Yeshiva University News » RIETS

Rabbi Yigal Sklarin ’02YC, ’07R, ’11BR Wins Prestigious Prize for Leading Jewish Educators

Yeshiva University alumnus Rabbi Yigal Sklarin ’02YC, ’07R, ’11BR was recently awarded the prestigious Pomegranate Prize from the Covenant Foundation, which recognizes five passionate and talented emerging leaders in Jewish education who have been working in the field for 10 years or less.

Rabbi Yigal Sklarin (right), recipient of the Pomegranate Prize, with Eli Evans, chairman of the Covenant Foundation

Rabbi Yigal Sklarin (right), recipient of the Pomegranate Prize, with Eli Evans, chairman of the Covenant Foundation

Sklarin earned his BA in history from Yeshiva College, where he received the Max and Sophie Manicoff Award for Excellence in Talmud. He received semicha [rabbinic ordination] from YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and was a member of the Wexner Kollel Elyon. He also completed an MA from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, where he is now pursuing a PhD in Modern Jewish History.

“It is very humbling to be in the company of educators who have accomplished so much,” said Sklarin. “I look forward to being part of the cohort at the Covenant Foundation, including the past Covenant awardees and Pomegranate Prize recipients, and learning from the talented field of educators.” Read the rest of this entry…

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Straus Center Programs, Seminars and Lectures Promote Interdisciplinary Study of Jewish and Western Thought

What happens at the intersection of faith and reason?

It’s a complicated question whose depths have fascinated Jewish and gentile thinkers alike for thousands of years. Is it possible to be a religious intellectual? How does faith inform the scientific and philosophic discoveries of our time, and how do those discoveries in turn affect religious beliefs and lifestyles? Yeshiva University’s Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought is committed to providing forums for Jews in the modern era to continue that conversation and arrive at their own understanding of the concept of “Torah Umadda”: the balance of Judaic and worldly values.

Naom Safier

Noam Safier, a Straus Center Fellow

“In undergraduate courses, seminars for semicha [rabbinic ordination] students, adult education and public events, the Straus Center has brought about the bridging of Torah with the world in every part of Yeshiva,” said Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik, director of the Straus Center. “In just the past year, students in our classes have approached, though a Torah lens, the fields of political thought, American history, law, Zionism, philosophy, art and medicine. We are so proud of having made the vision of Moshael Straus a reality: for Torah Umadda to never be merely a motto, but rather something that can be experienced throughout Yeshiva and the larger Yeshiva University community.”

This fall, that includes a new undergraduate fellowship directed by Dr. Aaron Segal, assistant professor of philosophy at Yeshiva College; a semicha seminar for select YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary students taught by Rabbi Dr. David Shabtai, a fellow of RIETS’ Wexner Kollel Elyon; and multiple courses at Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women exploring the Center’s themes. Read the rest of this entry…

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Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg ’74YUHS, ’77YC,’81R Helps Kids Kick Fear Out of Cancer

Yeshiva University alumnus Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg has recently been named a 2014 Top 10 CNN Hero for his work advocating the use of martial arts as therapy for children struggling with cancer and other childhood illnesses. His non-profit, Kids Kicking Cancer, uses the mind-body techniques of martial arts instruction, breath work and meditation to empower children beyond their pain. Fondly known as “Rabbi G” by the thousands of children his organization has helped over the years, Rabbi Goldberg, of Detroit, Michigan, also serves as clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Wayne State University School of Medicine.



Voting for CNN Hero of the Year continues through Sunday, November 16, and all of this year’s Top 10 CNN Heroes will be honored during “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” on Sunday, December 7 (8:00 p.m. ET) on the global CNN networks.

YUNews spoke to Rabbi Goldberg ’74YUHS, ’77YC,’81R about his time at Yeshiva and his work helping children battle the fear and pain of cancer.

Q.    Tell us about your experience as a student at Yeshiva University.  

I went to Yeshiva University High School for Boys directly from public school in September, 1970, and then did early admissions to attend Yeshiva College, where I graduated from summa cum laude with a degree in political science. Following that, I obtained semicha [ordination] from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary in 1980. Read the rest of this entry…

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Straus Center and Honors Program Event Provides Practical Comparison of American and Talmudic Law

Why do appellate courts exist? What role do fellow judges play in the decision-making process? What is the most difficult legal case you have ever decided?

These were all questions posed to both Judge Joseph Greenaway and Rabbi Yona Reiss at an engaging event hosted by Yeshiva University’s Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought together with the Stern College for Women’s S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program to discuss their experiences in law and how the American and Talmudic systems approach legal circumstances.

