The Jw Q&a

10/28/2014 | | Staff Writer | The JW Q&A

The Jewish Theological Seminary last week appointed its first Muslim visiting scholar. Yasin Meral, assistant professor of history of religions at Ankara University, will conduct post-doctoral research at JTS this year. Meral, whose Ph.D. dissertation was on “Islam and Muslims in the Writings of Maimonides,” has done post-doctoral work on end-times issues in the Jewish and Islamic traditions. The Jewish Week interviewed him by email. This is an edited transcript.

10/21/2014 | | Staff Writer | The JW Q&A

Beth Asnien McCoy was appointed national executive director of American Friends of The Hebrew University in May, becoming one of the only women to head a major Jewish organization in the United States. McCoy sat down with The Jewish Week to discuss the challenge of reaching a new generation of philanthropists, how fundraising differs in various organizations and her advice to other female professionals about how to get to the top.

10/14/2014 | | Editor And Publisher | The JW Q&A

Tuvia Book, the new core educator for Write On For Israel, The Jewish Week program that educates students about modern Israel in advance of their college years, has lost count of how many teen and young adult tours to Israel he has led. He may well be the longest-serving Birthright Israel tour guide, dating back to the pilot program in December 1999. And as part of his work in Jewish education, both formal and informal, he has climbed Masada more than 200 times. It’s never routine, though, because “I get to see it each time through the eyes of those who are there for the first time,” he says.

09/24/2014 | | Staff Writer | The JW Q&A

Dr. Jonathan Halevy, whose specialty is liver diseases, has been the director-general of Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem for the past 26 years. He is also chairman of the Israel Health Basket Committee, which determines which drugs, medical procedures and technology will be approved and subsidized by the national health care system. Shaare Zedek made news this month when breast cancer researchers there found that women who carry the BRCA1/2 genes are prone to breast and ovarian cancer — even if they have no family history of the cancers. Halevy was interviewed during a recent visit here.

09/16/2014 | | Culture Editor | The JW Q&A

At first glance, the resemblance is unmistakable — the diction, gestures, cadences of the deep voice of author Mark Obama Ndesandjo seem uncannily similar to his brother, President Barack Obama. In fact, with his shaved head, Ndesandjo looks like a younger, hipper, more smiling version of the President. But as he shows in his just-published compelling memoir, “An Obama’s Journey: My Odyssey of Self-Revelation Across Three Cultures” (Lyons Press), he’s very much his own person, exploring issues of identity, race and family, along with his Jewishness. The two men share a father, Barack Obama, Sr., but they were born to different mothers; the president is the son of the second wife and Ndesandjo is the son of the third, a Jewish woman named Ruth Beatrice Baker. (Ndesandjo’s parents divorced when he was 7, and he later took on the name of his stepfather, only to reclaim the Obama name in recent years.)