Yeshiva University News » Government

NYC’s Republican Mayoral Candidate Meets with President Joel, Speaks to Students

On Tuesday, October 1, 2013, New York City Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota paid a visit to Yeshiva University’s Israel Henry Beren Campus, where he was greeted by YU President Richard M. Joel and Andrew Lauer, vice president for legal affairs, secretary and general counsel.

Mayoral candidate Joe Lhota toured the Beren Campus and met with President Richard Joel.

Mayoral candidate Joe Lhota toured the Beren Campus and met with President Richard Joel.

After touring the campus, Lhota spoke to students in President Joel’s Leadership in the Non-Profit World class about his experiences as a leader in both the public and private sectors. Read the rest of this entry…

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New York City Mayoral Candidate Bill Thompson Meets with President Joel, Tours YU Campus

President Richard M. Joel greets NYC mayoral candidate Bill Thompson.

Bill Thompson, former comptroller of New York City, visited Yeshiva University on Tuesday, December 18, 2012. Thompson, a 2013 New York City mayoral candidate, was greeted by Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel and Vice Presidents Rabbi Joshua Joseph and Jeffrey M. Rosengarten. Together they discussed Yeshiva University’s mission, and toured the YU campus, including the beit midrash and 185th street pedestrian plaza.


White House Chief of Staff Keynotes Hanukkah Convocation; $1.4 Billion Capital Campaign Announced

White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew delivered the keynote address at Yeshiva University’s 88th Annual Hanukkah Convocation and Dinner on Sunday, December 16 at The Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. President Richard M. Joel bestowed an honorary doctorate upon Lew, calling him “perhaps one of the highest-ranking Orthodox Jewish advisers to a head of state since the Abarbanel” and an embodiment of the value-infused and driven lifestyle members of the YU community seek to lead.

“We are the world’s Torah-informed University, charged with the sacred undertaking of engaging the world around us with our wisdom and our values and yes, our actions,” said President Joel. Read the rest of this entry…


James Kahn Explains the Components and Consequences of the Looming Fiscal Cliff

As 2012 draws to a close, the United States government faces a financial crisis that has Republicans and Democrats divided. But what exactly are they fighting about and what is at stake for the country? Dr. James Kahn, the Henry and Bertha Kressel University Professor of Economics at Yeshiva University, breaks down the political and financial components of the fiscal cliff and explains how taxpayers could be affected if Congress fails to act.


Public Advocate de Blasio Meets with President Joel, Tours Yeshiva Campus

Bill de Blasio, public advocate for the City of New York, visited Yeshiva University on Thursday, November 29, 2012. De Blasio, a 2013 New York City mayoral candidate, was greeted by Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel and Vice President for Administrative Services Jeffrey Rosengarten. Together they toured the campus and spoke with students and faculty, including Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Hershel Schachter in YU’s Glueck Beit Midrash.

President Richard Joel greets Bill de Blasio, public advocate for NYC. Read the rest of this entry…


Presidential Elections, Global Justice, National Security and Middle East Conflict: Political Science at Yeshiva University

As the 2012 presidential elections heat up, Yeshiva University’s political science courses are offering students an inside look at the domestic and international issues dominating today’s news cycle.

According to Dr. Joseph Luders, the David and Ruth Gottesman Chair of Political Science at YU, the spring semester is the most heavily enrolled in the department’s history. “These courses are academically demanding, topically relevant,  and engaging because they resonate with student concerns,” he explained. “Students are looking for courses that tackle real-world issues.”

For example, in Dr. James Bourke’s Global Justice and Human Rights class at Stern College for Women, students will immerse themselves in raging debates about hunger, poverty, economic development, gender inequality, human trafficking, lack of education and environmental degradation. They’ll ask what Bourke considers to be the central question posed to ethical citizens of first world countries: Are we obligated to help?

“In-depth discussion of theoretical perspectives and moral philosophy will help students think about these issues in terms of the duties and responsibilities they have as human beings, global citizens and citizens of their own countries, as well as how to relate broad issues of global inequality to their identities in personal and social settings,” said Bourke. Because of the course’s emphasis on women’s rights, it will also count towards a minor in women’s studies.

Dr. Charles Freilich, a former Israel national security adviser, will bring his unique professional experience to the Stern course Arab-Israeli Conflict. That class will examine beleaguered peace negotiations from a policy-making standpoint, putting students in the shoes of real-world leaders as they seek to understand the constraints, demands and positions of key players in the Middle East, both historically and today.

“Having worked with policymakers and the Israeli government for over 20 years, I can bring my understanding of how these things work to the classroom,” said Freilich. “We’re not going to focus on what we think is right so much as what the actual leaders can do given their personal preferences and strategic and political constraints.”

Women and the Law, a new Honors course investigating legal theory and the contemporary American legal system from a feminist perspective, will be taught by Dr. Adina Levine, a Stern and Harvard Law School graduate. “We’ll be looking at the kinds of issues that are especially relevant at a women’s college, like whether separate sex education is constitutional or if it reinforces stereotypes and glass ceilings, and hear the law’s current perspective on domestic violence, discrimination, employment and pregnancy,” said Levine. Her advice to students: “Don’t take what the media tells you or the current state of law, which is constantly changing, for granted. It’s only because of critical thinking that the law changes at all—the status quo is not necessarily the right, best or correct way to be.”

At Yeshiva College, Dr. Ariel Malka’s Psychology of Mass Opinion course offers students an eye-opening glimpse into the psychological processes and characteristics that shape public opinion about political issues, from policy preferences and presidential approval ratings to perceptions of how the economy is doing. Students will study the way genetic makeup, personality, media and socialization influence political views, and will also overview research on political judgment and decision-making processes. A current events component will focus on opinion and election polling surrounding the primaries and the lead-up to the general election.

“There’s this idea of a culture war in much of the rhetoric surrounding American politics, that Americans are bitterly divided on a wide set of hot-button issues, the stereotype of religious gun-toting rednecks versus secular latte-sipping liberal elitists, but it’s more complicated than that,” said Malka. “Understanding this complexity will give students a better sense of how opinions are actually structured in the American electorate and the nature of the current American electoral coalitions.”

Also at Yeshiva College, noted national security policy expert Dr. Evan Resnick will lead a course called Power Threats and National Security. Students will examine grand strategy in the United States throughout the 20th century, focusing especially on the idea of containment during the Cold War, as well as stances taken by world powers throughout history, from the Roman Empire to Renaissance-age Spain and England. They will also study emerging national security strategies proposed by scholars and analysts in the wake of 9/11.

“This is an era where there’s a lot of uncertainty about American grand strategy,” said Resnick. “We’re seeing the beginnings of a serious debate we really haven’t had since the end of the Second World War and these decisions are no longer the preserve of the academic think tanks. These are bread-and-butter issues now.”

Talya Seidman, a political science major at Stern, will be taking Women and Law and either Arab-Israeli Conflict or Dr. Ben Neinass’ Politics of Memory in the spring. “I think it’s important to study these topics today because we live in a time of immediate global connection and social protest,” she said. “The tools to know what’s going on all over the country and world are literally at our fingertips. We, as college-educated, young adults should be able to comprehend the significance of these important current events.”


Ellen Yaroshefsky Appointed to New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that Ellen Yaroshefsky, professor at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law has been appointed to the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE).

Ellen Yaroshefsky

Prof. Ellen Yaroshefsky

As part of this appointment, Yaroshefsky will work with the 14-member board to investigate corruption in various levels of government. According to Governor Cuomo, the commission will help maintain integrity in state government. JCOPE will have expanded powers over the former Commission on Public Integrity. Their responsibilities include the power to investigate and impose penalties on executive employees and lobbyists, and to investigate potential violations of the law by legislators and legislative employees, and if violations are found, issue findings to the Legislative Ethics Commission, which will have jurisdiction to impose penalties.

