21 February 2006

Annual Herbert Lieberman Scholarship Award Ceremony

Rabbi Weiss speaking with Michael Schultz at Lieberman Award dinnerThis evening, YCT's fourth annual Herbert Lieberman Scholarship Award Ceremony took place, with the award going to Michael Schultz, a second-year rabbinical student (among his achievements, was that he coordinated the trip down to the Gulf Coast) (previous award winners: in 2003 - Rabbi Adam Scheier ('04), 2004 - Seth Braunstein ('06), 2005 - Rabbi Joshua Feigelson ('05)).Rabbi Linzer speaking at the Lieberman Award ceremony
The program began with a dinner, then moved into a דבר תורה (matter of Torah) given by the ראש הישיבה (academic head of the school), Rabbi Dov Linzer (for the link, you'll have to scroll down a little). This was followed by Rabbi Avi Weiss (see previous link), the dean and founder of the school, who explained his protesting against the Belzec drilling project. This was followed by an introduction into the keynote speaker, Dr. Walter Reich.Rabbi Weiss speaking at Lieberman Award Ceremony
Dr. Reich then spoke for over an hour on the Belzec concentration camp. He announced at the beginning of his speech that he had initially intended to speak about community service, but had realized that he wanted to speak about Belzec, as it was the least known of the German death camps. It was one of the six extermination camps of the Nazis - whereas Auschwitz-Birkenau, which was the most well-known of the camps, largely due to it being responsible for about 1.1 million Jewish deaths, but also because it was a work camp, and not solely an extermination camp, whereas Belzec was an extermination camp, where about 600,000 Jews met their end, and there are only two known survivors(!).Dr. Walter Reich speaking at Lieberman Award Ceremony about Belzec Concentration Camp
He spoke on the history of the camp that from March through December 1942, the killing operations took place, with the corpses thrown into graves. However, when the Germans started realizing that they were losing the war and that all of these bodies would have been found by the advancing Soviet soldiers, they exhumed the graves of those hundreds of thousands Jewish bodies, then tossed them into fires. What was left of those corpses within the pyres were ashes and bones, which were then further ground up, then thrown back into those pits.Michael Schultz speaking upon his reception of the Herbert Lieberman Scholarship for Community Service
Dr. Reich then spoke about his various trips to what was left of the concentration camp, which had been landscaped in 1962. He then voiced his disapproval of the way various things were handled with the area of the former concentration camp, where ashes and bone fragments were easily found along the surface of the ground. He had long wanted that there should be a fence surrounding the area. In addition to his recounting of the recent history of Belzec concentrationMichael Schultz speaking upon his reception of the Herbert Lieberman Scholarship for Community Service camp, he accompanied it with slides of his various trips there in 1989, 1996, 2003, and 2004.
Following up on the heels of Dr. Reich was Steven Lieberman (the only one in this posting with no accompanying picture (sorry)), who spoke about the law suit that was taken against the AJC in 2003. He then spoke briefly a little further on legal actions as activist rabbis. He then presented the Herbert Lieberman ScholarshipMichael Schultz speaking upon his reception of the Herbert Lieberman Scholarship for Community Service for Community Service award to Michael Schultz (for his activity in getting things going at YCT in terms of social action, see the Blueprint's article on him).
Schultz spoke a little on the necessity and importance of חסד (helping out (it's not a great translation, but it should suffice)), and that we can, and do, do it in various types of ways and spoke of the praise of his fellow students, and thanked Rabbi Linzer for giving him ear about חסד projects and the second-year students חסד curriculum this year.
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17 February 2006

Rabbi Aryeh Ben David Presents His Talmudic Methodology in Relation to Kiddush

On the morning of Friday 10 February, Rabbi Aryeh Ben David spoke at YCT on the topic of 's statement that kiddush is only to be done in a place of a meal (אין קידוש אלא במקום סעודה) and the attendant discussion on his concept (see פסחים קא, עמוד א, Pesahim 101a), for which there are testimonies given for several sages who also apparently also opined according to Shmuel (as opposed to , according to whose opinion the halakhah is usually decided).
Rabbi Ben David's method in going about this סוגיא (topic) was to ask a variety of questions about it, then to try to answer them. I found it to be an interesting methodology, though somewhat questionable. A interesting part of it was to consider what is so significant about having a kiddush where one is to have one's meal on shabbas. This is as opposed to Rav's position (see Pesahim 100b (פסחים ק, עמוד ב), that one can fulfill one's obligation of kiddush in shul (for more on the discussion of this argument, see Ben's posting and my posting about this), and opposed to doing kiddush not over wine. Thus, what is the experiential superiority of having kiddush where one is to dine?
At the end, he presented his thoughts on the matter at the end as to what ties kiddush to the meal experientially and what it has to do with Pesahim (this pericope appears nowhere else in the Talmud, only in here, as opposed to Shabbas, where one might expect to find it located).
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08 February 2006

YCT Looking To Hire

Coordinator of Student Services

YCT Rabbinical School in NYC is seeking to fill a temporary position of Coordinator of Student Services.

Duration: last week of March - end of June 2006

Hours: Part- to Full-Time/Flexible (at least 20 hours per week). It is highly preferred that the hours include 12-2:30pm Monday-Thursday.

Reports: to Director of Operations

Responsibilities include:

- Maintains YCT's entire daily schedule and communicates it to all
members of YCT community: faulty, students, administrators
- Maintains clear communication with the Kraft Center administration
about security and all matters related to it.
- Maintains communication with students regarding schedules, class
cancellations, and student life events.
- Troubleshoots any class changes and cancellations. Effectively and
efficiently communicates all relevant changes to students verbally and in

- Schedules admissions interviews, addresses prospective student inquiries, etc.
- Prepares and sends out acceptance and rejection letters
- Assures completeness of all application files
- Assists with other projects as needed

Rabbinic Placement:
- Proactively assists the Placement Coordinator in all placement duties.
- Communicates job opportunities to students and alumni attempting to change jobs.
- Serves as the first point of contact for calls from congregations, Hillels, day schools interested in YCT rabbi. Forwards information
gathered to the Placement Coordinator.

Student Activities:
- Meets with student committees to plan special programming
- Implements programming

This person must super organized, detail-oriented, flexible, cooperative, and patient. Prior professional experience in a university setting and/or student services a plus.

Present Director of Student Services will train.

Compensation: competitive, based on hours and prior professional experience.
To apply: e-mail resume to Oksana Bellas, Director of Operations at obellas@yctorah.org

07 February 2006

Israel Discussion

On Wednesday 1 February, the students of the yeshiva came together shortly before lunch to discuss the relationship of our yeshiva with Israel. It was done so in the context of our current mission statement regarding Israel.

Rav Yoel Bin-Nun Speaks

On Monday 30 January, Rabbi Yoel Bin Nun spoke to the yeshiva on the topic of פסח (Passover) and ברית מילה (covenant of circumcision). The lecture, which was given in Hebrew, was presented in the morning, shortly after שחרית (morning prayers), over a bagel breakfast.

01 February 2006

New Additions

There have been a couple of recent additions to the yeshiva:
-Alex Kaye just transferred into the second year class from YU
-Last week, Yehuda Hausman entered into the mechina year
-A couple of weeks ago, Devin Villareal moved from the mechina year class to the first year class