Stern College’s Avital Chizhik on the Diaspora Jew’s Constant Quest for Jerusalem

We’re standing in a hall in downtown Manhattan, overlooking a dusky Liberty Harbor.

The girl standing next to me points to the river view and says, “Doesn’t it almost look like Jerusalem? That terrace over there and that tree? The way the sun is setting?”

I gaze for a minute at the view. We’re overlooking a dark Hudson River, a boat passing by, the Statue of Liberty in the distance.

No, it doesn’t look like Jerusalem in the least. Not here. This is most certainly New York. I muster a smile, trying to think of an agreeable response, until I finally sigh and admit, “No, it doesn’t look like Jerusalem. Not at all.”

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New App Offers Users Enhanced Visual Overview of Yeshiva University

Take a tour of Yeshiva University’s renowned undergraduate and graduate schools, with the swipe of your finger!

This Is Yeshiva University, the official University guidebook, is now available for download on the iPad.

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Students Pitch their Business Plans at 2012 Sy Syms Entrepreneurship Competition

A Web site that makes personal training available to exercise novices in their own homes. A Facebook app that offers one-on-one tutoring and keeps track of students’ coursework. An organization that enables college students to bring their love of science to classrooms in public schools across the country. A sandwich company that delivers one meal to a homeless person for every sandwich it sells.

Bella Frankel presents her idea—a comparative shopping search engine—before the judges at the Fast-Pitch Competition.

These were just a few of the ideas in the running for the grand prize at the 2012 Ira Rennert Entrepreneurship Institute Fast-Pitch Competition, presented by Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business on May 9.

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Athletic Banquet Honors Student-Athletes Across 14 Varsity Sports

The annual Athletic Awards Banquet was held Wednesday evening, May 9, in the Max Stern Athletic Center. More than 250 athletes, administrators and guests were present to celebrate the 14 2011-2012 athletic teams that Yeshiva sponsors. Attendees were treated to a night of special awards for their teammates along with the unveiling of a championship banner for the men’s cross country team, celebrating the school’s first ever back-to-back championship in any sport.

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YU Center for Israel Studies Partners with MET on Middle East Exhibition

On May 6, a group of students, alumni and members of the Yeshiva University community huddled around an ancient book. On its pages, in blue, red and yellow, were the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, carefully traced and shaded in by a child’s hand in the timeless tradition of children learning to read and write.

The primer, found in the Cairo Genizah, was at least 900 years old.

The artifact was one of many the group viewed in a behind-the-scenes tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new exhibition, “Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (600-900).” This is the first major exhibition to explore the religious and cultural change in the Middle East as it transitioned from being the wealthy southern provinces of the Roman/Byzantine Empire into the emerging Islamic world. For its presentation of Judaism—its history, art and literature within that context—the MET turned to an expert in Greco-Roman and Late Antiquity cultural Jewish history: Dr. Steven Fine, professor of Jewish History and director of the Center for Israel Studies (CIS) at YU.

“Understanding the roles of Jews and Judaism in this time period is integral to understanding this moment of cultural change, and vice versa,” said Fine. “Though Jews were a minority even then, they were [and are] a minority through which one can understand other cultures in interesting ways.”

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Mayor Cory Booker: “Use Your Faith to Help and Inspire Others”

On the evening of May 8, students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the greater Yeshiva University community filled Lamport Auditorium to hear Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey, discuss “The Role of Religion in Education and Public Life.” The event was the final installment of this year’s Great Conversation Series of the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought.

Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik and Mayor Cory Booker discuss “The Role of Religion in Education and Public Life” at the final Straus Center event of the academic year.

The conversation—led by Straus Center Director Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik—bounced around from discussing how Booker’s personal faith influences his daily life, issues regarding the importance of improving education, and the nature of faith in the public square in America. Throughout the conversation, the mayor sprinkled his words with pointed anecdotes, quotes of important figures like the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi, and—to the crowd’s delight—passages from biblical and rabbinic literature in English and in Hebrew.

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Center for Israel Studies Yom Iyun Explores History of Religious Zionism in America

Few things divide and provoke American Jews like the question of Zionism.  Though many wish to remember otherwise, this was also the case before the founding of Israel in 1948; and, though many wish to forget, the story of Zionism in America belongs not just to Labor Zionism, dominated by culturalists and secularists, but also to Orthodox Jews.  Recently Yeshiva University’s Center for Israel Studies held a study dayon the history of religious Zionism in America.  The questions raised by this history have profound implications for the future of Jews and of Israel.

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Navi Teachers from Across Tri-State Area Convene to Share Ideas, Discuss Technique

How do you teach Sefer Yeshayahu [Book of Isaiah]?

Dr. Shawn Zelig Aster, assistant professor of Bible at YU, presents methods to enhance understanding of Yeshayahu's vision by comparisons to Asyrian culture.

Fourteen yeshiva high school teachers came together on Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus in late March to ask each other and themselves that question, under the auspices of YU’s Institute for University-School Partnership. Hailing from a range of schools across the tri-state area, the teachers were united by the subject they all taught (Navi, or The Prophets), their desire to enhance their own approach, and the opportunity to learn from others.

“The purpose is to expand teachers’ thinking about what’s possible in the classroom and to help them clarify their own particular focus,” said Dr. Scott Goldberg, director of the YU School Partnership. “Even though their individual schools are so different, it’s productive and important for them to talk about Navi together. They can relate to each other, but the diversity creates a great learning environment.”

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Ambassador Yehuda Avner to Speak at May 24 Commencement; Honorees Include Alan Willner, Eleazer Hirmes and Ethel Orlian

Former Israeli diplomat, Ambassador Yehuda Avner, will deliver the keynote address and receive an honorary doctorate at Yeshiva University’s 81st Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, May 24, at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, NJ.

Ambassador Yehuda Avner

Avner, an author of two books, served as speechwriter and secretary to Israeli Prime Ministers Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir, and as an adviser to Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin and Shimon Peres.

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Men’s Basketball Coach Honored with Court-Naming Ceremony and Scholarship Fund

On Sunday, May 6, Yeshiva University’s Alumni Office celebrated the 40-year career of men’s basketball Coach Jonathan Halpert ‘62YUHS, ‘66YC, ‘78F with a court-naming ceremony in his honor at the Max Stern Athletic Center on the Wilf Campus. The event included the unveiling of Halpert’s signature on the men’s basketball court, a tribute video and 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.

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Halpert, who took over the 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.

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