YUToday Fall 2015/Winter 2016

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YUToday is published quarterly by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs and is distributed free to faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and friends. It keeps them informed of news from across Yeshiva University’s undergraduate and graduate divisions and affiliates.The quarterly newsletter covers academic and campus life, faculty and student research, communityoutreach and philanthropic support. It showcases the University’s mission of Torah Umadda, the combination of Jewish study and values with secular learning, through stories about the diverse achievements of the University community.



YU Unveils

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∞ FALL 2015/
∞ VOLUME 19 • NO. 4

A Path Forward

President Joel Announces Final Term, Launch of Strategic Plan


n a September letter to the YU community, President Richard M. Joel announced that
he would not seek another term as president of Yeshiva University after his current
tenure ends in June 2018.
“I am well into my 13th year of the presidency and the 28th year of leading Jewish
educational institutions,” wrote President Joel. “When I accepted a third term as president, I informed our [then] chair, Henry Kressel that it would be my last.”
The announcement came on the heels of the completion of YU’s joint venture
agreement with Montefiore Health System for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine
(read more on page 8) and marked a major turning point in the strengthening of the
“With a huge collective effort, we’ve steadied the ship and are on a path forward,”
said President Joel. “We’re going to continue to work hard, build on our successes and
make YU more vibrant than ever.”
By publicizing his plans well in advance of the end of his term, President Joel provides the Board of Trustees the time it needs to begin the deliberate process of transition
and recruitment of a successor.
“The presidency of Yeshiva University is an extraordinary opportunity for advancing the values of education, caring, commitment and the Jewish story and continues to
enrich Esther’s and my life,” said President Joel. “While the Board of Trustees will move
ahead with the planning for succession, life at Yeshiva thrives, and we all continue to
look to the future.”

Recently, the president has also outlined a proposal for the development of a strategic
plan for the University: “With the establishment of our Roadmap for Sustainable Excellence and the completion of the landmark joint venture agreement for Einstein, we
have an enormous opportunity to refocus on our unique mission and stake out a vision
for the future. The best institutions—even those with long, rich histories—take the initiative to move ahead in new ways on a periodic basis.”
Senior Vice President Rabbi Josh Joseph will spearhead the development of the
strategic plan that will capstone the efforts, started two years ago with advisers Alvarez

& Marsal, to address YU’s fiscal challenges and build a long-term sustainable business
plan. The endpoint of the strategic planning process, which is expected to conclude
June 2016, will be a set of actionable, measurable initiatives to move the University forward with excellence over the next several years.
YU trustees, faculty, staff, students and friends of the University will be involved
throughout the process and a website (below) has been established for the greater
community to receive updates and share questions or suggestions.
“Our collective effort is essential if we wish to operate and thrive in the challenging
environments of today and tomorrow,” said President Joel. “Working together to develop and execute a plan will help ensure the success of the University—its students,
faculty and staff.” n
k Learn more about the strategic plan and submit your comments at yu.edu/strategic-plan

Six Faculty From Across University Granted Tenure

Ariel Malka

Greta Doctoroff

Felix Wu

Christopher Buccafusco

John Greally

Dongsheng Cai

eshiva University recently awarded tenure to six faculty members in positions
across the University’s undergraduate and graduate schools.
The newly tenured professors include Dr. Ariel Malka, associate professor of
psychology at Yeshiva College; Dr. Greta Doctoroff, associate professor of psychology at
the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology; Dr. Felix Wu and Christopher Buccafusco,
professors of law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law; Dr. John Greally, professor
of genetics, and Dr. Dongsheng Cai, professor of molecular pharmacology at the Albert
Einstein College of Medicine.
“These professors excel in the classroom, meaningfully contribute to their academic disciplines and serve their departments, schools and colleges with grace,” said
Dr. Selma Botman, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “They bring stature
and distinction to YU and act as important role models for our students. We congratulate our colleagues and welcome them into the ranks of the tenured professoriate at
Yeshiva University.”
Dr. Ariel Malka’s research combines the disciplines of psychology and political science as it analyzes the way different populations think about politics and the reasons
behind their political preferences. His work has included studies on everything from the
relationship between religiosity and political attitudes to studies of how people’s personalities relate to their political attitudes across different countries and how the wording and order of questions in surveys impacts participants’ responses.
Dr. Greta Doctoroff’s area of expertise at Ferkauf is multidisciplinary, intersecting
with clinical, developmental and educational psychology. Her research focuses on the
development and prevention of conduct problems and school failure in young children,
particularly those growing up in poverty. The long-term goal of Doctoroff’s research
program is to identify key mechanisms in the development of children’s social-emotional and early academic competence and to apply this knowledge to the development
Continued on Page 2 ç



Cardozo Expands Data
Law Initiative


he Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law is
continuing its tradition of innovation by
expanding the Cardozo Data Law Initiative (CDLI), a program that prepares students for
the practice of law in the digital world while increasing Cardozo’s contribution to legal thought
Launched in 2014, the CDLI provides students
with the theoretical course work, practical training
and real-world exposure necessary for success in
the rapidly developing field of data law. In its first
year, the CDLI added courses and professors that
cover the data law spectrum, including privacy,
information governance, e-discovery and cyber security. The program placed 18 students in externships or permanent post-graduation employment.
Cardozo Dean Melanie Leslie thanked the
CDLI Board of Advisors for their strong leadership during its inaugural year and said she looks
forward to working with Ariana J. Tadler, who
has agreed to serve as the executive director of
the board. She praised Founding Directors Patrick
Burke and Denise Backhouse, who will continue
to play an active role in the future of the CDLI
Board of Advisors. Additionally, the board named
13 new members from leading national businesses
and law firms as well as a retired magistrate judge.

“Our goal is to build the most comprehensive
data law program of any law school in the country,” said Leslie. “In the year ahead, we will graduate students with data law concentrations who are
uniquely qualified for careers in all fields of technology law.”
Leslie also announced new industry partnerships as well as a public events schedule for the
academic year at Cardozo, featuring leaders in
the field of data law. “As technology continues to
produce sweeping changes in society at large, the
legal and business challenges have become more
complex and urgent,” said Burke. “Cardozo lawyers will have the tools and expertise to be leaders
in these fields.”
Students will get real-world experience
through externships at major corporations and law
firms, including Swiss Re, Merkle, Havas Health,
Select Media, and Reed Smith. Students will also
gain technical skills working at consultancies, including CDS, KPMG, Ernst & Young, Knowledge
Strategy Solutions, Tritura, EDT, and ViaLumina.
Leslie said she is confident that the program
will change students’ lives and increase career
opportunities. n
k To learn more visit cardozo.yu.edu/cdli


Emanuel Alvarez shares his
journey from the Navy to
Wurzweiler’s Social Work
Practice with the Military
certificate program.



∞ FALL 2015 /
∞ VOLUME 19 • NO. 4


Chairman, YU Board of Trustees


Tenured Faculty ç

Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs

Continued from Page 1


and evaluation of cost-effective, feasible prevention programs in home and preschool settings.
Dr. Felix Wu’s research focuses on information
law, which includes diverse topics ranging from
privacy to freedom of speech as well as intellectual
property and Internet law. His work is informed by
his doctoral work in computer science, which has
allowed him to delve into problems such as the role
of de-identification of data in privacy laws.
Professor Christopher Buccafusco’s expertise is in intellectual property. His recent book,
Happiness and Law (University of Chicago Press)
uses social scientific methods to empirically study
how laws affect creativity and innovation. He is
working on several new projects, including an experimental study of sequential innovation, which
examines how people decide to borrow ideas from
others or come up with their own ideas.
Dr. John Greally is a pioneer in the field of
epigenetics—the study of changes in gene expres-



sion that don’t result from changes in the DNA
but that can be passed from one generation to the
next. Greally began his career as a pediatrician
with a subspecialty in clinical genetics. He cared
for children with genetic syndromes, birth defects
and developmental problems. Today, he focuses
on understanding how glitches in the way genes
are switched on and off may cause these and other
genetic conditions.
Dr. Dongsheng Cai is a leader in the study of
the neural mechanisms of aging and metabolic
syndrome. Cai studies the role of the central nervous system in the development of obesity, diabetes, age-related illnesses, neurodegeneration and
cardiovascular disease. His laboratory seeks to
understand the underlying molecular, cellular and
physiological mechanisms that cause these conditions, with the goal of developing safe and effective
therapies and prevention protocols. n

Director of Marketing and Communications,
Editor in Chief




Associate Editor

Art Director

Daniel Abraham, Aliza Berenholz, John DeNatale, Caitlin Geiger, David Khabinsky,
Shimon Lindenblatt, Tova Ross, Deborah Strober, Jerry Strober, Devon Wade, Jennifer Weisbord
[email protected]


YUToday is published quarterly by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs and is
distrib­­uted free to faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and friends. It keeps them informed
of news from across Yeshiva University’s undergraduate and graduate divisions and affiliates.
The quarterly newsletter covers academic and campus life, faculty and student research, community outreach and philanthropic support. It showcases the University’s mission of Torah
Umadda, the combination of Jewish study and values with secular learning, through stories
about the diverse achievements of the University community.
© Yeshiva University 2015 • Office of Communications and Public Affairs
Furst Hall, Room 401 • 500 West 185th St. • New York, NY 10033-3201 • Tel.: 212.960.5285
Stanley I. Raskas, Chair, Board of Overseers, Yeshiva College; Shira Yoshor, Chair, Board of
Overseers, Stern College for Women; Steve Uretsky, Chair, Board of Overseers, Sy Syms School
of Business; David P. Samson, Chair, Board of Overseers, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law;
Froma Benerofe, Chair, Board of Overseers, Wurzweiler School of Social Work; Mordecai D. Katz,
Chair, Board of Overseers, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies; Dr. Carol Bravmann,
Chair, Board of Overseers, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology; Moshael J. Straus, Chair,
Board of Overseers, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration; Michael
Jesselson and Theodore N. Mirvis, Co-chairs, Board of Overseers, Yeshiva University Museum;
Roger W. Einiger, Chair, Board of Trustees, (affiliate) Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Joel M.
Schreiber, Chair, Board of Trustees, (affiliate) Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary; and
Miriam P. Goldberg, Chair, Board of Trustees, (affiliate) YU High Schools.
Board listings as of October 13, 2015