Professor Adina Levine, Judge Joseph Greenaway, Rabbi Yona Reiss

Professor Adina Levine moderates the discussion between Judge Joseph Greenaway and Rabbi Yona Reiss

The panel discussion, moderated by Professor Adina Levine, who is instructing the Stern Honors course, “Comparative American and Talmudic Law”—sponsored by the Straus Center—touched on issues of enforceability, criminal justice systems, anti-trust laws, and the role of lawyers in the court. In dynamic conversation with each other and the audience, Greenaway and Rabbi Reiss discussed parts of the legal decision process as well as instances when both American and Talmudic law must be considered.

“I have found that it is very helpful for a dayan [Jewish law judge] to have a legal background,” said Rabbi Reiss Read the rest of this entry…

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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…

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YU Scholars to Offer “Perspectives on Teshuva And The Yamim Noraim” Throughout September

Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future launched its Kollel Yom Rishon continuing adult education programming on Sunday, September 7, with lectures from Rabbi Meir Goldwicht, Joel and Maria Finkle Visiting Israeli Rosh Yeshiva at YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), and Mrs. Chaya Batya Neugroschl, head of school at YU High School for Girls. The lectures were the first offerings of a month-long series titled “Perspectives on Teshuvah and the Yamim Noraim.”

This special edition of the popular Abraham Arbesfeld Kollel Yom Rishon and Millie Arbesfeld Midreshet Yom Rishon Sunday Torah learning series will meet every Sunday in September at the Schottenstein Center, 560 West 185th Street in Manhattan, and will feature an all-star lineup of Torah scholars and rabbinic thinkers from throughout Yeshiva University. Read the rest of this entry…

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President Joel and Rabbi Penner Address Undergraduate Torah Studies Students on Wilf Campus

Undergraduate Torah Studies on the Wilf Campus officially kicked off on Monday, August 25 with an opening kennus to mark the beginning of a new zman at the Yeshiva University.

The kennus, which took place in the Lamport Auditorium, featured remarks from President Richard M. Joel and Rabbi Menachem Penner, Max and Marion Grill Dean of YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS),  all connected to the themes of ahavat Yisrael and the upcoming month of Elul.  In attendance were students, Roshei Yeshiva, faculty, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Dr. Henry Kressel.

“On the one hand, the zman already started because this morning the beit midrash was louder than ever before,” said Rabbi Penner. “But to establish something kodesh, we must have this special kennus.” Read the rest of this entry…

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Yeshiva University and RIETS Family Mourn Passing of Rabbi Gershon Yankelewitz zt”l

Yeshiva University and its affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) are saddened by the loss of Rabbi Gershon Yankelewitz, who passed away on August 19. The longtime senior Rosh Yeshiva was 104.

Rabbi Gershon Yankelewitz zt"l

Rabbi Gershon Yankelewitz zt”l

“Rabbi Yankelewitz by his nature and learning so represented both our history and our destiny,” said YU President Richard M. Joel. “For over half a century he taught his students how to learn and how to live. We will always remember him.” Read the rest of this entry…

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RIETS and Revel Student Daniel Goldberg Participates in Prestigious Fellowship at Auschwitz for Study of Professional Ethics

A newly ordained Catholic priest from Kenya, a Mennonite theological student at Princeton University, a Muslim student in a hijab from Harvard Divinity School, and Daniel Goldberg, a semicha [rabbinic ordination] student at Yeshiva University-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, walked into a Polish synagogue.

Faspe 2

FASPE Seminary Fellows walk to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

It may sound like the setup to a great joke, but for Goldberg, it was one of many eye-opening experiences during his two-week Fellowship at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE), a highly selective program for future clergy that explores the history of the Holocaust through the lens of contemporary ethics and firsthand visits to Auschwitz and other sites throughout Germany and Poland.

Read the rest of this entry…

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Yeshiva University and Orthodox Union Offer Joint Learning Programs for Three Weeks and Tisha B’Av

Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) and the Orthodox Union (OU) will once again combine efforts on programs for the Three Weeks and Nine Days leading to Tisha B’Av, to be followed by a variety of shiurim [lectures]on Tisha B’Av itself.

The Three Weeks begin on Tuesday, July 15— the Fast of Shiva Asar B’Tammuz, the Fast of the 17th of Tammuz, with its restrictions on levity. The Nine Days, with its deeper restrictions, begin on Sunday night, July 27, Rosh Chodesh Av. Tisha B’Av itself, the Ninth of Av, extends from Monday evening August 4, until nightfall Tuesday, August 5.

“We are proud to partner with the Orthodox Union in providing our community with an inspirational program for Tisha B’Av,” said Rabbi Yaakov Glasser, David Mitzner Dean of the CJF. “This collection of shiurim address the meaning and poignancy of Tisha B’Av in the framework of our contemporary Jewish experience.” Read the rest of this entry…

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