Cynthia Wachtell: Make Motor Vehicle Safety a Priority

At the Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama shared a pithy car story calculated to remind Americans of her husband’s humble origins. Long before he was president, she recalled, he drove a car so rusted out that she could “see the pavement going by in a hole in the passenger side door.” Mitt Romney, whose father was president of American Motors Corporation, made a different point during a speech in Detroit last winter: “I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually.” Stories about the Romneys’ cars — and the dog that rode atop one — have proved welcome fodder for late-night comedians.

Cynthia Wachtell

Prof. Cynthia Wachtell

However, there is another type of car story, one that’s anything but funny. This story broke through the debate on Thursday night, when Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., in response to an anecdote about Mr. Romney’s generosity toward victims of a car crash, reminded viewers, haltingly, of his personal loss 40 years ago: “My wife was in an accident, killed my daughter and my wife, and my two sons survived.”

To a surprising extent, tragic car crashes have defined the lives of American presidents and vice presidents — both Democratic and Republican — of the past two decades.

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Student Medical Ethics Society Presents Oct. 21 Conference on Jewish Approaches to Medical Dilemmas Borne Out of the Holocaust

Yeshiva University’s Student Medical Ethics Society (MES) will host its seventh annual Fuld Family Medical Ethics conference, titled “Out of the Ashes: Jewish Approaches to Medical Dilemmas Borne out of the Holocaust”, on Sunday, October 21 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Furst Hall on the University’s Wilf Campus, 500 West 185th Street, New York, NY.

The conference, sponsored through the generous support of Rabbi Dovid and Mrs. Anita Fuld, will explore the contemporary relevance and Halachic significance of ethical challenges that arose during the Holocaust as well as issues that surfaced later as products of the Holocaust.

Mordechai Smith and Yosefa Schoor are co-presidents of YU's Student Medical Ethics Society.

Dr. Michael A. Grodin, a professor of Family Medicine and Psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine and the director of the Project on Medicine and the Holocaust at the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies, will open the conference with a keynote address on the impact of the Nazi regime’s “Final Solution” campaign on contemporary medicine and bioethics.

Additional topics of discussion will include genetic research, forced sterilization, end-of-life decisions, psychological impact of the Holocaust on second and third generation survivors, the Jewish attitude on the value of life through the lens of the mentally disabled and the usage of Nazi data.

“What makes this conference so unique is that we will be analyzing the Holocaust—a subject that has overwhelmed Jewish thought and discussion for nearly 70 years—from an entirely new angle,” said Mordechai Smith, a junior at Yeshiva College and co-president of MES. 

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Funding Will Involve Students in Research to Solve Real World Problems

Five professors at Yeshiva University’s undergraduate colleges helped secure nearly $2.4 million in shared scientific grants this summer.

Dr. Anatoly Frenkel

The grants range in focus from breast cancer research to alternative fuel solutions and will provide undergraduates with more opportunities than ever to engage in firsthand scientific study, hear from experts in the field and collaborate with other universities.

“One of the missions of the University is not only to educate our students in the great achievements of science and culture but also to show them how this knowledge is generated and evolves every day,” said Dr. Gabriel Cwilich, chair of YU’s division of natural sciences and mathematics. “The way to do that is to have a strong faculty, very much engaged in research, at the forefront of their disciplines so that they can teach the students both in the classroom and working beside them in the lab.

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YUConnects Celebrates 100th Engagement

When Olivia Deutsch first met matchmaker Mindy Eisenman, the idea of an online dating site seemed intimidating and unconventional—but Eisenman convinced her to give it a try.

Olivia Deutsch and Brandon Jerome '09SB are YUConnects 100th match.

“She [Eisenman] explained to me that YUConnects caters to people from many different backgrounds and helped me understand how trained connectors were able to search a large database to connect singles with the same goals and interests,” said Deutsch, who is a nursing student at Hunter College. “I was convinced that signing up for YUConnects would increase my opportunities to meet prospects.”

Deutsch was right, and she wasn’t alone. With her recent engagement to Brandon Jerome, a 2009 graduate of Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business and accountant at Billet Feit & Preis PC, YUConnects celebrated its 100th match.

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Meet YU High School for Girls’ Ariella Freedman and Rivka Abbe

One is the newly elected international president of an organization with thousands of members; the other is welcomed on Capitol Hill to speak her mind to government leaders and is about launch her own weekly radio program. Perhaps most extraordinary, is that both young woman, Ariella Freedman and Rivka Abbe, are still in high school at the Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva University High School for Girls (YUHSG), known as “Central”.

Ariella Freedman, a YUHSG senior, has recently been elected international president of NCSY.