Small Actions, Big Impact
Marian Gidea Awarded NSF Grant to Study Large Effects in Dynamical Systems


athematics professor Dr. Marian Gidea has been
awarded a $290,000 grant by the National Science Foundation to study a central question
posed by his research: When a small change is made to a
dynamical system (like knocking down the first domino
in a chain), what happens?
“The objective is to analyze how small actions exerted on dynamical systems can have big impacts,” said
Gidea of his funded research proposal, “Large Effects in
Dynamical Systems.” His expertise involves the mathematical modeling of time evolution, the change of state
brought about by the passing of time, in physical, biological or social systems. Unlocking the key to that mystery
could have implications for almost anything: bioengineering, climate science—even spaceships.
For example, one application of Gidea’s research involves astrodynamics: “In that field, small forces resulting from the intertwining of the natural gravity of the
moon, sun and planets can be exploited to design spacecraft trajectories to distant locations within the solar system or to correct the orbits of artificial satellites near the
Earth with significant fuel savings.”
A similar approach can be useful in the realm of climate science. “Calculating small changes in system parameters—for example, the concentration of greenhouse
gases—can cause sharp transitions of the climate,” said
Gidea. “The mathematical analysis of climate data can
detect early warning signs of such transitions.”
The ramifications of his work expand to the social
sciences as well. “Personalized interventions targeted to
carefully selected clusters within social networks can
be optimized to improve the health behaviors of larger
communities,” Gidea said. “Surprisingly, these very different types of phenomena can be described through
similar mathematical models, and tools from differential equations, geometry and topology can be used to
analyze them.”
Gidea’s NSF grant will support him as he applies
these tools to a 50-year-old open mathematical problem
known as the “Arnold conjecture,” which supposes that
the total energy of a typical mechanical system can always be increased with the application of an arbitrarily
small external force. With more than 10 years of work
in the area already under his belt, Gidea expects his research to provide a very clear answer to the problem by
drawing on the geometric and topological methods he
has developed.
The NSF grant will enable undergraduate and graduate students at YU to work alongside Gidea as he cracks
the code—under his supervision, three students already
started work on it this summer, studying the topology of

networks and brainstorming novel ideas about how to
apply their new knowledge to different social systems.
“I learned some computational skills that are crucial
nowadays to scientific research,” said Jeff Ohana, a thirdyear math major and premedical student who worked
with Gidea on two parallel projects: persistent homology
on weighted networks, a method for computing topological features of a space at different spatial resolutions, and
an application to his own area of interest, a model for the
transmission of drug and alcohol consumption behaviors
on college campuses.

cal system or an undergraduate class in differential
equations, I bring up topics related to my research that
run the gamut from mathematical models for the
spreading of infectious disease, of suspension bridges
and shock absorbers to analysis of oscillations in chemical reaction and of hysteresis in the Josephson junction
superconductor,” he said.
But Gidea believes that the connections between
teaching and research go far beyond the direct usage of
research topics in his classroom. “Research fuels me with
energy, inspiration and enthusiasm—it keeps me engaged

Dr. Marian Gidea incorporates his cutting-edge research into the courses he teaches

“I appreciated that Dr. Gidea helped me develop my
personal research project by putting me in touch with
Dr. Andrea Weinberger, assistant professor of psychology and psychiatry at the Ferkauf Graduate School of
Psychology and the Yale University School of Medicine,
to develop a survey which is very important to it,” said
Ohana. “I’m also having a great time doing research
with Dr. Gidea, who encourages us to take the initiative
and learn about applied mathematics subjects that are
trending right now, like social network theory and persistence homology.”
Students also get a taste of Gidea’s cutting-edge research in the classes he teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate level. This semester, undergraduates
had a chance to take Network Science, a graduate class
he team-teaches with other distinguished faculty at
Yeshiva College, with the proper prerequisites. Gidea’s
courses are studded with examples from his work.
“Whether it’s a graduate course on chaotic dynami-

in a continuing learning process, and I can communicate
my learning experiences to the students,” he said. “It enables me to better motivate students by relating the classroom material to the most innovative and far-reaching
applications of mathematics and helps me to transform
students into partners in the exciting journey of learning
and discovery. Last but not least, through the numerous
connections developed via collaborations and participation in professional conferences, it helps me to better advise students when they seek to pursue advanced degrees
at top schools in the United States and abroad.”
“Competition for NSF grants in mathematical research is currently intense nationally,” said Dr. Thomas
H. Otway, chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences. “But even among the small number of successful
proposals, a mathematics award of this magnitude is very
rare. It is an indicator of the importance of Marian’s research and of his stature in the research community. And
it puts our department in a very select peer group.” n

Kressel Research Fellowship Supports Ambitious Student Projects
Five YU undergraduates are making an impact at the frontiers of science and medicine this year as Henry Kressel Research Scholars.
The scholarship—established in 2008 by Dr. Henry Kressel ’55YC, former chairman of the YU Board of Trustees—offers students the unique opportunity to craft a
yearlong intensive research project under the direct supervision of University faculty.
The honor is highly selective.
This year’s Kressel Scholars are biology majors Yosef Frenkel, Sheldon Lerman
and Jennifer (Sima) Grossman; chemistry and Judaic studies major Daniel Shlian
and mathematics and physics major Russell Spiewak.
Frenkel is studying possible causes of infertility under the guidance of Dr. Josefa
Steinhauer, assistant professor of biology. Under the guidance of Dr. Sumanta Goswami, associate professor of biology, Lerman is investigating fine needle aspiration
of cancer cells. Grossman is conducting research in understanding the pathways by
which hormone receptors influence breast cancer development with Dr. Marina Holz,
the Doris and Dr. Ira Kukin Chair in Biology and associate professor of biology. Shlian
is investigating alternative fuel sources with Dr. Jianfeng Jiang, associate professor
of chemistry, while Spiewak is getting hands-on programming experience and developing expertise in computer systems with Dr. Sergey Buldyrev, professor of physics.
Dr. Holz and Grossman in the lab






Infusing Business Expertise With Jewish Values
Sy Syms Launches Judaic Studies Curriculum

Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schachter teaches Jewish Encounters, a new first year course


tate-of-the-art education, toplevel analytic skills and hands-on
experience are critical to succeed
in today’s business world. But to succeed
spiritually and ethically, even more is
necessary. From the technical details of
Jewish law to the broader expanses of
Jewish morality and values, a business
leader faces new and unique challenges
as a professional each day.
At Sy Syms School of Business, a new
academic Jewish studies curriculum for
Wilf Campus students is focused on imparting an ethical and moral framework
to students rooted in the great works of
Jewish thought.
“The goal of a Sy Syms education
is to prepare students to become wellrounded business professionals,” said
Sy Syms Dean Dr. Moses Pava, Alvin
H. Einbender Chair in Business Ethics.

“This means providing students not only
with technical skills but also with an unmatched understanding of Jewish values
and how to apply them in the real world.
Our business school is unique in that, as
part of Yeshiva University, we have access to some of the leading authorities
and professors in the world on Jewish
ethics and its relevance to the contemporary world.”
Those authorities, including celebrated Roshei Yeshiva from YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological
Seminary (RIETS) and scholars from the
Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, are leading four two-credit
courses that students will take as a cohort each year. Titled Jewish Encounters, Jewish Values in the Contemporary
World, Jewish Public Policy, and Business and Jewish Law, the courses replace

previous Judaic studies requirements.
“Today, more than ever, business demands a deep knowledge of how to apply
authentic values in a practical and workable way,” said Pava. “This is where Sy
Syms has a tremendous comparative advantage and I know it is something that
our current students are very interested
in learning.”
First-year students enroll in a course
called Jewish Encounters, taught by
Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter, University
Professor of Jewish History and Jewish
Thought and senior scholar at YU’s Center for the Jewish Future.
“The goal is to sensitize the students to think more clearly, forensically,
thoughtfully and introspectively about
what it means for them to have a commitment to Jewish life and Jewish learning
while fully recognizing the tremendous
centrality and importance that living in
the larger world has to them, and to help
them navigate in a thoughtful and strategic way the nature of this dual commitment,” said Rabbi Schacter.
“This new curriculum helps them
unify multiple identities and gives students an opportunity to grapple with
these issues within the calmness of the
undergraduate college experience and
classroom, so they will be prepared when
they inevitably arise later in life,” he
Dr. Daniel Rynhold, associate professor of Jewish philosophy, will teach
Jewish Values in the Contemporary
World, a second-year course that will

take students through some of the greatest works of medieval and modern Jewish philosophy, examining the role of
ethics in Judaism.
“My course will be looking at some
of the best available material on questions that modern Jews in the workplace
might find themselves grappling with,”
said Rynhold.
Serving as a capstone of the new
program will be Jewish Public Policy, a
third year course designed by Rabbi Saul
Berman, associate professor of Jewish
studies. The class will examine broad
social issues concerning income inequality in the United States and Israel, health
care policy, corporate social responsibility and individual responsibility in matters of morality .
RIETS Roshei Yeshiva Rabbi Ozer
Glickman and Rabbi Daniel Feldman will
teach two tracks of the fourth course,
Business and Jewish Law. Glickman’s
track focuses on the immediate applications of Jewish legal concepts. Feldman’s
course will explore the underlying values
of the Jewish legal system.
“The business world, like every aspect of life, is a venue for holiness and
Kiddush Hashem,” said Rabbi Feldman.
“The most advanced education in the
structures and techniques of business is
incomplete unless it can place that within
the context of a moral system worldview
of integrity, responsibility and awareness
of the values that need to be balanced.
Providing this is part of the fundamental
mission of Yeshiva University.” n

MTA LEAD Gives Teenage Entrepreneurs a Head Start


TA LEAD (Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Advisement, and Development) is
a unique program designed to provide Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy/
Yeshiva University High School for Boys (MTA) students with lasting business and communal leadership skills through both high school and University-level
leadership training. Intended for students interested in creating new business or social enterprises that can help change the world, this hands-on initiative—started in
2011—focuses on the creation, evaluation, development and launch-readiness of new
business or social ventures.
“Four years ago, when I was approached to become the entrepreneur-in-residence
for this program, I was very excited, and I’ve only become more so,” said Associate Dean
of Sy Syms School of Business and Entrepreneur-in-Residence Michael Strauss. “Lots of
students have great ideas but don’t know how to bring them from concept to implementation. I help students refine their thinking, develop viable business plans and funding
plans and direct them to patent lawyers as necessary. I make myself personally accessible to each and every one of them, and I do it because I love to do it.”
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students,” said Dr. Seth Taylor, principal
for general studies. “It’s another great way we at MTA can leverage the resources of the
University that are not found in any other high school. With unique access to the Sy
Syms School of Business, we create an environment in which passion and drive can be
fueled with world-class knowledge and expertise. We recognize that different students
have different talents, and we encourage our entrepreneurial students to innovate.”
MTA LEAD participants are mentored by industry leaders and are included in the
Doris and Dr. Ira Kukin Entrepreneurial and Executive Lecture Series at Sy Syms. The
program empowers students to build on entrepreneurial ideas to create meaningful and
sustainable business projects. Students work in teams to develop a new venture idea and
gain experience, applying entrepreneurship as a problem-solving tool for creating social
and economic value.
“About 40 kids start at the kickoff of the program,” said Joshua Jacoby, executive
director of Yeshiva University High Schools. “They may not necessarily have an idea yet.
They might simply want to explore an interest in business and gain unparalleled access
to top-notch professors and prominent executives. LEAD gives them that chance.”
Students work through a series of structured peer activities and assignments that
correspond with each phase of the new venture planning. Throughout the program, students refine their venture’s hypothesized business model based on feedback from their



