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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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After 13 Years at the Helm, Outgoing Azrieli Dean Sheds Light on Advances in the Field

YU-121412-Dr-Schnall (1)On June 30, Dr. David Schnall will step down after 13 years as dean of Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration. An author and Fulbright Scholar, he expects to resume teaching and publishing at YU after a brief sabbatical. Schnall, who was recently named University Professor of Jewish Culture and Society, sat down with YU News to share his unique perspective and insight into the communal changes that are redefining the field of Jewish education and to discuss new frontiers for both the field and Azrieli.

Q: How have you seen the field of Jewish education change during your tenure as dean of Azrieli?

DS: To my mind, the focus of Jewish community life, particularly Orthodox Jewish life, has moved from social services and the synagogue to the school. The famous Mishna in Avot tells us that the world rests on three props: the study of Torah, prayer, and acts of mercy and compassion. It’s been suggested that Jews in the United States have accomplished all that, but in reverse order.

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CJF-RIETS, in Conjunction With Cardozo, Present Conflict Resolution Workshop For Rabbis

A group of 15 rabbis convened in New York City for a three-day seminar, May 19-21, on mediation training, organized by Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) – Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), in conjunction with the Kukin Program for Conflict Resolution at YU’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

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Adam Berner, seated, and Sequoia Stalder presented a workshop for rabbis on conflict resolution

The training was presented by attorneys Adam Berner and Sequoia Stalder, both expert trainers in the field of mediation and conflict resolution.

“By definition, rabbis here and in all places are serving so many different roles—in the pulpit, as teachers and as educators, working with many people, and people have differences,” said Berner, an alumnus of RIETS and Cardozo and an assistant professor at Cardozo. “This workshop is a frame of how best to help these leaders deal with differences, how to manages the realities of being in a community and how to take conflict and see it is an opportunity for growth, learning and change, for themselves and for others.” Read the rest of this entry…

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From Tape Cassettes to Mobile Apps: How YUTorah Grew Into The Leading Site For Online Torah Study

It started with one semicha [rabbinic] student.

yutorah-screenshot3While studying at Yeshiva University-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, Rabbi Marc Spivak was training for a career as a pulpit rabbi outside the tri-state area—but he didn’t want to miss out on the advanced learning and shiurim [Torah lectures] he loved at YU. He began taping shiur after shiur at the University, building a collection of Torah lectures he’d be able to listen to anywhere, any time. When his apartment could no longer hold the sheer volume of tapes he’d created, he tried digital storage, learning how to encode the shiurim and burn them to CDs. Eventually, with help from YU student Chaim Jaskoll and other Jews still exploring the internet’s fledgling potential, Spivak turned to the emerging world of online media, uploading all the shiurim he had recorded to a single website where they would remain accessible, for free, to any Jew, anywhere in the world, who wanted to broaden their Torah horizons.

That turned out to be just the beginning. The site was an instant hit. Spivak joined what would eventually become known as YU’s Center for the Jewish Future to embark on an even more ambitious project: recording and uploading shiurim Yeshiva-wide. Excited donors contributed recording equipment and initial server space, while students and YU faculty added a growing number of shiurim to the site daily. Before long, the site had expanded beyond YU’s borders, receiving submissions and listenership from Torah figures and institutions around the world.

Today, that website is known as YUTorah, and with over 90,000 shiurim—and counting—it’s the leading site for online Torah study. Read the rest of this entry…

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From World-Class Faculty to Unique Opportunities, Seniors Reflect on Yeshiva University Experience

On May 22, some 600 new graduates will march across the stage at the Izod Center to receive their diplomas during Yeshiva University’s 83rd Commencement Exercises, completing a foundational chapter in their educational journeys and moving on to exciting new opportunities. Before they toss their caps in the air, members of the Class of 2014 shared some of their favorite moments and the profound experiences that shaped their undergraduate careers, as well as dreams that started here but which they will carry with them all their lives.

