Rabbi Dov Emerson still vividly remembers the day his father brought home Apple’s first-ever Macintosh, and his family gathered around, fascinated to watch “the arrow of the mouse move on an eight-inch screen.”
Yeshiva University’s challenges — financially and in competition with other institutions of higher learning, both secular and religious — are outlined in staff writer Helen Chernikoff’s thorough and sobering front-page report this week.
As she notes, the proud base of the Modern Orthodox community is seeking to increase flagging enrollment at a time of financial belt-tightening and when yeshivas to the right and secular colleges on YU’s left flank, are chipping away at the pool of possible students.
Less expensive colleges to the left, new yeshivas on the right: Yeshiva University seeks a perch for itself as Joel nears 10th year.
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Each is a beit midrash — bookshelves lined with the same shiny spines — but the similarity ends there. The hall of study at Stern, the women’s college of the Orthodox Yeshiva University, is an elegant, airy place to pore over books. The beit midrash at secular Queens College is very different: a cramped closet, smelling of cooking oil, in which boxes of used holiday decorations bump up against the folding tables that serve as desks.
For several weeks each winter, between Chanukah and Purim, the Weissberg Commons area of Yeshiva University’s Belfer Hall becomes an enormous book fair. More than 15,000 people — families and singles, children and seniors, Orthodox and non-Orthodox — browse through tables and shelves crammed with discounted books and DVDs and educational software offered for sale during The Seforim Sale sponsored by the Students of Yeshiva (SOY).
Syms clothing company and its affiliate, Filene’s Basement, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
"This has been a challenging time for Syms and Filene's Basement," Syms Corp. CEO Marcy Sims said Wednesday in announcing the bankruptcy. "We have been faced with increased competition from large department stores that now offer the same brands as our stores at similar discounts."
There was an interesting tidbit in The New York Times you might have missed last week: Patricia Cohen posted a small item about a research paper presented at this year's American Psychology Association convention. The researchers were from Yeshiva University and argued that the Sanhedrin--or, the judicial body that governened Jerusalem in ancient Israel--was surprisingly effective at combating "groupthink."
There is a narrative that Yeshiva University has shifted to the right, religiously-speaking. I attended the recent leadership retreat sponsored by YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF), an annual get-together in Orlando, FL at the ChampionsGate resort, where I encountered a whole other face of the Yeshiva and University that demonstrates how that perception is incorrect.
Yavneh, a 1960s and `70s organization of Orthodox college students, is, in the words of “The Greening of American Orthodox Judaism: Yavneh in the 1960s” by Benny Kraut, “hardly remembered today, except perhaps by former members.”