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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘University of Chicago’

BOI Governor Might be Named after Yom Kippur

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Following the fiascoes where Netanyahu’s preferred choices for Bank of Israel governors were disqualified or pulled out, after outside forces put pressure on them and exposed some old histories, the Turkel Committee vetted and approved three new candidates for the job, according to Globes.

Retired judge, Yaakov Turkel, called Prime Minister Netanyahu on Wednesday, and informed him that there were no moral or ethical impediments for any of the three current candidates to get the job. The committee reviewed many complaints against all three, by their various critics and detractors.

Netanyahu is expected to announce his choice, either right before, or right after Yom Kippur.

Netanyahu’s preferred candidate is Professor Mario Blejer. He is a former Governor of the Argentine Central Bank. Blejer has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, a school which Netanyahu highly admires.

Candidate number two is Professor Zvi Eckstein, the Dean of the Faculty of Economics at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) and a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Israel under former Bank of Israeli governor Stanley Fischer. Fischer did not back Eckstein’s candidacy.

Candidate number three is Victor Medina. He was also a Deputy Governor of the Bank of Israel.

Professor Leo Leiderman to be Next Bank of Israel Governor

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid have decided to appoint Professor Leo Leiderman as the new governor of the Bank of Israel.

Leiderman has a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago, and is currently a professor of economics at Tel Aviv University.

Leiderman used to work in the Bank of Israel as the head of the research department.

He made Aliyah from Argentina at age 17.

U of Chicago Teams up with Ben Gurion for Clean Water

Monday, June 24th, 2013

The University of Chicago and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev will begin funding research collaborations that apply the latest discoveries in nano-technology to create new materials and processes for making clean, fresh drinking water more plentiful and less expensive by 2020.

The joint projects will explore innovative solutions at the water-energy nexus, developing more efficient ways of using water to produce energy and using energy to treat and deliver clean water.

“We feel it is critical to bring outstanding scientists together to address water resource challenges that are being felt around the world, and will only become more acute over time,” said University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer.

A Jew Grows in Prison

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

David Arenberg has been many things – a tenants’ rights activist, a University of Chicago student, a deliveryman, a coke addict, a slum housing receiver, a swindler, a drug dealer and a prisoner.  But now he’s become a Torah aficionado, and is organizing the first Torah study group in a state prison in Arizona.  And soon, after nearly 12 years in prison, he’ll be free.

This reporter only recently became aware of an exceptionally compelling article written by Arenberg that was published in several places, including a 2009 report of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In that article, Arenberg describes the peculiar position he found himself in, as the only Jew in a state prison in Arizona, surrounded by white supremacists and various minorities, every single one of whom rejected and despised him because of his religion.

Arenberg’s loathsome status as a Jew placed him at the very bottom of the prison social strata.  He was not permitted to eat with any of the various ethnicities – black, American Indian, Mexican, Americans born of Mexican descent (mutual and virulent enmity), each of which dined it its own self-imposed ghetto, and he sure as heck was not allowed to eat with the whites.  Why? He explains,

Jews, as we all know, are not white but imposters who don white skin and hide inside it for the purpose of polluting and taking over the white race. The skinheads simply can’t allow me to eat with them: that would make them traitors of the worst kind — race traitors! But my milky skin and pasty complexion, characteristic of the Eastern European Ashkenazi, make it impossible for me to eat with other races who don’t understand the subtleties of my treachery and take me for just another ‘wood [poor rural white]. So the compromise is that I may sit at certain white tables after all the whites have finished eating.

His article is a must-read, both because it provides insight into a prison culture of southwestern America that resembles a nightmarish throwback to nazi-era Jew-hatred, combined with prison brutality, as experienced by someone utterly alone – there were no other Jews, no support system, and no way out.

But as vivid a vision as Arenberg paints, our interest at The Jewish Press was unquenched – how and why did Arenberg finally turn to Judaism while in prison? He was a completely secular Jew; his parents spurned any form of religious observance or rite.  They sent David to “socialist summer camp where I was taught that the most important spiritual value is “‘thou shalt never cross a picket line.’”

After a search that took days, and a request process that took longer, The Jewish Press finally scored an interview with Arenberg.

The biggest surprise was that despite the pain and loss and isolation, Arenberg comes across as a self-confident man with a belief in his intellectual abilities and an eagerness to rejoin society as a reoriented human being.  He was reluctant to use the word “rehabilitated” because he vehemently rejects the idea that prison is what rehabilitated him, or at least that it did so intentionally, with any successful effort or inclination.

