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Wurzweiler Student Temimah Zucker Raises Awareness of Eating Disorders in the Jewish Community

December 9th, 2014 by raco

Blogging, public speaking, running a website, counseling patients and volunteering: It’s all in a day’s work for Temimah Zucker, 24, a student at Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work.


Temimah Zucker, a recovered anorexic, is helping others cope with eating disorders

Zucker, of Teaneck, New Jersey, is a recovered anorexic who has chosen to dedicate her career to helping raise awareness of eating disorders, particularly in the Jewish community, by sharing her story with others and working professionally as a social worker to help those who suffer from this potentially fatal disease.

Eating disorders—which affect people of all ages and ethnicities and have the highest premature mortality rate of any mental illness—are often kept hidden, complicating treatment and prevention efforts. Zucker was diagnosed with anorexia in 2008 when she was a freshman in college, but suffered in silence for months as the disease took a toll on her body and mental health. It wasn’t until her parents showed her “Hungry To Be Heard,” a documentary produced by the Orthodox Union, that she realized she was not alone in her battle, and that there were treatments available to help her recover.

“It was the first time I realized I had a problem,” she said. “There is so much denial and resistance in the Jewish community surrounding this, and I realized I wasn’t alone. With the support of my parents, I started treatment and began my journey to recovery.”

She has come a long way. A few years ago, when her therapist asked if she wanted to accompany her to a school presentation about eating disorders, Zucker accepted the invitation and told her story publicly, for the first time.

“One of the students contacted me afterward and said: ‘I heard your story, it was comforting to me and now I can recognize and admit that I have an eating disorder,” said Zucker. “After that, I realized that I wasn’t ashamed to share my experiences and I saw that by doing so, I could really help others who were struggling with similar challenges.”

Since then, Zucker has shared her story dozens of times, at schools, shuls and community centers. She’s also developed her own program on eating disorders and healthy body image, which she presents in schools throughout the country. In 2012, she started a peer support group for Jewish teens recovering from anorexia.


An Important Lesson: A Letter to Wurzweiler’s Israeli Students

November 18th, 2014 by raco

Dear Students,

On a day when it was understandably hard for all of us to focus, you did exactly that demonstrating a good deal of maturity and sensitivity throughout the meeting.   The opening discussion about how the security situation impacts on our lives powerfully demonstrated how raw and complex the issues are.  And, your ability to express feelings and to listen to one another was most impressive and very much appreciated.

Miriam and Laura should be applauded for making an outstanding presentation about “Geography and Confidentiality”, finding the right amount of balance of sharing information and facilitating discussion.  We are all more keenly aware of how small this global world is and how we need to take that into account when we accept or, don’t accept working with clients because of some type of previous connection.

Miriam/Laura – kudos on a job well done!

Marva and I were also very appreciative of the way you engaged with Rachel Ackerman, our guest speaker who spoke on the topic of supervision.  You raised salient concerns/dilemmas/questions which helped form the basis of Rachel’s talk.  Learning how to take these potential areas of conflict with your field instructors and converting them into opportunities for conversation by sharing/risking your feelings, we believe, is an invaluable lesson.

Rachel also beautifully connected the concept of parallel process within the context of supervision, another important social work skill that can enhance the therapeutic process between client and social worker. 

None of today’s accomplishments could have taken place without the steadfastness that you all demonstrated by staying the course despite the tragic events of the day.  When Nisi announced that she needed to leave for the funeral and Rachel decided that this was the appropriate time to end,  I believe we all learned the importance of sharing feelings and claiming ownership in ‘real time.’

This is an important lesson to ‘own’ in your social work education -  I can only hope we can continue this process – but under very different circumstances.

Marva and I thank you all for staying together today.

Erev Tov,


Meir Charash, MSW

Coordinator of Israel Block Program

Wurzweiler School of Social Work


Dr. Ronnie Glassman, Director of Field Education, sent this response:

To All of our Wurzweiler people,

First, let me express our condolences to you all for this terrible and tragic loss.  I hope you know we are with you in spirit.

