Yeshiva University News » Richard Joel

Yeshiva University Commemorates the Life and Legacy of Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik

On April 14, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) commemorated the 20th yahrtzeit [anniversary of death] of “the Rav,” Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt”l, Torah luminary and YU Rosh Yeshiva, with a full-day learning program that took place in the Lamport Auditorium on YU’s Wilf Campus. Thousands attended in-person or followed the event online to gain insight into the Rav’s life and legacy through lectures, discussions and presentations given by his family and closest students.

“I experience a sense of déjà vu standing in this room today, for in this very room we waited with baited breath for the Rav to enter and deliver his famous shiurim on his father’s yahrtzeit each year,” said Rabbi Joel Schreiber, Chairman of the RIETS Board of Trustees, in his opening remarks to the participants. “In this room thousands of men and women had their hearts, minds and souls lifted to unimaginable heights by the Rav.”

The program kicked off with “Multiple Faces of the Rav,” a panel that brought together Rabbi Soloveitchik’s daughter, Dr. Atarah Twersky, and several students of the Rav, including Rabbi Herschel Schachter, RIETS Rosh Yeshiva; Dr. David Shatz, YU professor of philosophy; and Rabbi Kenneth Brander, David Mitzner Dean of the CJF, to examine the many and varied roles played by the Rav during his lifetime. Read the rest of this entry…


President Richard M. Joel: Israel Must be Seen as a Destination for Our Destiny

As often as possible, I leave the confines of my 12th-floor office and meander around the campus of Yeshiva University. I do this for many reasons, principally because I so enjoy speaking with our students and absorbing the sights and insights of our campus experience as much as they do.

Israel FlagBut even when students tuck themselves away in their classrooms and study halls, I examine the magnificent buildings in which our students pore over their texts, both Judaic and secular. Those edifices themselves seem to speak almost as loudly as the passionate, smart and vociferous undergraduates studying within them, serving as architectural symbols of the many great institutions of learning that we Jews have built together in North America and around the world.

One particular structural feature of our campus always strikes a chord in me. Three flags, each flapping and flailing in the unremitting Washington Heights wind: The flag of Yeshiva University, the flag of the United States of America, the flag of the State of Israel. Degel Yisrael, that 65-year-old symbol of hope with its ancient Star of David affixed at its center, with thousands of years of Jewish endurance and hope enchantingly summarized in its blue and white hues.

And I ask myself: What message does that flag bear for the sprawling, growing, Diaspora-based institution over which it flies? Why fly the flag of Israel? Read the rest of this entry…


Four Generations Commemorate the Memory of the Holocaust at Yeshiva University Yom HaShoah Ceremony

Four generations of Holocaust survivors and their descendants took the podium at Yeshiva University’s Yom Hashoah commemoration ceremony on Monday, April 8, at a packed Lamport Auditorium on the Wilf Campus. The theme of the ceremony, organized by YU’s Student Holocaust Education Movement (SHEM), was “The Lost Generations.”

The ceremony highlighted Jewry’s imperative to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive as the generation of Holocaust survivors passes and new generations arise. The program began with a haunting recitation of victims’ names, accompanied by a medley of mournful Jewish melodies, performed on the violin by Yeshiva College Professor Yair Shahak.

“The legacy [of the victims] must never become just another number,” said Jacob Bernstein ’15YC, president of SHEM. Read the rest of this entry…


President Richard M. Joel’s Statement in Response to Student Journal of Conflict Resolution Advocate for Peace Award Selection

The student-run Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution has invited former United States President Jimmy Carter to receive its Advocate for Peace Award. President Carter’s invitation to Cardozo represents solely the initiative of this student journal, not of Yeshiva University or the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School. The university recognizes the breadth of impassioned feelings engendered by this appearance, and is mindful of the diversity of expressed opinions on the matter.

At the core of Yeshiva University’s expressed mission and sacred mandate stands an unwavering and unapologetic commitment to the legitimacy, safety, and security of the State of Israel. Israel remains not just a critical, but an essential pillar of our institutional and communal ethos.  We’ve built a campus in Israel; our students study there in droves; our alumni make aliyah by the thousands; all of our schools engage in collaborative programs with Israeli institutions. Both literally and emblematically, Yeshiva University proudly flies the degel Yisrael, the Flag of the State of Israel, both on our campuses and in our hearts.

While he has been properly lauded for his role in the Camp David Accords of 1978, I strongly disagree with many of President Carter’s statements and actions in recent years which have mischaracterized the Middle East conflict and have served to alienate those of us who care about Israel. President Carter’s presence at Cardozo in no way represents a university position on his views, nor does it indicate the slightest change in our steadfastly pro-Israel stance.

