Yeshiva University Present Shavuos / Memorial Day Weekend Yarchei Kallah with YU Roshei Yeshiva and Torah Scholars, May 25-28

Yeshiva University-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) will present its second annual Yarchei Kallah [Gathering for Torah Study] Program this Shavuos, May 25-28, at the Rye Town Hilton in Westchester, NY—just 35 minutes from New York City.

The Yarchei Kallah will feature round-the-clock Torah learning, children and teen programs, and inspirational lectures by renowned Yeshiva University personalities including President Richard M. Joel; Chancellor Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm; Rabbi Yona Reiss, Max and Marion Grill Dean of RIETS; Rabbi Elchanan Adler, Rabbi Hershel Reichman, Rabbi Hershel Schachter and Rabbi Jeremy Wieder, RIETS roshei  yeshiva and roshei kollel; Rabbi Kenneth Brander, David Mitzner Dean of YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF); Mindy Eisenman, staff connector at YUConnects and Bible instructor at Stern College for Women; Dr. Rona Novick, director of the Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Division of Doctoral Studies at Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration and senior fellow at YU’s Institute for University-School Partnership; Dr. David Pelcovitz, Gwendolyn and Joseph Straus Chair in Psychology and Jewish Education at Azrieli; and Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter, University Professor of Jewish History and Jewish Thought and senior scholar at the CJF.

“The Yarchei Kallah is a wonderful opportunity for members of our larger Yeshiva community to celebrate z’man matan toraseinu [the time of the giving of the Torah] by learning with our roshei yeshiva and celebrating Shavuos together in a congenial and convivial setting,” said Rabbi Reiss. “This retreat is perfect for all those who want to indulge themselves in both terrific shiurim and a warm and welcoming recreational environment during the upcoming holiday.”

To learn more about the RIETS Shavuos Yarchei Kallah, visit www.yu.edu/riets/shavuos or call 646-592-4021. To sponsor a shiur or Tikkun Leil Shavuos in memory or in honor of a loved one, please call 212-960-0852.

YU to Honor Longtime Men’s Basketball Coach Jonathan Halpert with Court-Naming Ceremony, Scholarship Fund

Yeshiva University’s University’s Alumni Office will be celebrating the 40-year career of men’s basketball Coach Jonathan Halpert ’62YUHS, ’66YC, ’78F with a court-naming ceremony in his honor on May 6, 2012 at the Max Stern Athletic Center on YU’s Wilf Campus in Manhattan. The event will include the unveiling of Halpert’s signature on the men’s basketball court as well as the launch of the Coach Jonathan Halpert Scholarship Fund, an endowment that will be awarded annually to children of YU alumni living in Israel wishing to study at the University.

Halpert, who took over the YU Maccabees roster in 1972, is the longest tenured men’s basketball coach in New York City history.  He was named coach of the year in the NCAA’s Skyline Conference twice, and at one point compiled a streak of 15 consecutive winning seasons.  Above all, Halpert has served as a role model for core Jewish values to three generations of Yeshiva University students.

“For four decades, Coach Halpert has imbued the Melvin J. Furst Gymnasium with the values of sportsmanship, teamwork and Jewish pride,” said President Richard M. Joel. “With this deserving honor, Coach Halpert’s example and leadership will inform the play and actions of the future scholar athletes of Yeshiva University for generations to come.”

Over the last 30 years, Halpert has visited Israel twice a year to recruit Israeli talent interested in representing Yeshiva University on the court while receiving a top-notch Torah and academic college education. The Coach Jonathan Halpert Scholarship Fund was established under his guidance to benefit YU alumni who have immigrated to Israel.

“When I heard that YU wanted to mark this milestone in my tenure, I insisted that the celebration include the establishment of the scholarship fund,” said Halpert. “This grant is an expression of gratitude to Yeshiva University alumni who have made Aliyah and my way of ensuring that Israel’s future leaders obtain the tools they need to continue to build the Jewish State.”

