Yeshiva University News » Yeshiva College

On Center for the Jewish Future Missions, Students Help Haiti and Explore American Jewish Communities 

Over a whirlwind eight days, 36 Yeshiva University students took part in a humanitarian aid mission to Haiti and actively participated in the inner workings of small Jewish communities across the United States as part of two winter service learning programs organized by YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF). The undergraduates signed on to expand their educational horizons through the missions, from January 10-18, with one group of 15 students on the JDC (American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) Insider’s Trip to Haiti and another group of 21 on Jewish Life Coast to Coast.

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Michal Segall, a participant on the mission to Haiti, teaches songs to students at the Prodev school in the town of Zoranje.

“For some, winter break is a chance to relax and reenergize before the beginning of a new semester,” said Rabbi Yaakov Glasser, David Mitzner Dean of CJF. “But for these students it was a life-transforming experience that instilled a deep commitment to the broader Jewish community and the world.” Read the rest of this entry…

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Revel Student’s Research Examines Daily Legalities of Biblical Life Through a Comparative Lens

Judaism relies heavily on its legal library: written discussions of the law are almost synonymous with the religion, describing practices that date back to the beginnings of the Bible and beyond. But what did those practices actually look like in the day-to-day lives of ancient Israelites? Like many civilizations of the time, the Jews of the biblical era used papyrus for everyday business affairs; few artifacts from the era survive to illustrate how the rules and regulations found in the canonical Torah were observed.

20141223_yael_wermuth_06For Yael Landman Wermuth, a doctoral student at Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, the key to understanding these texts lies not so much in the history of ancient Jews, but in that of their neighbors.

Landman Wermuth’s doctoral thesis examines areas of biblical law through a comparative lens, drawing on examples from the contemporary Mesopotamian and Hittite law codes, which contain many similarities to that of the Bible, as well as ancient Near Eastern contracts, letters, trial records and other documents that offer a glimpse of legal practice in everyday Mesopotamian life. Read the rest of this entry…

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Students, Faculty and Alumni Honored as Points of Light at Hanukkah Dinner

Students, faculty and alumni who embody the mission of Yeshiva University were recognized as “Points of Light” during the dinner portion of Yeshiva University’s 90th Annual Hanukkah Dinner and Convocation, held at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria on December 14.

“The lesson of Hanukkah is that the Jewish people must cast the light of our values onto the world,” said YU President Richard M. Joel. “Tonight, we publicize the lights that represent the past, present, and future of Yeshiva University.”

Read more about the Points of Light below. Read the rest of this entry…

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Yeshiva University Celebrates Rabbi Dr. Bernard Rosensweig’s 38 Years of Dedicated Service

After 38 years of molding students’ minds and expanding their Torah horizons at Yeshiva College, Rabbi Dr. Bernard Rosensweig, visiting professor of Jewish history, literature and philosophy at Yeshiva University, will be retiring at the end of this semester.  On Thursday, December 11, some 100 friends, relatives and colleagues came to pay tribute and celebrate the beloved educator’s career at a reception held at Weisberg Commons on the Wilf Campus.

“Rabbi Dr. Rosensweig has touched thousands of talmidim [students] with his warmth, wisdom, wit and passion for Jewish history and the Jewish community,” said Rabbi Menachem Penner, Max and Marion Grill Dean of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and Undergraduate Torah Studies. “He is beloved by students and colleagues. I, myself, was a talmid several decades ago, and have never ceased being a talmid.” Read the rest of this entry…

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Yeshiva College Hebrew Instructor Places First in 2014 U.S. National Bible Contest

Yair Shahak, Hebrew instructor at Yeshiva College, was crowned the winner of the 2014 United States National Bible Contest for Adults on Sunday, November 30 in New York City.

Yair Shahak

Yair Shahak will represent the U.S. at the upcoming International Chidon HaTanach.

Shahak, a graduate of Yeshiva College and the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and a current student at the Belz School of Jewish Music, persevered against 12 talented challengers to claim the first place spot and the opportunity to represent the United States at the International Chidon HaTanach (Bible Contest) for Adults in Jerusalem on December 23, 2014.

“This victory means a great deal to me because I have been involved in Bible study all my life,” said Shahak, a native of Brooklyn, New York. ”It was a very emotional win, as I felt as though I was coming full circle while battling it out against some very capable Bible scholars. I fell in love with the stories and language of the Bible at a young age, and there is still nothing that gives me more joy than sharing my love of the Bible with my students at Yeshiva University.” Read the rest of this entry…

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Yeshiva College Research Team Publishes Findings on Protein Structure in Leading Crystallography Journal

A research team led by physics professors Dr. Neer Asherie and Dr. Sergey Buldyrev discovered a new way to control the crystallization of proteins so that researchers can more easily determine a protein’s 3D structure. These findings were published in Acta Crystallographica D, a leading crystallography journal. The paper was co-authored by five former and current Yeshiva College students.

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Dr. Neer Asherie

The team, which includes Dr. Bruce Hrnjez at Collegiate School and Dr. Jean Jakoncic at Brookhaven National Laboratory, discovered that adding a specific class of small molecules to water solutions of proteins not only induces the proteins to crystallize, but can also control the type of crystal formed.

“Protein crystals are used to figure out the structure and function of proteins, which is important for understanding certain diseases and for drug development,” said Asherie. “However, proteins are difficult to crystallize. Our research suggests a new way to control protein crystallization and – we hope – increase the success rate of making crystals. The results are new and lay a fertile ground for future studies. ”

The article describes several years of work, to which both past and current YU students contributed by carrying out experiments, simulations and data analysis. Read the rest of this entry…

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Fine and Holz Appointed Endowed Chairs; Shatz Named University Professor

In recognition of their outstanding achievements, Yeshiva University recently honored two faculty members at Stern College for Women and one at Yeshiva College.

At Stern College, Dr. Marina Holz has been named the Doris and Ira Kukin Chair in Biology and Dr. David Shatz has been appointed University Professor of Philosophy, Ethics and Religious Thought. Dr. Steven Fine has been named the Dean Pinkhos Churgin Chair in Jewish History at Yeshiva College.

“Each of these individuals is a leader and an innovator whose work advances education and research at Yeshiva University,” said Dr. Selma Botman, vice president for academic affairs and provost at YU. “We recognize their accomplishments with the highest honors the University bestows: named chairs and a University professorship. David, Marina, and Steve represent for students and their colleagues what is worthy and noble about the life of the mind. The advances they have made in science and the humanities come through dedicated and tireless work, relentless focus and the joy that new knowledge brings.”

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Dr. Marina Holz

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First Ever National Finals Outside of Israel Scheduled for November 30

Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future and the Orthodox Union will be co-sponsoring the U.S. National Bible Contest for Adults, an event that will determine which outstanding Bible scholars will represent the United States at the International Chidon HaTanach [Bible Contest] for Adults in Jerusalem in December.

Scheduled for Sunday, November 30, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. at the West Side Institutional Synagogue, 120 West 76th Street in Manhattan, the event will mark the first time in the contest’s history that national finals are taking place outside of Israel. In addition to the Bible competition, the event will include a musical performance and remarks by Israeli Consul-General Ido Aharoni and YU President Richard M. Joel.

“The International Bible Contest for Adults was developed to encourage the study of the Bible, strengthen ties with the Land of Israel, and deepen connections with Jewish heritage. As such, it is a natural partnership for Yeshiva University,” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander, YU’s vice president for university and community life. “We are thrilled to co-sponsor the event, and proud that so many of the participants have ties to the University.” Read the rest of this entry…

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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.

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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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