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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Richard Joel’

Coach Jonathan Halpert Ends Long Yeshiva U. Career with Victory

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Jonathan Halpert, whose contract as the men’s basketball coach at Yeshiva University was not renewed, closed out more than four decades on the Maccabees’ bench with a victory.

Y.U. edged Maritime College, 60-57, before a nearly full house at the New York school’s Max Stern Athletic Center on Saturday night, according to the Yeshiva website, pushing its record for the season to 7-18. The gym’s basketball court bears Halpert’s signature.

Halpert finished his 42-year career at the Division III school with 416 victories. Addressing the crowd after the game, he thanked the fans for their support, the Y.U. website reported.

In an interview last week with The New York Jewish Week, Halpert said of Y.U. not renewing his contract, “It rips your heart out. To end this way makes no sense.”

Y.U. said in a statement earlier this month that Halpert “will conclude his service” following the season, The Jewish Week reported. The university has been criticized for its handling of Halpert’s departure.

“What happened here you’d expect at some faceless, large university, where people come and go,” David Kufeld, who played for Halpert from 1976 to 1980 and is the only Y.U. player ever drafted by the NBA, told The New York Times. “There could’ve been a better way to make a bridge to the next phase of coaching.”

Kufeld was among more than 300 signers of a letter to “Coach Johnny” in Yeshiva’s student newspaper, The Commentator, expressing their support for Halpert, who twice won Coach of the Year in the Skyline Conference.

From 1986-87 to 2001-02 season, the Maccabees under Halpert did not have a losing season, but they have not enjoyed a winning campaign since 2005-06. According to The New York Times, some alumni with ties to the board of trustees have wondered why Halpert, who is in his late 60s, could not duplicate the earlier success.

In a statement, Y.U. President Richard Joel lauded Halpert’s “caring commitment, as both mentor and coach, to his players and the YU community.” The statement added, “His legacy and lasting contribution to the university will be remembered each time our student athletes step onto the court that carries his name.”

YU Sex Abuse Extended beyond Boys High School

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Incidents of physical and sexual abuse at Yeshiva University were not limited to its high school for boys, an investigation has found.

The investigation commissioned by the university and carried out by the New York-based law firm Sullivan & Cromwell followed reports of sexual abuse by two faculty members at Y.U.’s high school for boys in the 1970s and ‘80s.

The report produced by investigators and released Monday confirmed that “multiple incidents of varying types of sexual and physical abuse took place” at the high school, perpetrated by individuals in positions of authority and continuing even after administration members had been made aware of the problem. The probe also found sexual abuse at other divisions of the university but, citing pending litigation, did not describe them in any detail or specify where they took place.

“Up until 2001, there were multiple instances in which the University either failed to appropriately act to protect the safety of its students or did not respond to the allegations at all,” the report said. “This lack of an appropriate response by the University caused victims to believe that their complaints fell on deaf ears or were simply not believed by the University’s administration.”

While the report noted that Y.U.’s responses to allegations of abuse after 2001 improved significantly, it issued detailed recommendations for new policies at the school to prevent and report sexual or physical abuse or harassment. The report did not go into detail on the past instances of sexual abuse.

“There are findings set forth in this report that serve as a source of profound shame and sadness for our institution,” Y.U. President Richard Joel said in a statement released Monday. “On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire University community, I express my deepest and most heartfelt remorse, and truly hope that our recognition of these issues provides some level of comfort and closure to the victims.

“Although we cannot change the past, we remain committed to making confidential counseling services available to those individual victims in the hope they can achieve a more peaceful future.”

The investigation was prompted by a Dec. 13, 2012 article in the Forward newspaper titled “Student Claims of Abuse not Reported by Yeshiva U.” that focused on abuse allegations against two Y.U. faculty members: Rabbi George Finkelstein, an administrator and faculty member from 1963 to 1995, and Rabbi Macy Gordon, a teacher from 1956 to 1983.

Finkelstein was accused of groping students and rubbing up against them, often under the guise of wrestling, at school and in his home. Gordon was accused of sodomizing boys, including in at least one instance with a toothbrush. Both men have denied the allegations.

A group of former students filed a $380 million lawsuit against Yeshiva University in early July, just days after Y.U.’s longtime chancellor, Rabbi Norman Lamm, acknowledged mishandling the abuse allegations decades earlier. The lawsuit has since added plaintiffs and grown to $680 million.

After Y.U. hired Sullivan & Cromwell to conduct an investigation, the school’s board of trustees appointed a special committee to manage the relationship and receive periodic reports. The investigation was led by Karen Patton Seymour, a former criminal prosecutor, and carried out with the help of T&M Protection Services, a firm specializing in preventing sex abuse.

Some 6,300 hours were spent on the investigation, including interviews with 145 people, according to the report. Investigators sought to interview the former students named in the lawsuit, but their lawyers declined to make them available, the report said. According to the report, 70 people who were contacted either declined to be interviewed or did not respond to requests for interviews.

Most of the report was taken up with a new set of anti-harassment guidelines recommended by T&M Protection Services, which Joel said YU will implement fully.

The recommendations include setting clear boundaries for appropriate contact between faculty and students, educating them about the rules, screening new hires, establishing clear avenues for reporting allegations and putting in place policies for investigating allegations.

Will New Hillel Head Honcho Continue Stretching the ‘Big Tent’?

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

The desk where the buck will stop at Hillel headquarters is about to get a new occupant.  There are those who worry that a recent, perhaps accelerating Hillel trend towards allowing everyone “in the tent” will come to mean that there are no standards at all.

Hillel: the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, serves Jewish students in more than 500 universities worldwide, the vast majority of which are in the United States. The annual operating budget is just under $90 million.

But while Hillel is “the largest Jewish campus and community-based organization in the world serving the college-age population,” some wonder whether the orientation which is increasingly about “self-authorship” regarding Jewish practice, is likewise so open-ended about support for Israel that the words mean very little.

For instance, in the last year, the venomously anti-Israel group “Breaking the Silence”, an organization which exists solely to demonize the Israel Defense Forces, has been welcomed into Hillel, the Jewish communal home on campus.  And this didn’t only happen on the west coast University of California at Berkeley, as suggested in an article by JNS.com reprinted in EJewishPhilanthropy.org.

The University of Pennsylvania Hillel also hosted a speaker from Breaking the Silence this spring. According to those involved, the issue was put to a vote of the board of the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, and the majority chose to host the group.

Breaking the Silence isn’t just any anti-Israel organization.  Last month the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson, Capt. Barak Raz, exasperated by the organization’s continuous pummeling of the IDF, while it nonetheless refused to engage with the IDF in order to make changes. In an interview with Tazpit News, Raz explained that the IDF has standing orders, regulations, and an ethical code that soldiers must abide by.

“These not only require soldiers to act according to the law, but also to report instances when things were otherwise,” he writes. “Instead of taking responsibility for their mistakes, these soldiers simply blame the army for what they did wrong,” he told Tazpit News Agency.

Furthermore, Raz continues, “the information used by Breaking the Silence by and large seems to derive from two sources – unverifiable hearsay or accounts from anonymous former soldiers who, sometimes, they themselves deserve to be behind bars in military prison for what they did!”

Natan Nestel is the former chairman of the Israeli Students Organization in North America.  Nestel has spent the past several years making a documentary about Hillels, and he is greatly disturbed by what he has found.

Nestel told JNS.org that groups that demonize Israel should be outside of the ‘big tent’ on campus.

“Nominally Jewish groups, including those who assist anti-Israel groups and speakers to come to campuses, should not be included [in the tent],” Nestel said. Nestel cited the self-labeled “pro-Israel, pro-peace” group J Street, which he said sponsored the appearance at Berkeley of Breaking the Silence, an Israeli group that defames the Israeli army for “war crimes,” “crimes against humanity,” “ethnic cleansing” and “violations of human rights.”

In the statement issued by the entity engaged to conduct the search for the next Hillel leader, a frank admission is made about the shift in orientation regarding how Hillel sees itself in relationship to being a Jewish institution on campus,

Over the decades, Hillel’s approach to education and engagement has evolved. Once seen as the “synagogue on campus,” Hillel today encourages students to take ownership of their Jewish experience and define “Jewish” in their own way. The destination of their Jewish journey is up to the student – Hillel provides the resources.

Is what the Hillels are doing just another attempt to define “pro-Israel” in their own way?  As Nestel points out,

J Street is already entrenched at Berkeley’s Hillel and the JSU (Jewish Student Union),” Nestel wrote. “The Hillel group, Kesher Enoshi (KE), is its proxy there. This year KE, along with J Street U, brought the founder of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement in to speak at Hillel. He demonized Israel, proclaiming, ‘Jerusalem is a symbol of evil.’ Berkeley’s Hillel director argued that this was ‘within the framework of national Hillel’s Israel policy.’

A professional search firm, Spencer Stuart Executive Search, was hired by Hillel in January.  An internal search committee was announced in February.

In April, the search firm announced that nearly 325 individuals had been identified as potential candidates, and that more than 200 people had been contacted by the committee.

Initial predictions were that the new Hillel leader would assume the position in June.  That timeline was recently revised, and it is now anticipated that the new Hillel CEO will be announced at the 2013 annual gathering known as the Hillel Institute, which will take place on July 29, at Washington University in St. Louis.

Concerned Cardozo Alumni Campaigning to Block Carter

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

The controversy surrounding the invitation of former U.S. president Jimmy Carter to be honored by one of the Yeshiva University affiliated Cardozo law school’s journals, is growing.

We should reiterated, as YU President Richard Joel, and Matthew Yaniv, the university’s director of media relations have been saying to anyone in the tri-state area who would listen, that “neither Cardozo nor YU are honoring Jimmy Carter. The student-run Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution invited him to receive the award.”

President Joel’s statement reads:

The student-run Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution has invited former United States President Jimmy Carter to receive its Advocate for Peace Award. President Carter’s invitation to Cardozo represents solely the initiative of this student journal, not of Yeshiva University or the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School. The university recognizes the breadth of impassioned feelings engendered by this appearance, and is mindful of the diversity of expressed opinions on the matter. Nevertheless, having the single most anti-Israeli president be honored as resolver of conflicts by the students of a Jewish school on the premises of said Jewish school is not being well accepted, to be polite.

The Jewish Press has received the following email that’s being sent out to school alumni:

Dear Cardozo Alumni and Friends of the School:

I want to thank you for the overwhelming outpouring of support of our campaign to cancel the honoring of Jimmy Carter at Cardozo.

We have been inundated with copies of emails sent to Dean Diller and President Joel and in the space of 48 hours we have received widespread media coverage including in Ha’aretz, Jewish Press, Jewish Forward, Times of Israel as well as many other news outlets.

Commenting on the controversy, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz stated that “I can’t imagine a worse person to honor for conflict resolution. Here’s a man who has engendered conflict wherever he goes. He has encouraged terrorism by Hamas and Hezbollah. He was partly responsible for Yasser Arafat turning down the Clinton-Barak peace offer.”

Dershowitz has even offered to fly down to New York on his own dime to debate Carter at Cardozo on Wednesday if Cardozo agrees.

While the Cardozo administration stubbornly digs its heels in, I’m including below a letter sent to the Board of Overseers of Cardozo law school in the hope that sanity prevails among those that are responsible for the oversight of the Cardozo administration.

If you have not done so already, I urge you to take 2 minutes to contact Dean Diller and President Joel. Every voice counts.

Again thank you for your support.

Gary Emmanuel ’04 on behalf of The Coalition of Concerned Cardozo Alumni

The same coalition has also sent an “Open Letter to Board of Overseers of Cardozo Law School”:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

As esteemed members of the Board of Overseers of The Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, we are writing to you on behalf of The Coalition of Concerned Cardozo Alumni who are appalled to learn that President Jimmy Carter is scheduled to receive the International Advocate for Peace Award from the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution on Wednesday, April 10th. We beg your indulgence that you read this letter to the end.

One can only assume that by taking the time to serve on the Board, you take great pride in your affiliation with such a reputable institution and one whose mission is, in part, to “bring wisdom to life by combining the finest contemporary academic education with the timeless teachings of Torah.” While we all may interpret those words slightly differently, Jimmy Carter is anathema to the aspirations of the Jewish people and the survival of the State of Israel. Honoring him at a bedrock of the American Jewish community does not bring wisdom to life or combine a fine education with the teachings of Torah. Honoring Jimmy Carter makes the statement that, notwithstanding the empty claims by the administration that the Journal’s choice does not necessarily represent the views of the institution, this individual is someone deserving of recognition. Awarding this honor to someone with Carter’s anti-Israel record that includes whitewashing the genocidal aims of Hamas, mainstreaming the notion that Israel is a racist state, and validating a nuclear Iran is quite simply abhorrent.

Dershowitz: I Challenge Carter to Human Rights Debate at Cardozo

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Alan Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter professor of law at Harvard Law School, has challenged former president Jimmy Carter to a debate on his human rights record.

Dershowitz spoke by telephone to a reporter with The Jewish Press, on Monday, April 8, in response to the news that the Cardozo School of Law’s Journal of Conflict Resolution will be honoring Carter with the “International Advocate for Peace” Award this Wednesday, April 10, as reported that morning.

During the course of the interview, the law professor recounted the widespread death and devastation caused by Carter’s efforts at “human rights.”

“What should be discussed is not Jimmy Carter’s role as a peacemaker, but instead it should be his role as a deal breaker,” said Dershowitz.  He then proceeded to tick off the bases for his reasoning.

“First, it was Carter who advised Yassir Arafat not to accept the peace deal offered in 2000-01.  That failure led to the deaths of more than 4000 Israelis and Arabs.”

“Secondly, by encouraging and supporting Hamas, and always placing the blame on Israel, Carter has guaranteed the continuation of terrorism.”  Indeed, “Carter has embraced Arafat, he’s embraced Mashaal, why, he’s never met a terrorist he didn’t love, and never met an Israeli whom he did.”

“And third,” the professor said, “it was Carter who was responsible for not acting to prevent the death of two million Cambodians at the hands of Pol Pot.  Carter was the president of the United States and yet he did not intervene in that slaughter, he did not lead and prod the United Nations to take action.”

Dershowitz paused, to sum up, “Carter has prevented peace, encouraged terrorism and done more than anyone else to isolate and demonize the Middle East’s only democracy, Israel.”

But Dershowitz wasn’t finished.

“Jimmy Carter has distorted the very meaning of human rights, he has turned the concept on its head, what he does should be called ‘human lefts.’”

What does that mean?

“The way human rights should be addressed is based on ‘worst, first,’ you deal with the most egregious wrongs, the worst kind of abuses committed by governments first,” Dershowitz explained.  “He’s turned everything upside down.  Instead of Israel, just look over a little to the south, “Saudi Arabia is the worst human rights violator in the world: sex segregation, gender preference discrimination, religious discrimination,” that’s where a real human rights activist would focus, said the law professor.

“But Jimmy Carter was bought and paid for by the Saudis.  The Carter Center stopped criticizing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia when the Saudis started funding it.”

So what should be the plan of action with respect to the Cardozo award?

Dershowitz started out by suggesting that when Carter comes to Cardozo, leaflets should be distributed to everyone, including the former president, detailing Carter’s human rights records.  But his thoughts continued to develop as he spoke further about the many “failures Carter has orchestrated.”

Turning again to talk about Yassir Arafat, Dershowitz, more slowly this time, explained how Arafat had gone to seek advice from Jimmy Carter, in the run up to Camp David.  “And Jimmy Carter advised Arafat not to accept the peace accord.”

“We’d be celebrating 10 years of peace already had Carter not given that disastrous advice to Arafat.  Jimmy Carter is primarily responsible – along with Arafat – for the deaths since that time.”

“What’s more,” Dershowitz continued, “Jimmy Carter has not only sown death and destruction by inserting himself in global conflicts, his actions themselves are illegal.” Dershowitz was referring to the Logan Act, passed in 1799 in the wake of the XYZ Affair, which made it a crime for private citizens to conduct foreign policy.

Finally, Dershowitz settled upon the best course of action.

Dershowitz said:

I will come, at my own expense, to debate Jimmy Carter on Carter’s own human rights record.  If Cardozo will have me, I will come and provide the students, the administration and anyone else that is interested, with a first rate debate about the meaning of human rights and they can decide whether what Jimmy Carter has done, constitutes human rights or human wrongs.

So, Dean Diller, other administration and faculty, and students on the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution: here is your opportunity to resolve this particular conflict.  Jimmy Carter, by all means! come to Cardozo and talk about human rights, but be prepared to have a full discussion, a debate even, with Alan Dershowitz on the topic.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/dershowitz-i-challenge-carter-to-human-rights-debate-at-cardozo/2013/04/08/

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