Individuals interested in honoring Halpert’s significant contributions to YU and the Maccabees can contribute from anywhere in the world via the University website. Donors to the Coach Jonathan Halpert Scholarship Fund will be recognized in the interactive display documenting the history of the Maccabees in the Max Stern Athletic Center and in an honorary book to be presented to Halpert later this year.

Students Commemorate Israel with Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut Programs

Hundreds of students filled the Wilf Campus’ Lamport Auditorium on April 25 for Yeshiva University’s Yom Hazikaron (Israel Memorial Day) ceremony honoring the memories of Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror.

[flickrslideshow acct_name="yeshivauniversity" id="72157629905512039"]

The student-organized event featured readings by the Yeshiva College and Stern College Dramatics Societies, an a capella performance by the Y-Studs, a video presentation and a memorial candle lighting service. President Richard M. Joel delivered an emotional El Male Rachamim [memorial prayer] and was followed by keynote speaker Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer ’71YC and Rabbi Meir Goldwicht, Joel and Maria Finkle Visiting Israeli Rosh Yeshiva at RIETS. The ceremony concluded with a Yizkor prayer led by Rabbi Yosef Blau, senior mashgiach ruchani [spiritual advisor], and closing words from Avital Chizhik ’12S, president of the YU Israel Club.

The moving program was followed by song and dance at the annual Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) Chagigah in the Max Stern Athletic Center, celebrating Israel’s 64th birthday. Yom Ha’atzmaut festivities continued on April 26 with more dancing, a barbecue and carnival on the Wilf Campus.

Download YU Torah’s Yom Ha’atzmaut To-Go, featuring articles from Roshei Yeshiva, faculty and prominent Torah personalities.

New Journal from the Beth Din of America and RIETS Sheds Light on Practices of Rabbinical Courts

The Beth Din of America (BDA), in collaboration with the Rabbi Norman Lamm Yadin Yadin Kollel of YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), recently published its first journal for spring 2012. The Journal of the Beth Din of America, sponsored by the Michael Scharf Publication Trust of RIETS/Yeshiva University Press, contains articles on Jewish jurisprudence and beth din practice, with a particular emphasis on the policies and practices of the BDA—North America’s most active rabbinical court.

Each issue will include actual din torah or decisions rendered by the BDA (appropriately anonymized and approved for publication by the involved parties), exposing readers to the practices of contemporary beth din and the intellectual foundations for its work. The journal will primarily feature articles by dayanim [judges] of the BDA.

Topics covered in the inaugural issue range from “The Prenuptial Agreement: Recent Developments” by Rabbi Mordechai Willig, Rabbi Dr. Sol Roth Professor of Talmud and Contemporary Halacha at RIETS and Segan Av Beit Din at BDA, to “Jewish Law, Civil Procedure: A Comparative Study” by Rabbi Yona Reiss, Max and Marion Grill Dean of RIETS and Chaver Beth Din at BDA.

“It is our hope that this journal and the study it enables will serve as a vehicle for the clarification and dissemination of the Torah’s laws relating to the beth din process,” said Rabbi Yaacov Feit’02YC, ’06R, ’06A, who along with Rabbi Shlomo Weissmann ’92YUHS, ’96YC, ’03R, serves as co-editor of the journal.

Since its inception nearly 50 years ago, BDA has been recognized as one of the nation’s pre-eminent rabbinic courts. It serves the Jewish community of North America as a forum for obtaining Jewish divorces, confirming personal status and adjudicating commercial disputes stemming from divorce, business and community issues.

For more information or to download the Journal of the Beth Din of America, visit www.bethdin.org/journal.

From Caracas to Cologne, Childhood Friends Reunite to Pursue Business Dreams at Yeshiva

Daniel Simkin and Leon Franco have come a long way together. As children in Caracas, Venezuela, they attended the same grade school.  In March, as students at Yeshiva University, they attended the 15th World Business Dialogue in Cologne, Germany—winning two of only 300 coveted slots available to students across the globe in a rigorous selection process.