That said, Yeshiva University both celebrates and takes seriously its obligation as a university to thrive as a free marketplace of ideas, while remaining committed to its unique mission as a proud Jewish university.

Richard M. Joel

President and Bravmann Family University Professor


Hundreds of High School Students from Across the World Attend YU’s 23rd Annual Model UN Competition

For the 23rd straight year, the Yeshiva University National Model United Nations competition (YUNMUN) brought together hundreds of high school students from around the world for an interactive simulation of the inner workings of the real United Nations. From February 3 – 5, 460 student participants played the roles of delegates to actual UN member nations, championing positions on key issues and learning about the complexities of international diplomacy firsthand.

YUNMUN 2013 drew students from a record 48 high schools on three different continents, including delegations from Canada, Brazil and South Africa.

“It was thrilling to be able to represent our own country,” said Yaffa Abadi of Yeshiva College High School in Johannesburg. Read the rest of this entry…


Bequest by Herbert S. Denenberg Trust Establishes Two Yeshiva College Chairs

On February 5, Yeshiva University marked the investiture of two new chairs in Judaic studies at Yeshiva College, endowed through a generous bequest from the Herbert S. Denenberg Trust.

Dr. Yaakov Elman, professor of Judaic studies at Yeshiva College and YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, was appointed the Herbert S. and Naomi Denenberg Chair in Talmudic Studies, named for Denenberg and his wife. Dr. Moshe Bernstein, professor of Bible and Jewish history at Yeshiva College, was appointed David A. and Fannie M. Denenberg Chair in Biblical Studies, named for Denenberg’s parents.

“Today we establish two chairs in areas central to what YU is all about—the passionate intellectual study of both Bible and Talmud,” said President Richard M. Joel Read the rest of this entry…


Weekly Course Open to all Women will Feature Rabbis Jacob J. Schacter and Hayyim Angel

Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) will launch a new Women’s Beit Midrash Program on February 5 at Stern College for Women’s Israel Henry Beren campus in Manhattan for participants of all ages.

The six-week program, developed in conjunction with the University’s Office of Alumni Affairs and New Jersey and Long Island Regional offices, will feature Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter, University Professor of Jewish History and Jewish Thought and senior scholar of the CJF, and Yeshiva College Jewish Studies faculty member Rabbi Hayyim Angel. Read the rest of this entry…


Editor’s note: In an effort to keep the Yeshiva University community up-to-date on the ongoing independent investigation into allegations of past abuse, YU News will continue to share all official statements with the public in the post below.

UPDATED Statement from the Yeshiva University Board of Trustees (January 16, 2013)

In light of recent inquiries, the Board of Trustees of Yeshiva University would like to clarify the scope and nature of the investigation currently being conducted by Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, with the assistance of Lisa Friel and TM Protection. Sullivan & Cromwell has been given unfettered access to all Yeshiva personnel, documents, correspondence and other records, including raw computer data, that could be relevant to its investigation. Sullivan & Cromwell has also been given the unrestricted authority to pursue any leads that may shed light on all matters related to the investigation. The Board of Trustees is fully aware that it will be judged on the manner in which it conducts this critical and sensitive matter and, in that connection, will, as always, seek to meet, if not exceed, the best possible practices employed by institutions that have confronted similar circumstances. We expect the findings of the investigation will be communicated to the public following completion of the investigation. Read the rest of this entry…


Grant to Encourage Community Day School Graduates to Study at Yeshiva University

The Kohelet Foundation is funding a scholarship for graduates of community day schools to encourage them to study at Yeshiva University, the country’s oldest Modern Orthodox institution of higher learning.

The Philadelphia-based Kohelet Foundation is giving Yeshiva $720,000 over the next six years to provide scholarships to students from Jewish community day schools, so-called because they are not attached to any one stream of Judaism. Modern Orthodox day schools and Yeshiva high schools comprise YU’s traditional base.

Five scholarships per year for enrollment at YU’s undergraduate schools—Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women and Sy Syms School of Business—will go to students from community day schools. Read the rest of this entry…


Yeshiva University Extends $1 Billion Fundraising Campaign; to Raise Additional $400 Million for Undergraduate Scholarships

Yeshiva University is embarking on a “Mandate to Matter,” an aggressive drive to both complete the final stages of a $1 billion capital campaign it launched in 2006 and to raise an additional $400 million for undergraduate scholarships, a core University priority.

YU launched the $1 billion campaign—a comprehensive, University-wide campaign encompassing Yeshiva’s undergraduate, graduate and professional schools and affiliates—with an initial record-breaking $100 million gift from industrialist Ronald P. Stanton. In total, it has raised some $800 million, much of it during a very challenging economic environment. Read the rest of this entry…