Yeshiva University News » Program

Dec 29, 2009 — Over 450 people were in attendance at the Young Israel of Woodmere this past Sunday to hear Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter, senior scholar at Yeshiva University’s (YU) Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) discuss Asarah B’Tevet: From ancient times to the 21st Century. The lecture, part of YU’s popular Yom Rishon learning series generally held at YU’s upper Manhattan Wilf Campus, was a welcome addition to the Five Towns.

Through text-based sources, interesting insights and comments on the day’s evolution throughout history, Rabbi Schacter made Asarah B’Tevet more meaningful to the crowd. The lecture was an initiative of the YU Regional Council-Five Towns and was co-sponsored by Congregations Aish Kodesh, Anshei Chesed, Beth Sholom, Young Israel Lawrence/Cedarhurst and the Young Israel of Woodmere.

“The CJF is very excited to bring the Torah and scholarship of Yeshiva University to the Five Towns,” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander, the David Mitzner dean of CJF. “We plan to continue bringing unique, interesting and educational programming to the community.”

YU introduced the Abraham Arbesfeld Kollel Yom Rishon for men and the Millie Arbesfeld Midreshet Yom Rishon for women as part of an initiative to strengthen Jewish communal life and learning. The program brings hundreds of men and women to YU’s Wilf Campus in Washington Heights every Sunday morning to learn Torah and hear lectures from various YU rabbis and scholars. Since its inception, the Yom Rishon series has spread to Toronto, Los Angeles and other cities across North America.

The CJF and the YU Regional Council have several upcoming events planned in the Five Towns, including another Yom Rishon in February, a special lecture series in March and a YU Connects Singles Shabbaton on May 7. To learn more about the Center for the Jewish Future visit


2009 Roth Scholars and University Summer Research Scholars

Jul 22, 2009 — Ten Yeshiva University students are spending their summer conducting innovative scientific research as Roth Scholars and University Summer Research Scholars. The undergraduate students are working alongside top scientific researchers at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx.

The impressive group includes Tirtza Spiegel, David Kuppermann, Yona Saperstein, Fay Burekhovich, Chava Ruderman, Emily Liebling, Shoshana Zitter, Motti Friedman, Chaim Golfeiz, and Avital Bauman.

“The eight students in the Roth Scholars program and the two students in the University Summer Research Scholars program are paired with scientists at Einstein to gain experience conducting cutting-edge scientific research,” said Barry Potvin, PhD, professor of biology at YU and chairperson of the Roth Summer Research Fellowship Committee. The annual ten-week program, sponsored by the Ernst and Hedwig Roth Institute of Biomedical Science Education at YU, provides each student with a stipend and campus housing.

“Each program has its own funding, and both allow undergraduate science students the chance to experience high-level research with university scientists,” Dr. Potvin said. The students work in teams alongside graduate and post-doctoral students.

Kuppermann, a Roth Scholar, is studying DiGeorge Syndrome in both model organisms and human patients with Dr. Bernice Morrow. “The ability to see in practice what I have read in textbooks is fascinating to me,” said the Antwerp, Belgium native.

According to Dr. Potvin, although most of the students are considering medical careers, this experience often piques their interest in research, and motivates them to apply to MD/PhD programs.

Bauman, a University Summer Research Scholar from Baltimore, MD is researching the relationship between endocannabinoid proteins and HIV under the guidance of Dr. Melissa Nashat and Dr. Sunhee Lee.

“Being a part of the academic and scientific world is fascinating, yet humbling,” explains Bauman. “However, this experience has been truly rewarding. The extracurricular activities offered at YU have encouraged me to work hard in pursuing a career in medicine and global health.”


Jul 1, 2009 — Yeshiva University, through its Center for the Jewish Future (CJF), will introduce a Torah learning program at Lincoln Square Synagogue this summer for women of all ages who want to pursue advanced Talmud and Judaic study. The Women’s Beit Midrash Fellows Program, which takes place July 6-29, affirms the University’s status as a pioneer in developing Orthodox Jewish women as scholars, teachers and community leaders.