Childhood friends in Venezuela, Daniel Simkin and Leon Franco have reunited at Yeshiva University.

The conference is the world’s largest student-run business convention. Featuring 60 high-profile personalities and executives from top companies such as British Petroleum, General Electric Europe and North Asia, and Ford of Europe, it engaged students and speakers in conversation about topics that will have economic and social impact on the future.

“We met students from all around the world who want to do something in life, change something,” said Simkin, a sophomore majoring in mathematics at Yeshiva College. “They run profit or nonprofit organizations around the world. We all had this ambition and desire to share ideas and concerns.”

Simkin and Franco have always been ambitious. In Venezuela and over his time at YU, Simkin has tried his hand at a variety of industries—“entertainment, manufacturing, social media, iTunes and politics,” he says, to name a few—and Franco, a junior majoring in marketing and finance at Syms School of Business, has interned for New York Senator Charles Schumer and UBS Wealth Management.  The two applied to the World Business Dialogue because they were convinced it could give them valuable insight and connections to further their careers.

“I want to create or participate in a multinational company and to do that, I have to understand people and different economies,” said Simkin. “I’m hoping to apply what I learned about general business practice at the conference in the future.”

At the conference, Franco and Simkin had the opportunity to hear from industry leaders about everything from business strategies to ethical dilemmas and future forecasts. They also benefited from the juxtaposition of opposing worldviews in conversation.

“The CEO of British Petroleum Europe was advocating a slower introduction of eco-friendly alternatives to oil consumption, while the German Transport Authority explained that it is developing strategic ways to be more efficient with their use on a day-to-day basis,” said Franco. The conference helped crystallize his feelings about sustainability.

Franco (left) and Simkin (right) networked with students from around the world and heard from captains of industry at the World Business Dialogue in Germany.

“Individuals have to change their consumption habits, but someone has to educate them,” said Franco. “Whether I make a green company or just a company with green aspects, I understand that anything I do is going to have a social component. There has to be more than just profit-generation—you have to be giving back because that’s the only way we’re going to maintain a healthy world.”

Though Franco and Simkin knew each other as children, they only recently reunited. Franco, who had moved to the United States with his family in search of greater religious freedom in 2000, had already begun his studies at YU when he encountered Simkin at a dinner with mutual friends in New York City. Simkin was shocked. He had come to the U.S. for a summer course in English between semesters at the Universidad Metropolitana of Caracas.

There, things had been rough: a hostile atmosphere toward Jews on campus led him to downplay his religious identity and as more and more of his friends left the country for Israel or the U.S., he found his own grasp on Judaism slipping.

When Franco told him about YU, Simkin had to see it for himself. The two headed back uptown together and Simkin was amazed by what he found. “I saw a small campus where everyone has a Jewish environment,” he said. “People walking around in the streets with kippas on and tzitzit out, eating kosher food, inviting each other for Shabbat. It was exactly what I lacked in Venezuela, and I thought, ‘This is where I need to be.’ ”

The road wasn’t easy. Simkin spoke very little English. But three courses and six sittings for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) later, he arrived at YU. “I’m pursuing my university education as a businessman while studying who I am in the morning,” Simkin said. “Everyone knows Hebrew, so I use it more than I did in Venezuela. And when my kids ask me in the future, ‘How do you make Kiddush?’ I’ll know because I learned about it with a rabbi in class.”

For Franco, the school held a similar appeal. “Here, we are always surrounded by people who share our values, respect us, lead morally correct lives and have a vision for the future,” he said. “I have friends here from Spain, France and Thailand and everywhere around the world that there is a Jewish community. Somehow, we all ended up here and we’re all united, and I think that’s amazing.”

YU’s New York City location is also critical for Franco as he develops his professional career. “Every business has a headquarters in New York,” he said. “The fact that we’re here and able to connect with potential employers and an international community of Jews while receiving a good education and exploring our religious identities as individuals is important.”

