purim, scholars from schools across Yeshiva University came together to discuss those complexities and their implications for Jewish thought and experience.

"Exploring Esther: The Origins, Values and Power of Purim” at the YU Museum

Dr. Aaron Koller and Yael Leibowitz

Co-hosted by the Yeshiva University Museum, Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, and the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, the evening, titled “Exploring Esther: The Origins, Values and Power of Purim,” focused on the historical and political context, religious significance and gender roles in Esther. Panelists included Dr. Aaron Koller, assistant dean and associate professor of Near Eastern and Jewish Studies at Yeshiva College; Yael Leibowitz, instructor in Bible at Stern College; Rabbi Dr. Meir Y. Soloveichik, director of the Straus Center; and Dr. Daniel Tsadik, assistant professor of Sephardic and Iranian studies at Revel.

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Yeshiva University Students Pack Mishloach Manot for Kharkov’s Jewish Community 

After spending their winter break volunteering in Ukraine’s Jewish community, a group of Yeshiva University students decided to send their support and some Purim cheer to their friends in the troubled region. On Tuesday, March 11, students packed dozens of mishloach manot packages to ship to the Jewish community in Kharkov, Ukraine, in time for the upcoming holiday.

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“We wanted to do something special for our Ukrainian brothers and sisters,” said Lauren Elefant, program coordinator at the Center for the Jewish Future, who led the January mission. “When we were in the Ukraine, they made us a part of their lives for a week, so we felt the need to show our love and support for them during this stressful period. By sending these mishloach manot packages we hope to enhance their Purim celebrations and continue the long lasting friendships that we made.”

Rabbi Hershel Schachter and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks to Be Recognized for Contributions to Jewish Law in Modern Life

Yeshiva University Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Nathan and Vivian Fink Distinguished Professorial Chair in Talmud at YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Rabbinical Theological Seminary (RIETS), and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Kressel and Ephrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought, will be presented with the 2014 Katz Award for their contributions to the practical analysis and application of halakha [Jewish law] in modern life.

Rabbi Hershel Schachter

Rabbi Hershel Schachter

The award is to be bestowed by Katz Family Foundation committee members, including former Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Hebrew University President Professor Menachem Ben-Sasson, and noted Talmudic scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, at a ceremony at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on Thursday, May 27 at 6:00 p.m.

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