Sy Syms Associate Dean Michael Strauss mentors MTA students

instructors, visiting experts, and peers. At each stage of the venture plan development,
students learn critical terms, apply tools that support their research and decision-making and develop a deeper understanding of how each major planning activity fits into
formal venture creation.
“At the program’s culmination, they present their project to a panel of Executive
Council members, and by that point, it’s pretty advanced,” said Jacoby. “Recent examples of presentations have included revolutionizing 3-D printing, titanium dioxide
nanoparticle-infused self-cleaning paint for cars, and a pillow alarm clock that vibrates
to wake and which can be controlled from an iPhone app.
The winning student or team receives a gift card and the council finds a business
leader who will continue to mentor them going forward. Students are also assigned
graduate students as mentors as they continue to develop their projects, and Sy Syms
professors provide workshops on business communications, entrepreneurship and
marketing. The winners also have the opportunity to present at the Sy Syms business
plan competition. “MTA LEAD is a very exciting opportunity,” said Strauss. “Talent can
be spotted even at such a young age, and it’s a special honor to help cultivate that.” n




FALL 2015/WINTER 2016

Building the Foundation of the Future
Yeshiva University Philanthropic Support Comes from Alumni, Broader Community


hen giving to Yeshiva University, different people give for different
reasons and in different ways, but they all have one thing in common: a core commitment to the mission and values of YU, and an
aspiration to promote those ideals.
From alumni dedicated to investing in people, to successful former
recipients of scholarship assistance who want to help other students achieve
their dreams, to members of the broader community who deeply believe in
the crucial importance of YU, these profiles represent people committed to
creating continuity for the future.
“In order to provide each student with the knowledge, skills, opportunities and values to become a whole person and to live a life of meaning, we
must secure the resources that will enable them to fulfill their mandate to
matter—to themselves, their families, their professions, the Jewish community and the world,” said President Richard M. Joel

Drs. Monique and Mordecai D. Katz

“The first time we announced a million dollar gift to YU at their annual
Hanukkah Dinner, our young children were there. We wanted them to be
part of it,” said Dr. Mordecai D. Katz.
Katz holds degrees in engineering, business and law from Polytechnic
Institute of Brooklyn, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York
University. He is a retired aerospace executive, a former practicing attorney,
and is currently a private investor.
His Belgian-born wife, Dr. Monique Katz, a radiologist affiliated for
many years with New York–Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical
Center prior to her retirement, shares her husband’s philanthropic philosophy. “Giving is not intuitive,” she said. “It has to be taught to children when
they are young. Any time there was a dedication, dinner or some other charitable event in which we were involved, our children came, as did our grandchildren. If they don’t see that you are involved, it becomes very difficult to
influence them to be concerned with giving.”
At the core of this couple’s philanthropic philosophy is Mordecai Katz’s
dictum: “We invest in people.” As he observed, “You can invest in a business
and get a return. But you can invest in the Jewish world and get an even better one. It’s not monetary; it’s satisfaction in the knowledge that you are
making the world a better place.”



The Katzes share an abiding passion: their belief in YU’s values and academic excellence. Thus, they have for years invested not only in YU’s present
but, more importantly, its future, their philanthropy stemming from their
forebears’ values.
The future physician and her parents had boarded a ship for New York
on September 1, 1939, escaping from Europe a mere seven months before the
brutal Nazi invasion of Belgium. “We were among the lucky ones,” she
recalled. Coming of age in a Belgian refugee enclave in Manhattan’s Upper
West Side, she attended the Ramaz School before going on to Vassar College
and the Yeshiva University-affiliated Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Her husband, born and raised in Brooklyn, was nurtured within the
largely Orthodox neighborhood of Crown Heights. He was taught that philanthropy, no matter how modest, was a priority. He recalled, “every month
in the little shul where we davened [prayed], they would have an appeal for
some Jewish cause. And you would give. It could be two dollars or it could be
five dollars, to be donated to different charities.”
Following studies at Yeshiva University High School, Katz attended college at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, where he graduated first in a class
of more than 500 students. He was then recruited to MIT by the future President John F. Kennedy’s science adviser, Jerome Wiesner, where he studied,
taught and did research in his field of engineering.
During Katz’s college and university years, he would encounter a very
different mentality toward giving. A United Jewish Appeal representative
visited his dormitory at MIT and requested that he seek donations from
other Jewish students. Katz recalled asking one fellow student, “Can you
give a couple of bucks to UJA?” His request was met with puzzlement. “He
didn’t understand the concept of giving,” Katz said. “His attitude was: Why
would I want to give my money to somebody else? He had no idea what I was
talking about.” Surprised by his fellow student’s response, Katz decided that
his time would be much better spent “helping others to truly understand the
profound importance of philanthropy, as well as giving my own money. And
that’s what I did.”
As for philanthropy within the Jewish world, Katz said: “I encourage
the organizations to which I contribute to take what I’m giving and find
other people to give as well.’” Yet Katz’s giving is not conditional on matching donations. He allows the organizations to tell people what he has given
to encourage others to step up. This approach, he notes, inspires generosity.
He maintains that Yeshiva University is unique among Jewish-sponsored institutions of higher learning: “It is our community’s resource for
producing our future lay leaders as well as our rabbis, teachers, and administrators. We have top-notch academics; this is the Ivy League of the Jewish
world.” This, he said, is the message that resonated many years ago as he
embarked on his philanthropic endeavor to make the world a better place in
which YU plays an important part.
Dr. Monique Katz believes that making the world a better place includes
providing one’s children with both Judaic values and a sense of well-being in
an increasingly hostile world. “I would be very concerned about the antiJewish and anti-Israel attitudes at many of the colleges which have attracted
a significant number of Jewish students,” she said. “There needs to be a place
where our children can have free minds and not be distracted by anti-Jewish
and anti-Israel teaching. That place is Yeshiva University.”

We invest in people... You can
invest in a business and get a return.
But you can invest in the Jewish
world and get an even better one.
Dr. Mordecai Katz

Continued on Page 4 ç



Class Notes is where Yeshiva
University celebrates the milestones
and accomplishments of its alumni.
In this section, you can catch up on
everything your classmates have been
up to over the years, from marriages
and births to professional and personal
Submit your class note by emailing
[email protected] with the subject
line “Class Notes” or by visiting
www.yu.edu/alumni/notes to complete
the online form. We hope that you enjoy
reading about your fellow alumni and
friends, and we look forward to hearing
about your achievements.

Miriam (Krimsky) ’68S and Rabbi Eddie
Abramson ’69YC, ’73BR, ’73R announce
the birth of a granddaughter to Elie and
Hila Abramson.
Sara and Rabbi Aharon Angstreich
’65YUHS, ’70YC, ’72F, ’73R announce
the marriage of their son Netanel to Shira
Meirovitch of Avnei Cheifetz.
Miriam and Rabbi Chaim Brovender ’65R
celebrated the 50th anniversary of their
aliyah le’aretz.
Rabbi Dr. Charles H.
Freundlich ’62BR
recently published
his second novel,
Awake the Dawn
(CreateSpace, 2015).

Do you receive the biweekly
events email and monthly
eNewsletter from the Office
of Alumni Affairs?

Miriam and Dr. Philip Josowitz ’64YC
announce the birth of a grandson to David
and Chagit Bar Yosef.
Dr. Monique Katz
’63E was honored
at the JOFA Tribute
Dinner for her
commitment to
advancing women’s
scholarship and
meaningful ritual
participation within

Don’t miss out on exciting
programs as well as news and
updates for YU alumni.
Update your profile and your
email preferences to get our
news and information.
Visit www.yu.edu/
alumnidirectory today!

Rabbi Pinchas ’49YUHS, ’53YC, ’56R
and Rivka Kahn ’54TI announce the
engagement of their grandson Yosef Dov
to Shoval Cohen. Mazel Tov to Yosef Dov’s
parents Rabbi Ari ’78YUHS, ’83YC, ’86R
and Naomi Kahn.
Rabbi Max N. Schreier ’49YC, ’52R
announces the birth of two great-grandsons:
Aharon born to Elana and Ashie Schreier,
and Eliezer Tzvi Raphael born to Jackie
and Yoni Schreier.

Rabbi Dr.
Lamm’s ’51YC,
’54R, ’73BR
book, The
Jewish Way in
Death and
Mourning, has
reached the
milestone of
having sold
75,000 copies
since 1971.
Sara and Julian Landau ’52YUHS
announce the birth of a great-granddaughter,
Tahalel Paz, to Avraham and Zehava Landau,
and the bar mitzvah of their grandson
Amitai Landau.
Fay and Rabbi Yitzchak Sladowsky
’50YUHS, ’54YC, ’56R announce the birth
of a great-granddaughter, Shaindel, to their
grandchildren Ariella and Akiva Rosenberg.


Rabbi Cary Friedman ’96R recently
published his new book Beautiful Days,
Holy Days (Compass Books 2015).

Nechama and Elliot Rosner ’72YC
announce the birth of a grandson, Dovid
Aryeh, to their children Chana Sara and
Yussie Abramowitz ’08YUHS, ’12SB.

Shara and Rabbi David Israel ’96R
announce the bar mitzvah of their son,

Esther ’75YUHS and Rabbi Mark
Weiner ’76YC, ’79F, ’80R announce
the birth of a grandson.
Marilyn and Rabbi Robert Zeiger ’77YC,
’81R announce the marriage of their
daughter Devorah Rivka to Yaakov
Mordechai Verdiger.

Ilana and Dr. Seth Friedman ’84YC ’86S
announce the bar mitzvah of their son, Eitan.
Drs. Debbie ’88S and Alan Jotkowitz
’87YC and Lisa and Heshie Sommer
’83YUHS, ’87YC announce the birth of
a grandson.
Dena and Rabbi Shimon Kerner ’81YC,
’84R, ’85A announce the marriage of their
son Dov ’07YUHS to Adeena Traube ’10S.
Tova and Rabbi Eliakim Koenigsberg
’88YC, ’92R, RIETS Rosh Yeshiva,
announce the marriage of their son,
Chaim, to Sara Necha Treff.

Judith and Rabbi Yitzchak Rosenbaum
’60YC, ’62R, ’63BR announce the marriage
of grandson Akiva Berger ’13YC, son of
Rabbi Dr. Michael and Elisheva Berger, to
Gabrielle Hiller ’14S.

Chaya and Rabbi Jonathan Krimsky
’88YC, ’02R announce the birth of a
daughter, Shoshana Reizel.

Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg ’69YC,
’74R, ’74F, ’92A has been named the
Director of the Palestinian Authority
Anti-Semitism Study Project for the
Center for Near East Policy Research
in Jerusalem.

Director of Yeshiva University in Israel and
Director of YU’s S. Daniel Abraham Israel
Program Stephanie (Schechter)
’85YUHS, ’89S and Alan Strauss
’82YUHS, ’86YC announce the birth of a
granddaughter, Sarit Raiza, to Meira and
Doni Lerner.
Debra and Dr. Mark Teicher ’80YC, ’84E,
’79YUHS announce the birth of a granddaughter to their children Lauren and
David Teicher.

Rabbi Ari Kahn
’78YUHS, ’83YC,
’86R, ’89BR
recently published
his new book A
River Flowed from
Eden (Kodesh
Press, 2015).

Dr. Martin Kerzer ’73YC
received the 2015 Dean’s
Excellence in Teaching
award from The Warren
Alpert Medical School
of Brown University.

