web analytics
November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘YU’

Yeshiva U Threatens to Deny Ordination Over ‘Partnership Minyan’

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

The rabbinical school of Yeshiva University is withholding the ordination of a student who held a partnership minyan for his wife in their home.

Rabbi Menachem Penner, acting dean of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, or RIETS, sent a letter to the student ordering him not to participate in partnership minyans “nor create a public impression that he supports such activities in normative practice,” The New York Jewish Week reported Thursday.

The student, who is identified as Shalom in the letter dated Jan. 13, has chosen to remain anonymous.

The letter indicates that the student will not be a “musmach,” or graduate, of the seminary unless he is able to subscribe to the principles laid out therein, including to “defer, in matters of normative practice, to the opinions of recognized poskim,” or decisors of Jewish law.

In a partnership minyan, women lead many aspects of the Sabbath service and are called to the Torah but maintain Jewish law, such as a maintaining a separation between men and women but still allowing women to lead prayers or be called to the Torah aws well as read from it.

Most halachic sources prohibit the practice of partnership minyans, including Rabbi Hershel Schachter, a rosh yeshiva at RIETS.

The student told The Jewish Week that he is in discussions with seminary officials in an effort to resolve the standoff. The Chag HaSemikhah Convocation, during which the Yeshiva University rabbinical students receive their ordination, is set for March 23.

The student told the newspaper that he is unwelcome in his community’s Orthodox synagogue and has since held other services in his home.

David Brooks a Very Wise Jew

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

I must admit that I was surprised. Noted New York Times columnist, David Brooks gave what I consider to be the quintessential message of Centrist Orthodoxy at a Chanukah convocation ceremony where he received an honorary doctorate. The video which appears on Gil’s blog Torah Thoughts (available for viewing below) is the address he gave upon receiving this degree. And it truly hits the nail on the head of what Centrism is all about.

What surprised me is that Mr. Brooks actually read and understood the message of one of Rav Soloveitchik’s most important works, The Lonely Man of Faith. And in my view he expressed the Rav’s thoughts rather well… and is a believer in them.

David Brooks is not an Orthodox Jew. I don’t know how observant Mr. Brooks is. But I do know he understands what being Jewish means in terms of the proper approach to God.This he takes from the Rav’s philosophy he so elegantly cited.

Briefly stated the Rav talks about the two mentions in the Torah of the creation of man. He calls them Adam I and Adam II. Basing it on the context in which the Torah mentions them, The Rav expands on them in the following way.

Adam I is majestic man. He is the conqueror of the world. He goes out and ‘accomplishes’ for his material well being. Adam II is covenental man. He is concerned inwardly. He seeks the relationship with God. He is the man of faith – inward and therefore ultimately alone in that personal relationship with God . It is in the relationship with God that man develops his moral character. He is unconcerned with worldly pleasures and seeks only to do God’s will.

Adam I on the other hand wants to seek control of his environment which includes seeing to it that his own physical well being is taken care of to the limit of his physical and mental abilities. The 2 Adams there are therefore in constant struggle. And from that dialectic struggle, our person-hood develops. That struggle informs our values and actions.

Mr. Brooks compared what Yeshiva University does to the two Adams. Something that no other university does. Whereas the best universities do a good job educating man in his role of Adam I, they completely ignore educating man in his role of Adam II. Moral teachings are absent in the secular classroom. The result is a culture of a-morality. One which is difficult to navigate without the moral underpinnings of Adam II. Which is basically an unfettered love of God.

A-moral cultures have arisen in the past… when only Adam I is educated and Adam II is ignored. Taken to its natural extreme we can easily end up with the Germany of the 1930s and early 40s. Germany did a great job educating Adam I. And we know where that took them.

