Group Learns About Modern Orthodoxy and Helping Create Social Change
On May 23, 2019, in a visit organized by Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern, senior advisor to the provost, 20 delegates from different segments of Israeli society visited Yeshiva University to learn about the philosophy and practicality of being Modern Orthodox in America. The delegation, sent from the UJA-Federation of New York’s office in Israel, was comprised of leaders from Arab-Christian, Arab-Muslim, ultra-Orthodox, secular and Modern Orthodox communities and is part of a program in Israel called Co.Lab that brings Israelis from various communities together to create social change and benefit Israeli society.
Members of the delegation heard presentations from various YU staff and faculty. Rabbi Ari Lamm, special advisor to the president, spoke about the history and mission of YU, the great ideas for which it has stood and its vision for the future.
Other speakers included Dr. Josh Waxman, assistant professor at Stern College for Women, who discussed data analytics and Torah study; Rabbi Dr. Ari Sytner of the Wurzweiler School of Social Work and director of community initiatives for the Center for the Jewish Future (CJF), who talked about how he and his colleagues conduct and use the latest research on mental health to help train social workers and rabbis to best support families in areas such as marriage, stress and anxiety; and Dr. Jill Katz, clinical assistant professor of archaeology, Yeshiva College, who discussed YU’s Israel-focused academic initiatives and projects.
“What an amazing morning at Yeshiva University,” said Sytner, “welcoming a diverse delegation from Israel, comprised of Muslims, Christians and Jews, all engaged in learning about each other and promoting greater understanding. Thank you to UJA-Federation of New York and YU. The world needs a lot more of this!” Rounding out the visit was a tour of YU’s Beit Midrash led by Rabbi Yaakov Glasser, David Mitzner Dean of CJF.
“It was profoundly inspiring to welcome this cadre of extraordinary leaders from across the Land of Israel,” said Lamm. “The mission of the Jewish people, in the immortal formulation of the prophet Isaiah, is to teach and to guide; to serve as a beacon of values and virtue for all peoples. As this mission has animated Yeshiva University since its inception, I can think of no better host for this group of passionate change agents—Jewish and non-Jewish—who seek to transform our world for the better.”