Rifka Monderer ’72YUHS, ’75TI
announces the birth of a granddaughter,
Neta Miriam, to Tovah and Itay Stern.
Navah and Rabbi Yoni Mozeson ’77YC,
’80R announce the birth of a grandson to
Amitai and Shayne Mozeson of Jerusalem.

Melissa Groman LCSW, ’93W
recently published her book Better Is
Not So Far Away: Decide to Recover
from Bingeing, Starving or Cutting
(McGraw Hill Education, 2014).

Ann Koffsky ’93S
had her new book
Kayla and Kugel
published (Apples
and Honey Press,

Dave Matkowsky ’91YC was appointed
executive director of The Shmitah Fund,
which helps shmitah-observant Israeli
farmers to replant throughout the 8th year.

Ruth ’69YUHS, ’73S, ’75F and Rabbi
Elchanan Lipshitz ’67YUHS, ’71YC, ’76F,
’77R announce the birth of a granddaughter,
Ziv Ann, to Leora and Yossi Barnet.

Dr. Myra Rapoport and Rabbi Michael
Balinsky ’74YC, ’80R, ’80BR announce
the birth of a grandson.

Adele and Rabbi Joshua Cheifetz ’56YC,
’58R, ’59W announce the birth of their
great-grandson, Nosson, to Zippora and
Chaim Y. Isaac.

Nava Rephun ’76W was the featured
speaker at the Annual Mikvah of the
Lower East Side Brunch and gave an
interactive presentation on “Making Good
Relationships Great.” She was also the
featured speaker at the Emunah of America
Brooklyn Region Luncheon, and spoke on
“Tales From a Couples Therapist: What I
Have Learned About Life From My Clients.”

Laura and Rabbi Neal Turk ’80YC, ’83R,
’83A, announce the birth of a granddaughter,
Rachel Tehila, to Rabbi Yitzy and Talia Turk.
Helena and Steve Usdan ’89YUHS, ’92YC
announce the engagement of their
daughter Racheli to Shimi Farber ’12YC.

Rabbi Dovid Cohen ’94YC, ’97R has
been appointed the Orthodox Union’s
Department of Community and Synagogue
Services regional director for New York City,
Westchester, the Bronx and Connecticut.

Judy Dick ’92S
illustrations to
adult coloring
book, Shalom

Judge Louis L. Nock
’90C was elected last
November as a New
York State Judge of
the Civil Court of the
City of New York,
County of New York
(initially and presently
sitting by designation
of the NYS Chief Administrative Judge
as a Judge of the Criminal Court of the
City of New York, County of New York).
Nechama and Steven Pudell ’91YC
announce the bar mitzvah of their son
Dr. Dale Rosenbach
’99YUHS, ’03YC was
invited to give four
full-day lectures in New
England on the topic of
“Critical Issues Relating
to Peri-Implant Tissue
Handling: Anatomy,
Diagnosis & Treatment
Planning Considerations” in October 2015.
Bruria ’03S and Jason Rozen ’96YUHS,
’01YC, ’12A announce the birth of a son.
Rabbi Eliezer Schnall,
PhD ’95YUHS, ’00YC,
’03F, ’03R, ’06F professor
of psychology at YC,
coauthored “Global
Quality of Life Modifies
Terminal Change in Physical Functioning
among Older Adult Women” in Age &
Ageing: the journal of the British Geriatrics
Society, published by Oxford.
Rabbi Moshe Schochet ’95YUHS, ’99YC,
’03R has been hired as the High School
Principal of Judaic Studies for the Rabbi
Alexander S. Gross Hebrew Academy in
Dr. Chani ’90YUHS, ’94S and Jason
Schwartz ’93SB announce the bar
mitzvahs of their sons Akiva and Gavi.
Bonnie ’86YUHS, ’90S and David Sheer
’91YC, ’93R, ’93A announce the marriage
of their daughter Penina to Zack Nussbaum,
son of Tsippy and Stuart Nussbaum
’91YC. Mazel tov to grandparents Judy
and Rabbi Charles Sheer ’65YC, ’67BR,
’67R, Joan and Philip Soskin, Marilyn
and William Nussbaum, and Sandy and
Alex Bienenstock.
Mirel ’04S and Rabbi Moshe Stavsky
’99YUHS, ’05YC, ’07R, ’09BR announce
the birth of a son, Nachum Yitzchak.


Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz ’94R, ’94BR
has been appointed senior rabbi of
Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun (KJ)
on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Andrew Wigod ’99SB announced his
marriage to Kira Batist.

Elana ’07S and Rabbi Elie Kurtz
’03YUHS, ’10SB, ’12A, ’12R announce the
birth of a son, Avraham Ephraim. Mazel tov
to grandparents Judy ’81S and Rabbi
Ronald Schwarzberg ’80YC, ’82F, ’83R.
Rachel and Rabbi Yosie Levine ’06R
announce the birth of a daughter.

Sarah ’08YUHS
and Marc Merrill
’05YUHS, ’11YC
announce the birth
of a son, Binyamin

Ari Zoldan ’99SB was selected as
moderator at the New York Media Festival,
which brings together the leading companies
in entertainment, media and technology for
riveting discussion and debate.


Jaclyn Ramras ’10S and Dr. Moshe
Schiffmiller ’03YUHS, ’07YC, ’11E
announce their recent engagement. Mazel
Tov to parents Shari and Rabbi Dr. Richard
Schiffmiller ’68YUHS, ’72YC, ’76R, ’77BR,
and Diane and Dr. Harry Ramras ’79YC.

Rabbi Elihu Abbe ’04YUHS, ’11R
announces his marriage to Eliana Lipsky.

Rachel and Daniel Schilowitz ’08SB
announce the birth of a son. Mazel tov to
grandparents, Tobi and Alan Schilowitz
’73YUHS, ’77YC.

Lauren ’10S and Yonah Bardos ’08YC,
’12C, ’13E, ’14R announce the birth of a
son, Zev Uriel.

Rabbi Ariel Schochet ’03SB,’06A, ’06R,
LPC, has been appointed Chief-of-Staff to
Rabbi Eliyahu Teitz, Associate Dean at JEC.

Yonah Bardos ’08YC, ’12C, ’13E, ’14R
published an article in the Green Journal
titled “A National Survey on Public
Perceptions of Miscarriage.”

Aliza ’04S and Rabbi Yechiel Shaffer
’08YC, ’11A, ’11R, announce the birth of a
daughter, Shaina Amalya.

Lauren (Elefant) ’07SB and Andrew
Bochner ’09YC announce their recent
Jill (Friedman) ’04S and Yoni Ellman
’02SB announce the birth of a daughter,
Nili Ora. Mazel tov to grandparents
Elana ’74S and George Ellman.

Tanya and Rabbi Natan Farber ’09YC,
’11A, ’15R announce the birth of twin sons.
Mazel tov to grandparents Rifky and
Dr. Marvin Wertentheil ’69YUHS, ’73YC
and Elaine ’85S and Yossi Farber ’85YC.
Sarah ’04S and Rabbi Avi Fried ’08YC
announce the birth of a son.
Ariel and Rabbi Yoni Fox ’06YC, ’10R
announce the birth of a son, Yeshaya
Elyssa and Rabbi Ezra Goldschmiedt
’08YC, ’14A, ’11R announce the birth
of a son.
Olivia and Brandon Jerome ’09SB
announce the birth of a daughter,
Tzirel Miriam.
Yehezkel Jesin ’09W was recently hired
as executive director of the Riverdale
Jewish Center.


Rachel Shtern
’03S received the
2015 Samuel A.
Goldsmith Award,
presented to
young professionals who have
shown outstanding performance
in their work at a Jewish agency in the
Chicago area.
Joey Small ’05YC,
’09BR, ’13A received
his MBA from the
Marshall School of
Business at USC
in May 2015 and
has been serving
as the Director
for Institutional
Advancement at
YULA. Joey was recently appointed West
Coast Director for Yeshiva University.
Abby and Rabbi Tuly Weisz ’04YC, ’05C,
’06R announce the birth of a son, Amitai
Yehoshua Falik.
Rabbi Moshe
’08YC, ’11R
won the 2015
Dr. Zellig Bach
Award for the
Study of the
Family, through
the New Jersey
Association Foundation. He was also
hired as the Managing Director of
Brooklyn Jewish Xperience, Kings
Highway Division.

Talia Lichtenstein’14S and Noah Cohen
’14YC announce their engagement.
Daniel Abraham ’13SB announces his
engagement to Faigy Weintraub.
Ari Ackerman ’12YC, ’14A, ’15R announces
his marriage to Daniella Kotowitz.
Rabbi Tuvia Brander ’12YC, ’15R was
appointed Head Rabbi of The Young
Israel of West Hartford in West Hartford,
Noelle and Yitzy Feigenbaum ’10YC
announce the birth of a son.
Janna ’11S and Ben Feldman ’11SB
announce the birth of a son, Yehuda Aryeh.
Alyssa and Aryeh Frager ’11YC announce
the birth of a son. Mazel tov to grandparents
Karen and Joe Frager ’76YC.
Chana ’06S, ’08A and Rabbi Ephraim
Glatt ’06YC, ’09R, ’12C announce the birth
of a son, Yitzchak Isaac. Mazel tov to grandparents, Marjorie (YU Connects staff) and
Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt ’76YUHS, ’79YC, and
Syma and Dr. Jeremiah Levine ’72YUHS,
’76YC and to great-grandfather Rabbi
Marshall Korn ’51YUHS, ’54YC, ’59R.
Michal and Eitan Gold ’11SB announce the
birth of a daughter.
Avital Chizhik Goldschmidt ’12S will
teach the Stern College Featured Writing
course. Avital Goldschmidt is a journalist
living in New York City. Her essays have
appeared in the New York Times, Tablet,
and The Forward, and she is a frequent
contributor to Haaretz.
Giti ’10SB and Rabbi Yaakov Hoffman
’10YC, ’13R announce the birth of a son,
Molly (Ratzker)’15S and Tani Isaac ’13YC
announce their marriage.
Mindy ’12S and Rabbi Josh Koperwas
’11YC, ’13R, ’13A announce the birth of a
daughter, Leiba Esther. Mazel tov to the
grandparents Renee ’83S and Michael
Sojcher and Renee and Nathan Koperwas.
Shlomit and Rabbi Ari Lamm ’10YC
announce the birth of a daughter. Mazel tov
to great-grandparents Mindella and Rabbi
Dr. Norman Lamm ’49YC, ’51R, ’66BR.
Elisheva ’15S and Ben Langstein
announce the birth of a daughter. Mazel
tov to grandparents, Adeena ’90S and
Rabbi Menachem Penner ’91YC, ’95R.
Devorah ’14S and Eliron Levinson ’11YC
announce the birth of a son. Mazel tov to
grandparents, Marcia and Barry Levinson
and Naomi ’76YUHS and Ken Shlian.

Legend for school abbreviations:
A: Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration • BR: Bernard Revel Graduate School • BS: Belfer Graduate School of Science • BZ: Philip and Sarah Belz School
of Jewish Music • C: Cardozo School of Law • E: Albert Einstein College of Medicine • F: Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology • R: Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary • S:
Stern College for Women • SB: Sy Syms School of Business • TI: Teacher’s Institute • W: Wurzweiler School of Social Work • YC: Yeshiva College • YUHS: Yeshiva University High


Rena ’10S and Marc Liebman ’10YC, ’14R
announce the birth of a son.


Daniel Mandel ’13YC
has been accepted to
New York Medical

Rachel and Yoni Mandelbaum ’11YC
announce the birth of a daughter, Liana
Gurney F.
Pearsall III
’13YC has
been selected
to receive the
prestigious 2015
American Inns
of Court Warren
E. Burger Prize
for Writing.
The award will be presented at the
organization’s annual Celebration of
Excellence at the Supreme Court of
the United States.
Noah Pollack ’11YC, ’14W announces his
marriage to Adina Brizel ’06YUHS, ’10S,
’12A, ’15BR.
Emma and Rabbi Sam Taylor ’14A, ’14R
announce the birth of a son.
Ora and Rabbi Jonathan Ziring ’12YC,
’14R announce the birth of a son.

In Memoriam
Rabbi Dr. Reuven Aberman, RIETS
director and visiting Rosh Yeshiva
Yehuda Bayme ’08YC
Asher Buxbaum ’32F
Beth Faitelewicz ’78YUHS
Rabbi Mordecai Goldzweig ’53YC,
’57R, ’99W
Rabbi Sander Hirth ’65YC, ’69R
Rabbi Paul S. Laderman ’57YC, ’60R
Henny Machlis ’75 YUHS, ’84TI
Abraham Okun ’36YC
Dr. Oliver Sacks, longtime Einstein
faculty member
Peter Tillers, longtime Cardozo
faculty member

The Yeshiva University community
mourns the tragic murder of Eitam
and Naama Henkin, children of
Rabbanit Chana Henkin ’68S,
’76BR founder and dean of the
Jeanie Schottenstein Nishmat
Institute for Advanced Jewish
Studies for Women in Jerusalem,
and esteemed Torah scholar Rabbi
Yehuda Henkin. Rabbanit Henkin
received an honorary Doctor of
Humane Letters Degree from
YU in 2001.


Building the Foundation ç

Continued from Page 1


Born in Canada and raised in a modern Orthodox home, Dr. Tirtza Spiegel, an
obstetrician-gynecologist now completing her residency at the North Shore-Long
Island Jewish Hospital, was a junior in an all-girls high school when she experienced a life-changing event: she attended YU’s National Model United Nations as a
delegate from Toronto.
Spiegel would be deeply impressed during the gathering by the “intelligent,
articulate and passionate” students from Stern College for Women. “It was a formative event in my high school career,” she said. “I had never before been exposed
to such a large academic conference, with so many Jewish students of my own age.”
Having been raised within Toronto’s vibrant Jewish community, and discovering the opportunities available to math and science students at Stern College,
Spiegel realized: “This is the ideal setting to receive religious and secular higher
education.” She would do so through financial support from the Anne Scheiber

It is of utmost importance
to give back to YU so I can
help other students achieve
their dreams.
Dr. Tirtza Spiegel

Scholarship Fund, which offers assistance to qualified students at both Stern
College and the YU-affiliated Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Benefactor
Anne Scheiber established the Scholarship Fund for financially and academically
deserving Jewish women who have indicated their desire to assist in the development of humanity, and alleviate pain and suffering.
The rest is YU history: Spiegel majored in biology, concentrating on cellular
and molecular studies with a minor in women’s studies, while taking courses in
religion. Citing the importance of pursuing both disciplines, she said, “As a modern
Orthodox woman, truly living a life of Torah and Madda, my medical knowledge is
enriched by my study of halachic medical ethics—and vice versa.”
Spiegel’s decision to study medicine stems from her desire to help others, as
well as to pursue scholarship and research opportunities. “My love of molecular
biology and genetics made medicine a natural choice for me,” she said. “And I chose
to attend Einstein as it truly helps a community in need of medical care, and
because of its Jewish life on campus.”
As for Spiegel’s choice of specialization, “I have always been interested in
women’s health. As an OBGYN, you are able to comprehensively manage your
patients,” she said, “in the clinic, the hospital, the operating room and in labor and
delivery, and to care for women through their lives’ milestones.” And, she added,
“Nothing is as exciting as labor and delivery!”
Looking back on her formative undergraduate years at YU, Spiegel stressed
the importance of Stern’s “investment in its students and support of their interests.”
“The faculty members at Stern want to mentor students and take personal pride in
their students’ accomplishments.” She recalled that when she and several of her
friends founded the Women’s Studies Society, their professors were “extremely
supportive and often stayed late at night to attend our events.”
She considers herself both fortunate and inspired to have been “surrounded at
Stern College by a myriad of educated women, many of whom were Orthodox.”
Among her role models were Dr. Karen Bacon, The Mordecai D. Katz and Dr.
Monique C. Katz Dean of the Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Dr.
Marina Holz, the Doris and Ira Kukin Chair in Biology, who encouraged Spiegel to
enroll in courses that would spur her to think as a scientist. On graduating from
Einstein, the newly-minted physician embarked on her four-year residency in
obstetrics and gynecology at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Hospital.
What are Spiegel’s eventual plans? “After completing my OB-GYN residency,
I’m considering a fellowship in maternal fetal medicine,” she said. “I hope to focus
on prenatal genetics and to improve maternal health—at the individual, communal
and global levels.” She added: “Yeshiva University invested in me eight years ago
when I applied to Stern College for Women, and I am exceptionally grateful. It is
of utmost importance to give back to YU so I can help other students achieve their


Dr. Tirtza Spiegel


“The impact Yeshiva University has had on my career is incalculable,” said David A.
Isaac, chief executive officer of the Garden City Group (GCG). “So whenever young
men and women ask for my advice on which undergraduate and graduate schools
to choose, I emphasize the incredible alumni network that exists in the YU community. There’s something very special about YU alumni and how they help each
other. It’s a unique bond that can’t be found in any other school.”
For Isaac—who serves as vice chair of the Sy Syms School of Business Board of
Overseers, Hanukkah Dinner vice chair, and a member of the Yeshiva College
Board of Overseers—that network is a family affair. “My mother attended Stern.
My wife, Deborah, who recently concluded her tenure as president of Amit, graduated from Yeshiva University High School, and her parents, Drs. Ruth Freeman
Lewis and Robert Lewis, were both Einstein graduates dedicated to serving YU,
and my mother-in-law was on the board of Central for a long time,” said Isaac. And
two of Isaac’s children, Tani ’13YC—who recently married Molly Ratzker ’15S—
and Jared, currently a student at Syms, have followed the family tradition.


continues. “I want the next generation to know how helpful it is to get into the YU
network and to continue to support the University for the generations that follow.
That’s what we do: We take care of each other.”

Froma Benerofe

I want the next generation to
know how helpful it is to get into
the YU network and to continue
to support the University for the
generations that follow. That’s
what we do: We take care of
each other.
David A. Isaac

“I view Yeshiva University as having a central role in modern Orthodox life and
in the business world,” he said. “I don’t know where we, as a community, would be
without YU, and on an individual basis, the connections you make are unparalleled.” The Isaac family established the Deborah and David Isaac Scholarship
Fund as a tangible expression of their support for the University.
Isaac joined GCG’s senior executive team as vice president and director of legal
services in 1996 and became president in 2000. In 2006, he was named chief executive officer and, in 2008, was appointed to the global executive management team of
Crawford & Company, GCG’s parent company. Under Isaac’s leadership, GCG began
a major expansion and now serves law firms and corporations nationwide.
“I was approached to speak to Cardozo students a couple of years ago to show
them that just because you have a law degree doesn’t mean you have to be a lawyer,”
said Isaac. “The skills you learn that are unique to law school, such as critical reading, can be parlayed into a career in business. And when you couple that with the
one-of-a kind, real-world connections you get at YU, I can’t say enough about how
helpful that is in achieving success.”
“Cardozo provided me with an excellent foundation for my legal career,” he


A licensed clinical social worker, Froma Benerofe worked for 10 years in a residential treatment center’s diagnostic unit with troubled, inner city boys and their families. She would spend the following decade working at a treatment center for child
victims of sex abuse.
Now retired from the public sector, she maintains a small private practice as
well as serving on the board of Wurzweiler School of Social Work. Introduced to
Wurzweiler by a close friend, she described her experience there as “the blending of three of my passions,” social work, education and the serving of my Jewish
She added, “I’m a great supporter of YU even though I, myself, am not a graduate.” Benerofe believes that “social work embodies tikun olam [repairing the world]”
and that her choice of profession as well as her involvement with Wurzweiler constitutes “the bringing together of who I am.”
Benerofe’s feedback from students is that “they are drawn in by the size of the
school and their personal interactions with their professors.” Especially interesting to Benerofe about Wurzweiler is what she characterizes as its “very diverse
student body. The many, many non-Jewish students are not coming for a connection with a Jewish organization,” she said. “They are coming for an excellent social
work education.”
Stressing the importance to YU’s student body “of knowing that Jewish values
are so universal and aligned with their values as social workers, whatever their
faith is,” she regards attendance at Wurzweiler as “a phenomenal experience for
Wurzweiler raises money for scholarships as “the way to attract the best and
brightest,” said Benerofe. Setting an example to others, Benerofe and her husband
Andrew have provided the school with one million dollars with which to fund such
scholarships. Benerofe said, “My parents were an example for me, as were my inlaws later, so I have always been immersed in environments of giving back. And my
children were raised to give back, as I was, and they do.”
Wurzweiler also reaches out to its graduates in terms of philanthropy.
Especially during the last five years, she said, “We have made concerted efforts to
connect with our alumni, to have get-togethers, and to have networking meetings
on topics of interest. We are getting better and better in terms of staying connected.” When speaking with prospective donors, she said, “I talk about YU, with
its broad array of undergraduate and graduate schools, as a superb academic and
religious experience for all.”
Benerofe feels “very privileged to be part of the Wurzweiler family… we have a
brilliant, phenomenal dean in Dr. Carmen Ortiz Hendricks. We have a talented,
dedicated faculty always willing to go above and beyond in terms of their teaching
and what they provide for the students.” She also paid tribute to the school’s diverse
board, “a wonderful group of people who do everything they can to enhance the
student experience. I sometimes feel that I receive more than I give,” Benerofe said.
“I’m honored to help students obtain good educations and go out into the world of
social work.”
It is thanks to supporters such as these that Yeshiva University is able to continue to provide a powerful foundation for the future. “With the partnership of
committed supporters, YU is moving forward with a long-term roadmap for sustainable excellence, continuing the remarkable legacy that makes it unique,” said
Seth Moskowitz, vice president for institutional advancement. n