Western culture today is nowhere near that. But I think it is safe to say that we too live in an a-moral society. One need not look too far to see the wide acceptance of immoral images that surround us daily. They are all over, on billboards, magazines, TV, movies, and popular music. It has been that way for a long time. I recall the mantra of my generation during the late sixties, ‘If it feels good, do it!’ That is mostly all that mattered to many of my contemporaries back then. I don’t think that as a society, we have gotten any better today. If anything we have gotten worse.

YU is to its great credit counter-culture. It teaches man how to deal well with cultural surroundings and at the same time to revere God and his moral teachings.

My hat is off to David Brooks. He is a very wise man.



Visit Emes Ve-Emunah .

Report: At Least 18 Jewish Groups Reported ‘Diverted’ Funds

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

At least 18 Jewish non-profit groups and non-profit groups that support Israeli institutions have notified tax authorities of likely illegal “diversions” of funds in the past five years.

The Washington Post on Sunday published its review of more than 1,000 non-profit organizations that have reported such anomalies since 2008, when the Internal Revenue Service began requiring the reporting of “diversions” of over $250,000 or 5 percent of a group’s gross receipts and assets.

Most such reporting is related to fraud, although a small number have to do with “financial restructurings, mergers and other types of financial losses” that are not illegal.

A JTA review of a handful of states with large Jewish populations turned up 18 Jewish non-profits and non-profits that support Israeli institutions recording diversions. The most widely-known losses were the widely-known fraudulent claims in the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the $95 million Yeshiva University’s loss from scams associated with Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff,

Other cases include the  American Friends of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art reported, which reported in 2009 that “certain works of art were stolen or destroyed by fire”; The Jewish Community Center of Dutchess County, N.Y., which reported in 2010 that its bookkeeper had embezzled funds; and the Advancing Women Professionals and The Jewish Community Inc., which reported that an independent contractor in 2010 and 2011 had diverted $62,000 in funds.

Former UK Chief Rabbi’s Future: ‘Working With Students’

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

Last night Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks spoke at Eastern University, a Christian non-denominational school in suburban Philadelphia, to a packed audience of students which also included a large segment from a local modern Orthodox school, Kohelet Yeshiva High School.

The subject of the rabbi’s talk was: “Religion and the Common Good.”  It was presented by the Agora Institute for Civic Virtue and the Common Good, the Templeton Honors College at Eastern University, along with the Tikvah Program and the Beit Midrash program at Kohelet Yeshiva High School.

Rabbi Sacks forcefully delivered his take not only on religion and the common good, but his view that religion is for the common good.  He compared his views with that of philosophers such as John Rawls, who believed that there could be a language of public reason which all could share, “so long as religious conviction was left out.”  Sacks also mentioned the anti-religionists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, both of whom view “religion not just as irrelevant, but also harmful.”

But for Sacks, once the public discussion begins to lose its mooring in religion, the strong sense of the common – as opposed to individual – good is lost.  The focus then becomes, eventually, “what is in it for me, instead of what is in it for the common good.”

It is in such a society, Sacks said, that Hobbes’s realization of life as being “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” is inevitable.  For that is what becomes of a society based on a social contract, rather than on a societal covenant.

Rabbi Sacks explained that the first example of the social contract appears in First Samuel, when the people of Israel demanded a king. In the book, God told Samuel to explain to the people what kinds of liberties and rights they would have to give up in order to have a king, a centralized power, Sacks explained.  The people, to their later regret, demanded one anyway.

On the other hand, Rabbi Sacks explained that the first example of a social covenant is also found in the Hebrew Bible.  This was a pledge of mutual responsibility between the Jewish people and God.  A covenant, as opposed to a contract, is an exchange, a pledge to do together what neither can do alone.

Rabbi Sacks described the United States as a covenantal society, and pointed out that virtually every U.S. president renews that covenant during their inauguration.  A social contract creates what Rabbi Sacks called a “state,” in contrast to a true “society” which is created by a covenant.

“We the people,” are covenantal words, they are not ones expressed in a country such as England, or certainly any other monarchy.

