Yeshiva University News » Faculty

Mordechai Cohen and Ephraim Kanarfogel Participate in Advanced Judaic Studies Research Group

Dr. Mordechai Cohen, associate dean and professor of bible at Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and at Stern College for Women, and Dr. Ephraim Kanarfogel, E. Billi Ivry Professor of Jewish History at Revel and Stern College, are participating, as adjunct fellows, in a research group at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania that spans the 2012-13 academic year.

Cohen and Kanarfogel join a group of approximately two dozen leading scholars of Jewish, Christian and Islamic social and intellectual history from universities around the world to conduct research on this year’s theme, “Institutionalization, Innovation and Conflict in 13th Century Judaism,” and develop a more fully-integrated account of Europe and the Mediterranean basin in the 13th century. Read the rest of this entry…

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Utku Sezgin: Can President Obama’s Proposals Succeed in a Gridlocked Congress?

State of the Union addresses are the annual wish-list presentations of American presidents, mixed with appeals to rally behind the leader of the nation.

SOTUThe addresses stem from the once-obscure mandate the Constitution gives presidents to submit proposals, recommendations and their political views to Congress. Until the 20th century, presidents mostly sent Congress written messages without any of today’s media-savvy pomp. In recent decades the speeches have become widely-anticipated political theater to be parsed for a sense of where a president aims to take the country. However, despite the modern presidency’s inflated powers, proposing bills to Congress and getting to sign bills containing those proposals later on is not the same thing.

President Barack Obama delivered the first State of the Union address of his second term last night, doing his best to lay out his vision—emboldened by an electoral mandate—before a partisan, polarized, divided and oft-gridlocked Congress. But the future looks uncertain. Read the rest of this entry…

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Ariel Fishman Thanks Blood Donors who Saved his Life

After losing both of his legs in a taxi accident nearly one year ago, Dr. Ariel Fishman, needed multiple transfusions totaling 70 units of blood.

“If 70 different people hadn’t taken the one hour of their time to go to New York Blood Center and give blood, life would be very different for my children,” said Fishman, who serves as director of institutional research at Yeshiva University and assistant professor of management at the Sy Syms School of Business. “I don’t know who those people are but they gave blood and I am alive.”

In the video below, Fishman thanks blood donors everywhere.



To learn more or to find out how you can get involved, visit www.nybloodcenter.org.

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Rabbi Benjamin Blech: Does the Word “Love” Still Mean Anything?

Are you in love?

Millions of people will take advantage of Valentine’s Day to affirm their strong feeling of affection with the three words “I love you.” That statement has been called the most beautiful phrase in the English language.

Love after all supposedly signifies the strongest bond possible between two people. Love is nothing less, as the Zohar puts it, than “the secret of divine unity.”

What troubles me though is that in our day, the word love seems to have lost its meaning, suffering from what I call verbal inflation. Read the rest of this entry…

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Ferkauf’s Sarah Kate Bearman Bridges the Chasm Between Psychological Research and Practice

As a camp counselor, Sarah Kate Bearman was always intrigued by the “problem” kids—the high-energy, high-maintenance kids who had trouble following the rules and tried everyone else’s patience. Unlike many of her peers, Bearman saw children who didn’t really differ from better-adjusted, happier campers beneath the moodiness and attitude.

“I saw so much typical child behavior in these kids,” she said. “When children first start to develop problems with anxiety or depression, they don’t look that different than other kids—because they’re not. The older they get, though, the wider that gap grows.”

Bearman hopes to offer children effective mental health treatment in the early stages.

Bearman, now an assistant professor at Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, kept thinking about that gap. It provided so much time for intervention: in theory, the earlier she could catch a child starting to slip, the more successful she could be in steering his or her developmental path back to a normal trajectory. After college, Bearman decided to become a child psychologist, completing a two-year research assistantship in pediatric pharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital and pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Texas at Austin and a postdoctoral fellowship at Judge Baker Children’s Center of Harvard Medical School.