The program, focusing on “Crisis, Hope and Leadership in Jewish Tradition,” will provide women of all ages and Jewish educational backgrounds with the knowledge and tools to become Judaic scholars, community leaders and role models for the Orthodox community.

See The Jewish Channel’s coverage of the program here:

The program is a component of the CJF’s annual Manhattan Beit Midrash Community Program, which has offerings for men, women and youth at Lincoln Square Synagogue.

Highlighting this year’s Women’s Beit Midrash Fellows Program will be a mini-course on Mondays and Wednesdays led by Elana Stein Hain, who completed advanced studies in Talmud at YU’s Graduate Program in Advanced Talmudic Studies (GPATS) and is the community scholar at Lincoln Square Synagogue, the first woman to hold such a position at the prominent New York house of worship. The position is sponsored by the CJF.

Hain’s mini-course, “Chabura: Sugya Survey Workshop,” will focus on a sampling of sugyot [Mishnaic texts] which are ripe for both the yeshiva/Brisker (Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik) method as well as academic perspectives. The workshop will include 30 minutes of chavruta [group study] helping participants develop and sharpen their learning skills.

“Women are partners in the leadership of the Jewish community,” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander, the David Mitzner Dean of the CJF. “What this program does is provide the tools for them to grow intellectually and develop the knowledge necessary to take on this role. It’s an outgrowth of our commitment to women’s leadership and Jewish education that dates back 40 years to the founding of Stern College for Women, the Midreshet Yom Rishon held weekly on campus, the GPATS program and numerous leadership fellowships for women.”

In addition to Hain, the faculty for the Women’s Beit Midrash Fellows Program includes Rabbi Moshe Kahn, a faculty member of Stern College, the GPATS program, and the Drisha Institute, who will address “The Call of the Shofar: A Halakhic Analysis” on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays; and Dr. Shawn Zelig Aster, assistant professor of Bible at Yeshiva College, who will focus on “Sefer Yeshayahu: Text and History” on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. In addition, Rabbi Brander will give a special shiur [lecture] on “Justice, Human Rights and Morality: The Ethics of Warfare” on Tuesday, July 14 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

For adults of all ages, there is a rotating scholar series on Tuesday evenings, a three-week course on Wednesdays, July 8, 15 and 22, and a morning program. Among the faculty will be Rabbi Hayyim Angel of Congregation Shearith Israel of New York and instructor at Yeshiva College; Yael Leibowitz, an adjunct professor at Stern College; Rebbetzin Smadar Rosensweig, professor of Bible at Stern College; Dapha Fishman Secunda, director of women’s programming at the CJF; Dr. Shai Secunda, the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Postdoctoral Fellow in Judaic Studies at Yale University; Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter, University Professor of Jewish History and Jewish Thought and senior scholar at the CJF; and Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Woolf, senior lecturer in Talmud at Bar-Ilan University.

Among the topics they will address are: “Jeremiah’s Confrontation with the Religious Establishment”; “Maimonides’ Analysis of Sefer Iyov”; “Yehudah and David”; “Theological Reflections of National Suffering”; “Interactions between Judaism, Islam, and Christianity”; “Reflections on Tisha B’Av”: “Our Patriarch Avraham”; and “Notes from the Destruction in Eichah Rabbah.”

For more information on YU summer programs or to register, please contact or call 212.340.7700 x 430.


Yael Medresh of Emunah V’Omanut won first prize for her drawing entitled “The Lord Will Bare His Holy Arm in the Sight of All." She is pictured here with Ari Solomont, director of the S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program.

Feb 6, 2009 — The emerging artistic talents of young Jewish women from around the world were evident at the Yeshiva University campus in Jerusalem, when 28 post-high school students displayed their paintings, drawings, sculptures and other works as part of the second S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program Art Competition.

The dessert reception and exhibition drew an audience of 150, who viewed the artistic submissions from students at nine seminaries. The submissions included a menorah, collages and a work crafted from fabric and beads in addition to paintings and drawings. Students had been required to submit works on the themes of Ahavat Yisrael [love for Israel], Torah Umadda [synthesis of Toarh and secular knowledge], Jerusalem, Eretz Yisrael [the land of Israel], or Geulah [redemption], and to include a written explanation of the meaning of their work.

