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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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Nearly 500 Students Participate in Third Annual Cake Wars, Presented by Fairway Market, to Raise Money for Breast Cancer Awareness

Pink boxing gloves in a yellow-cake rink. A frosted boat sailing through an ocean of sprinkles. Cut-out cake footprints on a cookie-crumb beach.

12501356294_be5dd8051f_bThese were just a few of the more than 40 cakes in radically different shapes, sizes and colors that filled Room 501 in Yeshiva University’s Furst Hall on February 12 at the end of its third Annual Cake Wars, sponsored by Fairway Market. The cake-decorating competition celebrates National Sharsheret Pink Day Around the World, an event held on high school and college campuses worldwide to promote breast cancer awareness. Each cake was decorated by a team of students, many wearing pink bandanas, facepaint or clothes.

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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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Serial Entrepreneur Adam Moisa Finds Mentors and Associates at Sy Syms School of Business

Adam Moisa was impressed by his first phone conversation with Michael Strauss, associate dean and entrepreneur-in-residence at Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business.

Adam Moisa and Dean Strauss

Associate Dean Michael Strauss, left, with Adam Moisa

Strauss called Moisa while he was studying at Yeshivat HaKotel in Israel to ask if he had thought of any business ideas lately. As it happened, Moisa had. He wanted to create an aggregate cloud storage program that would allow people to access all their online content stored on various cloud storage services—whether on Google, Dropbox, Box or other sites—through one simple, easy-to-use platform. Moisa knew it was a great idea, but he wasn’t sure exactly where to go from there.

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MK Tzipi Hotovely Emphasizes the Need for Unified Vision at Israel Club Event

tzipi hotovelyOn December 19, Deputy Minister of Transportation and Road Safety Knesset Member Tzipi Hotovely joined Yeshiva University students on the Wilf Campus for a frank discussion about one of the most challenging issues facing Israel today: Israel’s identity as a Jewish state.

“People are saying, ‘We want to have a Jewish state,’ but they can’t tell you what that means,” Hotovely said. “What we need today more than ever is to have our own vision as a Jewish state, with a clear message.”

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Wurzweiler Students Turn Focus Inward at Self-Care Day

On December 12, students at Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work learned a few techniques to treat some of their most important clients: themselves.

20131212_ wurzweiler_self_care_037“Because of the kind of work social workers do every day, it is very important that they put aside time to take care of themselves,” said Dr. Carmen Ortiz Hendricks, the Dorothy and David I. Schachne Dean of Wurzweiler. “Vicarious traumatization can occur when a social worker takes in the clients’ experiences and it begins to affect their lives. Finding ways to relax, socialize, exercise, and have fun is essential to a healthy mind, body and spirit. Today was Wurzweiler’s way of helping students and faculty take care of themselves.”

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As We Care for Survivors, Don’t Forget the Damage Done to their Descendents

The words “Never Forget” have become synonymous with the Holocaust, but as the actual horror of the Holocaust starts to fade, it’s time we add to the mantra an addendum: “Never Ignore.”

Mordechai Smith and Yosefa Schoor, co-presidents of YU’s Student Medical Ethics Society, will present an Oct. 21 conference on “Jewish Approaches to Medical Dilemmas Borne Out of the Holocaust.”

As the events of 60 years ago start to slip into history, the suffering of those who survived the Holocaust has been a steadfast reminder of the atrocities of which humanity is capable if we do not keep ourselves in check. Their scars are front and center. Their tattooed arms impossible to ignore. And helping them heal will be our cause even as they enter the last stages of their lives.

Yet as we focus on that generation, often lost are those whose pain will endure long after the last survivor is gone—the generations of their children and grandchildren who have been traumatized by growing up with the pain their families endured during the Holocaust and scarred by the trauma of growing up with those in post-Holocaust shock.

The tales of some survivors are certainly famous, but most suffered in silence, refusing to discuss their terror as they tried to protect their children from pain. Their children grew up with parents who never dealt with their own trauma, and the silence was often deafening and painful.

Some have been able to deal with the silence constructively, teaching about the Holocaust, not letting the world forget what happened. Some fight it by being vocal about genocide. Others research the genocide in attempt to understand what happened to their parents.

