Apr 21, 2005 –
To the Yeshiva University Community:
Spring brings with it the freshness of renewal. Passover teaches us what we can achieve if we are free to commit ourselves to noble responsibilities. In that spirit, I greet you and share some “travels with Richard.”
Thank G-d, there is so much happening at YU, provoked by engaged faculty, deans, students, rebbeim and leadership, that I must refer you to our web site, www.yu.edu for ongoing programs and educational initiatives. Let me just offer an overview of some of the matters on our plate.
I hope many of you participated in an extraordinary conference on the Nuremberg Trials at Cardozo School of Law, led by Prof. Richard Weisberg and Prof. Sheri Rosenberg. It dovetails beautifully with a series of Human Rights lectures, put together by Prof. Bryan Daves and offered by Stern College’s Dr. Marcia Robbins-Wilf Scholars-in-Residence Program.
I am proud to take note of several members of our undergraduate faculty who have distinguished themselves recently through awards and fellowships: Paula Geyh (English Literature; NEH award), David Glaser (Music; American Academy of Arts and Letters award), Jay Ladin (English Literature; American Academy of Learned Societies research fellowship), and William Stenhouse (History; Italian Academy for Advanced Studies research fellowship).
If you are in New York, you must not miss YU Museum’s extraordinary exhibition, Printing the Talmud: From Bomberg to Schottenstein. The museum is a gem and must be part of a visit to New York, or a day in New York.
More and more men and women are participating in our Sunday morning learning programs on the Wilf Campus, Kollel Yom Rishon and Midreshet Yom Rishon — it is a delightful and important way to study with our Rabbinic and Jewish Studies faculty.
A visit to the Resnick Campus will reveal that construction is underway for the new Michael F. Price Center for Genetic and Translational Medicine at the Harold and Muriel Block Research Pavilion. Our deans’ searches at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Yeshiva College are in full swing.
A wonderful, anonymous $5 million gift brings us closer to being able to erect a magnificent Glueck Center for Torah Study at the Wilf Campus. More to follow.
Many of us were fortunate to hear Dr. David Pelcovitz’s inaugural lecture as the Gwendolyn and Joseph Straus Professor of Education and Psychology at the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education, held at the Geraldine Schottenstein Cultural Center.
I so enjoyed a reception this week that paired our undergraduate scholarship donors with their young scholars. Seeing the mutual admiration of students and patrons needs no further elucidation.
Many of us participated in numerous activities that marked the undergraduate Arts Festival and reminds us of our students’ enormous creativity.
A RIETS Yom Iyun brought together faculty from RIETS, Azrieli, Wurzweiler, Einstein and Ferkauf in exploring issues of mental health and methodologies of dealing with crisis situations.
Esther and I hosted a breakfast for faculty and students to welcome Mrs. Linda Hooper, principal of the Whitwell School in Whitwell, Tennessee. Mrs. Hooper will receive an honorary degree at Commencement for her wonderful “Paper Clips” project. Mrs. Hooper brought the tragedies of the Holocaust to an understandable and meaningful experience for many in her state by assisting her eighth-grade students in collecting six million paper clips representing each of the victims of the Holocaust. Her project was developed into a remarkable documentary film.
Finally, over the last several weeks, Esther and I have visited alumni communities in Englewood, New Jersey, Dallas and Houston, Texas, Atlanta, Georgia, Miami Beach and Boca Raton, Florida. A tremendous sense of excitement is generated as we launch a national conversation on how YU goes to the next plane in demonstrating its character as America’s Jewish university in service to humanity and as the university with a Yeshiva at its heart.
I thank you so much for all the expressions of interest made to date. Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady in his work Likutei HaTorah tells us that we should speak of Passover as marking not just “Yitziat Mitzrayim,” the exodus from Egypt, but “Yitziat Mitzarim” – the transcending of limitations. Many will have the joyous determination to go beyond our limits and together with our students, advance the values we together cherish.
Richard M. Joel