Knowing that you were together at this seminar is important to us here.  Social work will guide the students through, and for us who have been around a long time, we can attest to that.  I am reminded of our horrible day in New York on September 11, which was the second day of field work for all MSW students in our city.  So many students and supervisors, and agency executives bonded together on that day to help our vulnerable clients, to maintain community together, to help each other, and to dialogue.

Know that what you did today by being together and considering the tragedy through your social work lens of heart and mind will be forever with you.

I regret you all have to go through this.  It has been hard to watch over here.

Fond wishes,

Ronnie Glassman, DSW, LCSW-R

Director of Field Instruction

Wurzweiler School of Social Work

Wurzweiler Awarded $1.4 Million Grant to Fund Students in Clinical Field Placements with Vulnerable Adolescents and Youth in NYC

October 1st, 2014 by raco
posterWurzweiler School of  Social Work, Yeshiva University,  was awarded a $1.4 Million training grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services in late September to fund students in clinical field placements with vulnerable adolescents and youth in New York City. The award will fund training of Master in Social Work students in their field internships for clinical work. They will develop skills in group work and clinical practice in trauma with NYC adolescents and families.
The funds will be distributed for 3 years under the Human Resources and Services Administration.Over 100 students will be funded during the grant’s time period.Clinical supervision will be provided for interns in field work settings.  Outcomes will be studied.
The project will be conducted with sponsorship and support from Dr. Carmen Ortiz Hendricks, the David and Dorothy and David Schachne Dean of Wurzweiler, by Dr. Ronnie Glassman, LCSW, Director of Field Instruction, and Principal Investigator, and the faculty ensemble of Dr. Charles Auerbach, LCSW, Dr. Nancy Beckerman, LCSW, Dr. Susan Mason, LCSW, Dr. Jay Sweifach, LCSW, Mr. Eugene Tomkiel, LCSW, and Dr. Wendy Zeitlin, LMSW.
For more information on applying to Wurzweiler School of Social Work or on the opportunities this grant will provide, please visit http://yu.edu/Admissions/Graduate/Wurzweiler/ or contact 212-960-0800.


Clinical Social Work with Adolescents and Transitional-Age Youth in New York City:

Group Work, Individual and Family Methods



The primary purpose of this project is to increase the number of social workers with strong clinical competencies who will work with adolescents and transitional-age youth at risk for developing or who have developed a recognized behavioral health disorder. This will be accomplished by increasing our number of enrolled students; and the creation of increased social work clinical internships for second year students with vulnerable youth.


Educating students in clinical competencies with groups, individuals, and families in order to develop an effective workforce with this population is a major emphasis.


Thirty four students will be admitted to the project every year for three years – a total of 102 MSW students. The grant will award a $10,000 stipend for second year field placement.

Additional scholarship funding will be awarded by Wurzweiler to the student cohorts in their first and second years of field work.


Field placement settings will be in: educational environments or community behavioral health programs designed to support vulnerable adolescents and transitional age youth; and in high risk settings serving this population in care.


Long term clinical social work approaches will be used in dealing with the multiple traumas, often unaddressed, experienced by urban youth, especially those who may be immigrants or living at the poverty level which are major contributors to their behavioral health issues and lack of school success.


The emphasis in the work with these populations will be on:

(a)  Preventing school drop outs and boosting adolescents’ involvement in educational opportunities by utilizing social group work and individual clinical models to provide youth with tools to overcome obstacles to achievement;


(b)  Utilizing social group work and individual clinical models for the development of alternatives to violence, substance abuse, and behavior disorders;


(c)  Providing family interventions that focus on preventing and mitigating risky behavior in youth.


(d)  Strengthening safe school holding environments, particularly middle schools and high schools that further adolescents’ involvement in learning.


The grant is supporting the extra field placements for the students by financing additional field instructors who are licensed clinical social workers to provide the supervision. This model will expand current work to large numbers of vulnerable adolescents which agencies have been unable to serve due to scarce staffing resources.