“Yeshiva University created opportunities that I never dreamed of,” said Yosefa Schoor, of Monsey, New York, who hopes to attend medical school. Read the rest of this entry…

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Rabbi David Baruch Lau Meets with Roshei Yeshiva, Center for the Jewish Future Staff

20140508_chief_rabbi_53On May 8, Rabbi David Baruch Lau, the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, visited Yeshiva University. The chief rabbi met with Roshei Yeshiva at YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and YU President Richard M. Joel. He also spoke with YU’s Center for the Jewish Future senior staff about their work around the world with rabbis, communities and students, and toured the Wilf Campus and the Jacob and Dreizel Glueck Center for Jewish Studies with students.

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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.

13380712214_f4ef10fb63_zThe 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…

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Yeshiva University Celebrates Largest Class of Rabbis at Chag HaSemikhah Convocation

On March 23, no early spring chill could deny the warmth and excitement on Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus as hundreds of voices lifted in joyful song and cheering soared high above Amsterdam Avenue. The street flooded with celebration as more than 230 new musmakhim [ordained rabbis] linked arms and hands and danced together in front of Zysman Hall, pausing only to receive hugs or words of congratulations from their esteemed Roshei Yeshiva, mentors, family and friends.

Representing the largest cohort in history, the musmakhim were celebrating their ordination from YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) at its Chag HaSemikhah. In a day filled with festive song and dance and brimming with pride, the graduates of the 2011-2014 classes joined more than 3,000 rabbinic alumni who have gone on to become distinguished Orthodox rabbis, scholars, educators and leaders around the world.

“At a very crucial time in Jewish history, you are uniquely trained and qualified to reach out to Jews of all backgrounds with an authentic Torah message,” Rabbi Menachem Penner, the Max and Marion Grill Dean of RIETS and Undergraduate Torah Studies at YU, told the musmakhim. “In you, we see the bright future of our community.” Read the rest of this entry…

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Meet the Musmakh: Rabbi Noah Cheses Builds a Spiritual Home for Yale University Students

Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and the Yeshiva University community will celebrate the ordination of its largest class of musmakhim [ordained rabbis] at its Chag HaSemikhah Convocation on March 23, 2014. The record class of rabbis represents an internationally diverse group, hailing from five continents and more than 50 North American cities. While most will remain engaged in either full-time post-semikhah Torah study or religious work—Jewish education, the pulpit, outreach or non-profit work—many will pursue careers in other professions, including medicine and law.

In the weeks leading up to the celebration, YU News will introduce you to several of these remarkable musmakhim

Rabbi Noah Cheses“Compassion” and “trust” were the two words that led Rabbi Noah Cheses to a career in the rabbinate. As a curious high school junior in Newton, MA, he’d approached local congregation leader Rabbi Benjamin Samuels ’94YC, ’94BR, ’96R, about his calling. “He told me that becoming a great pulpit rabbi requires opening your heart, sharing your mind and forming relationships of trust with your congregants,” said Cheses.

It was a deeply intriguing message, and Cheses took it to heart. After graduating from the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program at Yeshiva College, he decided to enroll in the semikha program at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Simultaneously, he pursued a master’s degree in Jewish philosophy at YU’s Bernard Revel School of Jewish Studies. He also studied in YU’s Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Institute in Israel for two years while completing coursework for his master’s degree in Family Counseling and Therapy at the Family Institute in Jerusalem. Read the rest of this entry…

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Meet the Musmakh: Rabbi Yosef Bronstein Continues His Father’s Devotion to Torah Scholarship at RIETS

Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and the Yeshiva University community will celebrate the ordination of its largest class of musmakhim [ordained rabbis] at its Chag HaSemikhah Convocation on March 23, 2014. The record class of rabbis represents an internationally diverse group, hailing from five continents and more than 50 North American cities. While most will remain engaged in either full-time post-semikhah Torah study or religious work—Jewish education, the pulpit, outreach or non-profit work—many will pursue careers in other professions, including medicine and law.

In the weeks leading up to the celebration, YU News will introduce you to several of these remarkable musmakhim

Yosef BronsteinAs a young boy growing up in Bayswater, NY, the prominent Torah scholars at Yeshiva University-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary were household names in the home of Rabbi Yosef Bronstein. His father, Rabbi Chaim Bronstein, was a musmakh of the yeshiva and had worked as an administrator there since before Yosef was born. “The study and teaching of Torah were heavily-emphasized values in our home,” recalled Bronstein. “We regarded the faculty at RIETS as respected Torah leaders and role models.”

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