The Yeshiva University-sponsored competition provided a much-needed venue for creativity for the entrants.

“The competition is for students who are artistically inclined and want an opportunity to express themselves in a way that they wouldn’t always be able to do in a year of such intense Torah learning,” Elana Kohn, a YU Israel advisor, said. “It’s designed to enhance their year. They can engage their creativity within the framework of a Torah-oriented program.”

In addressing the artists and their friends, Dr. Hillel Davis, vice president of university life, said that just as human beings continue the process of Creation through technology and construction, so too artists bring more beauty to the world. “I’m incredibly impressed by the talent of many of the individuals in this room,” he said. “In a profound way, the beauty you have created is borne from the Torah you have studied this year, and you are using Hashem’s Torah, the blueprint of the world, to add to its splendor.”

Photographs of the entries were e-mailed to Stern College Professors of Art Traci Tullius and Susan Gardner, who judged each piece in advance of the gallery reception. Tullius and Gardner also made themselves available to the students via e-mail for constructive criticism during the creative process.

“The program is a bridge between the students and Stern,” said Stephanie Strauss, assistant director of the S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program, who conceived the idea of the art competition last year. “Especially for those who will continue to study art and are already developing a relationship with the professors.”

Emunah V’Omanut student Aviva Bloom concurred. “This year is the most incredible fusion of art and Torah I’ve ever had,” she said. “This is really cool of YU to do. It gives me hope about continuing in art when I go to Stern.”

Three prominent Israeli artists–Daniel Azoulay, Penny Harow ’92ST and Jordana Klein ’86ST–attended the exhibit to judge the works and express support for the students.

The first-place prize of $500, supported by the Sofie Freeman Art Enrichment Fund in the office of Dr. Karen Bacon, The Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of Stern, was awarded to Yael Medresh of Emunah V’Omanut, whose drawing entitled “The Lord Will Bare His Holy Arm in the Sight of All” was both emotionally intense and technically advanced.

“The intersection of Torah and art is what I’m searching for. They are two integral parts of my life,” said Medresh, a native of Mexico who plans to attend the joint program between Stern and the Fashion Institute of Technology next year.

Medresh’s mother, Anette Pier, is also an artist. Coincidentally, an exhibition of Pier’s work will open at the Yeshiva University Museum on Feb. 26. Medresh said that she planned to use her award money to fly to New York to see her mother’s paintings.

Second-place honors went to Eliana Kohanchi of Midreshet Harova for her “Mama Rachel,” an interpretation of the Tomb of Rachel created from paint, mosaics and sand; and to Erica Langer of Tiferet for her drawing, entitled “From out of the Depths,” of one hand, symbolizing the Holocaust, reaching for another hand encircled with tefillin [phylacteries].

“Rachel Imeinu [our mother] has always been one of my role models,” Kohanchi said. “I’m so happy for this opportunity. I never knew I had talent.”

Three students tied for third place: Rami Diamond of Emunah V’Omanut for her drawing depicting a fading “photo” of Holocaust survivors; Daniela Rosenthal of Michlalah for her painting entitled “Sheyirbu Zechuyotainu K’Rimon” (May our Merits Increase Like the Seeds of a Pomegranate); and Leora Niderberg of Migdal Oz, for the advanced painting techniques displayed in her landscape portrait of Nachal Arad. All of the winning entries will be displayed in the fall at the Beren Campus.

The consensus among the entrants was that, win or lose, the competition had been exciting and welcome. “I’m really happy with my piece, with the way the composition turned out,” said Tehilla student Miriam Weiss, who plans to attend Stern next year and minor in art. Her painting, “B’tzelem Elokim,” included a man in intense prayer and symbols of the holiday of Sukkot. “To create it, I had to go back to the textual sources and study a lot of texts. I’ve been developing my work in Judaica lately. I learn Torah to paint, and I paint to learn.”