Freedman, of Lawrence, NY, was recently elected to a one-year term as international president of the Orthodox Union’s National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY). Her new responsibilities are in addition to her previous post as vice president of the organization’s New York region. Freedman, 17, is a senior and a member of ARISTA, the national honor society, and in addition to schoolwork, most weekends find her on the road, travelling to NCSY Shabbatons and other events.

“Most people mistake Ariella for a collegiate because she is so poised and full of passion that she gives off the impression of being much older,” said Rabbi Steven Burg, managing director of the OU and international director of NCSY. “Yet, she’s very down to earth and can speak to teens of any background and relate to them. Those are the qualities that we look for in a leader.”

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Einstein Hosts its First Stem Cell Institute Symposium

The promise of stem cells seems limitless. If they can be coaxed into rebuilding organs, repairing damaged spinal cords and restoring ravaged immune systems, these malleable cells would revolutionize medical treatment. But stem cell research is still in its infancy, as scientists seek to better understand the role of these cells in normal human development and disease.

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Fellowship Pairs YU High School Students with University Faculty for College-Level Research

Five students from the Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy/Yeshiva University High School for Boys (YUHSB) have been named Senior Fellows for the 2012-13 academic year. Taking advantage of its physical and institutional proximity to Yeshiva University, the program—in existence since 2006—pairs competitively-selected high school seniors with University faculty to conduct thorough research in a variety of fields.

YUHSB seniors Yonatan Schwartz, Dovid Schwartz, Akiva Schiff, Yisrael Snow and Yosef Sklar will work closely with YU faculty.

“We wanted to make it a win-win for both the high school and the University,” said Dr. Ed Berliner, executive director of science management and clinical professor of physics at YU and director of the YUHSB Honors College. “For YU, it is an opportunity to expose our most impressive students to the high-caliber YU education, and in terms of the students, it truly is a unique opportunity to be paired with the best and brightest professors in their fields.”

Akiva Schiff, Dovid Schwartz, Yonatan Schwartz, Joseph Sklar and Yisrael Snow will spend the upcoming year studying topics as diverse as bible, chemistry and economics with YU faculty members

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A Potent Symbol of Jewish Life in America, the Eruv Gets Unprecedented Exhibition at YU Museum

It divides private and public, sacred and secular, work and Sabbath. And you might live in one without knowing it.

The elevated train track on 3rd Ave was the western border of Manhattan¹s first eruv. Chatham Square (pictured here) was on the western edge of the Lower East Side. (YU Museum collection)

The eruv is one of the most fascinating, though little understood and sometimes controversial concepts in Jewish life. Now, for the first time, it’s the subject of an exhibition—It’s a Thin Line: The Eruv and Jewish Community in New York and Beyond—at the Yeshiva University Museum, near Union Square in Manhattan.

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Professor Avri Ravid Reflects on His Experience as a War Correspondent During the Yom Kippur War

As we prepare for Yom Kippur 5773 the Middle East is going through some radical changes, whose precise meaning for Israel is still unclear. After decades of cold peace, but open borders, Israel is now erecting a 20-foot high barrier on its border with Egypt and talk of a break in relations is in the air. However, if these are rough seas, Yom Kippur of 1973 was a tsunami, that almost drowned Israel on its 25th birthday.

Prof. S. Abraham (Avri) Ravid

The period of 1967 to 1973 had seen the most radical changes in the self perception of the people of Israel.

As the war of 1967 loomed on the horizon, my parents received a call from their cousin in New York City. He asked them to send the kids, my brother and myself, to the US, so at least we could escape the impending massacre by the Arab armies. We did not go. Instead, my high school friends and I filled bags with sand and prepared the local stadium for mass burials. Then came the lightning victory of 1967.

1967 to 1973 were the short years of a feeling of Israeli invincibility.

Therefore, it was not surprising that on Yom Kippur in 1973, I was driving to the Golan Heights with an Uzi and a tape recorder, in my Fiat 600, a very small, old sub-compact that often broke down on trips over 20 miles.

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Joel Schreiber Elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees; Lance Hirt, Chaim Wietschner and William Schwartz Elected Officers

Joel Schreiber has recently been elected chairman of the board of Trustees of Yeshiva University-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS). In addition, newly elected RIETS officers include Lance Hirt as vice-chairman, Chaim Wietschner as treasurer, and Dr. William Schwartz as secretary.

Schreiber, left, replaces Berman, right, as chairman of the RIETS board of trustees.

Schreiber replaces outgoing chairman, Rabbi Julius Berman, who has been elected chairman emeritus.

“I leave the Chairmanship of the RIETS Board with great confidence in the fact that the leadership role is being assumed by Joel Schreiber, a fellow musmach of RIETS and one who has proven through decades of dedicated Jewish communal leadership that he has the unique qualifications to lead our institution to ever greater heights of service to our people,” said Berman.

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