Training will be provided by the faculty and consultants to the project on content areas relevant to the behavioral health needs of this population.



Project goals include:

(a)  Measured improvement in the wellbeing of interns’ clients. Evidence based practice methods will be used.


(b)  Social work competency attainment in clinical practice with groups, individuals and families will be measured.


(c)  Interns’ commitment to work in this field and to provide leadership in it will be measured over time and after the conclusion of the grant.


(d)  Sustainability of field placement sites post-grant is built in to supervise a larger number of students while they are meeting the needs of the youth population.


We received $457,840 per year for 3 years to support over 100 MSW students in field placements with adolescents and transitional-age youth.



Wurzweiler Ranks in Top 5 MSW Programs in New York

September 29th, 2014 by raco

Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Belfer HallBestMSWprograms.com has published a detailed ranking of the top 50 campus-based Master of Social Work programs in the country. Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University has been ranked #35 overall, placing the School in the top five programs in New York. The ranking can be seen in entirety at  http://www.bestmswprograms.com/msw-program-ranking/

BestMSWprograms.com reports its rankings were “designed to help prospective students make informed choices about where to invest their time and money in earning their graduate social work degree. Schools and programs were evaluated based on publicly available information about accreditation, academic quality, curriculum options, cost, and reputation in the field.”

Dean Carmen Ortiz Hendricks remarked “We are so delighted to have the work of our faculty and administrators recognized yet again. This is wonderful news and we are pleased to be in the company of a number of other fine programs.”

Wurzweiler Student One of Twelve Recipients of Latino Social Work Task Force Scholarships

August 27th, 2014 by raco
Latino Social Work Task Force

Scholarship recipients from schools including Lehman, NYU, Adelphi, Hunter, Columbia, Fordham, and Yeshiva. (Wurzweiler’s student Charlene Garcia is pictured on the far right)

Wurzweiler student Charlene Garcia was one of twelve graduate students awarded an annual scholarship for the coming year 2014-2015 by the Latino Social Work Task Force. According to the LSWTF, the funds are raised as a result of the LSWTF Annual Dinner and other fundraising events, as well as support of the Hispanic Federation with a $10,000 contribution toward the scholarship fund. Each student receives $2,000 along with a scholarship commitment from their individual school.

As of 2014, the LSWTF has provided funding of nearly $450,000 for 95 scholarships for 74 Latino social work students, including commitments by the graduate schools of social work.

Wurzweiler congratulates Charlene Garcia and all of the other recipients on this outstanding accomplishment!

Israeli WSSW Student Turned Soldier Returns From War With Thanks

August 20th, 2014 by raco

A Wurzweiler student who is close to completing the requirements for his MSW degree was called to duty in Israel shortly after the completion of the Block program in July. With the student’s (now colleague) permission, we are posting this recent  letter that he wrote to Dean Carmen Ortiz Hendricks. His name is withheld, as per his request, due to security issues.

We have so much to be proud of this Israeli social worker turned soldier.

“Dear Dr. Hendricks,

I just returned from two weeks of war and wanted to give you a brief update of what is happening. Currently, I am on standby waiting for further instructions depending on the ceasefire talks taking place in Cairo. Directly after our graduation exercises, I received a phone call from the Army, asking me to get back home as soon as possible, to gather my soldiers and get on the helicopters to Gaza. The energy and excitement generated at the beautiful graduation ceremonies were quickly replaced with intense operational preparations. I felt privileged to serve my country and protect my family and friends.

Nevertheless, the experience of war is unpleasant. It is indeed the kingdom of uncertainty, a range of feelings and experiences which is very challenging to describe in words. Maybe above all, is the awareness that death is always around the corner. When I had some time to think alone, I acknowledged the fact that in all the wars I have participated in to date, this is the first one that I am not just a soldier, but also a social worker. As such, I felt that alongside my operational responsibilities to target the terrorists, I had also human and social responsibilities to every innocent human being trying to avoid harming them and minimize their suffering.