“We have a great group of international students here at YU and I have the fortune in my role as the entrepreneur-in-residence to meet them on a one-to-one basis and discuss with them everything from how to start a business and how to raise money to what career they should pursue if and when they plan to go back to their home country,” said Michael Strauss, associate dean at Syms.

When Franco and Simkin were accepted to the World Business Dialogue, Strauss worked with the students to find a way for them to attend despite the cost of airfare, which they couldn’t afford. “I have spent 40 years in business and we’re no longer in a cocoon,” said Strauss. “Any day that a businessman is involved in business, he is exposed to the international world via importing, exporting, sales, purchasing, supplies—it’s an international global environment.” He added: “Having exposure to that environment, which the conference gave them, is extremely invaluable and therefore I felt that it was critical that they, as YU students, were able to attend.”

Simkin and Franco are especially appreciative of their professors at Syms and Yeshiva College, including Strauss, Professor Steven Nissenfeld in management and Professor Brian Maruffi in entrepreneurship, whose mentorship and guidance have helped them flesh out big plans for their futures.

For Simkin, Professor Norma Silbermintz’s English as a Second Language course had particularly meaningful results.

“At the World Business Dialogue, Leon [Franco] looked at me and said, ‘Six months ago, all you knew how to say in English was ‘Hi, my name is Daniel,’ ” Simkin recalled, laughing. “ ‘Now you’re speaking in front of 300 international students as a delegate from YU!’ ”

Straus Center Presents May 7 Discussion with Newark Mayor Cory Booker

Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik will discuss “The Role of Religion in Education and Public Life” on Monday, May 7, 2012. The event begins at 8 p.m. and will take place in YU’S Lamport Auditorium, Zysman Hall on 2540 Amsterdam Avenue in Washington Heights. It is free and open to the public.

Mayor Cory Booker

Mayor Cory Booker will discuss the role of religion in education and public life at the May 7 Straus Center event.

The discussion is part of YU’s “Great Conversations on Religion and Democracy” series, convened by the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought. Booker’s presentation will mark the fourth and final talk this academic year in the “Great Conversations” series. Previous guests were Senator Joseph Lieberman, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth, and former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey.

“Mayor Booker is one of the most inspiring and thoughtful stars on the political scene today,” said Soloveichik. “I am honored that he will be joining us for what is certain to be an exciting, thought-provoking and entertaining evening.”

Mayor Booker, in his second term, is a force for change and urban reform. Reflecting his commitment to education, his administration was recently awarded a challenge grant of $100 million from billionaire and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to improve Newark city schools. Among other recent notable achievements under his leadership, Newark has committed to a $40 million transformation of the City’s parks and playgrounds through a groundbreaking public/private partnership. The administration has also doubled affordable housing production and drastically reduced crime in the city.

The Straus Center is named in honor of Moshael J. Straus, an investment executive, alumnus and member of YU’s Board of Trustees, and his wife Zahava, a graduate of YU’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. The Center’s mission is to help develop Jewish thinkers and wisdom-seeking Jews by deepening their education in the best of the Jewish tradition, by exposing them to the richness of human knowledge and insight from across the ages, and by confronting them with the great moral, philosophical, and theological questions of our age.

Please RSVP to strauscenter@yu.edu. For more information, please visit www.yu.edu/straus.

Nationally Syndicated Talk Show Host Michael Medved Discusses the Race for the White House

As the 2012 presidential race kicks into high gear, nationally-acclaimed conservative talk show host, film critic and political commentator Michael Medved shared his insights and predictions about election outcomes with Yeshiva University students on April 18.

Michael Medved speaks to YU students at a Republican Club event on April 18.

Medved, a Sabbath-observant host of the nationally syndicated The Michael Medved Show, speculated about Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign strategy and a potentially unprecedented outcome of the election. Medved also discussed factors he felt affected the Jewish vote and reflected on his first experiences in politics, as a student working for Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign during his junior year at Yale University.

“Every election, without exception, we’re told this is the most important and critical election of your lifetime,” said Medved. “They say that to get you to vote. But this election truly is exciting and unpredictable.”