Yet thousands more simply suffer from psychological disorders such at post-traumatic stress disorder, low self-esteem and hoarding, according to such publications as the Cambridge Journal. Read the rest of this entry…

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From Caracas to Cologne, Childhood Friends Reunite to Pursue Business Dreams at Yeshiva

Daniel Simkin and Leon Franco have come a long way together. As children in Caracas, Venezuela, they attended the same grade school.  In March, as students at Yeshiva University, they attended the 15th World Business Dialogue in Cologne, Germany—winning two of only 300 coveted slots available to students across the globe in a rigorous selection process.

Childhood friends in Venezuela, Daniel Simkin and Leon Franco have reunited at Yeshiva University.

The conference is the world’s largest student-run business convention. Featuring 60 high-profile personalities and executives from top companies such as British Petroleum, General Electric Europe and North Asia, and Ford of Europe, it engaged students and speakers in conversation about topics that will have economic and social impact on the future.

“We met students from all around the world who want to do something in life, change something,” said Simkin, a sophomore majoring in mathematics at Yeshiva College. “They run profit or nonprofit organizations around the world. We all had this ambition and desire to share ideas and concerns.”

Simkin and Franco have always been ambitious. In Venezuela and over his time at YU, Simkin has tried his hand at a variety of industries—“entertainment, manufacturing, social media, iTunes and politics,” he says, to name a few—and Franco, a junior majoring in marketing and finance at Syms School of Business, has interned for New York Senator Charles Schumer and UBS Wealth Management.  The two applied to the World Business Dialogue because they were convinced it could give them valuable insight and connections to further their careers.

“I want to create or participate in a multinational company and to do that, I have to understand people and different economies,” said Simkin. “I’m hoping to apply what I learned about general business practice at the conference in the future.”

At the conference, Franco and Simkin had the opportunity to hear from industry leaders about everything from business strategies to ethical dilemmas and future forecasts. They also benefited from the juxtaposition of opposing worldviews in conversation.

“The CEO of British Petroleum Europe was advocating a slower introduction of eco-friendly alternatives to oil consumption, while the German Transport Authority explained that it is developing strategic ways to be more efficient with their use on a day-to-day basis,” said Franco. The conference helped crystallize his feelings about sustainability.

Franco (left) and Simkin (right) networked with students from around the world and heard from captains of industry at the World Business Dialogue in Germany.

“Individuals have to change their consumption habits, but someone has to educate them,” said Franco. “Whether I make a green company or just a company with green aspects, I understand that anything I do is going to have a social component. There has to be more than just profit-generation—you have to be giving back because that’s the only way we’re going to maintain a healthy world.”

Though Franco and Simkin knew each other as children, they only recently reunited. Franco, who had moved to the United States with his family in search of greater religious freedom in 2000, had already begun his studies at YU when he encountered Simkin at a dinner with mutual friends in New York City. Simkin was shocked. He had come to the U.S. for a summer course in English between semesters at the Universidad Metropolitana of Caracas.

There, things had been rough: a hostile atmosphere toward Jews on campus led him to downplay his religious identity and as more and more of his friends left the country for Israel or the U.S., he found his own grasp on Judaism slipping.

When Franco told him about YU, Simkin had to see it for himself. The two headed back uptown together and Simkin was amazed by what he found. “I saw a small campus where everyone has a Jewish environment,” he said. “People walking around in the streets with kippas on and tzitzit out, eating kosher food, inviting each other for Shabbat. It was exactly what I lacked in Venezuela, and I thought, ‘This is where I need to be.’ ”

The road wasn’t easy. Simkin spoke very little English. But three courses and six sittings for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) later, he arrived at YU. “I’m pursuing my university education as a businessman while studying who I am in the morning,” Simkin said. “Everyone knows Hebrew, so I use it more than I did in Venezuela. And when my kids ask me in the future, ‘How do you make Kiddush?’ I’ll know because I learned about it with a rabbi in class.”

For Franco, the school held a similar appeal. “Here, we are always surrounded by people who share our values, respect us, lead morally correct lives and have a vision for the future,” he said. “I have friends here from Spain, France and Thailand and everywhere around the world that there is a Jewish community. Somehow, we all ended up here and we’re all united, and I think that’s amazing.”

YU’s New York City location is also critical for Franco as he develops his professional career. “Every business has a headquarters in New York,” he said. “The fact that we’re here and able to connect with potential employers and an international community of Jews while receiving a good education and exploring our religious identities as individuals is important.”

“We have a great group of international students here at YU and I have the fortune in my role as the entrepreneur-in-residence to meet them on a one-to-one basis and discuss with them everything from how to start a business and how to raise money to what career they should pursue if and when they plan to go back to their home country,” said Michael Strauss, associate dean at Syms.