There is no doubt that the David Arenberg who will emerge from prison in approximately five months is a different, a better and a more spiritual human being than the one who went in more than 12 years ago.

But the losses and the pain have been profound.

After his conviction and sentencing, Arenberg’s wife divorced him.  He’s not bitter, he said “‘for worse’ does not include long prison sentences.”  Both his mother and his father died while he was in prison, and he never had the chance to reconcile with them.

He’s never had children, and now he’s 57.

VICTOR FRANKL PHILOSOPHY

But Arenberg believes that the past 11 years have been the most productive – certainly the most constructive – of his life.  That is because he ascribes to the philosophy of the well-known psychiatrist who spent three years in Nazi concentration camps, Victor Frankl. Arenberg paraphrased Frankl’s philosophy, “you can’t choose the circumstances you find yourself in, but you can choose how you deal with them.”

Of course it is not true that Arenberg was blameless for ending up as the lone Jew in a prison populated by violent, vicious anti-Semitics, but it most definitely is true that he responded to the circumstances with astonishing resilience and a unique capacity to develop valued skills.  Those qualities rescued him from any number of cataclysmic mental and physical horrors beyond the ordinary ones faced by people doing serious prison time in a state prison filled with seething hatred and violence.

Frum Law Prof’s Charming Legal Case for Israel

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Eugene Kontorovich is an unlikely media darling, at least on paper. He is a legal scholar whose specialties include international law, maritime piracy and law and economics, and he has a slight Russian accent.

But Kontorovich is one of the most entertaining legal scholars one is likely to come across. This is true both because of his youth, his charming accent, his sense of humor and his lively delivery. And readers of The Jewish Press will be interested to know that he is also a frum family man and knowledgeable Torah student.

Kontorovich’s lecture, “The Legal Case for Israel,” available on TorahCafe.com, has just become their single most popular lecture with more than 70,000 views. This particular lecture was given last August at the National Jewish Retreat, which is a yearly event hosted by the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute.

Given the milestone, The Jewish Press spoke with Kontorovich to provide some background. In particular, why he gives these talks to Jewish groups, and whether they generally have the appetite and stamina to listen to a lecture about international law.

Kontorovich explained that he really enjoys speaking about the issue and finds that what he explains is of crucial importance in the current global delegitimization of Israel campaign. He speaks on college campuses, law schools, Jewish and professional groups, at Federations and as a scholar-in-residence at intellectually-inclined synagogues across the country. He gives maybe 20 – 30 such talks every year, and it’s increasing all the time. “The reason for doing these talks is that people are barraged with unsupported claims about Israel violating international law,” Kontorovich explained.

In particular, because Israel is described as an international law violator so often, and by authorities such as major newspapers, news anchors, international leaders and even Israelis, “people assume it must be true, without any particular notion of what the international law is that Israel violates.”

That’s why, Kontorovich explains, “when one looks at the actual international rules in question, it is hard to see how they apply. Moreover, when one sees how they are applied to identical cases, it becomes clear that the rules applied to Israel are not applied anywhere else. And this means they are not rules.”

When pressed to explain what exactly are the kinds of flawed legal charges aimed at Israel, he cites the usual ones of “illegal occupation,” and “illegal settlements.” But, he says, “when people see the text of the provisions Israel is supposed to have violated, they are shocked.”

That is why he will continue to give these lectures as often as he can because the false information out there is defeating the pro-Israel crowd as much as anything else – if people just knew the truth they wouldn’t feel so defeated by the constant charges of criminal conduct against the Jewish State.

And he doesn’t just want to speak to those who are eager to be told that the charges against Israel are false. Kontorovich is more than happy to speak to audiences who are mighty convinced that Israel is a wrongdoer in the eyes of international law.

“To be sure,” Kontorovich says, “international opinion is squarely against Israel, and if international law were a popularity contest, Israel would be voted off the island. But the whole point of international law is to buffer international politics, rather than serve them.”

Kontorovich was born in Kiev and moved with his family to the United States when he was a young boy. He attended the University of Chicago for both undergraduate school and law school, and he is currently an associate professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law which is just outside of Chicago.

Last academic year Kontorovich was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Albert Einstein and others of the greatest scholars in the United States have been members of the famed Institute. Kontorovich used his time there to complete his latest book, one on maritime law called, “Justice at Sea,” which is being published by Harvard University Press.

Notices of Kontorovich’s talks and publications are posted on his Facebook page and he provides constant updates on his twitter account.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/frum-law-profs-charming-legal-case-for-israel/2013/02/18/

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