The View from YU: Aug. 25, 2020

Highlights from a Summer’s Worth of Learning

YU’s faculty and rabbis came together to create a wealth of educational and religious programming for the University community.

Summer Session 2020

The Katz School’s Summer Session 2020 included over 100 online courses, more courses than ever before, including interactive bootcamps and academic and Torah classes for high school, college and graduate school students. Read More»

Crisis & Hope: YU Voices

Dr. Ronnie Perelis (director, the Rabbi Arthur Schneier Program for International Affairs), Dr. Jess Olson (Leon Charney Senior Scholar, Center for Israel Studies) and Dr. Steven Fine (director, Center for Israel Studies) founded Crisis & Hope: YU Voices, a series of talks to address current political and social issues with speakers like the legendary activist Rabbi Saul Berman, musician Jon Madof, Shulamith Berger (Curator of Special Collections at the Gottesman Library), and Dr. Larry L. Martin (Coppin State University).

At the Forefront of Holocaust Education

Shay Pilnik, director of the Emil A. and Jenny Fish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, curated conversations with five directors of Holocaust education about why more people need more information about this crucial subject. Read More»

June/July Zman

RIETS held an online Summer Torah Studies Program with a lively menu of high-level shiurim in Talmud, Halacha, Tanach, Hashkafa, Chazzanus and Semicha as well as a Gemara Bootcamp, three sedarim, and cantorial instruction.

Beren Summer Torah

Rabbi Jacob Bernstein, campus rabbi at Stern College, hosted Beren Summer Torah with presentations from Mrs. Ora Schrier, Rabbi Yaakov Glasser and Rabbi Mordechai Willig, among others.

Wurzweiler Block Programs

Wurzweiler held summer Block Programs for their MSW students, including the Bein Hazmanim cohort of rabbinical students earning a social work degree.

Azrieli Graduate School

AGS offered five classes for its summer session: Teaching the Holocaust (Dr. Karen Shawn), Teaching Israel & Zionism (Dr. David Schnall), Teaching Aggadata (Dr. Mordechai Schiffman), Teaching Biblical Exegesis (Dr. Moshe Sokolow) and Learning and Cognition (Dr. Moshe Krakowski).

Great Jobs & Impactful Careers

Reinventing Internships for a Summer of Opportunity

Dr. Noam Wasserman, dean of Sy Syms; Dr. Selma Botman, provost and vice president of academic affairs; and Susan Bauer, executive director of the YU Career Center worked with companies like Accenture, Deloitte Consulting, Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey to create virtual internships for 35 students on how to be an effective consultant.

They also set up 59 research opportunities with faculty for students and worked with Stephanie Strauss, executive director of YU Israel, to create 40 virtual internship opportunities at Israeli companies like OurCrowd, MassChallenge Israel, accessibleGO, Cyabra, TalkMarkets, iAngels and Optibus. Read More»

Coding for Success Against the Virus

Prof. Alan Broder, chair of the computer science department at Stern College, and Prof. Judah Diament, chair at Yeshiva College, created projects for 50 students to replace internships cancelled by the virus, including in-house software development programs and virtual external internships with organizations like Google and NASA.

“I’m not aware of another university,” said Prof. Diament, “that took on this responsibility for its students,” while Prof. Broder added that “our in-house projects, mentored by professionals and YU faculty, ‘reinvented’ the internship experience.” Read More About Stern» and YC»

From the Classroom to the Frontlines of COVID-19 Care

Students from Sy Syms analyzed potential investments in telemedicine startups Eleos Health and Tembo Health in collaboration with Maccabee Ventures, a venture capital fund driven by YU alumni Moshe Bellows ’90YC, ’08W and Bruce Taragin ’89YC. Read More»

Students Explore Predictive AI with Israeli Innovators

The Innovation Lab of Yeshiva University, a faculty- and student-led innovation incubator led by Dr. Maria Blekher, worked with Israel-based Emnotion to source a dataset to test the power of its predictive AI platform. Early efforts delivered the massive granular longitudinal dataset of the U.S.’s largest bikeshare company.

MafTeach Chinuch Fellowship Completed

Sarah Engel ’20S and CJ Glicksman ’20YC completed the MafTeach Chinuch Fellowship offered by the Azrieli Graduate School to those juniors and seniors interested in a career in Jewish education. Meet Sarah» and CJ»

Straus Scholars Selected

The Straus Center welcomed a new cohort of seven Straus Scholars, students committed to studying the great works of the Jewish and Western tradition. Read More»


Dr. Deena Rabinovich (upper left) of the Azrieli Graduate School held a Zoom seminar for undergraduates interested in careers in Jewish education.


