Name: Sara Levine
Hometown: Westchester, NY
Passion: Asylum law
You began your career as a journalist for Israeli television. Why did you decide to pursue law?
Before law school, I worked as a journalist for the English nightly news. Because our news bureau was relatively small compared to the Hebrew and Arabic news departments, I was able to cover a large range of issues, from domestic politics to foreign affairs to civil rights and the law. It was this latter group that fascinated me the most. In particular, covering stories relating to marginalized groups and their struggle for the most basic, fundamental rights, both frustrated and motivated me. While I loved my job as a journalist and the challenges every day brought—the rigors of fact-finding, learning people’s stories, extracting the salient facts and effectively conveying stories to our audiences—I felt that something was missing. I knew that law was the key to making real change in society and fighting against the same injustices I covered as a reporter. The journalist is meant to educate, draw awareness and illuminate issues of the marginalized, the struggling and the voiceless. The lawyer, I realized, can give them a voice.
Name: Willie Roth
School: Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS)
Hometown: Teaneck, NJ
Passion: Halakha and law
What is unique about semikha studies at RIETS?
RIETS is the only place where a rabbinical student can learn from first-rate talmidei chachamim [Torah scholars], poskim [deciders of Jewish law], rabbanim and mental health professionals all under one roof. Whether you’re in rabbanus [rabbinate] or Jewish education, a rabbi’s job entails many different responsibilities. You need training indifferent areas and exposure to many kinds of experts. RIETS offers a comprehensive and holistic approach to a rabbinical career.
Name: Tamar Weinberger
Hometown: Woodmere, NY
Passion: Pediatric medicine
I chose medicine because I saw it as an opportunity to combine my love for science with my desire to contribute to patient care. I also enjoy the academic challenge medicine presents: being confronted with myriad signs and symptoms, deducing a differential diagnosis and effectively diagnosing and treating a disease is a challenging and rewarding endeavor.
Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand
Research Focus: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
You started your university studies as an economics major back in Thailand. How did you end up pursuing graduate psychology in the United States?
Economics is a popular major in Thailand. I had already done a year of university when I decided I wanted to explore the world outside Thailand. Initially, when I came to the U.S., I continued working toward a degree in economics, but there were other foundational courses I was required to take, including Psychology 101. It seemed like an interesting field. I began thinking about other options and decided to pursue forensic science, since that’s an area few people study in Thailand. I went home to do an internship in criminology that summer.
Hometown: Southfield, Michigan
Passion: Jewish philosophy
At Revel, you earned both a master’s and doctoral degree. What fascinates you about Judaic studies?
An Orthodox upbringing and education had given me a firm religious foundation, but I sought to explore and substantiate my convictions and observance through the study of philosophy. Medieval Jewish philosophers discussed many important theological and philosophical concepts that are still debated today. I feel that my self-understanding as a Jew has been enhanced through my studies and my beliefs and practice have become far more meaningful.
Hometown: Far Rockaway, NY
Passion: Professionalizing Jewish education
Why Jewish education?
Jewish education is the foundation of our community and the basis of our future, but we often approach it in a “this is what’s done” fashion that causes us to miss out on best practices. I feel very strongly that if in some way I can effect a positive change and bring more deliberate practices to such a significant component of Jewish life, I have an obligation to do so. To quote Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Hometown: Somers, NY
School: Wurzweiler School of Social Work
Passion: Supporting deaf and hard of hearing populations
How did you decide to go into social work?
My sister and I are hard of hearing. All my life, people have been
fighting to ensure that our needs are met—speech therapists, speech
pathologists, audiologists, special education teachers, my mom and dad.
Even my hearing brother learned Cued Speech, a phonemically-based hand
supplement to language, to better communicate with my sister and me. I
have been touched by the love, acceptance, help and care I have been
shown and really felt that I needed to give back as well.
Read more here: http://blogs.yu.edu/news/2013/05/08/graduate-profile-savyon-lang/
Hometown: Passaic, New Jersey
School: Sy Syms School of Business
Career Focus: Wealth Management
Why was Yeshiva University the right place for you?
I wanted to go to a college where I could get a solid business education and enriching Judaic studies. I had been studying subjects like Tanakh and Halakha since I was very young and I did not want to sacrifice that, especially entering university and anticipating a career in the business world. At Sy Syms, I had both options; I could take challenging business classes and then attend a shiur afterward.
Name: Zamir Pearsall
School: Yeshiva College
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Passions: Music and Political Science
What was your most memorable college experience?
In my first year at Yeshiva University, I started taking classes at the Philip and Sarah Belz School of Jewish Music, which specializes in academic musical education. It occurred to me that it would be interesting to create a club that would provide the student body with practical musical education as well. So I spent the summer pulling together ideas in music theory that had hands-on applications to the processes and techniques of musical composition. I collaborated with a few other students to form a club that could use this foundation as a springboard for members to compose their own work—the Songwriting Club.
School: Stern College for Women
Hometown: Teaneck, New Jersey
Passion: Jewish Education
When you look back at your college career, what experiences have made the deepest impact on you?
The very first class I took at Stern College was with Rabbi Mordechai Cohen, professor of Bible. From the very beginning, he urged us to take advantage of everything Yeshiva University had to offer. He challenged us to go to an event once a week, write an article for a student newspaper, seek out professors and speak with them after class, stay in for Shabbos, take the most rigorous classes we could handle and become active members of the YU community.
School: Yeshiva University High School for Boys / Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy (MTA)
Hometown: Monsey, New York
Passion: Information technology
Why did you choose MTA?
Coming out of middle school, I liked the idea of a high school on a college campus. MTA feels like a university. When you have a free period, you can go to the library or the gym.
In 11th grade we met with YU Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Hershel Schachter. It was right before Pesach, and we were all sitting around asking questions to this posek who most people wouldn’t be lucky enough to meet. That’s because of the high school’s ties with the University, and it’s just one of the things I got to experience here that I couldn’t have done anywhere else.
School: Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva University High School for Girls (Central)
Hometown: West Hempstead, New York
Passion: Fertility science
What experience made the deepest impact on you during your high school career?
When I think back on my time at Central, I think of an AP Biology course taught by Mrs. Ruth Fried, one of my teachers. I loved it and I really appreciated the way she taught it, emphasizing how science and religion can work together. Science can be another way to think about how involved G-d is in every facet of everything. There are so many things that could go wrong in a human body but, most of the time, they don’t. That class showed me that G-d is in every detail of human biology, and it’s important for people to learn as much as they can and interact with His world in an educated way, which is the whole concept of Torah Umadda. That bio class just made me want to learn more and more.