According to Medved, Romney could potentially win the Electoral College, but there is a chance for a crushing win of the popular vote by incumbent President Barack Obama—a situation Medved said had not arisen in American politics since the 1876 presidential race between Samuel J. Tilden and Rutherford B. Hayes. He outlined as well the strategy he felt could regain the White House for Republicans: conservative substance, moderate tone.

“Most people, when they vote, don’t vote for someone who inspires them, but against something they fear,” Medved said. “The Republicans need Romney to inspire and incite conservatives without scaring away moderates and people in the middle.”

The talk was hosted by the YU Republican Club and also featured a question-and-answer session, during which students and members of the public sought Medved’s take on everything from Romney’s best pick as running mate (“Senator Rob Portman is likely, but dull and safe. I like New Mexico Governor Suzanne Martinez for the job.”) to the possibility of a third party splitting the vote.

“Because Mr. Medved is both an observant Jew with a personal connection to the YU community and an influential political commentator, we felt he has an interesting perspective on the upcoming presidential election,” said Eitan Polster ’13YC, vice president of YU Republican Club. “His incredible success on the radio makes him a highly sought-after speaker and we were honored to host him to speak to us.  We felt that his ability to relate to millions of listeners on a daily basis gives him the unique ability to engage and captivate a diverse YU audience from all sections of the political spectrum.”

That was certainly true for Holly Hampton, a junior majoring in history at Stern College for Women, who described herself as a longtime Medved listener who first heard him on The Dennis Prager Show. “I really learned a lot about the upcoming election and it was interesting to hear his view of the Republican candidate and party,” she said.

For Medved, whose daughter Sarah is a graduate of Stern College and YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, the opportunity to speak at YU also offered a chance to connect with students who were passionate about and invested in their future as American citizens and Orthodox Jews. “I’ve always been impressed by the bright and refined young people I’ve met here,” said Medved. “YU is a resource of talent within the Jewish community.”

Learn more about the 2012 presidential election from leading political experts at the Dr. Marcia Robbins-Wilf Scholar-in-Residence program on April 30.

In Rwanda to Teach Others, Ferkauf’s Carl Auerbach Learns Something New Himself

Dr. Carl Auerbach, professor of psychology at YU’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, recently returned from Rwanda where he taught courses in the Department of Clinical Psychology at the National University of Rwanda as part of a Fulbright Fellowship.

Dr. Carl Auerbach has received a Fulbright Fellowship to teach the psychology of trauma in Rwanda.

Dr. Carl Auerbach spent the fall semester teaching trauma in Rwanda as a Fulbright Fellow.

In the fall semester of 2011 I traveled to Rwanda on sabbatical, having been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to teach and conduct research at the National University of Rwanda. I went from classrooms where the largest class size was 20 to 30 students, most of whom were white and all of whom spoke English, to classrooms of 80 to 100 students, none of whom were white and only about half of whom spoke English. I went from a cozy apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan to an African hotel, where the fact that the power failed at least once a day was compensated for by the invariable cheerfulness of the desk clerk who assured me that the power would be back in no time at all, which it usually was. I went from a culture of rushing to a culture of greeting. From a work environment where I would nod to my colleagues in passing as we hurried to our offices, to a work environment where it was rude not to shake hands with someone you know when you encounter them and to inquire about their health and state of mind.

In short, my sabbatical in Rwanda was a life-changing experience.

In Rwanda, I taught a lot of the same material that I teach at Ferkauf. I taught a course on the psychology of trauma and trauma treatment, and a course on qualitative research methodology. I also taught a course on psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy to the clinical psychology undergraduates.

My emotional reactions to Rwanda were complex and contradictory. Rwanda was horrifying and appalling, yet it was also inspiring and amazing. I was horrified when students told me stories of unimaginable trauma, of hiding in the bush and watching their families killed, of somehow surviving after being left to die, of brutal rape and sexual violence. I was inspired when I heard one student say to another, “It is possible that your father killed my father, but that is in the past. Now we are both students at the university and we need to work together if we are to have a future.”

