TEDx at Yeshiva University

From Therapy and Magic to the Power of Names, YU Community Shares Inspirational and Innovative Ideas

Yeshiva University recently hosted its first TEDx talks at a sold-out event at the Schottenstein Theater on the Wilf Campus. Using the TED conference format of short, powerful lectures designed to spark conversation, the talks showcased the remarkable range and depth of wisdom the YU community had to offer on topics as divergent as the similarities between magic and therapy to the impact a child’s name continues to bear on his or her life over time.

The six speakers at the event were Jesse Itzkowitz, assistant professor of marketing at Sy Syms School of Business, who discussed the effect names have on children’s development; Monica Dugot, international director of restitution at Christie’s and an alumna of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, on her work in authenticating the provenance of art between 1933 and 1945; Arielle Zellis, a psychology student at Stern College for Women, who drew upon her experience as an advocate for children with special needs; Mark Weingarten ’15YC ’17R, a semicha [rabbinic training] student at the Rabbi Issac Elchanan Theological Seminary, on conducting oneself with the dignity and grace of a king; Shy Krug ’08YC, a therapist and master magician, on how the two disciplines utilize the same mental mechanisms to engage and connect; and Ariel Fishman, a former professor at Sy Syms and current assistant vice president at Fordham University, about how adjusting to life in a wheelchair has altered his perception of life.

The Schottenstein Theatre was graced by Justine Englanoff’s striking free-standing logo and a set design that emphasized both topical and enduring knowledge, with bookcases of heavy tomes set off by walls covered in newspaper pages. “This event was five months in the making,” said Noam Safier, one of the event’s student organizers. “I’ve always liked TEDx talks and thought it would be fun and important to do them at YU.”

Esti Hirt, another organizer of the event, said, “I jumped at the chance to work on this because I thought it would be a really great event for the University. I really enjoyed handling the logistics of the event, which ran from secure funding to interviewing the potential TEDx talkers to moving into the space and getting it ready for the great audience we had.”

The event was sponsored by Neal’s Fund. Four of the talks can be viewed on YouTube.