Yaroshefsky has rich and varied experience in ethics work. She is the co-executive director of the Jacob Burns Ethics Center in the Practice of Law at Cardozo and a member of several attorney ethics review organizations, including the American Bar Association’s Ethics, Gideon and Professionalism Committee, the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Ethics Advisory Committee.

“I look forward to working with other members of the Commission to enhance accountability and respect for state government officials,” said Yaroshefsky.

JCOPE consists of six members appointed by the Governor and eight members appointed by legislative leaders. The Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the Assembly each appointed three members, and the minority leaders of both houses each appointed one member. Yaroshefksy was a legislative appointment, chosen by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver ’65YC.


Senior Advisers to Israeli Parliament Meet with President Joel, Students

Eighteen senior Israeli parliamentary professionals visited Yeshiva University on Thursday, December 15 as part of a special mission co-hosted by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and Israel’s Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs.

Senior Knesset advisers met with President Joel, center, and members of YU's administration on Dec. 15.

The delegation met with President Richard M. Joel, the University’s deans and members of the student body, and toured YU’s Wilf Campus.

“There is no university in America more committed to the survival and growth of the State of Israel than YU, and none whose students are more committed to being there, living there, and learning there,” said President Joel.

Delegation participants included the bureau chiefs of the ministers of Education, Diaspora Affairs and Government Services; senior advisors to the ministers of Finance, Internal Security, Justice, and Immigration and Absorption; and senior correspondents from some of Israel’s largest media outlets.

“We place significant emphasis on building bridges that promote greater understanding between North American Jewry and Israelis, and this mission to bring senior Knesset professionals to the United States is an integral part of that work,” said Rebecca Caspi, JFNA’s senior vice president for Israel and Overseas.

“We aim to expose the group to a wide range of Jewish groups, organizations and institutions, and to show them the depth of commitment that so many have to Israel and the Jewish people. Yeshiva University is a prime example of that dedication, and an important partner for Israel now and in the future.”


A Day After Tisha B’Av Mourning, Jerusalem’s Mayor Visits Yeshiva University

President Richard M. Joel and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat at Yeshiva University

President Joel and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat visited Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel on Wednesday, August 10, 2011, the 10th of Av, 5771. A day earlier, on the Ninth of Av, as Jews fasted and lamented the destruction of ancient Jerusalem and its holy Temples, more than 8,000 viewers from North and South America, Great Britain, Australia and Israel tuned into a Tisha B’Av webcast online at YU Torah featuring Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter. Additionally, more than 25,000 copies of YU’s Tisha B’Av To-Go publication were distributed in print and online.


Rabbi Kenneth Brander Attends President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge in Washington, D.C.

Rabbi Kenneth Brander, David Mitzner Dean of Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future, attended President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge event in Washington D.C. on August 3. The event was part of the President’s initiative to call on institutions of higher education across America to commit to progressing interfaith cooperation through community service initiatives over the course of the 2011-2012 academic year. Some 250 universities are involved in the initiative.

CJF Presidential Fellow Orli Haken and Rabbi Kenneth Brander attend D.C. event.

CJF's David Mitzner Presidential Fellow Orli Haken and Rabbi Kenneth Brander attended the August 3 event.

The convention provided faith and community leaders with the opportunity to hear from several senior government officials and mingle with representatives from other universities. During numerous sessions participants expressed challenges and opportunities presented by interfaith work and discussed building tolerance through this context. This sentiment was reflected in a video clip played at the conference during which President Obama explained that through this initiative, he is challenging students and administrators to work together with the government to improve people’s lives and positively affect their neighborhoods. He concluded by stating “the values that unite us as Americans are far more powerful than those that divide us.”

Yeshiva University plans on implementing this initiative through educating students on campus and the greater Jewish community about medical issues relating to Public Health and fitness. The project will also reach out to other university campuses on the importance of Public health creating a consortium of students from various campuses who will interact with public school students in the Washington Heights area.

“Participating in a service learning experience with students of another college or faith, where the focus is not theological conversations but social  change will be a transformative experience for all participants,” said Rabbi Brander. “I am proud that Yeshiva was chosen to participate in the National White House Challenge.”