I sometimes feel that I receive more
than I give. I’m honored to help students
obtain good educations and go out into
the world of social work.
Froma Benerofe

k For more information about philanthropic giving, please visit yu.edu/giving



YU Chai: Inspired Giving


s Yeshiva University moves forward into the
future, seeking sustainable excellence while
navigating the world of 21st-century learning
and higher education, there comes a renewed focus on
the University’s Annual Fund.
A university’s annual fund is, historically, its lifeblood. It supplies cash for day-to-day operations and
has an impact on nearly every aspect of the student
experience. Money from YU’s Annual Fund covers
everything from scholarships and academic funding
to cultural programs and faculty support; from career
development and undergraduate and graduate programs to infrastructure. The Annual Fund enables
alumni, parents and friends to give what they can each
year and to know that they are part of a strong group of
fellow donors, just like them, who are having a powerful collective impact on the student experience at YU.
“Annual Fund gifts are critical because they sustain the education and services that we offer. When our
entire community participates, it provides substantial
ongoing fuel for the fire of the future that is YU,” said
President Richard M. Joel.
Elliot Gibber is the new national chair of the
Elliot Gibber
Yeshiva University Annual Fund, and he and his wife,
Deborah Goldner Gibber, are no strangers to giving
back to YU. Elliot served as chairman of Yeshiva University High Schools and as
a member of the Board of Trustees of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary,
while Deborah was a member of the Board of the Yeshiva University Museum.
Elliot Gibber received an honorary degree from Yeshiva in 2008. Their children—
Daniel, Jacob, Marc, Michael, Mindy and David—all graduated from YU high
schools and colleges.
“As the parent of six proud Yeshiva University alumni, I know that YU, with its
singular mission, is essential to a strong Jewish future,” Gibber said. “What makes
YU unique is the philosophy of Torah Umadda—to give children the full range of
what it means to be an Orthodox Jew in the modern world. No other institution
serves that purpose like YU.”
Yeshiva University recently announced a new initiative called YU Chai to
encourage 1,800 donors to contribute new or increased gifts of $1,800—or multiples of $1,800—to Yeshiva University over the next three years. “This will grow the
Annual Fund by more than $3 million annually and, together with other initiatives
underway, will go a long way to providing the resources YU needs to educate the
next generation of Jewish leaders,” said Alan J. Secter, executive director of annual
giving and major gifts at the office of institutional advancement.
Gibber is assembling a campaign cabinet of lay leaders to serve as brand ambassadors and volunteer solicitors for the Annual Fund as he looks to aggressively

grow the base of philanthropic support for Yeshiva. He
will be helped in this regard by an anonymous $1 million
contribution that will match any new or increased gift to
the Annual Fund.
“This is an exciting and invaluable opportunity
because you will be identifying with this particular
vision of excellence,” explained Gibber. “By becoming
a YU Chai donor, you are strengthening your bond with
Yeshiva and distinguishing yourself as a leader in this
University-wide effort.”
Alumna Rena Kwestel ’92S recently added her
name to the list of YU Chai donors. “I feel like it’s
important to give to this campaign because whether
you’re an alumnus or not, world Jewry has benefitted
from what YU has produced and what it will continue
to produce,” she said. “YU has an unparalleled global
impact, producing the foundations of communities
around the world.”
“By becoming a YU Chai donor, you will be serving
as a role model for your peers,” said Gibber. “By simply
taking initiative, you have the power to inspire others
to follow your philanthropic example and, together,
have a major impact on YU.”
The Gibbers themselves are proud to lead by example. Not only are they major supporters of YU, but they
also support the Orthodox Union, Yachad, the American Committee for Shaare
Zedek and other more local Jewish institutions, like the Mikvah of the West Side
and Manhattan Day School.
“I’m a major believer in the transformative power of tzedaka, and I believe one
of the most important charitable causes out there is Jewish education,” said Gibber. “Jewish education is the key to the future of the Jewish people and cannot be
undervalued. Gifts to YU’s Annual Fund are unrestricted dollars that are critical in
helping YU create tomorrow’s leaders of the global Jewish community.”
“Most major institutions in this world have global support, but I think people
often feel that YU is not necessarily an international institution that merits support from all corners of the world,” Gibber continued. “That’s a mistake. YU does
this world a great service by educating and molding the future leaders of the global
Jewish community and, whether you have a direct connection to YU or not, you are
benefiting from a stronger Jewish future. It is incumbent upon all of us to support
YU in the way that it needs—for us, for the next generation, and for the generation
after that. It is a foundation for our community, and it positively serves the entire
world.” n
k For more information about the Yeshiva University Annual Fund and YU Chai, contact Alan Secter,
executive director of annual giving and major gifts, at [email protected]. To make a gift online,
visit yu.edu/support


Yeshiva University held its Annual Fund Campaign—YU Chai Leadership Retreat, which
included workshops, interactive discussions and students sharing stories of the personal impact
of their scholarship assistance.

m Elliot Gibber, national chair YU Annual Fund and member of the YU Board of Trustees

m Andrea Hale, YU director of annual giving, speaks to lay leaders
k (l–r) Scholarship recipient Hudy Rosenberg ’17S; Moshael Straus, chair, YU Board of
Trustees; and scholarship recipient Alexander Wascher ’16YC



Governor Cuomo Keynotes Yeshiva University
Hanukkah Convocation

The Honorable Governor
Andrew M. Cuomo

Dr. Benjamin Chouake


Norman Sternthal

he Honorable Governor Andrew M. Cuomo will deliver the keynote address
and receive an honorary degree at Yeshiva University’s 91st Annual Hanukkah Convocation and Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City on
December 13. President Richard M. Joel will confer honorary degrees upon Dr.
Ben Chouake, Norman Sternthal, and Mark Wilf, and Vice President of University
Affairs Rabbi Dr. Herbert Dobrinsky will receive the Presidential Medallion.
“We are thrilled to confer the University’s highest tribute on this year’s group
of honorees who exemplify and are a wonderful reflection of many of our own values,” said President Joel.
Dr. Benjamin Chouake, the national president of NORPAC, the nation’s largest
pro-Israel political action committee, is a board member of both Yeshiva College
and the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. He and his wife, Esther,
established the Esther and Ben Chouake Scholarship at Yeshiva College in 2003. In
addition to his roles at YU and NORPAC, Chouake also sits on the boards of Touro
College, New York Medical College, the Orthodox Union, the Frisch School, and
the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey, and he serves as vice president of the Zionist Organization of America, and as the secretary of the American Jewish Congress.
Norman Sternthal, an active member of Montreal’s Jewish community, serves
as a member of the Yeshiva College Board of Directors and director of the Canadian Friends of Yeshiva University. He is co-founder of Groupe Fairway, a Montreal-based real estate and development firm. Together with his wife, Johanne—a
renowned theatrical producer, author and philanthropist—they established The
Johanne and Norman Sternthal Foundation in Montreal to support Jewish agencies, human services and education and the Joel and Sarah Sternthal Rabbinic
Fellowship. The Sternthals recently made a benefactor-level gift to Yeshiva Uni-

Mark Wilf

Rabbi Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky

versity–affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) to support
a special training initiative for pulpit rabbis, known as the Norman and Johanne
Sternthal Halakhah L’Maaseh Program.
Mark Wilf, co-owner and president of the Minnesota Vikings football team,
serves on Yeshiva University’s Board of Trustees. His support of YU is not just a
personal cause but also a family legacy. As the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Wilf,
and the nephew of Harry z”l and Judith Wilf z”l, Wilf was born and raised in one
of YU’s “first families,” a birthright to which he and his wife, Jane Frieder, have
proudly adhered and instilled in their four children. Wilf serves as a principal
of Garden Homes Development, a family-owned real estate business founded by
Joseph and Harry in 1954. He is a YU benefactor and serves as a member of the
Yeshiva University Institutional Advancement Committee.
Rabbi Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky ’50YUHS, ’54YC, ’57R, ’80F began his YU
career in 1962 at RIETS, first serving as assistant director and then as associate
director of the Max Stern Division of Communal Services. In 1973, he was named
executive assistant to then YU president Dr. Samuel Belkin, and later to Dr. Norman Lamm, YU’s third president, who named Dobrinsky vice president for university affairs in 1981. He is co-founder of the Sephardic Studies Program and the
Sephardic Community Activities Program and established the Sephardic Council
of Overseers. In 2010, he received the Harav Yosef Dov HaLevi Soloveitchik zt”l
Aluf Torah Award at the RIETS Chag HaSemikha Convocation. During his 53
years of service to the University, he has played a major role in the establishment
of 38 professorial chairs and has secured hundreds of scholarships throughout the
United States, Canada and abroad, for all of YU’s high schools and undergraduate
and graduate schools. n

m Jennifer Cahn, YU senior annual giving officer

m Seth Moskowitz, YU vice president for Institutional Advancement
o (l–r) Morris W. Offit, chairman of Offit Capital and Daniel Forman, YU senior
philanthropic advisor



Barbara Lauer Listhaus Contributes to YU
Through Leadership


or Barbara Lauer Listhaus ’80YUHS, ’82S, ’88F, Yeshiva University is
a legacy. Her parents, Elias ’55YC and Ilse (Ungar) Lauer ’60S, z”l, met
at YU in the ’50s. Growing up in Woodmere, New York, Lauer Listhaus
attended Yeshiva University High School for Girls. “Many of my role models
during my formative years, whether camp
counselors or teachers, were affiliated with
YU,” said Lauer Listhaus.
Lauer Listhaus chose to study in Israel
for her senior year of high school through
the YU early admissions program, and then
attended Stern College for Women, where
she majored in psychology. “I decided to
become a psychologist when I was in high
school, but was inspired to become a clinical psychologist when I attended Stern,”
she said. “I wanted to work with people
with diverse mental health issues, and as
a clinical psychologist, I am able to follow
them across their lifespans. In my current
practice, I work with individuals of all ages.
When I am able to help them find a better
way to cope with or to move past a barrier, I
feel like I’ve made a significant impact.”
When she wasn’t studying at Stern,
Lauer Listhaus could be found participating in extracurricular activities such as
the Stern College Dramatics Society, the
Psychology Club, and the Psi-Chi International Honors Society in Psychology. “I had
several part-time jobs that I found through
the career development office,” Lauer Listhaus added. “I enjoyed these opportunities,
but found the interpersonal connections to be
most valuable. These other jobs reinforced my
interest in pursuing psychology as a career.”
She particularly enjoyed her courses with
Dr. Ira Belmont, a professor who emphasized
the biological causes of mental illness. “This
was a fairly radical understanding of psychology in the early 1980s; it influenced my decision to complete my dissertation on the causes
of developmental delay in children with autism, and to pursue a career as a
neuropsychologist,” she said.
While pursuing her master’s degree and PsyD at the Ferkauf Graduate
School of Psychology, Lauer Listhaus found challenging internship opportunities at Long Island Jewish Hospital, Bronx Children’s Psychiatric Hospital and the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services. Working with
a diverse population provided firsthand exposure to the dynamic that mental illness can create within a family. “When a child has mental illness, the
siblings and parents are impacted in profound ways,” said Lauer Listhaus.
“These experiences helped develop my focus on treating whole families, and
encouraged me to look beyond the individual to see the big picture.”
Lauer Listhaus completed her post-doctoral training in adolescent and
adult neuropsychology at the International Center for the Disabled in New
York City, and then served as a neuropsychologist in rehabilitation hospitals first in New York, then in California, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with
individuals diagnosed with neurological conditions, developmental delays
and learning disabilities. She has worked in private practice for over 20 years.
Soon after she received her doctorate, she returned to Stern to teach a
yearlong course, The Biological Basis of Behavior, and again in 2006 to teach