Bearman initially planned to research how disorders such as depression developed. But when she began her externship in clinical settings, she noticed a troubling phenomenon. Read the rest of this entry…

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Weekly Course Open to all Women will Feature Rabbis Jacob J. Schacter and Hayyim Angel

Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) will launch a new Women’s Beit Midrash Program on February 5 at Stern College for Women’s Israel Henry Beren campus in Manhattan for participants of all ages.

The six-week program, developed in conjunction with the University’s Office of Alumni Affairs and New Jersey and Long Island Regional offices, will feature Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter, University Professor of Jewish History and Jewish Thought and senior scholar of the CJF, and Yeshiva College Jewish Studies faculty member Rabbi Hayyim Angel. Read the rest of this entry…

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Translating the Genetic Language of Autism into Treatment

Translational research aims to accelerate the pace at which basic research yields effective clinical treatments for human diseases by taking discoveries between “bench” and “bedside.” For instance, translational researchers have identified alterations in a growing number of genes linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), with the goal of enabling earlier diagnosis—when intervention can do the most good—and improved treatment.

Dr. Brett Abrahams

Brett Abrahams, Ph.D.

At the forefront of this effort is Dr. Brett Abrahams, assistant professor of genetics at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine. His research correlates genetic variations that elevate autism risk with changes in brain structure and function. Read the rest of this entry…

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Course Taught by President Joel Offers Students Firsthand Lessons in Leadership

Always take the blame—but be sure to hand out credit. Answer all your mail. Have a lot of ideas—but remember, not all of them will be great ones.

President Richard Joel introduces Stephen Trachtenberg to his “Leadership in the Nonprofit World” class.

These were just a few helpful pointers guest speaker Stephen Trachtenberg, former president of George Washington University, offered Yeshiva University students during class on a chilly Wednesday night in December. Trachtenberg noted he usually gives that advice to newly-appointed university presidents—not undergraduate students, per se. However, in the Sy Syms School of Business course designed to place students squarely in the shoes of nonprofit greats, his remarks provided insight into a question the group had been considering for almost a semester: What does it mean to be a leader in the nonprofit world? Read the rest of this entry…

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Reception Honors Yeshiva University Employees Celebrating Milestone Anniversaries

On Wednesday, December 19, President Richard M. Joel and Yeshiva University’s Human Resources Department hosted a program and reception honoring YU employees on the Manhattan campuses who celebrated milestone anniversaries during 2012. The ceremony, held in Weisberg Commons on the Wilf Campus, recognized milestones ranging from ten to 50 years of service.

One of Yeshiva’s longest-serving employees, Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky, vice president for university affairs, received special recognition for his 50 years of service. Read the rest of this entry…

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Moshe Sokolow on Israel’s Endangered Ally, the Island Country of Palau

The recent UN General Assembly vote granting observer nation status to Palestine was 138 in favor, 41 abstentions, and nine opposed. In addition to the United States, along with Canada, Panama, and the Czech Republic, the few nations that supported Israel’s opposition to the resolution were Palau, Micronesia, Nauru, and the Marshall Islands. It would be tragic if Israel were to lose the vote of any of its few reliable supporters at the United Nations, but that is just what might happen over the next few years—not due to any political intrigue but on account of global warming! At the moment, the endangered ally is the island republic of Palau, and just this summer PBS aired a report, titled Paradise Lost, calling attention to the potential of climate change to inundate and eliminate Palau and its Pacific neighbors.

An archipelago of 300 islands lying in the Philippine Sea north of Australia, with a total area of only 459 square miles, or, one for every Palauan (Israel, by comparison, has 21,000 square miles), Palau more than makes up for its diminutive size with its consistent support of Israel in world forums. Although all of Palau cannot scrape up even a minyan (a quorum of 10 Jews), its ambassador to the United Nations since 2004, Stuart Beck, is Jewish, as is Larry Miller, who served for 14 years as an associate justice of Palau’s Supreme Court. Somehow, Palau also produced two cyclists who competed in the 2009 Maccabiah Games. Read the rest of this entry…

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