The Fulbright experience changed me, both professionally and personally. Professionally, it forced me to rethink our Western theories of trauma and recovery. In the West, an individualistic society, we conceive of trauma as something that happens to individuals and trauma therapy as work with these individuals. In Rwanda, a communal society that experienced the collective trauma of the genocide, our Western theories do not directly apply.

Auerbach with students at the National University of Rwanda.

I am currently planning research on collective trauma and recovery. I am also rethinking my views on resilience, having witnessed the incredible recovery of the Rwandan people. I intended to study trauma in Rwanda, and there was a lot to be found. But there was an amazing amount of resilience there as well, as is shown in the students’ capacity to move on with their lives. My future research will also be concerned with the psychological and social processes that make such resilience possible.

Rwanda also changed me personally. When I first returned from Rwanda I was struck by the incredible wealth of America and how much we take it for granted. The money my wife and I spent on the dinner to celebrate my return would have fed a Rwandan student for a month. Even something as prosaic as Internet access was dictated by one’s wealth. When I first thought about teaching in Rwanda, I planned to put my course material online so that the students could print it out. Upon arrival, I learned that only the relatively rich students own computers and others make do with the computers they can borrow. Moreover, students don’t print out articles; they read them on the computer screen because paper is expensive.

My hope is that Yeshiva University will develop more connections with Rwanda, both at the individual and the institutional levels. It would be wonderful to create more student exchanges, in which students from YU travel to Rwanda to meet students at the National University, and vice versa. It would also be desirable to set up official ties between Yeshiva University and the National University of Rwanda. Rwanda enriched my life and it could enrich the life of others as well.

Dr. Carl Auerbach is professor of psychology at Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. He can be reached at Carl.Auerbach@einstein.yu.edu. The opinions expressed above are solely those of the author and should not be attributed to Yeshiva University.

Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony Honors Those Who Rescued Jews

A moving Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at Yeshiva University focused on an uncommon narrative of one of the darkest periods of human history—that of the rescuers.

Dr. Eva Fogelman delivers the keynote address at Yeshiva University's Yom Hashoah Ceremony.

The theme of the ceremony, organized by YU’s Student Holocaust Education Movement (SHEM), was “Remember the Future.” The Lamport Auditorium on the Wilf Campus overflowed with students who came to participate and hear personal testimony from survivor Sally Frishberg, a child of eight when her family was forced to flee their home in 1942, and the research of Dr. Eva Fogelman, the Pulitzer-nominated author of the book Conscience and Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust, who was herself born in a displaced persons camp. Fogelman’s work studies the thought processes and actions of those who sheltered and provided assistance to Jews during the Holocaust.

“The rescuers did not change the course of history, but their behavior shows us that even under the worst conditions of terror, there are people who disobey a malevolent authority, there are people who risk their own lives and that of their family to save human beings,” Fogelman said.

Survivor Sally Frishberg lights a memorial candle with Sara Malka Berger, president of SHEM and Rachel Renz, speaker coordinator.

Frishberg related how her family hid in different haystacks until a Polish Catholic farmer agreed to let them stay in his attic for two years. She lost two siblings and many other family members to starvation, sickness and Nazi brutality, but Frishberg emphasized the importance of sharing the stories of survivors.

“I was condemned to die at the age of eight and yet here I am,” she said. “Jews were meant to be eliminated from the world forever and yet here you are, and we are together. In spite of the heavy burden of memories that many of us bring with us, we will never give up and we will keep remembering because the future must know of the past.”

The night was replete with prayer and reflection. Rabbi Yosef Blau, senior mashgiach ruchani [spiritual advisor] at YU, recited a yizkor memorial service for the murdered masses and YU President Richard M. Joel intoned “Kel Maleh,” a prayer for the souls of the departed. Six candles were lit on stage in commemoration of murdered children, religious leaders and scholars, as well as those who risked their lives to help Jews and those who survived to live on with the pain of grief and loss.