Health Psychology. She has taught psychology in many other universities
as well as in high schools. She is currently an adjunct professor in Marriage
and Family Therapy and Human Behavior and Organizational Psychology
Masters Programs at Kean University in Hillside, New Jersey. “I’m gratified that many of my students have become
psychologists and are pursuing rewarding
careers,” said Lauer Listhaus.
Throughout the course of a demanding
career, Lauer Listhaus has been committed to staying communally active. She has
served on the boards of various synagogues
and yeshiva day schools within each of the
communities in which she and her family lived. Currently, she is involved in The
Friendship Circle, Camp HASC, Mikvah
Chana of Livingston, the Synagogue of the
Suburban Torah Center of Livingston and
She takes special pride in being a member of Ferkauf’s Board of Overseers because
of her longstanding affiliation with YU.
“My husband and I support YU because we
appreciate the opportunities that were
given to us,” said Lauer Listhaus. “Our
daughter was the third generation in my
family to major in psychology at Stern, and
one of her psychology professors, Dr. Marcel Perlman, proudly told the class that he
taught my daughter’s grandmother, mother,
and her.”
Lauer Listhaus continued, “It’s important to support an institution financially, but I
believe that it is my responsibility to contribute through taking a leadership role. I enjoy
working with the many dedicated Board members, especially on outreach to the alumni and
promoting the outstanding education that
Ferkauf provides.”
Besides a host of impressive professional
accomplishments—she was instrumental in
developing an inclusive Applied Behavior
Analysis (ABA) program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder; and
she speaks nationally on marital and sibling issues in special needs families and on the impact of divorce on young children in the Orthodox Jewish
community—Lauer Listhaus recently self-published a book titled Flavors for
Everyone: A Guide to Raising Siblings in a Special Needs Family (2015), based
on her personal and professional experiences. The book encourages parents
to recognize their own strengths and each child’s unique characteristics
in creating a balance within the family. Yet she credits her greatest professional achievement to something less tangible.
“Early in my career, I often wondered how I would be able to translate
the lessons I learned in the classroom into practice,” she said. “I’ve learned
that when you receive a good foundation in your field, it opens the door to
acquiring the experiences through which you will gain the skills and proficiency to become an accomplished professional. I often tell my children and
their friends who are starting out that each experience leads to the next, and
that I don’t think you ever stop learning.”
Lauer Listhaus lives in Livingston and is married to Dr. Alan Listhaus,
’81YC,’85E. They have four children, Joe, Jason (and Maggie Dweck ’08S),
Jonathan and Jessica ’13S, and two grandchildren, Henry and Kailey. n

My husband and I support
YU because we appreciate
the opportunities that were
given to us.

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Online Arch of Titus Course Brings YU Expertise
to the Global Classroom


or Yeshiva University undergraduates, The Arch of Titus: Between
Rome and Jerusalem—a Jewish
history course taught by Dr. Steven Fine,
the Dean Pinkhos Churgin Professor of
Jewish History and director of Yeshiva
University’s Center for Israel Studies—
provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the cultural impact of a
central artifact in both Jewish and Western history. Thanks to a new massive
open online course (MOOC) being offered through YU Global, YU’s online
initiative, and Coursera, this opportunity is now available to anyone with an
Internet connection and the passion to
The free online course takes Fine’s
teaching beyond the classroom, combining aspects of archaeology, art history
and Judaic studies. Its unique format
allows students to accompany Fine on
expeditions across New York, Los Angeles, Jerusalem and Rome, as he discusses
artifacts with museum curators, scholars and artists and even visits the Arch
itself—a post-mortem commemoration
of the Roman Emperor Titus depicting
his triumphal return to Rome from Jerusalem, where his legions destroyed and
looted the Jewish Temple.
Fine’s discussions with guest experts give students a multidimensional
approach to the Arch, including a talk
with Dr. William Stenhouse, associate
professor of history and chair of the history department at YU, about Christian

attitudes toward the Arch during
the early modern period.
The course focuses on the
ways that Romans, Jews and
Christians have looked at the Arch
and its symbolism from antiquity
to the present. Fine’s ultimate
goal is to involve students in the
continuing life of this monument,
especially as its menorah now appears on the state symbol of Israel.
He hopes to open students’ eyes to
the many references to the Arch of
Titus that surround them in their
daily lives. It has served as the inspiration for many arches over the
last 2,000 years, from the Arc de
Triomphe in Paris to New York’s
own Washington Square Arch.
In his new online course, Dr. Steven Fine takes students on a journey of discovery through museums and
cultural sites around the world
“The imagery that appears in
the Arch of Titus—that is, classical
table and the silver horns,” added Fine.
Roman art and architecture of the midworld—that is its core mission,” said Dr.
“Perhaps even more so since we discovfirst century—can be found in every town
Selma Botman, provost and vice president
ered the golden paint used to color the
throughout America, ” said Fine. “These
for academic affairs. “In creating this onArch menorah in 2012.”
are all standard motifs, and the Arch is one
line course, we hope to introduce people
Created by YU Global, the course is
of the best examples that have come down
worldwide to Yeshiva University and the
part of a larger rollout of upcoming classes
to us through antiquity. We’re teaching
depth of scholarship we have here.”
and certificates that aims to extend the Yestudents to look into hidden depths of an
The Arch of Titus is the first pubshiva University brand beyond New York
object that has been meaningful to many
lic course available online through YU
City to interested learners worldwide.
different people, whether it was the RoGlobal, but Fine feels it is the beginning
It is YU’s first project with Coursera, an
mans, medieval Christians, 20th-century
of an incredible partnership. “Coursera
educational platform boasting more than
Zionists or the United States Army during
is a great place to be because it includes
15.6 million unique students, and repreWorld War II.”
the top universities in the world,” he said.
sents one of the first Coursera courses in
“The Arch is particularly significant
“In joining Coursera, we’ve joined our
Jewish history and archaeology.
to the Yeshiva University community,
peers.” n
“YU Global wants to radiate the Uniwith its portrayal of the Jerusalem Temversity faculty’s knowledge across the
ple artifacts—the golden menorah and
k To learn more visit global.yu.edu/coursera

Yeshiva College Student Builds Online Torah Learning Community


t started simply as a way to share divrei
Torah with friends. As a student in a
community day school in Toronto, Ontario, Alex Maged had enjoyed sharing
Torah thoughts in the school’s newsletter. He was excited to continue his own
Jewish growth after high school at Yeshiva College. But fewer opportunities
for learning would be available to some
of his friends as they moved on to secular
“I realized they wouldn’t have a
regular outlet to hear divrei Torah [Torah
insights], so I would send them things,”
said Maged. “What mattered was the personal element. If I sent them something
somebody else wrote, they might not read
it. But if it was written by someone they
knew, perhaps they would.”
So Maged decided to create a weekly
Blogger Alex Maged
blog that would focus on a unique kind of
Torah thought: his own. Though he drew regularly from sources as diverse as biblical
and Talmudic texts to Western philosophy and ancient Near Eastern literature, the concept of each post was original, carefully researched and written by Maged alone. Called
What’s Pshat?, the blog follows a few simple guidelines.
“The goal is for you, as a reader, to feel that you are engaging with the Parsha directly
and to discover within it insights that are sophisticated on both a textual and a theological or moral level,” said Maged. “It’s inspired by figures like Rabbi David Fohrman and
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, and I like to incorporate secular sources as well. I’m trying to
put together the kind of literary observations and analysis one might find in a more academic journal, with a message that resonates with the average person.”
Initially, Maged was a bit nervous about the amount of time he found himself
spending on the rigorous researching and composition of his articles. But on a Shabbaton at Stern College for Women, an encounter with Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Kressel



and Efrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought, brought him clarity.
“I asked him how he became so knowledgeable about so many things,” said Maged.
“He told me that, as a young man, his own rosh yeshiva had instructed him to teach
subjects that he didn’t have much of a background in, and that forced him to develop
one. It was so true. The process of trying to formulate ideas in a succinct and relevant
way has forced me to crystallize thoughts, push myself to learn how to use all the resources that are available to YU students and explore new sources that I’ve never seen.
It’s also helped me with retention because after you’ve worked an idea over in your head
so many times, it’s bound to sink in.”
Maged found himself increasingly immersed in the blog and the process of creating content for it. But he also noticed that the more he wrote, the more people began to
read and respond. “It bloomed from the few friends I was writing for to over 1,200 followers,” he said. “Some of the people who have offered positive feedback are incredibly
humbling: Rabbi Shalom Carmy, Rabbi David Fohrman, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Rabbi
Yaakov Beasley. There have been dozens of prominent scholars and communal leaders
who subscribed too—Rabbi Hayyim Angel, Dr. Avivah Zornberg, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass
and Rabbi David Aaron, for instance—and that’s been incredibly humbling as well.
Closer to home, I have also started to hear it get quoted at Shabbat tables, which has
been really exciting.”
Stories about the impact of his divrei Torah began to trickle back to Maged. A rabbi
mentioned that he refers to What’s Pshat? when preparing sermons, and a few campus rabbis who work with the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus
mentioned to Maged that they also rely on the blog as a resource. Another reader told
Maged she had shared an article with her class at Hebrew Union College. It was especially meaningful for Maged to hear his own professors quote his articles in class. “It
made me feel like I have a role to play in the cycle of learning,” he said.
Maged’s studies at Yeshiva College have been at the heart of that cyclical process.
“Whatever I’d learn in my secular classes that week, I’d bring to bear in my articles,”
he said. “I’d learn in a psychology class about the bystander effect and I would happen
to see it in that week’s parsha [Torah portion]. It was exhilarating.” He added, “That’s
why I absolutely love my time at YU. The rich secular studies complementing the Jewish studies feels like heaven for me.” n
k To learn more visit whatspshat.org



Focus on Faculty

Dr. Lauren Fitzgerald, director of
the Wilf Campus Writing Center and
chair of the Department of English
at Yeshiva College, has been promoted to full professor of English.
Fitzgerald has served as the director of the Wilf Campus Writing Center since 1997, a role in which she
has prepared hundreds of student
tutors and dozens of faculty consultants to work with thousands
of writers from the YU community:
students, faculty, staff and alumni.
Fitzgerald also teaches courses on
academic writing, digital and multimodal composing, research and
pedagogy, authorship, and Romantic-period British literature.
Dr. Robin Freyberg, clinical
assistant professor of psychology at
Stern College for Women, recently
published two chapters in the
American Psychological Association’s Handbook of Nonverbal Communication (APA, September 2015).
The book provides scholarly reviews
of state-of-the-art knowledge in
the areas of nonverbal communication and nonverbal behaviors.
Freyberg’s chapters, “Methods in
Olfactory Research” and “Signs,
Signals and Symbols in Olfactics,”
examine olfactory methods of nonverbal communication and discuss
advances in the research in this
Dr. Aaron Golden, research associate professor of mathematical
sciences, is a member of an international team of astronomers who
have reported the direct detection
of the aurora borealis—otherwise
known as the Northern Lights—
on another world, according to an
article published in Nature. They
confirmed the presence of aurora
10,000 times more powerful than
what we experience on Earth
above the polar regions of a brown
dwarf known as LSR J1835+3259,
located some 18 light years away in
the constellation Lyra. What makes
this result so remarkable is that by
conventional wisdom, brown dwarfs
should be inert objects with insufficient mass to support the kind of
internal nuclear reactions that are
responsible for these auroras.
Dr. Jill Katz, clinical assistant professor of archaeology, is part of a
team of archaeologists who uncovered remains of the enormous gates
and fortified walls of the biblical city
of Gath this summer. Katz, an area
supervisor at the Ackerman Family Bar-Ilan University Expedition to
Gath, has been excavating at the
Tell es-Safi/Gath site for 11 years.
The city of Gath was one of five
Philistine city-states and, according
to the Bible, was the home of King
Ashish and the Philistine warrior
k Keep up with the latest faculty news at



Faculty Bookshelf
The following is a sampling of books recently published by Yeshiva University faculty
Rabbi Dr. J. David Bleich, professor of Talmud at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological
Seminary and the Herbert and Florence
Tenzer Professor of Jewish Law at its Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and Dr. Arthur J. Jacobson, Max Freund Professor of
Litigation and Advocacy, have recently coauthored Jewish Law and Contemporary Issues
(Cambridge University Press, September
2015). The book is organized as a series of
authoritative discussions and examines topics from divorce to
war and from rabbinic confidentiality to cloning. In each case, it
carefully delineates the issues presented, shows the various positions taken by rabbinic scholars, clarifies areas of divergence
and analyzes reasons for disagreement.

Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman, rosh yeshiva
at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological
Seminary (RIETS), recently published
False Facts and True Rumors: Lashon
HaRa in Contemporary Culture (Maggid Books & Michael Scharf Publication Trust YU Press, 2015). The book is
the latest installment in the RIETS
Practical Halakhah Series, undertaking the vital task of examining the halachic sources regarding lashon hara
[derogatory speech] and applying them to today’s technologydriven world. Combining erudite knowledge of rabbinic texts,
philosophy, and psychology, Rabbi Feldman explores this uncharted territory of contemporary Jewish life.

Dr. Mordechai Z. Cohen, professor of
bible and associate dean of Bernard Revel
Graduate School of Jewish Studies, is the
coeditor of Interpreting Scriptures in Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Overlapping
Inquiries (Cambridge University Press,
January 2016), a comparative study of Jewish, Christian and Muslim scriptural interpretation from antiquity to modernity,
with special emphasis on the pivotal medieval period. By concentrating on points of overlap and intersection, the study brings to light aspects of methods in Judaism,
Christianity and Islam that remain hidden until set in relation to
one another, opening new interdisciplinary approaches to the
history of scriptural interpretation.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Kressel and
Efrat Family University Professor of Jewish
Thought, recently published Not in God’s
Name: Confronting Religious Violence
(Schocken Books, October 2015). In the
book, Rabbi Sacks explores the roots of violence and its relationship to religion, employing groundbreaking biblical analysis
and interpretation to show that religiously
inspired violence draws on misreading of
biblical texts at the heart of all three Abrahamic faiths. Studying
the book of Genesis in a new light, Rabbi Sacks offers a radical
rereading of many of the Bible’s seminal stories of sibling rivalry:
Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and
his brothers, Rachel and Leah.

In Beyond Bullying: Breaking the Cycle of
Shame, Bullying, and Violence (Oxford
University Press, December 2015), Dr.
Jonathan Fast, associate professor of social work at Wurzweiler School of Social
Work, deftly weaves together research
from the fields of psychology, sociology,
economics, and history to create a single
overarching theory of shame. The book introduces the concept of “weaponized
shame,” a toxic and intentional attack on another person, noting
that weaponized shame is often at the heart of bullying situations. Fast traces the nuances of shame through several common
types of bullying—highlighting bullying based on sexuality, gender and race—and extends shame theory to acts of domestic violence, racism, school shootings and domestic terrorism.

In his new book, Realism in the Age
of Impressionism: Painting and the
Politics of Time (Yale University
Press, August 2015), Stern College
for Women’s Associate Professor of
Art History Dr. Marnin Young examines the final phase of 19th-century Realist painting, focusing on
five artists who showed their work
in Paris between 1878 and 1882—
years which saw changes in the existing economic and social structures that produced and
increasingly measured experience of time. These artists rejected
the impending wave of Impressionism by spearheading a shortlived revival of the Realist practices that advocated slowness in
technique, subject-matter and beholding.

Einstein Faculty Receive First-Time NIH
Research Grants


hree researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine recently received their first R01 grants from the
National Institutes of Health—a major milestone in an
academic scientist’s career.
Dr. Michal Melamed, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health and the Department of
Medicine, has been awarded $3.5 million over five years to take
part in NIH’s ongoing clinical trials to prove the effectiveness
of using Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids to protect against
kidney disease.
Dr. Julie Secombe, associate professor in the Department of
Genetics, has been awarded a five-year, $1.6 million grant to study
a particular family of transcription regulators—cells responsible
for regulating the process that converts DNA into messenger
RNA, thus enabling the construction of new proteins—which,
due to a mutation, are overproduced in a number of cancers,
such as breast, colorectal and melanoma.

Dr. Michal Melamed

Dr. Julie Secombe

Dr. James Brust

Dr. James C.M. Brust, associate professor in the Department of Medicine, received a five-year, $3.6 million grant to
study bedaquiline—the first new tuberculosis drug to receive
FDA approval in 40 years. n

k Keep up with the latest Einstein news at einstein.yu.edu/news




The Yeshiva University Museum and the Center for Jewish Law and Contemporary
Civilization at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law presented a September 30 conversation with Professor of Law Suzanne Last Stone and Israel’s Justice Minister
Ayelet Shaked on the role of shmita in modern society. n

On October 19, former U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman, the Joseph Lieberman
Chair in Public Policy and Public Service, delivered his first talk of the semester to students, faculty and staff. Titled “Torah, Halacha and American Politics,” the lecture, presented by Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, reflected on the role of Jewish
values in American history and Lieberman’s own career. n


p The Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and YU Global presented a
lecture by Dr. Youde Fu, distinguished professor of philosophy from China’s Shandong
University, titled “Hebrew Prophets and Confuscian Sages: A Comparison,” on
October 13. In his talk, Fu examined similarities and differences between the prophets
and sages in their roles as recipients and transmitters of their respective traditions’ laws
and principles. n

The Student Medical Ethics Society presented its ninth annual Fuld Family Conference on October 25. The student-run conference explored halachic [Jewish legal]
implications of pediatric healthcare, including preventative medicine, vaccinations and
adolescent depression. n

On November 1, the Center for Israel Studies hosted an academic conference to
commemorate the 20th anniversary of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. Titled “Yitzhak Rabin: Twenty Years After,” the program included discussions
and presentations on the life and legacy of Israel’s fifth prime minister. Provost and Vice
President for Academic Affairs Dr. Selma Botman and Consul General of Israel in New
York Ido Aharoni were among the speakers. n

On November 1, Yeshiva University students hosted a moving kumzitz [concert] in
support of Israel on the Red Steps in Times Square. Led by student Aryeh Tiefenbrunn
on his guitar and the Y-Studs, YU’s student a cappella group, they were joined by more
than a thousand fellow students, friends and passersby, flooding the heart of Manhattan
with songs of peace and love. n



The YU men’s cross country team took first place in the men’s division of the 14th
Annual Baruch College Cross Country Invitational in September. This was the second
championship for the team, who previously claimed the title in 2012. The Maccabee
women placed a close second in the women’s division. n



YESH IVA U N IVE RSITY • 500 WEST 185TH STR E ET, N EW YOR K, NY 10033 • FALL 2015/WI NTE R 2016 • VOLU M E 19 NO. 4

Historic Joint Venture Agreement Advances Einstein


eshiva University and Montefiore Health System recently finalized a new landmark agreement for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where Montefiore
has financial and operational responsibility for Einstein, and Yeshiva has academic oversight. The agreement comes half a century after Yeshiva and Montefiore’s
affiliation was first forged to strengthen Einstein’s excellence in science, education and
clinical care.
“This is part of a journey that began when Yeshiva University founded Einstein 60
years ago,” said YU President Richard M. Joel. “Albert Einstein lent his
name to this fledgling institution at a time when Jewish students were
turned away from other schools. The new imperative in today’s complex health care environment is to formally link this now world-class
medical school and research institution to a world-class health system. Yeshiva University continues its historic commitment to medical
education while we further our unique mission to prepare students
through a contemporary academic education enlightened by Jewish
Montefiore and Einstein’s
relationship is rooted in shared
values and a commitment to social justice. This momentous
agreement will perpetuate Einstein as a top-tier medical school
and research institution by deepening the bonds between Montefiore and Einstein. Further
integrating the institutions’ faculty, students and staff will align
operations to best advance science and medicine and build on
traditions of service and success.
“As the University Hospital
for Albert Einstein College of
Medicine, we have together
strengthened the shared missions of our two institutions in a
way that few academic medical
centers have been able to
achieve,” said Dr. Steven M.
Safyer, president and CEO of Montefiore. “Montefiore and Einstein have become the
example of what transformative care, science and education can be. This new agreement, which brings us even closer, will be the first step toward a more secure and sustainable future.”
“The agreement states that Einstein remains an affiliate of YU in perpetuity and
medical school classes will continue to hold to a Shabbat schedule,” said Einstein Executive Dean Dr. Edward Burns. “President Joel and his team insisted on this and President
Safyer from the onset committed himself to ensuring our Jewish mission remains unchanged. In fact, Jewish life at Einstein has never been better, with kosher food, an aca-

demic calendar that respects the holidays and 150 students joining us on campus each
Shabbat. Einstein appreciates and honors the special nature of Stern College for Women
and Yeshiva College applicants, and will continue to welcome YU students to all of our
special programs, like our summer research opportunities.”
Linking Einstein with Montefiore is a natural step in the evolution of a top-level
medical research school, according to Burns. Like most medical schools, Einstein’s chief
sources of funding are research grants generated by its faculty and funded by the Na-

tional Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as through gifts from philanthropic donors. When the economic recession hit in 2008, NIH drastically
reduced its funding and philanthropic gifts to Einstein declined.
“Every other research-intensive medical school in the country faced
the exact same circumstances but with one critical difference—while
every medical school loses an average of 53 cents on every dollar of research grants they receive, Einstein and Harvard are the only two research
medical schools that were not financially tied to a hospital,” said Burns.
Hospitals’ clinical revenues play a major role in offsetting research deficits.
The partnership between Einstein and Montefiore will ensure the medical school
can continue to thrive as a preeminent medical research powerhouse, while opening up
new clinical care opportunities for students at Montefiore and enabling Montefiore to
integrate Einstein’s cutting-edge research into its practices. It will also ensure that YU
can continue to offer a world-class medical education. In addition, the transfer of fiscal
responsibility will significantly reduce the University’s annual operating deficit. n
k Learn more about the agreement at yu.edu/movingforward

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