Yeshiva University News » Stern College

Project TEACH Volunteers Create Interactive Science Modules for Children in Hospitals

Explosive milk fireworks, bridges built from gumdrops and suspenseful egg drop competitions: they may sound like wacky science experiments gone awry, but these are all fun and educational activities for children that may soon be coming to a hospital near you.

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Yosefa Schoor, left, and Laura Taieb, right, work with children in Columbia University’s Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital to create a volcano.

Welcome to Project TEACH – Together Educating All Children in Hospitals, a joint initiative from Yeshiva University undergraduates and students at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in which volunteers design, develop and implement a series of science and humanities modules for pediatric patients. The program currently operates in eight hospitals in New York, with over 270 volunteers running informational and recreational activities for children and their families. Its largest event took place this spring, when more than 30 YU students constructed volcanoes with patients at Columbia University’s Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.

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Kayla Applebaum, Molecular Biology Major, Receives Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

Kayla Applebaum, a junior at Stern College for Women, has been awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, a highly competitive grant that supports undergraduates who intend to pursue careers in science, math or engineering.

Kayla Applebaum, Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Award WinnerOnly 271 college sophomores and juniors across the country are selected for the scholarship, which covers the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Applebaum, a molecular biology major, will use her scholarship to continue her study of the targeting molecular pathways of breast cancer in hands-on research with Dr. Marina Holz, associate professor of biology at Stern College, who she has worked with for the last three years.

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YU Faculty Offer Insight into Historical, Political and Religious World of Esther

It’s the only book in the Bible to omit all mention of God, the Torah and the land of Israel. Aside from Genesis, it’s also the most written-about biblical work in the Talmud. Throughout the ages, the unique tension in the Book of Esther has made it one of the most fascinating books in Jewish tradition, and also one of the most deeply complex. On March 10, in honor of the upcoming festival of Purim, scholars from schools across Yeshiva University came together to discuss those complexities and their implications for Jewish thought and experience.

"Exploring Esther: The Origins, Values and Power of Purim” at the YU Museum

Dr. Aaron Koller and Yael Leibowitz

Co-hosted by the Yeshiva University Museum, Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, and the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, the evening, titled “Exploring Esther: The Origins, Values and Power of Purim,” focused on the historical and political context, religious significance and gender roles in Esther. Panelists included Dr. Aaron Koller, assistant dean and associate professor of Near Eastern and Jewish Studies at Yeshiva College; Yael Leibowitz, instructor in Bible at Stern College; Rabbi Dr. Meir Y. Soloveichik, director of the Straus Center; and Dr. Daniel Tsadik, assistant professor of Sephardic and Iranian studies at Revel.

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Behind the Scenes with Shield News, Yeshiva University’s Student-Run Broadcast News Team

These days, The Shield News team—Yeshiva University’s student-run news video broadcast—is a well-oiled machine.

Shield News

Shield News anchors Benjamin Scheiner and Shimra Barnett.

For instance, they’ve gotten their popular “Week at a Glance” videos, which keep YU students up to date on the academic calendar, extracurricular events and university athletics news, down to a science. In the beginning of the week, producer and Yeshiva College senior David Bodner takes a look at the YU Events Calendar, selecting the most talked-about upcoming events for a script to be built out by a team of student writers and writing editors. Then anchors Benjamin Scheiner ’14YC and Shimra Barnett ’15S join videographers Ari Hagler ’16YC or David Khabinsky ’14YC at the team’s studio in the Schottenstein Center, where they draw on many of the modern staples of broadcast news, such as a green screen and a teleprompter, to give their broadcasts a professional look and feel. Read the rest of this entry…

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Educating in the Divine Image: Gender Issues in Orthodox Jewish Day Schools Wins Education Category

A book coauthored by Dr. Chaya Rosenfeld Gorsetman, associate professor of education at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women, has received the 2013 Education and Jewish Identity – In Memory of Dorothy Kripke National Jewish Book Award, an honor bestowed by the Jewish Book Council.

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Yael Roberts Explores Gap Between Images and Words in ‘Correspondences’

In the last year, Stern College for Women senior Yael Roberts has mailed 792 postcards and 144 letters.

Some were addressed to old friends or people she barely knew, like famous writers and artists. Others she left in random places around New York City for anyone to find. Each one asked the same questions: “Who or what inspires you? How do you define inspiration?”

yael_roberts_03The answers to those questions, as well as the many modes of communication Roberts used to ask them, form the heart of “Correspondences,” her first solo exhibition, which will run from January 15-21 at Blackburn 20 | 20, 323 West 39th Street, New York, NY.

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At Robbins-Wilf Lecture, Bob Woodward Offers Behind-the-Scenes Perspective on Obama-era Washington

As public approval ratings for Congress and the Obama administration plummeted to record lows in the wake of the recent government shutdown, veteran investigative reporter Bob Woodward shared his theory about where it all went wrong at a lecture under the auspices of Yeshiva University’s Dr. Marcia Robbins-Wilf Scholar-in-Residence Program, held at the Center for Jewish History on November 13.

Bob Woodward, left, and Dr. Bryan Daves discuss the political climate in Washington.

Bob Woodward, left, and Professor Bryan Daves discuss the political climate in Washington.

Titled “Washington’s Broken Politics,” the program focused on the origins and impacts of Washington’s dysfunctional politics, using Woodward’s unique experience covering numerous presidential administrations, including Obama’s, as a lens to reflect on the current political climate.

