At Straus Center Event, Author Daniel Gordis Discusses The Life and Legacy of Menachem Begin
A fiery revolutionary and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, a beloved founder of the State of Israel reviled by its first prime minister, a proud Jew but not a conventionally religious one: Menachem Begin, Israel’s sixth prime minister, was all of this and more. On April 1, Yeshiva University’s Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought hosted an intimate evening of conversation at the Yeshiva University Museum with Straus Center Director Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik and Dr. Daniel Gordis, author of the recent book Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul (Nextbook, April 2014), to discuss the complexities and contradictions of Begin’s life and legacy.
Left to right: YU President Richard M. Joel welcomes guests to an evening of conversation with Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik and Dr. Daniel Gordis
“The two words that probably meant most to Menachem Begin were ‘Israel’ and ‘Jewish,’ and in his mind they were inextricably linked,” said YU President Richard M. Joel as he introduced the evening’s speakers. “At Yeshiva University, we reinforce the notion that Israel and Jewish identity have to be absolute, indivisible twins. We begin tonight by celebrating this year as the hundredth anniversary of Menachem Begin’s birth.”
President Richard M. Joel on Banayich and Bonayich: Two Halves of a Nuanced Whole
This past Sunday, I joined thousands of celebrants in Yeshiva University’s Lamport Auditorium for a most joyous occasion, as a record 230 of our young rabbinical students received their ordination, from our Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.
The atmosphere at this quadrennial Chag HaSemikhah event, attended by more than 3,000 people on our Wilf Campus, was simply electric; the potential energy latent in the collective capacity of these young men reverberated in the room, throughout our campus, and around our Jewish world.
The moment was not merely memorable – it served as a dramatic demonstration of Jewish vibrancy and Torah vitality in our day, a ceremonial call to arms for the incoming leadership of our people. Read the rest of this entry…
I’ve promised to keep you apprised of significant developments as we continue the important work of building a sustainable Yeshiva University for generations to come.
A number of positive initiatives are underway, but I am writing to you primarily to report that the University has just entered into an agreement to sell 10 residential properties in close proximity to our Wilf Campus in Washington Heights. This sale delivers a tremendous return on the University’s original investment and provides an infusion of cash that will be used to strengthen our financial position and enhance our ability to invest in our core objective: delivering an unmatched educational experience for our students.
Yeshiva University has been a presence in Washington Heights for almost a century and we couldn’t be prouder to call this vibrant neighborhood our home. YU’s purchase of the buildings seven years ago was intended to enhance our presence here and to benefit all of Washington Heights, a neighborhood whose diversity makes it so exceptional. That objective has been achieved, and the buyer respects what we have built around Wilf Campus and shares our commitment to preserve the special flavor of the community. Read the rest of this entry…
Rabbi Hershel Schachter and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks to Be Recognized for Contributions to Jewish Law in Modern Life
Yeshiva University Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Nathan and Vivian Fink Distinguished Professorial Chair in Talmud at YU-affiliatedRabbi Isaac Elchanan Rabbinical Theological Seminary (RIETS), and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Kressel and Ephrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought, will be presented with the 2014 Katz Award for their contributions to the practical analysis and application of halakha [Jewish law] in modern life.
Rabbi Hershel Schachter
The award is to be bestowed by Katz Family Foundation committee members, including former Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Hebrew University President Professor Menachem Ben-Sasson, and noted Talmudic scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, at a ceremony at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on Thursday, May 27 at 6:00 p.m.
Communal leaders Joe Lebovic and Wolf Lebovic will receive honorary degrees, and Joseph Kerzner, a business leader and philanthropist, will receive the Pioneer Award.
“The highest award that a university can bestow is an honorary degree,” said YU President Richard M. Joel. “It is so fitting that both Joe and Wolf Lebovic, considering their remarkable journey and incredible generosity, should receive this award as role models to the precious students of Yeshiva University.” Read the rest of this entry…
Dr. David Schnall Announces Retirement as Azrieli Dean; Dr. Rona Novick Appointed Successor
Dr. David Schnall, dean of Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, has announced that he will step down from his position following the 2013-14 academic year to spend more time with his family and pursue his writing and research interests. After a brief sabbatical, Schnall will resume teaching and publishing at YU.
Dr. David Schnall
“In recognition of his extraordinary achievements and contributions to Yeshiva University, I have decided to name Dr. Schnall University Professor of Jewish Culture and Society,” said President Richard M. Joel.
