Utku Sezgin: Can President Obama’s Proposals Succeed in a Gridlocked Congress?
State of the Union addresses are the annual wish-list presentations of American presidents, mixed with appeals to rally behind the leader of the nation.
The addresses stem from the once-obscure mandate the Constitution gives presidents to submit proposals, recommendations and their political views to Congress. Until the 20th century, presidents mostly sent Congress written messages without any of today’s media-savvy pomp. In recent decades the speeches have become widely-anticipated political theater to be parsed for a sense of where a president aims to take the country. However, despite the modern presidency’s inflated powers, proposing bills to Congress and getting to sign bills containing those proposals later on is not the same thing.
President Barack Obama delivered the first State of the Union address of his second term last night, doing his best to lay out his vision—emboldened by an electoral mandate—before a partisan, polarized, divided and oft-gridlocked Congress. But the future looks uncertain. Read the rest of this entry…
Bequest by Herbert S. Denenberg Trust Establishes Two Yeshiva College Chairs
On February 5, Yeshiva University marked the investiture of two new chairs in Judaic studies at Yeshiva College, endowed through a generous bequest from the Herbert S. Denenberg Trust.
Dr. Yaakov Elman, professor of Judaic studies at Yeshiva College and YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, was appointed the Herbert S. and Naomi Denenberg Chair in Talmudic Studies, named for Denenberg and his wife. Dr. Moshe Bernstein, professor of Bible and Jewish history at Yeshiva College, was appointed David A. and Fannie M. Denenberg Chair in Biblical Studies, named for Denenberg’s parents.
“Today we establish two chairs in areas central to what YU is all about—the passionate intellectual study of both Bible and Talmud,” said President Richard M. Joel Read the rest of this entry…
Professor Mordecai Paldiel Delivers Keynote Address at UN Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony
Dr. Mordecai Paldiel, adjunct instructor of Jewish history at Yeshiva University and former head of the Righteous Among the Nations Department at Yad Vashem, delivered a moving keynote address to the United Nations General Assembly at a ceremony to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 25.
Hundreds of Jewish community representatives, international envoys and survivors attended the event, which began with a moment of silence for Shoah victims. Read the rest of this entry…
For Mordechai Kornbluth, Advanced Rabbinic and Physics Studies are Part of the Same Equation
At Yeshiva University, students pursue a wide array of interests. Some conduct cutting-edge research with the guidance and support of faculty mentors. Others, fascinated by foreign cultures or historical texts, sharpen their analytic skills and broaden their worldviews with Semitic language courses. And still others deepen their connection to Torah and Judaism by immersing themselves in top-level shiurim [lectures] at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS).
A former Kressel Scholar, Kornbluth’s research on quantum physics has been published in several scientific journals.
In his four years on campus, Mordechai Kornbluth accomplished all three.
Kornbluth, a Teaneck, NJ native who graduated Yeshiva College in May, majored in physics, minored in mathematics and Semitic languages, and enrolled in rabbinic studies at RIETS in his senior year. Now a graduate student in a joint MS/PhD program in applied physics at Columbia University, he is also continuing his semikha studies at RIETS. It may seem like an unlikely combination, but according to Kornbluth, it’s all part of the same equation.
Grant to Encourage Community Day School Graduates to Study at Yeshiva University
The Kohelet Foundation is funding a scholarship for graduates of community day schools to encourage them to study at Yeshiva University, the country’s oldest Modern Orthodox institution of higher learning.
The Philadelphia-based Kohelet Foundation is giving Yeshiva $720,000 over the next six years to provide scholarships to students from Jewish community day schools, so-called because they are not attached to any one stream of Judaism. Modern Orthodox day schools and Yeshiva high schools comprise YU’s traditional base.
Course Taught by President Joel Offers Students Firsthand Lessons in Leadership
Always take the blame—but be sure to hand out credit. Answer all your mail. Have a lot of ideas—but remember, not all of them will be great ones.
President Richard Joel introduces Stephen Trachtenberg to his “Leadership in the Nonprofit World” class.
These were just a few helpful pointers guest speaker Stephen Trachtenberg, former president of George Washington University, offered Yeshiva University students during class on a chilly Wednesday night in December. Trachtenberg noted he usually gives that advice to newly-appointed university presidents—not undergraduate students, per se. However, in the Sy Syms School of Business course designed to place students squarely in the shoes of nonprofit greats, his remarks provided insight into a question the group had been considering for almost a semester: What does it mean to be a leader in the nonprofit world? Read the rest of this entry…
Yeshiva Alumnus Rabbi Sidney Kleiman Reflects on 100 Years of Judaism in America
Rabbi Sidney Kleiman has seen a few things in his day.
Rabbi Sidney Kleiman, America’s longest-serving and oldest active congregational rabbi, turns 100 in January.
As he approaches his 100th birthday this January, Kleiman is the longest-serving and oldest active congregational rabbi in the United States. He graduated Yeshiva College in 1935, pursued post-graduate work at YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School for Jewish Studies and received semikha [rabbinic ordination] from Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik, father of Rav Joseph B. Soloveichik, at YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, before becoming the rabbi of New York City’s Congregation Adereth El on East 29th Street in 1939.
Kleiman has served as rabbi of the historic synagogue for more than 60 years, through the Depression, World War II, and all of Israel’s wars. He has also welcomed many of YU’s Stern College for Women students into Adereth El to share in its Shabbat services as the college opened more and more dormitories in the Midtown area. Kleiman stepped into his current role of rabbi emeritus in 1999 and continues to advise current shul leader Rabbi Gideon Shloush, who is also an adjunct instructor of Jewish studies at Stern College.
Kleiman sat down with YU News just a few weeks before his milestone birthday—which he will celebrate with his beloved congregation at a dinner in his honor at the Museum of Jewish Heritage on January 6—to share his memories of Yeshiva and his thoughts on how American Jewry has weathered, and even flourished, over the past century. Read the rest of this entry…
Students, Faculty and Alumni Illuminate Yeshiva University 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 88th Annual Hanukkah Dinner and Convocation, held at New York City’s Waldorf=Astoria on December 16.
Points of Light Dr. Marina Holz and Helen Unger.
“There are so many lights that shine brightly at Yeshiva University. Tonight, we focus on individuals who serve as exemplars of the past, present and future of Yeshiva University,” said President Richard M. Joel, who invited each Point of Light on stage to light a symbolic candle on a menorah.
The Points of Light included Helen Unger, a senior at Stern College for Women, and Dr. Marina Holz, assistant professor of biology. Unger grew up in Cleveland, Ohio where she attended public school before enrolling in Stern College’s S. Daniel Abraham Honor’s Program.Under Holz’s tutelage, Unger’s research in the breast cancer field has won numerous awards, including the Toby Eagle Memorial Scholarship in Cancer Biology and a position in the highly selective Sloan-Kettering Undergraduate Research Program. Unger is also the first YU student to receive the Thomas Bardos Science Education Award for Undergraduate Students.
“I wanted an environment where being an Orthodox Jew wouldn’t be at odds with my secular education,” Unger said of her decision to attend Yeshiva University. “Moreover I value a small learning environment, and the direct mentorship I received at YU more than speaks to why I chose to come here.” Read the rest of this entry…
Undergraduates Experience Law School in Yearlong Cardozo Course
On a recent Friday morning at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Assistant Professor of Law Jessica Roth asked her class to consider these questions: Is it moral to imprison an elderly or ill criminal? Does punishing the insane serve a purpose? Is it ever justifiable to kill an innocent person to save your own life?
Yeshiva University undergraduate students explore principles of criminal law with Cardozo Professor Jessica Roth.
“I’m trying to test your intuitions about possible defenses,” said Roth.
Those intuitions proved uncanny as the group of 18 students—all undergraduates in YU’s Yeshiva College or Stern College for Women—engaged in a complex moral and legal debate about the evolution of criminal law, citing case studies that included a murder trial in 19th-century England and the 2009 sentencing of Bernard Madoff. During the fall semester of the yearlong course, titled “Dispute Resolution and Justice,” the class has grown familiar with a medley of legal terms and concepts that most students don’t encounter until their first year of law school. A rotating cast of Cardozo faculty shares their expertise with the class each week, delving into topics that range from contracts and torts to constitutional law and civil procedure. Read the rest of this entry…
Yeshiva College Dramatics Society Celebrates 100th Production by Honoring Longtime Member
On December 2, the Yeshiva College Dramatics Society (YCDS) celebrated one of its most beloved members with a reception and special performance of its 100th production, 12 Angry Men.
The play was originally performed by the founding cohort of YCDS in 1965 and is the first to be repeated in the society’s history. Members of that original cast joined other YCDS alumni for the evening honoring Rabbi Dr. John Krug, who first became involved with YCDS 42 years ago as a student actor and has served as lighting director in both a faculty and volunteer capacity ever since.