The Maccabeats perform

The evening also featured an a cappella performance by the Yeshiva Maccabeats, who sang “Habeit” and “Kol Berama” and led students in a stirring rendition of “Hatikva” at the night’s conclusion.

“On this night we remember those who perished in the Holocaust and honor those few men and women who showed what impact individual actions can have,” said Israel Katz ’13SB, vice president of SHEM. “We will not forget the past. However, we hope to learn from it and from the lofty example set by these heroes, embedding in ourselves and in others the belief that we can affect change, one action at a time, to help forge a better future.”

The ceremony was co-sponsored by the Stern College for Women Student Council, the Torah Activities Council, the Yeshiva College Student Association, the Yeshiva Student Union, the Student Organization of Yeshiva, the Jewish Studies Council, the Syms Schools of Business Student Council and the Isaac Breuer College Student Council.

Political Experts to Discuss the Role of Religion and its Impact on the Upcoming Presidential Election at April 30 Robbins-Wilf Program

With the presidential election campaign in full swing, Yeshiva University will host a discussion on “Religion and the 2012 Election” featuring PBS political analyst Jeff Greenfield, pollster Anna Greenberg and university professor and religion columnist Peter Steinfels. The lecture, part of the Dr. Marcia Robbins-Wilf Scholar-in-Residence program at YU’s Stern College for Women, will be held on Monday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Schottenstein Cultural Center, 239 East 34th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.

Jeff Greenfield

“Religion has played a prominent role in the 2012 Republican primaries so far and looks poised to do so for the general election,” said Bryan Daves, clinical assistant professor of political science at Yeshiva University and moderator of the event. “In what many observers expect to be a very close race, issues related to religion could tip the balance. We are fortunate to have three of the keenest observers of American elections and the role of religion and public life to give us insights into how, why, and to what extent, religion will have an impact on how Americans will vote this year.”

One of America’s most respected political analysts, Jeff Greenfield has spent more than 30 years on network television and currently serves as an anchor on PBS’ Need to Know. A four-time Emmy Award-winner and columnist for Yahoo! News, he is known for his quick wit and savvy insight into politics, history, the media and current events. Greenfield has served as anchor booth analyst or floor reporter for every national political convention since 1988 and reported on virtually every important domestic political story in recent decades. Greenfield has authored or co-authored 12 books, including national bestselling novels Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics—JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan, The People’s Choice, The Real Campaign and Oh, Waiter! One Order of Crow!, an insider account of the contested 2000 presidential election.

Anna Greenberg

Anna Greenberg is a leading pollster and an expert in survey research methodology with nearly 15 years of experience. Since joining Greenberg Quinlan Rosner in 2001, Greenberg has worked with many elected officials and a wide range of NGOs and advocacy groups. Her areas of expertise include women and politics, LGBT rights, religion and politics, healthcare policy and drug policy reform. Greenberg is an active participant in the advanced analytics community; she leads the company’s advances in micro-targeting and understanding the impact of social media on public opinion.

Peter Steinfels

Peter Steinfels is a professor and co-director at the Fordham University Center on Religion and Culture, former religion columnist for The New York Times, and a former editor of Commonweal, an independent biweekly journal of political, religious and literary opinion. A two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, he created and penned his biweekly column “Beliefs,” dealing with religion and ethics from 1990 to 2010. He is also the author of A People Adrift: The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America, The Neoconservatives, and co-edited Death Inside Out with Robert M.Veatch. Steinfels has contributed chapters to 17 other books and written articles and reviews for The New Republic, Esquire, Harper’s, Dissent, Le Nouvel Observateur, The Nation, Partisan Review and many other distinguished journals.

Dr. Robbins-Wilf, a founding member of the Stern College Board of Directors, established and funds the Scholar-in-Residence program, which brings top scholars, authors, artists and opinion makers to Stern College—offering students unique perspectives on the world. Admission is free and open to the public with valid photo ID and ticket, which can be reserved at http://religionandelection2012.eventbrite.com/.

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