Wurzweiler’s Block Program Offers Israelis Cutting-Edge Social Work Education
As a high school English teacher in Jerusalem, Rivkah Weiss found students frequently turned to her for advice and guidance. But although she loved helping them navigate the personal challenges they faced, Weiss was frustrated by the sense that she could only do so much for them. “I felt like I was limited in my capacity to help them and had this strong desire to further develop my skillset so I could expand my work in this area,” she said.
2014 graduates of the Israel Block Program, left to right: Amikam Schweber, Zvia Altar and Yehuda Ish Shalom
Weiss decided to begin her master’s degree in social work at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work’s Block Program in Israel. Consisting of three summers of formal classroom social work education at Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus in New York City and two years of supervised field experience in Israel, the program is designed to enable aspiring Israeli social workers to gain cutting-edge training without having to relocate.
“The Block Program allowed me to remain in Israel where I live throughout the year and at the same time complete my studies in three summers,” said Weiss. “Wurzweiler and the Block Program particularly are known for their high academic standards and success rate in terms of job placements, and my fellow students and I also became a very close-knit group of religious and secular Israeli, American and Canadian men and women.”
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At YU Event, MK Ofir Akunis Discusses Israel’s Political Environment, Media Bias and the Mideast Conflict
On December 1, Deputy Minister of the Office of the Prime Minister and Knesset Member Ofir Akunis joined Yeshiva University students on the Wilf Campus for a discussion about the political atmosphere in Israel as well as what goes on behind the scenes during these turbulent times.
“I come from Israel as an ambassador of the truth,” he said. “Israel is the prime example of a fair democracy, strong economy, beautiful country, and a place of freedom.”
In his talk, Okunis discussed the newly proposed “Jewish State” law, his admiration for the Israel Defense Forces, and addressed media bias against Israel’s actions and policies. Read the rest of this entry…
Yeshiva University Student Leadership Hosts Israel Solidarity Rally in Times Square
In response to the tragic terror attacks that have occurred in Israel in recent weeks, Yeshiva University student leaders organized a rally in solidarity with Israel in New York City’s Times Square on November 23.
The rally, which was open to all denominations and faith groups, created a peaceful space for communal prayer, song and unity in support of Israel.
“Recognizing that terrorism in Israel affects all of us as Jews and Americans, Yeshiva University students came together in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Israel,” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander Read the rest of this entry…
YU High School for Girls Renames Program Dedicated in Memory of Joy Rochwarger Balsam z”l
Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva University High School for Girls (Central) recently dedicated their Israel guidance program in memory of Joy Rochwarger Balsam, a beloved teacher who touched the lives of hundreds of students in Israel and the United States. The program will now be known as the Joy Rochwarger Balsam Israel Guidance Program, thanks to funds donated by Joy’s family.
Joy Rochwarger Balsam z”l
“Joy’s relationship with Central, her devotion to the State of Israel and contributions to Jewish education were remarkable,” said CB Neugroschl, head of school at Central. “Her cheerful disposition, tremendous faith, love of Israel and infectious devotion to learning lishma [for its own sake] inspired countless students, making it particularly appropriate that the Israel Guidance Program be dedicated in her memory. I know our students’ learning will continue to honor her memory.” Read the rest of this entry…
Rabbis David Horowitz and Dovid Miller to Deliver Annual NYC – Jerusalem Kinus Teshuva Lectures on September 30
Rabbi Dr. David Horwitz and Rabbi Dovid Miller, Roshei Yeshiva at Yeshiva University-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), will be the featured speakers at the 30th Annual Hausman/Stern Kinus Teshuva Lectures. The lectures, given between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, will take place in New York City and Jerusalem on Tuesday, September 30, the seventh of Tishrei. Read the rest of this entry…
Having Recently Completed Their Service, IDF Vets Begin College Careers at Yeshiva University
One night, as Ethan Gipsman, a light machine-gunner in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) from San Diego, California, stood guard over a group of suspected terrorists in the West Bank, one of them asked him a surprising question: What was Ethan, an American, doing there? “He said, ‘I thought America had everything,’ ” Gipsman recalled. “ ‘Why would you leave your country to come here?’ ”
Having recently completed their IDF service, Shmuel Goldis, Jonathan Sidlow, Daniel Gofine and Ethan Gipsman are beginning their college careers at Yeshiva University.
Gipsman thought about his answer for most of the night before replying, in a mixture of Arabic, English and Hebrew, “There is only one Jewish country in the world. I left America because, as a Jew, I have an obligation to protect it.”