When Franco and Simkin were accepted to the World Business Dialogue, Strauss worked with the students to find a way for them to attend despite the cost of airfare, which they couldn’t afford. “I have spent 40 years in business and we’re no longer in a cocoon,” said Strauss. “Any day that a businessman is involved in business, he is exposed to the international world via importing, exporting, sales, purchasing, supplies—it’s an international global environment.” He added: “Having exposure to that environment, which the conference gave them, is extremely invaluable and therefore I felt that it was critical that they, as YU students, were able to attend.”

Simkin and Franco are especially appreciative of their professors at Syms and Yeshiva College, including Strauss, Professor Steven Nissenfeld in management and Professor Brian Maruffi in entrepreneurship, whose mentorship and guidance have helped them flesh out big plans for their futures.

For Simkin, Professor Norma Silbermintz’s English as a Second Language course had particularly meaningful results.

“At the World Business Dialogue, Leon [Franco] looked at me and said, ‘Six months ago, all you knew how to say in English was ‘Hi, my name is Daniel,’ ” Simkin recalled, laughing. “ ‘Now you’re speaking in front of 300 international students as a delegate from YU!’ ”

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YU Student Returns to Israel on One-Year Anniversary of the Jerusalem Bombing She Survived to Run in Marathon

Pia Levine, a student at Yeshiva University in New York, was riding with a friend on an Egged bus in Jerusalem, carefree after an excursion to the swanky new Mamilla shopping center, when she suddenly heard what sounded like a large clap of thunder. It was a few minutes after 3 p.m. at a bus stop near the Jerusalem International Convention Center and the boom came from a detonated pipe bomb. It killed one person and injured some 40 others that Wednesday, March 23, 2011. Of the bus passengers, only Levine and her friend were able to walk away from the scene.

A survivor of a terror attack, Stern College student Pia Levine now raises money for victims of terror.

Levine, although physically unhurt, was no longer carefree.

Set to leave Israel a few days later, Levine attempted to proceed with her plan: to run in the Jerusalem half-marathon that Friday and go home to the US.

All too soon, however, Levine realized that she was far from unscathed. The One Family Fund organization, which provides financial, legal, and emotional assistance to victims of terror in Israel, found Levine and aided in her medical care the day after the bombing in Jerusalem—essentially getting her back on her feet and running in time for the marathon—and then later after her return to New York.

Now, the 20-year-old is running for charity as a member of Team OneFamily. In that capacity she’s already participated in the New York Triathlon last summer (see NY television coverage here) and is currently back in Jerusalem to again run in the half-marathon, with a two-fold mission: to close an emotional circle and raise money for the organization that helped her so much.

Read full article in The Times of Israel

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From the Land of Purim, Jews with Complex Identities

For many American Persian Jews, self-identification can be complicated. Whether they were born in Iran or they are first-generation Americans, the culture and patriotism of their parents’ homeland can clash with their lives in America. This inner conflict has been exacerbated by the ongoing political tensions between Iran and the United States. Mix in some public musings on the possibility of war with Iran from Israel, and Persian American Jews (or are they Jewish Persian Americans? American Persian Jews?) are effectively being pulled in three directions.

The Persian Jewish community in American remains quite insular, concentrated in a few close-knit enclaves, including one on Long Island. And while the western label Orthodox doesn’t quite apply, Persian Jewish religious practice certainly has more in common with contemporary Orthodox Judaism than it does with any of the liberal streams. Because of all of these factors, Yeshiva University, the Modern Orthodox university with its various schools scattered around the city of New York, has a particularly high concentration of Persian Jews.

“I feel an internal conflict,” admitted Sarit Bassal, a student at Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University. Bassal’s family is the paradigm of this cultural potpourri: Her father is from Iran, and her mother from Israel, but she and her siblings were born in New York. The possibility of a war involving two or all three of these homelands has left Bassal feeling a bit lost.

“It’s really sad when we hear that the country our parents grew up in wants to destroy the country I identify with, the Jewish homeland,” explained Bassal.

At the time of the interview, Bassal was holding down a booth in a lobby at Stern advocating for women’s rights in Iran. Another Persian student, Sarah Mansher, sat next to her. Mansher said she feels less conflicted about the situation, although both feel strongly enough about their parents’ homeland to fight on behalf of citizens there whom they’ve never met, Jewish or not. Read full article in New Voices

The author, Simi Lampert, is a senior at Stern College for Women.

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