Values & Leadership: Meeting the Challenge of COVID-19

Health Services

  • The MS in Speech-Language Pathology at the Katz School, directed by Dr. Marissa Barrera, offers free online speech and language therapy to students, alumni, faculty, staff and their families residing in New York State. Read More»
  • A team of alumni from Wurzweiler living in Israel provides anonymous telehealth counseling for frontline COVID-19 medical workers in hospitals around the United States so that, as one team member said, they can “find support at odd hours of the day and night.”
  • In June, the Parnes Clinic instituted a free service called Hushmail, which allowed their therapists to email/correspond/ exchange documents with patients in a HIPAA-compliant way. Because of this, the Clinic was able to re-open intakes to the community. All therapeutic services remain online.

Research and Teaching

  • Dr. Tracy Prout, Dr. Vera Bekés, Dr. Katie Aafjes-van Doorn and Dr. Jordan Bate from Ferkauf have researched the effects of COVID-19 on parents, children 6–12 years of age, therapists and the general population. They conclude that “our current studies … highlight the public mental health crisis that is unfolding.”
  • Julian Ruggiero, a Fulbright scholar in the Data Analytics and Visualization program at the Katz School, analyzed the occurrence of COVID-19 in New York City using public datasets, establishing that low socioeconomic zip codes had a higher incidence of the virus. Read More»
  • During the 2020 summer session, three top-notch teachers took students on a journey of the history, theology and science of COVID-19: “How Pandemics Shape the World” with Dr. Jeremy Brown; “Responses to COVID-19 in Jewish Ritual and Theology” with Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Zuckier; and “Introduction to Covid-19 Drug Development” with Dr. Jeremy Wertheimer.

Tech Responses

  • Shira Feen ’20K and Lavanya Karanth ’20K from the MS in Digital Marketing and Media at the Katz School won The Triple Bottom Line Challenge hosted by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev with Remote Education for All, an app that would allow students to select a teacher and schedule a virtual tutoring session. “We recognized that while privileged students rushed to Zoom and Google Classroom, millions from underserved communities missed out on critical months of their education,” said Feen. Read More»
  • Maridor Bocalbos ’19K and Dean Pienica ’19K, alumni of the Data Analytics and Visualization program at the Katz School, produced Image2Txt.Doc. Users can get an instant diagnosis and treatment of an injury by either speaking with a chatbot or finding a clinician based on their insurance, saving them from having to risk a visit to the hospital. Read More»

What’s New at YU


  • A virtual orientation for new undergraduates occurred Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 23–25, with informative sessions to help them navigate the fall semester. The sessions consisted of creative interactive activities designed to give students the opportunity to meet YU administrators, faculty and fellow classmates.
  • The Katz School will start its Occupational Therapy Doctorate in fall 2020. Graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination sponsored by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. Read More»
  • Ferkauf announced a new master’s program in marriage and family therapy. Graduates are licensure eligible as LFMTs in New York State. The program is slated for spring 2021.
  • Wurzweiler has announced a joint program pairing a Master of Social Work with becoming a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor. Read More»
  • Yeshiva College’s Computer Science Department upgraded its four-year data science and distributed systems degrees to Bachelor of Science degrees. Read More»
  • This fall, the Fish Center will offer courses on The Destruction of European Jewry, which examines their fate between 1933 and 1945, and Cultural Responses to the Holocaust, an interdisciplinary study using film, literature, memory studies, fine arts, sociology, theology and more. Read More»
  • Yeshiva University will offer professional development certificate programs in Instructional Design, Tele-Mental Health, Digital Education Administration, Serious Game Design and How to Start a Business. Read More»
  • The Graduate Program in Advanced Talmudic Studies is offering new Tanach and Halacha tracks starting in fall of 2020. Read More»

Staff/Academic Update

Deans/Associate Deans/Directors

  • Dr. Leslie Fay Halpern is the new dean of Ferkauf. She had been chair and associate professor of the Department of Psychology at the University at Albany. She received her PhD from Vanderbilt University in Clinical Psychology and Mental Retardation Research.
  • Dr. Daniel Rynhold, professor in modern Jewish philosophy and director of the doctoral program, is the new dean at Revel.
  • Prof. Shoshana Schechter ’91S has been named the first associate dean for Torah Studies at Stern College. She will continue as director of the Mechinah program.
  • Aliza Abrams Konig is the new Director of Alumni Engagement. She will be responsible for planning programs and activities for Yeshiva University alumni.