Schnall, who has served as dean of the school for the past 13 years, will be replaced by Dr. Rona Novick, effective July 1, 2014. Read the rest of this entry…
Hundreds Convene for Student-Run Yeshiva University National Model UN Conference
Over 450 delegates convened from February 9-11 for the Yeshiva University National Model United Nations (YUNMUN) conference, held at the Stamford Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Stamford, CT. YUNMUN XXIV brought together student ambassadors from 46 yeshivas and community day schools across three continents, hailing from 15 states and 39 cities around the world. In addition, 60 YU undergraduates and 65 faculty advisers joined the conference, which is a student-run simulation of the workings of the real United Nations that allows participants to learn about the complex landscape of international diplomacy.
RIETS to Celebrate Largest Class of Ordained Rabbis at March 23 Convocation; Honorees include Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz and Jay Schottenstein
Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and the Yeshiva University community will celebrate the ordination of its largest class of musmakhim [ordained rabbis] at their Chag HaSemikhah Convocation on Sunday, March 23, 2014, in the Nathan Lamport Auditorium, Zysman Hall, 2540 Amsterdam Avenue, New York City.
A record class of musmakhim will celebrate at the March 23 Chag HaSemikhah.
“The Yeshiva gives context to the University, and our rabbinic graduates, whom we celebrate at this Chag HaSemikhah, truly represent the best in us,” said President Richard M. Joel. “Their perspective and their professions are central and vital to the future of our community. In many ways we define ourselves through them and look to them to help in the unfolding of the Jewish future.”
This year more than 225 musmakhim from the classes of 2011-2014 willjoin the more than 3,000 young men who have passed through the batei midrashim [study halls] of RIETS and gone on to become distinguished Orthodox rabbis, scholars, educators and leaders around the world.
RIETS will also honor philanthropist Jay Schottenstein, with the Eitz Chaim Award, and Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz’46YC, ’49R, Av Beit Din of the Beth Din of America and of the Chicago Rabbinical Council Beit Din, with the Harav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt”l Aluf Torah Award. Special recognition will also be given to those who received semikhah 50 years ago, members of the RIETS classes of 1960-63. Read the rest of this entry…
Dr. Selma Botman to Serve as University’s Next Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Yeshiva University announced today that Dr. Selma Botman will serve as the University’s next vice president for academic affairs and provost, effective July 1. Botman joins YU from The City University of New York, where she served as executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and university provost and most recently as professor of Middle Eastern history at the Graduate Center. The appointment was unanimously approved by the YU Board of Trustees, acting on the recommendation of a search committee comprised of faculty, students, administrators and trustees.
Dr. Selma Botman will serve as YU’s next provost
In making the appointment, YU President Richard M. Joel said: “Attracting a higher education professional with the experience, the humanity, and the academic probity of Selma Botman is an achievement that reflects Yeshiva University’s stature as one of the nation’s leading universities. I believe that she will provide enormous academic leadership to the wonderful team that supports me as we work together to build a strong, sustainable Yeshiva University. Education is about tomorrow and Dr. Botman’s experience and commitment to quality and exploring different paths of learning will enable us to build an environment that supports the best educational practices of today and anticipates even greater innovation in the future.” Read the rest of this entry…
President Richard M. Joel: ‘University Must be About Not Just Making a Living But Building a Life’
Rising tuitions, stagnant job markets and bleak economic realities have finally compelled universities and their students to ask some tough questions: Is a college education worth it? Does a college degree actually offer value beyond an impressive wall ornament? And as universities across the nation carry on their struggles to stay afloat, why even bother?
President Richard M. Joel
Years ago, I had the honor of taking part in a meeting at the White House convening educational leaders for an open discussion with then President George W. Bush. At one point, the President remarked that “the purpose of higher education is to prepare our children to compete in the global economy.” I mustered the courage to respectfully respond: “Mr. President — at Yeshiva University, we take a slightly different view. We believe the purpose of education is to ennoble and enable our students.” “Ennoble and enable,” he said, smiling. “I like that.”
In many ways, the American university is in danger of losing its soul. Now we must ask ourselves: Long after students forget how to determine the number of valence electrons in a Palladium atom or how exactly to apply the law of diminishing returns, which ideas and ideals will stand the test of time and inform the remainder of their adult existence? Read the rest of this entry…