Mar 25, 2008 — Concert to Feature World Premiere of David Glaser’s /Kinesis/ and Momenta Quartet’s Performance of Works by Renowned Jewish Composers

Yeshiva University (YU) announced today the introduction of an Ensemble-in-Residence curriculum and will commemorate the program launch with an inaugural concert by the Momenta String Quartet, Wednesday, April 2nd at the Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th Street at 8p.m.

Celebrated for its eclectic programming, the Momenta String Quartet, YU’s first Ensemble-in-Residence, will perform a wide range of music by Jewish composers and feature the world premiere of David Glaser’s /Kinesis/, a quintet for guitar and string quartet. Mr. Glaser, who will oversee the Ensemble-in-Residence program, and is the Assistant Professor of music at YU’s Stern College for Women, has received an Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Art and Letters as well as the Fromm Foundation.

The Momenta Quartet, accompanied by guest artist Oren Fader, a highly regarded performer of classical guitar repertoire, both solo and chamber, traditional and contemporary, will also perform Ernest Bloch’s /Prelude (Recueillement)/, Ursula Mamlok’s /Two Bagatelles/, Morton Feldman’s /Structures/, John Zorn’s /Kol Nidre/ and Alfred Schnittke’s /String Quartet No.2/.

The Momenta String Quartet is comprised of four talented musicians: Miranda Cuckson, a violinist who was recently praised by the New York Times as a brilliant young performer, is acclaimed for her performances in the United States, Europe and the Far East; Joanne Lin on cello is an enthusiastic explorer of chamber music and is a member of San Francisco Bay Area’s conductorless New Century Chamber Orchestra; Stephanie Griffin on viola has performed internationally as a soloist and chamber musician and has collaborated for many years with

Indonesian composer Tony Prabowo; and Annaliesa Place, who made her solo debut at the age of twelve with the Heidelberg Orchestra, has since appeared with orchestras throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

The Ensemble-in-Residence program at YU will provide an invaluable experience for students to help them grow as performers and composers by interacting directly with professional artists. The Momenta String Quartet will be in residence at YU for a period of two years, one year on the Israel Beren Campus and one on the Wilf Campus. The musicians will perform one public concert per year and will present in a number of classes for YU’s Sense of Music students. Additionally, they will offer master classes, perform brief solo pieces, engage in Q&A sessions with students, and present readings of works done by music majors in the University’s composition classes.

Tickets to the April 2nd performance are $10 for general admission and $8 for CJH or YUM members, students, and seniors. For more information, visit


Nov 27, 2007 — The study of music at Yeshiva University hits a high note this fall with the creation of the YU Ensemble-in-Residence Program at the undergraduate schools. The Momenta String Quartet, which has collaborated with Dr. David Glaser, assistant professor of music at Stern College for Women and has performed on campus before, will spend a year each at both the Beren and Wilf campuses.

“Momenta comprises four young energetic women, who share their vibrancy and love for music with our students,” Glaser says.

“Individual members of the quartet will visit our ‘Sense of Music’ classes to give brief performances of solo pieces and answer students’ questions,” say Glaser. “Students will get to hear about and understand the life of a performer.”

The group will give their first public concert at the Center for Jewish History (the home of the YU Museum) in April 2008, focusing on 20th-century works by Jewish composers and premiering a piece written by Glaser.

In addition, quartet members will give readings of works composed by music majors in the schools’ composition classes.

“Having professional musicians look at and discuss students’ music with them is an invaluable experience,” says Glaser, adding that the students’ final project may be to write a movement for the string quartet, which they will then hear performed. “It’s a great inducement for them to work even harder,” he adds.

The music department is hopeful that the YU Ensemble-in-Residence Program will attract students from a variety of disciplines and will help establish a vibrant connection between the university and the local arts community. The program’s coordinators also envision collaboration with Yeshiva College’s Writer-in-Residence Program.

Ensemble-in-residence programs are an integral part of the arts and cultural programming of many educational institutions. “It provides a different perspective on the art of music,” says Glaser. “It’s like bringing professional actors into a theater class.”