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Faculty from Across Yeshiva University Granted Tenure

A stellar faculty is the backbone of a great university. This year, Yeshiva University appointed 20 of its most distinguished faculty members in the fields of the arts, sciences and Judaic studies to tenured positions in both its undergraduate and graduate schools. The faculty members include five from Yeshiva College, five from Stern College for Women, four from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, two from the Benjamin N. Cardozo school of Law, and one each at the Sy Syms School of Business, the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and the Wurzweiler School of Social Work.

“The quality of the faculty at Yeshiva meets its academic and civilizational aspirations,” said YU President Richard M. Joel. “The scholars who now comprise the faculty of this University bring the elegance of thought, the rigor of research and the commitment of service that can serve as a model to all of our students.” Read the rest of this entry…

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YU Women’s Basketball Team Comes Together On and Off the Court

It’s nine o’clock on a Wednesday night and the Yeshiva University women’s basketball team is practicing basketball drills in a midtown high school gym. Poised on the sideline, guard Stephanie Greenberg holds a basketball close to her chest, scanning the court for an open teammate.


First-year Head Coach Nesta Felix has instilled the Lady Macs with a sense of confidence and cohesiveness.

Greenberg, a Stern College for Women sophomore, inbounds to Naomi Gofine, who curls around a defender and fires a pass to a cutting Rebecca Yoshor, who effortlessly lays it in the hoop. “I like that!” calls out Coach Nesta Felix. “When you do it right, basketball is like beautiful music. That was pretty.”

Felix, first-year head coach of the Maccabees, has worked rigorously, alongside Assistant Coach Garianne Brown, to mold the 2012-13 squad into one of the most hard working, tightly knit and cohesive teams to set foot on court for YU.

A native of St. Lucia, Felix was a two-sport Division I athlete, playing basketball and volleyball for Iona College. Her coaching career began right out of college in 2001, with Felix serving as an assistant coach for seven seasons at Monroe College, where she helped lead the team to four regional championships. In Fall 2012, Felix brought her discipline, determination and passion to Stern College—traits she has found in the Maccabees, as well. “One of the things I love about coaching here is the focus and work ethic of my ladies,” she said. “I’m driving them like they’ve never been driven before, but they are so committed because of who they are.” Read the rest of this entry…


Alumni Day at the Seforim Sale Features Panel of Accomplished Alumni Authors

Visitors to this year’s Alumni Day at the Seforim Sale, North America’s largest annual three-week Jewish book sale, were provided with a unique opportunity to hear from Yeshiva University alumni who are also accomplished authors. A panel discussion moderated by Dr. Ann Peters, assistant professor of English at Stern College for Women, elicited thought-provoking perspectives on the writing process as well as insights into the risks and rewards of writing about controversial issues.

Alumni authors (L-R): Landa, Koffsky, Diament and Blech.

Alumni authors (L-R): Landa, Koffsky, Diament and Blech.

But, most of all, the writers—which included longtime Yeshiva College professor Rabbi Benjamin Blech ’54YC, ’56R; health education specialist Sara Diament ’96S, ’98BR; children’s writer and illustrator Ann D. Koffsky ’93S; and photographer/dentist Dr. Saul Landa ’65YUHS, ’69YC—relished being able to return to their roots at YU.

“I remember being one of the girls [working] at the Seforim Sale,” said Diament.  “It’s a very warm feeling coming back.” Koffsky, who read aloud from her book Noah’s Swim-A-Thon at the sale, has been back to Stern several times as a guest speaker.  “I come back and relive my youth,” she said.  “It’s cool to be here at the Seforim Sale.”

Although Landa has traveled the world, including climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, he still found it hard to believe that he was a featured speaker at Yeshiva University. His book is A Timeless People: Photo Albums of American Jewish Life. “[Participating on this panel] is a tremendous honor,” he said. “I’ve been coming to the Seforim Sale for 25 years and never thought I’d have a book here.”

As for controversy, Diament lamented that her book, Talking to Your Children about Intimacy: A Guide for Orthodox Jewish Parents wasn’t controversial enough. “My husband said if I’m really lucky I’ll get put in cherem [excommunicated] like Salmon Rushdie and then sell a million copies,” she joked. “I wasn’t that lucky. The overall response was very positive.”

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Blech’s book, Sistine Secrets: Michelangelo’s Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican, however, has elicited much controversy. “Michelangelo hated the pope of his time and incorporated anti-Catholic, even Jewish themes into his Sistine Chapel,” said Blech.

The Seforim Sale is always a prime opportunity for alumni to mingle and share memories of their time at YU, and this year was no different for many visitors. Mordechai Plotsker ’98YC, came with his wife, mother and six daughters. “It was great to show my daughters where I attended school and to reminisce that in this very same room I took my finals. It was also wonderful to see all the enhancements on campus.”

Rabbi Pinky Shapiro ’01YC, a former student council president and editor-in-chief of the Commentator, looks forward to the event every year. “It is an amazing, student-run operation that benefits the entire community. This year’s selections were fantastic and it was a pleasure seeing generations of YU family all in one place. Best of all, you never know which friends you’ll happen to see.”

Kid-friendly activities allowed the littlest participants to get involved. An interactive a capella session with members of the Y-Studs was followed by an arts-and-crafts project led by educators from the Yeshiva University Museum.  The workshops concluded with a storytelling session by noted author Peninnah Schram, professor of speech and drama at Stern College.

The author, Chana Mayefsky, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Stern College in 2001 and earned her master’s degree from YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies in 2008. She currently freelances as a writer and editor and is a regular contributor to Publishers Weekly. Mayefsky lives in Hillside, NJ with her husband and two daughters.