On Saturday, I returned to Israel after not seeing my home for over two and a half month, I called Meir (Charash), and let him know that I was all right. It is hard for to express how much your unequivocal and unhesitant (sic) support means to me. Suffice to say, I was very touched by your concern and empathy and the degree of trust that you placed in me to complete all my assignments in a timely fashion once the war is over…

Dean Hendricks: Thank you so much for everything.  Kol Tuv.”

Wurzweiler Graduates Fifty Five Masters of Social Work

July 25th, 2014 by raco

Student speaker Sheldon Howard addresses the graduating class at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work 37th Annual Block Education Plan Commencement Exercises

On July 21st, 2014 Wurzweiler held its thirty seventh Commencement Exercises for the Summer Block Education Plan, in which fifty five students were conferred their MSW degrees. In addition to the Commencement Address by Dr. Joyce Brenner, the retiring Director of the Block Program in Israel, the students were inspired by their selected student speaker Sheldon Howard. Prior to graduation the graduating student body is given the opportunity elect any student to offer an address on their behalf at graduation.

Below is the text of this exceptional address by the graduating student, who was also the recipient of the Elaine Schott Advocacy Award, which is given to a graduating student  for promoting community initiative and social change. This address encapsulates the spirit of social work education and the commencement exercises and celebrates the accomplishments of the graduating students and the great and important work ahead of them as social work professionals.

Congratulations to all graduates, and to Sheldon Howard for his wonderful and entertaining words, shared here with his permission.


“OK…. So before I really get into what I want to say…

I have some news to share quickly…

… this is just in from the folks who produce the DSM ..

It looks like they’ve introduced a new condition…

It’s called…

POST-GRADUATE OK so which one is Adam 2 again?  SYNDROME…

It’s brought on by prolonged periods of stress…

…lack of sleep…

…and acute exposure to something called SSD for R. 

Whatever that is…

Symptoms include… a pervasive sense of panic… and you twitch every time you hear either one of these words… integrative or essay… 

Lastly – you’ve got that feeling you just want to go home already.

Well I don’t know about you but that’s how it feels to me…

…like we’ve just run a marathon… and a sprint at the same time…

A sprint-athon. Or a mara-thint.

But we are done. Finished. Graduation is termination.

And for me… this is about as good a way to go out as possible.

You’ve done me a great honour asking me to do this… And I’m very grateful…

I’m also very excited.

It’s hard to believe…

I mean it’s always been a dream of mine…

No…not speaking at graduation…. Not even being a Social Worker…

I’ve now got about five minutes to say pretty much whatever I want to a captive audience…regale you with stories about my family… my old neighbourhood… my dog… odd childhood experiences… 

…basically I have about five minutes to pretend I’m Professor Sweifach.

Which really wouldn’t be such a bad thing… to be like Professor Sweifach… or any of our professors… for that matter… who… each one in their way… has engraved the very best of their experience and knowledge … on each one of our new Social Worker selves… 

…and always with caring… and commitment… and a profound passion… for us and the work we now set out to do. 

On behalf of all those I am proud to call my classmates and colleagues… many many thanks to the Wurzweiler Faculty….  Administration… and Cheryl… you are the most miraculous one of all… Thank you… 

…and of course thanks to all the friends… family… loved ones… who supported us through all this. That could not have been easy. A very big and special thanks to all of you.

Now I know these few minutes I have to speak are not about me… I mean everyone I told about this… made it very clear… it’s not about you Shelly… but please indulge me in this little bit of self-disclosure.

Soooo…. I’m not 24. Oh – you knew that? OK never mind.

The point is… Social Work is not my first profession.