Jun 22, 2007 — A new professor will be taking the reins at the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program at Yeshiva College in the fall.

As part of an ambitious hiring initiative to strengthen the quality of the Yeshiva College faculty, James Otteson, PhD, chair of the Department of Philosophy at University of Alabama, has been recruited to head the program.

Dr. Otteson initially will devote himself to directing the honors program, said Joanne Jacobson, PhD, associate dean for academic affairs at Yeshiva College. Dr. Otteson will also have a joint appointment in the philosophy and economics departments, where he will teach later in the year.

“Yeshiva University is dedicated to providing the country’s best overall education to students interested in both aspects of its Torah Umadda [the combination of Jewish studies and secular learning] mission, and the honors program will play a central role in helping YU to reach its highest potential,” Dr. Otteson said.

Dr. Otteson received a BA from the University of Notre Dame and a PhD from the University of Chicago. He has been teaching at the University of Alabama since 1997, chairing the philosophy department since 2005. He specializes in the history of modern philosophy, political philosophy, ethics, and Adam Smith, the founder of modern economics. He has written several books and edited numerous articles.

Dr. Otteson will build on the work of Will Lee, PhD, who directed the Schottenstein Honors Program for the past six years. Department heads and program chairpeople at Yeshiva College are limited to serving two three-year terms.

“Dr. Lee did a tremendous job shepherding the students in the honors program,” said Yeshiva College Dean David Srolovitz, PhD. “We are happy that the college will continue to benefit from his expertise.”


Jun 14, 2007 — Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future will sponsor the Teaneck Beit Midrash Summer Program for Women, the first program of its kind at Yeshiva University designed to provide women of all ages with the knowledge and tools to become both Judaic scholars and role models for the Orthodox community. The program will take place at Maayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls from July 2-26.

The Teaneck Beit Midrash Summer Program is administered by fellows of Yeshiva University’s Graduate Program in Advanced Talmudic Studies (GPATS), which advances a higher level of education for women in traditional communities, creates a movement of women’s learning, and shares their scholarship with the Jewish community.

“This is an outgrowth of our commitment to women’s leadership and Jewish education,” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander, dean of CJF. “This unique venture follows on the heels of Midreshet Yom Rishon–our Sunday learning program for women on the YU campus–the GPATS program, and numerous leadership fellowships for women. This is just the beginning.”

The Teaneck Beit Midrash will offer a multi-faceted agenda tailored to different segments of the community. The Youth Program has four components: chavruta [partner-style] learning for elementary, middle school, and high school girls; Mishnah Madness for girls in grades 5-8; and the Mitzvah of the Week Workshop and Pizza and Parsha, both for girls from grades 1-8.

“I am excited to be a part of this unique initiative,” said Malka Adatto, coordinator of the program. “The Teaneck Beit Midrash is the type of opportunity I yearned for in elementary school and high school. We have put together a program that fosters relationships with girls who will continue on a path of learning and leadership.”

The faculty for the community program will be Rebbetzin Smadar Rosensweig, a Stern College faculty member, who will discuss the “Haftarot of Calamity and Consolation” on Thursdays. Elana Stein Hain, a graduate of the GPATS program and currently the William Fischman Resident Scholar at The Jewish Center in Manhattan, will lecture on “Legal Loopholes: Case Studies in Halakhha” on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Rabbi Brander will give a shiur on Monday, July 16 at 2:30 pm and Rabbi Moshe Kahn will present a course on the halakhic basis of abiding by secular laws of government beginning on July 2. Rabbi Kahn is on the faculty of Stern College and GPATS, and is a member in-training at the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis.

The third pillar is the Beit Midrash Fellows Program given Monday through Thursday, which features “Analysis of the Sheva Mitzvot Bnei Noach” with Rabbi Shmuel Hain, rosh beit midrash of the learning program at GPATS. Rachel Friedman, who has served as a scholar-in-residence at synagogues and educational institutions across the US, will provide an in-depth analysis of the Book of Yechezkel (Ezekiel). She has an MA in Bible from YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and a JD from Columbia University School of Law.

For more information on YU Summer Programs, please e-mail


Ann and Hyman Arbesfeld

Mar 9, 2007 — Ann and Hyman Arbesfeld of Kew Gardens, NY, will dedicate the popular Sunday learning programs at Yeshiva University, on March 18 in memory of Mr. Arbesfeld’s parents. The Kollel Yom Rishon, a program for men, will be named the Abraham Arbesfeld Kollel Yom Rishon program and the study group for women will be named the Millie Arbesfeld Midreshet Yom Rishon program.

Yeshiva University’s three-year-old Kollel Yom Rishon and Midreshet Yom Rishon programs “started on a street corner,” says Philip Moskowitz, program coordinator for the Department of Community Initiatives at Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF).

According to the CJF staff member, the unique series had its beginning when Rabbi Meir Goldwicht, Rosh Yeshiva of YU’s Mazer School of Talmudic Studies, suggested in passing to colleagues at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) that they should create special learning programs to re-engage former students.

Today, those programs—a project of the CJF and RIETS –serve hundreds of men and women every Sunday morning, drawing not only alumni but interested students and visitors from all over the metropolitan area.

“Word spread quickly and we started to attract all those thirsty for YU’s brand of Torah,” notes Mr. Moskowitz. The program now has an e-mail base of 4,000 names and features weekly presentations by RIETS Roshei HaYeshiva, members of YU’s faculty, and other Torah luminaries, both men and women.

“Everything from the quality of the speakers, to the people who attended, to the parking arrangements and the food they served was unbelievable,” says Mr. Arbesfeld.

In fact, the couple was so impressed that Mr. Arbesfeld offered to endow the programs in memory of his parents. “It’s a perfect fit,” he says. “My father always had a sefer [Torah study book] in his hand, and he always spoke about the importance of learning.”
Mr. Arbesfeld is hopeful that his gift will allow the two programs to expand, since, he notes, “calls are coming in from all around the country” for this type of venture.

The couple has a long relationship with YU. Mr. Arbesfeld, a longtime member of the RIETS board, says he is “indebted to YU” for 11 years of education, including high school, college, and three years in the semikhah [rabbinical ordination] program. Mrs. Arbesfeld served for a decade as president of the Yeshiva University Women’s Organization, and the couple’s four children are all graduates of YU’s undergraduate and graduate schools.

Founded in 1886, Yeshiva University brings together the heritage of Western civilization and the ancient traditions of Jewish law and life. More than 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students study at YU’s four New York City campuses: the Wilf Campus, Israel Henry Beren Campus, Brookdale Center, and Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus. YU’s three undergraduate schools –– Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, and Sy Syms School of Business ––– offer a unique dual program comprised of Jewish studies and liberal arts courses. Its graduate and affiliate schools include Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, and Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. YU is ranked among the nation’s leading academic research institutions.


Jan 24, 2007 — Rochel Berman, author of Dignity Beyond Death: The Jewish Preparation for Burial, was at Stern College for Women on Wednesday, Jan. 24, speaking to students about the process and beauty of Tahara, or ritual cleansing of the dead.

The program, “When Ordinary People Do Extraordinary Things: How We Ensure Dignity Beyond Death,” was sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs, Office of the Academic Dean, the Stern College for Women Student Council, the Torah Activities Council and the Sy Syms School of Business Student Council.

Mrs. Berman spoke about the power, spirituality and importance of Tahara.

The shiur was given in memory of Elizabeth Isaacs Gilbert, the first dean of Stern College for Women, who passed away in December at the age of 104. Mrs. Berman and Dean Gilbert both served on The Rosh Pinah Chevra Kadisha of Westchester County.

Nancy Klein, Dean Isaacs’ daughter, was also at the program, and participated in The Rosh Pinah Chevra Kadisha of Westchester County as well. In honor of the value Dean Gilbert placed on Tahara, Mrs. Berman’s book was presented to all of the students in attendance at the program.

Mrs. Klein’s daughter Abby also spoke at the program, citing the importance of Tahara to her grandmother and her personal recollections about her grandmother.