His answer resonates strongly with several lone soldiers—enlistees from America and countries around the world who come to Israel to serve in the IDF—who, like Gipsman, recently began their studies at Yeshiva University. Read the rest of this entry…
With Rockets Soaring Overhead, YU Students Take Part in Successful Archaeological Excavation in Biblical City of Gath
Most college students haven’t had the opportunity to immerse themselves in centuries-old history through a hands-on archaeological dig in Israel, and even fewer have done so amid blaring sirens warning of impending rocket attacks.
Yael Eisenberg, Shani Guterman, Dr. Jill Katz, Sarale Pool, Sima Fried and Asher Perez dig for artifacts in Tell es-Safi, Israel.
For five Yeshiva University undergraduates, a summer course that focused on investigating the archaeology, ecology and history of Tell es-Safi, the biblical city of Gath, took an unexpected twist when they found themselves in rocket range during Israel’s current Operation Protective Edge military offensive against Hamas in Gaza. The YU group, led by Dr. Jill Katz, clinical assistant professor of archaeology, was at Kibbutz Revadim on the southern coast of Israel near the Ashdod and Ashkelon regions when the conflict began.
“We were located 40 kilometers from Gaza and thus had about 45 seconds to run into a bomb shelter once we heard the siren,” said Katz. “While the kibbutz where we were staying had many accessible shelters, the dig site did not, and our instructions were simply to lie down in our excavation trenches for several minutes when the siren went off at the nearby power plant.” Read the rest of this entry…
Dr. Rona Novick: How Educators Can Arm Students With Hope in an Increasingly Dangerous World
On my first day as Dean of the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education, three innocent Israeli victims of terrorism – teenagers – were laid to rest. The unity of the past weeks and the pain and sheer terror of the past few days beg consideration: are there any lessons here regarding what educators should be teaching their students?
Dr. Rona Novick, dean of YU’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education
We are not the first generation, and I fear we will not be the last, that needs to teach children about danger and safety. Difficult lessons about a world where even children who do no wrong become ill, and where there are cruel adults and children who can and will hurt other children have been and will continue to be taught. Such lessons require delicate balance. If we err on the side of lollipops and sunshine, we lose credibility as trustworthy and knowledgeable adults when terror or trauma strikes. If we open children’s eyes wide to the doom, gloom and ever-present dangers, we risk raising a generation of anxious, terrified citizens.
Whether it is the discomfort of modulating between opposite poles of all is good, and the world is evil, or the fact that when we cannot promise safety, it seems providing any guidance or support is futile, adults may avoid these tough lessons. Read the rest of this entry…
Jewish and Psychological Perspectives for Helping Children, Adolescents, as well as Adults, to Cope with Loss and Terror
It is with deep sadness and profound outrage that we learned of the murders of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach. For the past few weeks, the lives of these boys, and the incredible faith of their families, have made an enduring impact upon each and every one of us, and upon the entire Jewish people. Our devotion to Tefilah and unified sense of “Am Yisrael” was palpable throughout our community. Families joined together in prayer, lighting additional candles for Shabbat, posting signs on our lawns, and flooding social media with a movement to raise global awareness of their plight. We embraced the families of the boys as heroes of our faith, and marveled at the remarkable strength they maintained and provided to the entire Jewish people. They spoke to the heart and transcended all divisions within our people that only weeks ago seemed entrenched as part of Jewish life.
There are no words to truly capture the pain of our nation’s loss. Yet, our children will turn to us for guidance and understanding regarding the emotional and spiritual challenges that arise in such a devastating experience. Please find a number of resources compiled by Yeshiva University from both internal sources, and from Chai Lifeline that provide strategies and insights in addressing these circumstances with your children. Read the rest of this entry…
Ninth Annual Service Learning Program to Empower 300 Israeli Youth, Receive Support From Local Municipalities
The Yeshiva University Center for the Jewish Future’s (CJF) Counterpoint Israel Program, an immersive service-learning initiative that aims to empower the next generation of Israeli youth via an exciting, Jewish values-driven summer camp experience, has been retooled to maximize manpower efficiency and its impact on the Israeli communities it serves.
YU students will help empower some 300 underprivileged youth throughout Israel this summer as part of the Counterpoint program.
Over the last several years, undergraduate students from Yeshiva University ran four separate summer camps in the cities of Arad, Dimona, Kiryat Gat and Kiryat Malachi concurrently. Basing itself on the North American Jewish camping system, this year’s program will offer two separate camp sessions, making it possible for YU students to focus their undivided attention and complete creativity on two cities at a time.
The YU students, natives of North America, Colombia and Chile, will run camps in Kiryat Gat and Kiryat Malachi from June 29 – July 10 before relocating to Dimona and Arad for the second session, scheduled for July 13 – 24. Read the rest of this entry…