I worked in Journalism for a while…  

Telling stories is the focus of Journalism. Doing it dispassionately… a watch dog on governments… the first draft of history… and all that…

But where Journalism does its best to document what’s happening in the world… and hopes to make a difference…

Social Workers… are all about making a difference… being the difference…

Pursuing either profession will take you into some pretty dark places; into the shadows… 

…a reporter… armed with the power of the pen… Social Workers with the power of our professional values… our skills… our compassion… our courage… 

…we go into those dark places because that’s where there’s suffering… that’s where people are sad… oppressed and in pain… that’s where the vulnerable need a voice… where people who are hurting need a hand… where those most alone… most afraid…. most in need… they just want to hear that one person say… what is our job to say… what we commit to say…

That – It’s OK… I’m here… I’ve got your back….

When no one else does… I do. You do. We do.

That’s our job. We’re Social Workers.

And we can never know who we might find in those dark places… we might not understand their pain… or how they ended up feeling so isolated… rejected… lost… but here’s what we DO know… we know dark from light… we all crave the light… everyone deserves the dignity of knowing… I am seen… I am accepted for who I am… how I was created… like everyone else… B’tzelem elokeem… in god’s image… 

And that’s what we do. We help to bring light to those dark places… help people find their way back to themselves… That’s OUR job. That’s what we do. We’re Social Workers.

Now if you were looking for it… in our graduating group today… there is no doubt you COULD find difference. We are diverse. 

We are American. Canadian. Israeli. Religious. Secular. Jewish. Christian. Agnostic.

Some Older.

Almost everyone else much… much… younger.

Some of us are bald. 

Some have hair. 

Some have purple hair.

But the way I see it…with us… with all people…. we are much more the same than we are different. And that sameness is powerful… sticky… it binds us… and gives us something to make contact with… in every one of our clients… no matter who they are… or how they ended up in front of us…

Virginia Satir said we connect at the level of sameness… grow at the level of difference… So we Social Workers… we celebrate diversity… we can’t let it divide us…. We acknowledge and learn from the other… and walk together in search of more light.

And these days… there’s so much darkness… in parts of the world so many of us are so deeply connected to… it is very hard to see any light… to feel any feelings beyond pain… sadness… and frustration… anger… and fear… 

And I know I’m new at this… I haven’t even been a Social Worker for a day yet… so forgive my youthful innocence… (I was never able to shake it anyway)…. but whether it’s through prayer… or meditation… exercise… or shopping… however we do it… we need to take care of ourselves… to keep learning…growing… evolving… so we can still see something better on the horizon…

I had a great teacher who introduced me to the work of Paulo Freire who said – “If the structure does not permit dialogue – the structure must be changed” — that’s where we come in… we advocate for that change… for Social Justice… that’s our job. That’s what we do… We’re Social Workers.

A few years ago when I was saying kaddish for my Mother – who I miss every day… but especially today – I got familiar with several passages in the siddur – the Jewish prayer book – passages I didn’t know so well. One line has stayed with me and helped me in a lot of ways but also as a Social Worker… and I will end with this… the line is  – U’ve’tuvo mehadesh b’chol yom ma’aseh braysheet… in his (or her) goodness – God – however…whatever you understand god to be… god renews the act of creation every day. To me that means that… Every day matters… Every day there is hope. Every day things can get better…

And guess what?

We get to help do that now…

…you know why? 

That’s our job.

We’re Social Workers.

Congratulations everyone. 



Dr. Joyce Brenner, Director of the Wurzweiler Block Program in Israel, Honored as Distinguished Alumni, Retires After 27 Years

July 22nd, 2014 by raco

Dean Carmen Ortiz Hendricks presents Dr. Joyce Brenner with the first ever Wurzweiler Distinguished Alumni Award

On July 23rd, 2014 Dr. Joyce Brenner’s twenty seven years with Wurzweiler School of Social Work were recognized as she steps down and embraces retirement. The first ever Wurzweiler School of Social Work Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Dr. Brenner, who graduated

Dr. Joyce Brenner delivers the Commencement Address July 23rd, 2014 at the Block Program Graduation, fifty years after receiving her own MSW degree.

fifty years ago with an MSW degree from the School in 1964, and then received her DSW degree twenty years later. Dr. Brenner also delivered the Commencement Address to the fifty-five graduating students, fifty years after she received the same degree. As well, in an example of coming “full circle”, Dr. Brenner’s own daughter was one of the graduates, hearing her own mother’s inspiring words.

Dr. Joyce Brenner (center) with Israeli colleagues Marva Perrin Levine (left) and Meir Charash (right)

Two days prior, on July 21st, more than fifty students, alumni, faculty and staff were on hand to celebrate her accomplishments as Director of the Block Program in Israel and wish her well as she retires after more than a quarter of a century of service.

In addition to some remarks by Dean

Dr. Brenner’s retirement celebration was well attended

Carmen Ortiz Hendricks, a retrospective video featuring photos and well-wishes from colleagues Dr. Ronnie Glassman, Raesa Kaiteris and Meir Charash and an address by Dr. Brenner highlighting her career and offering thanks rounded out the event. Watch the video here.

Dr. Brenner with students and Dr. Joan Beder (right)

Wurzweiler’s “Sexual Identity and Social Work Practice” Common Day a Great Success

July 3rd, 2014 by raco

A Message from Dean Carmen Ortiz Hendricks reflecting on the Block Program’s “Sexual Identity and  Social Work Practice”- themed Common Day at Wurzweiler School of Social Work, July 2nd, 2014:

Thank you Students, Faculty and Staff,

Our joint efforts paid off in a wonderful Common Day experience.  Thank you Student Government Association, Dr. Levy, the Panelists, and Marc Raco!  It was an informative and enlightening experience that emphasized our social work role and responsibilities to LGBTQ clients.  Enjoy the photos of the event!

Dean Hendricks

The Future of Wurzweiler

June 20th, 2014 by raco

A Message from the Dean:  The Future of Wurzweiler School of Social Work

Dr. HendricksEvery May, the faculty and administration meet for Spring Wrap-Up to review the year that is ending and to plan for the year ahead.  As usual, we agree on new goals and directions for the School, the curriculum and for our students.  Students are generally surveyed through Survey Monkey for their input on our discussions, and we look at course evaluations to see what trends exist among students and faculty.

In addition to all these discussions, this year the focus was on expanding on-line course offerings for the Fall, Spring and Summer sessions in the MSW and PHD programs.  Our main concern is maintaining high standards of social work education while expanding our reach as a School to new populations both nationally and internationally.  Alumni have expressed a need for an on-line PHD program for many years, and we are finally acting on this request.  You will hear more about this as we teach ourselves and our students how to use new technologies in on-line education.

We are also hard at work preparing for reaccreditation by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).  Our self-study is due October 2016 and our site visit will take place in February 2017.  The most dramatic change for our School is shifting our attention to competency-based education.  In other words, we have to assess the extent to which our students achieve social work competencies established by CSWE.  Some of you are already familiar with this, but there will be more discussions about competencies as you move through your social work education at Wurzweiler.  Soon we will be able to report to students how well we are doing as educators and how well you are doing as graduates in achieving competence in social work practice with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations.

Lastly, I want you to know that we have already begun to plan for our 60th Anniversary as a School.  Our 60th logo is already on all our stationery, and a joint Board and Faculty committee will help plan a gala in Fall 2017 to celebrate the past, present and future of Wurzweiler, and to raise more scholarship money for our students.  I hope all our alumni will join in this celebration.

The faculty and administration continue to envision new directions and new goals for the School.  We have raised more scholarship money this year than last, and our enrollment continues to steadily rise despite all the competition in NYC where 10 Schools of Social Work reside each offering their unique brand of social work education.

While you are a student here at Wurzweiler, please take advantage of all we have to offer you.  Smaller classes, faculty advising, extra-curricular learning opportunities, opportunities to collaborate with faculty on research or other scholarly activities, service learning events, becoming a student member of the National Association of Social Workers, and putting into practice the lessons learned from your teachers, classmates and the people you serve.

I am entering my third year as Dean, and my tenth year at YU, and I am confident that Wurzweiler has wonderful alumni and students who can help us realize our vision of the future.

Dean Hendricks