  • Rabbi Chaim Bronstein, a longtime administrator at RIETS, retired in July after 42 years of devoted service to the University. Read More»
  • Dr. Chaim Nissel, dean of students, is now Vice Provost of Student Affairs.
  • Doron Stern, currently vice president of communications, is now Vice President of Marketing & Enrollment.

Faculty Accomplishments

  • Prof. Nechama Price, director of GPATS, has published Tribal Blueprints, based on a course she teaches. The book was sponsored by Ann and Jeremy Pava of West Hartford, Connecticut. Read More»
  • The intellectual interests of Dr. Edward Belbruno, clinical professor of mathematics at Yeshiva College and a winner of the Humboldt Research Award, literally span studying the Big Bang singularity to being a professional painter. This May, he conducted his Art in Isolation Studio Tour to showcase work inspired by the coronavirus isolation. Read More»
  • Prof. Betsy Ginsberg of Cardozo Law School was appointed Director of Clinical Education. She is a Clinical Professor of Law and the founder and director of Cardozo’s Civil Rights Clinic. “The needs of many of the clients we serve have become more urgent in light of the pandemic and its outsized impact on poor communities of color and people with disabilities,” she noted. Read More»
  • This summer, Billboard named Cardozo Law School as one of the top 10 most frequently cited alma maters of the 2020 Top Music Lawyers. Read More»
  • Dr. Gabriela Coiculescu, assistant professor of finance at Sy Syms, was awarded funding from the Office of the Provost’s Faculty Research Fund to co-author a study on the connection between immigration and the financial industry. Read More»


Wilf and Beren campuses get ready for the start of the new academic year.


In Memoriam

Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm zt”l

The Yeshiva University community mourns the loss of Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm zt”l, the former president, Rosh HaYeshiva and chancellor of Yeshiva University. He was an elegant and articulate spokesman for Jewish life in modern times. His oratory, wisdom and leadership inspired our institution for more than three decades. “He elevated Yeshiva University to new heights and educated thousands upon thousands of students who now serve as leaders of our community and pillars of our society. His enormous impact is simply incalculable,” said Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University. Read More»

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz zt”l

The Yeshiva University community mourns the loss of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz zt”l, who passed away on August 7, 2020, in Jerusalem. A scholar known for making the Talmud accessible to millions around the globe, he received an honorary doctorate from YU in 1991. Read More»

Ludwig Bravmann (center), current vice chair of the YU Board of Trustees, congratulates Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz zt”l (left) as he is awarded an honorary degree by Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm zt”l, President of Yeshiva University, at YU’s 1991 Commencement.

Dr. Lea Blau z”l

Dr. Blau z”l, longtime professor and retired chair of Stern’s Chemistry Department, passed away on May 17, 2020. Described as a leader and a mentor by students and colleagues alike, she joined Stern College in 1979 as a professor of chemistry and eventually became chair of the department, retiring in 2015. In 2010, she received the Dean Karen Bacon Award for an Outstanding Senior Faculty Member. Read More»

Saadya Ehrenpreis z”l

Saadya Ehrenpreis z”l, a beloved student from the Makor College Experience Program at Yeshiva University, passed away in April. On June 22, the Undergraduate Torah Studies Program hosted a virtual siyum and seudas preida dedicated in his memory. Read More»

Upcoming Events




Throughout the month of Elul, Undergraduate Torah Studies is offering a full lineup of virtual and some in-person shiurim in local communities given by Roshei Yeshiva and popular Torah personalities for our Wilf and Beren campus undergraduates. The topics of shiurim range from timely matters related to Elul as well as beginning semester-long series of chaburot on a wide variety of topics. In addition, the broader YU community is welcome to partake of the many inspiring learning opportunities presented in advance of the High Holy Days.

Welcome Back Week

YU student council members are extending a warm and spirited welcome back to their peers on the Wilf and Beren campuses. A wide variety of fun-filled activities are planned, including virtual yoga sessions (Beren) and the return of student-led game show nights and trivia contests (Wilf). The Torah Activities Council, in partnership with Rabbi Jacob and Penina Bernstein, the rabbi and rebbetzin of the Beren campus, will sponsor a learning program during Elul. Visit the student event schedule on for more information.

Career Center Fair

Join the first virtual Finance, Fintech and Accounting Fair held through Yeshiva University Career Link (YUCL) on Wednesday, September 9 at 7 p.m. Apply for full-time, part-time, and internship roles at various firms and organizations. Students can network one-on-one with recruiters and business professionals through live video chat.

For more information on any event, go to Also visit our FAQ page at for the latest updates.