Joel Elected YU President

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In a move widely seen as a victory for the centrist element of Modern Orthodoxy, and despite rabbinic opposition, Richard Joel, 52, was elected president of Yeshiva University late Thursday night, Dec. 5. In the spring he will succeed Dr. Norman Lamm, who has led the flagship institution of the movement since 1976.

YU Elects Joel President

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Richard Joel seems undaunted by the fact that some of the faculty and lay leadership at Yeshiva University’s rabbinical school opposed his becoming chief executive officer of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, the position he was elected to last week along with president of Yeshiva University. Joel, 52, said his skills for the new posts include “taking institutions where people look askance at my capacities and being able to empower them.

Rav’s Absence Felt As 10th Yahrzeit Nears

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Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, the late leader of the Modern Orthodox movement, was known for, among other qualities, his rigorous scholarship and intellectual honesty. Citing an example of both the other day, Rabbi Kenneth Brander, who now leads a large congregation in Boca Raton, Fla., recalled an incident that took place some two decades ago when he served as one of several personal assistants to the Rav (simply, the Rabbi), as he was widely known.

In Search Of Moderate Muslims

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Khaled Abou El Fadl, a professor of Islamic law at UCLA, estimates that two years ago he received between 30 and 40 requests from around the country to participate in interfaith dialogues between Jews and Muslims. Last year he received one. “They just vanished,” he said during an interview last week. “Such invitations are a barometer of the level of dialogue, though my experience may not be representative because of my own idiosyncrasies.”

The Other Wiesel

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When her husband was notified in the fall of 1986 that he had won the Nobel Peace Prize, and about $400,000 that went along with it, Marion Wiesel suggested they buy a sailboat. “I love sailing,” she said with a smile during a recent interview. But the couple quickly decided to use the funds for more charitable purposes, establishing the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.

An Imam’s Dilemma

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Can America’s democratic values accomplish what our military actions and diplomatic efforts have not yet been able to — namely, tame militant Islam? That’s what Feisal Abdul Rauf, imam of the Al-Farah Mosque in Lower Manhattan, is counting on. Considered by many to be a key voice of reason among Muslim leaders here, Abdul Rauf, 54, is confident that American principles and ideals will have a moderating influence on Islam, a religion whose very name instills fear in so many Americans.

Still Waiting For Answers

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There was one brief but telling moment of dramatic confrontation Sunday night between Rabbi Mordechai Willig and one of his critics over his conduct as the lead judge in a 1989 bet din dealing with abuse charges against Rabbi Baruch Lanner.

Lanner Attorney Deplores ‘Guilt By Innuendo’

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Rabbi Baruch Lanner’s attorney this week went public in seeking to portray his client as the victim of an “atmosphere” that fosters a sense of “guilt by innuendo.” In a lengthy letter to The Jewish Week, Nathan Dershowitz of the New York City law firm Dershowitz, Eiger & Adelson sought to distinguish between the criminal charges Rabbi Lanner faced in New Jersey last year and other accusations that have been made against him.

Lanner Bet Din Rabbi Apologizes

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Rabbi Mordechai Willig, speaking for himself and on behalf of a 1989 bet din critics felt was too lenient toward Rabbi Baruch Lanner, has acknowledged the religious court “made errors in judgment and procedure that caused unnecessary pain” and said it accepted “responsibilities for those mistakes.” Rabbi Willig, the highly respected rosh yeshiva, or dean, at Yeshiva University, offered a lengthy and at times personal apology before hundreds of students and others at the bet midrash (study hall) of the school last Wednesday night.

Panel To Hear Charges Against Prominent Rabbi

A panel of rabbinic authorities was scheduled to hear testimony in Brooklyn this week from several former yeshiva students of Rabbi Matis Weinberg, a prominent and charismatic American-born Torah scholar, author and teacher living in Jerusalem who is alleged to have made sexual advances toward them and others, The Jewish Week has learned.
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