Rabbi Sacks delighted the audience, delivering many “Jewish” jokes and Talmudic stories.

But the rabbi’s declaration that he hopes to be like the Lubbevitcher Rebbe: rather than have many followers, create many leaders, warmed the hearts of many.  This announcement came in response to the last questioner of the evening.

Harris Finkelstein, of Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, mentioned that he has read many of Rabbi Sacks’ more than 25 books, and that he looks forward to receiving the weekly email from Rabbi Sacks with his take on the weekly Torah portion.  But what, after having been chief rabbi of the United Kingdom for 22 years, “what could possibly be next?”

“I intend to spend the rest of my life with students, encouraging them to lead,” the rabbi said. “I want to support and encourage these students to do great things for others.”

RABBI SACKS TO BEGIN AFFILIATION WITH YESHIVA UNIVERSITY

His declaration last night was followed up by an announcement today that Rabbi Sacks has accepted a teaching position at Yeshiva University. The announcement was made to a small group of students, but YU said it will be releasing a statement next week in conjunction with the former chief rabbi’s office.

 

YU Employee with Abuse Conviction No Longer At University

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Yeshiva University has terminated Akiva Roth, 42, after past sexual misconduct came to light, officials said Friday.. The university admitted that it had “erred” by allowing Roth to begin teaching before his background check was completed.

Roth, who had been hired as a Hebrew teacher at Yeshiva College, had pleaded guilty to four counts of abuse against boys he tutored for their bar mitzvahs in 1997. He received ten years of probation.

The university has been at the center of a recent firestorm of controversy after alumni filed a lawsuit alleging years of abuse from multiple faculty members.

“Yeshiva University will continue to re-evaluate its hiring processes and work to close any gaps in our procedure,” the statement said.

Report: YU Hired Faculty Member Convicted Of Sex Contact with Boys

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Yeshiva University hired a new faculty member convicted of inappropriate sexual behavior with boys, according to the Forward.

The university, which is facing a major lawsuit concerning its handling of allegations of sexual abuse over several decades, has hired Akiva Roth, who pleaded guilty in 1997 to four counts of lewdness against several boys he tutored. Roth, 42, began teaching Hebrew at the college this fall.

In response to questions from the Forward, a university spokesman issued a statement saying it “has policies and procedures in place that require background checks for new hires” and is “currently in the process of thoroughly exploring the matter you brought to our attention.”

After pleading guilty, Roth was sentenced to 10 years of probation.

Former Yeshiva University Students file $380 Million Lawsuit

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Former Yeshiva University students have filed a $380 million lawsuit against the institution, alleging that the university covered up allegations of sexual misconduct by staff members.

The lawsuit, which was filed Monday in White Plains, N.Y., alleges a “massive cover-up of the sexual abuse of [high school] students … facilitated, for several decades, by various prominent Y.U. and [high school] administrators, trustees, directors, and other faculty members,” the Forward reported.

The newspaper first published details of the claims against two former Yeshiva University staff members late last year. Rabbis George Finkelstein and Macy Gordon were accused of inappropriate contact with several students at the Yeshiva University High School for Boys in Manhattan.

Finkelstein left the high school in 1995 and took a post at a Jewish school in Florida before moving to Israel. Gordon also lives in Israel and until recently was a teacher at the Orthodox Union’s Israel Center. Both men deny the charges.

The lawsuit, filed by 19 former students, names Rabbi Norman Lamm, the university’s former president and chancellor who stepped down last week, and Rabbi Robert Hirt, a former vice president of Y.U.’s rabbinical seminary. Only two of the alleged victims — Mordechai Twersky, who lives in Israel, and Barry Singer of New York — are named. The rest are listed anonymously.

The complainants’ attorney, Kevin Mulhearn, claims that university administrators are guilty of fraud for portraying Gordon and Finkelstein as men of good character despite the many warnings they had sexually abused young boys.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/former-yeshiva-university-students-file-380-million-lawsuit/2013/07/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: