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Oct 1, 2009 — Yeshiva University’s (YU) Student Medical Ethics Society (MES) will be hosting its fourth annual conference, entitled The Human Blueprint: Jewish Perspectives on Modern Genetics on Sunday, October 18 from 9am to 5pm at YU’s Wilf Campus, 500 West 185th Street, New York, NY. The conference is sponsored through the generous support of Rabbi Dovid and Mrs. Anita Fuld.

The conference will provide participants with a broad foundation for the medical background needed to understand human genetics, as well as the technologically advanced medical research and practices used today to prevent and manage genetic diseases. Topics covered will include reproductive genetics, cancer genetics, personalized medicine, aging and longevity among others. Participants will also be introduced to an overview of the fundamental ethical dilemmas surrounding genetics, as well as how the system of halacha [Jewish law] approaches these complex issues.

“These are issues that affect all of us in one way or another,” explained Rabbi Kenneth Brander, the David Mitzner Dean of YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF). “It is important that we deal with these issues with first-rate medical experts and through the prism of halacha.”

Rabbi Brander, a lecturer in the field of medical ethics, infertility, and gynecology, helped launch MES four years ago as one of his first initiatives with the CJF.

In addition to gaining broad knowledge in medical, ethical, and halachik issues of modern genetics, conference participants will be able to choose from a series of specialized tracks, each geared towards in-depth analysis of the most pressing issues in the field. These tracks include genetics and law, DNA and forensics, behavioral genetics, DNA Shoah, and Familial Dysautonomia (FD). The individual sessions will be guided by leading rabbis, physicians and lawyers, all of whom are experts in their fields.

“Yeshiva University is the embodiment of Torah U’Madda,” said program director, Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman, associate professor of emergency medicine at Montefiore Medical Center and associate professor of philosophy and history of medicine at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “The philosophy of the institution permeates its students, who are infused with a love of learning and acquiring knowledge. The Medical Ethics Society is comprised of men and women who truly reflect the University’s ideals.”

MES, a student run organization, was founded in fall 2005 to promote education and awareness of medical ethics at YU. Since that time, it has grown from a small group of students with common interests to a major campus organization running large-scale events and educational programming with university-wide participation. Their previous conferences dealt with organ donation, fertility and end-of-life issues in Jewish law.

Sam Weprin, who along with Tali Bauman serves as co-president of MES, hopes the vast topics included in this year’s program will attract a diverse crowd. “The conference will include sessions given by physicians, ethicists, rabbis, expert lawyers and renowned science researchers,” explained Weprin. “We hope that these accomplished speakers will have a profound impact on our audience intellectually and educationally.”

“Medical genetics has the potential to create and sustain life,” adds Bauman. “Learning and understanding the halachic, ethical, and medical issues related to genetics can deepen our understanding of our greater society and the future of medicine.”

The conference is open to the public but pre-registration is required. For more information or to register visit www.yu.edu/medicalethics or contact medicalethics@yu.edu.

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Mar 29, 2006 — Ten years ago, Yeshiva College Dean Norman Adler inaugurated an Arts Festival as “the expression of the Jewish creative impulse.”

Dr. Adler is no longer the dean of Yeshiva College, he is now a university professor and special assistant for curriculum development and research initiatives
reporting to the vice president for academic affairs. But the program lives on both of Yeshiva University’s undergraduate campuses as a way for students to explore the arts and demonstrate their talents.

“The Arts Festival was conceived as a way to promote understanding of the arts and to provide a venue for students to share their work with their peers in a noncompetitive and halakhically sanctioned manner,” Dr. Adler explained.

This year’s festival kicks off with a free Jewish rock concert in Lamport Auditorium on March 29 at 7:30 pm. Aharon Razel, a sensational performer on the tail end of his American tour, will be performing, as well as Soulfarm, Midnite Remedy and Yaakov Dov Miller, Chaim Dovid’s backup guitarist and singer.

The festival will run through April 4. On March 30, student art work will be featured in Weissberg Commons in Belfer Hall on YU’s Wilf Campus beginning at 7 pm.

Women at Stern College who are interested in the arts will have a chance to perform in public Sunday, April 2 and Monday, April 3 at the second annual Stern Showcase.

This year’s Showcase has a royal theme. Each act plays the role of a different country, bring its gift of song or dance to the audience. The celebration begins both nights at 7:30 pm in the Schottenstein Cultural Center, on the Beren Campus.

Also on April 3, there will be an open-mic event at the Mendel Gottesman Library at 8:30 pm. Students from both campuses will read their poetry and prose.

The closing event is a classical music concert at the Schottenstein Theater on the Wilf Campus on April 4. Students from both undergraduate campuses will be performing.

This year’s is especially poignant for Dr. Adler. He has made a contribution to the Arts Festival in memory of his mother, Mary Adler Barricks, whom he credits for inspiring his love of the arts. Dr. Adler remembers attending the opera “Carmen” with his mother when he was 5 years old and being moved by “the pageantry of it all.”

In his new position, Dr. Adler is working with students, faculty, and administration to broaden YU’s presence in the cultural scene. YU is offering a course in film making in Israel this summer in collaboration with Ma’aleh School of Film and the university sponsored its first film festival in the fall on the Beren Campus. The university is also constructing a state-of-the-art communications laboratory, where students will apply principles of digital media development to courses in film, television, marketing, cinema studies, and political communications.

“YU brings wisdom to life,” stressed Dr. Adler. “Part of that is the development of the arts and sciences of communication and art in the 21st Century.”

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Rabbi Schacter

Jul 28, 2005 — Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter, university professor of Jewish history and Jewish thought at Yeshiva University (YU) and senior scholar at YU’s Center for the Jewish Future, will lead the reading and the study of the Kinot at Cong. Keter Torah on Sunday, Aug. 14, the fast of Tisha B’Av.

The full-day program, which will be featured live on YUTorah.org, is open to men and women and is part of a summer series of Torah study for adults and a program of engaging learning events for elementary and high school students that are taking place at Keter Torah. This program is an initiative of the Max Stern Division of Communal Services/Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, an agency of the Center for the Jewish Future.

“We at Yeshiva University feel privileged to have worked with Rabbi Baum, the rosh kollel (head of the kollel), Rabbi Ezra Schwartz, and the leadership of Cong. Keter Torah in developing this summer program,” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander, dean of the Center for the Jewish Future.

“It is due to their hard work that this kollel is so successful,” he added. “The upcoming lectures delivered by Rabbi Schacter, a dynamic scholar who has spent years studying Rabbi Soloveitchik’s teachings on Tisha B’Av, will be appreciated by those who attend.”

Rabbi Schacter’s lectures begin at 9:15 am following an 8:30 shacharit. His first lecture will discuss “The Dialectic of Tisha B’Av: Mourning and Consolation.” Afterwards, he will continue the reading of the Kinot, explaining them in accordance with the teachings of Rabbi Soloveitchik. The program will conclude at 5:00 pm followed by mincha. There will also be an earlier mincha at 1:30 pm

For information on programs at Cong. Keter Torah, contact Yoni Fox, kollel administrator at 201-563-7591 or yoni.fox@gmail.com.

For information on community initiatives of Yeshiva University, contact 212-960-5266 or TorahTours@yu.edu.

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Nov 2, 2004 — Yeshiva high school students from around the United States gathered Oct. 31-Nov. 2 at a retreat center in the Poconos for “One Nation Under God,” a leadership development conference sponsored by Eimatai, an initiative of Yeshiva University. This project is designed to help teens balance their dual identities.

“We want to challenge high school students to consider their place in relation to America, its politics, culture, and social issues,” said Judy Goldgrab, coordinator of educational leadership projects at YU through its Max Stern Division of Communal Services.

At the conference, students explored how Jews approach American civic life, including issues such as voting for leaders, tzedakkah priorities, and devoting time to Jewish and non-Jewish causes. In keeping with the Nov. 2 national elections, one conference program involved students in a campaign to elect a “role-model American Jew,” according to Ms. Goldgrab.

View Eimatai Conference photo gallery

“Two advisors presented differing views on how best to balance American and Jewish identities, and at the end of the conference students voted for the candidate who best represented their personal perspective,” she said.

Eimatai Yeshiva High School Leadership Conferences are an outgrowth of Torah Leadership Seminars, a popular YU program during the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s that identified and developed future leaders from among Jewish teens at public high schools.

In 1999, a group of YU college students suggested a revised model of leadership development programming that would provide an open forum for student leaders to encounter complex communal issues and to empower students to realize their visions. Since then, Eimatai Leadership Conferences have tapped scores of student leaders.

Past conferences have focused on pertinent issues of the day, such as interaction with non-Orthodox Jews and learning about Jews from around the world. Conferences also aim to motivate students to create initiatives at their schools, synagogues, and communities. Recent projects have included letter-writing campaigns and a student-led rally—attended by some 4,000 high school students—to support Israel.

For more information, please contact Ms. Goldgrab at 212-960-5400 ext. 6015.

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